FERTILE GROUND: One of the big opportunities surrounds taking uncertainties, including costs, out of the equation.
FERTILE GROUND: One of the big opportunities surrounds taking uncertainties, including costs, out of the equation.

Embracing technology to improve supply chain efficiencies

THERE IS a lot of challenges, but also many advancements and opportunities open to Australian road transport businesses that embrace technology to improve their supply chain efficiencies.

That was to be the core message delivered by supply chain expert Henry Brunekreef at the postponed MEGATRANS2020 in Melbourne.

Mr Brunekreef is the Director, Operations Advisory and National Leader, Supply Chain Management at global multi-industry consultants, KPMG.

We spoke with him ahead of the Melbourne event but there are still a lot of messages applicable in the post-COVID-19 world.

Mr. Brunekreef, who is also the head of the Australasian Supply Chain Institute, said one of the big opportunities surrounds taking uncertainties, including costs, out of the equation.

“I think that is where supply chains can really make a difference, where supply chains these days become more complex, and there is more uncertainty out there, you need only think about the coronavirus that is hampering supply chains at the moment,” he said.

“However, I think the supply chain has evolved to meet the customer experience, to do that at a reasonable and known cost and at the same time take complexity and uncertainty out of those supply chains.

“So, yes, I think there is fertile ground for improvement.”

Supply chain expert Henry Brunekreef.
Supply chain expert Henry Brunekreef.

Mr Brunekreef said many of these opportunities will present themselves through the use of technology, as well as systems and skills that will be supplied and potentially managed by third-party businesses working in conjunction with both customer and transporter.

“I think when you also take a procurement view of that, the relationship with these partners has been too long and too transactional, almost point-to-point transactional.

“However, where the future has to go is to move to platforms and to logistics as a service and to really find a partner that fits with you from a cultural perspective, not just a transactional perspective.

“The flip side is an opportunity where you as an organisation might have over-capacity and might start using that over-capacity to sell to the market.

“So I think we’re in a unique moment of time.”

Mr Brunekreef the supply chain has always been at the forefront of technology, in the 1980s and 1990s it was all about ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.

“I think what makes supply chain systems unique at this moment in time is we’ve always been talking about the customer, we’ve always been talking about the customer segmentation and the cost of service.

“But the technology that’s out there today, whether that’s from an optimisation perspective, whether that’s a track and trace perspective, we can really now make a difference where we can become tailored and bespoke.”

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