Collaborating Authors


5 supply chain technologies that deliver competitive advantage MIT Sloan


Facing globalization, increased product complexity, and heightened customer demands, companies are taking up advanced technologies to transform their supply chain from a pure operations hub into the epicenter of business innovation. Using sensors and ever-improving internet connectivity, forward-thinking companies are collecting data at every checkpoint, from the status of raw materials flow to the condition and location of finished goods. Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics help drive automation and deliver insights that promote efficiencies -- making on-the-fly route changes to accelerate product delivery, for example, or swapping out materials to take advantage of better pricing or availability. Additive manufacturing is also opening doors to easy production of spare parts, enabling companies to slash inventory, cut costs, and create supplementary revenue streams. These advanced technologies are serving as a springboard for new business models -- for example, many firms are piggybacking off the "internet of things" (IoT) to offer predictive maintenance services that guarantee product uptime while generating recurring revenue.