The Supply Chain: An Inside Glimpse at the Tech Powering Global Importing and Exporting

The world is digital and supply chain management isn’t any different. Without technology to keep ships and freighting equipment running, nobody would ever get the goods they need. And without the software to keep track of it all, companies would fall apart.

In fact, technology is so interwoven in the importing and exporting business that it’s helping drive advancements in the tech industry. The more companies demand solutions to help manage their accounts or keep track of goods, the more tech industry innovates.

Importing and exporting businesses are changing the ways technology is used. They’re at the cutting edge of what may be the future of how trade is done, worldwide.

Keep reading below to learn about some of the technology driving the global economy, and how it can change in the future.

First to the Basics: Importing Hardware

Without the right hardware, nothing would ever be shipped successfully. That expands the hard drives and processors found in computers — a good supply chain means having good equipment. The boats, trucks, and planes cargo is loaded onto need to be state-of-the-art and above all, functional.

The supply chain links through many different places, after all.

They need to be able to endure many different types of environments and abuse. It’s impossible to know what they may need to go through, for certain, which means they need to be ready for anything. A truck should be able to handle an expected detour up a mountain just like a ship should be able to handle a sudden storm.

Keep reading below to learn about the hardware and equipment that goes into different methods of trade.

Shipping Depends on Functional Ships

Although the name can mean any kind of transportation, ships have become the main way goods are exchanged between people. If an American business purchases some manufactured goods from China, it will be sent on a ship. And in that vessel will be an unstoppable engine powering a mobile wall of steel.

Those engines will probably be caterpillar 3412 marine engines, or 3516B HD engines capable of pulling more than most people can imagine. Engines like these can produce up to a whopping 109,000 horsepower. With them, ships can plow through waves while protecting their cargo and the people onboard.

Best of all, shipping by sea saves money and helps guarantee products get to where they’re going.

Air Trade Is a Trade-Off

Sometimes, people need their goods immediately and have no time to wait. In situations like this, they may opt to rush their order, which means it would be shipped over the air instead of by sea. And this can come at a cost.

Yet, sending goods by the air delivers them to their destinations faster than any other kind of transport. Rather than the weeks it can take a ship to cross an ocean, a plane can make the same trip in less than two days. And for people willing to pay the higher cost, it may be worth it.

Those people are paying for more than just airtime, though. They’re also paying for the equipment on delivery planes.

Freight planes are equipped with technology to help them get through more than just turbulence. Their basically flying tanks, cutting through some of the most dangerous situations as if they were nothing.

Supplying People with Freight Equipment Is Slow

Sometimes, international trade can be done on the same continent. And in cases like this, it’s cheapest to send goods over a freight truck. Yet, that shipping solution may not be the best.

Trucks can take the longest to arrive at their destinations since they travel slower than most other options. They’re also less secure and are susceptible to crashing or being downright stolen. Although trucks may be cheap, they can cost companies more than they could ever save in lost products and squandered time.

The Trains Keep Chugging Along

Although trade over trains may seem outdated, they still help pull some of the most critical parts of the modern economy. Rail freight services still lug heavy ores, even during a time when their viability is doubtful. Since they can pull so much weight, freight trains can also pull heavy machinery and other manufactured goods.

Unfortunately, trains are stuck to their tracks. They can’t go anywhere the tracks don’t, which means they have limited use in the supply chain.

Software Helps Keep Supply Chains Hard

The flashiest technology doesn’t come in the form of ship engines or air travel equipment. Instead, it comes in software tools which help people keep track of trade. The tools designed to help people trade and ship products have just gotten better as time wore on.

Now, software solutions are helping people automatically comply with regional regulations regarding trade. Software solutions are also measuring supply chain efficiency with outstanding precision. Even retailers, which have traditionally exclusively had a consumer-facing role in the supply chain, are becoming part of the supply chain.

Companies like Amazon are monitoring their employee’s efficiency with alarming fastidiousness with new software, all in the name of profit. The combination of increasingly stronger roles for retailers and improved compliance stands to revolutionize the industry.

Blockchain Technology is Advancing the Industry

One of the biggest leaps the supply chain has made has been an embrace of new technologies, like the Blockchain. With this technology, companies can keep themselves accountable through every step of the shipping process. They can validate that individual employees perform their duties responsibly and effectively.

The blockchain automatically accounts for different kinds of messages between computers. So if one computer at one point in the shipping process confirms receiving a package, the blockchain can validate it. It automatically checks to ensure that the package was actually delivered.

Since computers only ever do what people tell them to, the blockchain helps guarantee people actually do their jobs instead of just saying they did.

This means companies can automatically stay compliant with government regulations. This also means the supply chain can run more smoothly and efficiently. Blockchain technology has already changed the pharmaceutical supply chain — who knows which industry it may change next.

People Keep the Industry Going

Although the gears behind the importing and exporting business may be impressive, there are even more remarkable parts working to keep it going. Those are the people behind it all. Technology only exists to help people, and it can only be as effective as someone understands it.

To stay informed about technology and how to use it for good, keep reading our blog.