Cloud preferred deployment method to address supply chain challenges

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Cloud preferred deployment method to address supply chain challenges Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

Apply three quarters (71%) of companies believe the cloud or a hybrid solution will be their preferred deployment method for labeling within the next three years.

This is according to an annual report published by Loftware, a global software company specialising in Enterprise Labelling and Artwork Management solutions.

The global survey, which draws on insights from almost 500 professionals across industries in 55 countries, found a shift in attitudes toward cloud technology. Driven by the need to insulate operations from ongoing supply chain disruptions, product shortages, cost pressures, process inefficiencies, and manual errors, Loftware’s 10th annual report revealed that 50% of businesses already deploy important business applications in the cloud. This compares to just under 40% of companies embracing cloud-first strategies for enterprise applications a year ago.

Josh Roffman, senior VP of marketing and product management at Loftware, said: “Cloud adoption is proving to be the cornerstone of impactful digital transformation programs, as evidenced by the strong feedback we have received from our customers and partners. Among the many benefits on offer, the cloud provides quick deployment times, lower upfront costs, easy access, the ability to scale, and automatic updates.

“As companies of all sizes strive to increase profitability, drive growth, and streamline operations, we expect to see a growing number of forward-thinking organizations adopt the cloud for mission-critical business processes including labelling.”

Gartner, a technology analyst firm, supports this notion and believes that more than 50% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives by 2027.

Most business leaders surveyed by Loftware (80%) reported that supply chain challenges had directly impacted their business. Furthermore, 93% said that it’s important to have a business model that supports speed and agility in today’s evolving business climate, while 62% of respondents believe that extending labelling to partners and suppliers enables them to avoid re-labelling, thereby saving time, money, and resources. This is no surprise as today’s global supply chain requires new levels of visibility and agility as companies add new suppliers and partners, expand into new regions, strive to ensure continuous operations, and attempt to meet increasing regulatory and customer demands.

Facilitating transparency is a vital step in creating resilient supply chains, with 70% of respondents flagging global traceability as a priority for their business in the coming 12 months. This is because companies need to ensure quality, safeguard products, protect patients, streamline the location of inventory, and guarantee on-time delivery to market. Indeed, 49% of those surveyed believe the inability to effectively manage recalls is the biggest risk of not being able to track products through the supply chain, up from 33% four years ago. As a result, businesses are harnessing the benefits of cloud technology to provide faster reaction times when managing potential recalls, avert risks presented by counterfeit goods, ensure customer safety, and protect brand reputation.

Digital traceability can also help companies to deliver on their corporate social responsibility goals. Of those surveyed by Loftware, 76% reported already having a sustainability initiative within their organisation. Being able to trace products both upstream and downstream will become important for managing the product lifecycle and sustainable sourcing. Intelligent supply chains that leverage cloud technologies can track, trace, and authenticate goods at every stage of the journey, from raw materials to consumer goods. Through the deployment of cloud-based labelling, businesses can reduce inventory, eliminate a large global footprint, and ensure that all products are made, shipped, and delivered to the right place, thereby avoiding unnecessary loss and waste.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0, will also have a significant impact on companies and their manufacturing operations in 2023 and beyond. When it comes to printing on the production line, Loftware’s survey illustrates that far too many businesses still rely on closed-loop systems that have disconnected, purpose-built software for different devices, resulting in manual and error-prone marking and coding operations. In fact, 69% of businesses reported using multiple vendors for marking and coding at their facilities, while 41% said that label errors driven by manual processes are one of the biggest challenges in their current marking and coding environment.

Through the advancement of cloud-based technologies, companies can now use their marking and coding equipment as part of a “one size fits all” intelligent factory operation. This offers integration capabilities to manage output for all their devices from thermal and colour laser printing to marking and coding devices, visual inspection systems, serialisation solutions, and more. By adopting such a solution as part of a cloud-first strategy, businesses will gain printing flexibility, accuracy, production line uptime, and efficiency to manage costs and support global growth.

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