As ecommerce sales growth accelerates, companies must implement technology for distribution operations that are expected to be “always-on” and available to customers. This was among the key findings in the recently released 2016 MHI Annual Industry Report on technology’s impact throughout the supply chain.

The findings, which are based on the responses of 900 supply chain professionals, point to a heightened demand for technology throughout the supply chain. The survey considered the adoption rates of a wide variety of technologies, from inventory and network optimization tools to wearable and mobile technology to cloud computing and storage. While many of these technologies are used today by 20%-50% of companies, nearly all technologies mentioned are expected to see adoption rates between 70% and 90% over the next 6-10 years.

But, as reported by Forbes, the technology ranked at the top as the solution poised to revolutionize the supply chain is predictive analytics. Cited by 44% of respondents as having the potential to be a disruptive or competitive force in the industry, predictive analytics tools provide companies the limitless perspectives and deep insights needed to make meaningful decisions about their data.

VoxPilot, Voxware’s supply chain analytics solution, offers companies the ability to pull data from multiple locations throughout the supply chain into a single platform. Previously, many companies performed manual calculations in an Excel spreadsheet to estimate how many seasonal staff members need to be hired. Now, companies can use pick rates from new and seasoned team members in conjunction with sales data to test how many item selectors need to be hired to meet peak demand during the holiday season. Instead of waiting until a truck is scheduled to leave the warehouse before identifying shortfalls, companies can instead combine real-time picking data from VMS with weather and traffic reports to adjust departure times and picking schedules to keep the operation moving efficiently.

As the MHI report indicates and Forbes concluded, predictive analytics is rapidly becoming one of the most important weapons in the supply chain manager’s war chest. Learn more about how VoxPilot can help companies use their data to drive better decision making here.