Supply Chain Visibility Has Never Been More Important!

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In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic the need for complete, end to end Supply Chain visibility has never been more important!

The necessity for visibility started with store shelves being emptied of toilet paper, food, and various household items. People were panic buying in the face of the unknown implications of the pandemic. More and more countries and jurisdictions were locking down their citizens, temporarily shutting down businesses and enforcing social distancing and self isolation.

The chronic need for Supply Chain visibility has become of utmost importance with the overwhelming strains on global healthcare systems and networks. Hospitals and support organizations have been running low on masks, personal protective equipment and ventilators.

Most alarming is that projections of the heightened demand for these items are not met with broad visibility as to the supply and inventory of these items.

Supply Chain visibility and the Digital Supply Chain has never been more important!

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What is Deep Learning? And What Does it Mean for Supply Chain?

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When I start writing text messages or emails these days I automatically receive prompts for the next words that I may want to use, or even phrases to complete my sentence, as I’m typing.

The word and phrase suggestions are ones that are consistent with the type of language I would use. And the name suggestions are unique to people I know and communicate with regularly.

My Google mini recognizes family voices instantaneously and responds not only to our questions but adds custom comments directed at each of us individually.

It’s clear to me that my computer and smart phone and Google mini are learning what language I typically use. With increasing accuracy they can predict what I might want to write next based on words I am typing. And the voice activated devices are increasingly interactive.

How does this Machine Learning, or Deep Learning, actually work? And how will it shape Supply Chain now and in the future?

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How to Optimize Your Factory for Industry 4.0!

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Optimize your Factory article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Adam Robinson at https://cerasis.com.

Believe it or not, Industry 4.0 — the latest specialization for modern factories and manufacturing plants — does factor into design and factory layout. That is because digitization, or the current movement to connect and bring all equipment into modern times, absolutely influences design.

In essence, that is the heart of Industry 4.0, a complete synergy between operations, equipment, properties and, of course, the people who spend their time there. If 3.0 was about automation and boosting efficiency, this generation is about injecting the human touch back into the work environment, and that means accommodating such things from a design standpoint.

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Love at First Flight! Flying and Crashing My First Drone! (Video)

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For many years I have thought about buying a drone. With so many shows available showing aerial video of beautiful places around the world it, having a drone would enable me to realize that same experience on my own.

On a recent trip to Costco I noticed that they had a great deal on a Drone bundle, with great features. I was sold.

My first flight of the drone was fantastic. Yet about a week after I bought it I also had my first crash, which was not so fantastic.

As they say, what goes up must come down. What on earth happened?

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Types of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and Their Use in Warehousing!

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Autonomous mobile robots article and permission to publish here provided by Luke Goodwin.

An autonomous mobile robot (AMR) is a robot that can move around its environment without an operator or a fixed, predetermined route. An AMR uses sensors to study and understand its environment, thus using the most efficient way to perform its tasks.

AMRs use intelligent navigation to navigate around obstacles in a warehouse. Many industries are seeking ways of improving their warehouse efficiency

Automation is one of the best ways of doing so. AMRs are fast and safe, therefore ideal for the dynamic operations of a modern warehouse.

Please keep reading to understand the various types of AMRs and their applications in warehousing. 

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How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Change Decision Making!

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) article originally published at https://www.tenfold.com . Permission to publish provided by Abigail Rabi.

From The Terminator to Blade Runner, pop culture has always leaned towards a chilling depiction of artificial intelligence (AI) and our future with AI at the helm. Recent headlines about Facebook panicking because their AI bots developed a language of their own have us hitting the alarm button once again. Should we really feel unsettled with an AI future?

News flash: that future is here. If you ask Siri, the helpful assistant who magically lives inside your phone, to read text messages and emails to you, find the nearest pizza place or call your mother for you, then you’ve made AI a part of your everyday life. Even current weather forecasting systems, spam filtering programs, and Google’s search engine – among so many other practical applications – are AI-powered. Now, artificial intelligence doesn’t seem that alarming, right?

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Supply Chain Predictions!

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Predictions article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by,  Kuebix at https://www.kuebix.com

In the book, The Living Supply Chain, the authors argue that, “Speeding up the supply chain is at the root of everything that is good: improved revenue, reduced working capital, higher profitability, and less obsolete inventory. Conversely, slowing down the supply chain is at the root of everything that is bad: working capital write-offs, reduced profitability, and slowing revenues.”

To “speed” up the supply chain is to invest in change and change will come with the digital transformation of the supply chain, which is the major focus for executives in the future.

Much change in the supply chain industry will be due to innovative technologies for digital transformations, along with the recent tax reforms, and the still-current driver shortage/capacity crunch. Digital transformation of the supply chain will change everything – for the better.

Supply Chain predictions

These are the innovative technology predictions companies must use to undergo this transformation within their supply chains:

Cloud-based technology deployments lower cost of ownership due to not having a large capital expenditure on hardware and upgrades. Cloud-based solutions are ideal for any size business because they can be scaled up as your business grows and are easier to set-up and manage.

Advanced Analytics will support real-time decision making based on data captured across the supply chain. With analytics, businesses can more effectively predict and fill demand. You can also manage relationships with carriers, suppliers and customers while improving processes. Using advanced analytics in a transportation management network to look at historical traffic patterns, you can plan a truck’s route that takes into account time delays for more accurate arrival times.

Tracking and Tracing of raw materials through manufacturing to the end customer must take on Amazon-like capabilities, meaning customers will know where their orders are at any one time, just like when you order from Amazon. With track & trace, you will get deep visibility to SKU-level information from first-mile to last-mile, including the tracking of costs to better monitor transport spend. Communications with customers will be proactive instead of reactive, alerting customers if their order will be late or when it will arrive.

Supply Chain Visibility will make data collected from end-to-end across the supply chain available to all stakeholders, giving them greater control and visibility into what is happening across the enterprise. You can uncover roadblocks within your supply chain that could lead to delays in shipping.

 

Blockchain will provide interconnectivity between ledgers of supply chain trading partners, enhancing traceability of transaction history. Automating the flow of information among trading partners provides transparency and boosts efficiencies. Blockchain works with cryptocurrency to determine payment amounts, allowing drivers to be paid as they complete parts of their journey. This completely removes the transport broker from the equation, giving drivers access to quicker settlement. However, blockchain is still a technology that needs further development before it can be proved useful to some businesses.

Artificial Intelligence initiatives require specialists who are hard to find, potentially stalling any projects. AI utilizes algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning such as predicting whether a carrier will be on-time based on weather conditions and past performance.

Predictive Analytics, often combined with Artificial Intelligence, helps shippers understand, automate and optimize their supply chain processes to gain better efficiencies. Predictive analytics provides shippers with actionable intelligence and predictions to guide the decision-making process, helping you to reduce costs and optimize operations. Scorecards on carrier performance can alert shippers on which carriers can better meet their service obligations.

The Internet of Things (IoT)– More devices, from pallets to trucks will have sensors embedded to transmit status and performance data. This real-time information will be used for monitoring everything from equipment health to asset locations to order tracking and more. Advanced analytical systems use the data to uncover trends that lead to predictions and performance improvements and cost reductions.

 

Originally published on Supply Chain Game Changer on March 14, 2018.

Screen Time! Is That Enough To Be Good In Supply Chain?

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How many screens do you have?  And is your screen time?

You likely have a Cell phone or a Smart phone.  You may have a Desktop computer monitor or a Laptop, or both, between your home and your place of work.  You may have a wearable device like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch.    You may have an iPad or other type of tablet.  And your TV may even have Internet connectivity.

We are surrounded by screens and the amount of time that we spend on them is truly  remarkable.

But for those who are learning about Supply Chain, or any other profession for that matter,  is it best to acquire that learning and gain that experience just by watching screens?  Or is it better in Supply Chain to learn based on actual physical experiences and interactions?

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How AEI Tags Are Changing the Way Freight Moves!

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AEI tags article and permission to publish here provided by Adrian Brito on behalf of Industrial Networks.

In the shipping industry, automatic equipment identification (AEI) tags are the lifeblood of data collecting.

Railyards and trucking companies place the AEI tags on their freight cars and tractors to help track shipping all over North America. 

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The 5 Levels of Supply Chain Transparency!

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Supply Chain transparency article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Sam Jenks at http://www.kodiakrating.com  

As the story goes, the meatpacking districts of Chicago were one of the first recorded drivers, towards the need, for supply chain transparency. The Jungle, authored by Upton Sinclair, outraged the American public in 1904, after Sinclair’s depiction of the harsh realities of the meat industry at the turn of the 20th century. The book sparked consumer concern, which prompted the Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act (Linich 2016).

One could even argue transparency — at it’s origin — is a byproduct of consumer concerns, materialized within poor production, social and/or environmental quality.

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Digital Procurement Ecosystem Creation in 8 Minutes!

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Digital Procurement Ecosystem article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Sam Jenks at kodiakrating.com.

I was in Paris last week, touring around as people do in Paris, and visited Fondation Louis Vuitton.

If you’ve never been before and are a fan of art, architecture, and culture, I can highly recommend adding it to any future itineraries.

The museum’s collections are magnificent, and the building itself is a true masterpiece. Beyond the artwork, Fondation Louis Vuitton offers an experience to tour the multiple levels of decks that interweave themselves between the inside and the outside of the building’s structure.

On one of the decks sits a piece of artwork named “Where the Slaves Live”. It is a living organism, composed of inorganic and organic materials, forming a ‘living sculpture’ that is a small scale ecosystem- an ever-changing work of art.

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Lessons from the Edge of the Abyss! Surviving a System Implementation!

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The company I had just joined was nearing the finish line on the implementation of a new WMS system.  They had been working on the system change for a few years.  Now implementation was only a few months away.  There were going to be lessons from the edge of this experience.

As the implementation date drew closer one of the key Warehouse management leaders, heading the project from the beginning, left the company.  We forged ahead and implemented the system on April 1st.  That’s right, April 1st!

And that’s when the “fun” began!

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The Industry 4.0 Ecosystem!

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The Industry 4.0 Ecosystem involves leveraging the latest technologies, digital capabilities, the unprecedented dissemination of IoT (the Internet of Things) and the incredible ability to tap into data anywhere and everywhere in the Supply Chain.

The level of digital connectivity across the entire End-to-End Supply Chain, from customers through to manufacturers, distributors, logistics companies, and suppliers of all kinds enables this forward leap to an Industry 4.0 world.

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How to Optimize Supply Chain Using SQL and Big Data!

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SQL and Big Data article and permission to publish here provided by Cristina Par.

A well-optimized supply chain can deliver a wealth of benefits to businesses, and achieving this is easier when you turn to tech solutions designed to process large volumes of data.

Those that have yet to adopt SQL databases and associated big data services may need to be convinced of their effectiveness and impact, particularly in a supply chain context.

To that end, let’s go through some of the ways you can achieve optimization with modern information handling products for SQL and Big Data.

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5 Reasons to Use Optical Character Recognition (OCR)!

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Optical character recognition article and permission to publish here provided by Harry Poulson.

When you have to deal with so many hardcopies, textual images, and PDFs on your job or in your business, you need optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

OCR is used to convert the non-editable soft copies into the editable text documents. Therefore, you don’t need to retype the text in the images, magazines, or PDFs manually to make the required changes to them. OCR is a tool that quickly converts such files into editable text versions.

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