Are We Facing the End of Supply Chain Management?

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A new article in Harvard Business Review has been generating some automation-related controversy in the Supply Chain Community, as well as lots of buzz and interesting conversation. Naturally, we want to weigh in and the end of Supply Chain Management.

Titled, “The Death of Supply Chain Management,” the article discusses the way that automation, AI and big data are transforming the industry.

It raises the alarm that the function will soon cease to exist, only to – as these “X is dead“ articles often end up doing – assert that it will still exist, just in a very different form.

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Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing!

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Although additive manufacturing and 3D Printing for both plastic and metal materials has been around for years, the investment, developments, breadth of applications, adoption rate, and beneficial case studies are expanding at an extremely rapid rate.

New processes, materials, devices, design applications, are emerging every day. Now, there are cloud sites that store portfolios of designs, much like Pandora does for music. All of this is creating an amazing amount of opportunity creating more efficient supply chains, new product types, de-centralized manufacturing schemes, and easier approaches to mass-customization.

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What’s the Difference Between Blockchain and Supply Chain?

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The phrase “Supply Chain Management” was first coined in 1982.  The idea of a  “Blockchain” was conceived in 2008 although the concept of a chain of blocks began as early as 1991, and use of the word Blockchain itself has only become popular in the last few years.

Blockchain has rapidly become a very widely used term, at first intended to describe the enabling technology platform behind Bitcoin.  However as awareness and knowledge of the technology has been increasingly understood the words Blockchain and Supply Chain are more often used together.

As people become more familiar with Blockchain, and consider it’s applicability in their strategic Supply Chain plans, we thought it important to clarify how Blockchain and Supply Chain are different yet mutually supportive.

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Cyber Security: The Weakest Link is Your Biggest Risk!

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We all know how important cybersecurity is now that technology powers commerce in such a significant way. But if you perform work as part of a supply chain, you know that the stakes are especially high with cyber security the weakest link.

Given that you’re part of a network of providers, vendors, transporters and managers, the impact of the weakest link in the supply chain cybersecurity “chain of custody” can be significant.

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Artificial Intelligence in Energy Management! (Infographic)

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When you think of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, you might think of freaky, futuristic robots.  However as Fuel Fighter has found in its recent research AI is far more helpful than this futuristic, obscure and seemingly distant perception suggests. Artificial Intelligence in Energy Management is quickly becoming a part of our Energy industries, helping to develop more efficient and safe energy production techniques.

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Disruptive Warehouse Technologies for Any Company!

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No matter how big or small your operation and your company is you likely have the same disruptive pressures on your Warehouses and Distribution Centres.

Everyone, including  those who are best in class,  has the need to reduce costs, improve the speed and accuracy of order fulfillment and warehouse activities, optimize inventory, and provide sufficient capacity to support growth at your busiest times of the year.

The ability to leverage technology to help address those pressures is no longer just possible for large companies.  The nature of the technology landscape brings those improvements within the reach of most everyone.

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Cyber Security and the Digital Supply Chain!

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When it comes to the modern supply chain managers have a relatively new risk to consider:  Cyber Security!

As major logistics providers from all around the world struggle with keeping their private data secure, businesses are investing time and resources to address this serious concern. From shutting down major ports to the risk of losing private client data, the time is now to address Cyber Security in the supply chain.

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Voice Recognition Technology Is Here! And It Can Hear You!

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Typically, as evidenced by the home automation industry’s active use of voice recognition for the consumer space, the consumer application of technologies, like virtual reality or augmented reality, leads towards logistics artificial intelligence applications in logistics and supply chain, which includes the use of voice recognition.

No less exciting than space travel or driverless cars is the rapid development of natural voice recognition technology. Automated call center and foundational smartphone software that can follow verbal instructions has already come to pass.

However, recent developments in this space promise to revolutionize the shipping and logistics industries too, making times in transit faster and the entire process of moving and shipping products more flexible.

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The Coming Evolution of the Digital Supply Chain!

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The evolution of the Digital Supply Chain, the broad concept that cloud-based systems, analytics and monitoring of goods, vehicles and other assets via the Internet of Things will improve the way supply chains run, is a major concern for many logistics organizations today.

We know its coming, but how many have a clear understanding of the technology and its applications? Similar terms like digitalization or Industry 4.0, digital supply chain management spans multiple technologies and includes its fair share of buzzwords but how will it all work?  How will the evolution of the Digital Supply Chain occur?

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The Internet of Things (IoT) – Welcome the Digital Supply Chain!

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Over the last 5 years there has been an explosion of smart and connected devices. Gartner is predicting that by 2020 there will be 37 Billion connected devices and more than 4.3 Zetabytes of data generated by these devices.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is well upon us!

Quick adoption of health devices like Fitbit and smart thermostats such as Nest are bringing more and more connections and opportunities into the consumer world. As such many home appliance and consumer goods companies are looking at how they can take advantage of this trend and transform their interaction with their consumers and customers.

In order to understand how this is starting to evolve and how it will impact and change the digital supply chain, let us consider 4 user cases that are emerging with early adopters in this space.

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The 5 Big Benefits of the Digital Supply Chain!

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What’s the core difference between today’s supply chain and benefits of the digital supply chain?

Look down at your desk. What do you see? If you see paper, pen, and a computer, you see the typical, modern supply chain.   If asked, could you provide the latest information on your current automation, key performance indicators, data, use of IT applications, and finance government?

The chances are good that much of this information is stored digitally. However, you would probably need to look through some of the physical, tactile paperwork to find all of the information.   Also, is the information stored only your computer or a server? Now, how long is that going to take you?

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How AI, Machine Learning and Automation Will Impact Business!

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We are living in exciting and innovative times with futuristic technology literally at our fingertips to impact business. But for the longest time, small to medium sized businesses were not serviced by the latest tech trends enterprises have been able to benefit from. That is, until now.

In this article, we’ll explore these technology trends and how they will impact business in the future.

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5 Seismic Shifts in Supply Chain Technology!

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Supply chain technology is seeing seismic shifts and changing rapidly as new, innovative solution providers leave traditional legacy players behind.  

Tremors. Seismic shifts. In supply chain management technology there is a fault line separating new, innovative technology providers and traditional supply chain software providers, and the gap between them is growing.

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What is Blockchain? And How Does it Work? (Infographic)

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Blockchain!

What is all the fuss about?  It’s a word that was rarely used or even heard of in Supply Chain not that long ago.  But now it is very common to hear about Blockchain.  Further it is often used in the context of being a necessary and integral part of any Digital Supply Chain Strategy.

Most companies do not yet have a Blockchain strategy.  More importantly  most people do not even know what it is.  How can you have a strategy for something if you don’t know what it is?  So, as with anything, let’s start at the beginning.

What exactly is Blockchain?

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Augmented Reality (AR) is Set to Transform Retail and the Supply Chain!

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We’ve written a lot about how retail is undergoing some massive changes due to technology, such as augmented reality. The closure of a number of major American chains, as well as Amazon’s recent move into the grocery space with its acquisition of Whole Foods market, signal an industry in flux as it reckons with the ongoing transformations of the eCommerce revolution.

In the last decade, the thinking held that eCommerce might completely supplant brick and mortar retail. It’s easier to shop online than go to a store. Consumers don’t have to deal with lines, limited retail stock, or temper tantrums from kids – kids of their own, or their linemates.

But brick and mortar has shown surprising resilience, and even eCommerce giants are recognizing the appeal of an Omnichannel approach (emphasizing a mixture of brick and mortar and online shopping).

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