4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Selecting Supply Chain Technology!

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Supply Chain technology article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Jason Rosing and Veridian .

There are thousands of supply chain technology vendors in the market today, and many companies claim their system is the best-of-the-best.

How do you truly know which systems are the best, and what can you do to ensure the selected supply chain technology does not become a money pit for your organization?

The answers to these questions lie in understanding the top pitfalls to avoid when selecting systems and new technologies for use in your organization.

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Creating a Smart Supply Chain in the Era of Disruption!

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Smart Supply Chain article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Raanan Cohen at bringg.com.

In a recent article on CIO Dive, The state of AI across 5 industries, I read that “retailers now have a call to action to use AI. They want to improve middle and back-office functions, including improved financial forecasting and supply chain management.”

This article resonated with me quite well, as it coincided with my recent panel at last week’s BGSA Supply chain conference. The panel “Managing Technology in This Era of Disruption” covered how to leverage new technologies like artificial intelligence and advanced analytics so companies can enable customer success strategies.

Fascinating topic on its own.

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Spreadsheets – A History and a Future!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

Most of us create, use, present and work with at least one spreadsheet each and every day.  Spreadsheets have proven invaluable.  And many businesses even observe, and complain, that they are run on spreadsheets.

Yet there was a time not that long ago when most people didn’t even know what a spreadsheet was.  In the early 1980s I was given one the first IBM Personal Computers to use, along with the spreadsheet software Visicalc.  Spreadsheets forever transformed my productivity and skill set.

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Scott Cleaver, COO at ecobee!

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Scott Cleaver, Ecobee
    Scott Cleaver, COO at ecobee

At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series at Supply Chain Game Changer.  This interview is with Scott Cleaver, Chief Operations Officer at ecobee.

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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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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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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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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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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 Next Great Leap in Supply Chain Transparency: Blockchain!

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The next great leap article provided by, and permission to publish here provided by,  http://argentus.com.  

It’s no secret that transparency is the name of the game in today’s world-class Supply Chains. More and more consumers are demanding accountability and openness about where their products come from. More world-beating companies are recognizing that the goodwill you get from transparency in your Supply Chain can be a major source of competitive advantage – while also helping to make the world a more humane place.

Today, we wanted to write about an emerging Supply Chain technology – as we love to do – that’s poised to offer unparalleled transparency to companies and consumers. It’s a technology that the Supply Chain trade press is buzzing about, and also one that lots of companies are taking a closer look at as the next great leap : Blockchain

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Our 2017 Top 10 Blog Posts … So Far!

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It’s been 6 months since we launched supplychaingamechanger.com.  Our goal has always been to share experiences and expertise.  The site has evolved.  The number of categories has continued to grow.  And the response has been absolutely tremendous. We can now present our 2017 Top 10 Blog posts.

In that time Supply Chain Game Changer was also selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 75 Supply Chain Blogs on the Internet.

So we thought that this would be a good point at which to share a list of the 2017 Top 10 Blog posts that we have published so far.  We would be remiss if we didn’t also thank the phenomenal Guest Bloggers who have given us such great content.

So here is the 2017 Top 10 Blog List, so far …

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Quantum Leap to the Top 10 Supply Chain Skills of the Future!

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There are many exciting quantum leap advances in Technology these days!

The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Robotics, Industry 4.0, Big Data and Analytics, and Digitalization are all phrases that are emblematic of revolutionary changes both today and in the future.

It is important to know that these changes are not just impacting Manufacturing, Engineering and I/T.  These technological advances will impact every aspect of our personal and working lives.  And one area that will be driving these quantum leap changes is Supply Chain!

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Blockchain Technology is the Antidote to the Bullwhip Effect!

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Blockchain technology article and permission to publish provided by Jake Rheude at https://redstagfulfillment.com/

It happens everywhere, all the time in retail and in ecommerce: a supplier doubles their output to prevent a shortage in case multiple distributors place their orders simultaneously; a fulfillment warehouse doesn’t call in enough workers during Black Friday and delays package shipments by days.

It’s the bullwhip effect, and it’s a huge reason why something like €3.5 trillion (worth $4.1 trillion) are locked up in net working capital in today’s supply chains. But could blockchain technology change all that?

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5 Trends in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies

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Hype cycle article originally created  by Gartner at  https://www.gartner.com.  Permission to publish here provided by Michael Massetti.

Widespread Artificial Intelligence, Biohacking, new platforms and immersive experiences dominate this year’s Gartner Hype Cycle.

Waiting curbside for an Uber or Lyft driver might one day be the old-fashioned way of getting around. Instead, passengers will need to head to the helipad to catch a ride from a flying autonomous vehicle.

Not only will these future taxis take to the sky to potentially reduce traffic, they’ll operate independently of a human pilot.

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How AI and the IoT Can Change Transportation Management!

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Transportation management article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Adam Robinson on  https://cerasis.com. 

Analysts predict that by 2020, 75% of new cars will feature IoT connectivity. The percentage increase describes consumer applications, but the idea of connected vehicles should garner interest from other sectors such as shipping, logistics, and transportation.

Leaders in these industries would be wise to plan for a future where AI and the IoT transform transportation management.

Here are five possible applications to consider.

 

 

1. Streamline Decision-Making

Artificial Intelligence

David Poulsen, CutCableToday’s IT expert, says connected, or autonomous, vehicles, are attractive because of the technologies that undergird them. “The Internet of Things (IoT) is one part of the equation,” Poulsen explains. “The other part is artificial intelligence (AI). It acts as the driver, helping the connected ‘thing,’ which could be a vehicle or inventory system, make smarter decisions.”

As applied to transportation management, that automated decision-making ability is critical. Connected vehicles, shipments, and systems help with tracking and historical reporting. But real-time insights and responses occur through artificial intelligence.

At TOPBOTS, an online, educational resource for all things AI, writer Mariya Yao calls the process “turning supply chain logistics into automated trading.” She gives an example: Amazon’s ability to deliver packages to a person’s door in under two hours. AI and the IoT streamline the entire process, from order to delivery, to save time and money and meet customer demand.

2. Optimize Operations

DHL, the global logistics provider, posits another application of AI and the IoT optimization. Its 2016 Logistics Trend Radar report suggests that big data and automated supply chains could lead to previously unimaginable levels of optimization.

But that optimization isn’t isolated to a single aspect of transportation management. Rather, DHL predicts a world in which manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, and deliveries become increasingly efficient, productive, and profitable. The provider believes the trend will come to life in the next ten years.

DHL could be correct. General Electric, for example, has started integrating AI into its locomotives to enhance safety and speed. Daniel Malak at Motionloft offers another use for AI and the IoT: optimizing traffic. He says transportation management companies benefit from Motionloft by using it to study traffic patterns and “optimize business practices such as sending out police forces only during peak rush hours, having maintenance crews repair roads that get the most travel, and deploying sanitation crews to clean public areas only when needed.”

 

3. Manage Warehouses

Tim Young of Vero Solutions shares another way AI and the IoT Could transform transportation management in his infographic looking at warehouses. He says AI could impact six areas of operations.

“Productivity levels, inventory processes, and employee wages are just three fields,” explains Young, “that are expected to be revolutionized and improved by AI technology in warehouses in just a matter of years.”

The other three areas relate to effective communication, warehouse operations, and robot workers. Young’s example of robot workers involves a company previously mentioned: Amazon. The brand has been testing out robots in its warehouses to increase productivity and, presumably, quality control.

4. Decrease Downtime and Repairs

Transportation companies also use AI and the IoT to mitigate costly repairs and downtime. Internal diagnostics, for example, can alert users to maintenance issues, which keeps passengers safe — no blow-outs while traveling down the road at seventy miles per hour, for example — and increases the lifetime value of the vehicle.

Daniel Dombach at Zebra further illuminates the concept, adding that the Internet of Things delivers remote monitoring capabilities. Companies that employ them can proactively respond to maintenance issues and also assess inventory records and parts availability.

Dombach also proves a valid point, saying that AI and the IoT could “decrease insurance-related costs.” Business Insider’s The Insurance and the IoT Report finds that insurers use vehicle usage data to inform pricing on policies and premiums. The report covers consumer insurance policies specifically, but its findings easily translate to commercial interests.

5. Go Driverless

AI and the IoT could impact more than back-end systems and processes. The two could produce driverless vehicles, a thing seemingly the territory of tech giant Google. But Google isn’t alone in the endeavor. Tesla, Ford, Daimler, and even Uber all claim driverless initiatives.

George Zarkadakis at Willis Towers Watson calls out the Uber story in his article The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Transportation, citing the incident as “a wake-up call.” He continues, “Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) could potentially lead to the full automation of truck fleets.”

Of course, Zarkadakis’s remark raises the question of what happens to the truck drivers. Goldman Sachs Economics Research provides an answer. The company tells CNBC that driverless trucks could produce job losses of 25,000 per month in a couple of decades.

Jack Stewart at WIRED offers a more positive perspective; he says traditional driver jobs will change once autonomous vehicles become a reality, but these jobs won’t necessarily disappear. He also adds other positive effects of this change, such as cutting costs and improving road safety.

Conclusion

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are coming to transportation management. The technologies provide too many benefits for them to be ignored.

Businesses that wish to succeed in the future should consider these five examples of how the IoT and AI can impact transportation management and then decide where and when to apply these features to their existing operations.

Originally published on Supply Chain Game Changer on November 16, 2017.