If you’re paying any attention at all to news stories about supply chain you’re noticing that a single issue is vying for your attention. I’ve been mentioning blockchain myself quite a bit, but with a slightly jaded view. Here’s what I’m seeing most recently.
Computers that manage your supply chain activities are processing the data that controls your supply chain. It’s been part and parcel of supply chain management for decades. But it wasn’t till the last decade that companies have come to understand that if they stored that data they might be able to apply some analysis to it and learn how to optimize their operations. The challenge has been to find ways to consume the huge amounts of data and find things that could make a difference in real ways, a task far beyond what us humans can handle.
Everything is blockchain. The technology is the answer to every problem even vaguely connected to data and security. At least that’s what the current buzz surrounding today’s darling technology. But is blockchain actually going to replace the various technologies that underpin today’s supply chain? Let’s look at just a few of the issues that will need to be addressed before this can happen.
Shipment tracking is one of the most critical services in supply chain management. Millions of dollars worth of goods are lost in transit every year due to a lack of visibility during the shipment process. Therefore, the ability to give an exact and immediate answer to the question, "where is my order?" is critical to the efficiency and robustness of any supply chain. TPSynergy's new IoT tracking devices integrate seamlessly into its award-winning supply chain platform, giving customers the ability to locate their shipment any time of the day.
If you had been involved in the supply chain 2012 and took a leave of absence till the beginning of 2018 you would have walked into an industry that has changed significantly in terms of technology. Some of the new tech may have been obvious to general IT managers who live in the world of change. But some of the changes are surprises to almost everyone. Here are a few of the tech that’s trending according to MHI’s 2018 Annual Industry Report.
Supply chain transactions, mostly in the form of EDI transactions, generate huge amounts of data. But the advent of IoT devices, RFID tags, and retail sales transactions are making what seemed to be unimaginable volumes of data unmanageable and as useless as when the records were simply deleted after they had served their purpose. Analytics was supposed to be the answer but even that has turned out to be insufficient. Artificial intelligence is stepping in to extend analytics and add action to its insights.
- Written by Bonnie Bain
- Category: Technology
Blockchain technology will play a key role in supporting supply chain transformation in the healthcare sector by helping to reduce fraud and better manage quality in the manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceutical products, according to leading data and analytics company GlobalData.
Bar codes have been with us for a while now and their application makes tracking products and processing sales simple. For grocers it has meant the demise of the label gun and the need to update price stickers every time costs changed. But the traditional bar-type label has been supplanted by the higher density QR code that can store much more information in smaller spaces and now a new innovation lets suppliers put code directly on edible products.
Your manufacturing, shipping, warehousing, and retail channels are all perking along just fine. You have a great team handling your EDI transactions and managing exceptions and your trading partner relationships are in good shape. So what could go wrong and threaten all the good work you’ve done?
Managing orders in a fast moving environment can lead to some unusual (and sometimes strange) conditions. And when conditions are extremely time sensitive even the position of a worker’s hands can make the difference between delivering the order and missing. And that’s the issue Amazon seems to be tackling with its latest patent.