I've harped on the use of big data in the supply chain a few times already. In fact, historically one of the issues with the supply chain in general and EDI specifically is the amount of data generated by the plethora of transactions moving between trading partners. And as the demands for visibility increase so does the number and complexity of the documents.
Technology is always changing. The current trend is to move more of what was once entirely populated by local and discrete computing devices to virtual instances. The results can be significantly beneficial in terms of management as well as lowering expenses. There are of course, arguments on both sides - some well founded and some strictly based on opinion. The video below takes a lighthearted view of the differences.
One of the first things to do when a computer system is implemented is to make a backup. This probably seems like a simple statement, and one that any enterprise serious about keeping their business alive has accounted for and has put on auto-pilot. But that's exactly the point. Every business has dedicated staff that is fully engaged with the business of their business, and that includes keeping the business functions running despite system failures. But what if those failures take place outside your own walls.
Supply chain connectivity, transparency, visibility, and overall success depends on connecting the various pieces of your company's IT infrastructure. And yes, EDI is a segment of IT. It's also a segment of logistics, accounting, marketing, and several other functions but since it depends on the movement of data, EDI falls under the broad definition of IT - Information Technology. So how are your IT components connected?
Retail drives a big portion of the EDI traffic along the supply chain. Whether it’s online retail or brick and mortar retail, the issues are the same. But let’s face it… sometimes it’s just easier to find the product you’re looking for by using a search engine online rather than wandering aimlessly through the aisles of a big box store. Increasingly, retailers are supplementing the in-store experience with apps on shoppers’ mobile devices.
We've been exploring supply chain visibility for some time, and most of the discussion has been around the transactions and understanding the status of the goods as well as the status of the various documents that accompany and enable the transactions. But there's an even deeper level of transparency that is inching its way into the supply chain even though the overall consensus is that there are too many obstacles in the way of full deployment. The use of RFID tags for nearly every consumer product may well be approaching reality.
How many distinct systems make up the supply chain? OK, that’s probably an unfair question, so let’s just talk about the number of systems or software applications that make up the supply chain within a single company. The answer is likely to be more than 1 and could easily be as many as 20. If that’s the case how is it possible to actually achieve what we’ve been calling Visibility?
It’s tempting to listen to the hype about ‘Big Data’ and write it off as just another in a long line of ‘Next Big Things’ that’ll soon fizzle out. To do that, though, would be a major mistake. There’s nothing going on in technology that has more potential to transform not only your work, but also your personal life, as Big Data.
Recently, Mike Martz introduced us to the Internet of Things (IoT). This is what happens when you combine cloud technology, wireless networks, standardized communications protocols, RFID, worldwide IP networks, Big Data, miniaturized sensors, and cheap storage and computing power. Let's drill down on SENSORS!