casey horner flowImagine if you could always see your whole supply chain, pinpoint at any time which distributor or location from which it’s best to purchase materials, and then determine immediately which of all the sites is best to produce the material? The result would streamline the supply chain, and with AI, it’s possible.

big dataBig data has the potentials to be of great benefits to an organization. It is much more than just data; rather it is an engine that boosts the performance of an organization in a stable, seamless, and sustainable way. Big data brings your supply chain a broad view of all happenings while at the same time narrowing them down to serve each customer’s specific need.

block chain supply chainMuch has been said about the potential for blockchain, the technology underpinning digital currencies like bitcoin, to revolutionise a variety of industries, from voting to fashion to education. Despite this, critics are often quick to point out that many of the proposed use cases for the technology are still years from becoming a reality. However, as an encrypted digital ledger that records all activity that occurs over it, both publicly and chronologically, there is one area where blockchain is already having an impact: global supply chains.

Transportation heroIn early August, IBM and Maersk unveiled TradeLens, a global trade blockchain platform seeking to bring efficiency and transparency to international shipping. After months of testing with port operators, customs authorities, logistics companies, and carriers, TradeLens hopes to be fully commercially available by the end of 2018. The platform is being billed as an open and neutral ecosystem, designed to integrate with other Hyperledger Fabric blockchains. While only time will tell if IBM and Maersk are truly dedicated to collaboration, the possibility of multiple blockchain platforms interacting and integrating could revolutionize shipping from the open ocean to the open road.

voice recognitionIf you have an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device in your home or office it’s no surprise that voice command has become powerful and accurate. But for the most part voice is still part of the consumer realm. Part of the reason may be because enterprises are not entirely comfortable allowing voice control of orders and process at the scale of business. But it seems that the trend is expanding as companies like HighJump and other supply chain software providers explore adding capabilities to their platforms.

machine learningComputers 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.

full cloud adoptionIn many ways the supply chain is the perfect type business to adopt cloud technologies. And in fact it may have been one of the first to do so when VANs began receiving, storing, and forwarding the very first orders between trading partners. So is it any surprise that IDC expects taht 80% of supply chain interactions will be cloud based by 2020?

blockchainis 1Everything 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.

blockchainIf 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.

disaster reliefIn the aftermath of a humanitarian disaster, it's vital for help to arrive as soon as possible through monetary donations, supplies and materials, and on the ground responders. The coordination of these necessities is only achieved through complex operations, and as any disaster relief coordinator can attest, time is of the essence, both in terms of raising funds and quickly beginning relief efforts. In addition to carefully managing limited funding, humanitarian NGOs must manage complex supply chains to ensure the right resources, aid and materials are available quickly and efficiently.