Guest Blog by Jyoti Sharma

January 22nd, 2019

3 Ways AI is Transforming the Supply Chain

Artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming a vital part of the leading supply chain companies and is transforming the supply chain system at a very fast rate, even though many companies aren’t ready for it. The new inventions in the logistics IT solutions & various supply chain technologies are leading the organisations to leave their mark of presence in the race of digitisation. The inculcation of AI in the supply chain will help in collecting the data from various different sources and generate that intelligence, which will further help in making the predictions based on the historical pattern of that particular data. This will help in a smooth running of a cognitive supply chain.

The following trends are responsible for transforming supply chain business:

              1. Autonomous vehicle

Various Automotive Industries that are using artificial intelligent applications involve driverless cars that have received the most attention during the rise of this era. Driverless cars are no more a dream. With the development of technology where powerful computers, GPS systems and other small but distinct notable improvements have come up, Driverless cars are no longer a dream. Making all the procedures technology pro and highly efficient.

              2. Robotic solutions

Robotics solution is the one taken up by many distinctive companies for managing warehouse automations. Companies are using artificial intelligence to forecast what order inventory will arrive and leave the warehouse, allowing the pallets to be placed in the correct positions, boosting efficiency in moving products. Such technologies work best under the influence of efficient warehouse management system only.

            3. Drone deliveries

The popularity of drones is swiftly increasing across various industries like e-commerce and logistics. But still, the growing number of drones is posing new challenges like increasing air traffic, laying optimum air routes, dealing with emergencies like collision and managing drone swarms, among others etc. AI enabled drones are eliminating the last mile delivery challenges as it allows drones and other machines to make decisions and operate on their own on your behalf. AI enabled drone delivery is going to be very beneficial for the local deliveries.  

AI is driving the evolution of digital supply chain networks. As we step into the future, there are various AI powered supply chain analytics softwares that empower you to make decisions proactively based on the diverse data across your supply chain. It helps in making your supply chain responsive and enables you to have a real-time control on your supply chain.

This initiative can help supply chain managers to be more dynamic and efficient in designing strategies. Investing in AI is an important next step for supply chain companies looking to lower costs and improve productivity. Supply chains can also use AI to minimize the repetitive manual tasks and begin automating processes. This can enable the companies to reallocate time and resources to their core business.

Author Bio-

I am a budding and aspiring blogger and my area of interests are Supply Chain, Logistics, Retail Logistics, international Freight etc. Being a writer by profession and by choice I like to contribute to various quality websites especially those who talk about my area of interests.

We grow by making people happy and successful.

Jyoti Sharma

Consultant/Writer

Holisollogistics.com



The News is Paying Attention to Manufacturing: Are You?

January 21st, 2019

It wasn’t too long ago that no one talked about manufacturing. In fact, people thought it had moved to China.  Now, we see it in the headlines frequently. A quick glance in just the past few weeks yields:

  • Airbus is pulling out all the stops to try to make their 800 plane target before year end
  • Durable goods orders rose .8% in November
  • Manufacturing is key to New York’s job creation of 27,000 in energy storage
  • Manufacturing is driving Vietnam’s decade-high growth
  • China’s industrial profits drop for the first time since 2015

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

If you are in manufacturing or relate to manufacturing, pay attention!  There is plenty of opportunity to grow and thrive in today’s business environment. What are you doing to take advantage of the vast potential? It might be that time to take a risk and speed by your competition. Who else will be able to customize and deliver rapidly with a superior customer experience if not you?

Are you searching for these opportunities?  If you create a resilient supply chain, you’ll have a far greater chance to “see” the opportunities as they arise AND you’ll be well-positioned to take advantage of them.  Very few companies predict well but the best ones are agile and navigate quickly and successfully to achieve peak performance while the rest fall by the wayside. For additional strategies to create a resilient supply chain, check out our new series:



Top Two Issues According to Wells Fargo Customers

January 18th, 2019

In listening to a Wells Fargo commercial banking executive’s speech, he mentioned that the two top issues as we head into 2019 according to clients are:  labor (shortages) and cyber-security. This isn’t surprising, given what our clients face. We cannot think of a client who isn’t experiencing some sort of talent shortage.  Luckily, the same is not true for cyber-security.  Yet, it is a relevant, pressing and serious topic. When it rains, it pours BIG TIME when it comes to cyber-security.  Are you proactively addressing these topics?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
For talent and labor shortages, it is often more complex than our clients need “2 more people”.  Invariably, they might have the “right” number of people in total.  Yet. they may not have what they need.  One of the following is often the issue: 1) Skills aren’t allocated properly. 2) There isn’t enough of specific skills and more than needed in others.  3) Cross-training is lacking. 4) People are not working to their maximum (or even regular) potential.

One of the best places to start is to understand your situation.  Don’t think about whether you can afford it or where you’ll cut back to afford it.  Just start by understanding your situation. We often go into clients and find “hidden” talents. Actually,m it occurs more frequently than you’d think. The good news is that these “hidden” talents can often be reallocated for the benefit of the organization almost immediately – at least a lot quicker than hiring and assimilating new talent.  We also typically find people who are not working to regular, let alone, maximum potential. Why? Because they might be working in an area that doesn’t align with their best skills or they work for someone who is stifling their progress. Finding these hidden opportunities can avoid making new hires for the vast majority of clients.

Beyond talent, you had better protect your company from cyber-security threats.  It is as simple as “get an expert immediately if you aren’t already working with one”, no matter your organization’s size.  Small organizations are more likely to be attacked! I’m happy to refer you to a top notch organization. Contact me if you are interested.

Are you searching for these opportunities and addressing risks?  They will certainly create a more resilient organization. For additional strategies to create a resilient supply chain, check out our new series:

 



What’s Ahead for Supply Chain?

January 18th, 2019

To think about what’s ahead in supply chain, it is important to put it in perspective with what’s ahead in business.  Read our article, What’s Ahead in Business? for details on the key trends impacting business:

  • Importance of the customer experience
  • Taking the holistic view has become a “must”
  • Volatility is the new norm
  • The coming power of manufacturing and supply chain

Given these trends, we predict our most successful clients will be thinking about these themes in the end-to-end supply chain:

  1.  Manufacturing is the Place to Be: Manufacturers are uniquely positioned to thrive. I have to say, I love that manufacturing is getting its due. According to NAM, for every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.89 is added to the economy which is the highest multiplier of any economic sector.  
  2.  Distributed Inventory Management will be Key to Manufacturing Success: In today’s Amazon-impacted business environment, the customer expects rapid, low cost delivery. Given that the “last mile” has also become “last minute” with customers changing their mind frequently, predictive, distributed inventory management has become a differentiator.   
  3.  Additive Manufacturing will Rise to the Top: Customers want customized products on the fly. Yet, distributors cannot stock everything near every manufacturer, end user and the like. 3D printing can achieve this goal.
  4.  Customized, Rapid Delivery with Amazon-like Service and Efficiency is the Norm: In addition to additive manufacturing, re-shoring and near-sourcing (locating close to customers) are viable solutions to achieve Amazon-like service. The question is how to be efficient, cost effective and visible while serving customers.
  5.  Amazon Prime for Manufacturers is More than a Pipe Dream:  Subscription based models are becoming relevant to manufacturing, just as to Netflix and ERP systems. According to my friend, colleague and author Robbie Baxter, the membership model is just as relevant in manufacturing in transitioning from a one transaction/one-way communication to an ongoing relationship with the customer with a constant stream of feedback.  
  6.  We are Moving to a Digitized Supply Chain:  To address customers’ elevated expectations while continuing to make a profit, manufacturers and supply chain organizations are moving to a digitized supply chain. Artificial intelligence, IoT, the smart factory, robots and more. Don’t embrace technology as a fad.  Instead, embrace technology as a way to achieve a result.
  7.  To succeed, We Must Create a Resilient Supply Chain: Disruptions and volatility abound. Customers expect more. Boards expect more. People are harder to find and retain. Creating a resilient supply chain enables a proactive response to the current environment.

What will you do to get ahead of the curve in the New Year?

  Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

The Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain

What’s Next in Supply Chain?

Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Growth?



How Resilient Are Your People?

January 17th, 2019

We would be remiss if we went too far down-the-path with supply chain resiliency without pointing out that the ONLY way you’ll have a resilient supply chain is if you have resilient people.  Similar to building a house, without a solid foundation, the best accessories will fail to “hold up” over the long haul without that solid foundation.  Your team is your foundation.  Would you be willing to have your business hang in the balance if your team’s ability to “hold it up” would make or break success?  Hopefully so!

Here are a few questions to think about to determine how comfortable you are with your foundation:

  • If your competition offered your employees slightly more money, would they jump ship without much thought?
  • Are your people willing to take a risk if they know the decision will help move the company forward?
  • Are your people willing to disagree with you?
  • Are your people willing to try new ideas, even if they fail?
  • If a customer presses your people about an issue, will they blame it on “them” or will they take responsibility to resolve the issue quickly regardless of whether it has anything to do with them?
  • If changing market conditions dictate they should follow a new course that isn’t popular or approved, will they bring it up?
  • What do they say to your customers and suppliers when you aren’t listening?

Every executive at our Harvey Mudd executive roundtables and on the APICS-IE executive panel pointed out the relevance of culture and your people on business success.  Technical topics are abuzz but the REAL buzz is who has the strongest team as they will speed on by the competition and be the most resilient as the economy turns, the industry changes, a disruptor emerges etc.  With this fresh perspective, it pays to think again about your team and the priority you give it.