Tag Archive: AI

Boom or Recession? What is the State of the Economy?

May 6th, 2019

In the last few months, I’ve attended sessions on the global, national and regional state of the economy. Every executive, trusted advisor and colleague wants to know: Are we headed for a recession?

The bottom line answer is that there are no signs of a recession in the foreseeable future in terms of the economy. Instead of worrying, it might be just the time to take advantage of the opportunity. As Roy Paulson, president of Paulson Manufacturing said in our 2019 Predictions from Manufacturing & Logistics Executives report, “…expect to see more talk of tariffs, threats and waving of hands, all the while, those of us in exporting will be busy making deals, signing contracts and getting business done.”

Similarly, in manufacturing, there was concern over the worsening ISM (Institute for Supply Management) index even though it remained far above (54.2) the level that indicates expansion (50) yet the index rose significantly in March to 55.3, signaling great growth and stabilization. The largest contributor was from employment which had the biggest gain in 3 years. All cylinders seem to be firing.

Yet many remain concerned for the next shoe to drop due to the volatility and uncertainty of these tumultuous times. Perhaps it is time for us to get comfortable with volatility and pursue new product introductions, technology (automation, AI, IoT) for those that will add value in our businesses and experiment with innovative ideas. What better time will there be to get in front of the curve so that we can pass by the competition if/when a recession hits?

One tip to implement this week:
There are countless studies that prove that those people who remain calm, invest smartly while others panic and stay the course to what they know will add value to their business thrive. Perhaps we should take a page from their book.

Of course, stay up-to-date on the latest trends and don’t hide your head in the sand as issues arise.  Spend the 80/20 of your day looking for opportunities. What new ideas have you had lately? Have you asked your front line employees for ideas? Are you willing to invest in their education and give them the chance to fail?

When I was VP of Operations at PaperPak, I worked with a CEO who was constantly thinking about the ways for us to succeed. Gas prices rose (which we obviously couldn’t control), which had the potential to create pure havoc with our profitability (with a Board that didn’t consider gas prices a reasonable excuse). Instead of panicking, he would consult with key people throughout the organization and create opportunities to get ahead of the issue. We rose from the ashes more times than I can count because we kept focused, thinking of opportunities instead of becoming defeated by some rather significant curve balls.

Give it a try this week at the next sign of volatility and disaster. How can you turn it into an opportunity?



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



AI, Robots, IoT, Blockchain, Hike!

July 16th, 2018

AI (artificial intelligence), Robots, IoT (internet of things), Blockchain, hike! Doesn’t it sound like a foreign language?  It certainly does to my mother! Yet it is the language of the future.

business intelligence

Which of these technologies should we pay attention to?  Let’s look at some of the more popular ones:

  1.  AIDepending on your industry, AI will most certainly impact it.  Service industries such as accounting are definitely impacted. After all, if a program like Alexa can learn how to put together your taxes, it is bound to disrupt.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence can be powerful – preventative maintenance can be completely redefined in a proactive, predictive way.
  2. Robots – Isn’t everyone talking about robots?  Of course, this is partially because they are fun to talk about.  Is a robot good in all situations? NO! We’ve seen many manufacturers and distributors try robots and end up slowing the process down because they didn’t think about the full impacts.
  3.  IoT  We don’t even think about all the devices that are connected in our everyday lives.  Smoke alarms, security systems, phones, refrigerators, Amazon Alexa, our car, traffic signals, manufacturing machines, RFID tags and much more.  Connecting devices because we can yet for no valuable use just adds to the mountain of data to analyze. Instead, we should think about the strategic use of IoT for our business.
  4.  Blockchain Talk about another buzzword!  Isn’t a phone call, an email, EDI, lot traceability in ERP or a customer portal sufficient?  Many times – yes. Again, the value of blockchain should be evaluated before jumping on board with the latest and greatest trend; however, there will be uses.  When instantly visible, irrefutable and non-changeable (think avoidance of high potential fraud), traceable transactions are required, it might be just the medicine.
  5.  Autonomous vehiclesForklifts, cars, trucks, and more.  Again, let’s think ‘fit’ to our business.  In trucking, it is likely to make all sorts of sense.  Rates continue to rise. There is a shortage of drivers. Baby boomers are retiring. Environmental rules continue to increase. It does seem to fill a potential gap.

The underlying bottom line when it comes to technology remains – let’s not use technology for technology’s sake!
Instead, think smart. How does it fit with your business requirements? Will it provide a superior customer experience?  Purse those with a strong return on investment, ignore the rest and success will follow while your competition chases ‘shiny objects’.



Top Technologies for 2018

January 5th, 2018

vendor managed inventory

 

Technology Creating Business Value
We have never been believers in technology for technology’s sake – or, worse yet, FADS. However, there are some top technologies to keep an eye on in 2018 if you plan to create business value.  Not only are my most successful and progressive clients thinking about these technologies, but they are investing to leapfrog the competition.

What to Watch

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI)- Who can argue with the potential power of this technology?  It is saying something when my mom said her Amazon Alexa was the best gift she ever received (even though she only uses the alarm functionality).  Imagine how AI might transform entire industries (such as accounting) and functions (machinery and equipment maintenance).

  2. Blockchain – Although still in early stages, blockchain has the potential to transform high stakes transactions using a shared, secured, synchronized and immutable ledger.   

  3. IoT (the Internet of Things) – In today’s interconnected world, you cannot get away from connected devices.  We take them for granted.  The ultimate (which seems to be viable by 2020) is self-driving trucks.  Imagine the connections required to turn this concept into a reality. Yet, testing is already underway – and quite successful.  

  4. Predictive Analytics There is immense power in not only sifting through mounds of data rapidly and efficiently to pick out the trends and highlights, but taking that a step forward with predictive analytics is a game-changer.  Are you thinking about how to integrate predictive analytics into your decision-making processes?

  5. ERP and CRM Although tried and true, these “must have” technologies are no longer advantages. If you are interested in profitable, scalable growth, you’ll put these two topics on your strategic priority list.  

Your Edge
Customers expect you to be ahead of them, are you?



IBM, MIT & Artificial Intelligence

September 15th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

IBM has announced it plans to spend $240 million over the next ten years to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Anytime these two powerhouses collaborate and put their money where their mouth is, we should at least pay attention and consider the significance. AI is popping up in conversations everywhere as all type of organizations and industries are seeing the significance of AI technology. I don’t even have to look very far. My mom said her Amazon Alexa was one of the best presents she has ever received. (And that’s solely for the ease of the alarm!)

The future of artificial intelligence

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

Artificial intelligence is certainly a hot topic! However, it isn’t just hype. Proctor & Gamble improved unplanned downtime by 10-20% with AI. Siemens is using AI to optimize industrial facilities and is employing it for a wide variety of other applications in areas such as energy distribution, electric motors, and rail technology. There are a vast number of uses. It’s time to start thinking about how it could affect your industry.

Are any of your current partners (suppliers, IT/ERP etc.) researching AI?  You do not have to do it alone. Do you want to lead these efforts or pay attention to what is going on around you? Or, perhaps like IBM and MIT, you want to create a new partnership? It is a strategic decision. One way or another, if you aren’t at least paying attention, you will be passed by.

 

Read more about technology trends in supply chain.

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