Tag Archive: Internet of things

Should We Listen to all the High Tech Talk?

January 22nd, 2020

Client Question
Should we pay attention to all this high tech talk? Certainly it seems like everyone and their brother is talking about artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and even the use of technologies such as virtual reality and autonomous vehicles. And this is aside from mundane topics such as ERP systems. And,  we need to function on a daily basis. We need to serve customers and deliver value to the bottom line.  And, we prefer to only get distracted when necessary.

The Answer
We have seen clients get carried away with the latest and greatest technology fads. Although it was an interesting personal education, it typically didn’t result in a return on investment. On the other hand, we have also seen clients ignoring technology that becomes vital to survival in their industry. After all, it is easy to do. When Sears used to be the Amazon of the age, no one thought they would be going out of business.

So, as usual, the answer is “it depends”. You must pay attention, learn about and invest in technology so that you can make a good decision on which to pursue and which to ignore for your go-forward business strategy. If it were easy, we would all be successful for 100 years running.  There are VERY few companies in this position. Do you have a position or a person who is dedicated or allocates part of his/her responsibilities to this role? If you don’t call it out, it will fall by the wayside. This should be similar in concept to an R&D/new product focus. Why should we focus only on new products and not new technologies?

Food For Thought
No two clients are alike. Some ask us this question and it is an obvious,: YES, you must invest to stay relevant and increase business value. For others, it is an emphatic, NO. Why waste resources on additional technology when we haven’t implemented or used the available systems capabilities that will move the business forward? As it seems to go in business, it is usually the best executives and CIOs who are on top of their technology road map who ask these questions. The rest won’t even invest enough to find out where they should prioritize limited funds so they don’t become the next Sears!

At a minimum, once you get to a certain size or complexity, the minimum you should do is upgrade your ERP system so that you have a modern technological backbone and can scale up quickly as needed. With that said, it is rarely enough if your goal is profitable growth.

If you’d like a technology and ERP systems assessment, please contact us. At a minimum, read our numerous articles and get started in evaluating your situation!

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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?



The Internet of Things is Trending in Supply Chain

July 21st, 2017

Internet of Things (IoT) is trending in supply chain circles. A buzz has started. According to a recent article on Kinaxis, IoT has nearly taken hold of every aspect of our lives. Can you believe there will be over 6 billion connected devices by next year? And that number is projected to increase to 20 billion by 2020. Watch out! A key question is whether we are ready for the stream of data coming from these devices and how we’ll handle it (and leverage it) in supply chain planning processes. For example, just think of the power of a simple Amazon dash button. It is mind boggling to consider the impact of the amount of data, what the data will be able to do and the risks inherent with this data.

Internet of Things (IoT) is trending in supply chain

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

The internet of things is bound to have a dramatic impact on every business. The possibilities are endless… Smart appliances will change the way we shop, handle typical repairs and much more. Smart cars are already starting to transform our lives. Even my mom said tonight that she sees value in an alarm system that would lock the door from afar. There are almost limitless possibilities.

All of these collect data. Imagine how this data could transform your supply chain planning process! If you know real-time what is most popular and what is needed, could you be more responsive to your customers? Better yet, could you be in front of your customers with value-added suggestions? What could that mean for your customer experiences and revenue growth? The bottom line is that this topic is definitely one to add to your strategic discussions, whether to figure out how to incorporate IoT with your products or how to proactively respond to what will be coming down the pike in the future.



Are You Thinking About Cyber Security?

May 16th, 2017
security threats

Are you developing strategies to address cyber security concerns? If you aren’t thinking about the relevance and risk, you should pay attention.

Cyber security has taken over the news and trade magazines lately as risk levels are elevated and cyber crime is a real threat. Are you developing strategies to address cyber security concerns? It is no laughing matter as you listen to what could happen….

Tonight, we attended a ProVisors (group of trusted advisers) cocktail reception. In two hours, we ran into multiple people who talked about the relevance and risk associated with cyber security. If you aren’t thinking about these questions, you should sit up and pay attention:

  1. Does your company have the appropriate security and protocols in place to fend off hackers? If each of us thinks we aren’t important enough for a hacker, someone will be surprised.
  1. Have you thought about your supply chain partners and cyber crime? It can be a vast topic. Although the risk might be low, the impact can be high. Just ask folks like Target and Home Depot.
  1. Have you thought about cyber security and your manufacturing machines like CNC machines and manufacturing execution systems? Suddenly the topic got a lot bigger!
  1. How about the internet of things? Have you thought about how to prevent cyber crime from non-work devices that can connect with work-related devices?
  1. Do you have cyber security insurance?

 

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Technologies Transforming Supply Chains

December 20th, 2016
artificial intelligence

One of the ways to become cost competitive with lower labor cost countries is to automate. Look for all the new uses for technology in supply chains.

Modern marvels and new information technologies are transforming supply chains. Automation, robots, AI (artificial intelligence), 3D Printing, Bitcoin technology and the IoT (internet of things) are changing the way we look at supply chains. Are you thinking about any of these technologies down-the-line? Or are you thinking about the impacts of your competitors pursuing them? You should!

We partner with clients to keep them at the forefront of these information technologies. At the core, we partner with executives to help them select the optimal ERP system to support their business objectives. Certainly, automation has always been a hot topic. Recently, AI and predictive analysis have become popular as executives think about making strategic decisions. Many clients are also thinking about the strategic value of data and how they can utilize data from their extended supply chain for mutual benefit.

We remember robots being tested 25 years ago and so they are not “new” yet they are gaining in popularity. One method to become cost competitive with low labor rate countries, yet source supply closer to customers for rapid delivery, is to automate. Using robots and automated conveyor systems is commonplace in distribution and material handling. Manufacturers are also gaining steam on these topics. Are you evaluating these alternatives? At a bare minimum, my most successful clients are evaluating, testing and trialing. Similar to the outsourcing craze of the last 10 years, there is no reason to jump on the bandwagon for the sake of following the crowd; however, looking into the options is prudent.

The Internet of things is taking over in our interconnected world. Are you looking into what this could mean for your industry? And to throw a somewhat radical-sounding concept out there — how about bitcoin? There are many potential uses for this technology in supply chains today.

 

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