Tag Archive: supply chain technology

Blockchain Anyone?

November 9th, 2017

One of the most fascinating speakers at the APICS conference talked about the value of blockchain.  I knew to pay attention because the former head of the Drucker supply chain program also specifically noted the down-the-line value of blockchain, and I’m glad I did! 

Immediate Benefits of Blockchain
Blockchain had some immediate potential down-the-line application for a key client.  It is certainly good to be on top of emerging technologies and related applications.  Are you considering out-of-the-box applications you might have dismissed previously?


Bitcoin and Blockchain
The first application of blockchain was bitcoin – which didn’t really inspire my interest.  On the other hand, when you look at it like a revolutionary shared ledger technology which is immutable, immediate, collaborative, secure and permanent, it opens the mind to many possibilities.  Who wouldn’t wish to track something like fish or paintings from origin through transportation to delivery and have technology close the loop with payment, knowing it is authentic?  It is interesting that there is a counterfeit prevention aspect tied into this technology, as well. 

Blockchain provides benefits to complicated processes.
Blockchain provides a potential solution for complex, multi-party, high-friction processes.  There seem to be vast possibilities such as VMI, conflict minerals, customs clearance, cold chain for foods, supplier certification and much more.  Do any of these types of situations apply to you?  Or could they? 

Why wait until the technology is officially launched before exploring.  It could become an integral aspect of supply chain technology, and you do not want to be left in the dust.

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Robots, IoT , AI, Autonomous Vehicles and More – Update from APICS 2017


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.


How To Know If Your Old Business System Is Just Fine

September 8th, 2017
Time for an upgrade?

Is it time to upgrade your business systems?

We cannot tell you how many clients call thinking they need a new system to support their business when they simply don’t! Certainly, there is a time to upgrade to a new business system, when you’ve outgrown your old one (for example: QuickBooks with add-ons like Fishbowl), or your old system is highly customized and unsustainable, or when you are in the midst of a merger or acquisition. However, before jumping to the conclusion that your system must be upgraded, think twice.

Any ERP transformation project will be expensive (more than you think!) and resource intensive. With that said, it is an absolute must to support business growth and success in some situations. Just make sure yours is one of them!

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the question.

It is also quite possible to extend the life of some systems. Is there a way to extend the life of your current system? We often find during analysis that there are options worth considering. It is smart to think about the timing of your upgrade and whether you can impact it. When can you dedicate the resources to ensure success? Of course, from one perspective, sometimes there is never a good time. And, on the other hand, we have seen clients wait “too long”. You don’t want to be in that club either.

Instead, complete a simple strategic analysis of your business situation and ERP needs and balance them against your current capabilities. An answer will emerge and just might “save you” either way. Perhaps you’ll be able to extend the life of your old system and maintain focus on your business OR you’ll find out that if you wait any longer, your competition will pass you by. Either way, it is better to be in front of it.

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Should You Upgrade Your ERP System?

Is Supply Chain Top of Mind for Your Business?

August 1st, 2017

Earlier this week, I spoke on a panel at a ProVisors (a top notch group of trusted advisers) event about supply chain and its impact on the Southern California and Inland Empire economy.

Lisa Anderson Leads ProVisors Meeting on Supply Chain

The event prompted me to think about whether we are keeping supply chain top of mind (from your suppliers’ suppliers, through your manufacturing operations – insourced, outsourced or both – to your customers’ customers, inclusive of transportation and logistics networks, IT etc.). It will have a dramatic impact on your business success, and, in Southern California’s case, the economy. For example, is the Amazon Effect (the notion of 24/7, immediate delivery with value-added suggestions and innovative service) affecting your business? What can you do about it? Do you think autonomous vehicles or robots will have an impact your business? If you aren’t thinking about supply chain, you will miss critical business opportunities.

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

Keeping supply chain top of mind is simply keeping your business top of mind. Some of the current hot topics are those like the Amazon Effect – finding out what your customers expect in terms of service. Beyond that, do you understand their needs so well that you could proactively suggest products and services that might add value for them? Could you change or innovate what you do to better align with what would be most beneficial to them? In essence, are you thinking about the total customer experience?

Another hot topic is supply chain technology. How can you utilize technology and/or what might be coming down the pike that will affect your business? Can you get ahead of it? I hear a lot about utilizing supply chain data, robotics, automation, artificial intelligence and more. What is relevant to you? Let me know in the comments.