Utility-Scale SaaS: a Shift in the Enterprise Software Market

  Enterprise software has been experiencing a transition towards “cloud” models of various flavors over the last fifteen years. As technology vendors, buyers, and advisers this transition has involved an evolving sense of how and why to embrace cloud. In effect, the industry has been going through a protracted and decentralized conversation about the definition, benefits, and drawbacks of “cloudness” …

Bleeding Edge to Trailing Edge: Assessing Supply Chain Technology Readiness

Supply chain managers have a wealth of technology tools available to them, far more than they can deploy effectively. Therefore a good supply chain leader is also a selector of technologies. A major part of current supply chain managers’ attentions are in winnowing tech options and building together a bouquet of effective solutions that are multiplicative in impact when used …

Visibility Example #6: World as a Warehouse

Imagine a large supply chain, covering 15,000 workers operating in 12 languages and 24 countries. Every day, inventory in various stages of completeness and transit could be valued at over one billion US dollars. Losing even a fraction of those materials would represent enormous wastage. Even without outright loss, a delay or misdirection could cost valuable time during which customer …

Supply Chain Visibility Example #5: Benefiting from GPS

The web 2.0 catchphrase “mashup” refers to the ability to integrate heterogeneous data sources into a single, consistent, view for greater total value to the user. Mashups, both useful and dubious, are making their way into supply chain visibility toolsets in 2011. Today’s visibility example looks at a very simple and productive mashup between order data and GPS location devices …

Visibility Example #2: Save the Sale

This was the second of a series of articles I wrote in 2010 on real-life examples of where supply chain visibility is used. In all of them, the goal was to describe them so that they can be understood without an advanced knowledge of supply chain management. The Setup: A retailer or producer handling higher-margin items: fashion, electronics, etc. Multi-echelon inventory …

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The Supply Chain of Digital Content

Standing in an elevator in Changi International Airport in 2011, I saw many business travelers reading the newspaper. But how did those newspapers get in their hands? As it happens, many of the newspapers may not be “paper” at all. They are digital content, served up to dedicated or general viewing devices. And since that form of newspaper was widely …

Supply Chain Visibility and the Capital Economy

In a previous article in 2010 I discussed how the hollowing of enterprises, and introduction of external firms into the supply chain’s value stream, created an emerging information economy within the supply chain. The term “information economy” simply means that information had a differing value to the supply chain members, and so could be bought or sold for a net …

Tailoring Supply Chain Visibility to Cooperative Term Length

In another post last month I mentioned that the supply chain is an information economy, where information is created, valued, and exchanged. In that blog post I also discussed the impact supply chain governance has on the information economy, particularly information asymmetry and value-sharing. Josh Bryan, an artificial intelligence researcher and long-time friend, had feedback on the post which prompted me to create …

Watson and the Case for AI Staffing

 Graphic from Raymond Kurzweil This article builds on some of my earlier posts which dived into the likely prominence of artificial intelligence in supply chain management (and visibility) in the future. Specifically, we’ll look at the 2010 performance of the IBM question-answering AI system called “Watson” and discuss what it portents for supply chain careers. Introducing “Watson” Last year, while …

Supply Chain Visibility & Artificial Intelligence

As some of the other articles on the site have discussed, I feel that there is a coming dominance of information over the purely material-management aspects of supply chains. And, at other times, I’ve mentioned my belief that artificial intelligence will play a major role in the shift. In this article I’m highlighting specifics behind that belief. The distinguishing line …

Risk Management via Supply Chain Visibility

Supply chain visibility is often included in the risk management toolkit. By coupling process changes, the improved intelligence from supply chain visibility, and fast decision cycles, organizations hope to out-maneuver interruptions in the flow of material, capital, or information. In this article we’ll address visibility for risk management at three levels: what makes risk worth watching for (the business problem), …

Strategy

A Framework for Visibility Effectiveness

This article, probably the longest one on the website, addresses four critical needs of anyone working with supply chain visibility. The first is to formalize how a visibility solution impacts the business. Second, how visibility impacts specific business decisions (i.e. along what dimensions will the solution deliver change and therefore value). Third, how to evaluate the fitness of a supply …