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 #3: When and How to Capture Data

In 2010 a reader emailed with a question concerning how a visibility solution ought to handle certain data elements, both in terms of when they are captured in time and how they are captured. In answering that real-life question I went on to raise two guiding principles which ought to be behind our supply chain visibility initiatives. I call these …

Supply Chain Visibility Software Review: Panjiva

  This article from early 2010 provides a review of a (then newly emergent) supply chain visibility solution, called Panjiva. This is a software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution which focuses on global trade visibility for channels into the United States of America. I summarized what the solution is about, gave a user impression, and then used an early version of the visibility …

2014 is a special year for supply chain technology… or maybe not

This is a short article to address the over-hyping of tech changes in the field of supply chain management. Anyone who follows my other articles, my blog, or has spoken with me personally, knows that I’m an avid technologist. But, that said, its worth stepping back and thinking critically about how special the current phase of tech development & rollout …

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Ditch the Demo: Buying a Visibility Solution in the Blind

I have participated in at least twenty serious supply chain software system selection events, both as a buyer and seller. In every case the system demo was a critical part of the evaluation, and often weighed heavily on the final selection or the price paid for it. As a buyer, the deep-dive demo with my own data loaded in the …

System Stand-In Can Make or Break Supply Chain Visibility

System stand-in is a term I use frequently when describing why a particular supply chain visibility software does something that might be done by a separate system. For example, why would a visibility software offer the ability for new purchase or sales orders to be created over the web when those are obviously not visibility activities at all? The answer …