With the holiday season in full force, businesses that rely on supply chain are experiencing a transformation – either voluntarily or involuntarily. What is driving this transformation now? The holiday season is a constant reminder that the transformation is driven by the “digital native” customer experience, and a digital transformation is the change agent needed to make this happen. What might this digital transformation look like for supply chain management? Let’s explore IoT, AI, and Blockchain.
Internet of Things (IoT)
What Is IoT? IoT is a network of both hardware & software that brings real life physical data to the business or consumer user. An example of this network is a sensor or device that collects information about its environment (garage door sensor), which sends the information to a cloud platform (garage door is open), processes the information in the cloud platform (it is 10AM – everyone is at work and school), then reacts to the processed information (close the garage door). When IoT is specialized for industrial application such as manufacturing, it is also known as Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things (IIot).
What Does IoT Do For Supply Chain? IoT has massive implications for supply chain management, including manufacturing, inventory management, and logistics. For Manufacturing – production managers can track output levels & yields of production across the globalized manufacturing base instantly – handy when you have hundreds of production lines spread throughout China, Mexico, and Turkey. For Inventory – supply chain organizations have the ability to instantly look up the supply levels across the planet of every SKU and its precise location. For Logistics – workers track in real time not only where the delivery is, but the state (temperature, humidity, vibration) of the product – needed if you are delivering fresh Dutch tulips across the planet.
What Is AI? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the science of teaching computers how to perform tasks normally performed by human beings. AI has a broad range of applications, including consumer (facial recognition in a group picture), automotive (self-driving cars navigating a crowded street), pharmaceutical (drug discovery), finance (stock picking), and customer service (chat bot). Machine Learning (ML), an application of AI, is used to make future decisions based on past information.
What Does AI Do For Supply Chain? AI is already making an impact to supply chain management, by bringing insights into descriptive data, extrapolating a future trend to make a prediction, and finally making a prescriptive recommendation to take action. For Planning – AI can combine past demand with current social sentiment to gauge what and how much of what to make – making planning demand driven instead of supply driven. For Manufacturing – managers may preemptively maintain a high-precision injection molding machine before it breaks down. For Inventory – AI is used to set an optimum inventory level (especially perishables) that will simultaneously prevent stock outs while reducing excess inventory. For Logistics – AI has the ability to predict global traffic and make a recommendation based on cost, time, or quality.
What Is It? Blockchain is a digital system used to maintain a ledger, such as bank accounts or asset ownership. Blockchain allows only agreed upon trusted individuals who potentially do not know each other to update the ledger. Using peer-to-peer technology, the ledger is distributed securely via cryptography, across a network, so that there is no single point of failure, attack, or control.
What Does It Do For Supply Chain? Blockchain has the potential to bring a new dimension of visibility to supply chain management – one that can bring ethical, social, and safety changes to supply chain management. Applications of Blockchain to supply chain include tracking of ethically produced diamonds to reduce the trade of conflict-free diamonds. Blockchain can greatly enhance the safety of the supply chain by tracking how food is sourced, handled, and transported – and allows grocers and restaurants to individually contact consumers if a questionable lot of beef was used.
See Oracle Deploying IoT, AI, and Blockchain In Action
Want to see IoT, AI, and Blockchain in action now? Please come visit us at the IotTechExpo / AIExpo / BlockchainExpo (www.iottechexpo.com). You will see real life demos of:
- IoT : Smart Connected Factory
- IoT : Digital Field Service
- AI : Building The Right Model For Real Time Data
- AI : Prescriptive Asset Maintenance
- Blockchain : Manufacturing Supply Chain
- Blockchain : Trade Finance
And because it is the season of giving, you can sign up for a free pass at :