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Posts from the ‘Supply Chain’ Category

Top 10 Ways Internet Of Things And Blockchain Strengthen Supply Chains

  • The majority of enterprises are prioritizing their blockchain pilots that concentrate on supply chains improvements (53%) and the Internet of Things (51%) according to Deloitte’s latest blockchain survey.
  • By 2023, blockchain will support the global movement and tracking of $2T of goods and services annually based on a recent Gartner
  • By 2020, Discrete Manufacturing, Transportation & Logistics and Utilities industries are projected to spend $40B each on IoT platforms, systems, and services.
  • The Supply Chain Management enterprise software market is growing from $12.2B in 2017 to $20.4B in 2022, achieving a 10.7% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) according to Gartner’s latest market forecast.
  • Of the many blockchain and IoT Proof of Concept (POC) pilots running today, track-and-trace shows the most significant potential of moving into production.

Combining blockchain’s distributed ledger framework with the Internet of Things’ (IoT) proven real-time monitoring and tracking capability is redefining supply chains. Blockchain shows potential for increasing the speed, scale, and visibility of supply chains, eliminating counterfeit-goods transactions while also improving batching, routing and inventory control. Blockchain’s shared, distributed ledger architecture is becoming a growth catalyst for IoT’s adoption and commercial use in organizations.

Blockchain and IoT are defining the future of supply chains based on the initial success of Proof of Concept (POC) pilots focused on the logistics, storage and track-and-trace areas of supply chains across manufacturing. Supply-chain centric pilots are the most popular today, with enterprises looking at how they can get more value out of IoT using blockchain. One CIO told me recently his company deliberately spins up several POCs at once, adding “they’re our proving grounds, we’re pushing blockchain and IoT’s limits to see if they can solve our most challenging supply chain problems and we’re learning a tremendous amount.” The senior management team at the manufacturer says the pilots are worth it if they can find a way to increase inventory turns just 10% using blockchain and IoT. They’re also running Proof of Concept pilots to optimize batching, routing and delivery of goods, reduce fraud costs, and increase track-and-trace accuracy and speed. Of the many pilots in progress, track-and-trace shows the greatest potential to move into production today.

The following are the top 10 ways IoT and blockchain are defining the future of supply chains:

  • Combining IoT’s real-time monitoring support with blockchain’s shared distributed ledger strengthens track-and-trace accuracy and scale, leading to improvements across supply chains. Improving track-and-trace reduces the need for buffer stock by providing real-time visibility of inventory levels and shipments. Urgent orders can also be expedited and rerouted, minimizing disruptions to production schedules and customer shipments.  The combination of blockchain and IoT sensors is showing potential to revolutionize food supply chains, where sensors are used to track freshness, quality, and safety of perishable foods.  The multiplicative effects of combining IoT and blockchain to improve track-and-traceability are shown in the context of the following table from the Boston Consulting Group. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Improving inventory management and reducing bank fees for letters of credit by combining blockchain and IoT show potential to deliver cost savings. A recent study by Boston Consulting Group, Pairing Blockchain with IoT to Cut Supply Chain Costs, completed a hypothetical analysis of how much a $1B electronics equipment company implementing blockchain-as-a-service, a decentralized track-and-trace application, and 30 nodes that share among key supply chain stakeholders could save. The study found that the electronics equipment company could save up to $6M a year or .6% of annual sales. A summary of the business case is shown here:

  • Combining blockchain and IoT is providing the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry with stronger serialization techniques, reducing counterfeit drugs and medical products. Pharmaceutical serialization is the process of assigning a unique identity (e.g., a serial number) to each sealable unit, which is then linked to critical information about the product’s origin, batch number, and expiration date. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) approximately 1 million people each year die from counterfeit drugs, 50% of pharmaceutical products sold through rogue websites are considered fake, and up to 30% of pharmaceutical products sold in emerging markets are counterfeit according to a recent study by DHL Research. DHL and Accenture are finalizing a blockchain-based track-and-trace serialization prototype comprising a global network of nodes across six geographies. The system comprehensively documents each step that a pharmaceutical product takes on its way to the store shelf and eventually the consumer. The following graphic illustrates the workflow.

  • Improving distribution and logistics, tracking asset maintenance, improving product quality, preventing counterfeit products and enabling digital marketplaces are the use cases Capgemini predicts blockchain will have the greatest impact. IoT’s potential contribution in each of these five use case areas continues to accelerate as real-time monitoring dominates manufacturing. Tracking provenace, contracts management, digital threads, and trade financing also show potential for high adoption. The following graphic illustrates blockchain use cases in the supply chain.

  • Combining blockchain and IoT is enabling manufacturers to pursue and excel at digital twin initiatives across their value chains. A digital twin is a dynamic, digital representation of a physical asset which enables companies to track its past, current and future performance throughout the asset’s lifecycle. The asset, for example, a vehicle or spare part, sends performance data and events directly to its digital twin, even as it moves from the hands of the manufacturer to the dealer and ultimately the new owner. Blockchain can be used to securely document everything related to the asset and IoT provides the real-time monitoring and updates. Microsoft and VISEO are partnering to use blockchain to connect each new vehicle’s maintenance events to the vehicle’s digital twin. The graphic below illustrates how digital twins streamline additive manufacturing.

  • 54% of suppliers and 51% of customers are expecting the organizations they do business with to take a leadership position on blockchain and IoT. The majority of suppliers and customers expect the manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors they do business with to take a leadership position on these two emerging technologies and define a vision with them in it. Deloitte’s excellent study, Breaking Blockchain Open, Deloitte’s 2018 Global Blockchain Survey, provides insights into how supplier and customer expectations are a factor in driving blockchain and IoT adoption, further helping to shape the future of supply chains.

  • Consumer products and manufacturing lead adoption of blockchain today, followed by life sciences according to the latest Deloitte estimates. IoT adoption is flourishing in manufacturing, transportation & logistics and utilities. By 2020, each of these industries is projected to spend $40B each on IoT platforms, systems, and services. The following graphic compares blockchain adoption levels by industry. Given how dependent manufacturers are on supply chains, the high adoption rates for blockchain and IoT make sense. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • 32% of enterprises are adopting blockchain to gain greater speed compared to existing systems, and 28% believe blockchain will open up new business models and revenue sources. The majority of manufacturers, transportation & logistics and utilities companies have real-time monitoring running on their shop floors and across their production facilities today. Many are transitioning from Wi-Fi enabled monitoring to IoT, which creates a real-time data stream that blockchain ledgers categorize and track to provide greater track-and-trace speed and accuracy. A recent Capgemini survey found that 76% of manufacturers also plan to have a product-as-a-service strategy to drive revenue in less than two years.

  • Blockchain has the potential to deliver between $80B and $110B in value across seven strategic financial sectors when supported by IoT, redefining their supply chains in the process. McKinsey completed an extensive analysis of over 60 viable use case for blockchain in financial services where IoT would provide greater visibility across transactions. The combination of technologies has the potential to deliver over $100B in value.

  • Reducing product waste and perishable foods’ product margins while increasing traceability is attainable by combining blockchain and IoT. IBM’s Food Trust uses blockchain technology to create greater accountability, traceability, and visibility in supply chains. It’s the only consortium of its kind that connects growers, processors, distributors, and retailers through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food system data. Partners include Carrefour, Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, McCormick and Co., McLane Co., Nestlé, ShopRite parent Wakefern Food Corp.,  grocery group purchasing organization Topco Associates  The Kroger Co., Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart. An example of the Food Trust’s traceability application is shown below:

Additional Research:

Abdel-Basset, M., Manogaran, G., & Mohamed, M. (2018). Internet of Things (IoT) and its impact on supply chain: A framework for building smart, secure and efficient systems. Future Generation Computer Systems86, 614–628.

Boston Consulting Group, Pairing Blockchain with IoT to Cut Supply Chain Costs, By Zia Yusuf, Akash Bhatia, Usama Gill, Maciej Kranz, Michelle Fleury, and Anoop Nannra. December 18, 2018

Capgemini Research Institute, Does blockchain hold the key to a new age of supply chain transparency and trust?, 2018 (PDF, 32 pp., no opt-in)

DHL Trend Research, Blockchain In Research,  Perspectives on the upcoming impact of blockchain technology and use cases for the logistics industry (PDF, 28 pp., no opt-in)

Deloitte, Breaking Blockchain Open, Deloitte’s 2018 Global Blockchain Survey,48 pp., PDF, no opt-in. Summary available here.

Deloitte, Continuous Interconnected Supply Chain, Using Blockchain & Internet-of-Things in supply chain traceability (PDF, 24 pp., no opt-in)

Deloitte University Press,  3D opportunity for blockchain Additive manufacturing links the digital thread, 2018 (PDF, 20 pp, no opt-in)

EBN, How IoT, AI, & Blockchain Empower Tomorrow’s Autonomous Supply Chain, June 18, 2018

Forbes, How Blockchain Can Improve Manufacturing In 2019, October 28, 2018.

Forbes, 10 Charts That Will Challenge Your Perspective Of IoT’s Growth, June 6, 2018

Gettens, D., Jauffred, F., & Steeneck, D. W. (2016). IoT Can Drive Big Savings in the Post-Sales Supply Chain. MIT Sloan Management Review, 60(2), 19–21. Accessible on the MIT Sloan Management Review site here.

Jagtap, S., & Rahimifard, S. (2019). Unlocking the potential of the internet of things to improve resource efficiency in food supply chains. Springer International Publishing© Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

McKinsey & Company, Blockchain beyond the hype: What is the strategic business value?, June, 2018

McKinsey & Company, Blockchain Technology in the Insurance Sector, Quarterly meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI) Jan 5, 2017

McKinsey & Company, The IoT as a growth driver, By Markus Berger-De Leon, Thomas Reinbacher, and Dominik Wee. March 2018

McKinsey & Company, How digital manufacturing can escape ‘pilot purgatory’,  by Andreas Behrendt, Richard Kelly, Raphael Rettig, and Sebastian Stoffregen. July 2018

Miller, D. (2018). Blockchain and the Internet of Things in the Industrial Sector. IT Professional20(3), 15-18.

PwC, Global Blockchain Survey, 2018.

Queiroz, M. M., & Wamba, S. F. (2019). Blockchain adoption challenges in supply chain: An empirical investigation of the main drivers in India and the USA. International Journal of Information Management46, 70-82.

Reyna, A., Martín, C., Chen, J., Soler, E., & Díaz, M. (2018). On blockchain and its integration with IoT. Challenges and opportunities. Future Generation Computer Systems88, 173–190

Smith, K. J., & Dhillon, G. (2019). Supply Chain Virtualization: Facilitating Agent Trust Utilizing Blockchain Technology. In Revisiting Supply Chain Risk (pp. 299-311). Springer, Cham.

Tu, M., Lim, M. K., & Yang, M.-F. (2018). IoT-based production logistics and supply chain system – Part 1. Industrial Management & Data Systems118(1), 65–95.

Tu, M., K. Lim, M., & Yang, M.-F. (2018). IoT-based production logistics and supply chain system – Part 2. Industrial Management & Data Systems118(1), 96–125.

Wall Street Journal, 5 Supply Chain Use Cases for IoT, Blockchain, November 8, 2018

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How Machine Learning Improves Manufacturing Inspections, Product Quality & Supply Chain Visibility

Bottom Line: Manufacturers’ most valuable data is generated on shop floors daily, bringing with it the challenge of analyzing it to find prescriptive insights fast – and an ideal problem for machine learning to solve.

Manufacturing is the most data-prolific industry there is, generating on average 1.9 petabytes of data every year according to the McKinsey Global Insititute. Supply chains, sourcing, factory operations, and the phases of compliance and quality management generate the majority of data.

The most valuable data of all comes from product inspections that can immediately find exceptionally strong or weak suppliers, quality management and compliance practices in a factory. Manufacturing’s massive problem is in getting quality inspection results out fast enough across brands & retailers, other factories, suppliers and vendors to make a difference in future product quality.

How A Machine Learning Startup Is Revolutionizing Product Inspections

Imagine you’re a major brand or retailer and you’re relying on a network of factories across Bangladesh, China, India, and Southeast Asia to produce your new non-food consumer goods product lines including apparel. Factories, inspection agencies, suppliers and vendors that brands and retailers like you rely on vary widely on ethics, responsible sourcing, product quality, and transparency. With your entire consumer goods product lines (and future sales) at risk based on which suppliers, factories and product inspection agencies you choose, you and your companies’ future are riding on the decisions you make.

These career- and company-betting challenges and the frustration of gaining greater visibility into what’s going on in supply chains to factory floors led Carlos Moncayo Castillo and his brothers Fernando Moncayo Castillo and Luis Moncayo Castillo to launch Inspectorio. They were invited to the Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator in the summer of 2017, a competition they participated in with their cloud-based inspection platform that includes AI and machine learning and pervasive support for mobile technologies. Target relies on them today to bring greater transparency to their supply chains. “I’ve spent years working in non-food consumer goods product manufacturing seeing the many disconnects between inspections and suppliers, the lack of collaboration and how gaps in information create too many opportunities for corruption – I had to do something to solve these problems,” Carlos said. The many problems that a lack of inspection and supply chain visibility creates became the pain Inspectorio focused on solving immediately for brands and retailers. The following is a graphic of their platform:

Presented below are a few of the many ways the combining of a scalable inspection cloud platform combined with AI, machine learning and mobile technologies are improving inspections, product quality, and supply chain visibility:

  • Enabling the creation of customized inspector workflows that learn over time and are tailored to specific products including furniture, toys, homeware and garments, the factories they’re produced in, quality of the materials used. Inspectorio’s internal research has found 74% of all inspections today are done manually using a pen and paper, with results reported in Microsoft Word, Excel or PDFs, making collaboration slow and challenging. Improving the accuracy, speed and scale of inspection workflows including real-time updates across production networks drive major gains in quality and supply chain performance.
  • Applying constraint-based algorithms and logic to understand why there are large differences in inspection results between factories is enabling brands & retailers to manage quality faster and more completely. Uploading inspections in real-time from mobile devices to an inspection platform that contains AI and machine learning applications that quickly parse the data for prescriptive insights is the future of manufacturing quality. Variations in all dimensions of quality including factory competency, supplier and production assembly quality are taken into account. In a matter of hours, inspection-based data delivers the insights needed to avert major quality problems to every member of a production network.
  • Reducing risk, the potential for fraud, while improving the product and process quality based on insights gained from machine learning is forcing inspection’s inflection point. When inspections are automated using mobile technologies and results are uploaded in real-time to a secure cloud-based platform, machine learning algorithms can deliver insights that immediately reduce risks and the potential for fraud. One of the most powerful catalysts driving inspections’ inflection point is the combination of automated workflows that deliver high-quality data that machine learning produces prescriptive insights from. And those insights are shared on performance dashboards across every brand, retailer, supplier, vendor and factory involved in shared production strategies today.
  • Matching the most experienced inspector for a given factory and product inspection drastically increases accuracy and quality. When machine learning is applied to the inspector selection and assignment process, the quality, and thoroughness of inspections increase. For the first time, brands, retailers, and factories have a clear, quantified view of Inspector Productivity Analysis across the entire team of inspectors available in a given region or country. Inspections are uploaded in real-time to the Inspectorio platform where advanced analytics and additional machine learning algorithms are applied to the data, providing greater prescriptive insights that would have ever been possible using legacy manual methods. Machine learning is also making recommendations to inspectors on which defects to look for first based on the data patterns obtained from previous inspections.
  • Knowing why specific factories and products generated more Corrective Action/Preventative Action (CAPA) than others and how fast they have been closed in the past and why is now possible. Machine learning is making it possible for entire production networks to know why specific factory and product combinations generate the most CAPAs. Using constraint-based logic, machine learning can also provide prescriptive insights into what needs to be improved to reduce CAPAs, including their root cause.

High-Tech’s Greatest Challenge Will Be Securing Supply Chains In 2019

Bottom Line: High-tech manufacturers need to urgently solve the paradox of improving supply chain security while attaining greater visibility across supplier networks if they’re going make the most of smart, connected products’ many growth opportunities in 2019.

The era of smart, connected products is revolutionizing every aspect of manufacturing today, from suppliers to distribution networks. Capgemini estimates that the size of the connected products market will be $519B to $685B by 2020. Manufacturers expect close to 50 percent of their products to be smart, connected products by 2020, according to Capgemini’s Digital Engineering: The new growth engine for discrete manufacturers. The study is downloadable here (PDF, 40 pp., no opt-in).

Smart, connected products free manufacturers and their supply chains from having to rely on transactions and the price wars they create. The smarter the product, the greater the services revenue opportunities. And the more connected a smart product is using IoT and Wi-Fi sensors the more security has to be designed into every potential supplier evaluation, onboarding, quality plan, and ongoing suppliers’ audits. High-tech manufacturers are undertaking all of these strategies today, fueling them with real-time monitoring using barcoding, RFID and IoT sensors to improve visibility across their supply chains.

Gaining even greater visibility into their supply chains using cloud-based track-and-trace systems capable of reporting back the condition of components in transit to the lot and serialized pack level, high-tech suppliers are setting the gold standard for supply chain transparency and visibility. High-tech supply chains dominate many other industries’ supplier networks on accuracy, speed, and scale metrics on a consistent basis, yet the industry is behind on securing its vast supplier network. Every supplier identity and endpoint is a new security perimeter and taking a Zero Trust approach to securing them is the future of complex supply chains. With Zero Trust Privilege, high-tech manufacturers can secure privileged access to infrastructure, DevOps, cloud, containers, Big Data, production, logistics and shipping facilities, systems and teams.

High-Tech Needs to Confront Its Supply Chain Security Problem, Not Dismiss It

It’s ironic that high-tech supply chains are making rapid advances in accuracy and visibility yet still aren’t vetting suppliers thoroughly enough to stop counterfeiting, or worse. Bloomberg’s controversial recent article,The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies, explains how Amazon Web Services (AWS) was considering buying Portland, Oregon-based Elemental Technologies for its video streaming technology, known today as Amazon Prime Video. As part of the due diligence, AWS hired a third-party company to scrutinize Elemental’s security all the way up to the board level. The Elemental servers that handle the video compression were assembled by Super Micro Computer Inc., a San Jose-based company in China. Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design that could create a stealth doorway into any network the machines were attached to. Apple (who is also an important Super Micro customer) and AWS deny this ever happened, yet 17 people have confirmed Supermicro had altered hardware, corroborating Bloomberg’s findings.

The hard reality is that the scenario Bloomberg writes about could happen to any high-tech manufacturer today. When it comes to security and 3rd party vendor risk management, many high-tech supply chains are stuck in the 90s while foreign governments, their militaries and the terrorist organizations they support are attempting to design in the ability to breach any network at will. How bad is it?  81% of senior executives involved in overseeing their companies’ global supply chains say 3rd party vendor management including recruiting suppliers is riskiest in China, India, Africa, Russia, and South America according to a recent survey by Baker & McKenzie.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation collaborated on a study of 209 companies’ supply chain operations and approaches to 3rd party vendor risk management. The study, PwC and the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation: Making the right risk decisions to strengthen operations performance, quantifies the quick-changing nature of supply chains. 94% say there are changes in the extended supply chain network configuration happening frequently. Relying on trusted and untrusted domain controllers from server operating systems that are decades old can’t keep up with the mercurial pace of supply chains today.

Getting in Control of Security Risks in High-Tech Supply Chains

It’s time for high-tech supply chains to go with a least privilege-based approach to verifying who or what is requesting access to any confidential data across the supply chains. Further, high-tech manufacturers need to extend access request verification to include the context of the request and the risk of the access environment. Today it’s rare to find any high-tech manufacturer going to this level of least-privilege access approach, yet it’s the most viable approach to securing the most critical parts of their supply chains.

By taking a least-privilege access approach, high-tech manufacturers and their suppliers can minimize attack surfaces, improve audit and compliance visibility, and reduce risk, complexity, and operating costs across their hybrid manufacturing ecosystem.

Key actions that high-tech manufacturers can take to secure their supply chain and ensure they don’t end up in an investigative story of hacked supply chains include the following:

  • Taking a Zero Trust approach to securing every endpoint provides high-tech manufacturers with the scale they need to grow. High-tech supply chains are mercurial and fast-moving by nature, guaranteeing they will quickly scale faster than any legacy approaches enterprise security management. Vetting and then onboarding new suppliers needs to start by protecting every endpoint to the production and sourcing level, especially for next-generation smart, connected products.
  • Smart, connected products and the product-as-a-service business models they create are all based on real-time, rich, secured data streams that aren’t being eavesdropped on with components no one knows about. Taking a Zero Trust Privilege-based approach to securing access to diverse supply chains is needed if high-tech manufacturers are going to extend beyond legacy Privileged Access Management (PAM) to secure data being generated from real-time monitoring and data feeds from their smart, connected products today and in the future.
  • Quality management, compliance, and quality audits are all areas high-tech manufacturers excel in today and provide a great foundation to scale to Zero Trust Privilege. High-tech manufacturers have the most advanced quality management, inbound inspection and supplier quality audit techniques in the world. It’s time for the industry to step up on the security side too. By only granting least-privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment, high-tech manufacturers can make rapid strides to improve supply chain security.
  • Rethink the new product development cycles for smart, connected products and the sensors they rely on, so they’re protected as threat surfaces when built. Designing in security to the new product development process level and further advancing security scrutiny to the schematic and board design level is a must-do. In an era of where we have to assume bad actors are everywhere, every producer of high-tech products needs to realize their designs, product plans, and roadmaps are at risk. Ensuring the IOT and Wi-Fi sensors in smart, connected products aren’t designed to be hackable starts with a Zero Trust approach to defining security for supplier, design, and development networks.

Conclusion

The era of smart, connected products is here, and supply chains are already reverberating with the increased emphasis on components that are easily integrated and have high-speed connectivity. Manufacturing CEOs say it’s exactly what their companies need to grow beyond transaction revenue and the price wars they create. While high-tech manufacturers excel at accuracy, speed, and scale, they are falling short on security. It’s time for the industry to re-evaluate how Zero Trust can stabilize and secure every identity and threat surface across their supply chains with the same precision and intensity quality is today.

Analytics Will Revolutionize Supply Chains In 2018

  • While 94% of supply chain leaders say that digital transformation will fundamentally change supply chains in 2018, only 44% have a strategy ready.
  • 66% of supply chain leaders say advanced supply chain analytics are critically important to their supply chain operations in the next 2 to 3 years.
  • Forecast accuracy, demand patterns, product tracking traceability, transportation performance and analysis of product returns are use cases where analytics can close knowledge gaps.

These and other insights are from The Hackett Group study, Analytics: Laying the Foundation for Supply Chain Digital Transformation (10 pp., PDF, no opt-in). The study provides insightful data regarding the increasing importance of using analytics to drive improved supply chain performance. Data included in the study also illustrate how analytics is enabling business objectives across a range of industries. The study also provides the key points that need to be considered in creating a roadmap for implementing advanced supply chain analytics leading to digital transformation. It’s an interesting, insightful read on how analytics are revolutionizing supply chains in 2018 and beyond.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • 66% of supply chain leaders say advanced supply chain analytics are critically important to their supply chain operations in the next 2 to 3 years. The Hackett Group found the majority of supply chain leaders have a sense of urgency for getting advanced supply chain analytics implemented and contributing to current and future operations. The majority see the value of having advanced analytics that can scale across their entire supplier network.

  • Improving forecast accuracy, optimizing transportation performance, improving product tracking & traceability and analyzing product returns are the use cases providing the greatest potential for analytics growth. Each of these use cases and the ones that are shown in the graphic below has information and knowledge gaps advanced supply chain analytics can fill. Of these top use cases, product tracking and traceability are one of the fastest growing due to the stringent quality standards defined by the US Food & Drug Administration in CFR 21 Sec. 820.65 for medical products manufacturers.  The greater the complexity and cost of compliance with federally-mandated reporting and quality standards, the greater potential for advanced analytics to revolutionize supply chain performance.

  • Optimizing production and sourcing to reduce total landed costs (56%) is the most important use case of advanced supply chain analytics in the next 2 to 3 years. The Hackett Group aggregated use cases across the four categories of reducing costs, improving quality, improving service and improving working capital (optimizing inventory). Respondents rank improving working capital (optimizing inventory) with the highest aggregated critical importance score of 39%, followed by reducing costs (29.5%), improving service (28.6%) and improving quality (25.75%).

  • 44% of supply chain leaders are enhancing their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems’ functionality and integration to gain greater enterprise and supply chain-wide visibility. Respondents are relying on legacy ERP systems as their main systems of record for managing supply chain operations, and integrating advanced supply chain analytics to gain end-to-end supply network visibility. 94% of respondents consider virtual collaboration platforms for internal & external use the highest priority technology initiative they can accomplish in the next 2 to 3 years.

  • The majority of companies are operating at stages 1 and 2 of the Hackett Group’s Supply chain analytics maturity model. A small percentage are at the stage 3 level of maturity according to the study’s results. Supply chain operations and performance scale up the model as processes and workflows are put in place to improve data quality, provide consistent real-time data and rely on a stable system of record that can deliver end-to-end supply chain analytics visibility. Integrating with external data becomes critically important as supply networks proliferate globally, as does the need to drive greater predictive analytics accuracy.

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