Artificial Intelligence Advancements

Artificial Intelligence use to be science fiction back in the early 90s and late 80s when the Terminator movies came out. At first, there was a lot of backlash and skepticism on if the technology was worth pursuing and if the “machines” would revolt against humankind.

Today, thanks to Google, and many other companies like IBM and many more. Artificial intelligence doesn’t seem so scary and will make everyone’s lives easier.

For instance, Google came out with Google Assistant, which can book appointments for you and it sounds like you’re talking to a real person and one would never think it was a machine.
Click on the link below to listen to Google assistant in action:

IBM created its own AI called Watson, which will allow the medial industry to solves some of its major challenges, which mainly involves analyzing large amounts of medical data and coming up with an accurate diagnosis.

AI technology is growing rapidly and based on current trends, it’s quite possible that AI will replace people. For example, instead of talking to a person in customer service over the phone, you would be talking to AI.


1.) What are positive benefits of AI?
2.) Where does AI technology currently stand?
3.) What jobs will AI replace?

Please seem link for reference:

New 3D Printing Process

Over the past 10 years 3D printing has made major strides in regards to the technology and how accessible it can be to the average consumer. Prices for 3D printers range from $100 to $30,000 plus.

Now, there’s a new technique developed by MIT and Steelcase that has changed how 3D printers operate.

Current 3D printers have 3 major challenges, which include the following:

1.) The Speed it takes to complete a 3D printed object. Meaning, the amount of time it takes to print, which can take several hours to complete depending on the size of the 3D printed object.

2.) The Scale of the Project. The size of the 3D printed object is limited in regards to the size of the 3D printer. Most of which are the side of a student backpack.

3.) Material Properties: Gravity has a major effect on the structural integrity of the 3D printed object and hinders future potential for 3D printers.

Steelcase and MIT were able to move beyond these challenges and were able to build a chair. The new process uses a gel instead of a solid base and prints much faster compared to current 3D printer capabilities. In addition to this, the new process will allow for better structural integrity without putting more strain on the printed object.

Please see link for reference:


1.) what are major challenges of 3D printing?
2.) what are potential uses for this new 3D printing process?
3.) Will manufactures be more open to use 3D printing with this new process?


Augmented Reality & Supply Chain Management

An article published on the APICS website describes five ways augmented reality enhances supply chain management, as derived from a 2016 partnership between DHL and augmented reality hardware companies and software providers. DHL found that partnering with Vuzix and Google, as well as Ubimax to test incorporating AR in logistics activities positively impacted worker efficiency and reduced error rates leading to an average 15% improvement in productivity. In addition to providing logistics solutions, DHL is testing the application of AR in operations, warehousing, and logistics in order to capture more of the streamlined work efficiencies and reduced error rates at the individual and enterprise level from incorporating technology. ABI Research released the following top-five benefits of using AR in supply chain management.

Efficiency increases: The virtual communication of next steps in performing tasks frees up workers’ hands increasing overall efficiency in performance. Instead of flipping through instruction manuals, workers can see the information necessary to complete tasks in their fields of vision using smart glasses.

Cost reductions: AR enhances instant communication by enabling remote users to see what the wearer is seeing. Travel expenses and downtime can be reduced by circumventing the need for individuals, such as offsite managers, consultants, or manufacturers to be physically present.

 Safety improvements: Safety warnings in the wearer’s field of vision coupled with the worker’s hands free from holding instruction manuals, enable users to be more focused and potentially avoid distractions or injuries.

Error minimization: Virtual models and instructions are available in the user’s field of vision providing real time directions for completing tasks. Errors can thus be minimized by the visual clarity and instant feedback provided.

Fast ROI: AG enhances the ROI of training employees, accessing information, finding solutions and completing tasks by immediately pulling up answers on the smart glasses. Guidelines, checklists or diagrams are quickly available in the user’s field of vision leading to employees being more productive.

+6th AR benefit: The 4G or 5G connectivity available for certain AR devices enables employees to receive guidance anytime, anywhere. Continuous remote connectivity could continue to grow as cellular wireless AR develops.

How can manufacturing companies and employees benefit from AR?

What are examples of AR tools that can enhance Supply Chain Management?

How does AR improve employee performance?

APICS – Five Ways Augmented Reality Enhances Supply Chain Management


Internet of Things: Transforming the Industry

Its not just limited to smart phones anymore. Smart things have reached the masses. Products with wireless connectivity (from lightbulbs to thermostats to smart speakers) are more present in people’s homes today than not. A report suggests that 79% of U.S. consumers have at least one connected device at home.

But this technology actually has its roots in a world that predates the rise of remote control gadgets: industrial manufacturing.The (Industrial) Internet of Things takes networked sensors and intelligent devices and puts those technologies to use directly on the manufacturing floor, collecting data to drive artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. The IOT is driving an industry that has struggled in recent years due to talent shortages, and this offers hope for the industry’s future. It can transform traditional, linear manufacturing supply chains into dynamic, interconnected systems—a digital supply network (DSN)—that can more readily incorporate ecosystem partners. It is helping to change the way that products are made and delivered, making factories more efficient, ensuring better safety for human operators, and more often than not saving millions of dollars.

One of the greatest benefits of the IoT is how it can exponentially improve operating efficiencies. If a machine goes down, for instance, connected sensors can automatically pinpoint where the issue is occurring and trigger a service request. It can also help a manufacturer predict when a machine will likely breakdown or enter a dangerous operating condition before it ever happens. It is largely proactive in its functioning. It enables predictive maintenance, which limits the equipment downtime and improves safety. The sensors work by analyzing a given machine to tell if it’s working within its normal condition. This process—known as condition monitoring—is time intensive when we humans do it manually. But by using sensors to collect and quickly analyze data points in the cloud, prediction becomes easier.

Beyond saving money and time, the IoT can keep workers safe. If an oil well is about to reach a dangerous pressure condition, for example, operators will be warned well before it explodes. Sensors can even be used to manage and monitor workers’ locations in case of an emergency or evacuation.

Q1) How is IOT changing the status quo in industries?

Q2) How does IOT help in predictive maintenance ?

Q3) How is IOT improving efficiencies in manufacturing ?



IOT in Supply Chain

The process of assessing a chicken in real-time before agreeing to eat it may seem a bit outlandish. But with the IoT, we’ll be able to experience that type of transparency, and so much more. IoT is set to revolutionize the supply chain with both operational efficiencies and revenue opportunities made possible with just this type of transparency. In today’s market, supply chain isn’t just a way to keep track of your product. It’s a way to gain an edge on your competitors and even build your own brand.


With the ever advancing IOT we will be seeing changes in the following areas



Operational Efficiencies


When it comes to operational efficiencies, the IoT offers many:


Asset Tracking: Tracking numbers and bar codes used to be the standard method for managing goods throughout the supply chain. But with the IoT, those methods are no longer the most expedient. New RFID and GPS sensors can track products from floor to store. At any point in time, manufacturers can use these sensors to gain granular data like the temperature at which an item was stored, how long it spent in cargo, and even how long it took to fly off the shelf. The type of data gained from the IoT can help companies get a tighter grip on quality control, on-time deliveries, and product forecasting.


Vendor Relations: The data obtained through asset tracking is also important because it allows companies to tweak their own production schedules, as well as recognize sub-par vendor relationships that may be costing them money. Up to 65% of the value of a company’s products or services is derived from its suppliers. That’s a huge incentive to pay closer attention to how your vendors are handling the supplies they’re sending you, and how they’re handling your product once it’s made. Higher quality goods mean better relationships with customers—and better customer retention overall.

Forecasting and Inventory:  IoT sensors can provide far more accurate inventories than humans can manage alone. For instance, Amazon is using WiFi robots to scan QR codes on its products to track and triage its orders. All the data can be used to find trends to make manufacturing schedules even more efficient.

Connected Fleets: As the supply chain continues to grow—upward and outward—it’s even more imperative to ensure that all your carriers—be it shipping containers, suppliers’ delivery trucks, or your van out for delivery—are connected. Data is the prize. Just like cities are using this data to get to emergencies quicker or clear up traffic issues, manufacturers are using it to get better products to their customers, faster.

Scheduled Maintenance: The IoT can also use smart sensors on its manufacturing floors to manage planned and predictive maintenance and prevent down-time and cut costs.



Revenue Opportunities

The chance to know more—and understand more—about our customers, their buying habits, and the trends associated with them is invaluable. It allows businesses to form tighter connections with customers and, inevitably, market to them in new and better ways. Beyond the use of data for improved efficiencies noted above, businesses can get creative with supply chain transparency. They can build a reputation of social responsibility by allowing customers to access—and with AR, even see—where their product came from, who made it, and the conditions in which those workers lived.

Research shows 70% of retail and manufacturing businesses have already begun to transform their supply chain processes. However, when it comes to supply chain, there is far from a level playing field. For the IoT to be truly effective, all members of one’s global supply chain must be connected. In an age when many companies are just now embracing the concept of mobility, that may take a while. Still, as technologies like blockchain and edge computing continue to take form, there is so much further we can go to make our supply chain even more efficient—and creative—than ever before. Perhaps that’s where the real excitement lies.


Q) When will IOT really begin to have an impact on supply chain operations?

Q) What are the other opportunities and applications of IOT in supply chain?

Q) What are the major challenges faced by companies in implementing IOT in supply chain?

Transforming Supply Chain with Blockchain By Gokul Siddharthan J, DCMME Graduate Student Assistant

In recent times, blockchain has become a buzz word that has been associated with cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Ethereum and other such currencies have made the term very popular, and they can be associated with the high prices in the crypto market and the immense returns offered. Blockchain is the underlying framework that’s used for thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, but there’s more uses of blockchain to industry than the crypto market.

Blockchain, which is a distributed digital ledger, has many applications and can be used for any exchange, agreements/contracts, tracking, and payments. The term distributed digital ledgers sums up the function in three words. Every transaction is recorded on a block and across multiple copies of the ledger that are distributed over many nodes or computers, thus making it highly transparent. The system is also highly secure because every block is linked to the previous block, and any changes to information will be flagged by other nodes in the system because of the mismatch. This is the consensus system, because all entities have the same version of the ledger, there won’t be any dispute arising. The very things necessary for reliability and integrity in a supply chain are provided by blockchain.

Imagine whenever a product changes hands, the transaction could be documented, creating a permanent history from manufacture to sale. It dramatically reduces time delays, costs, and human errors that plague transactions today. Experts suggest blockchain could become a universal operating system before long. Tasks such as recording the quantity and transfer of assets, tracking purchase orders, assigning certifications or certain properties of physical products, linking physical goods to serial numbers, and sharing information about manufacturing process, assembly, delivery could be transformed.

Blockchain offers the following advantages to the shippers

  • Enhanced Transparency
  • Greater Scalability
  • Better Security
  • Increased Innovation.

Some of the users of blockchain in their value chain are Walmart, De Beers, BHP Billiton, IBM Blockchain and many more.



Improving Food Manufacturing

When it comes to increasing profits in the food manufacturing industry the name of the game is efficiency. This means finding ways to cut costs and improving operations while maintaining good quality so that margins can improve and facilities can produce more. The article “Six tips for Improving manufacturing efficiency” by Megan Ray Nichols outlines six different ways that companies can improve their facilities to become more efficient and see increased profits. These tips revolve around three main ideas: mitigating risks, reducing operating costs through more conservative operations, and embracing the use of technology in facilities. By following these six simple tips, a food or beverage operation can reduce costs, increase productivity, and ultimately be a more profitable operation.

Her fist tip is to embrace the inherent risks of a food manufacturing operation and plan for them. Ready your plant for the risks by investing in additional backup generators and control systems as well as business loss insurance to mitigate the risk and cost of lost inventory in the event of a mishap. Along with this, reduce contamination risks to prevent recalls from happening. Recalls waste time, harm productivity, and most importantly are extremely expensive. Be proactive and do everything possible to prevent contamination in the plant.  Second, become more energy efficient. Nearly 60% of food manufacturer’s energy bill comes from refrigeration. Therefore one of the easiest ways to lower cost is to make these units more efficient which can be done by simply placing them in as far away from heat-generating equipment and avoiding the use of incandescent light bulbs, both of which force cooling units to work harder. Along with becoming more energy efficient, conserve water. The food manufacturing industry uses more water than most other industries. Water recycling programs, reuse systems, and flow restrictions can significantly decrease operating costs and provide savings which can be reinvested elsewhere to improve production efficiency. Finally, take advantage of new technological advancements by embracing preventative maintenance and increase the use of automation and integration. Use preventative maintenance to track and plan when equipment needs to be fixed. This proactive approach can save time and money, as the beer brewer New Belgium demonstrated when it was able to cut downtime by 50% when implanting a preventative maintenance system. Using automation and integrating your processes so that they can “talk to one-another” allows your system to run more efficiently because each section can instantly react to what happens in another.

Questions to think about:

  1. Besides moving refrigerators and installing less light bulbs, how else can food manufactures reduce their energy usage to cut costs?
  2. Are there any alternatives to food storage that can reduce the risks of losing large amounts of inventory in the event of a power failure?
  3. Do food manufacturers really need to maintain high inventory levels or is there a better way to plan production and delivery so that less inventory can be held at facilities?