How Augmented Reality is disrupting supply chains. – Abhilasha Satpathy

With over one billion AR enabled smartphones and tablets already in use, companies don’t have to wait for low-cost augmented reality glasses to start reaping the benefits of augmented reality. Here are five ways that AR is transforming the supply chain into a nimble tool for global distribution:

1) Pick-and-Pack Services

Augmented reality is being used in warehouses to more efficiently locate products and pack them in outgoing boxes. One of the costliest parts of running a “pick and pack” service is training new workers to navigate a large warehouse and find the one product they are searching for. AR glasses can paint an imaginary line on the warehouse floor to simplify the searching and training. During the peak holiday season, temporary workers need to be on-boarded quickly. AR shortens the learning curve by providing new hires with constant feedback on their glasses about how they are doing and what can be improved. Field tests of AR pick-and-pack systems have reduced errors by as much as 40%.

2) Collaborative Robotics

Robots are the ultimate human augmentation. Workers sitting comfortably at their desks can wear AR glasses that let them see what a robot in the warehouse sees. AR glasses can now chart the paths of robots through warehouses and use their strength to lift and move heavy cargo. Dangerous or repetitive tasks, such as loading a truck, can be delegated to robots that operate with human guidance when it comes to how to best load the items to achieve the maximum load. Additionally, logistics robots are able to scan each product for damage, check its weight, and abide by any package shipping instructions. By connecting robots with managers, customers can be automatically alerted if any products that aren’t available before the truck even leaves the warehouse.

3) Maintenance

Fixing a problem before it happens is the most cost-effective form of maintenance. With many aircraft engines now transmitting usage data via Wi-Fi when they are on the ground, augmented reality is assisting maintenance crews in reducing engine downtime by comparing engine data with the past history of other similar aircraft with avionics systems. These algorithms then suggest maintenance before a problem is likely to occur. For planes that spend most of their ground time at distant locations, AR can also enable more experienced maintenance teams at the airline’s hub to see what local technicians are dealing with and provide timely live support.

4) Last Mile Delivery

In logistics, the last-mile of delivery to customers is the most expensive. AR can save money by cutting the time spent on last-mile delivery nearly in half. According to a DHL report, drivers spend 40% to 60% of their day searching inside their own truck for the correct boxes to deliver next. Instead of having to remember how their truck was loaded that morning, augmented reality is used to identify, tag, sequence, and locate every parcel. Combined with artificial intelligence, AR glasses can also navigate the driver to the proper door or building gate for delivery. These systems will record each and every delivery so that new drivers will benefit from past driver experiences. In the near future, every driver will be given a graphic overlay of each building they encounter.

5) Procurement

The distributed ledger capability of blockchain is being combined with augmented reality to bring transparency and traceability to procurement. The entire supply chain falls apart when customers can’t be assured of a product’s origin or authenticity. Each year, billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit pharmaceuticals are distributed to patients, and tens of thousands are dying. Using AR to identify and track each shipment from manufacturer to end user is a way to help solve this deadly problem. Recording each transfer of ownership on a blockchain can also assist in tracing the origin of fish or the source of harvested crops.

Big data drives the decision making behind the world’s distribution of products throughout the supply chain. Augmented reality is now poised to exponentially increase the speed at which data can be analyzed and acted on. The insights augmented reality bring to the supply chain can be used to power the next generation of the supply chain, which will feature autonomous vehicles and delivery drones.

References:

“5 Ways Augmented Reality Is Disrupting the Supply Chain.” Fortune, fortune.com/2018/03/01/5-ways-augmented-reality-is-disrupting-the-supply-chain/.

Questions:

  1. How does augmented reality help in reducing costs in supply chain?
  2. How is blockchain is being combined with augmented reality to bring transparency and traceability to procurement?
  3. How does augmented reality help in last-mile delivery?

How 3D Printing Impacts Logistics and Supply Chains- by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

In recent years, 3D printing has brought manufacturing capabilities to several remote, hard-to-access areas across the globe. DHL, for instance, tells us that the U.S. Navy 3D prints drones on-demand on board its oceangoing vessels. NASA, meanwhile, is working to develop a 3D printer for the International Space Station. Shell is also experimenting with this remote manufacturing method on offshore oil platforms.

Pay-for-use or nonprofit fabrication shops are becoming more popular as well, offering public access to 3D printing tools, and some websites have begun aggregating 3D printing designs, allowing customers to compare and select printing services that work for their specific needs.These initiatives are disrupting the traditional manufacturing supply chain in several ways. In researching warehouse stocking practices in Amsterdam, DiManEx found that approximately 80% of stored products were sold only twice yearly, which led to write-offs, scrapping, and wasted materials. With on-demand, on-site printing, companies can move away from having to store excess spare parts and can instead deliver parts quickly and efficiently, whenever they’re required. Mercedes-Benz Trucks, for instance, allows customers to 3D print more than 30 cargo truck spare parts.

As 3D printing becomes more and more prevalent, expect to see increased supplier consolidation as well. For instance, logistics providers may offer added value by being the ones to process, print, and deliver 3D parts quickly and cheaply. In this way, the typical months-long process of designing, sourcing, and producing component parts can be cut down drastically. In the future, 3D printing warehouses may also take on the responsibility of material sourcing in addition to 3D end-to-end design, production, and delivery. As an example, consider Amazon’s bet on this technology: The company has patented a truck fitted with 3D printers that would allow for sophisticated mobile manufacturing capabilities. Increased responsiveness is also likely, as 3D printers allow for smaller batch sizes, which can positively impact quality control and open the door for expedited product development.

Finally, this kind of technological innovation is likely to bring about advanced customization options, as users will be able to select various aspects of the design, material, shape, size, packaging, and so on. And in gaining the power to make and deliver their own 3D-printed products, customers will no longer be limited to what suppliers themselves design and produce.

 

References:

3D Printing Finds Its Place in the Supply Chain. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://news.thomasnet.com/featured/3d-printing-finds-its-place-in-the-supply-chain/

 

Questions:

  1. How is 3D printing bringing about advanced customization options into supply chains ?
  2. How is 3D printing reducing wastage in supply chains ?
  3. How is 3D printing improving the efficiencies of supply chains ?

 

 

 

How robots are changing Supply Chains by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

One business area ripe for business process disruption enabled by robotics is supply chain execution, especially in order fulfillment processes in the warehouse. These processes typically involve a high degree of human involvement as well as a tremendous amount of movement throughout a facility. Now, it’s not as if robotics have been absent from these areas in the past; there are use case examples, but none at a large scale across supply execution. Those organizations that have introduced robots into their warehousing and fulfillment operations have delivered added value including productivity improvements, efficiency gains, the capability to better scale up/down with demand spikes and the ability to improve customer service levels.

The most familiar example of robotics in the fulfillment process is at Amazon. Thee-commerce giant acquired Kiva Systems (now known as Amazon Robotics) in 2012 for $775 million. Since then, Amazon has continuously expanded their use to upwards of 80,000 robots across 25 distribution centers. Through their deployment, Amazon has been able to accelerate delivery times and reduce fulfillment related costs. According to a note published by Deutsche Bank, the deployment of the robots equates to a roughly $22 million per year savings in facilities where they are in use, or an estimated 20% reduction to operating costs. If Deutsche Bank’s estimates are close, Amazon has proven that there is tremendous value to be gained through the use of robotics within the fulfillment center.

For some, a Kiva-type model will work quite well. These utilize fast-moving robots that shuttle entire racks of inventory from a segregated section of the fulfillment center to a picking station, where a picker selects the inventory needed to fill an order. After a pick, a robot returns the rack to back to the floor and moves on to the next pick. A rack-to-person model is best suited to high throughput facilities where speed is the most important element. The benefits include the ability to rapidly move product to picking locations and accelerate fulfillment cycles. However, the rack-to-person model also has its drawbacks. For example, it requires some facility modification to create a segregated area where the robots can safely operate and it requires a guidance mechanism to ensure that the robots operate within the appropriate spaces. These systems are not necessarily collaborative because humans aren’t allowed to work in the same aisles where the robots are operating.  One final drawback is that with these models, half of the movement is spent returning racks after a pick, essentially retaining 50% of the wasted movement in the process.

References:

Santagate, J., & Santagate, J. (2018, January 25). NextGen Supply Chain: The Robots are Here. Retrieved from https://www.scmr.com/article/nextgen_supply_chain_the_robots_are_here

Questions:

  1. How are robots disrupting supply chains?
  2. How are robots increasing operating efficiencies?
  3. How are robots helping in warehousing and fulfillment operations?

 

 

How will IOT revolutionize the field service industry? – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

  1. Removing paper and fax- All of our devices, cars and appliances are becoming increasingly connected. It might take several tries to become more centralized and contemporary. Nonetheless, the IoT will do away with reliance on pen, paper and fax, and help companies collaborate with the world by using IoT.
  2. Better reporting-After an incident, it can take up to two weeks for a field service technician to file a report. IoT can greatly improve efficiencies by reducing that time to a matter of days. This means things flow more quickly for clients. It also implies that billing and payment for a service event can cycle through much more quickly. As you can see, a faster billing cycle means better cash collection. More cash on hand – and an almost-instantaneous flow of consistent revenue – will allow for improved operations.
  3. 100 percent uptime-Imagine machines that never go down. The IoT, through cloud-based management systems, can guarantee 100 percent uptime for machines and equipment. This can become a massive differentiator in a highly competitive global market. Clients can feel more confident knowing their vendor will always have working equipment on hand to fix and/or maintain any appliance within their niche.
  4. Connected machinery-According to Cisco, around 50 billion objects will be connected by 2020. Of course, that number will grow even beyond 2020. Consider the fact that 2020 is only a few years away. Objects such as medical devices can be more easily monitored through GPS. Furthermore, heating and cooling units can self-report any maintenance issues. Soon, field service technicians can optimize machines via remote control – from anywhere in the world. As a result, the need for human involvement might be removed entirely.
  5. Increasing number of sensors- Machinery can be fitted with sensors to oversee performance data. These sensors can then predict any potential issues before they occur. GE expects the IoT market to be worth around $225 billion by 2020. Companies, and individuals, can then plan scheduled maintenance much more efficiently.
  6. One sensor for all- Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a sensor package that comes with nine different types of sensors. The objective is to use one per room. The sensor can monitor multiple activities such as light, heat, noise, temperature, sounds, vibration and more. It can sense when the faucet is running or if a burner is ignited on the stove. The result is the room automatically becomes a smart environment. Field service technicians can use this type of sensor to monitor any machine or appliance they maintain. Since it monitors more than one thing at a time, it can be used to monitor several machines and appliances at once. The raw data can then be used to determine the causes of maintenance issues from faulty design to human error or extensive use. Instead of hundreds of sensors, only one sensor is needed per room. Plus, those sensors can be configured to communicate with each other.
  7. Become more competitive- The IoT will allow field service companies to stay relevant with the retrieval of actionable and real-time insights. Use of data intelligence will replace paper, pen and fax–as stated earlier, yet, it will do so much more. Field service companies can optimize their operations and even create personalized applications for customers such as software for remote diagnostics.
  8. Sustainable machinery- The IoT will help to modernize machinery, appliances and more along with giving us a greater opportunity for sustainability. IoT data can determine the best time to take a machine offline for maintenance. With a continuous maintenance plan, there is a reduction in the need for replacements. As a result, machinery is more sustainable and longer lasting.
  9. Reduction in errors- The IoT can guide field technicians to the source of the issues, as well as the best course of action. Accurate and metrics-based management will drastically reduce human error, which, means an increasing success rate. Plus, a reduction in errors also means a reduction in wasted time and effort – which, then leads to cost savings for the client and the business.
  10. Predictive maintenance-Field service agents will have the ability to see performance more clearly and accurately. Wear and tear, along with fracturing can be immediately reported – without human involvement. The IoT can learn from large amounts of healthy data to detect any departures of optimal patterns. Any small changes can be flagged in an instant. When the ice machine breaks down, the refrigerator will alert the field service agent. The data records are uploaded to the cloud, which is then accessed by the field technician. When a repair issue is not addressed quickly, it can lead to greater damage in the long run. Having the ability to receive an instant data record means that problems can be remedied immediately, saving costs for extensive damage caused by unresolved problems. The IoT is going to absolutely change everything about how we lead our daily lives, including how industries operate. Field service agents will have an unprecedented amount of feedback. This data can lead to even more fine-tuned insights, which improves innovation, which improves insights and so on. This continuous cycle of improvements can lead to possibilities that have yet to cross our minds.

References:

10 Ways the IoT Will Revolutionize the Field Service Industry. (2018, July 05). Retrieved from https://www.dispatch.me/10-ways-the-iot-will-revolutionize-the-field-service-industry/

Questions-

  1. How can IoT be used for reduction in errors in service operations?
  2. How is IoT enabling predictive maintenance?
  3. How is IoT helping field service companies stay more competitive?

How AI can be applied within Supply Chain Management ? – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

 

  1. Chatbots for Operational Procurement:

Streamlining procurement related tasks through the automation and augmentation of Chabot capability requires access to robust and intelligent data sets, in which, the ‘procuebot’ would be able to access as a frame of reference; or it’s ‘brains’

As for daily tasks, Chatbots could be utilized to:

  • Speak to suppliers during trivial conversations.
  • Set and send actions to suppliers regarding governance and compliance materials.
  • Place purchasing requests.
  • Research and answer internal questions regarding procurement functionalities or a supplier/supplier set.
  • Receiving/filing/documentation of invoices and payments/order requests (Smith 2016).

 

2.Machine Learning (ML) for Supply Chain Planning (SCP)

Supply chain planning is a crucial activity within SCM strategy. Having intelligent work tools for building concrete plans is a must in today’s business world.ML, applied within SCP could help with forecasting within inventory, demand and supply. If applied correctly through SCM work tools, ML could revolutionize the agility and optimization of supply chain decision-making.By utilizing ML technology, SCM professionals — responsible for SCP — would be giving best possible scenarios based upon intelligent algorithms and machine-to-machine analysis of big data sets. This kind of capability could optimize the delivery of goods while balancing supply and demand, and wouldn’t require human analysis, but rather action setting for parameters of success.

  1. Machine Learning for Warehouse Management

Taking a closer look at the domain of SCP, its success is heavily reliant on proper warehouse and inventory-based management. Regardless of demand forecasting, supply flaws (overstocking or under stocking) can be a disaster for just about any consumer-based company/retailer.ML provides an endless loop of forecasting, which bears a constantly self-improving output. This kind of capabilities could reshape warehouse management as we know today.

  1. Autonomous Vehicles for Logistics and Shipping

Intelligence in logistics and shipping has become a center-stage kind of focus within supply chain management in the recent years. Faster and more accurate shipping reduces lead times and transportation expenses, adds elements of environmental friendly operations, reduces labor costs, and — most important of all — widens the gap between competitors.

If autonomous vehicles were developed to the potential — that certain business analysts and tech gurus have hypothesized — the impact on logistics optimization would be astronomical.

“Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. That means the technology would effectively double the output of the U.S. transportation network at 25 percent of the cost” (techcrunch.com 2016).

  1. Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Data Cleansing and Building Data Robustness

NLP is an element of AI and Machine Learning, which has staggering potential for deciphering large amounts of foreign language data in a streamlined manner.

NLP, applied through the correct work took, could build data sets regarding suppliers, and decipher untapped information, due to language barrier. From a CSR or Sustainability & Governance perspective, NLP technology could streamline auditing and compliance actions previously unable because of existing language barriers between buyer-supplier bodies (greenbiz 2017).

  1. ML and Predictive Analytics for Supplier Selection and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

Supplier selection and sourcing from the right suppliers is an increasing concern for enhancing supply chain sustainability, CSR and supply chain ethics. Supplier related risks have become the ball and chain for globally visible brands. One slip-up in the operations of a supplier body, and bad PR is heading right towards your company.

But, what if you had the best possible scenario for supplier selection and risk management, during every single supplier interaction?

Data sets, generated from SRM actions, such as supplier assessments, audits, and credit scoring provide an important basis for further decisions regarding a supplier. With the help of Machine Learning and intelligible algorithms, this (otherwise) passive data gathering could be made active. Supplier selection would be more predictive and intelligible than ever before; creating a platform for success from the very first collaborations. All of this information would be easily available for human inspections but generated through machine-to-machine automation; providing multiple ‘best supplier scenarios’ based on whatever parameters, in which, the user desires.

References:

Community, K. R. (2017, October 26). 6 Applications of Artificial Intelligence for your Supply Chain. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@KodiakRating/6-applications-of-artificial-intelligence-for-your-supply-chain-b82e1e7400c8

 

Questions:

  1. How will AI and autonomous vehicles transform supply chains as we know them?
  2. How does AI help in predictive analysis?
  3. How will Machine Learning change supply chain planning?

 

 

 

Disruptive Innovations and their applications in Supply Chain Management – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

Procurement and supply chain are at the cusp of a disruption with AI, IoT and blockchain technology. A digital transformation is ensuing with the promise of greater efficiency in business processes, operations, transparency and security.

Spend analysis

Spend analysis used in strategic sourcing, needs a shift from the traditional descriptive analytics model to more predictive and prescriptive analytics. Organizations can develop tools to enhance their spend analysis with public domain data — from social media, weather data, demographics, suppliers, competition and logistics to name a few — to help uncover insights that can save money and improve supply chain.

 

Supplier lifecycle management

The traditional supplier lifecycle management platform, when augmented by big data from the public domain, can offer meaningful information on suppliers and supply chain risks. An IoT solution can be employed to track the quality of the product at various stages of the supply chain thus improving the efficiency in the process and providing the metrics for supplier evaluation.

 

Strategic sourcing

Supplier bids are collected using online sourcing events, but a large part of the sourcing evaluation and award process is manual in nature. Using blockchain for through all steps of the process — proposals, quotes and bids — or auction, can offer greater efficiency and transparency.

 

Contract management

A blockchain platform and its smart contract framework coupled with IoT and AI, can help facilitate greater efficiency in compliance and obligation management. AI can help develop smart wizards to build contracts based on responses to specific questions and can further be enabled for pattern recognition to identify changes to standard clauses or introduction of non-standard clauses.

Order management

The traditional order management system is internal to any organization and facilitates the fulfillment process. Blockchain platform powered with AI and IoT can drive greater efficiency in orchestrating and streamlining purchase orders, shipment details, trade documents, goods receipts, quality assurance documents, returns and accounting.

Logistics

The logistics industry is an early adopter of AI, IoT and Blockchain, and is already reaping great business benefits. IoT in the logistics ecosystem can provide great insights on inventory management, shelf life, storage temperature, delivery routes, real-time tracking of freight and more

 

Reference:

https://www.ibm.com/blogs/blockchain/2018/04/digital-transformation-next-gen-procurement-and-supply-chain/

 

Questions:

  1. How are AI, IOT and blockchain transforming the logistics industry?
  2. How is blockchain helping in order management?
  3. How can AI help in contract management ?

IOT Increasing Operational Efficiencies – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

Indeed, the 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. The following are a few areas of operations where we’ll be seeing the most advancement and change with the ever-advancing Industrial IoT.

Operational Efficiencies

When it comes to operational efficiencies, the IoT offers:

  • 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”—and even beyond. 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. Not too shabby.
  • 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. According to IBM 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: Another bonus: 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. Imagine being able to track your inventory—including the supplies you have in stock for future manufacturing—at the click of a button. You’d never miss a deadline again. And again, all that 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. Again, the 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: Of course, the IoT can also use smart sensors on its manufacturing floors to manage planned and predictive maintenance and prevent down-time that can cost so much.

 

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2018/01/09/how-iot-will-impact-the-supply-chain/#7128f2f63e37

Questions:

  1. How can IOT increase operational efficiencies?
  2. How does IOT improve forecasting and inventory ?
  3. How can IOT used for asset tracking ?