Welcome!

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

@BigDataExpo: Article

Third-Party Logistics in #DigitalTransformation | @CloudExpo #BigData #ML

Overcoming the challenges of dynamic supply chain management

Closing the IT Gap for Third-Party Logistics

The modern supply chain manager faces a broad range of challenges that shift from day to day. They may be tasked with outsourcing or selling off part of the supply chain to reduce cost structure, or have to dig into regulatory requirements surrounding issues like conflict minerals. They may have to open up new channels of distribution in other countries, or face an unexpected challenge from non-traditional competitors.

That triple challenge of globalization, margin pressure, and technology change can severely limit business performance for even the most well run companies.

As supply chain managers respond to these challenges, they often choose to outsource elements based on lower operating cost, technical sophistication, and scale of the outsourced provider. While gaining those distinct advantages, the consequences include increased management complexity, loss of visibility, reduced operational control, and a lack of responsiveness.

Increasingly, they struggle to address these consequences and often dilute their original benefits by hiring more staff, performing manually intensive data gathering and analysis, or implementing costly point solutions for every type of integration, analytical, and management requirement.

At the end of the day the original challenge remains: how to capture the benefits of outsourced operations while retaining the critical visibility, operational control, and responsiveness modern businesses demand?

Connecting and orchestrating beyond your walls
The operating diversity of today's modern supply chains creates numerous execution challenges for supply chain leaders. Dealing with suppliers, factories, transportation providers, distributors and customers represent a significant variability of information, systems, integration points, and more, across this wide range of entities. Just maintaining visibility is a real challenge, but managers need a big-picture view of inventories and real-time supply chain activity. They must be able to plan, execute, and critically be positioned to rapidly and optimally adapt to both demand and supply shocks.

Sadly, the systems that are available are rarely up to the task of creating a supply chain that's agile and responsive.

As many as 93% of supply chain owners agreed that IT capabilities are a necessary element of 3PL (third-party logistics) expertise, yet only 59% agreed that they were satisfied with current 3PL capabilities, according to the 2016 20th Annual Third Party Logistics Study conducted by Capgemini Consulting.

This IT gap needs to be closed.

The ability to make systems connections rapidly and then effectively orchestrate data gathering, application tasking, and business role applications across a diverse set of systems is highly desirable. To do it in a consistent and repeatable manner positions you to flexibly respond as you hire a new transportation company, take a new factory online, or open up a channel to new customers. Only by creating and managing end-to-end links can you achieve the control and adaptability you need to orchestrate value creation.

Dealing with internal systems
What happens internally with most companies is an interesting parallel with the external diversity and disparity. Over time, supply chain managers have bought different applications, they've built new databases, they've built data warehouses, introduced a services-based architecture, and employed new analytics platforms. The result is a very diverse mix of resources internally that mirrors the complexity of your external supply chain.

The challenge of supply chain management process orchestration is to connect the dots. You may need to query the current state of your internal inventory, to interact with an application to predict inventory activity, maybe execute some predictive analytics and then write those predictive results into a warehouse where they'll be pushed to web-based services, and eventually signal to the factory that they need to increase production by five percent.

That kind of orchestrated workflow can require a very long, drawn out, resource-intensive integration process to create.

Bridging the gap
The traditional way that people orchestrate activity across these disparate platforms is to lay out and build a very comprehensive systems integration infrastructure. But it requires a long-term, multi-million-dollar investment to bring in, install, configure, and manage that layer of infrastructure. And the time you spend building that intermediate layer is time you should be spending configuring the business experience and the process experience you want.

It's time for a fresh approach to this problem. What would be better, faster, and cheaper is a non-invasive layer that can be configured and re-configured as required to extract whatever you need from your existing systems and orchestrate end-to-end value creation across the diverse systems and operating entities of your supply chain.

At the end of the day, a supply chain manager is on the hook to create value from a supply chain perspective within the broader business. These elements are crucial to fulfilling that ambition: being able to rapidly connect, interact, and extract value from those diverse systems, deal with the variation that you see between and among those different platforms, and quickly adapt to create new workflows to solve different business problems.

More Stories By Thomas Fountain

Thomas Fountain is Chief Technology Officer for business orchestration software provider Pneuron (www.pneuron.com) based in New York. He was previously CIO at global agribusiness Bunge, Ltd. He’s held senior CIO roles at Honeywell and GE as well as product management, intelligence officer, and engineering positions with Dell, the Central Intelligence Agency, HP, and Martin-Marietta. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MS degree from Duke, and an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Contact him at thomas.fountain@pneuron.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Real IoT production deployments running at scale are collecting sensor data from hundreds / thousands / millions of devices. The goal is to take business-critical actions on the real-time data and find insights from stored datasets. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Walicki, Watson IoT Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud, will provide a fast-paced developer journey that follows the IoT sensor data from generation, to edge gateway, to edge analytics, to encryption, to the IBM Bluemix cloud, to Wa...
What is the best strategy for selecting the right offshore company for your business? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, will discuss the things to look for - positive and negative - in evaluating your options. He will also discuss how to maximize productivity with your offshore developers. Before you start your search, clearly understand your business needs and how that impacts software choices.
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
With the rise of DevOps, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in Enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery for the business. When it comes to adopting containers in the enterprise, security is the highest adoption barrier. Is your organization ready to address the security risks with containers for your DevOps environment? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, NA West at Red Hat, will discuss: The top security r...
IBM helps FinTechs and financial services companies build and monetize cognitive-enabled financial services apps quickly and at scale. Hosted on IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform builds in customer insights, regulatory compliance analytics and security to help reduce development time and testing. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Lennart Frantzell, a Developer Advocate with IBM, will discuss how these tools simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration, allowing devel...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
There is huge complexity in implementing a successful digital business that requires efficient on-premise and cloud back-end infrastructure, IT and Internet of Things (IoT) data, analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Applications. In the data center alone, there are physical and virtual infrastructures, multiple operating systems, multiple applications and new and emerging business and technological paradigms such as cloud computing and XaaS. And then there are pe...
Today traditional IT approaches leverage well-architected compute/networking domains to control what applications can access what data, and how. DevOps includes rapid application development/deployment leveraging concepts like containerization, third-party sourced applications and databases. Such applications need access to production data for its test and iteration cycles. Data Security? That sounds like a roadblock to DevOps vs. protecting the crown jewels to those in IT.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...