Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: LeanTaaS Blog, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Larry Alton, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @DXWorldExpo, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

@DXWorldExpo: 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 [email protected]

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit 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. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...