When wading through today's plethora of digital technologies, Walmart's Vijay Sankararaman considers the supply chain issue it addresses and the issue's value to the organization, and when introducing technology, the company focuses on retaining system stability, maintaining a simple user experience and bolstering operational effectiveness. During the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals 2019 EDGE Conference, Sankararaman pointed to Walmart's internet of things sensors, machine vision cameras, timely trailer tracking and blockchain traceability as solution-providing technologies.
Advanced manufacturing technology could give a much-needed jolt to manufacturing labor productivity, which hasn't grown in the past five years, analysts from Deloitte write. A recent study found that smart technology provides business value to factories in various situations.
True Value Hardware is dealing with competition from Amazon by making investments such as the $150 million it spent on a 1 million-square-foot Pennsylvania distribution center, said CEO John Hartmann. "We are listening to our customers intently," Hartmann said.
Artificial intelligence can be used to help industrial distributors identify customer purchasing trends and make better procurement decisions, writes David Panitch. Distributors should develop and communicate clear plans for implementing AI and start with small projects, Panitch writes.
Better forecasting and technology can help distributors quickly fulfill orders without overinvesting in stock. Avoid buying until stock levels hit specific reorder points, and use minimum quantity thresholds to automate reordering, writes Bridget McCrea.
US manufacturing production rose more than expected in August, increasing 0.5% after falling 0.4% the previous month, according to the Federal Reserve. Total industrial production for the month rose 0.6%, but production at factories was down 0.4% from the same period last year.
Operational technology has been the target of recent cyberattacks, highlighting the need for better security, particularly as OT is being integrated with IT and the industrial internet of things. One solution created by Tempered Networks allows companies to "keep their existing network and security stack in place, but deploy an industrial IoT microsegmentation overlay," David Petersson writes.
Warehouses are using automation tools more widely to help meet customer demand for fast delivery, Richard Seel writes. He notes that warehouses may eventually rely more on skilled workers who can interact with automation technology, rather than unskilled workers who perform simple tasks.
A company's process of digitizing its supply chain should have four main components: descriptive, predictive, prescriptive and autonomous, experts said at a recent supply chain management conference. Companies should start with problems that are easy to solve but don't need to wait until their data is perfect, experts added.
Additive manufacturing is more sustainable than conventional manufacturing in some, but not all, instances, according to MIT professor Timothy Gutowski. He says sustainability can be measured with a "buy-to-fly" ratio of raw material to material in the final product.
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