Shutterstock Macrovector Supply chain software — and some hardware — are increasingly being marketed to large companies. In the Wild West of global supply chains — complex production networks notorious for outsourcing jobs, unaddressed safety hazards and myriad inefficiencies — gadgets such as smartphones and sensors might seem an unnecessary distraction. The wave of companies jumping into the supply chain technology market would beg to differ.
Shutterstock Macrovector Supply chain software — and some hardware — are increasingly being marketed to large companies. In the Wild West of global supply chains — complex production networks notorious for outsourcing jobs, unaddressed safety hazards and myriad inefficiencies — gadgets such as smartphones and sensors might seem an unnecessary distraction.
The Canon supply chain management of companies jumping into the supply chain technology market would beg to differ.
Both existing logistics companies and a range of upstarts are rolling out products designed to trace materials back to their source, increase transparency into day-to-day supplier operations and reduce the unnecessarily wasteful journeys of products headed to their final destinations.
The aim is to adapt macro technology trends, such as the proliferation of mobile devices, wireless connectivity, cloud communications, Big Data analytics and the Internet of Things. By doing so, providers promise sustainability, accountability and the marketing ability to provide sourcing information to increasingly interested consumers.
Flickr Global supply chains are drawing interest from tech providers focused on traceability, sustainability, labor and other variables. Supply chains represent a massive market. The business case for more investment often lies in risk mitigation, increased efficiency and subsequent cost reductions — a fixation that advocates say historically has led companies to cut corners on labor conditions, environmental impacts and product quality.
Radio frequency identification RFID has been around for upwards of a decade, eliciting related product offerings from the likes of tech heavyweights SAP and Oracle. A range of providers are now looking to augment or improve tracking technology.
Others in the space are more focused on transparency imperatives, such as quantifying supplier performance. Infor Just this week, Whole Foods became the latest retail giant to throw its weight behind supply chain technology provided by Infor.
Whole Foods aims to push this further, adding information such as water usage required to grow a product or other sourcing data points. Ecovadis Not all suppliers are created equal. The alerts are delivered through mobile apps, and the company also advertises more tailored business intelligence services.
A subsidiary of Japanese IT firm Fujitsu, Globe Ranger pitches centralized supply chain management software and connectivity to products equipped with RFID, mobile or sensor technology. Crowdsourcing worker sentiment In the world of white collar employment, much ado has been made about the push to solicit and analyze real time worker feedback.
The thinking is that monitoring worker sentiment can lead to increased engagement and ultimately, higher productivity. The labor dynamics in developing countries heavily relied upon for supply chain manufacturing, however, are completely different.
Take your pick of industries with storied histories of exploiting workers, from mines run by warlords to garment sweatshops or poor conditions for migrants employed at automotive factories.
LaborVoices In the Silicon Valley suburb of Sunnyvale, former quantum physicist Kohl Gill has been growing a company that aims literally to amplify the voices of supply chain laborers often rendered anonymous. Five-year-old LaborVoices works with both companies looking to get a handle on worker realities and directly with workers by collecting feedback over cell phone calls in multiple languages.
The company operates in eight countries on four continents and is financed primarily with subscription revenue from employers who receive information like warnings about specific factories. LaborVoices Given the unequal power dynamics at work between multinational corporations and supply chain workers, Gill had to strike a delicate balance in conceptualization of the product.
Good World Solutions In nearby Oakland, the nonprofit Good World Solutions has been honing a similar smartphone tool called Laborlink since a launch with workers.
With a goal of providing companies "real time visibility" into their supply chains, particularly in the garment and electronic industries, the organization operates an anonymous two-way cell phone communication system.
Melding logistics with the sharing economy At the end of the supply chain lies the storage and transportation of finished products.
The Seattle-based upstart is also looking to establish symbiotic relationships with other companies looking to make the most of evolving supply chain capacity, selling flexible warehouse space as an enabler for same-day shipping now being offered by a range of retailers, such as Google and Amazon.
Cloud Logistics While not as heavy on the on-demand craze, another logistics tech company, Cloud Logisticsis among those shifting toward a combination of cloud and mobile transportation management services.
The company focuses on clients in manufacturing, retail, 3PL and wholesale, offering services such as vendor-to-vendor communication, inventory tracking and other logistics analytics.For example, as Canon focuses on its core competency in the production of high-value critical components (e.g.
lenses and image sensors), it outsources the manufacturing of low-value accessories (e.g. rubber handgrip) to its supply-chain partners with expertise in the production of those components (Canon, d; Canon USA, a).
"A general trend in supply chain is that executives look for silver bullets," according to McKinsey. "Quite frankly, supply chain is a lot about hard work." Tracking and transparency. Perhaps the most buzzed-about node of activity in the realm of supply chain technology is improving traceability and transparency.
Senior Operations and Supply Chain Management Professional Experienced operations leader with broad-based expertise and accomplishments in directing a multi-billion dollar global supply timberdesignmag.com: Vice President - Parts & Logistics, .
Supply chain management as defined by Stevenson (), “is the strategic coordination of business functions within a business organization and throughout its supply chain for the purpose of integrating supply and demand management” (p.
). Canon offers a holistic approach to warehouse services. By providing a highly trained staff, proven processes and best-in-class technology we enable an increased velocity, accountability and efficiency throughout the supply chain. The high-level scope of the Canon Warehouse and Distribution Services includes: LABOR MANAGEMENT: Canon recruits, manages and trains a highly skilled warehouse .
weak links in the supply chain that delivers Needing a solution, the hospital turned to its mail and courier management services provider, Canon Business Process Servic-es. The hospital tapped Canon’s logistics expertise in order to help the hospital address the challenges and optimize the distribution of medical supplies.