The Digital Supply Chain
Today’s market dynamics—with the customer calling more of the shots—requires new digital technologies to work together to transform the supply chain.
Since first developing projects to optimize production management, a shift has occurred in recent years that sees competition not just from manufacturing companies, but the full supply chain. The days of a single company reaching a market leadership position on its own are over, simply because it’s not possible to compete alone in the market. And in the supply chain today there’s a new fundamental actor that is determining the change: the client. It’s not the designer or the inventor any more that creates the market, but the end user, through choices and real-time feedback.
Innovation comes not from the sophisticated new algorithms that enable analysis of big quantities of data, but rather the possibility of using existing algorithms on tools with computation capabilities that you couldn’t imagine until a few years ago. It’s not a single element that changes the landscape, but the combination of several elements that exponentially multiply the effects of each one.
Big Data and analytics—all the data and information generated by IoT—would be useless without the ability to store and analyze apparently unrelated bits of data. And the exponential growth of the data size makes it impossible to use only manually generated models or algorithms. Artificial intelligence (AI), therefore, is becoming ever more important, providing the ability to autonomously generate models and find correlations in the data that had not been visible before—not only because of the continuous growth of data volumes, but also the continuous transformation of the data sets themselves brought on by new data sources.
New real and not futuristic landscapes become available. When you imagine products delivered with drones or autonomous vehicles, you might think of Amazon’s drones or Google’s cars delivering the parcels, but you should consider a less futuristic and more actual example. In Rwanda, there’s an already active service to transport and deliver blood bags and medical treatments totally based on autonomous drones. It’s a marvelous example of digital transformation of the supply chain, where technology solved a problem that was only a few months ago almost impossible to solve in a country like Rwanda. The incompatibility between transportation costs and the urgency dictated by patient conditions (especially during the rainy season) on one side and the impossibility to store both the blood bags and the medicines locally on the other was determining the end of life for many people.
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