In Search of Cool
In Search of Cool highlights the supply chain technologies that we think are cool. This section of our website is not pay-for-play. Instead, we comb the world looking for new technologies. The postings are purely based on our beliefs that these technology vendors are meeting three criteria:
- A new technology approach to solving a supply chain problem
- A bright idea that is validated by customer references
- Unique solution for a business problem
However, the list should not be seen as an endorsement. New technologies and implementations carry risks, and these solution providers are pushing the edges.
Listed below is our list of cool technologies. When we see a supply chain technology that impresses us, we will add to this list. And, if you see something that you think is cool, please send a note to us at email@example.com.
Often the best supply chain solutions come from the foxholes of wartime. This is the case of Enterra Solutions. While we have talked about applying artificial intelligence to the supply chain for many years, Enterra Solutions is the first company that we have seen that is making it work. We first saw this at Conair where Enterra used rules-based ontologies to automate shipping compliance and the management of supply chain visibility in the long, and ever-changing, supply chain. Early adopters are now starting to use the Enterra Solution to mine demand insights data and to power supply chain visualization. We think supply chain learning systems are just around the corner.
We continue to be impressed by the work that Signal Demand is doing on supply chain orchestration. While many price optimization solutions focus on answering the question of price, Signal Demand is the only solution that we know of that is working on orchestrating the price and shaping demand market-to-market. We quote several of Signal Demand’s case studies in the Supply Chain Insights report Building Market-driven Value Networks.
Llamasoft has taken network design to the next level of many dimensions. They were the first technology provider to understand the power of using advanced optimization and supply chain simulation together. (While advanced optimization allows you to see the possibilities, the use of simulation allows you to test the feasibility of the options.) One of their latest innovations, Supply Chain Sherpa, enables network design on a mobile tablet. We love the video on the use of this technology by General Mills. The General Mills team is using this more advanced form of supply chain visualization in top-to-top meetings on supply chain design with retailers. The video will be available soon on YouTube and at LLamasoft.com.
Intelleflex announced a cellular RFID reader — a mobile reader than can operate in the middle of a remote strawberry field or at the dock door of a retailer — with no need for external electric power or a network connection. It is standards-based, with integrated cellular/GSM connectivity to enable users to collect data wherever perishables are located and automatically transmit the data to a cloud-based server within seconds. Intelleflex’s new extended-capability RFID products are designed to help the cold chain by transmitting streaming data to better preserve product safety and quality with documented back up. The use of streaming RFID data is one form of Big Data that supply chain leaders need to prepare for. We are on the cusp of a resurgence of RFID to help companies build safe and secure supply chains.
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