How a pharmaceutical supply chain company is taking advantage of the Internet of Things

In 2014, during a routine check from the Ministry of Health in the U.S., it was found that only 55 percent of vaccines were stored and transported in the temperature conditions that ensured the medication maintained its quality. To put that into perspective, every baby born receives vaccines to prevent diseases such as small pox and measles. If only 55 percent of those vaccinations maintain safety requirements, that creates a situation where a majority of babies don’t get the quality dosage and medication they need to protect them from diseases.

To overcome this challenge, organizations are turning to technology. More specifically, the Internet of Things (IoT) is making it possible to ensure the safer transportation and delivery of medications. Dutch pharmaceutical services company, AntTail, is paving the way for building innovative IoT applications that more effectively track the conditions of medications while in transit.

The team at AntTail built an IoT application using the Mendix low-code application development platform. The application collects sensor data from medication shipments to provide information on temperature, as well as send push notifications to patients with reminders on when to take the medication.

One of the barriers for creating IoT apps is the requirement of many disparate technologies. AntTail uses a central router as a hub for all of the sensors, collecting the data when there is a connection and storing the data when there is no connection to ensure that no data is lost. The Router uses Vodafone’s Managed IoT Connectivity Platform as a way to connect to AWS, and has a Java service running that puts the data into Hadoop.

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Global Supply Chains Are About to Get Better, Thanks to Blockchain

When an E.coli outbreak at Chipotle Mexican Grill outlets left 55 customers ill, in 2015, the news stories, shutdowns, and investigations shattered the restaurant chain’s reputation. Sales plummeted, and Chipotle’s share price dropped 42%, to a three-year low, where it has languished ever since.

At the heart of the Denver-based company’s crisis was the ever-present problem faced by companies that depend on multiple suppliers to deliver parts and ingredients: a lack of transparency and accountability across complex supply chains. Unable to monitor its suppliers in real time, Chipotle could neither prevent the contamination nor contain it in a targeted way after it was discovered.

Now, a slew of startups and corporations are exploring a radical solution to this problem: using a blockchain to transfer title and record permissions and activity logs so as to track the flow of goods and services between businesses and across borders.

With blockchain technology, the core system that underpins bitcoin, computers of separately owned entities follow a cryptographic protocol to constantly validate updates to a commonly shared ledger. A fundamental advantage of this distributed system, where no single company has control, is that it resolves problems of disclosure and accountability between individuals and institutions whose interests aren’t necessarily aligned. Mutually important data can be updated in real time, removing the need for laborious, error-prone reconciliation with each other’s internal records. It gives each member of the network far greater and timelier visibility of the total activity.

Read more at Global Supply Chains Are About to Get Better, Thanks to Blockchain

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How incorporating IoT into the cold supply chain could save florists millions this Mother’s Day

A leading expert claims that the flower industry could save hundreds of millions of dollars just by ensuring supply chain efficiency in the lead-up to Mother’s Day.

Shipments in the floral industry spike ten-fold in the lead up to Mother’s Day and an estimated $2.6 billion is expected to be spent in 2017 even though it’s estimated that 40 per cent of flowers are never even sold.

David Bairstow, Product VP at location specialists Skyhook, reckons that incorporating the internet of things into the cold supply chain could result in massive savings.

He said: “Supply chain is an industry born out of economies of scale. The same applies to the cost of implementing IoT, as scale increases, return on investment increases. It costs pennies to ship individual flowers; however, using supply chain insights to increase efficiencies and reduce waste, can quickly pay for itself.

“Factoring in that the 40% waste due to unsold flowers amounts to $1.04 billion, it is evident that there is massive scope for improvement. If introducing IoT into the cold supply chain leads to decrease in waste by even 10%, that would result in more than $100 million of savings.”

Companies like KaBloom are constantly optimizing the day-to-day supply chain over time to achieve the most efficient path to the consumer. They see a ten-fold increase in volume on days like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day and their supply chain remains largely the same, except for the increased volume on those holidays so if the day-to-day efficiencies are optimized, the likelihood of failures happening on the busiest days can be drastically reduced.

Read more How incorporating IoT into the cold supply chain could save florists millions this Mother’s Day

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Transforming Integrated Planning & Supply Chain Processes with Augmented Intelligence Capabilities

In conjunction with the announcement, o9 released an eBook titled, “Who Gets the Cheese?”

Aptly named after one of the greatest business books of all time (Who Moved My Cheese?), this resource details one of o9’s systems for optimally allocating resources across initiatives and brands at consumer goods companies.

Founded by executives, practitioners and technologists that have led supply chain innovations for nearly three decades, the o9 team has been quietly developing a game-changing Augmented Intelligence (AI) platform for transforming Integrated Planning and Supply Chain processes.

The team has deployed the AI platform with select clients, including:

  1. Bridgestone Tires
  2. Asian Paints
  3. Restoration Hardware
  4. Party City
  5. Del Monte
  6. Aditya Birla Group
  7. Caterpillar
  8. Ainsworth Pet Foods

Speaking on behalf of o9 Solutions, Co-founder and CEO Chakri Gottemukkala said, “While executives we work with hear the buzz around technologies for data sensing, analytics, high performance computing, artificial intelligence and automation, they are also living the reality of slow and siloed planning and decision making because the enterprise operates primarily on spreadsheets, email and PowerPoint.”

Read more at Transforming Integrated Planning & Supply Chain Processes with Augmented Intelligence Capabilities

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BROWZ Launches New Software Platform for Improved Supply Chain Management

Speaking to a full house at the BROWZ Client Summit 2016 Sundance Resort, V.P. of Product Development, Aaron Rudd stated “BROWZ OneView is a significant development in the evolution of supply chain management software that will not only meet our clients needs today, but will meet their supply chain needs as they expand in the future.”

BROWZ OneView is an entirely new interface and user experience for BROWZ clients.

“Our goal was to enhance the way our clients interact with our solutions and their supply chain. From conducting a simple supplier search to in-depth analysis across a global supply chain. BROWZ is empowering our clients with the new OneView platform,” Rudd said.

“The software provides meaningful insight into the entire supply chain using key performance indicators which also provides the flexibility to analyze the performance of individual locations or specified risk level with the click of a button.”

Read more at BROWZ Launches New Software Platform for Improved Supply Chain Management

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Great Suppliers Make Great Supply Chains

As an analyst who covers supply chain management (SCM) and procurement practice across industry, I tend to keep my keyboard focused on the disruptive themes that continue to re-define it. That said, if you’re expecting me go on about the unprecedented growth of the SCM solution markets, the accelerated pace of innovation, tech adoption, social change, etc., don’t hold your breath. I can’t, as the data argue otherwise. Too many of us conflate diversification with acceleration –and there’s a difference.

The most notable, defining advances of the last decade (Amazon, Twitter, Google, etc.) share something in common: they do not require consumer investment. If you take those monsters out of the equation and focus on corporate solution environments, the progress, while steady, has not been remarkable. Let’s just say there remains plenty of room for improvement, especially in supply chain and procurement practice areas.

I fell onto this tangent unexpectedly. It happened while interviewing Mr. Dan Georgescu, Ford Motor Company, adjunct Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, a highly regarded expert in the field of automotive industry supplier development. “For supply chains to be successful, performance measurement must become a continuous improvement process integrated throughout,” he said. “For a number of reasons, including the fact that our industry is increasingly less vertically integrated, supplier development is absolutely core to OEM performance.”

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Technology’s Role in Managing the Evolution of the Customer Centric Supply Chain

Having an effective supply chain has always been key to retail success. Whether you call it micro-merchandising or the customer-centric supply chain, the challenge has traditionally been to quickly identify trends or activity in a store that is outperforming the norm, and rapidly roll this out to all stores with similar attributes and customer behaviours. Indeed, much of the ‘flair’ that separated well- from poorly performing retail operators was down to the ability of some key individuals to spot trends, clusters and patterns that drove better understanding of customer behaviour, and act upon these insights to deliver to customers’ demands.

This macro-level insight is, however, no longer good enough. Today, retailers need to be able to understand not only how items are performing across the entire retail estate as well as within individual stores and spot trends and patterns accordingly; they also need to be able to marry this micro-level performance to geographic and demographic information to reflect the demand from a particular store’s customers. And, they need to be able to forecast how those same items will be performing in weeks and months to come.

This is the capability that is required to truly deliver today’s customer-centric supply chain. But it demands a level of detail simply too difficult for humans to manage. Software solutions are designed to raise the average performance level by helping the poor or below average operators benefit from the expertise of the higher performers and placing this supporting technology in the hands of those key individuals who would act as district or regional manager.

But the needs of today’s customer-centric supply chain have outpaced even the majority of these solutions.

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DHL establishes Supply Chain Distribution Centre in Brazil

DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics specialist within Deutsche Post DHL Group, consolidated the logistics operations of three Sanofi divisions in Brazil by establishing a new distribution centre in Guarulhos, near São Paulo. The project, initiated by Sanofi in 2014, covers all portfolios of Sanofi, Sanofi Pasteur and Medley Brazil. In addition to the operation of the newly installed logistics centre, Sanofi redesigned its distribution networks for the complete Brazilian market and the corresponding export processes. The development of the new site means investments of 200 million Euros between 2015 and 2020. Already today, it is one of the largest distribution centres of Sanofi worldwide and the largest operated by DHL in Brazil for the healthcare sector.

Guarulhos was chosen as the ideal location due to its proximity to Sanofi’s industrial plants, large consumer centres and main logistical hubs of the country such as the Port of Santos. With 36,000 square meters of fully air-conditioned storage area and almost 50,000 pallet positions, DHL’s Distribution Centre has increased Sanofi’s daily shipping capacity significantly, especially with regards to operations of cold chain processes. Thereby ensuring speed, quality and safety for all steps along the supply chain.

“The objective of this project was to simplify and enhance Sanofi’s storage operations and distribution network in Brazil. Consolidating these operations into a single distribution centre has enabled us to foster synergies and streamline the entire process,” says Javier Bilbao, CEO DHL Supply Chain Brazil.

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The Value of a Supply Chain Executive Education

Executive-level supply chain positions have gained both prominence and importance for today’s global companies, and to support this trend, universities, colleges, professional organizations, and training firms have enhanced their supply chain and logistics programs to help executives stay current on supply chain trends.

It wasn’t that long ago that supply chain managers worked mainly behind the scenes, stealthily orchestrating the movement of products from the raw material stage to manufacturing/production and right on through to the final delivery of the finished goods.

Typically occupied by employees who had successfully “worked their way up” through the company, these executive-level supply chain positions have over the last few years gained both prominence and importance for today’s global companies.

To support this trend, universities and colleges have enhanced their supply chain and logistics degree programs; organizations like APICS and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) have expanded their certification programs; and training firms offer myriad options to help executives stay current on supply chain trends.

These executive education offerings provide executives with the opportunity to hone their skills, upgrade their technology acumen and better understand the inner workings of the modern-day supply chain.

Read more at The Value of a Supply Chain Executive Education

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3 ways to strengthen security with software supply-chain automation

Federal agencies are striving to become more innovative and iterative, leading to growing adoption of open source within the government. The issuance earlier this year of the Federal Source Code Policy illustrates how this technology, once anathema to government agencies, has become the de facto standard for the creation and deployment of many applications.

With the explosive adoption of open-source components being used to assemble applications, agency personnel are now tasked with ensuring the quality of the components that are being used. Developers must have confidence in components’ security, licensing and quality attributes and know for certain that they are using the latest versions.

Unfortunately, many agencies that are adopting the RMF are also relying on outdated and inefficient practices and tools that are not designed for today’s open and agile world. In addition to relying on potentially vulnerable components to build applications, some agencies have continued to depend too heavily on common application security tools, such as static application security testing and dynamic application security testing.

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