How intelligent automation will impact and revitalise global supply chains

The idea of automation in manufacturing and the supply chain is nothing new – since the earliest days of the industrial revolution we have sought to automate tasks with machines, and lower the cost of manufacturing processes.

In countless cases, the application of machines, and more recently software, has meant improvements in the consistency of products, facilitated near 24/7/365 production and has meant staff can be focused on higher value tasks in their company.

Yet the use of technology in the industry may not be fully understood; a recent Capgemini survey showed that nearly half (48%) of UK office workers are optimistic about the impact automation technologies can have. However, while respondents to the survey had a general idea of the benefits that might accrue, they were less clear as to how these technologies could be applied to their specific area of work. And worryingly, only 20% said they felt their organisations were currently benefiting from automation – clearly the industry is missing a trick.

However, as utilisation stagnates for certain companies, the market is maturing. Automation is now reaching far beyond simple process software and mechanisation. Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive computing, advanced robotics, Digital Fabrication and blockchain are becoming increasingly popular, bringing together the power of automation and analytics.

Yet other areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which are proven enablers for new ways of optimizing the supply chain and manufacturing processes, are less understood. It’s agile, forward-thinking businesses that are able to utilise these technologies in a thoughtful way that will reap the benefits.

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The Next Revolution in Supply Chain Management

In the first revolution, the concept of supply chain, as opposed to logistics, was put forth. Constraint based optimization tools for the extended supply chain were developed to support the new philosophy. As this was going on, Lean and Six Sigma approaches to improving capabilities, not just at the factory level, but in other internal departments, as well as across the supplier and 3PL base, were gaining in strength.

It took a while, but it was recognized technology was not enough. The key process in SCM is the sales and operations planning (S&OP) process that balances supply with demand intelligently. S&OP itself is going through a second rev and we now talk about integrated business planning (IBP), a form of S&OP that is more closely aligned with finance. A related “revolution” that improves the demand half of S&OP is based on the concept of demand driven supply chains; this is the idea that it is important to not just create a forecast based on historical shipments, but having real visibility to demand at the point of sale to improve demand management.

In recent years, the topic of supply chain risk management has emerged and new processes and ideas have begun to be codified and turned into a distinct discipline. An emerging topic is supply chain sustainability; and indeed in many corporate social responsibility reports the topics of both supply chain risk management and sustainability are addressed.

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Revolution Analytics named a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms

Revolution Analytics named a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms

The entire team at Revolution Analytics is very proud to announce that Gartner has named Revolution Analytics a Visionary in the inaugural Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms, published February 19, 2014. The report evaluated 16 vendors through a series of stringent criteria related to the ability to execute and completeness of vision.

Revolution Analytics is positioned the furthest for Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute in the Visionaries Quadrant. We believe this is a validation of the leading-edge innovations of the open-source R community, and that of our own Revolution R Enterprise development team who continues to complement R with scalability, performance, and enterprise readiness. Here’s what CEO Dave Rich has to say:

“It’s such a pivotal moment for data scientists and the growing open-source R community that Gartner has embarked on its first ever Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms. Gartner estimates advanced analytics to be a $2 billion market that spans a broad array of industries globally, and ‘Gartner predicts business intelligence and analytics will remain top focus for CIOs Through 2017.’ We believe that this new Magic Quadrant puts a spotlight on big data as the great analytics disruptor and we feel highlights the need for solutions like Revolution Analytics’ that are built upon a flexible, open platform, and designed for today’s Big Data Big Analytics challenges.” — Dave Rich, CEO, Revolution Analytics

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