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Efficiency, convenience, and automation are the three words that define everything the Internet of Things (IoT) stands for. Today, IoT has become a game changer technology that has been creating quite a buzz in almost every industry. But has this technology found acceptance in healthcare? The modest beginning of IoT in healthcare can be traced to the use of smart sensors, remote monitoring, and medical device integration as well as wearable biometric sensors, activity trackers, glucose monitors, smart beds and medication dispensers. Additionally, the use of IoT in healthcare will help mitigate pharmaceutical supply chain entropy, while improving transparency and visibility. The future of healthcare will be exhilarating with more expansion and investment in IoT. This technology is expected to optimize every aspect of care as well as the pharmaceutical supply chain and transfigure the way it is managed across the continuum. So, let’s understand in detail the reasons why IoT in healthcare is the need of the hour. (more…)
As time passes, the complexity of supply chain management also increases. It even takes several days to make a payment between a manufacturer and a supplier, or a customer and a vendor. Additionally, with companies relying on a large number of suppliers, products and parts are often hard to trace back to suppliers, making defects difficult to eliminate. So, how do you wiggle your way out of these supply chain challenges? Blockchain technology might be the solution that you have been looking for. This technology has been the new talk of the town for a while now, and it drives bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The use of such a technology in the supply chain might sound confusing. But what needs to be understood is that the application of blockchain technology goes way beyond just financial transactions. Here are some of the critical applications of blockchain technology in supply chain management:
Automating supplier payments
Using blockchain technology, funds can be transferred anywhere around the world. Also, the transfer is done directly between the payer and the payee without involving a third-party. Tomcar, an Australian vehicle manufacturer, uses bitcoins to pay its suppliers. One of the critical advantages of blockchain is that it is highly secure and less costly when compared to traditional methods of paying the suppliers. It also provides rapidly automated clearing house payments between the payer and the payee.
Blockchain technology can be used to record the product status at each stage of production. These records are inalterable and permanent. Also, they allow the tracing of each product to its source. An example is that of Walmart using blockchain technology to track the sales of pork meat in China. The system makes the process of supply chain management more efficient by showing where each piece of meat comes from, its processing and storage, and sell-by date. Furthermore, in the event of any product recalls, the company can correctly track the defective batches and who bought them.
RFID-driven contract bids
RFID tags simplify supply chain management by storing information about products. The RFID tag can be easily read and processed by IT systems automatically. Therefore, this technology can be applied to smart contracts for logistics. RFID tags attached to cartons or pallets store information on the delivery date and location. Logistics partners run applications to identify these tags and bid for the delivery contract. The party that offers the optimal price and service gets the contract. A smart contract then tracks the status and the final delivery performance.
Cold chain monitoring
The need for special storage is often seen in food and pharmaceutical industries. Also, companies gain more value in sharing warehouses and distribution centers, rather than each one paying for its own. Sensors planted on these sensitive products can record temperature, humidity, vibration, and other items of interest. The readings and data can then be stored using blockchain technology, which is permanent and tamperproof. If a storage condition deviates from what was previously agreed, each member of the blockchain will be notified. Also, a smart contract can trigger an action to correct the situation.
To know more about the applications of blockchain technology in supply chain management
In recent times, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the procurement function as being strategically important to the business. It drives value, generates massive savings opportunity, and increases the overall operational efficiency. By using proper procurement processes including supplier relationship management and category management, organizations are able to treat the effective procurement of indirect costs, as a strategic function. With technology changing at a rapid pace and procurement practices being regularly updated, the trends within the procurement function are ever changing. So here are the top procurement trends that are all set to take off in 2018: (more…)
Blockchain, the technology behind the most famous cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has been thought of as a revolutionary innovation that could disrupt the financial industry. However, the applications of blockchain technology, an open and distributed ledger, surpasses far beyond financial industry with applications in distributed cloud storage, digital identity, smart contracts, and IoT. One such area of blockchain technology application, which has been largely ignored is in the food supply chain. Food contamination and foodborne diseases kill about 420,000 people worldwide each year. Consequently, governments and food safety agencies are increasingly focusing on food safety, nutrition, and food security to improve health conditions. Blockchain technology can help solve such issues by increasing transparency in the food supply chain.
Blockchain Technology in Food Supply Chain
Blockchain technology enables processing and storing of large amounts of data that is stored on a network of computers across a distributed ledger. Such records are tamper proof and are accessible by everyone on the network. Such capabilities allow suppliers and consumers to tackle issues in the food supply chain such as food frauds, illegal production, contamination, and other foodborne diseases. For instance, in the year 2008 in China, a major milk scandal by the largest milk company in the nation took place. The scandal involved adulterating milk with melamine, with 54,000 babies hospitalized due to kidney stones and kidney damage. Implementing blockchain technology provides openness, transparency, and data history that cannot be tampered. Additionally, each ingredient or chemical in the food can be traced back to its original supplier. As such information can be accessed even by the general public, the chances of fraud, adulteration, and illegal production could be easily addressed.
Companies Using Blockchain Technology
Recently, IBM announced that it is working with major retailers and food suppliers like Walmart, Nestle, and Dole to incorporate blockchain technology. In the context of food supply chain, this technology can track every single changes and event that happen to food products reducing the chances of fraud and contamination. The food industry is also looking at food supply chain traceability system for real-time food tracing based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). Also, Kouvala Innovation is using pallets with RFID tags to communicate their need to get from one point to the other by a specific date. The RFID tag automatically provides a contract to the carrier that best meets a shipper’s price and service needs. Another company, Provenance, is using sensors and RFID tags to record it in a blockchain to authenticate tuna caught in Indonesia and track the fish from “hook to fork.”
Blockchain and the Future of Food Supply Chain
With the use of blockchain, digital product information like details of origin, batch number, manufacturing and expiration dates, storage temperature, factory and processing data, and shipping data are digitally connected and stored in the distributed ledger. Apart from increasing transparency and food safety, blockchain can also optimize the food supply chain. The technology enables better visibility and data management across the entire food supply chain which helps them manage food with varying shelf life and use predictive analytics to forecast demand and optimize the supply chain.
For more information on the use of blockchain technology in the food supply chain, reducing food frauds, adulteration, and illegal production, and food distribution logistics:
There has been a substantial leap in technological development in the field of procurement and supply chain with LevaData, a privately held company, announced the launch of its product Leva, which it claims to be the world’s first AI advisor for strategic sourcing and procurement. The product personalizes insights relating to finance, manufacturing, engineering, and procurement guiding procurement professionals through sourcing risks and savings opportunity. “Leva’s negotiation recommendations allow you to optimize decision making in the face of complex sourcing issues and large data sets.” Claims the company’s website. Additionally, it provides proactive guidelines, optimizes decision making, delivers quicker insights, and makes cognitive sourcing easier.
News Across the World Affecting the Global Supply Chain
GH$98m in Savings Through Stringent Procurement Process – Ghana
The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has reported a savings of GH$98 million in savings through the stringent procurement process. The government agency expressed that cracking down on contract padding and procurement malpractices have improved the procurement efficiency of the organization. Some of these malpractices included tender rigging, collusion among teachers, bid or tender suppression, and coercing competitors to withhold offers and participation. The Chief Executive of Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Agyenim-Boateng Adjei, released a statement informing, “Procurement Officers and members of GIPS who misconduct themselves in their line of duties and found culpable of any ‘misprocurement’ through PPA’s procurement audits will be made to face sanctions as spelt out in the GIPS Code of Ethics and Conduct.”
SEAT ft. Telefonica – Promoting Digitalization in Automotive Industry
In an attempt to promote digitalization in the automotive industry, Telefonica has reached an agreement with SEAT to promote the use of blockchain and 5G technology in the car industry. The partnership will see Telefonica as the strategic IT supplier, with SEAT working in three key areas, namely, shared use of insights, applications of 5G connectivity, and digital transformation projects in the automotive industry. The move is aimed towards offering mobility solutions to simplify the lives of the user.
Shelves Scanning Robots in Walmart
Walmart is looking to change the face of retail procurement and supply chain with its recent move of rolling out shelf-scanning robots in more than 50 stores. These robots are approximately 2-foot tall and attached with cameras to check stock, identify incorrect pricing labels, along with missing or misplaced items. The robots are highly reliable in identifying stock outs and replenishing inventory faster, savings employees a lot of time. Jeremy King, CTO of Walmart U.S., expressed that store employees have time to scan shelves only about twice a week. Additionally, the company has also hastened the checkout process by allowing customers to scan their purchases and digitized operations like financial services and pharmacy in stores.
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The banking sector is still affected by the great depression witnessed a decade back. Numerous procurement cost including real estate, ATM maintenance, transaction and card processing services, collections, risk management, security services, and in-branch marketing are burdening the banks bringing down their profitability. To remain competitive and sustain in the market banks and financial institutions are looking for various cost containment strategies. The banking sector is looking for innovative ways in their procurement process to control the procurement costs.
Pooling Resources for Cost Containment
The banks and financial service providers have come up with innovative solutions to pooling of resources for a particular line of business, allocating a dedicated entity to manage the processing. Pooling of resources to share infrastructure and operational costs across the organizations can lead to massive cost savings and at the same time increase the investment efficiency by making capital-intensive projects more viable.
Vendor Consolidation or Supplier Rationalization
Vendor consolidation is one of the procurement strategy used by banking and financial services industry to achieve cost savings. Banks look forward to reducing the number vendors across geographies and business units to focus on selecting preferred vendor per spend category. Implementing such vendor partnerships allow banks to increase their operational efficiency and productivity and thereby save valuable time and money. Additionally, such procurement cost reduction strategies eliminate the need for lengthy training procedures for the staff and also ensure compliance with the procurement process.
Investment in Technology
The financial industry has always been resource intensive and over-reliant on human expertise. Although the majority of the banks invest heavily in ERP systems, the usage of technology is still limited mostly due to lack of people who understand such technology. Blockchain technology is the next big thing in the financial services industry which can eliminate lengthy transaction processes along with costly third-party verification. Such technologies can rapidly increase the efficiency of the procurement process within the financial industry.
Adoption Of Public Cloud Services for Digital Banking
Banking service providers are turning towards applications and storage space available in the public cloud eliminating the need to invest in dedicated hardware and software resources. Opting for various engagement models such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, banks can digitize their services without having to maintain data centers.
Read more about the procurement process in the banking services market along with pricing strategies, supply market landscape, pricing trends, negotiation strategies, procurement cost reduction strategies, and procurement insights in SpendEdge’s upcoming report on the global banking services market.
There have hardly been any landmark changes in the banking services sector since the first bank ever was established back in 1397. Although banks have started to incorporate digital technologies to extend services regarding online banking, SMS banking, and internet banking, the modern day banks are yet to witness next generation banking services. This being said, the next generation banking services should be able to rapidly transform the way banking services are delivered which positively influences the customer experience.
Blockchain is hyped to potentially disrupt not only the banking sector but also the financial industry as a whole. Numerous players in the traditional banking sector are already looking to incorporate blockchain technology in their banking services. The blockchain technology offers banks to speed up the process of banking transfer securely without the help of any third party. So how does this benefit transform the service side of banking? Well, for the customers it would mean carrying out transactions smoothly, sharing relevant information, quicker and simpler asset exchange, and gaining real-time updates with high accuracy.
Automation in banking can increase productivity by streamlining the end to end process making it quicker and easier. For instance, an average mortgage application goes through multiple manual handoffs before completion. With a simple solution of using digital signatures, a substantial amount of time and effort could be saved to hasten the process making it more user-friendly. Additionally, the saved time could be utilized in improving products and services which have a positive impact on customer experience.
New Payment Mechanisms
Although practiced on a small scale, we see the rise in popularity of mobile NFC based payments. Apple Pay and SAMSUNG Pay are pioneers in this field allow bank details and payment card to be added to their payment system enabling the user to make secure payments. For the customers, though they can wave goodbye to the days when they had to remember card number, card details, pin code, and security number, as all it would require is one fingerprint or just the face.
Big players in the banking industry have already started to use CRM solutions to improve their service delivery. Developers of the CRM tools are innovating to incorporate real-time information to understand the customer and serve them instantly to increase their experience. The next level CRM solutions can effectively provide customized bundles to the customers, offer them the best deals, or sanctions loans and mortgages instantly.
While many emerging technologies may seem to disrupt the banking industry, the players in this industry should embrace the technology to transform the way services are currently delivered. As a result, it can drive the customer experience positively and thereby boost company profitability.
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Blockchain technology is proving to be a revolution in today’s digitalized world and is bringing about a paradigm shift in the media industry. The application of blockchain technology has progressed from cryptocurrency to a wide range of industries and sectors. One such area where blockchain is looking to bring about major transformation is in the procurement sector. The currently available technologies in the procurement sector face problems in product traceability, contract management, information sharing, and auditing. Blockchain solves all of these issues with tamper-proof and streamlined records of all information within a supply chain.
So, it seems imperative that a company adopts the blockchain technology to reap the benefits provided by it. But, it’s easier said than done since it’s still an alien technology for most of us. Here are some pointers to look into before considering implementing blockchain:
Category of Blockchain
- Public Blockchains: Public blockchain is the underlying principle of cryptocurrency, where anyone is allowed to read and write to the blockchain. Such blockchain does not provide confidentiality of data wanted by procurement managers
- Private Blockchain: Here, the write permission is centralized to one organization but read permissions can be restricted to a few key stakeholders. For instance, a marketing agency can gain spend information of an organization to suggest corrective strategies.
- Consortium Blockchain: It’s similar to the private blockchain but the writing is restricted to a particular group of companies. This provides added advantage over the private blockchain, as it lays the foundation for industry standards to be developed. This allows for information exchange between two different organizations within the same industry also facilitating inter-organizational processes
A blockchain is typically based on distributed ledger, where the information is replicated, shared, and synchronized across multiple users. Using such a ledger would result in sensitive information such as costing, prices, revenue, and contracts being available to all. A hyper ledger ensures the privacy of data and information by providing collectively defined membership and access rights within the business network. This allows only select individuals with the correct encryption key to access the information.
Blockchain technology is different from other ready-made packaged software since it’s still very new. Due to its complexity, it’s highly advisable to follow a prototyping measure before developing a full-fledged solution. It is advisable to undertake a rapid prototyping instead of breadboard prototyping as it allows for cumulative requirements collection and testing leading to lower cost of development.
The blockchain technology operates without a geographical barrier and thus crosses jurisdictional boundaries posing a legal risk. Suppliers may face legal risks since this technology is so ambiguous and falls outside the ambit of taxation. It is important to analyze all possible legal risk that could arise out of blockchain implementation and abide by the existing regulations.
The blockchain is still a complex technology, and expert analysis should be performed before opting to implement the technology. SpendEdge’s report on the global blockchain technology market 2017-2021 delves on the intricacies of the blockchain technology, major suppliers, key markets, and major application areas. Click here to:
Technological advancements in AI and machine learning have come a long way, causing a stir among some people over the future of humanity. Today, many complex tasks that could once be done only by a human can be done by a machine. Deep learning and neural networks have given computers the ability to think like a human, and in some case a lot better. So, does this mean that machines will take over the job of a supply chain manager? It seems quite early to come to that conclusion yet, but recent development suggests they are getting closer.
Does Perfect Information Exist?
For a long time, perfect information was considered a myth. A supply chain manager is equipped with supply chain and logistics data, but cannot have perfect information about the market. However, machines have an edge over the supply chain manager as it can take inputs from numerous sensors, communication devices, servers, and data registers. In addition to this, it can also process all such information to provide a robust analysis of the problem.
Machine Never Forgets
A supply chain manager can forget to execute a certain task or delay some decisions, but an interconnected network of IoT devices wouldn’t miss out. For instance, sensors in the warehouse can identify reduction in stocks and automatically place order requests to the supplier. Thus, IoT can cut costs and improve efficiency requiring lesser personnel, which contributes to increased profitability.
So, What About the Security?
There are security concerns over increasing our dependence on machines. Questions such as what if someone manipulates the data or what if the system is hacked raises concerns over security. To resolve such security issues, supply chain managers are resorting to private blockchain technology. Such a technology enables a supply chain manager to share information with restricted stakeholders and at the same time maintain transparency.
The IoT technology and accuracy of algorithms are improving each day. However, the day when a supply chain manager will be replaced by a machine is a distant dream. At present, supply chain managers are embracing this technology to optimize their supply chain. Even in the near future, people are required to do handover jobs, make strategic decisions, and maintain supplier relationship.
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