SCOPE Conference in Chicago – First Report

Mark Hewitt’s first post covers an update from SCOPE regarding Technology in Supply Chain. Why is this important, and what should and could you consider if you have an eye on Supply Chain improvements?  The audience is particularly for Utilities, Transport and Distribution providers, and Asset intense industries, including resources and mining.

SCOPE Spring brings together many different exhibitors covering all aspects of technology used in the modern Supply Chain. Each can be grouped into one of 5 categories which targets specific applications and are adopted by various industries to suit the nature of their logistical challenges. This report introduces these categories and what they are about.

1. Supply Chain Modeling

What is it – Supply Chain Models maps out all the physical locations within a delivery system from raw goods/manufacturers through warehouses and on to the customer. Scenarios are applied to identify improvements in efficiency and reliability.

Who does it – Companies include Barloworld and Llamasoft

Where is it being used and why – Modeling is used to review and make strategic decisions on how best to deliver and service clients.

2. Transport Management Systems

What is it – Transport Management Systems (TMS) are used in the routing and scheduling of various transport modes to drive improved efficiency, consolidation and utilization of resources.

Who does it – Companies include Transwide and Agile Pacific

Where is it being used and why – Manufacturers and Suppliers with large numbers of deliveries and collections helps their efficiency in their transport functions using both internal fleet and transport providers.

3. Warehouse Management Systems

What is it – Warehouse Management Systems direct selection of locations for picking and putaway activities within the warehouse.

Who does it – Companies include Highjump and Tecsys

Where is it being used and why –WMS is needed for large installations and reduces the dependency on staff in product knowledge and identifying where to find or put materials to fulfill orders. Layout within the warehouse is determined based on placing like items together with the fastest moving items being located for the shortest path to dispatch or staging areas.

4. Automation Tools

What is it - Automation covers a wide variety of labour intensive activity in warehousing and transport. Included are scanners, robots, sorting and storage equipment that eliminate manual handling and/or administrative effort.

Who does it – Companies include Cipherlab and Scottech

Where is it being used and why – Automation is applied in any activity requiring human effort. Information such as details of a delivery or receipt of supply is captured and processed instantaneously. Mechanical equipment replaces the labour and achieves velocity and accuracy throughout logistics activity.

5. Reporting and Analysis Tools

What is it - Numerous tools are available to show operational efficiency, compliance and manage risk. Graphic summaries and reports present key information to assess performance.

Who does it – Companies include Tableau and Pelyco Systems

Where is it being used and why – Successful Supply Chain Managers find it essential to monitor and measure their business activities to ensure targets are met and to identify areas where attention is needed.

So why all this technology?
The answer is simply to move products more cost effectively, accurately, minimize the labour intense activities and provide a better service.

Business strategy and analysis is critical in identifying the benefits available to your business and the critical task of selecting the right fit. Then it is on to the less glamorous task of making the change to your business and with your people for your organisation to continue to be successful.

SCOPE Report Two – Will look at the presentations that provide some insight into what is happening in today’s Supply Chains.

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