There are a lot of people who would like to turn back the hands of time — people who believe the simpler life of yesteryear was better. Such wistful thinking often involves forgetting about the many advancements that have improved the quality of our lives. Some of those same people would like to put the artificial intelligence (AI) genie backs in its bottle because it has changed the work environment. That’s not going to happen.
Supply chain risk management is a complicated subject because the number of things potentially affecting operations is almost limitless. As risk management professionals know, there is simply no way a company can plan for every contingency. There is an old saying that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s fair to say we do live in interesting times. For example, a decade ago you would have called me crazy had I predicted in 2017 the U.S. and Europe would create global economic confusion and China’s president would stand before the World Economic Forum as a champion of free trade.
Machine learning is one of the current buzzwords frequently found in articles about the future of business. Other terms with which machine learning is often associated include artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing. The question is: Can machine learning really help your business? For many businesses, the answer is yes.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to become the largest network of networks the world has ever seen (both in terms of connected devices and data generated). The IoT will primarily be a machine-to-machine internet generating exponentially more data than the World Wide Web, which is principally a human-to-human internet.
Change is one of life’s constants. The supply chain is no exception to this rule. According to Jonathan Webb (@j_p_webb), Head of Strategy Research at Procurement Leaders, supply chain transformation efforts have the field aboil in change.
Few if any pundits deny we live in the Digital Age. It makes sense, therefore, that to thrive in this era supply chains need to take advantage of emerging technologies that leverage available data. In this article, I will focus on trends and predictions associated with digital supply chain transformation.
Business leaders are always looking for the next big thing. One of those things might be blockchain technology. Thomas Cherian explains, “A blockchain is a distributed public ledger for carrying out transactions in a trusted environment. … The network of computers uses cryptography to allow each participant in the open-source network to update the ledger in a secure manner, without the need of a central authority.
This past holiday season, like the season before it, was a paradox. Consumer spending was up; nevertheless, hundreds of retail stores will be shuttering their doors forever. The paradox is explained by the fact that sales in brick-and-mortar stores is rising much slower than online sales. It would be wrong to conclude that traditional stores are dying altogether. Both Amazon and Alibaba are opening brick-and-mortar stores. The bottom line is omnichannel operations are the new normal; nevertheless, store closures point to the fact that omnichannel operations are not easy to master.
Corporate social responsibility is an interesting topic. Skeptics dismiss the topic as a corporate public relations stunt and some investors see it as pit into which resources are poured without any noticeable return. There are reasons to be skeptical. In the past, corporations have been notoriously exploitative and the result has been the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor. Corporations have been slow learners. I believe, however, there are good reasons to be sanguine about the future.
No one doubts we are fully immersed in the Age of Information. A few years ago, David Russell Schilling (@davidrschilling) reported, "Buckminster Fuller created the 'Knowledge Doubling Curve'; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth.
In an Amazon-dominated world, blockchain provides brands with paths to both partner more effectively with retailers and, more importantly, to sell directly to consumers.
For brands, blockchain is a big deal.
Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is a big field which includes things like cognitive computing and machine learning and the hype about AI seems to grow each year. Chris Brandt explains, "There are two very popular words in science and technology nowadays — artificial intelligence and machine learning. For a lot of people who might not be aware of the difference, they are just the same. It might come, therefore, as a surprise that these two are different.
One hundred percent of businesses are concerned about the possibility of a disruption in their supply chain; yet, 40% of "companies do not analyze the source of the disruption, according to the Supply Chain Resilience Report 2016 by Business Continuity Institute and Zurich Insurance Group." With 70% of businesses experiencing some sort of disruption last year, the fact that 2 out of 5 businesses don't have a deeper understandi