In the age of information overload, we believe in getting to the bottom line. That’s why Executive Platforms is launching bluEPrint, a regular supply chain news bulletin to streamline your reading and deliver global insights straight to you.
As a reader, you can expect regular up-to-date content that outlines:
- Inside look at how other companies are optimizing their supply chains
- Updates on emerging technologies and customer habits
- A framework of ideas and methods for you to build upon
Whether you’re a regular executive at our annual North American Supply Chain Executive Summit series, or new to our community, we want to build a closer relationship with you and the work you do every day.
Tech vault: How can AR and VR Innovate Supply Chains?
Augmented reality can provide technicians and warehouse staff with real-time instructions when needed, while virtual reality immerses designers, salespeople and customers into an environment where they can better access information. Not only that, but they can experience a stronger understanding of your company’s products and services. In healthcare, hospitals promote empathy by putting nurses into the shoes of patients which can be applied for supply chain training. Another example is the frontlines of customer experience, where Walmart uses VR to train employees for the rush of black Friday which would be difficult to otherwise replicate.
Here are some ways in which VR and AR can tighten your supply chain:
- Train employees for sensitive environments more effectively in VR:
UPS is currently training drivers to identifying road hazards while Volkswagen uses AR to help workers navigate their massive factories with details for maintenance and investigation.
- Make it easy for customers to test products on their phone:
Ikea allows customers to place AR furniture in their own homes and virtual tours are available for homebuyers.
- Speed up the prototyping time:
Car manufacturers reduce 30% of prototyping time by spotting errors sooner in VR while airplane technicians put jets together with 96% more accuracy with AR.
- Improve internal collaboration and externals communications: From holding meetings anywhere to visualizing product designs,VR brings people and concept closer.
Is your company primed to implement VR and AR into your supply chain? Find out here:
Utilizing virtual reality to drive supply chain innovation – Deloitte
Augmented Reality in Logistics – DHL Trend
Global Framework: How can Sustainable Efforts Cut Down Costs while Protecting the Earth?
Pushing waste down in your supply chain can also push profits up. For example, Phillips Lighting adds value to customers with performance-based lighting contracts rather than just selling physical lights which makes it harder to recycle and refurbish products. Methods can range from sourcing more environmentally friendly materials or recovering resources.
Here are some examples on designing waste out of the system to avoid end-of-life disposal:
- Give consumers the option to buy refurbished products and keep track of parts: Dell designs products from ocean plastics and recycled hardware, while ocean carrier Maersk keeps a systematic view on their container ships so they know which individual materials can be reused or repaired.
- Eliminate unnecessary product disposal and differentiate: France’s third largest supermarket chain marketed deformed fruits and vegetables at a 30% price cut which lead to a 24% increase in store traffic.
- Incorporate customized packaging to cut product damage and material costs: This $15 billion plumbing supplies wholesaler reduced 61% of packaging materials and brought damages down.
- Treat products as service: Michelin is the first to allow fleet customers to lease tires instead of purchasing, increasing the life cycle of the good.
Find out ways to incorporate a circular economy into your supply chain here:
Full Circle Turning Waste Into Value With Your Supply Chain – Accenture Strategy
European industry in the 21st century: New models for resource productivity – Corporate Leader Group
Public statements on coming clean
- Diamond clarity: Tiffany & Co. is committed to tracking every diamond to be “the most responsibly sourced in the world.”
- Clean palms: Mondelēz International announced an action plan for 100% sustainability and transparency in palm oil sourcing.
- Cocoa for sustainability: Mars launched a sustainability plan of $1bn prioritizing the interest of small farmers, children and forests.
- Changing winds: China’s clean tech commitment is something to get behind, with a +12 billion USD in wind-powered electricity markets in Europe and Australia.
Special delivery! Are You and Your Competitors Keeping Up with the Speed of eCommerce?
The millennial market is growing more comfortable automating their chores, as shown by the rise of online grocery sales. For traditional businesses, it is vital to look at ways to cut costs and keep up with demand. With a huge aging population, Japan is racing to replace it’s working class with intensive robot development in construction, food service, assembly and elderly care.
- Optimize recommendation algorithms in your online options and create a direct profit. Recommendation engines for eCommerce organizations like Amazon generate 35% of their revenue.
- Robotic picking is now available for health and beauty items, reducing travel time for picking and packing staff. However, the technology isn’t ready to handle delicate items like the full range of grocery produce. (There are specialized strawberry pickers though, and Amazon organizes annual picking challenges to create faster robot pickers).
- A greater demand for delivery means it makes sense to build smaller warehouses located closer to the customer. While dark warehouses is still a big leap, companies should aim for 80% automation.
- Delivery mergers can help keep up with the booming eCommerce industry. J.B. Hunt, the 3rd largest trucking company in U.S. acquired Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery to boost it’s last-mile delivery. Banyan Technology, a transportation technology provider also partnered with TMS vendor Pierbridge Inc to help 3PL companies keep up with rising shipment costs. Amazon bought Whole Foods in June, which has access to massive amounts of data into major markets across the country.
What do you think about these topics? If you have ideas on what you’d like to see or a case study you’d like to share, let us know!