Warehouse Earthquake

Whilst developing Zupplychain in 2015, we stumbled across a fascinating summary from Greenbiz about the latest and best ‘market disrupters’ in the US. We wanted to bring you a taster of it so over the next couple of blogs, we’re going to summarize their insights into the potential future of logistics.

Greenbiz group the disrupters into three themes – Tracking and Transparency; Crowdsourcing Worker Sentiment; and Logistics and the Sharing Economy.

Tracking and Transparency

In a world driven by real time digital communication – and in the context of the effect of e-commerce on the structure of distribution – it is hardly surprising that technology focused on improving traceability and transparency is evolving fast. At Zupplychain , transparency is central to our offering, ensuring marginal gains are achievable in warehouse storage space and with the logistical sophistication required by omni-channel, new technologies are adding this to every point in the chain.

Here’s the developments that Greenbiz found most exciting:

Infor

Infor already generates $3 billion a year in revenue with industry-specific supply chain management technology for inventory tracking and stock management. Sounds standard stuff? Maybe, until one reads that a recent client - Whole Foods – aims to use Infor software to control and optimise the water usage required to grow a product and other supplier input variables.

Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb turns backstream logistics management into a consumer facing attribute. "The word on the street is everyone is selling the same food. Well, they ain’t: I want to communicate the difference and sell the difference, and we’re partnering with technology to do it."

Ecovadis

Paris based Ecovadis evaluates supplier sustainability for buyers such as Nestle, Heineken and Verizon.

"Purchasing managers and purchasing directors have huge leverage in terms of driving improvement," Ecovadis co-founder and co-CEO Pierre-Francois Thaler told GreenBiz. "Quite often they were seeing sustainability and corporate social responsibility as very complex topics, not as quantifiable."

Ecovadis aggregates supplier certifications coupled with independent analysis. And – perhaps unsurprisingly in the world of the aggregated shared economy - also provides sustainability scorecards and specific strengths and weaknesses back to the suppliers themselves.

Elementum

Where supply chains are increasingly recognised as a risk factor for large companies, providers such as Elementum promise to help minimize the fallout from disruptions, whether man-made or natural disasters. Elementum’s company strapline – ‘Harness change before competitors even know something’s wrong’ – introduces a business for whom problems are always opportunities! Where large companies regard complex supply chains as having increasing inherent risk, Elementum’s focus is on minimising the consequences of business disruptions, be they man-made or natural disasters.

Elementum effects this through a subscription ‘Big Data’ tool that processes information from a huge number of inputs — industry EDI, major news outlets, social media — to alert customers of hazards such as a factory fire or major storm, and its effect – both real and perceived – on a business, delivering alerts to managers through mobile apps. The company also develops tailored business intelligence services for clients.

"We then overlay your data with the supplier info you need to coordinate a resolution when issues arise," the company's website states. "We’ll even provide automatic product and part impact assessment."

Globe Ranger

Founded in 1999, Globe Ranger is evolving from its RFID product tacking heritage to using its technology to capitalise on the Internet of Things rush.

A subsidiary of Fujitsu, Globe Ranger pitches centralized supply chain management software and connectivity to products equipped with RFID, mobile or sensor technology.

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Thanks for reading. In Part Two of this blog, we’ll look at ‘Crowdsourcing worker sentiment’ and ‘Logistics and the shared economy’.

If you have any questions in the meantime, just give us a shout .