Author Archive for Steve Banker

SWOT that Supply Chain

Business students are all exposed to the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis tool. This last week I came across several interesting stories – or in one case a presentation – that all centered on different aspects of SWOT in the supply chain realm. First, STRENGTHS; Greg Toornman – the Director of Global Materials, Logistics, and Freight Management at AGCO – spoke last Wednesday (February 14th) at ARC’s 22nd Annual Industry Forum. AGCO is […]

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Warehouse Robotics Coming of Age

The CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of Vecna Robotics, Dan Patt and Daniel Theobold, came in to see us at the ARC Advisory Group. We were already very bullish on the autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) industry’s potential to improve warehousing and order fulfillment, but Vecna has some differentiators that make them a very interesting supplier. Warehouse robotics is coming of age. While Vecna has been around since 1998, Vecna’s warehouse robots have only been generally […]

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Cloud Solutions Upend the System Integration Market

The $200 billion system integration industry, which was designed around customization, needs a new business model according to Mark Hurd, the CEO of Oracle. Mr. Hurd exclaimed, “the current model is unsustainable.”

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The Citizen Data Scientist

Mike Guilfoyle of ARC has been doing some interesting writing on predictive analytics. One of the terms he uses is the “citizen data scientist.”  I like the concept, and will explain Mike’s thinking in this article. But let me provide a little context first.  It would be easy for a supply chain executive, or any business manager, to ask what is the difference between “predictive analytics” and “forecasting.”  Forecasting is based on traditional mathematical and […]

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The Logistics Hall of Fame

An organization has put created a Hall of Fame for Logistics. Some of the names are what you would expect, some make sense but are unexpected, and there are names that should not be there and glaring omissions.

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eCommerce Company uses Artificial Intelligence to Improve their Value Chain

Plated is using  machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve diverse operations across their value chain. These operations include product development, customer engagement, sales, and forecasting.

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Machine Learning Limitations: The Need for a Clear Measure of Success

Demand planning is a good application for machine learning because the measure of success – the forecast accuracy – is clear. To learn, an application needs a clear measure of success. Having a clear measure of success sounds easy. But often, defining success in not easy. Consider a situation where a manufacturer learns of a shortage of a key component.  Customers have already been promised products that depend upon that key production input.  The supply […]

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Trump Blasts USPS for Charging Amazon “So Little”

Trump blasted the United States Postal Service for charging Amazon “so little.” Amazon is using zone skipping, something difficult to do. And the USPS may indeed be undercharging.

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Applying Machine Learning to Supply Planning is Tough

Machine learning has been successfully applied to demand planning, but leading suppliers of supply chain planning are beginning to work on using machine learning to improve supply planning.  But architecturally and culturally, this is a much tougher problem than machine learning applied to demand planning.

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Supply Chain Trends to Watch in 2018

There are several key supply chain trends to watch in 2018. Omnichannel Revenue Management The retail supply chain has been going through a massive transformation. Traditional brick and mortar retailers seek to leverage their stores to better compete against Amazon and other ecommerce retailers. ARC’s Chris Cunnane does an annual survey omnichannel retail in conjunction with DC Velocity.  The main reason retailers invest in expensive omnichannel initiatives is to increase sales, increase market share, and […]

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