New cloud-based offering from BT geared towards global supply chains
October 24, 2012
Earlier this week, BT, formerly known as British Telecom, introduced a cloud-based offering for its portfolio of supply chain solutions known as BT Trace, which is geared towards helping shippers navigate the myriad challenges related to managing complex supply chains.
BT said that the cloud-based component provides a single, accurate view into complex supply chains in near real time to see how and where changes need to be made and enable customers to improve operational efficiency.
The supply chain-related focuses of BT Trace access and manage information and assets at different points through the supply chain and include:
-BT Global Trace to drive operational efficiency with end-to-end supply chain visibility;
-BT Warehouse Trace to optimize space, inventory, equipment and people;
-BT Asset Trace to optimize reusable mobile assets to improve operational efficiency;
-BT Inventory Trace to optimize inventory, maximize availability and minimize costs; and
-BT Trace for Retail to increase sales and improve customer service with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solutions
In an interview with LM, Keith Sherry, general manager of supply chain solutions for BT, said that in working with industry partners, consultants and customers, it has been with a singular focus on what specifically visibility means to them.
Typically, he said most customers have traditionally leveraged an ERP system to get good views of their orders and interactions and transactions.
“Once a [shipper] starts leaving that environment and breaks out into multiple logistics providers and multiple warehousing and distribution centers, they can lose visibility into the supply chain,” said Sherry. “Our offering needs to be cloud-based so we can reach out to many emerging markets and established ones for 117 countries around the world…and the cloud-based service literally meshes disparate systems that already exist and have a huge amount of data not tied together—one of the reasons for that is it resides in different formats.”
And what the cloud-based BT Trace does is conduct a data conversion to a standards-based format through standards concerns like GS1 to leverage global standards which have been in place for years, coupled with emerging standards, too, in order to establish an industry-wide supply chain offering, which would enable supply chain stakeholders to access that same information from a secure, authenticated interface via a cloud-based solution.
Bringing various forms of data through a cloud-based offering and leveraging BT’s existing strength in the supply chain space is a core competency of this new offering, said Sherry.
When asked how shippers deal with data integration and customization when adapting to a cloud-based environment, Sherry explained that it is important to recognize the complexities of how customers manage their supply chains.
“Taking the business rules they already have set up and being able apply those—and existing business processes—into a cloud-based environment allows them to set things up, and once those business rules are set up at any particular point if products or inventory deviate in any way from the rules that are set up for a certain process they can set up a real-time alert to enable them to make real time decisions in order to make changes to speed things up or optimize their supply chain service level agreements,” he said.
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