Cloud Tech Protects Supply Chains

Acts of nature, notwithstanding, the cloud can improve efficiency

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While supply chains for many manufacturers in the Gulf were disrupted by Hurricane Isaac, advances in online, mobile, and cloud technologies may have softened the blow.

According to Andy Berry, vice president and general manager, Global Distribution Business Unit for Infor, “Cloud” strategies gave his shippers backup protection to their “hosted” systems.

“Having cloud-based protection also provides an alternative for predictive analytics,” he said. “My shippers want to see what a major storm can do their customer’s inventory, too.”

Infor is the third largest supplier of enterprise software behind Oracle and SAP, provides risk analytics, predictive software and logistics response SASS to reduce crises and enable rapid management strategies in the case of weather interference or other disturbances to the supply chain.

“A fully networked environment gives shippers the ability to re-route trucking deliveries,” said Berry. “To the vertical industries I work with, this is a key benefit.”

For seaport terminal operations, cloud-based backup is also regarded as an essential part of risk mitigation.

Robert Inchausti, Chief Technology Officer for Navis, said the “relatively low-cost” alternative is also appealing.

“Terminal operators really need a robust and scalable hosted information system,” he said. “But having some or all of their data in the cloud gives them another layer of protection.

Inchausti said that the Navis terminal operating system – SPARCS N4 – is enhanced by cloud technology to improve customer training, and provide product demos, and internal integration testing.

Acts of nature, notwithstanding, the cloud can improve efficiency, he added.

“But this requires a good infrastructure,” said Inchausti. “Singapore’s grid, for example, might be a little more reliable than one found in an emerging nation.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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