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Viewpoint: How does supply chain technology look, act, feel?

By Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
May 01, 2012

New and innovative technology-driven concepts are brought to my attention on nearly a daily basis. When something really lands with us for the first time, that concept is simply comprised of words on a page or vibrations hanging in the air. We nod, say that sounds interesting, and then quickly dive back into our day-to-day grind to practice “business as usual.”

It’s not for a lack of intelligence or desire that most of us go no further in applying a good idea following that brief moment of inspiration. Rather, it’s because many innovative technological concepts are rarely communicated in a practical, illustrative fashion.

We’re often left with the questions: What does this look like, act like, feel like when it’s implemented into my logistics operations? What tools or software do I need to see this through? What’s the benefit?

Well, this month we’re taking a shot at helping Logistics Management (LM) readers gain a more practical feel for a few innovative—possibility game-changing—technology-driven concepts that I’ve been hearing quite a bit about recently.

Indeed, the ideas that surround terms like “visibility,” “business analytics (BI),” “data integration,” “item-level tagging,” and “social media for business” have an exciting ring to them.

Now we’ve set out to define these ideas and give shippers a snapshot of what they actually look like, act like when executed. I’ve yet to hear definitive definitions or “see” how they work in the field—until now.

My goal is to do this in two parts: The first part starts on page 32 with our 2012 Technology Roundtable feature article; the second part will occur when bring our annual Technology Roundtable Webcast to life on Thursday, May 31.

The foundation of both of these efforts is our panel of leading software and technology analysts—thought leaders who’ve been working with logistics professionals to understand the practicality of these concepts and then see them through to implementation.

Ben Pivar of Capgemini Consulting brings shippers up to speed on data integration and the “leveling of silos” across supply chain organizations; Deloitte’s Jerry O’Dwyer offers shippers his definitive definition of (BI) and shares how Welch’s has put it to work to realize more balanced shipments; Michael Liard from VDC Research updates us on the impact

RFID technology is making on item-level tagging; and Adrian Gonzalez of Logistics Viewpoints shares examples of how social media is being put to work in logistics and supply chain management.

You’ve heard these terms bandied about, but now it’s time better understand how these technology-driven concepts look, act, and feel when implemented into your operations. Bring your questions for the panel on May 31

About the Author

Michael Levans
Group Editorial Director

Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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