Executive Briefings

The Next Big Thing: Federated Networks

These interconnected networks that allow companies to manage all of their resources in motion are the next big thing in the supply chain, according to Art Mesher, CEO of Descartes Group.

Mesher explains how federated networks, enabled by distributed microprocessors and ubiquitous wireless networks, give a company "presence" in the marketplace -- and how that accelerates everything.

"If you understand social networks, you understand presence," he says. "You have a handheld device and a connected network and suddenly you are always on and always present. That changes notions about how fast data is collected and the velocity of information, which has a significant impact on planning and execution systems, on how we pick up or move freight and on how we get paid for freight. All that gets accelerated."

Today's convergence of technology means that the scope of the supply chain has changed. "The supply chain is no longer about goods and inventory and money; it is about all of your resources in motion - tractors, trailers, pallets and, of course, inventory, but also people and even your business documents like letters of credit, bills of lading and manifests --- all of these resources need to be coordinated to increase productivity for the entire logistics community," Mesher says.

Such coordination demands a "federated intermediary that can create a state of things united," says Mesher, adding that this is how Descartes sees its role. "By pre-negotiating agreements with our federation and creating an eco-system of suppliers, we have created one place where our customers can do business with each other with rapid speed," he says. And, he adds, they are able to do this without making large investments in integration.

Mesher notes that the "next big thing" really is a "process of continuous improvement and investment in itty-bitty, little things. Stop looking for the big thing and instead focus on all the itty-bitty, little things that add up to make a big difference."

To view this video interview in its entirety, Click Here.

Mesher explains how federated networks, enabled by distributed microprocessors and ubiquitous wireless networks, give a company "presence" in the marketplace -- and how that accelerates everything.

"If you understand social networks, you understand presence," he says. "You have a handheld device and a connected network and suddenly you are always on and always present. That changes notions about how fast data is collected and the velocity of information, which has a significant impact on planning and execution systems, on how we pick up or move freight and on how we get paid for freight. All that gets accelerated."

Today's convergence of technology means that the scope of the supply chain has changed. "The supply chain is no longer about goods and inventory and money; it is about all of your resources in motion - tractors, trailers, pallets and, of course, inventory, but also people and even your business documents like letters of credit, bills of lading and manifests --- all of these resources need to be coordinated to increase productivity for the entire logistics community," Mesher says.

Such coordination demands a "federated intermediary that can create a state of things united," says Mesher, adding that this is how Descartes sees its role. "By pre-negotiating agreements with our federation and creating an eco-system of suppliers, we have created one place where our customers can do business with each other with rapid speed," he says. And, he adds, they are able to do this without making large investments in integration.

Mesher notes that the "next big thing" really is a "process of continuous improvement and investment in itty-bitty, little things. Stop looking for the big thing and instead focus on all the itty-bitty, little things that add up to make a big difference."

To view this video interview in its entirety, Click Here.