There’s a paradigm shift occurring today in the world of supply-chain planning and execution, says Amraotkar. Companies are looking to integrate those functions, supported by rapid development of the Internet of Things. New data sources are becoming available to them, creating processes that are “flexible, not frozen.”
There has always been some latency between objectives and output, Amraotkar says. That has created an inevitable gap between planning and execution. With the Internet of Things, however, companies can access key data throughout the planning process. In the event, “output becomes exactly the same as input.”
Companies also face the challenge of digesting and making sense of these huge volumes of data. Multiple input sources need to be able to talk to one another. With machine-to-machine (M2M) systems in place, planners can begin to make sense of “big data,” Amraotkar says.
The biggest struggle for Cognizant clients today is identifying risk within their global supply chains. They know how to look at suppliers and conduct financial analyses. For the most part, however, their efforts are confined to strategic planning. Unexpected events on the operational side are much tougher to access and react to.
Just understanding all of the things that can go wrong can be an enormous challenge, Amraotkar says. Most companies today are dealing with production and sales in multiple parts of the world, and drawing on a huge collection of handlers and transportation modes for support. The potential for something going wrong is high.
Again, the Internet of Things can help. It allows companies to get a better sense of the risk within their supply chains, and identify the key factors before events occur. Not every disaster or glitch can be foreseen, of course, but better access to data is allowing companies to mitigate the impact of many types of disruptions.
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