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Innovation and Global Trends

  • S&OP and the Digital Supply Chain

    • Gregory L. Schlegel
    2019

    According to Gartner’s four-stage, higher-maturity, S&OP model, nearly 70 percent of companies are stuck operating in the reacting and anticipating phases. To address the uncertainty, complexity and risk that come with global, digital supply chains, it’s time to make the jump to the more mature S&OP stages: collaborate and orchestrate.......Read More

  • Biomimicry Finds Design Inspiration in Nature

    • Richard E. Crandall
      2018

    Through billions of years of evolution, nature figured out elegant designs for its organisms and natural materials. Therefore, when humans need to solve a problem, it makes sense to look to Mother Nature. ......Read More

  • What to Look for in Modern Robotics Software

    • John Santagate
      2018

    Robots are tools, but some must be looked at from the perspective of labor. Just as pickers a in a fulfillment center wouldn’t be expected to operate without alignment between their role and the operational IT systems, the same is true for certain robots — especially autonomous mobile robots. It is highly recommended to devise a plan for integration to maximize the benefit.......Read More

  • Staying Current

    • Rex Magadia
      2018

    Although blockchain is most often associated with the financial sector and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the technology has far-reaching implications in supply chain management. To further my investigation, I recently reached out to two individuals entrenched in the blockchain space to ask them what advice they have for leaders of supply networks who are interested in pursuing the technology.......Read More

  • A Wealth of Data Possibilities

    • Dave Turbide
      2018

    The industrial internet of things (IIOT) is on the minds of many supply chain management professionals. The potential benefits are just too good to ignore, and companies large and small are feeling a true sense of urgency as competition and consumers continue to demand heightened efficiency and responsiveness from supply chains.......Read More

  • Positive Human-Robot Relationships Will Power the Future Workforce

    • Richard E. Crandall
      2018

    Robots have made it possible to get work done even more efficiently and by providing information about their operations. It has often seemed that designers were trying to build automated systems to replace workers completely. But recently, there has been a significant shift toward building robots that can work in harmony with humans.......Read More

  • Principles of 3D Printing

    • Pedro Neto
    • Ray Ernenwein
      2018

    There is no doubt that 3D printing is transforming supply chain management. In fact, additive manufacturing has the potential to influence the global marketplace at a level equivalent to the harnessing of steam power, the assembly line or robotic production automation.......Read More

  • The Future of Blockchain in Supply Chain

    • Jack Shaw
      2018

    In the next five-to-10 years, global, autonomous supply chains will encompass parts, materials, products, services, information and funds that flow between and among organizations without any unnecessary human intervention. This will happen according to goals, objectives and rules established and agreed upon by the stakeholders and documented with smart contracts that are stored permanently and immutably with blockchain.......Read More

  • Virtual Manufacturing Enhances Reality

    • Elizabeth Rennie
      2018

    Digital twins enable manufacturers to build virtual replicas of systems, processes and products from design and development to the end of their life cycles.......Read More

  • Power Up

    • Richard E. Crandall
      2018

    If you look around, you’re likely surrounded by multiple items — including your laptop, tablet and mobile phone — that are powered by a rechargeable battery. Although these batteries may seem small and low-tech, they contain big potential to power vehicles, homes and even communities.......Read More

  • So Many “Things” to Contemplate

    • Ron Crabtree
      2018

    Although the internet of things (IOT) is new to the lexicon of many business professionals, using the internet to provide real-time information about a “thing” actually has been happening for a long time. For years, IOT capabilities have led to heightened efficiency, accuracy and economic benefits; enabled users to be more agile and responsive; and produced related competitive advantages. The barrier to entry continues to decrease every year, and businesses are taking notice. In fact, experts estimate that the IOT will incorporate about 30 billion objects by 2020. ......Read More

  • The Entrepreneur

    • Elizabeth Rennie
      2018

    Although Marc Randolph is best known for being the cofounder and founding CEO of Netflix, his career as an entrepreneur, advisor and investor spans more than four decades. Randolph launched more than a half-dozen other successful startups, mentored hundreds of early-stage entrepreneurs and invested in numerous successful tech ventures. APICS magazine Senior Managing Editor Elizabeth Rennie recently had the opportunity to speak with Randolph, who will be a keynote speaker later this year at APICS 2018 in Chicago.......Read More

  • Blockchain in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution

    • Ron Crabtree
      2018

    A growing number of logistics, transportation and distribution companies have begun using blockchains to solve transaction-related headaches. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the technology is that no one company has control of all the data. Rather, all parties contribute to the chain of information in real time, so the need for reconciliation of each other’s internal records is removed.......Read More

  • Building a Digital Supply Chain the Right Way

    • Shreyas Shukla
    • Gaurav Goel
    • Ajai Vasudevan
      2018

    Every supply chain function, process and system must be involved in the race to unlock the benefits of digitization. As this rapid disruption continues to displace traditional networks, the digital exhaust that is engulfing the sector, coupled with an ongoing data deluge, is affecting all supply chain elements and forcing organization leaders to rethink how they do business.......Read More

  • Conscientious Consumerism, Transparency and the Speed of Change

    • Sharon Rice
    November/December 2017

    In 2017, APICS magazine has been focusing on the rise of supply chain by exploring the trends that influence how it is managed and leveraged as a strategic corporate asset. Increasingly, customers are demanding more information about both the products they buy and the companies that make them. Supply chain transparency has long been an operational goal, as lack of visibility into partners and practices can negatively affect sales. As such, keeping up with the latest developments — whether related to consumer sentiment or how advanced technologies can increase transparency — is a new job requirement for supply chain professionals.......Read More

  • Upgrading Smart Manufacturing with Industry 4.0

    • Richard E. Crandall
    September/October 2017

    The face of manufacturing has evolved over the course of centuries from the days of handmade goods to the adoption of water- and steam-powered machines, the invention of mass production, the introduction of electronic automation, and now beyond. Companies that have not kept up with these industry transitions throughout the years often have been forced to close their doors. The ones that evolve survive and thrive. ......Read More

  • Industry 1.0 to 4.0: the Evolution of Smart Factories

    • Richard E. Crandall
    September/October 2017

    For centuries, goods including food, clothing, houses and weaponry were manufactured by hand or with the help of work animals. By the beginning of the 19th century, though, manufacturing began to change dramatically with the introduction of Industry 1.0, and operations rapidly developed from there. Here is an overview of that evolution.......Read More

  • Where 3D Printing and Mainstream Manufacturing Converge

    • Elizabeth Rennie
    September/October 2017

    As 3D printing continues its shift from prototyping tool to an actual means of production, forward thinking manufacturers are looking for ways to incorporate the technology into their workflows. Doing so requires software and management solutions that can handle a wide variety of 3D printing processes. ......Read More

  • 3D Printing Primer

    • Elizabeth Rennie
    September/October 2017

    According to the APICS Dictionary, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is “the process of layering materials to make products and components using computer data.” 3D printing begins with a virtual model — typically made using computer aided design or a 3D scanner — of the object that is going to be produced.......Read More

  • Harnessing Technology

    • Jennifer Proctor
    July/August 2017

    As this department continues its exploration of The Rise — a strategic framework based on future-casting — this article delves into the rise of technological autonomy and intelligence and the rise of data. In the 2015 McKinsey article “Manufacturing’s Next Act,” Cornelius Baur and Dominick Wee explain that Industry 4.0 is the next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector.......Read More