The 2019 Supply Chain—Orchestrating a Real-Time, Connected Network

Indian Manufacturing News

February 20, 2019

Effective supply chain management relies on everyone involved in the supply chain network providing timely, accurate and consistent information to identify issues and streamline the process. If supply chain managers want to transform their supply chains in 2019, they must work to drive information transparency, tracking of goods and optimization. As the supply chain becomes more fragmented, digital transformation and bringing stakeholders onto a common SCM platforms will provide significant benefits.


An effective supply chain depends on streamlining the movement and processing of goods. Without proper tracking, authenticating the sending, receiving and location of goods is a big challenge. This creates unnecessary delays and holdups, damaging upstream and downstream operations throughout the supply chain. Legacy supply chains are often opaque and difficult to understand. This makes it hard to track and plan for how goods are moving through the supply chain. Without transparency, optimization and effective demand management are almost impossible. This issue is heightened by fragmented, legacy software and systems that do not allow for the consistent capture, reporting and transferal of information.


Evolving SCM technology will provide the greatest opportunities for businesses to understand the supply chain, reduce their costs and increase the speed, quality and flow of goods. Supply chains need to be as fast as possible to meet the demands of modern consumers. A complex, legacy supply chain often relies on goodwill and established norms to work well. When these areas are challenged by increased demand or outside disruption, relationships can suffer, together with the quality and timeliness of supplying products. Small reductions in supply chain efficiency can have a significant overall impact on productivity and profitability. Without proper status updates and reporting, supply chains will waste effort, resources and time.


To effectively manage expectations and plans for the year ahead, supply chain managers should prepare for the following trends and plan accordingly.


Digital culture as competitive advantage


Predictive analytics will become highly useful to optimize resources within the supply chain. In late 2018, Gartner identified eight strategic technology trends for the supply chain and how they can provide a competitive advantage. Combined with AI and machine learning, data is the driver for predictive capabilitieswith it, future performance can be optimized based on historical results. This data is powerful and has the potential to positively impact every aspect of the supply chain, from sourcing and compliance to production and quality control. Embracing the value of technologies such as predictive analytics is essential for a strong foundation, upon which to build a digital supply chain.


Tariffs and global supply chain networks


The most agile and resilient supply chains are the ones that are going to be the most successful. Natural disasters, economic flux, and rising tariffs are going to remain a concern for the supply chain industry and therefore the C-suite may reconsider its current manufacturing strategies and its global operations. To help inform these decisions, companies should combine external and internal data. Predictive analytics uses historical data and machine learning to identify and anticipate certain outcomes that become increasingly valuable as the volume of data increases. When properly analyzed, this data is helpful for identifying patterns and areas for optimization, to fuel better planning and resource utilization.


AIs supply chain moment


AI and machine learning will become more integrated with every aspect of the supply chain. This integration will enable automating repetitive tasks and bringing intelligence to supply chain networks and systems. AI and machine learning are both required to get the most out of Natural Language Processing. The complexity of human language requires smart algorithms and self-teaching systems to parse and understand language input and provide appropriate responses and actions. NLP provides many benefits to the supply chain including understanding and mitigating potential risks with supply chain stakeholders, ensuring compliance, monitoring reputations of supply chain organizations, and reducing language barriers.


Its clear that a responsive, real-time supply chain will be the key differentiator as 2019 progresses. Making digital supply chain investment decisions and introducing advanced technologiesincluding machine learning, AI, NLP, predictive analytics and morethat deliver end-to-end visibility and supply chain orchestration will power a responsive, revenue-generating supply chain. Using these technologies in a supply chain to orchestrate a real-time, connected network of trading partners will drive better efficiencies and new opportunities for years to come.


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Engineer Your Path to Success

US Black Engineer and Information Technology

February 20, 2019

With such a wide variety of employment options and lucrative positions, planning for a career in engineering is a wise choice. Are you looking to be a mechanical, civil, electrical, computer, chemical, aerospace, or nuclear engineer? Consider some expert sources of information to help you plan ahead to maximize your candidacy within the field.


What does the future of engineering careers look like? Interesting, engineering.com lists the top five engineering jobs of the future as robot programmer, sensor system integrator, algorithm designer, 3-D printing specialist, and augmented or virtual reality programmer. ITcareerfinder.com lists civil engineer, environmental engineer, and biomedical engineer highly as well. Certainly for current and future college students, there is a plethora of future career paths that will utilize a background in engineering. Forbes magazine states that the most common engineering jobscivil, mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineeringmake up two-thirds of the entire American engineering workforce! With job growth in the double digits for these positions, recruiters will be looking to future graduates to fill these positions.


Where are these jobs? According to Forbes, the most concentrated metropolitan area for engineers is Huntsville, ALhome to a NASA flight center and other aerospace and military establishments. In fact, Huntsville has over five times more engineers per capita than the national average! In general, Forbes notes that the most common places to find engineering work are the South and Rust Belt (Detroit, Dayton, etc.) for U.S. students.


What do STEM employment options look like in this field? The following are some quick overviews of the wide variety of jobs within the engineering industry.

  • An aerospace engineer designs, develops, and produces aircraft and spacecraft. They might work on macro designs or in a more in-depth manner on one of the many complicated subsystems of the crafts.
  • Civil engineers supervise and direct the construction of roads, bridges, buildings, and other utility systems. They may work in a proactive sense, such as city planning and expansion, or in a reactive sense when a natural disaster occurs and essential systems must be restored.
  • Chemical engineers specialize in energy storage, chemistry-based research and development, and nanotechnology. According to educatingengineers.com, these professionals work alongside other engineers to solve humanitys greatest problems.
  • Electrical engineers work directly with electrical equipment manufacturing and systems. They design, develop, test, and oversee the use of these systems. From small tasks such as wiring and lighting installations to the largest systems within energy production plants, electrical engineers are an essential part of industry.
  • Mechanical engineers use knowledge of motion, energy, and force to develop mechanical solutions to an array of problems. Using material, economic, and human resources, mechanical engineers design and build biomedical devices, appliances, motor vehicles, and other essential products.
  • Nuclear engineers, according to educatingengineers.com, are the most integrated of the engineering disciplines. With many components to nuclear systems, both reactors and medical imaging equipment, nuclear engineers must be experts in nuclear science and also the engineering of the systems themselves.


With a myriad of career paths, how can college students select the right major and skills to learn to prepare for employment? According to tryengineering.org, when preparing for an engineering career, students should not only focus on having the technical competencies needed for their desired career path, but should also develop communication skills, leadership skills, and teamwork skills. College engineering majors should focus on a specific career path where possible, and build on prior experience in high school math courses such as calculus and computer science. College students can also seek to enter one of many engineering societies, such as:

  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AlChE).
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
  • American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE).
  • Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
  • SAE International (SAE).


Engineering offers a plethora of employment options, significant job growth, high salaries, and challenging work. Future and current college students should seek to major in an engineering program of their interest, and to build hard and soft skills, while considering joining an engineering society. The future is bright for the engineers of tomorrow!


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Amazon Expands Air Fleet to Maintain its Own Shipping Standards

Global Data Point

February 19, 2019

Two-day shipping has become a standard in the e-commerce world all thanks to Amazon. In order to live up to its standards, the company is now becoming a major player in the logistics and shipping industry, expanding its Amazon Air fleet to include 50 planes and several new regional hubs.


Wolfe Research predicts that Amazon is handling 26% of its own shipping. With its new dedicated air network, the company can transport hundreds of thousands of packages per day and its fleet of planes make two-day shipping possible almost anywhere in the U.S.


Amazon is quickly becoming its own logistics company and has acknowledged it to its investors, listing transportation and logistics services among its group of competitors for the first time.


CNBC reports that Amazons shipping costs raised 23% last quarter, reaching $9 billion. The company spent a total of $27 billion on shipping in 2018, and if Amazon can control its supply chain it can also control the costs that go along with it.


Amazon Air has planes at 21 airports and is planning on opening regional hubs in Fort Worth, Texas; Wilmington, Ohio and will expand one in Rockford, Illinois. In addition, the company is opening an air hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2021 where it will have a capacity for 100 planes.


The company isnt just expanding its air services, it is also tackling the ground as well.


According to CNBC, Amazon ordered 20,000 vans last year and has begun testing more advanced delivery methods, like its Scout sidewalk robots. The company is also testing out a program called Shipping With Amazon in Los Angeles and London as well.


Its competitors arent worried, though.


FedExs senior vice president of integrated marketing, Patrick Fitzgerald doesnt see a sensible way to compare the companies as the company currently has 700 planes that make 13,000 flights per week, while Amazon only has 40 planes that make 671 flights.


Amazon is a revolutionary e-commerce company, but that doesnt mean that Amazon can just suddenly decide to become competitive with FedEx in transportation, Fitzgerald tells CNBC.


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Innovation in Recruitment: “Siri, Find Me a Job”

Forbes.com

February 19, 2019

By Razvan Creanga


Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first CV in the 15th century when he applied for a job to the Duke of Milan. There hasnt been much change in the recruitment industry in the intervening 500-plus years.


It seems incredible that a man renowned for his innovative approach to engineering and the arts, from parachutes to early flying machines and the Mona Lisa, had to distill his skills to fit on a single piece of paper.


The CV as a mere snapshot of ability perfectly illustrates my belief that the job application and recruitment process needs an overhaul for most industries, especially for highly technical roles. I struggle to see how the 21st centurys equivalent of da Vinci can reach their full potential when their employment history has to fit on a standard piece of paper, their aspirations must be shared in a 45-minute interview with one person and proving their ability usually happens in a short task.


Steve Jobs, for example, dropped out of high school and college to focus on the early Apple technology. How could he have contained all his genius in one CV, or conveyed his talent to people who dont understand computer science?


The innovation index is far too low in recruitmentand I want to change that.


In other industries, we are seeing sophisticated, intelligent technologies come into play that are transforming operations. For instance, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines chatbot can effectively interact with customers in 13 different languages. This AI development responds to the demand from global travelers to receive customer service.


Why isnt the recruitment sector similarly responding to the demand for better assessment of technical talent? Where is the recruitment AI that can support the need for a diverse, global workforce with digital skills?


Innovation in recruitment requires a shift in both hiring mindset and technology. Too often world-class coders may be unable to fully demonstrate their transformative value to a company because the recruitment process doesnt set the right tasks, or the interviewers arent versed in the language of code.


The solution lies in recruiter mindsetchallenging the biases and habits that are stifling innovation because of the archaic way businesses hire for talent.


The first hurdle to overcome is to readdress the lack of technical understanding in the industryand see the opportunity that technology provides. There is huge value to be found in readymade, off the shelf AI products that provide super-smart ways of managing data. Put simply, the technology can provide a clever interface to accurately assess skills for technical roles.


From a candidate standpoint, these intelligent products pave the way for what I see as the future of job seekingintegrations with consumer tech products: Siri, send my profile to top companies.


By assessing peoples learning habitshow you spend your time online, and your search historythese smart interfaces will be able to look at potential jobs advertised and work out what is the perfect match for you.


The second way to innovate in recruitment is by reducing the fear around techand the idea that AI will steal everyones jobs. I have experienced resistance to integrating smart technology in recruitment in case theres a sci-fi horror scenario where the machines take over and make someones career redundant.


This is untrue. There are things machines cant conquer: negotiation, persuasion, emotion. When it comes to recruiting for sales roles, these are vital skills that simply cannot be assessed by a robot. It requires human-to-human understanding.


However, AI can transform the ease and success of placing technical roles, like front end developers, software architects and programmers. This should always be supported by humanshumans developing the code, humans assessing other stages of the recruitment process, and humans adding that vital level of humanity thats required for continually innovating and improving the technology.


Innovation should be part of the everyday recruitment language and not a niche buzzword. Recruiters can transform peoples lives through job opportunities. I see it as our responsibility to continue to do what we can to make sure were getting the right people in the right places.


I think da Vinci would be horrified to see that even though were able to fly planes and spacecraft, CVs havent changed in six centuries. As every sector around us advances, we owe it to the great historical innovators to get recruitment up to speed.


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