While there are a number of college textbooks related to specific areas within logistics and supply chain issues, there are very few general supply chain management books dealing exclusively with technology in supply chain management. We could find only one book dealing with technology, and it was published in 2010. Much has changed since then. There is an untapped college market for a supply chain and logistics book that uses examples of the use of technology. Indeed, undergraduate and graduate business schools are increasing their course offerings in logistics and supply chain management due to student demand. Supply chain managers’ salaries are increasing, and c-level positions are being added to many companies. To meet this demand, these new courses will require updated and relevant books that provide timely perspectives and examples using “real-world” situations.
Additionally, professionals working in the field need to stay current on the trends and issues facing supply chain management. They will be leading their organizations’ strategies on supply chain management. This book would feed their position as thought leaders looking to make their supply chain leaner, more visionary, and reflective of the trends in supply chain management. The book can also be used in executive education courses in supply chain and logistics management.
The objectives of this book include:
• Identifying the emerging technologies, either hardware or software, that companies are investing in, currently and in the short term.
• Understanding the implications of the technologies with respect to areas that include value creation, operational effectiveness, investment level, technical migration, and general industry acceptance.
• Identifying short-term trends in technology acceptance and utilization levels across various industry sectors.
• Characterizing the supply chain and logistics applications in which the technologies are being utilized for product planning, materials management, and inventory, transportation, distribution, workflow, plant maintenance, quality assurance, environment, and health and safety.
• Developing a reference base that supply chain professionals can utilize to guide future technology investment decisions, including procurement of best value technologies and how they can best be used for logistics operations.
Additionally, this book includes recent technological developments and applications of technology in a variety of areas including blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), inventory optimization, and medical supply chain. Case studies of the use of technology in supply chain management are included. The book utilizes a set of YouTube videos on the application of each of the technologies. The videos are embedded in the text. These videos help to illustrate how each of the technologies are utilized. The videos supplement the written material to provide the reader with virtual experience in the use of the technology.
Until recently, technology has been considered as an enabler for improvements in underlying supply chain and logistics operations. However, recent trends in society and business such as mobile computing, social media, and online retailing have significantly changed almost every aspect of the supply chain and logistics landscape. In Chapter 2, Technologies in Supply Chain Management and Logistics, by Anthony M. Pagano and Matthew Liotine, the following technologies were found to have a pervasive role in altering this landscape:
• Maturing Technologies
• Optimization software
• Cloud computing
• Data warehouse and integration
• Automated storage and retrieval
• Growth Technologies
• Data analytics
• Social media
• Emerging Technologies
• 3D Printing
• Autonomous vehicles
• Exponential Technologies
• Virtual reality
• Machine learning
Each of these technologies is discussed, along with videos illustrating their use.
Chapter 3 is titled “Impact of Exponential Technologies on Global Supply Chain Management,” by Unsal Ozdogru. Technology has been rapidly evolving over the last several decades, revolutionizing all industries such as communication, transportation, education, health care, life sciences, energy, and retail, among many others. This momentum has created many opportunities for companies in their supply chain to expand their business globally to gain competitive advantage, ultimately increasing their profitability. Several leading technologies including blockchain, IoT, virtual/augmented/extended reality (VR/AR/XR), machine learning, 3D Printing among others, have been identified as having a significant influence on global supply chain operations. In this chapter, Professor Ozdogru surveys the literature on the implications of technologies in terms of their potential value creation including increasing profit, improving efficiency and agility, reducing cost and lead times, and increasing visibility and eliminating waste in global supply chain management. Based on the findings, she identifies the challenges and limitations of these technologies within global supply chain operations.
Blockchain is the topic of Chapter 4, The Supply Blockchain: Integrating Blockchain Technology within Supply Chain Operations, which is written by Matthew Liotine. Blockchain is a distributed system of record that employs a trust protocol built on elements of networking and cryptology. Blockchain can improve the speed of transaction execution and validation across multiple parties. These include digitally validating a transaction that has occurred between two entities and rendering it irrefutable. When one considers the numerous kinds and volume of supply chain transactions that occur daily, this fundamental capability can have profound impacts. Having readily available information that is trustworthy can streamline activities such as purchasing, contracting and qualifying materials. This chapter surveys some current applications of blockchain by early industry adopters and explores additional potential applications for supply chain operations. It concludes with a prescriptive approach for how enterprises can determine and identify effective implementation scenarios for blockchain in their supply chain operations.
The science of inventory optimization is the topic of Chapter 5, Technologies for Dealing with Error in Supply Chain Planning, written by William Stillman. To consistently achieve the “Perfect Order,” with the maximum contribution to margin, one needs to plan across the enterprise at the most granular level. This means planning at the item or SKU level for every location (SKUL) where inventory is held or used. The Science of IO envelops every aspect of the enterprise where any piece of inventory rests or passes through. When management plans to deliver the “Perfect Order,” they need to incorporate, comprehensively, every element of the enterprise simultaneously; every component of the enterprise—down to the smallest SKUL—is subject to change at any time. Therefore, to consistently achieve the “Perfect Order,” management needs to comprehensively Monitor, Analyze, and Plan (MAP) all policies, plans, and actions for the enterprise, at every SKUL level, every day.
Chapter 6, Emerging Technologies in the Health Care Supply Chain, written by JoAnn Verdin, concerns emerging technologies in the health care supply chain. In this chapter, the background and organization of the health care supply chain are reviewed, and the impact of emerging technologies are described. Maturing technologies including optimization software, sensors/telematics, cloud computing, data warehouse systems, and automated storage and retrieval are examined. Growth technologies including mobility, wearable devices, data analytics, and social media are examined as they potentially relate to the health care supply chain.
Emerging technologies including 3D printing, drone delivery, and autonomous vehicles are presented and examples provided on their use in the health care supply chain. Exponential technologies including blockchain, the IoT, Virtual/Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are described with regard to potential applications that impact the health care supply chain. Future changes in the external environment of health care including decentralization, new competitors, and the increased use of telemedicine are described with respect to impacts on the health care supply chain.
Chapter 7, The Emergence of New Containers in Cold Chain, written by Sang Moon, discusses “new containers in cold chain” and reviews recently introduced containers such as CA (Controlled Atmosphere) containers and high-insulated containers. Because of the high demand for fresh foods and changes in cold chain environments, efforts to extend the shelf life of these foods have resulted in the development of new technology that reduces transportation costs. This chapter focuses on how these containers are impacting the overall cold chain, by reviewing several case studies. CA containers are used to supplement reefer containers. Highinsulated containers are developed to enhance insulating performance. The impact of these containers on cold chain and food trade are discussed in this chapter.
Chapter 8, Unlocking Digital Innovation: Guiding Principles for Driving Digital Technology in the Supply Chain, written by Matthew Liotine, is entitled “Unlocking Digital Innovation: Guiding Principles for Driving Digital Technology in the Supply Chain.” Innovating supply chain operations with digital technology is a challenge for many enterprises due to ingrained barriers. Yet, innovation is a necessity that goes beyond continuous improvement. This chapter defines what innovation means and reviews the barriers typically encountered in innovating supply chain operations. It reviews the trends in innovation methods and how they can be used to drive changes in supply chain operations. Two general types of innovation are reviewed: funnel methods and rocket methods. Funnel methods are widely used for new product development and often exhibit low success rates. Such approaches are being supplanted by newer, “rocket,” methods which are goal oriented. These methods are faster and can be adapted for both product and process innovation. An example of a rocket method is profiled using a “canvas approach.” Appraisal of the outcome of these methods is reviewed using common business case metrics.
Case studies of supply chain technology implementation are presented in Chapter 9, Case Studies of Supply Chain Technology Implementation. Written by Anthony M. Pagano, Matthew Liotine and William Stillman, this chapter is comprised of a series of case studies of specific companies that used and integrated one or more of the technologies, identified in the previous chapters, into their supply chain and logistics operations.
This was accomplished by interviewing a select sample of firms to identify the type of technology they have implemented, the problems involved in implementation, user training necessary, and how this new technology interfaced with technology currently in use in the business, among other issues. The first part of the chapter discusses five different companies that implemented several of the technologies discussed in earlier chapters in this book. The companies asked not to be identified. The last part of the chapter discusses three companies which implemented inventory optimization software. The results, including impacts on cost savings, operations, and inventory management are examined.
The last decade of the 20th century has been quite transient and dynamic for organizations and businesses, particularly so in the supply chain management field. The rate of change is increasing as we progress into the 21st century, and with that, organizations have had to be responsive to this change—and at a rapid pace! Chapter 10, Technology in Supply Chain Management and Logistics: What Does the Future Hold?, written by Mellissa Gyimah-Concepcion, focuses on the future of technology in the supply chain, and this involves companies, as well as classrooms and courses. It is a cutting-edge notion that is only just getting recognized within the supply chain, and being explored and utilized in a way that is invigorating and unique, not recreating old systems with new technology endeavors. We utilize a focus group of Board member companies of the Center for Supply Chain Management and Logistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago to understand what does the future hold.