Smart Supply Chain

August 29, 2017 By: Anirban Mukherjee

Explore the exciting possibilities offered by a strategic application like Pega 7 in harmony with digital megatrends such as IoT, Machine Learning, Robotics and Blockchain to script the story of tomorrow’s ‘Smart Supply Chain‘.

The other day I was attending an analyst briefing on digital innovation, where the host kept on dropping names (read emerging technology trends) in discernibly quick succession, that too, in a reassuring tone that sounded extremely confident.

The room reverberated with the strident sound of ‘the genie in Aladdin’s lamp’ like technology breakthroughs (e.g. IoT, AI, Robotics, Blockchain, etc.) that seemed to be tomorrow’s magic wand, waiting to be weaved to conjure up charmed technology solutions.

While a majority of the revered consultants and technologists somehow echoed his thought process, I felt like the odd man out, with my cluttered mind not able to wade through the maze of complexity fast enough to visualize a synergistic orchestration of the said concepts.

So I came back home with a heavy heart, trying to decipher meaningful relationships between these concepts and searching for that elusive symphony, struggling to stitch together the thoughts that can bind these concepts cohesively to create a ‘whole being more than the sum of parts’ storyline.

That is when I bumped into an ex-colleague of mine who spent donkey’s years as an enterprise architect primarily dealing with packaged applications.

Sensing my discomfort, he slipped into a fleeting spell of deep thoughtfulness before picking up the whiteboard marker.

“Look – you got hold of the wrong end of the stick mate – you are trying to envisage a business storyline using technology components – that is like putting the cart before the horse” – he sounded condescending but unsurprisingly correct.

I stared at the whiteboard to catch a glimpse of his mind’s reflection:

smart supply chain

He carried on with characteristic poise –

“See – think of a Supply Chain scenario – you got trucks carrying sensitive, perishable goods such as tissue samples, drugs, food items that need to be maintained within specified temperature ranges (Deep-Freeze, Frozen, Chilled, etc.) without fail – otherwise the delivery contract between the supplier and the customer can potentially turn null and void – also, do remember that things can go wrong due to outside temperature fluctuation as the truck traverses through the diverse terrain of landscapes and climatic conditions and you need near real-time mechanisms to adopt timely remediation measures.

Now imagine using a Pega 7 like strategic application that can act as a glue between different digital enablers to ensure that the supply chain is a ‘SMART’ one resulting in continuous monitoring of goods using IoT integration, execution of preventive actions that self-adjusts automatically using reinforcement machine learning, well-rounded handling of extreme exception situations using robotics and unbiased digital footprint of all events using integration with Blockchain applications.

Now see for yourself the difference it makes to the overall business ecosystem!”

I was pleasantly surprised indeed and decided to operationalize the concept using underlying technology pillars.

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