Navigating trade relations right now can feel like driving down a congested highway. You’re trying to merge lanes, find your exit, and make it to your destination while your check engine light is on. Issues stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the months-long conflict, drought or flooding resulting from climate change, and the post pandemic supply chain, result in links forever broken or changed. These, and issues like these are undoubtedly at the forefront of your mind when making decisions in the logistics field, you shouldn’t have to worry about all sorts of nitty-gritty compliance issues or maintenance that no one remembers to address. There’s only so long you can continue down this road before your car breaks down.
Here’s a few A.I related supply chain trends highlighted by LogisticsNews with our thoughts, and how Verifier’s Managed Services addresses them to help you keep the gears of your industry running.
IoT driving business decisions:
Ever heard of the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”? Imagine if a wheel could tell you it had a puncture as it happens. Or if your engine could monitor itself and order oil before you’re aware it’s needed. In this scenario, Managed Services is both the squeaky wheel and the oil.
In the above-mentioned article, they described a forecast that by 2025 there will likely be “more than 75 billion IoT-connected devices in use” with an estimated value of $4 trillion.
Utilising IOT devices, Managed services acts like a diagnostic service or grease keeping the wheels turning. Managing the ‘moving parts’ of a business through effective and timely notification of issues highlighted by the IOT devices, Managed services can help highlight the issues and solve them. But with the increased use and dependency on IOT devices, you need someone with the tech know-how and experience to manage this aspect of your business.
Verifier’s Managed Services can help with everything from warehouse temperature control, maintenance of fire and alarm equipment, staff safety measures through wearable technology, access control, and general security measures. But beside IOT devices at an individual facility, imagine having a reporting system that acts like a map, updating itself in real time with all manner of devices that enables transparency to situations unfolding, preventing bottlenecks, and enhancing safety and reliability across your business’ entire supply chain! Managed services not only provide consultation upon initiation, but constant maintenance and trained staff capable of actioning and reporting independently.
What about having data on your demographic or industry that can be fed back to you through an industry consultation, allowing you to make informed decisions before you’d otherwise be aware of the necessity for changes.
Moving from the cloud to the edge:
The article then talks about how “powerful edge devices [will be] able to run lightweight machine learning” and that this will move to the “extreme edge with real-time operating systems”. From Verifier’s experience with Edge based technology, this move can exponentially increase the speed of operations, while reducing data usage and relay times between operating centres and the devices themselves. From a security and operations perspective this feedback into machine learning databases only gets stringer with every new IOT device acting as a ‘node’ in an ever-growing network. Bleeding edge real-time feedback from devices fed into a well-managed database will soon become paramount!
As this becomes the ‘new norm’ of trade, standards of operations will have to be maintained to stay competitive. Why should you pay for delays down the line that could have been avoided and prevented through effective management of game-changing technology? Our Managed Services offering can help ensure your business is up to date with safety and compliance certification, and is run effectively.
Our Managed Services are already relevant, not just in future scenarios like managing wearable tech that can detect carbon monoxide in mining operations, but we’re already helping clients solve issues with IOT and devices as they are today. Ensure your business has a strong foundation, with feedback you know works, so that when the inevitable new wave of edge or IOT devices arrives you’ll be prepared and experienced.
Advancements in AI:
It goes without saying, but the increased use and ability of Artificial Intelligence to provide meaningful data will be ubiquitous in every industry going forward. LogisticsNews mentions how “supply chain data can be predicted based on past history gleaned from the IoT data”, and when “AI and IoT solutions work together [they will] predict problems and offer solutions based on patterns”. Two A.I driven solutions mentioned, that Verifier’s managed services already addresses are demand planning and digital twins.
Demand Planning is a process where a business can accurately predict future sales or issues, and to plan ahead of time by analysing, evaluating, and forecasting the demand for goods or potential bottlenecks in the supply chain. The key advantages of Verifier’s Managed Services with regards to demand planning is our enhanced reporting and data management capabilities. This idea feeds into the topic of establishing a “Data Lake”, but that’s a topic for another day.
The second idea mentioned, that of a digital twin relates to a trend within what’s known as Industry 4.0, or the “fourth industrial revolution”. A digital twin is when a virtual representation of a product is created and then later retained for inspection and maintenance purposes. Industry 4.0 utilises the cloud, edge-based devices, and IOT devices in an exchange of data known as “big data”, to create and maintain Smart Factories. Sensors connected to various physical infrastructure components compare and contrast the data they are creating in real-time with their established digital twin. In the case if security this can be a virtual boundary created through the use of A.I that automatically notifies the site manager or off-site monitoring company of any changes captured in the physical world such as a person breaking the line drawn on the digital twin. The establishment of a digital framework to map out and report on any changes to this blueprint helps optimise your system/ supply chain’s performance, and ensures a regimented maintenance protocol.
Automation as a result:
The article goes on to say that automation results from “data and AI working together”. This is precisely point where the value added from Managed Services comes into play. Ensuring the continuation of communication between these inter-related and inter-dependent systems can be done most effectively through careful system design, daily operations, maintenance checks, and constant re-evaluation by a skilled and knowledgeable management component.
They further highlight how “the replacement of repetitive and time-consuming activities through automation has been an ongoing process for years”, and we couldn’t agree more! Verifier has been at the forefront of this trend for over a decade. Externally we have created systems and protocols for our clientele where we have reduced the need for in-house staff and on-site guards, and internally we utilise advanced A.I to manage the alerts we receive so we can efficiently address multiple sites simultaneously.
LogisticsNews concludes that “automation will make supply chain professionals with an understanding of data extremely valuable”, and will continue to speed up exponentially “as professionals within the industry take the data and implement AI platforms to make decisions”.
With the advancement of technology, progress can happen quickly, but more can go wrong quickly too. It will be necessary in the near future for logistics professionals to seek out and retain experienced and first-class management to deal with the extent of IOT devices in use, so why not get ahead of the curve? Managed Services greases the gears of your business to ensure frictionless service, routine maintenance, transparency of costs and issues, and continuous running of your business.