Category Archives: Advanced Computing

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Blockchain not yet for supply chains

Gartner says 80% of blockchain supply chain developments won’t get out of design and development for several years.  So many of them are just recycling financial blockchain ideas into supply chain space without understanding the issues.  A case of a solution chasing a problem, the bugaboo of ITY initiatives forever.

I’d like to get my hands on this report from Gartner.  It should be interesting.

The Gartner source below says 90%!!! I like that number better as an estimate.

Here’s a quote from the latter press release from Gartner:

“The budding nature of blockchain makes it almost impossible for organizations to identify and target specific high-value use cases. Instead, companies are forced to run multiple development pilots using trial and error to find ones that might provide value.  …

Furthermore, current creations offered by solution providers are complicated hybrids of conventional blockchain technologies.”

Exactly.

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 via Blockchain may be the way ahead for supply chains – but not yet – The Loadstar

Another source: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-05-07-gartner-predicts-90–of-blockchain-based-supply-chain

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DCSA unveils new era of smarter supply chains with track & trace standards

The Digital Container Shipping Association has unveiled its new T&T standard for tracking containers while en route between shipper and consignee.  They are quite detailed and have been planned using some of the latest design thinking techniques, including the definition of personas who might use the system one way or another. They’ve prepared some very nice slide shows to describe at a high level what they are doing.

DCSA was launched by MSC, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and ONE last April, with CMA CGM, Yang Ming, Evergreen, HMM and Zim joining a month later. This is a fairly quick turnaround for a first standard delivery.

The catch will be how fast people start sticking to them when building equipment and systems. Doing so can be predicted to help sales, via a network effect– since the standards make systems compatible, there’s less hassle making one system relate to another.  A close review should be done of the standards, to see how many choices individual participants are given to make the information specific to their needs.  Such choices tend to produce systems that lose their compatibility if one of the partners changes, and make specific programming necessary when others try to adapt to the system. It’s the anthesis of cooperation.  And these standards are meant to promote cooperation rather than competition.

An example of the issue can be seen with EDI, in which general record structures are defined, but a lot of latitude is given to provide extra information or different information. The result is that EDI needs to be specially programmed for each pair-wise interaction of companies, a problem that has haunted us for 20 years even though
EDI, in general, was a big step forward.

Let’s hope that we all have learned from the past, and can use the standard to really lubricate information flow in supply chains.

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By via New era of smarter supply chains as DCSA track & trace standards are unveiled – The Loadstar
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How robots change the world | Oxford Economics

Thanks to Supply Chain Digest for promoting this study by Oxford Economics.  Read the article here for a synopsis of its findings: Supply Chain News: Oxford Economics Says Robots Benefits will Outweigh Cons

Basically, it says robots will greatly raise productivity and take jobs with a repetitive aspect, displacing workers toward jobs with high cognitive content.  But there may be local dislocations that will be hard for some people.   We’d better prepare for that and put in measures to alleviate the suffering, if we care about people and their lives.  They think about 1.6 jobs will be lost for every job robots take. but GNP may grow 5% as a result.  China is the major user of robots now, and the revolution promises to be harder on them than any other country as it looks now.

It isn’t clear from the summary whether the 1.6 jobs lost will be found again in other sectors, such as service and sales, support of the robots, or technical work like fixing the robots.  Nonetheless this kind of assessment is an eye opener to concerns we may have in our economy and political world for quite a while.

The report is available here:  How robots change the world | Oxford Economics

Or here: Oxford Economics 2019 Report – How Robots Change the World