Category Archives: Supply Chain

THE NEXT 20,000 EDI HUBS

If you are a regular reader of our blog, then you are comfortable with terms like EDI, EC, Logistics, Supply Chain and Technology. Let’s dig a little bit deeper and discuss HUBS and SPOKES.

A HUB is just one type of EDI customer. Hubs are characterized by high volume, lots of partners, high availability and high accuracy. The concept of the “Hub” is simple. These are the companies who reach out to their trading partners and request those partners to trade electronically. Let’s characterize the three types of EDI customers:

(1) Hubs

(2) Spokes (low turnover of trading partners but higher technical requirements)

(3) Ecommerce Service Providers (ECSB) (a “hybrid” with high turnover rate, deal with all implementation guides, and amount to a “Hub of Spokes”).

What is wrong with the current approach to EDI implementation? We need a new concept. Everybody wants to be a “Hub” not a “Spoke”, because that is where the money is made. That is also why new EDI implementations have stagnated. Our answer is to turn “Spokes” into “Hubs”. Currently, the “Hub” realizes benefits; the “Spoke” does not. Why can’t a Spoke become a Hub and trade electronically with lower-tier suppliers and with their own customers? Only because traditionally they have thought it was too complicated.

A generation ago, we had about 1,000 Hubs. This number has not grown! But the number of Spokes has grown astronomically. It is time for bigger Spokes to take advantage of newer technologies and become Hubs

For answers to this question, plan to attend this presentation:

Future of EDI The Next 20,000 Hubs

Todd Gould, CEO, Loren Data

The EDI relationship has frequently been characterized as a Hub & Spoke model, and we have seen major companies (often referred to as 800lb gorillas) dictating EDI to their vendors and suppliers. The future growth of EDI depends on the additional midmarket enterprises entering the market as the new Hubs. Learning from what worked and did not work in the past, along with leveraging the substantial EDI ecosystem will be instrumental in the success of the next growth phase in this market. Together we will explore the Technology Adoption Life-Cycle in a new perspective of how it applies to EDI, what it is to be a Hub, the challenges of being a Spoke, and a roadmap to the exciting explosive growth phase just ahead.

Where and when?

New England Electronic Commerce Users’ Group

Annual 2 Day Conference & Educational Session

Wednesday & Thursday May 11-12, 2016

A Key Speaker

EDI and The Next 20,000 Hubs

Todd Gould

CEO, Loren Data Group

The New England Electronic Commerce Users’ Group (NEECOM), formerly the New England EDI Users’ Group (NEEDI), is a nonprofit organization established in 1990. Members are large and small organizations in a variety of industries. which include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, hospitals, insurance companies, motor carriers, universities, banks and government agencies. The common thread is an interest in EC/EDI and related technologies.

Meeting Registration

All registrations & memberships must be performed online using the website

http://www.neecom.org

All questions about registration should be addressed to Ira Keltz (617) 724-1832

Space Is Limited! Please Respond Before May 9, 2016.

So why do we have a donkey for the featured image ? Because I like donkeys.

Actually a Donkey is like a SPOKE. Give it « good grass » and it is happy. Never realizes if it became a HUB it could be sitting across the street in a 5-Star hotel enjoying a first class lunch !

Five Ways Big Data, Analytics Are Transforming the Trucking Industry

1. Mobile Notifications

Using an open-architecture remote diagnostics system, truck drivers and fleet managers can receive mobile notifications about pending performance issues. The ability to predict issues before they happen helps avoid unplanned downtime. Notifications can be delivered via computers, email, cell phones and more, making it easier for drivers and fleet managers to receive and act on critical updates.

2. Over-the-Air Engine Reprogramming

Much like mobile phones, today’s engines benefit from frequent software updates and recalibrations, and will soon be able to receive these updates remotely via over-the-air reprogramming. Benefits like improved fuel economy can thus be achieved without having to schedule multiple service visits. Over-the-air reprogramming can potentially be used to recalibrate engines for new usage patterns, such as mountainous terrains or heavier loads, to optimize vehicle efficiency.

3. Truck Health Reports

Open-architecture remote diagnostics systems that work with a truck’s existing telematics systems pull diagnostic-related data from vehicles to create vehicle health reports. Using these reports to capture insights into the operational health of the vehicle, fleet managers can understand the severity of vehicle issues and identify the appropriate corrective actions, ultimately leading to increased uptime. By gaining advance visibility to potential maintenance issues, fleets can also schedule maintenance during planned downtime, avoiding service visits while the truck is scheduled to be in use.

4. Environment Tracking

Truck drivers’ on-time delivery is enhanced when mobile data is used to track emerging traffic and weather patterns, approaching truck stops, hotel locations and more. Real-time access to this information enables drivers to cut down on time spent fighting traffic, braving hazardous weather or searching for lodging. It can also speed drivers’ access to the right maintenance or repair facility for their needs, thus contributing directly to improved uptime

5. Fuel Economy

Analysis of vehicle data can pinpoint driver behaviors that reduce fuel efficiency, such as excessive idle time, harsh braking or rapid acceleration. Fleets will also be more empowered to select the right product features and other specifications needed to optimize their vehicles’ fuel economy. Tailored vehicle specifications will increasingly be relied on to address truckers’ emphasis on fuel economy, as well as other user needs.

Class I railroads expect domestic intermodal ramp up

Despite sluggish performance in the second quarter — as in the smallest quarterly growth rate since 2009 — domestic intermodal volume is poised to pick up through the remainder of 2015, and beyond. Class I executives and intermodal industry observers cite several reasons for optimism, such as the steadying economy, trucking industry woes, and railroads’ improving service performance, aggressive marketing strategies and continued infrastructure investments.

Although there’s still some uncertainty shrouding the domestic intermodal market, such as the degree to which truckers can take advantage of falling fuel prices, Class Is anticipate steadier volumes, especially during the traditionally busy fall peak season. For the most part, shippers continue to consider rail not only for the lower-cost, long-haul portion of their transportation moves, but for other areas of their supply chains that are suited to railroads and trucks working in concert. Case in point: A retailer tapping intermodal to more quickly receive time-sensitive freight associated with a promotional sale.

These are the conclusions reached by our freelance writer Robert J. Derocher, who sought to gauge the domestic intermodal market by probing Class I execs and industry observers. He shares his findings in this article he contributed to our September issue.

SENSORS (What do they have to do with Vending Machines?)

PenneyVanderbilt

Image

Recently, Mike Martz introduced us to the Internet of Things (IoT). This is what happens when you combine cloud technology, wireless networks, standardized communications protocols, RFID, worldwide IP networks, Big Data, miniaturized sensors, and cheap storage and computing power. Let’s drill down on SENSORS!
The concept of IoT originated in the Auto-ID Lab at MIT in 1999 and was based on RFID, but has been expanded since to include sensor devices that enable machine to machine communication and autonomous event-driven decision making. Sensors are appearing in traffic signals, factories, distributors, homes and even the weather. A while back I reported on XML in Your Weather. While I was primarily focusing on the METAR coding scheme to send weather data around the World, the “Weatherman” told me a lot about Big Data and things like “smart” rain gauges.

Not like they sprung these sensors on us overnight. They have…

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Algorithm Will Tell All UPS Trucks Where to Go

PenneyVanderbilt

A UPS driver has, on average, 120 stops to make each day. But what’s the most efficient route that driver can take?

The company is hoping its Orion (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) computer platform will solve this issue for its 55,000 US routes using an algorithm that examines travel costs, distance, and other factors to spit out not necessarily the optimal route, but the most reliably good one, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Customers and drivers like consistency,” a UPS senior director of process management tells the Journal. “Orion has to know when to give up a penny to make the results more stable.”

This efficiency has become paramount as UPS struggles to compete with FedEx, boost earnings growth, and figure out a way to optimize the many residential stops it now makes.

Rough Patches
The deployment of Orion isn’t always so smooth, though. That is where Mr. Levis

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How Walmart Wants You to Deliver Your Packages

KCJones

In an effort to compete with e-tailers, Walmart is looking at a plan to have their store customers deliver packages to online customers. Currently, Walmart uses express carriers such as FedEx for online deliveries. So how would this (to be “crowd-sourced”) idea work? Walmart shoppers could register to drop off packages to online customers who live along their route back home, in exchange for a discount on the customers’ shopping bill, about the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages.

Before implementing the plan, they need to consider things like theft, fraud, licensing and insurance. It might be a year or two and might not initially cover all 4,000+ U.S. Stores. Walmart wants to be more competitive against e-tailers like Amazon.com.

Other delivery options are:

  1. Company owned vehicles operated by company employees.

  2. Contracted third party home deliverers.

  3. Lockers or a desk in a Walmart store.

  4. Pickup…

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Can The United States Postal Service Be Saved?

PenneyVanderbilt

Pictured above represents a Supply Chain Management Control Tower. Don’t expect to currently find one in back of your local post office. Look for lots of them at company called DHL which is the German Post Office.

Jim O’Reilly, writing in EBN, presented a very good discussion on saving the USPS.

Yes, his ideas are good and I encourage you to read his article. Other countries, like Canada, have postal cost problems and are following a deliberate path to shed unneeded buildings, cut home delivery, etc.

But out there is a winner: Germany, the owner of DHL Express, a division of the German Post Office.

The United States government, and the sometimes-awkward Congress have surprisingly “thought out of the box” a couple of times in the last forty years in a very successful way. First in 1976 with CONRAIL, then more recently with General Motors.

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Guess What? A “Traditional” Retailer Might Beat Amazon and Google at “Same-Day Delivery”

PenneyVanderbilt

Much has been made of Amazon’s  race for same-day delivery and Google looking to cut them off at the pass. In fact, Google just revealed they have been testing their own airborne drone delivery system, dubbed Project Wing, that could deliver small items to customers. While Google and Amazon’s drones are still a few years away – these online giants are still going to need physical space from which to distribute. That’s a substantial capital expenditure.
What if then, there were a store that already had “distribution centers” all over the country from which they could offer same-day delivery right here and right now.
That store could be MACY’s
Macys
It is a known fact that they are piloting it in four markets. They are working with FedEx, UPS and eBay. They are adding all sorts  of  technology as part of the renovation of their New York City flagship store.
Got…

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Trends In Healthcare And The Life Sciences And Their Impact On Ecommerce

Despite the cacophony of technology available today, not all industries have embraced or responded to it as steadily as it has proliferated our lives. Healthcare is one of those industries, although now it’s on the fast track.

 

As a way of studying and distilling how trends in healthcare and the life sciences impact ecommerce, researchers at The University Tilak Maharashta Vidyapeeth in Pude, India recently released A Critical Study of Ecommerce in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Ron Dyer, a former technology analyst with Goldman Sachs who, when interviewed for the study was a consultant for Boys’ Harbor, a New York social service agency, says technology will dramatically transform the pharmaceutical industry in the coming decade. He called “increased business to business transactions over the Internet…unstoppable.” Dyer noted that even today, consumers are obtaining their prescriptions and fulfilling other medical needs over the Internet, and that trend will become prevalent as time evolves.

“Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers will do the business transactions online and will increase these transactions online,” said Dyer. He also predicted that health care providers will offer chat room sessions and discussions over the World Wide Web, so information regarding health care can be exchanged quickly and inexpensively.

Todd Gould: Where he has been, What he is up to; Where he is going

KCJones

(Pictured above is Todd Gould vacationing on the French Riviera in Nice France)

The Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ASC X12), has installed directors forthe 2015–2017 term to provide leadership in the development of cross-industry e-business standards that improve business process interoperability and facilitate business information exchange.Newly-elected directors include:Todd Gould,CEO, Loren Data Corp

Since I entered in the EDI industry in 1996, I have not seen a more promising time to be in this market. The GXS era was an unfortunate disruption to the natural growth of a networked market; however, under the new management of OpenText opportunity is back. Now that we avoided the apocalypse, it is time for us, the leaders of the industry, to deliver the next generation of B2B automation. In the coming months Loren Data will begin rolling out the next evolution of the EDI VAN, one that is more user and developer friendly, more extensible…

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