Artificial Intelligence in the Supply Chain

| August 3, 2018

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The future of businesses is not just about adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology; it is about being ahead and gaining a significant advantage over competitors. Amongst other business applications, Supply Chain is also following suit giving rise to a new era in its optimization; where the supply chain systems can think, analyze vast amounts of data, predict and forecast findings, and present insights.

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Teekay

Teekay is an operational leader and project developer in the marine energy space. Established in 1973, Teekay has developed from a regional shipping company into one of the world’s largest marine energy transportation, storage and production companies. We bring energy where it is needed — anywhere in the world — to power the global economy and to improve people’s lives.

OTHER ARTICLES

How procurement can drive long term sustainability

Article | April 5, 2020

Alex Saric, smart procurement expert, Ivalua discusses the ways in which porcurement can drive long term sustainability. Over the last 12 months, sustainability has become a top priority for many businesses, as environmental activism has taken over the world stage and governments treat the subject as a priority. Consumers across the world are already voting with their wallets, resulting in a 50% rise in the sale of sustainability-marketed goods over the last five years.

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The Autonomous Supply Chain

Article | March 25, 2020

Autonomous technology continues to make an impact on the supply chain. The autonomous supply chain, as I am writing about it here, applies to moving goods without human intervention (to some degree at least). One of the more interesting examples I have seen is from the Belgian brewery De Halve Maan, which in an effort to reduce congestion on the city streets, built a beer pipeline under the streets. The pipeline is capable of carrying 1,500 gallons of beer an hour at 12 mph to a bottling facility two miles away.

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Transportation 2020: Top 4 Ways For Shippers To Navigate The Road Ahead

Article | February 10, 2020

For shippers, the past two years have been a roller coaster ride. As quickly as capacity became limited and freight rates increased in 2018, the opposite occurred in 2019. Carriers that had invested in equipment and drivers in 2018 saw excess capacity and plummeting rates in 2019, a year with a record number of trucking company bankruptcies. It was a dramatic shift that occurred much faster than typical cyclical changes in the transportation industry.

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3 Ways to Benchmark to Boost Supply Chain Performance

Article | April 20, 2021

You might be wondering what the benefits are of benchmarking. Well, imagine you are training for a 100 metre sprint in your district. What would be the key number, or metric that you would need to know? It would, of course, be what the winning time was when this race was last run in your district. Without that information, you don’t know what you’re trying to target. It would be impossible to know if you’ll have any chance at all of winning the race. It’s exactly the same in business. If, for example, you are concerned about the pick rates in your warehouse, or your transport costs, or your inventory accuracy, benchmarking can help you because it can show you exactly where your performance is compared to others in your industry. A few years ago, I was working with an automotive parts business. They had a little issue with their picking productivity in the warehouse. They wondered how good it was, whether they could improve it. They actually thought it was okay. We looked at the figures and compared them with other businesses. This helped us realise that their picking productivity should be three times better than it was. And believe it or not, over a few months they did begin to improve their productivity. Why? Because benchmarking opened their eyes to the fact that they were at a level quite far below others in the industry. That’s the beauty of benchmarking. Until you know what others are doing, you can’t be sure how good your performance is. If you’ve never tried benchmarking, there are three ways you could do it. 1. Informal Benchmarking This exercise would involve you measuring particular functions or aspects of your business and comparing that against other parts of your business. Let’s say you have a warehouse operating in one city and another operating in another city. You might start to measure the same metrics and see which one is performing better. You might know other people in the industry who are also operating warehouses so you might agree to share some data with them. This is probably the easiest way to start off, but it has some downsides: You’re only measuring against a very small sample size. If all of you in the pool are not that good, how would you know what good is? You have to make sure that the businesses are similar and you are measuring things in exactly the same way. It’s very important in benchmarking to have a standard way of applying the metric. 2. Formal Benchmarking This can work for much larger businesses. Perhaps you have operations in many different countries. You could agree a formal structure for how you are going to measure performance. You could do monthly or quarterly benchmarks with all the parts of your international organisation. You could learn from each other and share best practice. This method is okay but you’re not getting access to a very large pool of results to measure yourself against. You will find that companies are very reluctant to give out benchmarking data. You might also be operating in an environment where the performance is quite low right across the business. 3. Hire a Professional Benchmarking Firm This is the ultimate way to do it, although there are not a lot of professional benchmarking firms such as ours around. If you do manage to find one, you will quickly realise that there are significant benefits to be had by bringing in the professionals: The metrics are put together in exactly the same way: When we do a benchmarking exercise for our consulting clients, we go through a very robust data-gathering process and then make sure all the costs, for example, are in the same buckets as everyone else’s in the database. You gain access to a big pool of results: Professionals have measured hundreds, if not thousands, of companies. This enables you to say, ‘Our company is this size, it operates in this industry, these are the characteristics of our supply chain, who else in that pool of results is like us? We want to be measured against them.” It’s no good measuring the performance of a grocery retailer, for example, against an industrial product supplier. They have different supply chains. You need to be measuring like with like.

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Spotlight

Teekay

Teekay is an operational leader and project developer in the marine energy space. Established in 1973, Teekay has developed from a regional shipping company into one of the world’s largest marine energy transportation, storage and production companies. We bring energy where it is needed — anywhere in the world — to power the global economy and to improve people’s lives.

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