Tuesday 23rd Jan 2018 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Nine technologies will transform supply chain over coming decade

There are nine technologies that will transform supply chain management with ten years, according to Gartner. And three of them will have an impact in the next two to five years.

These include analytical in-memory database management systems (IMDBMS), price optimisation and RFID for logistics and transport, according to Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Management” which outlines 61 SCM technologies at different stages of development.

IMDBMS is a DBMS that stores the entire database structure in memory and accesses it without the use of input/output instructions. Analytical IMDBMSs focus on addressing analytical needs — leveraging the high speed of in-memory capabilities. Technologies include in-memory column-store DBMSs and in-memory massively parallel processing row-store-based technologies.

Tim Payne, research director at Gartner, said the speed of IMDBMS for analytics has the potential to simplify the data warehouse model and reduce maintenance by removing the need for aggregates, summaries and cubes. This would result in lower administration costs and offer greater agility in meeting analytical requirements.

“Some technologies, such as columnar IMDBMSs, have the opportunity to grow beyond analytical use cases into transactional processing and, as a result, enable new applications that were previously difficult to implement due to latency issues between the transactional and analytical environments. These applications could be transformational — by driving new business opportunities and processes.”

Price optimisation enables B2B companies to maximise profitability through the analysis, optimisation and implementation of the complex pricing processes and governance supporting sales activities.

“A price optimisation initiative can deliver business impact in three areas,” said Payne. “Firstly, it can improve margins and increase profitability by analysing costs, customer buying behaviours, competitive activity, demand signals and historic data. Secondly, aligned with sales operations, customer relationship management applications and internal change management, price optimisation can ensure a consistent customer experience both globally and across any buying channels that customers choose to use.

“Finally, price optimisation should ideally be able to identify new selling opportunities with existing or former customers by analysing historic and current buying patterns, order volumes and purchasing patterns.”

RFID has been one of the coming technologies for several years. “Major initiatives that use, or propose to use, this technology will include tracking of assets, loss prevention, inventory management, rail transport, logistics, toll payment, management, and transport asset tracking and control,” said Payne.

“The impact and business value will vary across industry segments, proposed uses or business solutions and regions, and a cost-benefit analysis should always be used to compare the various identification technologies. RFID should only be chosen if the business case proves it to be the better approach.”

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