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DECEMBER 2019

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The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Reference guide to benchmarking solutions Special Technology Report: DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

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Case studies Opinion Insight

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Also in this issue:

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Report Round-up: ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING DEMAND FORECASTING & PLANNING/S&OP WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS/VOICE PICKING

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December 2019

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Seeing disruption as an opportunity While there seems to be a considerable level of geopolitical uncertainty dominating the headlines on a regular basis, it can be soundly argued that this current climate also offers major opportunities for chief financial officers to set the wheels in motion to secure a competitive edge over their organisations’ competitors. Indeed, Jason Boldt, research director in the finance practice at Gartner, believes CFOs need to understand what characteristics their high-performing peers exhibit. “Gartner research suggests that a focus on investing for scale, on preventing scope creep from destroying margins, and customer centricity are CFO qualities that are significantly related to the best performing organisations,” he explains. Gartner experts identified six disruptive trends that CFOs can treat as opportunities to grow the business. They include: business transformation, market competition, economic uncertainty, employee power in labour market, capital inefficiency and executive confidence. The number of global mergers and acquisitions deals have reached a 10-year-maximum, and so has the number of times that Fortune 500 companies mention terms related to ‘business transformation’ in their earnings calls. Gartner believes this shows that in the past 2 to 3 years firms have rapidly accelerated efforts to fundamentally alter how they compete and create value. “Top CFOs deliberately pursue scale-additive transactions; however, CFOs need to be careful of following the herd and overpaying for acquisitions that unintentionally undermine competitive positions,” says Boldt. From a market competition perspective, Garner highlights the fact that not only do companies face more entrenched incumbent firms in every industry, but they must also contend with well-financed, privately held startups. “It is critical for CFOs to have a thorough and objective view of competitive advantage, and honest appraisal of where their firms are falling short,” says Boldt. Moreover, in light of the current level of economic uncertainty, Boldt believes never in recent times have executives faced such levels of policy and economic uncertainty simultaneously. With this in mind, he believes the key to profiting from such uncertainty lies in ensuring costs are appropriately optimised for the operating environment to shore up liquidity and keep dry powder to enable rapid investment in suddenly attractive opportunities. And with unemployment at historic lows and employee disengagement at record highs, organisations face these turbulent times without the levels or employee certainty they have enjoyed in the past. However, looking at this trend through a positive lens, Boldt maintains it may be easier than ever before to poach key personnel from competitors. “Employees are likely to benefit in the form of higher wages which will pressure CFOs to oversee investments that increase productivity at least at the rate of labour cost growth,” he says.

Ed Holden Editor

In terms of capital inefficiency, Boldt is seeing that in the current low-interest-rate environment, companies have plenty of cash yet few opportunities to spend it. “While it may be harder to identify profitable investment opportunities, the CFOs whose companies perform best tend to focus investments on a limited number of big growth bets, concentrated customer bases, and tightly coordinated product and service lines,” he says. As regards executive confidence, Gartner believes this is arguably a red flag as it could seem like the kind of overconfidence that has preceded major market corrections in the past, but nevertheless the CEO confidence index hit its highs in 2018, although it has waned in 2019. In Boldt’s view, top CFOs will see this as a warning that given the volume and significance of current market changes, executives could be vastly underestimating the headwinds their companies face. “We’ve found that leading CFOs are building their own viewpoints of the customer, spending time one-on-one with key customers, with the aim of linking that theory of the customer back to financial considerations,” he points out. So, while the term disruption can sometimes have resonances of foreboding, this often plays out to be very far from the truth. And speaking of disruptive forces, myself and the team at Manufacturing & Logistics IT do hope that your seasonal preparations are going well in as organised and stress-free a manner as possible. Here’s to an opportunity-laden 2020.

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IT December 2019

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Manufacturing and Logistics IT December 2019

CONTENTS

The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Special Technology Report

Editor: Ed Holden

5

Digital Transformation

Contributors: Andy Coussins, Epicor Software Michiel Schipperus, Sana Commerce

Manufacturing

14

Epicor: Overall equipment effectiveness – Helping manufacturers tackle the UK productivity problem

Publisher: Dean Taylor

Gartner reveals five pillars that comprise a talent strategy for supply chain planning

Designer: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

Collaboration with QAD allows De Bortoli Wines to leverage technology across a Production: Carolyn Pither

complex supply chain

Circulation:

Capgemini: Smart factories set to boost global economy by US$1.5 trillion by 2023

Carole Chiesa IT Manager: Ian Curtis

Sana Commerce: Four common misconceptions manufacturers have about digitisation

Accounts: Sarah Schofield

Special Technology Report

Published by: B2B Publishing Ltd PO Box 3575, Barnet, Herts, EN5 9QD UK Tel: +44(0)208 440 0372 Email (publishing): info@logisticsit.com Email (editorial): editor@ibcpub.com

24

Special Technology Report 30

Printed by: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

ISSN:1463-1172

4

IT

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&LOGISTICS

TIMOCOM: Reliable and sustainable systems partner

Voice-directed Picking 38

Aliaxis chooses the Honeywell/BEC Voice Solution

Special Technology Report 40

December 2019

Demand Forecasting & Planning/S&OP

Transportation Management 36

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. No liability is accepted for any action arising from the contents of this publication; readers are advised to check any manufacturer’s or supplier’s claim for products. The publishers do not endorse opinions expressed in any article by an outside contributor. While every care is taken over photographs and illustrations, which are returned when requested, no liability can be assumed by the publishers for the loss of such materials.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Warehouse Management Systems/Voice Picking


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Digital Transformation

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Connecting the enterprise Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about current and possible future trends and areas of development within the world of Digital Transformation – including those concerning Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, Robotics, Cloud and Edge Computing.

D

evelopments concerning

Transformation; the Industrial Internet of

of business as

concepts such as Industry 4.0,

Things (IIoT) (which is essentially a method of

traditional partners

the Industrial Internet of Things

collecting data) and machine learning being

now compete

(IIoT), Machine Learning, Smart

just a couple of examples. “However, the key

against each other

Factory, Artificial Intelligence

thing to remember is that digitalisation is

to stay afloat in the

(AI), Blockchain, Big Data etc. are all making

essentially about enabling the connected

ever-competitive

headway. Moreover, Karthik Sundaram,

enterprise,” he explains. “It’s about having

market landscape.”

program manager – industrial, Frost &

the ability to collect pieces of data that are

Sullivan, observes that digital talk has moved

pertinent, relevant and useful in order to do

James Hendrickson,

forward from larger visions like Industrie 4.0,

help a business operate more efficiently, with

director of product

IIoT, etc. to more contextual interpretations.

minimal manual intervention. So, it's about

and offering

“We see a marked movement towards

understanding what really adds value to the

management,

evolving visions for each industry,” he says.

decision-making process within a business

Honeywell, sees a

“Terms like Aerospace 4.0, F&B 4.0, and

and be able to collect and use that

progression beyond Industry 4.0 to what he

Pharma 4.0 are quite commonplace. This is a

information in a timely way.”

refers to as Industry 5.0. “Industry 4.0

positive development, one that was much

Mark Hughes, regional vice president UK & Ireland,

focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) and

needed, since the larger agnostic paradigms

Arno Ham, chief product officer, Sana

interconnectedness of systems, but the real

(like Industrie 4.0) had served their chief

Commerce, makes the point that while

value comes from putting the worker at the

purpose of bringing the need for innovation

manufacturers are employing new

integral centre of those interconnected

into the mind space of end-customers. At the

technologies to meet increasing competition,

systems,” he says. “Digital transformation will

same time, digital strategy is increasingly

the impact this is having on the supply chain

continue throughout the value chain with

gaining more traction in company board

is much broader. “Not only are businesses

things like robotics, artificial intelligence (AI),

rooms. Designing digital strategies around

interacting with customers in different ways,

machine learning (ML), augmented reality

products, services, production is fast gaining

but the way that manufacturers are doing

(AR) and other major trends, but those trends

shape and customers are not anymore

business with wholesalers and distributers is

can now incorporate the worker in the centre

discussing about whether or not digital, but

changing too,” he says. “Digital

of those systems. Viewing the world through

rather asking more pertinent questions on

transformation, namely the adoption of

a worker-centric lens means we create and

value derived and ROI.”

ecommerce technology, is shaking up the

deploy technologies very differently. By

traditional supply chain as manufacturers

keeping the worker at the centre of the

Mark Hughes, regional vice president UK &

take advantage of the opportunity to open a

conversation, Industry 5.0 enables strong

Ireland, Epicor Software, reflects that we hear

web store and sell directly to the end

collaboration between humans and robots

many terms used within the context of Digital

customer. This is driving mass consolidation

and other systems. This provides the

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Digital Transformation

foundation for the

business model. “The mast majority of digital

analytics platforms and sophisticated

rise of the worker-

activity is around applying digital

automation. So, they've really taken their

centric value chain

technologies within the existing business

software to the next level.”

and ultimately a

model,” he says. “Companies are using

happier, more

digital mainly to drive down costs, change

productive

the customer experience and so on.” Dominy

Where to start

workforce.”

adds that firms utlising digital technology are

Bryan Ball, VP & group director – global

using it in two main ways. “In some instances

supply management practices, Aberdeen

Hendrickson

they are using digital capabilities to disrupt

Group, makes the point that Digital

explains that

other markets or other industries,” he says.

Transformation has become an often-used

Honeywell’s view of

“They're leveraging digital and then going

term, but asks whether people really know

Industry 5.0 means

into other markets. A classic example is

what it means in the real world. “One of the

that there are

Amazon. Other companies are using digital

most fundamental ways to transform digitally

significant advances in robotics – not just in

to disrupt the way they run their business,

would be to get to a position where you are

the robotics, but in building robots that

using innovative capabilities to change the

able to eliminate paper from your operations,”

empower the human workers in the value

way their operations are run in order to, for

he points out. “However, when companies

chain. “It’s easy to look at the technologies

example, change how the customer

talk about becoming digitally transformed at

alone without considering the workers,” he

experience is being delivered. But in terms of

a higher level they really need to ask the

says. He adds that the major technologies on

operations around manufacturing and

question ‘where do we start?” There are

the horizon that Honeywell is looking at are

logistics another big area is around the

some companies who are actively involved in

more robotics and more automation, “but

Internet of Things; applying IoT within the

enterprise-wide Digital Transformation

these systems will be deployed differently at

manufacturing environment to drive down

projects and doing well, but I think most need

a smaller scale and with more flexibility in the

costs, drive efficiency, improve that

to break it down into pieces and attack it that

approach”, he points out. “We see voice

connection between IoT plus advanced

way. There may be a few that think they can

systems as key to integrating with tech

analytics to give companies greater insights

adopt more of an umbrella-type approach

throughout the value chain to control robots,

into what's happening operationally through

with digitalisation within the context of, say, a

to check on the status of shipments, or to

access to more granular data.” In

five-year plan, but that’s a very broad

direct workers through tasks. This directed

warehouses and DCs, Dominy observes that

strategy that will involve a considerable

work concept allows organizations to firmly

there is growing use of intelligent robotics

budget. So, I think most companies probably

establish standard operating procedures

such as self-guided vehicles with intelligence

should think more about where the best

(SOPs) for best in class performance but to

built in to improve flexibility and reduce

place to start would be for their business. A

execute it at scale. We also see voice

labour and cost.

good place to start would be to focus on

Arno Ham, chief product officer,

systems and the voice user experience as

what give the company its competitive edge;

foundational to things like assisted or

Eric Klein, director, enterprise mobility &

whether it’s the product, the service, the

augmented reality. Those AR systems really

connected devices, VDC Research, observes

delivery model and so on. It comapnies start

only reach their potential when deployed with

that the capabilities of solutions that are able

making sure their competitive edge as

a robust voice user interface. Once AR

to realise Digital Transformation have

optimised and digitally transformed as it can

systems reach broader adoption you will see

improved immensely over the past few years.

possibly be then they can work their way up

more diverse user interfaces using voice or

He believes this is due to a variety of factors.

the transformative chain from there.”

screens or sensors to provide the right data,

“It’s largely due to the fact that many of the

at the right time, to solve the right business

leading solutions vendors are really furthering

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

problem.”

their roadmaps and engineering new and

Panorama Consulting Solutions, considers

innovative technologies and bundling

that while Digital Transformation is currently a

together well-established IT elements to

commonly used phrase, many companies

Definition

make new and better integrated solutions,”

remain largely uneducated as to what it really

Michael Dominy, vice president, supply chain

he says. “For example, the leading ERP

means. “We often talk about the difference

research, Gartner, explains that, with regard

vendors have done really good work moving

between digital transformation and digital

to transformation and optimisation, Gartner

to the cloud and helping to move their

optimisation, and among our clients looking

has specific definitions for these terms.

customers to the cloud where it’s most

to improve processes or source new ERP

“Transformation is where the business model

appropriate. Many of these vendors have

systems around 80% are really focused on

is fundamentally changing, while optimisation

made acquisitions along the way in order to

digital optimisation and are using these types

is more about how to apply digital

get there technologically, but they’ve done it

of toolsets to get there,” he says. “Also,

technologies through a company’s existing

successfully, investing in things such as

around 20% are looking to add new revenue

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streams through technology. A few years

to solve this IT-OT convergence and data

age of

ago, vendor portals and EDI was very

driven structure issue in order to succeed.”

experimentation with emerging

prevalent, but companies are now taking things to the next step where it’s not just a

Glenn Graney, advanced technologies lead,

technologies,

case of transferring information but being

QAD, has the opportunity to visit with a

reconsideration of

able to actually suggest the information that

significant number of manufacturers and

past approaches

should be transferred in order to help

considers that there is still a fair amount of

and iterative

workflow automation.” Additionally, Devault

unevenness and uneasiness around Industry

advancement of

explains that vendors are starting to

4.0. “It is surprising that many at the

processes and

implement more artificial intelligence and

execution planning level and at the plant

techniques. History

many of Panorama’s clients are starting to

level are still unaware or indifferent to the

does not look back

understand more of what it is and what it

term,” he says. “Others in the strategic IT

at the previous three

means for them. “Integrating machine

community have either been burned by non-

industrial revolutions

learning and having automated processes

sustainable pilots or have become bored

as pinpoints in time but as decades-long

within the system using workflow technology

waiting for the technology to sweep in and

periods of significant progress. Is there really

– that's a combination that we're seeing more

change their world. I have even met senior

anyone who could identify the release date of

of,” he points out.

manufacturing individuals who will hand me a

the steam engine that is associated with

business card with a title like ‘Director –

Industry 1.0? History has shown that even

Industry 4.0’ that has been crossed out with a

then there were competing technologies and,

ROI-driven

pen. That title has been replaced with some

in some cases, massive failure for some of

Jean-Pierre Petit, director of digital

new title like ‘Manager, Manufacturing

the ideas that were intended to move

manufacturing, Capgemini, observes that an

Systems’ that often has a clearer purpose.

everything forward. But by the end of the era

increasing amount of Digital Transformation

Unfortunately, some of the perception of

there was a truly revolutionary change that

within the manufacturing space is value or

Industry 4.0 has been at best underwhelming

defied any specific version ID.”

ROI-driven, with companies needing to

in terms of real documented benefits.”

Graney adds that when we use the

James Hendrickson, director of product and offering management,

phraseology of exactness it can set

deliver value within 12 to 18 months. “Many companies can’t enter into three-year

Graney believes it may be the term itself that

projects without delivering value very quickly

contributes to the perception problem.

midst of an exciting time but without a helpful

- that's one of the first characteristics of

“Specifically, the ‘point 0’ in Industry 4.0 is

map locator that says ‘you are her’,” he

manufacturing transformation at large,” he

problematic,” he says. “The modern

remarks. “The precision nomenclature too

says. Petit adds that over the past few years

vernacular is inundated with a version

often brings with it the need for exacting

many initiatives in various industries around

mentality that defines everything in very

solutions. ‘Industry 4-ish’ more accurately

the world have been limited in scope and the

exacting terms that contrast a new version

defines the state of activity and the progress

big issue that many Capgemini customers

with a previous version. The current version

being made. Industry 4-ish includes the

are facing concerns upscale deployment.

of my smartphone is 13.1.2 and implies some

concept of connecting people, devices and

“Within the context of upscale deployment,

distinction or incremental improvement from

their associated rich data sets to increase

many companies are facing two main issues.

13.1.1. I am certain that there is some very

understanding and impact business

The first is IT-OT conversions at large,

precise record of exactly what constitutes the

outcomes.”

meaning things such as data readiness,

current version. It is not clear to me what that

cyber security and digital platform

distinction is but I have confidence that

deployment of IoT, AI, remote and mobile

someone out there could send me a very

apps,” he explains. Another motivator for

precise and lengthy comparison

digitalisation is capability, states Petit. “This

spreadsheet.”

is because as soon as you are entering into

inappropriate expectations. “Industry is in the

Successfully implementing Industry 4.0-ish concepts in manufacturing Graney maintains that the possibilities around

the digital world you have to move from a

Industry 4-ish are unbelievably compelling. “There are real projects being implemented

real data driven structure which is not always

Redefining the fourth great industrial revolution

that obvious. So, that could also mean that in

In Graney’s view, it can be detrimental to

DataLakes, Digital Twins and machine

order to move forwards companies need to

think of the fourth industrial revolution in

learning analytics to move the art of

have in-house capabilities; people with

terms of exacting versions. “The term

manufacturing forward,” he explains. “I have

manufacturing, maintenance, safety, security,

Industry 4.0 is supposed to represent the

yet to meet one of these project pioneers that

digital skills etc. So, in order to move upscale

fourth great industrial revolution,” he says.

claim that their selected technology stack is

deployment forwards these companies need

“This revolution is really concerned with an

perfect or that their progress completely

kind of management by experience into a

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Glenn Graney, advanced technologies lead,

Digital Transformation

aligns with their

Ultimately the results of these efforts will

even more important to empower your

expected results.

make their way back into standard QAD

workers with unemployment so low in much

Industry 4-ish

offerings that will provide benefits to our

of the world. The cost of training and hiring a

progress to date is

larger manufacturing customer base. QAD is

new worker grows when the available

lumpy and will in

confident that history will show that Industry

workforce is already employed.”

nearly every case

4-ish was a time of great change and positive

require some

benefits for both QAD and our manufacturer

In Hughes’ view, drivers for change don’t

iterations.

customers.”

always revolve primarily around money. “I think the key driver is the desire or need for

Unfortunately the

greater efficiency,” he says. “We are living in

legacy IT pressures of only having one

Drivers for change

difficult times and when I talk with

chance to choose

What have been the key drivers for the

manufacturers one of the biggest challenges

the technology

change? Ham observes that while

they cite is the skills shortage. I think the

combined with the pressure of launches and

organisations principally invest in new

skills issue has come about for two main

releases often runs counter to the

technology to evolve and expand their

reasons; first, manufacturing is not always

revolutionary aspects of our time.”

business empires and drive sales strategies,

seen as a particularly glamorous industry and

the adoption of technology to reach new

finding people with the right skills, together

markets has seen a rise in competition from

with the ageing workforce problem, can be a

Identifying automation opportunities to solve business problems

unlikely sources. “Access to better

major burden. Many companies need to find

technologies and comprehensive ecommerce

more efficient ways of operating because

solutions have paved the way for

they don’t have the required human capital

In Graney’s view, it is also imperative that

manufacturers to sell directly to the end

any more to do things the way they have

these efforts be centered around a business

customer so they no longer have to lose out

historically. Also, finding lower cost labour

problem that can benefit from technology.

on incremental revenue at other stages of the

from outside the UK is becoming increasingly

“Starting with technology in search of a

supply chain,” he says. “However, digital

difficult. Most manufacturers I speak with tell

business case puts the emphasis on

transformation isn’t just being driven by

me they are struggling to find this type of

possibility and not capability,” he says. “This

increased competition between traditional

resource and therefore need to find ways of

is almost always a formula for disappointment

partners but changing customer demand and

doing things.”

with technology because of an unclear final

a need to deliver an improved buying

benefit. Many of the early efforts revolve

experience through personalisation.”

According to Hughes, another big driver for

around the automation of some existing

change is the media. “Some of our customers

function or process. It could be the

Hendrickson believes the upstreaming of

say what they read in the press concerning

evaluation of volumes of data that couldn’t be

technologies from the consumer space to the

concepts around Digital Transformation is

evaluated with previous approaches. I think

industrial space has accelerated a lot of this

making them think more about it,” he says.

these Industry 4-ish efforts lay the necessary

transformation. “The technologies have

“Even though many of these companies may

foundation for the real revolution that will

stabilised and standardised especially in

consider themselves to be good at what they

come from applying the same energy and

mobile with the rise of industrial grade

do and don't have particular problems they

techniques to solutions that have never been

Android,” he says. “Android in industry

still feel they should start thinking about

previously considered. Real process change

creates a platform or a blank canvas on

digitalisation more. Of course, this is really

and disruptive business model changes will

which vendors can paint from a full palette of

relevant for Epicor because companies need

ultimately be the reward for these pioneers.

colours to solve business problems. This

a backbone around which all this type of

palette of colours and brushes means that

technology can operate. Indeed, a state-of-

“QAD has established QAD Labs in an effort

more innovation can occur more quickly, and

the-art ERP system can facilitate a host of

to collaborate with our customers during

that innovation can come from more diverse

activities; everything from bills of materials,

these revolutionary times. Projects are

sources because the barrier of entry is

purchase orders, shop floor activity through

underway around applying IoT, machine

lowered. All the technologies now need to

to things such as accounts and scheduling

learning, RPA, Digital Twins, automation

evolve and grow around the worker in these

maintenance intervals. All these transactions

solutions and other technologies that have

environments. In fact, workers often drive

are typically created by the ERP system. So,

great promise for manufacturers. It is

these environments by pull technologies from

when companies roll out a modern ERP

essential that these efforts are founded on

their personal lives. Organisations also need

system they are actually taking a big step

rapid and agile premises. As partners with

to be more aware of the power that their

towards Digital Transformation because it

our customers we want to experiment, fail

workers bring to their businesses and use

gives you the ideal platform for all those

fast and pivot to improved approaches.

those workers to extend their businesses. It is

related business processes.”

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many SMEs are actually ahead of the curve

solutions which

Real deployment

compared with some of the more enterprise-

forces best

To what extent are end users or prospective

level organisations. “Many of the larger

practices across the

end users in deploying or looking to deploy

companies have digital strategy teams and

value chain. This

this type of technology in the real world? Arno

have extensive plans to move into robotics

allows SME

Ham reflects that while advanced

etc. However, these projects are often quite

companies to

technologies such as voice search, AR, VR,

long-term and quite high investment. Some

achieve a level of

AI and machine learning all appear among

SMEs on the other hand are seizing the

parity with the

the projected tech trends for 2020, many B2B

opportunities around Digital Transformation in

enterprise

organisations are still a long way off being

a very speedy way, enjoying a shorter time to

companies that was

able to implement them effectively. “In fact,

value. With regard to the large enterprise

previously unheard

the research we conducted of over 550

companies making the larger investments in

of.” Hendrickson

global B2B organisations found that many are

this type of technology, they need to build a

also sees a stronger innovation to production

still focusing on getting the basics right;

business case, look at the ROI in

loop than in the past. “Firms are investing in

almost half of the organisations we surveyed

considerable detail and then get buy-in from

innovation teams and projects – not as

admitted their main objective for their

management and investors. So, this can

standalone functions considering the misty

ecommerce solution is to drive sales, rather

naturally take quite a long time to come to

future, but teams that are closely aligned

than to enhance their sales proposition,” he

fruition.”

with the business itself. This allows for faster

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

innovation cycles and a higher risk tolerance

says. “While some organisations have

to bring technologies into their environments.

successfully implemented advanced technology into systems and processes, our

Ceremony

AR and robotics as examples are leapfrog

research highlighted that many are still in the

Sundaram believes SMEs (or the Mittelstand

technologies that replace other technologies

planning stages; just under one third of

as they are known in Germany) are at a

in a nimbler, more scalable way that benefits

respondents said they had already

crossroads. “Most SMEs, especially mid-

smaller firms. Enterprise firms have already

implemented fully automated or predictive

caps, are clear that they need a Digital

implemented automation if they were going

ordering using the IoT or M2M, while 41%

Strategy in place and have created in-house

to (or in the process of it) but robotics levels

said they were intending to in future.”

Digital team that can oversee Digital Strategy

the field a bit for the SME. An SME firm can

formulation,” he says. “However, in our

deploy robotics in a much more nuanced

Hughes makes the point that the level of

discussions with many of these teams, it has

and specific way without a large capital

adoption in the UK is lower than in many

become clear that these are largely

investment and then scale it with more

other places in the world. He believes this is

ceremonial teams that cannot exercise a

elasticity as their business needs ebb and

for two main reasons. “Much of the

veto internally. We believe this would change

flow.”

manufacturing done in the UK is low-volume,

in the next 2- to 3 years as many SMEs are

high-value in nature; for example, bespoke,

likely to see a heavy upsurge in competition

discrete, prototyping, design-based,” he

and a huge decline in their profit margins.

Getting on the same page

says. “This type of work is often highly

Premium companies in discrete industries

Klein sees deployment taking place, but

sophisticated where direct human interaction

(like Automotive, O&G) have developed a

believes it is largely about getting IT

is still very relevant. So, in this type of

number of use-cases on topics like AI,

personnel and business personnel on the

scenario, Digital Transformation becomes

Digital Twin, Cloud Platforms, Edge

same page in terms of goals and priorities.

less relevant because it's much more about

analytics, Autonomous Systems, etc. These

He adds that organisational and process

that ability to design and create quality one-

are still not scaled up to meet a large

changes have to be implemented to get the

offs in many instances. It's when you get into

volume, but that I believe is a mere question

technology up and running, and in this

the more mainstream mass production type

of time.”

regard user buy-in is needed, along with

of manufacturing that a lot of the shopfloor-

management buy-in. “You need champions

type technology really comes into its own.

Hendrickson sees a faster democratisation of

to evangelise these types of changes, and if

Maybe things will change post-Brexit, but

technology between the enterprise

this isn’t achieved this can hold companies

currently there aren't many factories in the

businesses and SME companies. “The

back,” he says. “There are many choices

UK that create thousands or millions of

technologies like warehouse management

and different things to evaluate, including

widgets because it's simply not an

systems (WMS) and enterprise resource

available pricing and licensing models and

economical place to do that.”

planning software that were only available to

so on. Nevertheless, I think companies are

large customers are bring their best in class

doing meaningful things around Digital

In instances where Digital Transformation is

capability to smaller customers,” he says.

Transformation, particularly in

more relevant, Hughes makes the point that

“They often do this with less customisable

manufacturing.”

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Petit makes the point that technology

Transformation,” he says. Sundaram

data insights into buying history,

concerning Digital Transformation is

maintains that data harmonisation in

personalised customer management and

becoming more familiar to manufacturers and

brownfield installations is the weakest link in

customisable products, came last. So, with

more widely deployed even if improvements

the chain when it comes to end-to-end

so many online sellers seemingly still

could still be made. “PLM, MES, SCADA and

digitalisation. “As an analyst, I have tried to

focusing on getting the basics right, the

certain types of robotics can be considered

bring this issue to the fore in my discussions

adoption of advanced new technology may

to be mature and widely used,” he says.

with some of the leading vendors in the

be too great a leap. To aid adoption in these

“However, there are technologies that have

space,” he says. “But the issue is still the

areas, it’s important for vendor communities

more recently been brought to market –

proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ that no one

to offer detailed analytics and data insights.

around AI, machine learning, IoT, analytics

wants to talk about. It is up to leading

Forward-thinking businesses looking to

and remote apps and so on, and this type of

industry suppliers to find a solution. My belief

implement advanced new technology need to

technology will be increasingly invested in

is that many suppliers today want to focus on

ensure that it will enhance their business;

and deployed over the coming years. We will

creating digital greenfield installations than

establishing whether there is particular

also see a more consistent and standardised

take the trouble of converting legacy assets

customer demand for it or a significant

way of using this type of technology in the

in old plants. If this continues, some of the

productivity benefit to be realised.

cloud and at the edge.”

leading industrial economies of today are

Businesses need to make sure they’re

Another area of technology that Petit believes

likely to lose out their advantage to newer

implementing new technologies strategically

will be increasingly deployed is remote and

ones, especially in Asia.”

and using them to their full potential.

mobile. “Many industrial companies are

Otherwise, they risk blindly implementing new

losing valuable knowledge through people

Hughes explains that many of his SME

features in a bid to advance their digital

leaving the company and so they need to

customers tell him their single biggest

transformation, but waste crucial time and

monitor operations remotely; sharing

constraint is time. “Pretty much all of them

investment. Data insights and analytics are

experiences from one factory to another

are running very lean businesses with low

crucial here and can help businesses

about the same process, for example,” he

staff levels,” he says. “So, like any operation

establish key trends and benchmark

explains. “At the same time they need to be

that’s more pre-active than reactive it

performance to measure the impact of new

able to equip operators with mobile apps and

requires time for them to really sit down and

technology against. Integrating your key

leverage remote access platforms to allow

think and plan for things such as Digital

business systems and engaging with data

users in the field to see what is happening on

Transformation. This can be done, but it’s

insights is the vital steppingstone to a

a production line through the use of remote

often not a major priority. However, because

successful digital transformation.”

sensors on the shop floor equipment, and

of the technology’s increasing user-

exchange information about what is

friendliness and lower cost point, it will

Hendrickson maintains that change remains

happening – sharing videos 3-D models, for

certainly become a focus for more

hard for many companies and believes

example, on a real-time basis.” Petit also

companies over the next year or two. So,

workers in these environments need to be

sees an acceleration in the use of intelligent

many of the barriers to adoption are

brought along on the journey from the

automation and robotics.

disappearing. However, I believe the first

beginning. “Not only are they the closest to

wave of Digital Transformation has got to be

the problem and can provide valuable

ERP because companies need that

insights into the design and deployment,

Remaining barriers to adoption

backbone in place in order for everything

they can also be the projects biggest

else to work effectively, whether in terms of

advocates or their biggest problem,” he

Are there any notable remaining barriers to

more straightforward transactional data or

says. “Designing a careful change

adoption of these

more high-end AI and analytics functionality

management process is key to any

types of technology?

that can really bring digitalisation to life.”

innovation team so that the change and innovation become part of the organisational

Devault believes the

Michael Dominy, vice president, supply chain research,

10

IT

biggest barrier to

Ham comments that while ecommerce and

muscle memory. There are still barriers

greater adoption is

automation are hardly new trends their

around inter-connecting systems that are

companies not fully

adoption is slower than one might think.

hard for organisations to overcome.

understanding what

“During our research, we asked which

Because of this it is important to partner with

outsourced IT can

features respondents were looking to

a vendor that can grow with you and has the

do for their business.

introduce to improve the customer

flexibility to scale and to integrate to your

“I believe this is one

experience, and simple order and payment

other systems. As a customer, you must

of the biggest

functionality and easier navigation topped the

demand flexibility and open systems from

disconnects in the

list,” he explains. “In contrast, features

your vendors so that you are future proofing

world of Digital

synonymous with ecommerce 3.0, such as

your decisions.”

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Petit believes there are two main barriers to

Klein makes the point that different

service-based

greater adoption. The first is the need to

companies have different priorities and

companies can rent

invest in industrial architecture platforms

different levels of interest and commitment

it and use the

that are very scalable, and the second is the

to digital technology. “But it ultimately

software to great

need to put in place a more value-driven

comes down to ensuring that you’re

effect because

approach, “This is because you cannot

servicing your customers well and taking

that's the world that

deliver digital transformation like we

advantage of the opportunity of digital

they are living in;

delivered ERP transformation a few years

technologies in terms of meeting your

they operate in a

ago,” he says. “You need to deliver value

customer expectations through better

virtual-type

month after month year after year. In order

engagement,” he says. “

environment and

Bryan Ball, vice president, principal analyst supply chain management,

this software also

to achieve this, you need to be able to

operates in a similar

combine smart business and technology skills in order to improve upscale

The cloud

deployment.”

How important is cloud/SaaS with regard to

way.”

the adoption of Digital Transformation-

However, Hughes adds that for a lot of our

related technologies? Sundaram’s view is

manufacturing companies they've got big

Reliability

that cloud/SaaS is at the heart of digital

pieces of kit and their world is much more

Dominy points out that Gartner ran its ‘The

transformation. “This should and will be the

physical than it is virtual. “So, I think it’s

Impact of Digital Business on Supply Chain

end goal,” he says. “But the industry is not

almost unnecessary for them to put all their

Strategy and Operations’ survey for a third

ready yet, as there are challenges both in

software out into the cloud because the

time and asked a specific question around

terms of perception and technology

main activity is happening on the physical

remaining barriers. “What showed at the top

infrastructure. In this regard, at least in the

shop floor – the requirement to be virtual is

of the list was the reliability of these newer

short term (2 to 3 years) the on-premise

less,” he says. “Think of applications such

digital technologies in particular to support

model would be more suitable. The obvious

as Microsoft Word and CRM; cloud is

scale,” he explains. “That response is shows

advantages include data security, greater

perfect for those types of applications.

some of the barriers companies face as they

operational control and higher process

However, many manufacturers need

move from exploring and piloting these

safety. But on-premise models involve a

applications that are perfectly customised

newer technologies for broader adoption.

high CAPEX, making it untenable for large

and configured to their specific

So, the reliability of the newer technologies

scale adoption. This would be the biggest

requirements. Their manufacturing process

will be one of those barriers from a

disadvantage for the larger industry. I

is their uniqueness and that requires

technology perspective.” Another barrier

believe that once the idea of using cloud

configuration and tailoring of systems to

highlighted by Dominy relates to

platforms and deriving value out of it

match what they want them to do. Therefore,

transformation regardless of whether it is

becomes common place, the shift towards

their USP is in the ownership of that

digitally enabled or driven or not – namely,

SaaS models will become spontaneous for

integration. It can be done in the cloud but

that around process and people change,

SMEs. It is akin to the reticence many of us

it's not so easy to do in the public cloud

and specifically around things such as

had when it came to using Internet banking

because you're operating in a common

metrics and how people can be measured

10 to 12 years ago. But once that initial

environment. So, an on-premise tailored

and incentivised.

reticence wore down and the value became

solution may be the better option.”

evident, the push toward mobile banking Ball considers that some of the barriers to

witnessed a major upsurge and in course

Ham believes SaaS is largely advantageous

adoption relate to where a company should

becoming the new normal. A similar path is

for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers,

begin. “There’s a strong argument for

what I envision for cloud/SaaS in

helping them stay ahead of new

focusing first and foremost on what you do

manufacturing.”

developments in the fast-moving online

best as a business when you begin the

sales market and future-proof their long-term

digital journey,” he says. “It’s important to

Hughes points out that Epicor’s strapline is

digital strategies. “Opting for a SaaS or

think about the criteria to help figure out

‘the cloud vendor of choice in the markets

cloud-based ecommerce solution means

where to begin. What’s your ‘crown jewels’

we serve’. “To me, the key word here is

that they can benefit from automatic,

as a business – is it your product, is it your

choice because when I talk to any of our

continuous updates to their chosen platform

service and so on? This is probably the best

more service-based businesses, cloud is

and eliminate the need for large scale

place to start, and then make sure you’ve

without doubt their preferred strategy,” he

upgrades,” he says. “The flexibility of SaaS

gone to the nth degree to optimise your USP

says. “I think this is for two main reasons.

can be hugely beneficial to manufacturers

aspects of your business. Then, you can

From an ownership perspective, with the

on their digital transformation journey, as it

develop things from there.”

Software as a Service (SaaS) model,

means users have access to new features,

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performance upgrades and security updates

still prefer to adopt a combination of cloud

versus the older approach of having all or

as and when they’re released, rather than

and on-premise solutions depending on how

most of the architecture under one roof,” he

having to go through time-consuming and

the applications are to be used within their

said. Ball adds that the platform could

onerous manual upgrades.”

own business and operational context,” he

include much of the technology cited as

says.

helping to realise Digital Transformation – AI, machine learning, IoT etc. so that any

Unique values

Dominy observes a strong move of

Hendrickson maintains that having more

applications across the supply chain to the

make use of those things in terms of the

purchasing and deployment options are

cloud. However, he still sees differing

native architecture.

always major enablers for businesses and

degrees of adoption. “The more

cloud/SaaS are no exception. “Cloud and

transactional or operational systems were

application that runs on that platform can

SaaS are often included together, and they

quite late in shifting to the cloud/SaaS model

Edge computing

are very separate things with unique values

– WMS and then MES, for example,” he

Hughes makes the point that edge

to each,” he says. “Our customers are most

explains. “And from what we see there's still

computing is being talked about a lot now,

excited about more options to purchase and

less adoption in particular around

especially within the context of analytics and

engage with a vendor that comes with SaaS.

manufacturing technology. It tends to be

more time-critical applications. “Edge is

This allows them a great level of stability from

more around reporting or analytics. And

essentially about taking large amounts of

a budget perspective as well as the ability to

levels of adoption can vary by

data and processing it as close as you can

stay on the leading edge of technologies. It’s

manufacturing type. In the case of heavy

at the point of collection, but not necessarily

not often that you find something that makes

process type manufacturing moving

as far as that point,” he explains. “Rather

IT and Finance teams happy, but SaaS is

everything to the cloud doesn't make sense

than sending the data miles away to

something that gets close to that.”

in many instances because a lot of the data

process, it's about finding processing power

needs to be at a more local level.”

that's as close to the edge as possible. So,

Klein considers that once organisations are

in the case of the more time-critical

willing to trust their data in the cloud, trust

Devault reflects that it’s interesting to see

applications, making use of available

their vendor and essentially change the way

how well Salesforce and NetSuite have

processing power as close to the edge as

they do business and how they access and

performed; examples of solutions truly built

possible can be a great time saver.”

store data, then this type of big leap of faith

in the SaaS model. “I think the marketplace

can reap major dividends. “There’s no

is finally catching up to them,” he says.

question that most companies are moving in

“Those types of companies are thriving and

What to watch

that direction and they are being helped

through acquisition and resource changes

What might be the next key developments

along by the ERP vendors. “Cloud can make

they will continue to grow. More and more

and innovations to look out for over the next

a big difference on the administration,

ERP vendors, for example, are realising the

year or two within the world of Digital

management and maintenance side of

benefits of these resources that have been

Transformation? Ham considers that among

things,” he says. “And on the cost side, it can

out there for some time. All the main

the numerous trends and innovations being

be more efficient than having to administer

vendors are fully on board, building up that

rumoured to make an impact in 2020 and

and maintain the solutions on premise.”

true multi-tenant SaaS model.”

beyond, the ecommerce roadmap is set to

Petit believes that for various reasons – such

Ball discusses the concept of Platform as a

with product catalogues or even entire

as those concerning sourcing and ecosystem

Service. He makes the point that in the past

websites being generated for a specific user

management – we

ERP has often been thought of as a

based on their behaviour and order history.

will see more and

something that contains just about

“Some sophisticated models may even tailor

more customers

everything. However, because of the

navigation to a specific user based on how

preferring to have

increased move to the Cloud, he believes

they need to move around the website,” he

some functionality in

it’s going to become more a case of

says. “Not only will this optimise the user

the cloud and some

platforms connecting with other platforms in

experience, but it’s also likely to be a

on premise, and

a very horizontal fashion as opposed to ERP

favourable development for time-poor B2B

maybe two solutions

having all or most of the pieces contained

buyers that need to procure goods quickly

providers depending

within it. He also believes that with the

and effectively. While other more advanced

on a company’s

growth of this integrated platform-to-platform

technologies are enhancing B2C shopping

specific type of

model, the partner network will become

experiences, we’re also expecting to see

usage or ecosystem.

increasingly important. “So, we’re moving to

technologies such as AR and VR emerge

“Many companies

this horizonal platform-to-platform model

more frequently in B2B. This is most likely to

see predictive analytics get even smarter,

Eric Klein, director, enterprise mobility & connected devices,

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Digital Transformation

Special Technology Report

be the case in bespoke product design or

perspective, people don't have time to

“Efficiency by design

intricate, detailed product needs, such as

access, say, the analytics package, take it

could also be

spare parts.”

offline, massage the information then in a

referred to as the

couple of days have the information you want

digital twin; it's

Sundaram believes the general industry

telling you what you should do. You need the

essentially being

approach to Digital Transformation is

information right away. In fact, working with

able to design and

parochial. “We are trying to use Digital to

people on enterprise performance

simulate your

solve problems of yesterday,” he says. “While

management (EPM) – they are saying they

products, your

it sure can, the potential of Digital is manifold.

want their EPM solution to cross any ERP

processes and your

Each organisation must also evaluate on how

system or any other operating system they

industrial ecosystem,

digital can disrupt their overall market –

have so they can pull in all the data,

meaning you not

especially when it comes to business model

synthesise that and create very timely

only need the tools

innovations (like Uber in Automotive or

information at the financial level so they can,

to be able to design

BlueApron in F&B) and customer experience

for example, see their profitability in near

and similate but also to have loopbacks from

management. These 2 would be the digital

real-time so that making decisions becomes

operations in order to improve the design of

innovation frontiers for the future.”

easier and much quicker.”

the future generation of your products or

Hendrickson believes the trends that have

Dominy makes the point that IoT has been a

been happening in the supply chain will

top priority for a few years and he believes

Klein considers that the ‘elephant in the room’

continue to extend and accelerate across the

this is largely because the technology is safer

is how progressive or how quick companies

value chain. “You will see much of the retail

to apply to companies’ existing facilities and

will be in terms of moving towards wearables.

and distribution centre best practices

locations. He adds that another top priority

“I think that's there the next frontier on the

become pervasive in manufacturing and

was Big Data, but he has seen this move

device side,” he says. Klein also anticipated

transportation,” he says. “These trends will be

down the list a bit to a certain extent. “In

further uptake of IoT and embedded

driven by the technology as well as by

terms of this question around edge

technology within the context of the smart

customer demand for faster, more accurate

computing and intelligence at the edge, it’s

factory. “That means instrumenting all this

and more sustainable deliveries but they will

not now so much about moving or taking all

equipment and getting it online essentially,

also lead to a need for a better view of an

this data into a data lake and analysing it. As

being able to do more preventive

organisation’s value chain. A single pane of

one CIO of a large consumer products

maintenance and things of that nature,” he

glass view into your wholistic value chain to

company described it, Big Integration is

says. However, he believes the more

be able to seamlessly identify and address

where things will go. So, we will move more

progressive developments will be around

issues before they happen will drive the

from Big Data to Big Integration.”

companies continuing to develop

Karthik Sundaram, program manager – industrial,

factory or production line.”

innovations over the next few years. This

technologies for us to work alongside

single pane of glass view builds on the

Devault reflects that two or three years ago

robotics, making this type of technology

technology that is already there but allows

many companies were focusing on

complementary to the workflow.

the organisation a better glimpse of the future

standardisation, but he notes that more and

every single day.”

more companies now realise they need to be

Mark Hughes: The technology around AI,

able to change and adapt very quickly – and

analytics, machine learning, robotics etc, are

Ball believes speed is going to drive our

technology is an enabler of that. “So, the

all becoming increasingly refined and will

behaviour everywhere – at the scheduling

question is how can they make their

continue to be so. In terms of future levels of

level, application

organisational processes simpler and then

adoption, it’s going to come from the fact that

level and

have that parallelled with technology. I see

the physical devices needed to do a lot of

procurement level.

more complex organisations adopting

this stuff, including robotics, is becoming

“For example, speed

practices to make them simpler and in some

much more widely available, much more

continues to drive

instances outsourcing some of what makes

flexible, earlier to use and available at a

consumer behavour

them complex to experts such as 3PLs.”

much lower cost. These real benefits will be

– ‘I want it, I'm going

Jean-Pierre Petit, director of digital manufacturing,

major motivators for companies to look more

to order it on my

Petit believes efficiency by design will

seriously at Digital Transformation going

cellphone from

become increasingly important. “When we

forwards. n

Amazon and I want it

speak with customers, we clearly see that in

delivered same

years to come efficiency by design and

day’,” he says. “So,

operational excellence will equally contribute

from a technology

to performance improvements,” he says.

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Opinion

Overall equipment effectiveness – Helping manufacturers tackle the UK productivity problem By Andy Coussins, senior vice president and head of sales, international, Epicor Software.

recent lull in growth for UK

reduce operational downtime and costs.

digital simulation of facilities and

productivity has highlighted the

Indeed, a recent 2018 survey on machine

environments that emulate real-life conditions.

need for manufacturing firms to

downtime revealed how the broken machines

Using sensors to continuously collect machine

think and act more strategically

and faulty parts that hamper productivity were

condition data, manufacturers can use these

when it comes to boosting both

costing Britain’s manufacturers more than

exact digital replicas to effectively calculate

£180 billion a year.

component wear rates, production loads, and

A

their performance and productivity. While the

life spans. With access to this kind of

concept of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is nothing new, recent advances in

Although production challenges such as

information, machine operators will be able to

Industry 4.0 technologies mean that process

machine breakdowns may seem inevitable,

proactively determine the optimal time for

evaluation – to identify and eliminate

having the right systems in place can help

maintenance and eliminate the need for major

inefficiencies – has once again become a key

manufacturers retain a degree of control over

repairs or unnecessary service costs.

consideration for organisations striving for

unforeseen circumstances. The use of

future business growth.

monitoring software, for example, gives firms

Offering a powerful and precise method of

the visibility needed to anticipate and solve

monitoring and controlling assets and

In today’s manufacturing landscape, the

production problems before these happen.

processes, digital twins can also drive the

value-driven insights leveraged from

Similarly, by harnessing insights generated

highly effective implementation of

technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) can

from real-time production data, manufacturers

technologies such as the Internet of Things

be used to evaluate real-time data generated

can improve equipment reliability, boost

(IoT), AI, and robotics. As technology

by connected machines. This is proving

longevity, and reduce waste. As well as

becomes more complex and increasingly

pivotal for driving operational productivity –

informing future planning efforts, these

advanced, having access to this wealth of

from the factory to the shop floor.

insights can also enable manufactures to

real-time knowledge means that

discover hidden

manufacturers can utilise this data to drive

opportunities—to

specific business goals. According to

increase business

research by Gartner, 50% of large

Anticipating and minimising machine downtime

performance, quality, and yield.

industrial companies will use digital twins by 2021, resulting in those organisations gaining a 10% improvement in overall

The fast-paced adoption of advanced digital technologies by manufacturers around the

According to

globe means that, to stay fit to compete, UK

PwC’s Digital

firms need to ensure they have a robust and

Factories 2020

agile IT infrastructure in place. Those

report, new

manufacturers able to embrace today’s

ground-breaking

readily available Industry 4.0 technologies will

technologies such

be best positioned to drive up efficiencies

as digital twinning

and reposition themselves competitively in the

can be used to

global manufacturing market.

create a

effectiveness.

Andy Coussins: “By maximising overall equipment effectiveness across a factory floor, British manufacturing firms can help tackle falling UK productivity head-on and pave the way for future business growth.”

By deploying sophisticated sensors to harvest production data on the shop floor, and tools to extract and process this data in real-time, firms will be able to optimise machinery and

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Technology will be key to boosting operational performance

be collected directly from equipment and operators on the shop floor.

Tackling the productivity problem

Spurred on by the advancements made

By maximising overall equipment

The factory floor is a fast-paced

possible by Industry 4.0, many savvy UK

effectiveness across a factory floor, British

environment and the entrance of new tools

manufacturers are already adopting a data-

manufacturing firms can help tackle falling

and systems is making it faster still. Things

driven approach to operational equipment

UK productivity head-on and pave the way

can happen and change instantly – as a

effectiveness. Southco, an English

for future business growth. In today’s

result, a couple of minutes’ downtime, or a

manufacturer of engineered access

particularly turbulent manufacturing

piece of equipment not working as it

hardware solutions, is just one company

marketplace, having the insights required

should, can mean the difference between a

using systems such as MES to effectively

to make technology work smarter will

satisfied and a frustrated customer, and a

optimise its assembly line. Intelligence from

provide UK manufacturers with a prime

shipped or a missed order.

the MES software revealed how the

opportunity to enable efficiency savings

business was only benefiting from 20%

and unlock overall output growth. By

With the influx of automated and connected

utilisation of its static assembly lines, with

harnessing technologies that support and

machinery, systems that enable the smooth

some benches being used for a mere eight

enable highly effective OEE – such as AI,

running of a factory floor are becoming

hours each month. Armed with this

automation, and analytics – manufacturers

essential for boosting operational

knowledge, Southco was able to deploy

can create a truly connected enterprise

performance. For example, industry-specific

semi-automated plug-and-play assembly

that utilises both people and machines to

technologies such as manufacturing

machines. As a result, average bench

boost productivity and, ultimately, drive

execution software (MES) can eliminate

utilisation has increased to 60%,

performance. n

inaccurate and time-consuming manual

generating significant cost savings for the

data collection by enabling real-time data to

firm.

Epicor Solutions offered

designed to ease complexity and drive growth for your

ERP for discrete, make-to-order and process manufacturing

manufacturing, distribution, or service business.

(Cloud and On-Premise) Advanced MES Solutions

The strength of Epicor business solutions lies in a simplified

A comprehensive range of add-on solutions to complement our

approach to technology, with products and services designed to

core propositions

fit our customers and how they work. More than 45 years of experience with your unique processes and operational

Industrial markets served

requirements is built into every solution. With a deep

Epicor works with all manufacturing sectors but has a

understanding of your industry, Epicor solutions promote growth

specialism in:

while easing complexity. The result is powerful solutions that do exactly what you need – free your resources so you can

Industrial Machinery

profitably grow your business.

Rubber and Plastics Electronics and High Tech

Epicor promotes business growth by providing flexible, industry-

Furniture and Fixings

specific software – designed to fit the precise needs of our

Made|Engineer|Custom To Order

customers – that dramatically improves performance and

Food and Beverage

profitability while easing complexity. Countries served Worldwide

Website: www.epicor.co.uk

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Corporate Profile

Epicor delivers flexible, industry-specific business solutions

15


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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Insight

Gartner reveals five pillars that comprise a talent strategy for supply chain planning ith major external forces

W

capabilities, but there should be room for

refreshing a job description. SCP leaders must

disrupting supply chain

development on the job as well.”

work with their HR department to identify talent

Gartner, Inc. Gartner analysts have identified

In Gartner surveys, senior leaders in SCP have

development opportunities. This might be what

the five pillars that comprise a talent strategy for

cited the lack of a defined career path as a key

convinces the candidate to pick your company

supply chain planning.

reason why planners move on to roles outside

over the competition,” adds Ms. Chumakov.

of planning or leave the organisation altogether.

The onboarding program is equally important

Caroline Chumakov, principal analyst with the

Traditional hierarchical career paths are no

and should be consistent across the planning

Gartner Supply Chain Practice, says: “Trade

longer enough to engage and retain the

organisation. New hires should understand

wars, digitalisation, global economic volatility,

average supply chain planner, especially in the

how their job relates to planning strategy and

ever-changing customer expectations and – of

case of Millennial and Gen Z talent. “When

objectives. Ideally, they will have the

course – labour shortages weigh heavy on SCP

building career pathways, allow for lateral

opportunity to participate in a rotation program

leaders. Many supply chain leaders have

movements both within the planning

with other functional peers.

attempted to build out a strategy that navigates

organisation and across other functions,” Ms.

these forces, but most have not yet considered

Chumakov adds. “The challenge is twofold:

the underlying talent implications. Your

creating the opportunity, and then making sure

thoughtful planning strategy, objectives,

that people see it and know what it takes to

processes and technologies are only as robust

chart the path.”

planning (SCP) processes,

pools that reflect the desired competencies

it is more important than

and focus their outreach on key attraction

ever for organizations to

have the right talent in place, according to

drivers. “In the job interview, make sure to

Pillar No. 2: Career pathways

emphasise the variety of career pathways and

Pillar No. 5: Performance management

as the people in your organisation that have to

Performance management is the process by

execute on them. Therefore, every planning

which most organisations’ HR departments

department needs a talent strategy.” During the Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit, which

measure and reward an individual’s

Pillar No. 3: Learning and development

contribution to the business over time. The task

took place in Denver in the US recently, Gartner

of the SCP leader is to drive employee

analysts explained how SCP leaders can define

One of the most effective ways to foster adult

performance by creating tailored development

their talent requirements and build a talent

learning and development in SCP is through the

plans.

strategy based on five key pillars.

use of the 70-20-10 model. The idea is that 70% of personal development should happen on the

Ms Chumakov concludes: “Select development

job through so-called ‘learning interventions’

goals that form the intersection between

such as stretch assignments and job rotations.

business needs, the employee’s current

Relationship-based learning accounts for

performance and their career aspirations. For

another 20%. “Think of mentorship and best-

example, we might have an employee who

The first step is to articulate the skills,

practice sharing with peers. It can also be

wants to become the process owner for sales

knowledge, competencies and experiences

manager-led coaching or leadership

& operations planning (S&OP). They are strong

that a candidate should possess in order to be

shadowing,” says Ms. Chumakov. Only the final

a communicator in their current role but lack

successful in a specific role or set of roles in the

10% contain formal training sessions, such as

cross-functional awareness and expertise in

organisation. “Focus on a shortlist of the most

certifications, classroom trainings or e-modules.

leading projects. In parallel, the business

Pillar No. 1: Role-based capabilities

critical capabilities your organisation will need

needs a revamped S&OP process.

to remain competitive in the next two to five

Development objectives for such an employee

years,” says Ms. Chumakov. “This might include competencies such as curiosity,

Pillar No. 4: Recruiting and onboarding

collaboration or data-driven decision-making. Candidates should display the majority of these

16

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might be to build an understanding of value streams while also improving project and relationship management skills.” n

Recruiting is more than simply writing or

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Epicor ERP Certainty in an uncertain world Rock-solid technology designed specifically for the manufacturing industry.

For more information visit www.epicor.com Copyright Š2019 Epicor Software Corporation. All rights reserved. Epicor and the Epicor logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation in the United States and certain other countries.


MLIT Dec'19 MFG p14-23.qxp_IBC publications 28/11/2019 14:04 Page 18

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Thought leadership

Collaboration with QAD allows De Bortoli Wines to leverage technology across a complex supply chain he De Bortoli Wines journey started

can be enjoyed by everyone, De Bortoli Wines

Additionally, we buy and sell logistics and

over 90 years ago when Vittorio De

is embarking on a significant undertaking to

warehousing services and try to service every

Bortoli emigrated from Northern

convert 10 to 15% of the vineyards in some

feasible route to market,” continued Robertson.

Italy with dreams of building a

regions to organic in five years.

One of the interesting things with De Bortoli is,

T

as a structural point of view, we have control

better life. Vittoria purchased a fruit

over our whole supply chain. But to get

farm near Griffith, Australia in the New South

Wales Riverina region and turned unwanted Shiraz grapes into wine for family and friends –

competitive advantage out of that, we have to

The challenge

be able to flow information through and to get value out of that.”

those were the beginnings of one of Australia’s

De Bortoli Wines operates a complex vertically

largest family-owned wineries. Since its humble

and horizontally integrated business model that

beginnings, De Bortoli Wines has grown to

encompasses wine production and distribution

Leveraging technology across De Bortoli Wines’

become the sixth largest winery in the country,

from grape to glass. Bill Robertson, CIO, De

business units to achieve compliance,

exporting to 75 countries around the world with

Bortoli Wines, comments: “De Bortoli is a

optimisation and quality simultaneously was

bottling plant operations in Europe and

vertically integrated business that is involved in

central to the company’s drive to extract

distribution in the UK. Operating estates across

every part of the wine industry and can be

competitive value.

five Australian winemaking regions, De Bortoli

thought of as not just one company, but as a

Wines has also demonstrated a strong

collection of quite distinct business. We have

commitment to sustainability and views this as a

businesses that grow grapes, make wine,

key philosophy of leaving a positive legacy for

package wine, warehouse wine, transport wine,

future generations.

and sell wine, including direct to consumer via

One of the things that De Bortoli has managed

our own physical and online retail presence.”

to do over the years by working with QAD has

Over the past 12 years, De Bortoli Wines has

The solution

been building agribusiness just-in-time

been recognised for its quest to become a

Robertson continues: “In terms of our horizontal

scheduling and incorporating that into our

zero-waste winery, receiving numerous awards

integration, we source grapes from our growers

winemaking process. The focus of this was

and accolades for work on wise water

and from others, we buy and sell grapes, we

around quality, compliance and optimisation.

management, energy efficiency and improved

buy and sell bulk wines, we ship bulk wine

waste management. With a vision for a future

overseas for bottling, we export our wine, we

“These pieces interconnect,” explains

where great wine and a healthy environment

import wine, we joint venture products.

Robertson. “So, when we do just-in-time scheduling of grapes, it not only optimises our deliveries for our growers and for ourselves, it also improves the quality. When we do things like the online spray diaries, that not only helps with our compliance but it also helps with the efficiency. When we have traceability through our blends that also helps with our compliance. It also helps with our quality. So, all of these pieces have really provided a basis for a sustained, competitive advantage.” As De Bortoli looks to the future, the company plans to integrate QAD’s next-generation user experience (UX). “QAD’s UX is going to support De Bortoli’s vision of sustainability by bringing all the disparate pieces of information and software into one cohesive ERP that we’ll be able to leverage for a long time,” says Shane Dunn, business analyst, De Bortoli Wines.

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Thought leadership

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

“We’re also really excited about where QAD is

specifications from grape to bottle. The current

resources by giving them 15-minute delivery

going with its new user experience. The

feature set is highly configurable, and we’re

slots rather than waiting for hours. It also

application programming interfaces (APIs) will

using this to print a certificate of analysis form

improves our quality when we bring through the

allow us to integrate with things like

for the customer, which shows all the

information into our winemaking systems. We

manufacturing execution systems, our

specifications that they have asked for and how

get traceability all the way from the vineyard

constraint-based scheduling systems and our

they match.”

throughout our systems, throughout the

supply chain integration,” comments Robertson.

manufacturing plant, through to the bottle. And

The ability to deploy on multiple devices is

our quality has obviously improved by the fact

going to be critical. There are so many pieces to where QAD is going, not just in the

that we’re not leaving grapes sitting in trucks,

The benefits

and we can blend all the way through and get

immediate future but the long-term, which

“Our agribusiness supply chain scheduling has

the quality that our consumers expect. We’re

aligns with what we want to achieve.”

allowed us to focus on quality, compliance and

really excited by where QAD is going with its

optimisation simultaneously,” says Robertson.

new UX. If we had a wish list of the roadmap for

“We’ve been able to optimise our growers’

our ERP solution, QAD ticks the boxes.” n

Dunn adds: “We’re using QAD to track all wine

Solutions offered

QAD

QAD Adaptive ERP includes fully internationalised capabilities for customer and service management, financials, manufacturing,

QAD is a leading provider of adaptive enterprise software for

supply chain and enterprise asset management, and includes

global manufacturing companies. Pamela Lopker founded QAD

cross-functional capabilities such as a modern user experience,

in 1979. She was soon joined by Karl Lopker, who was also her

embedded analytics and business process management. Many

first customer and future husband. Their start-up created

manufacturers need other solutions to automate the breadth of

integrated software that helped manufacturers optimise

operations and some of the other solutions from the QAD

operations, better manage supply chains and improve decision-

Adaptive Applications portfolio include:

making. warehousing and IoT

had staying power: QAD, Inc., four decades later, offers a

QAD Trade Activity Management

comprehensive portfolio of manufacturing solutions used by

QAD CEBOS EQMS (Enterprise Quality Management System)

thousands of manufacturers in over 100 countries with over

QAD Precision Global Trade & Transportation Execution

100 partners. Listed on NASDAQ (QADA, QADB) for over two

QAD DynaSys DSCP (Demand & Supply Chain Planning)

decades, QAD employs approximately 2000 people spread

QAD Supplier Portal

roughly evenly between the Americas, EMEA and Asia/Pacific

QAD Cloud EDI

and operates facilities in 19 countries. Many ERP and enterprise solutions take too long to implement, QAD was one of the first established ERP and supply chain

but with deep experience and best practices, QAD prides itself

software vendors to deploy cloud-based solutions, with the QAD

on fast implementations using Easy On Boarding services. QAD

Supplier Portal made available ‘as-a-service’ in 2003 and

also offers training, QAD Extended Solution Services for lifecycle

manufacturing cloud ERP available in 2007. Today, QAD is a

management expertise and Q-Scans for business outcome-

cloud-first software vendor, offering a comprehensive set of

oriented consulting.

cloud-based solutions. Related cloud services are delivered via the QAD Cloud, which offers world-class availability, performance

Industrial markets served

and security with 24x7 and around-the-globe support.

Automotive Life sciences

QAD’s flagship product, QAD Adaptive ERP, reflects a four-year

Industrial manufacturing

long research and development effort to transform QAD’s ERP

Electronics/hi tech

to make it easier for customers to rapidly respond to these

Food & beverage

disruptive times in manufacturing. Because QAD only focuses on

Consumer products

Corporate Profile

QAD Automation Solutions for data collection, label printing, The Lopkers’ vision of a best-of-breed manufacturing ERP has

six sectors within manufacturing, automotive suppliers, consumer products, food and beverage, life sciences, high

Countries served

technology and industrial, QAD Adaptive ERP offers excellent fit

Worldwide

out-of-the-box versus more general ERPs.

Website: www.qad.com

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Insight

Smart factories set to boost global economy by US$1.5 trillion by 2023 new study from the Capgemini

A

for growth, Capgemini estimates that smart

Research Institute has found

factories can add anywhere between $1.5

that smart factories could add

trillion to $2.2 trillion to the global economy

Jean-Pierre Petit, director of digital

at least $1.5 trillion to the global

over the next five years. In 2017 Capgemini

manufacturing at Capgemini, said: “A factory

economy through productivity

found that 43% of organisations had ongoing

is a complex and living ecosystem where

gains, improvements in quality and market

smart factory projects; which has shown a

production systems efficiency is the next

share, along with customer services.

promising increase to 68% in two years. 5G

frontier rather than labor productivity. Secure

However, two-thirds of this overall value is still

is set to become a key enabler as its

data, real- time interactions and virtual-

to be realised: efficiency by design and

features would provide manufacturers the

physical loopbacks will make the difference.

operational excellence through closed- loop

opportunity to introduce or enhance a variety

To unlock the promise of the smart factory,

operations will make equal contributions.

of real-time and highly reliable applications.

organisations need to design and implement

Complex and living ecosystem

a strong governance program and develop a

According to the new research, China, Germany and Japan are the top three

Scaling up is the next challenge for Industry

culture of data-driven operations. The move

countries in smart factory adoption, closely

4.0: despite this positive outlook,

to an Intelligent Industry is a strategic

followed by South Korea, the US and France.

manufacturers say success is hard to come

opportunity for global manufacturers to

by, with just 14% characterising their existing

leverage the convergence of Information

The report entitled, ‘Smart Factories @ Scale’,

initiatives as ‘successful’ and nearly 60% of

Technology and Operational Technology, in

identified the two main challenges to scaling up:

organisations saying that they are struggling

order to change the way their industries will

the IT-OT convergence and the range of skills

to scale. The two main challenges to scale

operate and be future ready.”

and capabilities required to drive the

up are:

transformation including cross-functional capabilities and soft skills in addition to digital

Mourad Tamoud, EVP, global supply chain • The IT-OT convergence – including digital

operations at Schneider Electric said:

talent. The report also highlights how the

platforms deployment and integration,

“Through Schneider Electric’s TSC4.0

technology led disruption, towards an ‘Intelligent

data readiness and cybersecurity – which

Transformation, Tailored, Sustainable &

Industry’, is an opportunity for manufacturers

will be critical to ensure digital continuity

Connected 4.0, a sustainable and connected

striving to find new ways to create business

and enable collaboration. Agnostic and

journey which integrates the Smart Factory

value, optimise their operations and innovate for

secure multilayer architectures will allow a

initiative, we have created a tremendous

a sustainable future. Key findings of the study,

progressive convergence.

dynamic. We had started with just 1 flagship

which surveyed over 1000 industrial company

• In addition to digital talent, a range of

pilot several years ago and towards the end

executives across 13 countries, include:

skills and capabilities will be required to

of 2019, we have over 70 Smart Factory sites

drive smart factory transformation

certified with external recognition by the

Organisations are showing an increasing

including cross-functional profiles, such as

World Economic Forum. By training our

appetite and aptitude for smart factories:

engineering-manufacturing,

managers, engineers, support staff, and

compared to two years ago, more organisations

manufacturing-maintenance, and safety-

operators, we have equipped them with the

are progressing with their smart initiatives today

security. While soft skills, such as problem

right knowledge and competences. In

and one-third of factories have already been

solving and collaborative skills will also be

parallel, we have also started to scale this

transformed into smart facilities. Manufacturers

critical.

experience across the organisation through

now plan to create 40% more smart factories in

a virtual network to achieve such a fast ramp

the next five years and increase their annual

According to the report, organisations need

up. This is only the beginning – we will

investments by 1.7x compared with the past

to learn from high performers (10% of the

continue to innovate by leveraging internally

three years.

total sample) that make significant

and externally our EcoStruxure solution – an

investments in the foundations – digital

IoT enabled, plug and play, open

platforms, data readiness, cybersecurity,

architecture and platform – and use the

talent, governance – and well-balanced

latest best practices in the digital world.” n

Value add

‘efficiency by design’ and ‘effectiveness in

The potential value add from smart factories

operations’ approach, leveraging the power

is bigger than ever: based on this potential

of data and collaboration.

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Opinion

Four common misconceptions manufacturers have about digitisation By Michiel Schipperus, CEO, Sana Commerce.

the traditional supply chain, but customer

efficient supply chain starts with getting

demands are also changing. They want more

D2C sales right. Some manufacturers have

self-service options, more competitively

already started and are reaping the

priced products, and a shorter timeframe from

benefits, but this doesn’t have to be at the

purchase to delivery. As B2B buyers usually

cost of channel partner relationships. The

complete a large part of the buying process

key here is to boost efficiency and

through online research before even

profitability by shifting order fulfilment for

contacting a potential supplier, you need to

larger orders through to distributors and

find new ways to cater to customer needs.

retailers. Meanwhile, manufacturers can

This is where e-commerce comes in.

fulfil orders for lower-volume inventory items or test the success of new products before passing them along to retailers. Identify and optimise your partners’

E-commerce is an unnecessary cost

strengths for the best outcome.

Some manufacturers argue that the cost of

Michiel Schipperus: “Digitisation is crucial for a future-facing approach to manufacturing.”

implementing and maintaining an e-

Emerging technologies and innovations are better suited to B2C

commerce platform is unjustifiably high. However, the success of manufacturers who do have a web store speaks for itself. We

ith product lifecycles

W

conducted research of over 550 global B2B

While B2C brands are usually the first to try

getting shorter and

organisations, which found that almost half

and implement digital innovations, B2B

competition tightening

implemented an e-commerce solution with the

needn’t take a backseat. The Internet of

among industries (and

main objective to drive sales, and of those

Things, 3D printing, cloud technology and

even among players within

respondents, 91% have been successful at

artificial intelligence can help with supply

the supply chain), manufacturers need to take

doing so.

chain visibility, the elimination of

action to remain competitive. However, many

Almost half said that introducing a B2B e-

organisational siloes, forecasting for

appear to be wary about digitisation, in part

commerce platform has allowed them to sell

product production schedules, and

due to widespread myths about what it means

directly to end customers, and three in five

automating processes. Using these

to embrace digitisation, and its benefits vs

had seen evidence of other players in their

technologies to gather real-time and

costs. Here are the top four most common

supply chain starting to do so. E-commerce

predictive data means you can streamline

misconceptions we hear – and why they don’t

can not only help increase sales but allow

processes and shape future approaches to

hold true.

customers a direct route to purchase and a

product development and distribution.

way to engage with your brand on-demand at any time.

approach to manufacturing and getting

Our way of working is fine as it is While manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers have always worked alongside each other in relative harmony, the B2B

Digitisation is crucial for a future-facing ahead of competitors with carefully

Direct-to-consumer sales will hurt our channel partner relationships

considered digital investments can make all the difference in this challenging landscape. n

buying landscape is changing. Not only is digitisation causing the disintermediation of

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Maintaining a harmonious, profitable, and

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Integrated e-commerce software for B2B and B2C. Get on

Solutions offered

the fastest path to happier clients, smarter sales and better

E-commerce for Microsoft Dynamics & e-commerce for SAP.

business partnerships. With Sana Commerce, you use your SAP or Microsoft Dynamics ERP system as the engine of

Industrial markets served

your web store. That means less time spent on sales calls

Distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers and retail.

and administration, and more time spent on adding real value.

Countries served Worldwide.

Customer-specific pricing. Shipping details. Account history. All the data you need for expert personalisation is already at your disposal: in your ERP. Sana Commerce’s e-commerce software is designed to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Dynamics and SAP. What’s that mean for you and your clients? A web store that’s a perfect extension of your existing commercial processes. Your clients have access to custom prices and a wealth of product information 24/7. Your sales reps have more time to add real value. And your business is one step closer to mastering your digital transformation.

Website: www.sana-commerce.com

Corporate Profile

Sana Commerce


MLIT Dec'19 Special Report p24-29.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 28/11/2019 14:05 Page 24

Special Technology Report

Enterprise Resource Planning

Keeping ahead of the development curve Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about current trends and areas of development within the world of ERP – including those concerning integration, digital optimisation and the Cloud.

The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

and is majorly driven by IoT and the Cloud.

“Enterprise functions

solutions marketplace has continued to evolve

This availability of ERP in the Cloud has made

such as supply chain

apace over the past few years. To begin this

ERP accessible to all including the small and

management and

detailed discussion in terms of some of the key

mid-sized enterprises. With the benefits of

customer

areas of innovation and development within

Cloud, these enterprises are freed up from

development will

this technology area, Nandini Natarajan,

having to maintain expensive in-house

become more

analyst industrials, Frost & Sullivan, cites what

infrastructure. It has also become a backbone

effective with the

she describes as the AI takeover of ERP as a

for integration of ERP with different other

introduction of

key current trend. “ERP is emerging to be a

enterprise systems such as CRM, SCM etc.”

blockchain in ERP,” she said.

pertinent ground for implementation of futuristic

Nandini Natarajan, analyst industrials,

technologies like AI,” she said, adding:

Natarajan also references the power of

“Despite being nascent, AI is creating a

predictive analytics as another key trend. “ERP

According to

significant impression in this market. Using AI

is an integrated storehouse of data that houses

Natarajan,

concepts like machine learning and pattern

almost everything from HR records to supplier

enterprises are also starting to look for more

recognition, ERP systems will be able to

details to customer orders to product

personalised ERP solutions, ones that will

recognise data patterns and provide insights

specifications,” she explained. “Interestingly,

focus more on end-customers. “One-size-fits-

for informed decision making. For instance, an

all this data is heavily underutilised which

all will be a concept of the past as an

AI-powered ERP system can help a car

results in loss of potential business

increasing number of enterprises discover the

manufacturing company identify purchasing

opportunities. AI and analytics play a crucial

need for personalised ERP solutions,” she

patterns of different car models in different

role in aiding ERP systems to convert real-time

remarked. “Enterprises will also begin to make

geographical regions. It can also help

data to actionable business insights.”

user experience seamless across different channels and platforms.”

manufacturers forecast when to increase car production depending on demand.”

With regard to what has driven these changes,

Natarajan also recognises what she refers to

The emergence of Blockchain

as the mega shift to the Cloud. “ERP has

Additionally, Natarajan observes that

with low or zero intelligence are increasingly

traditionally been not so warm to innovations,”

Blockchain is emerging to be one of the most

becoming irrelevant in today’s marketplace.

she said. “This scenario is starting to change

secure platforms for any kind of transaction.

“They offer businesses limited opportunities to

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Natarajan considers that legacy ERP systems

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scale and grow,” she

that could support and come with any

manufacturers that are adding more

said. “Although ERP

applications you can use in the Cloud. Artificial

distribution on the back end of their

is a storehouse of

intelligence is a good example too; not a

manufacturing operations – less outsourcing

data, it is pointless if

separate standalone AI but an embedded

of distribution. So, some are buying fleets.

this data is left

version that can be leveraged and used within

Some are introducing services such as

unanalysed. This is

any of the applications that come

warranty management on hardware, but the

where technologies

standardised in the Cloud.”

core of this is digital optimisation.” Devault also sees more companies wanting to

such as AI and Cloud have an important

Resident native AI

provide customers with an omnichannel

role to play.”

Ball then provides a real-case type example:

experience. “We’re seeing a clear difference

“Let’s say I have a planning application with

between how companies do business, whether

Further, Natarajan

resident AI built into the app that comes in

it’s business-to-business or business-to-

points out that ERP

the Cloud – as opposed to having a planning

consumer or both, and those related toolsets

still does not entail crucial bits of information

application that’s connected to a standalone

are quite different,” he said. “Some of

relevant to business development such as

AI engine in order to help me carry out

requirements concern supply chain

customer interactions, behaviour and

certain tasks. It’s more of an integration

management, so we’ve seen an increase in

relationship management. “The need to

versus an embedded tool scenario. This type

companies wanting a specific supply chain

integrate all this information onto a singular

of resident native AI is getting some traction

management application to take care of

platform will become a future necessity,” she

and the use cases are quite compelling –

advanced forecasting and demand and order

said. “AI, Machine Learning (ML), blockchain

things like procurement to supplier; the flow

management. Those things can be easier to

and Cloud are emerging to be critical

of information back and forth.

implement than ERP within the mid-market

Bryan Ball, VP & group director – global supply management practices,

space, so companies can receive benefits

elements in bringing this radical shift in the “Think in terms of creating a PO, I send it to

quicker and get the key rich functionality they

the supplier, the supplier acknowledges it

require without buying full ERP, which can take

Bryan Ball, VP & group director – global

and I receive an advance shipping notice, I

more time to implement and cost considerably

supply management practices, Aberdeen

get the EDI version of the timing of the

more.”

Group, reflects that Cloud is not new news,

transaction, the shipment, promise date and

but recognises that having a real Cloud-based

the updates to those kinds of things,

Nigel Montgomery, research director, Gartner,

version of ERP where people are looking to

including information related to any

considers that the key drivers for change in the

move their entire ERP to the Cloud is getting

anomalies that need resolving. So, EDI is

world of ERP revolve around power and politics

more traction now. “Realistically, in terms of

kind of back in the frame and playing an

in the supply chain. “If you’re in a position of

solutions built for the Cloud from the bottom

important role together with AI in this type of

power you want more power, if I’m a serving

up, it’s really been within the past five years

context. If you can pick up one or two days

company manufacturing for a larger

that this has really come into being,” he said.

with this type of technology in terms of

organisation then I want to keep in favour, if I’m

“There have been ad hoc versions, third-party

intelligence and knowledge this can be very

part of a larger organisation I want to expose

hosting or provider hosting, private Cloud and

valuable when you’re talking about next-day

the margins through the supply chain in order

those kinds of things, but really getting a true

delivery, same-day delivery, knowing where

to have better financial control,” he said. “So,

Cloud-based solution is now coming into its

my inventory is and being able to promise

the challenge with ERP is that it has historically

own.”

that inventory and actually having visibility in

been thought of as a product rather than a

pretty much real time. These are very viable

strategy. Companies would say I’m going to

capabilities.”

buy SAP, Oracle, Infor, Microsoft and so on,

ERP software landscape.”

However, Ball adds that not everybody’s there

and they would then have what they

yet, particularly when including all the

considered to be an ERP system without really

applications that come with it. “Some vendors’ applications are more of a user interface, with

Digital optimisation

thinking hard about what it actually does and

front ends that work in the Cloud and can

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

what difference it can make within a power and

integrate, but the real functionality is not truly

Panorama Consulting Solutions, points out

politics context. I think that has been the

Cloud-based,” he explained. “It’s changing

that many Panorama clients that are talking

biggest change in the market.

rapidly, but not everybody’s quite there.

about ERP projects or business process

Having said that, one of the reasons for

improvement projects and are looking to

moving to true Cloud-based SaaS-driven

digital optimisation to achieve this. He adds

ERP is not so much a product but more of a

applications is the benefits to be had from

that they want to use technology to grow but

strategy, which means they can think about it

using technology that falls under the Industry

not necessarily to enter new revenue

differently in terms of how it’s constructed. Up

4.0 umbrella, including embedded analytics

streams. “That means we are seeing some

to now, people have looked at ERP as being a

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Nigel Montgomery, research director,

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central system that

anyone coming to me saying we’re going to

controls nearly

change our ERP because of Brexit. What I

The changing workforce

everything. Now,

have seen, however, is people saying that

Hiskey considers that these changes have

organisations are

Brexit is one of the things that gives us

been driven by a couple of key trends – one

starting to realise that

power to go to the management team to say

being the changing workforce. “There are

if they think about

we could benefit from changing or updating

now more millennials in the workforce than

ERP at a strategy

our system. So, I think Brexit is driving some

baby boomers, and younger workers are

level they don’t have

upgrades and driving some changes in

demanding modern, streamlined, connected

to think about these

strategy, but it’s only one of the factors

technology that is available on any device,

systems as individual

behind this.

any time,” she pointed out. “Our research

products. They need

found that 41% of young people want to work

to break it down into

“In terms of Gartner’s Nexus of Forces

with the latest innovations, with a third (33%)

the componentry

concept – the forces that can come together

of millennials keen to be at the cutting edge of

such as financials, HCM, manufacturing

and impact business and the supply chain –

new developments. Businesses that invest in,

operations and asset management. Some

Brexit could be seen as one of those

and promote their use of, new technology

companies will link in supply chain as part of

examples. It’s a bit like mobility, because

innovations will be well-positioned to attract

that story. To them, you don’t separate

mobile is something companies require

the next generation of employees and boost

manufacturing and supply chain as they could

because they need that visibility and need to

their workforce ranks.”

be seen as two disciplines that roll into one.

be able to take a decision now rather than

So, depending on your organisation your view

wait, but also need its people to be more

A second trend observed by Hiskey is the

of what ERP is and what it should constitute

flexible when they’re moving around. So, all

increasing importance and influence that

can vary.”

these things are things within the Nexus of

customers have on their manufacturers and

Forces that are driving change.”

suppliers. “The online retailer Amazon, for

Montgomery adds that one of the main

example, has driven this behaviour with the

changes in ERP solutions themselves is the

Terri Hiskey, vice president of product

visibility that it gives its customers from the

fact that because more companies no longer

marketing for manufacturing, Epicor,

moment an order is placed until the product is

think of ERP as a ‘solid mass’ they are now

believes the biggest innovation to ERP in

delivered – convenient, personalised and

realising that they could move to the Cloud and

recent years is the migration to the Cloud.

frictionless,” she said. “It’s exactly the type of

remove a lot of infrastructure capability – and

“Having a Cloud infrastructure in place

experience customers want and expect,

also pick up some of the newer services to

affords businesses access to innovations as

whether they’re buying products for themselves

start gaining differentiation in terms of lowering

needed, whenever they’re needed, at a lower

or making business-to-business purchases.”

costs while getting the job done quicker and

cost and faster implementation,” she said.

better and even increasing the visibility of

“Companies want, and need, to see value

Hiskey added that manufacturers are now

operations. “The fact is that power and politics

from their technology investments, and they

expected to provide such visibility to their end

is all supported by visibility of information; the

don’t want to wait for implementations that

users, as well as a more holistic and simplified

idea that information is power has probably

take a year or more to see that value

buying experience. “To this end, manufacturers

never been as true as it is today,” he said.

manifested.”

must think about how they can add and extend value beyond simply delivering a product,” she

Aside from bringing about improvements in

said. “This means being able to accommodate

Brexit impact?

responsiveness, agility and costs, Hiskey

engineer-to-order,

What are some of the drivers behind

adds that the Cloud is helping organisations

configure-to-order,

companies re-evaluating what their

digitally transform and get fit for growth.

made-to-order and

ERP/supply chain strategy should be?

“Businesses of all sizes can take advantage

assemble-to-order

“Things like Brexit might be getting more

of the latest technology innovations –

manufacturing

companies to think more deeply about what

connected machines, AI, AR, and other

models to meet

their supply chain looks like, how it operates

Industry 4.0 enabling technologies – to

specified

and what frailties is has, but I think this was

improve their business and optimise

requirements. To

largely there already; it’s just that Brexit adds

processes,” she explained. “What’s more,

keep up with new

another layer of supply chain-related

Cloud ERP enables organisations to access

demands, these firms

questions,” said Montgomery. “Arguably, it

real-time business intelligence, data-driven

must embrace digital

provides some extra urgency or level of

insights and predictability to sustain

transformation –

deadline to get things done. However, Brexit

competitive advantage well into the digital

supported by ERP –

isn’t changing ERP strategies – I don’t have

age.”

to liberate and

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Brent Dawkins, director of product marketing,

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lubricate the flow of

Hiskey points out that the use of IoT sensors on

Devault observes that vendors such as Infor

information and work

things such as shop floor equipment has made

are looking to put all their applications on a

product across the

enterprise asset management (EAM) an area

common platform in order to provide

enterprise, with the

with renewed focus. “Companies can benefit

companies big or small with a common toolset

ultimate goal of

from proactively addressing production or

to realise these integrations. He also comments

satisfying customer

equipment issues before those issues end up

that from a Microsoft standpoint every year

expectations.”

halting production,” she said. “By having a

more and more people are using those

better understanding of capacity and

applications meaning there are more resources

Brent Dawkins,

throughput of those machines, jobs can be

out there for development. “A lot of people buy

director of product

scheduled for efficiently and throughput can

Microsoft strictly on the fact that they can

marketing, QAD Inc,

be optimised.”

customise very easily and can integrate fairly easily,” he said.

observes that the rate of change in the

Additionally, Hiskey explains that many

industry is

factories are adopting smart home

Devault adds that although ‘Big Data’

increasing, driven by a number of factors.

technologies such as integrated control of

continues to be promoted, he thinks that many

According to Dawkins, these include the

ambient temperatures. “This enables the facility

people still have difficulty understanding what it

increasingly widespread adoption of AI, data

to use ‘energy saver’ strategies during

is, how they can effectively get valuable

analytics, mobiles, IOT and RPA, meaning that

downtime periods like weekends – delivering

business intelligence from the data, and how

the tools and capability is available to deliver.

both energy and financial savings,” she said.

they can ensure the data is accurate, clean

He also explains that there is an expectation

and consistent across functional areas and

from customers for a more personalised

entities. “So, people are trying to adopt AI, but

experience, driven by their interactions in their

Integration

personal digital lives. Dawkins adds that

Have ways of best integrating ERP with other

workflow automation and business intelligence

customers in the industry are also more

systems developed to any notable degree over

and maybe 20% of AI wrapped in it,” he said.

demanding of product innovation, seamless

the past year or two? To put things in context,

“But, mostly it’s automation of current toolsets

delivery and excellent experience. He also

Natarajan reminds us that front office systems

and people are increasingly realising that a lot

maintains that manufacturers are influenced by

like CRM record customer-related information

of this workflow automation is very powerful

increasing drives for efficiency and increased

such as customer interactions, sales tracking,

within these systems and it’s been under

competitiveness in the market and the need to

pipeline management etc., On the other hand,

utilised historically.”

compete effectively.

back office systems such as ERP and SCM

what is often promoted as AI is actually

deal with information around back-end

Hiskey stresses that in order to get the most

processes such as billing, shipping, financial

value from your ERP system, and to really

Recent development sweet spots

and supply chain related data. “Traditionally,

understand manufacturing costs and the

these systems have been kept separately,” she

impact to your margin, it is critical to be

Are there any other recently introduced

explained.

connected from the front office (order management, CRM) through

benefits offered within the world of ERP that

procurement/purchasing, production,

are of particular note? Natarajan considers

Natarajan continued: “Superficially, this might

that Cloud-based ERP systems are certainly

look extremely manageable and easy to use.

inventory, shipping and servicing. Hiskey adds

more sustainable and environment friendly

However, integrating the front-end and back-

that IoT technologies have made it easier to

than on-premise ERP systems. “The Cloud

end systems can help manufacturers gain a

get a better view of inventory, as well as parts,

facilitates the implementation of

better understanding of their customer base at

as they are coming from their suppliers. “In

functionalities such as document

every stage of the manufacturing processes

short, new technologies have driven greater

management, which is far more sustainable

keeping in mind the end goals and delivering

visibility from when a customer starts browsing

than traditional pen and paper due to faster

results accordingly. This has to a huge extent

on a website through to the delivery of an

processing speeds, increased accuracy

helped in streamlining business processes and

order,” she said.

levels and their reduction in the amount of

improving productivity. Risk of database errors

paper generated,” she said. “Further,

have also dropped due to this integration.

Ball makes the point that in the past ERP has

centralised Cloud data centres will drive

Enterprises are slowly beginning to understand

often been thought of as a something that

improved sustainability and reduce carbon

the potential from this integration and have

contains just about everything. However,

footprint. It also allows a more efficient use of

started to act in this direction. Integrating these

because of the increased move to the Cloud,

infrastructure with the ability to scale up or

back-end and front-end systems through a

he believes it’s going to become more a case

down based on seasonal demands of the

single platform solution will be a priority in the

of platforms connecting with other platforms in

business.”

coming years.”

a very horizontal fashion as opposed to ERP

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having all or most of the pieces contained

separated out. “So, because things such as

which the manufacturing capabilities sit

within it. He also believes that with the growth

HCM, financials or CRM lend themselves to

plugged into a Cloud-delivered planning and

of this integrated platform-to-platform model,

the Cloud and to a SaaS environment they

supply chain.”

the partner network will become increasingly

tend to move in that direction,” he explained.

important. “So, we’re moving to this horizonal

“In terms of manufacturing operations,

Natarajan believes SaaS is slowly pushing the

platform-to-platform model versus the older

planning and execution can be separated out.

traditional software licensing model into the

approach of having all or most of the

So, execution stays on premises and stays

background. “Organisations are moving

architecture under one roof,” he said.

alongside the assets and the planning starts

large-scale software expenses CAPEX to

to go out to the Cloud. So, we are seeing that

OPEX, and this has resulted in looking at

the Cloud is becoming the destination for a lot

SaaS as a major business model,” she said.

The Cloud up close

of these things, although to some extent this

“SaaS offers lower total cost of ownership and

Picking up on the Cloud theme in more detail,

is brought about by the vendors rather than

faster returns on investment. This trend is

has the Cloud or Software as a Service (SaaS)

the customers.”

visible especially in small and medium enterprises segment where there are budget

model had any notable level of impact on the ERP market? For clarification purposes,

From a geographical perspective,

limitations. Today, businesses are

Montgomery explains that the main

Montgomery points out that although it might

increasingly embracing the on-demand model

connection between the terms Cloud and

be thought that a Cloud-based solution could

of software deployment, and it’s only going to

Software as a Service (SaaS) is that they both

provide distinct advantages in terms of

accelerate in the future as businesses start

refer to solutions that are available to use off-

making information accessible over multiple

opting for the Cloud-delivered model of

premises. Cloud could refer to a licensing

plants throughout the world this isn’t

selling software. The advantages of Cloud,

model where the user is responsible for the

necessarily true. “This is because depending

on-demand, user-based pricing model helps

updates, whereas with SaaS all the software

where I am in the world and what my model is

to expand the market. Further, SaaS is

updates are normally dealt with by the vendor

there are certain countries that have a very

designed to serve multiple customers in

and users pay a subscription to use it.

bad infrastructure and don’t suit the Cloud at

contrast to the traditional on-premise software,

all,” he said. “This is one of the big

which requires the user to install and operate

He adds that what can happen in the

challenges, and when you look at SAP what

software in his or her local IT environment.”

background is that if the vendor can do it

you find is that most of their manufacturing

economically enough and there is enough

customers on S/4 HANA have actually chosen

According to Natarajan, some of the

common ground between companies, then a

an on-premises model. The reason is

promising features that compel businesses to

multi-tenant model makes sense. “So, I now

because when you’re looking across multiple

make a move from on-premise to Cloud

have one piece of software that I’ve got to

geographies you don’t necessarily have the

solutions include the ability to customise

maintain and everyone’s using the same

ability to take everything to the Cloud. In the

solutions at any time, allowing users to

software. However, the difference between

services sector if you’re off line for 20 minutes

manage and create their own systems for fast

SaaS and Cloud at a structural level is that

work goes on. In a manufacturing

deployment, scalability and agility to adjust

people are putting their existing ERPs in the

environment if you’re off line for this amount of

resources based on how much system is

Cloud which means they get the cost savings

time it can stop a production line. So, vendors

being used.

by having it off-premise; they have a

are realising that only offering customers a

subscription model, but don’t necessarily

Cloud model might actually be detrimental in

Devault observes that all the main ERP

move to a SaaS model because SaaS means

terms of attracting new business because not

vendors now offer Cloud solutions. “However,

the partner is going to take it over totally. So,

everybody can head in that direction.”

most of our clients are still purchasing on premise software – I would say it’s about 60%

companies need to distinguish between licensing models and deployment options

That said, in terms of separation of duties

– and most of those companies are

because they can be two different things.

things like manufacturing planning can be in

manufacturers,” he said. “I think this is for a

Essentially, Cloud means I’m no longer

the Cloud because if it goes down for 20

number of reasons, one being concerns

holding it, while SaaS means I don’t need to

minutes it doesn’t impact my shop floor so

about security. We have many discussions

worry about the software and the updates, I’m

much because planning is done ahead of

about this issue with clients, but I don’t

just going to use it as a service.”

production. However, execution could be an

believe concern about security is a valid a

issue if it’s in the Cloud. So, what we’re seeing

reason not to go Cloud. In terms of total cost

Montgomery adds that one of the outcomes of

is a separation of planning and execution at

of ownership for SaaS and Cloud versus on

the change in thinking around ERP is because

the manufacturing level and you have people

premise we see that for about seven years

ERP is now not thought of so much as a ‘solid

such as Siemens and Rockwell and a few

they have actually been quite close to each

thing’ and thought of more as a strategy the

others building out of that infrastructure layer

other. In the past the SaaS model has been a

functionality pieces can be more easily

to be effectively an execution platform upon

bit more expensive on the back end, but

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when you really look

to the Cloud, allows small and mid-size

providers. He also maintains that there will be

at what it means to

organisations to leave the often-cumbersome

increased use of analytics so companies can

properly staff from

IT management responsibilities to their

make comparisons in order to make better

an IT standpoint, and

solution partner,” she said. “SaaS makes

management decisions going forward. “So

if you’re hosting you

these technologies more affordable by

suddenly you’ve taken that stuff that was very

can host on-premise

offering a subscription method to get access,

back office after the fact and moved it upfront

software elsewhere,

so it helps spread the financial burden. I think

to provide almost real-time intelligence in

then those annual

we’ll start to see smaller companies gain

terms of what we might benefit from doing

costs are still fairly

advantages over larger companies by

today in order to achieve better performance

significant and don’t

leveraging these new technologies.”

for this month or year-end and so forth,” he said.

offset the SaaS model.

The next move

Moreover, Ball believes there could be

“Originally when SaaS came in it was around

What might the next key innovations and

something of a shakeout within the vendor

40 or 50% cheaper than the on-premise

developments be within the world of ERP over

community as more companies move from

versions, but during year one that gap can be

the next year or two? Hiskey believes AI and

on-premise to Cloud. “The last thing

significantly closed. Now we see it’s only

machine learning are a couple of things to

companies really want to do is go through a

about 20 or 30% difference between year one

look out for as key development areas. Hiskey

major technology disruption, but they are

pricing. So, the SaaS model has increased in

comments that machine learning equipment

often forced to because, for example, their

price but nevertheless it’s certainly increased

will be able to correct itself instead of having

provider might be sunsetting the application

in market share adoption.”

to wait for human intervention. This, she

they use or there has been a decision to

maintains, will save time and help avoid

move the infrastructure into the Cloud,” he

Devault makes the point that the main

human error. Hiskey also believes we will see

said. “And where there’s disruption there

adoption of SaaS is within the SMB space,

many different applications of voice-activated

could be some major shakeups in terms of

although he does see some enterprise

technology and things such as smart forms

which vendors gain or lose market share.”

companies also looking to go into the Cloud.

where fields can be filled out automatically. Montgomery believes a hybrid ERP model

In terms of the vendors, he reflects that they

with an edge capability is one of the

can differ considerably as to how they got to

Natarajan foresees developments concerning

the Cloud. “For example, Microsoft completely

the integration of front-end and back-end

directions we are going to see manufacturing

re-wrote the AX platform from the ground up

systems into a unified platform and a

moving in over the next three to five years.

and, interestingly, they’ve since announced

continuing focus on AI, mobile, blockchain,

“Companies are going to build a hybrid Cloud

on-premise versions of the new Cloud

machine learning and Cloud. She also

and edge model such that they can put the

software,” he said.

anticipates that specialist system integrators

executional bits that need a 50-millisecond

who can customise or personalise solutions to

response on premises and put anything that

Devault continued: “Infor have Cloud-enabled

suit the specific needs of a business will

isn’t so time-critical in the Cloud,” he said.

their application, and where it’s not built from

emerge to be a breed-in-demand. Natarajan

the ground up as Cloud they have put it on

adds that future ERP software will look more

Devault believes ERP vendors will continue to

the Cloud technology they have now. Oracle

flexible than today. “Although SaaS solutions

look to streamline the functionality of their

has had the Fusion product for many years

are gaining relevancy and importance, most

solutions and to make the navigation in the

and they have strictly re-written their Cloud

enterprise will look for an amalgamation of

systems more intuitive and more refined.

apps. But the maturity is an issue and some

Cloud and on-premise solutions,” she said,

“Historically, we used to see so many data

of the larger enterprises want to go Cloud but

adding that they will increasingly look out for

fields; that can provide a lot of functionality

they are finding not all the functionality they

the freedom of choice between the two in the

but most of it was never used – so I think it’s

need is necessarily there at this moment in

future.

now about optimising how end users use the

time.”

system and about securing better end user Ball believes we will continue to see greater

adoption,” he said. Devault adds that a lot of

Hiskey believes the SaaS model and Cloud

adoption of Cloud ERP and anticipates that

this is about change management too. “Your

has helped make some technologies available

machine learning will continue to develop. He

people have to understand how to use the

and accessible to small and mid-size

thinks there will also be more use cases of AI

new technology and not be intimidated by it.

companies that felt such sophisticated and

and an increased use of bots within these

Too many people think it’s going to take over

innovative technologies were out of their price

types of applications to speed up the

their job, but it’s not really the case.” n

range, and over and above what they needed

automation and decision making and quicken

for functionality. “Moving to a SaaS model, or

the timeliness of information coming back to

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Special Technology Report

Demand Forecasting & Planning/S&OP

The supply and demand dynamic Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with leading industry spokespeople from the analyst and vendor community about how modern Demand Forecasting & Planning/Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) solutions and other planning-related technology can help to facilitate better supply chain, manufacturing and distribution practice. ithout a doubt, two of the

W

present risks and opportunities,” he said. “The

decision-making in the supply chain,” he

most significant innovations

risks challenge the feasibility of the plan while

said, adding that there are currently three big

currently driving Supply

the opportunities question the efficiency of the

megatrends in this field. The first one he calls

Chain technology are the

plan.” Phillips believes the second is the

horizontal alignment. “Horizontal alignment

advent of Machine Learning

mainstreaming of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and

means companies don’t want to take

techniques combined with embedded

advanced analytics technology. “Although we

planning decisions independently – they want

advanced analytics. Indeed, as Shaun Phillips,

have exponentially more data, we have more

them aligned across the supply chain

global product director, QAD DynaSys,

tools to extract fact-based insights,” he

horizontally including the customers and

explained, the utilisation of Machine Learning

explained. The third is millennials. “This

suppliers,” he said. “This trend has been

techniques has moved from its embryonic

generation has entered the workforce

happening for a while now, but that’s what

stage to a phase of early maturity. “This is

questioning why enterprise software, such as

drives the vendors to do what they do as well

more evident in Demand Planning solutions

Supply Chain Planning, does not look, feel,

in terms of the evolution of their planning

forecasting products whose future sales

connect and respond the same way as the

solutions.”

behaviour is influenced by events other than

screens they have been raised on. This

historical sales,” he said. “These include

generation has an unprecedented comfort level

Similar to that, the second trend cited by

periodic products, low-frequency high demand

with trusting AI decisions, deploying on Shared

Payne is vertical alignment. “When

and products with no or little history. The same

Platforms, and outsourcing business functions

companies make planning decisions at a

technology lends itself to the automation of

to Cloud Services.”

very granular level, short-term at the order level and make plans and decisions tactically

exception resolution and the augmentation of

and strategically, they need those layers of

daily decision making.”

planning to be aligned as well,” he said. “The

So, what has driven these developments?

Horizonal and vertical alignment

Phillips maintains there are several forces

Tim Payne, research vice president, Gartner,

don't want to have S&OP sitting in an ivory

behind this change that have fused into a

made the point that, whether it’s Demand

tower sucking data in and making decisions

powerful nexus. “The first is the unprecedented

Forecasting & Planning or S&OP, they are all

that never go anywhere. So, you’ve got to

availability of real-time data that perpetually

planning at the end of the day. “It's all about

work the layers and you’ve got to be able to

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have the right level of

for smaller companies to embrace these

infancy, but a

alignment/communication between the

trends. If you’re a big global multinational

number of vendors

different layers of planning that are going on.

and you have operations in many different

are trying to

countries, it’s probably going to be more

incorporate those

“Ultimately, it's about your strategy – that

difficult to standardise and coordinate things;

types of

informs what your supply chain is going to

what Germany wants to do might be different

technologies and

look like. It informs how you are using the

to what Italy wants to do or the US wants to

trying to apply them

resources you have available and informs

do. So, the size of a company really isn’t the

to better forecasting

how you are going to be able to respond to

issue – it’s all about maturity.”

algorithms and better supply chain

what's really happening in execution, and

Shaun Phillips, global product director,

visibility and

that's how you execute on your strategy. So,

management.

and that's why we seen less distinction

Disruption in the value chain

between the different planning solutions.

Archana Vidyasekar, research director,

there are just improvements in technology.

Today, nobody really says I’ll think about a

Visionary Innovation Group, Frost & Sullivan,

Say you have something in the supply chain

demand planning solution first, then I'll think

commented that technological revolutions in

that is coming from China and it's currently

about the supply planning solution and then

the logistics space have resulted in

on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I'll think about an S&OP solution – because

minimising the current complexities and

There's now software in the systems that can

you won't get the alignment in either

creating new opportunities for value-chain

give you real-time visibility in terms of where

direction.”

participants. “Key future themes, including

that ship is. For example, it might be

AI, autonomous technologies, digital

circumventing a storm in the middle of the

that vertical alignment is now really important

Together with that,

platforms and Blockchain are expected to

Pacific that is going to require it to reroute

Automation

create much disruption in the value chain

and take a day or two longer to get to a port

The third big trend highlighted by Payne –

and give rise to new participants, business

which, would have an impact on the supply

one that he believes has really taken off over

models, and disintermediation among

chain. Knowing in advance that there will be

the past 12 to 18 months – is automation;

others,” she said.

a delay in delivery can give you time to replan your day’s or week’s supply chain

how to automate those decisions that you’re making. “This is where most of the main

From self-running trucks to automated

activities more efficiently. By combining track

planning solutions vendors now do something

contracts, Vidyasekar believes the supply

and trace with GPS functionality all in real-

around machine learning and AI,” said

chain is ripe for innovation. “This is expected

time with graphical capabilities you can see

Payne. “It’s all about the desire from the

to create much disruption in the value chain

that information rather than just rely on a

market to reduce the amount of manual effort

and give rise to new business models and,

tabular bunch of numbers.”

that goes into planning. To automate that, it

potentially, even lead to disinter-mediation

doesn’t necessarily mean autonomous

within the supply chain,” she said. “For

Bryan Ball, vice president, principal analyst

planning where no human is involved; it

instance, the industry is making a conscious

supply chain management, Aberdeen Group,

probably will in some cases where special

shift from asset-centric models to more digital

is a big believer in S&OP. “Indeed, I installed

decisions need to be made, but it certainly is

asset-light approaches, enabling new types

it twice myself as a practitioner,” he pointed

about augmenting the decision-making that

of services such as on-demand, real-time,

out. “In the early days around the time ERP

the planners do. So, if you look at what end-

and agile last-mile delivery solutions suited

was first implemented S&OP used to be

user companies are thinking about and the

for the uncertain nature of the urban supply

called production planning. The idea was to

technology roadmaps they are working with,

chain.”

get a good supply and demand match and it's amazing to me how many people still

a lot now happens around those two

underestimate the value of that. Think of a

dimensions of alignment in automation because there is now more desire in the

AI

fast-moving organisation where the sales

market for what some people call digital

Richard Goluskin, director client services,

team is given an order, they pass it to

planning.”

Panorama Consulting Solutions, made the

operations and the operations personnel

point that in the past traditional forecasting

scramble to make it happen. This is

In terms of uptake of these solutions and

solutions tended to be built on historical

achieved, but at what cost to the

strategies, Payne reflected that this is a

information. “Now, we have better computer

organisation? If the organisation is in growth

maturity issue. “There are immature big

capabilities base around analytics, and we

mode and keeps making money maybe there

companies and there are mature small

have also seen the development of machine

isn’t any major problem, but there is a point

companies, so it’s not necessarily about the

learning and artificial intelligence (AI),” he

when the organisation – particularly as it

size of the company. Indeed, it can be easier

said. “These concepts may still be in their

matures – really needs to focus on

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Demand Forecasting & Planning/S&OP

across the country; you need a large number

disciplining itself and focus on

The power of social media

of forward depots where you can have the

refining the supply

Ball believes social media can also be of

product available for the customers. And you

and demand match.

major benefit from a Demand Forecasting

have to forecast each product’s life; you can't

Once the

and Planning perspective. “As an example,

stock everything all the time so you need to

mechanics are in

maybe sales for a particular clothing product

be very intelligent about what you should

place and everyone

aren’t going as well as you expected, but

stock. So, the driver is customer expectations

understands that is

people on social media say they really like it

but the complexity behind that is logistical,

the goal, then you

except the button or zipper is in the wrong

knowing what customers are going to buy.

get to the

place. This type of feedback from people

The whole concept of trending products and

sophistication

who have actually worn the clothing can

placing those products in locations where the

stage. This is where

provide you with just the right nuances in

turnaround can be very quick is key. So, the

I think things have

terms of what could make the product better

Amazon model is putting a lot of pressure on

moved to and where things have actually

and therefore more attractive to customers.

other organisations to produce excellence in

happened over the past five years or so –

Let’s say I'm looking at a particular product

terms of delivery and customer satisfaction.”

connecting that S&OP and integrated

on the planning screen and I’m trying to

business planning (IBP) into the financials, so

understand why our forecast was overly

In the B2B world, Goluskin reflected that the

that as soon as you put the operations plan

optimistic. Without leaving the screen I can

pressure is probably not quite as high; at

into effect you can see the financial impact at

look at social media input in a sidebar and

least when he talks to clients about what their

that point. In other words, you are going to

this could give me the answers I’m looking

expectations are as far as the supply chain is

project what the results will be based on what

for. So, social media doesn't become a

concerned. “They don't have the massive

your operational plan is.”

separate project; it's part of the stream of

numbers that are involved in the consumer

data that I can look at while I’m evaluating

business and mainly deal with the more

In terms of running S&OP scenarios, the

what's happening with the forecast. It could

predictable goods,” explained Goluskin.

‘what-ifs’, Ball made the point that this isn’t

be that things are flying off the shelves and

“However, they are starting to be influenced

something particularly new. However, he

the analytics aren’t providing all the answers

by what they see in their daily lives when they

considers that where there has been

as to why this is the case. Again, social

make B2C purchases, so they are beginning

improvement is where vendors such as

media feedback could be a useful indicator

to think why can’t I get better information from

Kinaxis can help companies run those

of the level of interest. Over the past two or

my suppliers in terms of where that shipment

scenarios almost as quickly as snapping

three years I’ve seen more companies

is, and why can’t I be notified by my supplier

their fingers. “Being able to run multiple

incorporating social media within their

if there is going to be an exception to my

scenarios quickly is probably one of the

demand forecasting and planning activities.”

shipment. So, the pressure isn’t normally so

Richard Goluskin, director client services,

high in B2B, but I think they are starting to

most valuable things you can do,” he said.

trail the B2C world in being able to have real-

“This is when you get really predictive. For example, on the demand side you might

The omnichannel model

time visibility of their supply chain and benefit

want to determine what is likely to happen if

Goluskin believes the omnichannel supply

from real-time notifications. One of the big

you change the price or run a promotion. If

chain model is one of the main drivers for

drivers in the B2B world has always been

you want to improve something at market

developments in the world of Demand

cost, but more and more companies are now

level, you might want to stop pushing some

Forecasting & Planning and S&OP. “If you

basing their buying decisions on service

new items because they’re not making as

think of B2B (business to business) and B2C

reliability and accuracy; those kinds of things.

much money as you would like or drop the

(business to consumer), in the B2C world

So, this whole topic of demand forecasting &

price on something that could move along

there is a major focus on satisfying the

planning and S&OP is important not only from

faster. The opportunity for this type of

customer; that’s really what’s driving this

the buyer’s point of view, but also incredibly

improved demand planning is there. The

market,” he said. “So, there is a shift from the

important for the supplier as well.”

software and the tools are so much better

predominance of the traditional bricks and

now but not everybody has them. However, I

mortar store to more online ordering, and

think once you get the basic supply and

Amazon in particular is setting the pace. I

Digital supply chain twin

demand match in place you can start to see

ordered something from Amazon today and

Payne believes the omnichannel model can

things you never saw before. If you start

was asked whether I would like to receive it

also benefit from the horizonal and vertical

changing the mix and you start doing

by 9 PM tonight. Imagine the logistics

alignment principles he previously

demand shaping and you change the price

required to be able to guarantee that product

highlighted. “Don't run all your online activity

all of a sudden the obvious solutions can

a can be delivered to a customer the same

as something completely separate, like a lot

come out.”

day. You can’t just have 10 warehouses

of manufacturers do because that’s the way

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their systems were built,” he said, adding that

times, did their lead times change during the

and will happen in

this need for better planning is driving a

year – well actually they do, but the models

the supply chain

move towards what Gartner calls the digital

don't say that, they say whatever number was

because it can

supply chain twin. “This is the notion that with

put in the ERP system whenever it was

become time phased

all this granularity and near real-time data

implemented. So, the argument here is

as well.

that’s available every planning solution no

analytics are great but if your model isn’t very

matter where it is in the world has two major

good it’s not going to be a reliable

“We are seeing a lot

components; it has to have a model of the

representation of your physical supply chain.

more interest in that

part of the supply chain it’s trying to plan and

It doesn’t matter how good your analytics are

as a notion coming

then it has to have analytics that run on that;

you're still running it on a bad model which

up from the market

mainly predictive analytics because you’re

means you're going to get a bad plan. This is

because with a lot of

predicting the schedule, predicting the

why companies should focus more on the

the newer

demand plan or predicting the replenishment

model so that it offers a better representation

technologies coming

plan.

of the physical supply chain. Your physical

through there are opportunities now to be

supply chain is a living breathing thing, it's

able to create a much better model of the

“There’s a lot of focus on the analytics these

changing all the time, so your model needs to

supply chain upon which you can then apply

days where companies say they are going to

track that. Therefore, you get to the

your predictive and prescriptive analytics.

apply machine learning and it's going to

realisation that what you need is a better

That then helps with your different business

figure all this out and we going to see all the

digital representation of the physical supply

models, whether you they are online or

causality. OK, so this will give them better

chain – hence the name digital supply chain

traditional. If you have a good digital twin of

analytics, but what's the model like? The

twin – that is more living and breathing. It

the supply chain, you can get that updated

models are often out of date, stale, static,

needs to be able to track much more closely

very quickly in near real-time. Then, you're in

when did they ever last look at their lead

what's actually happening in the supply chain

a really good place to be able to see,

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Bryan Ball, vice president, principal analyst supply chain management,

Demand Forecasting & Planning/S&OP

respond and plan

are investing heavily to provide the lowest

of IoT is how to cleanse the data, how to

and make decisions

cost shared platform with reduced royalties

structure it, and finally determine if and how it

about you what you

via open source components and pay per

adds value to the plan. To overcome this,

really want to do in

use licensing models. At QAD DynaSys, we

QAD DynaSys introduced intelligent

the supply chain.

foresee the single version platform utopia

analytical techniques to make sense of all the

This tends to be

with pushed software patches and releases.

data. Our target was to find actionable

something that the

This will, in turn, further reduce the providers

insights from within volumes of data. We

more mature

costs-to-serve. We believe hybrid SaaS/on-

used this technique in Demand Planning to

companies are really

premise architectures will exist only as a

identify trends and causation and determine

starting to think

transitional state on the journey to full SaaS,

suggested actions. We have only just started

about now. It's the

or in specific situations or industries such as

to realise the potential value of data.”

natural endpoint of

aerospace and defence.”

that horizontal and

The future

vertical alignment – the need for a model that represents your

Mobility

What do our commentators think will be some

supply chain more accurately. There are

And what of the role mobile devices are

of the key developments to lookout for in the

some really interesting solutions being

playing in the world of planning and

world of Demand Forecasting &

introduced by some of the newer entrants in

forecasting? Goluskin considers that mobility

Planning/S&OP solutions over the next year

the market in terms of how they create those

is such a major expectation in just about

or two? Phillips believes the role of digital

models from the data – which is all Cloud,

every walk of life these days. “That applies

twins will become more tangible. “This will

Big Data, analytics, machine learning driven.”

just as much to the area of Supply Chain

greatly impact Demand and Supply Planning

Management and Demand Forecasting and

solutions as parameters such as price, cost,

S&OP as it does to any other business

lead-time, batch-size, run-rate etc. will be

SaaS/Cloud

activity,” he said. “If there is some disruption

derived from a physical object or transaction

Picking up on the theme of the Cloud, has

in the supply chain you want to know about it

rather than a master data management

the Software as a Service (SaaS) model had

right away; you don't want to have to go back

system. Business Process Automation will

any notable level of impact on the planning-

to your desktop computer – you want to

start to gain momentum and the hands-off

related software solutions market so far?

receive notification on your phone informing

planning environment will become to look like

Phillips made the point that QAD DynaSys

you that an exception has happened so you

a reality although it will take some time. This

customers want systems and the associated

can let your customers know that there may

will re-focus planners to engage in value-add

costs that scale in a linear manner with their

be a delay in delivery etc. In today’s supply

tasks such as analytics and scenario

growth. “Our customers do not want to be

chain environment, you want exception

planning. Like many supply chain leaders, I

experts in cybersecurity or disaster recovery,

recording and real-time notifications and

believe the emergence of Blockchain will be

our customers want to focus on their core

alerts for things that are happening.”

temporarily hindered by the lack of scale and security.”

business,” he said. “The Cloud is no longer a deployment option; it is a unique market segment. Tech vendors must offer a true

Big Data and IoT

Goluskin thinks systems will continue to get

Cloud SaaS solution that leverages the

What effect are methodologies such as Big

better with integration of unstructured data

benefits of a shared infrastructure platform.

Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) having

and various sources of data. “For example,

The on-premise SCM solutions will

within the Demand Forecasting & Planning

when you are planning the supply chain

deservedly soon become a relic.”

solutions space? Phillips made the point that

maybe there is a weather forecast out there

a large and growing amount of data is now

that could affect the way you do your

Phillips believes the commercial case for

required to drive fact-based supply chain

planning – it could inform you that there is a

SaaS/Cloud will deplete the on-premise

decisions that doesn't reside within the four

risk of winter storms in the Upper Midwest in

market. “The efficiencies gained with shared

walls of the enterprise. “This is a significant

the US. So, going forward it’s not just about

infrastructure and shared services will offer

evolution from 10 years ago where most

further developments involving AI and

compelling cost savings over the on-premise

supply chain data existed in-house,” he said.

machine learning – which are just better ways

model,” he said. “Furthermore, in addition to

“Consequently, Big Data and IoT connectivity

with coming up with the numbers – I think it’s

the lower cost, the reduced risk from cyber-

are having a huge impact on the world of

also about the integration of many different

attack, the improved performance from 24/7

SCM technologies. However, not so much

kinds of data. And in terms of unstructured

monitoring, and the increased up-time due to

because of the connectivity difficulty.

data systems are going to get better at

hardware redundancy will make the decision

Accessing external data is becoming simpler

interpreting those things and using AI-type

for the Cloud more powerful. Tech vendors

via RSS feeds and RESTAPIs. The challenge

techniques to put all that together to help

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organisations to plan better. I think it’s all

more developments in terms of AI and

from your customers’

about integrating data and having the

machine learning coming to the fore,” he

customers. Also, you

algorithms to do something with that data that

said. “At Gartner, we paint a picture of what

might already be

was never done before in a structured way –

we think that will look like eventually –

working closely with

that is the frontier.”

something we call Algorithmic Supply Chain

your suppliers'

Planning. So, there will be much more

suppliers, but it

Vidyasekar anticipates that autonomous

automation in place, and more autonomous

could be possible to

technologies such as drones and

things happening from a decision-making

go back three or

autonomous trucks are expected to plough

perspective. It won’t be everywhere as

four further levels.

the road, as they drive efficiency through

somewhere people think. It will be

Then, moving

cost savings from less fuel consumption.

significantly automated but there are still

upstream and

“Approximately 200,000 trucks are expected

decisions that require human input, and this

looking at the

to be making autonomous deliveries by

need won’t go away. That said, a lot of the

demand side the

2030,” she said. Vidyasekar also believes

basic activities – particularly the short-term

platform-to-platform

Blockchains will introduce more trust and

tasks – can be very highly automated and

model could mean you can see from the

transparency into the supply chain, improving

that will continue.”

distributor into the retailer, and from the

Archana Vidyasekar, research director, Visionary Innovation Group,

retailer to the end customer in the store. So,

business process agility. Finally, Vidyasekar maintains that artificial intelligence

Ball thinks the trend towards greater platform-

you can start to look at things that haven’t

approaches will lend new cognitive

to-platform connectivity will also have a

been within the normal scope of your

capabilities to moving and thinking assets in

greater impact on Demand Forecasting &

planning tools up to now. I think we’ll be

the supply chain.

Planning and S&OP. “It is now possible to

seeing more of that type of connectivity and

look way beyond where we have been able

data access, which could help you to make

Payne believes it’s a question of further

to do in the past. In terms of the wider supply

better forecasting and planning decisions.” n

evolution regarding many of the areas

chain – you can access valuable supply

highlighted above. “For example, we will see

chain data not just from your customers, but

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TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Success story

Reliable and sustainable

systems

partner

T

he Kappa Star Group invests in reputable companies (in Serbia) that are leaders in their sector; for example, the Jaffa biscuit factory in Crvenka or the Banini biscuit and cake factory in Kikinda. In addition to the traditional baked goods manufacturers, the Group also includes the paper supply service FHB, the Ekostar Pak company and, since 2003, the well-known cardboard mill UMKA from Belgrade. UMKA is a well-established manufacturer of recycled paper and cardboard and is dedicated to the issue of sustainability. The company uses only waste paper when manufacturing premium cardboard in accordance with European quality standards. The environmentally friendly production distinguishes the company from its competition. For example, 100 tonnes of waste paper is used to produce exactly the same amount of cardboard – with no resources lost. The company produces 20% of the recycled boxes for the domestic market in Serbia, and 80 percent are exported to 28 additional European countries. The latter is the biggest logistical challenge for the Group.

Kappa Star Group has grown significantly in the past few years. In total, the Kappa Star Group has an order volume of around 30,000 trucks with a full load. The excellent order situation within the Kappa Star Group has of course increased their logistical needs, which up until recently were organised from a central company logistics department. To meet this challenge efficiently, the central logistics department at the Kappa Star Group was turned into an independent company which, as KSG Logistics (Kappa Star Group Logistics) now handles logistics not just for the entire Group, but also for external companies.

Alternative solutions In addition to fixed contracts with logistics and transport companies, they are always in need of alternative solutions for the fast transport of orders made at short notice. And so, a large number of transport companies from a variety of countries have started working with the Serbian Group, largely contacts they found using the TIMOCOM Smart Logistics System. When there is an

Goran Vučetić: “Over the past few years, TIMOCOM has been an important partner for logistics within the Kappa Star Group and has helped us to reliably fulfil short-term orders simply and easily.”

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December 2019

urgent order, the Kappa Star Group can react quickly thanks to the freight smart app, and plan based on their needs. The TIMOCOM Smart Logistics System is part of a sustainable strategy. This is because, by using TIMOCOM, the company can avoid unnecessary empty runs for transport orders, significantly reducing both CO2 emissions and resource use. Exactly in line with the sustainable strategy that the Kappa Star Group is committed to. “UMKA is known for its fast deliveries. The TIMOCOM advantage is in flexibility for our company, as there are fewer and fewer transport trucks available in Serbia,” according to Goran Vučetić from KSG Logistics. “The availability of vehicle space at short notice and the resulting short delivery times make TIMOCOM’s Smart Logistics System a valuable tool for us.”

Firmly established business relationships With TIMOCOM’s smart services, Kappa Star Group companies have the ability to export their products quickly and reliably to distant regions. The longest transports, for example, are carried out from UMKA in Belgrade and take goods 10,000km to Mexico or 6000km to Kazakhstan. TIMOCOM offers a very useful and important system to the growing Group when it comes to co-operations in logistics. KSG Logistics UMKA has used its presence on the TIMOCOM Smart Logistics System to firmly establish business relationships with many of its current partners. Goran Vučetić concludes: “Over the past few years, TIMOCOM has been an important partner for logistics within the Kappa Star Group and has helped us to reliably fulfil short-term orders simply and easily. With our company continuously growing, and increasing capacity at KSG LOGISTICS, we will continue to trust in this reliable partner for logistics processes in the future. Using the Smart Logistics System helps us to fulfil our orders smartly, simply and safely.” n

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MLIT Dec'19 Transport p36-37.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 28/11/2019 14:06 Page 37

TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT TIMOCOM GmbH

TIMOCOM believes in a world without logistical challenges. It has therefore made it the company’s mission to make logistics smart, safe and simple. TIMOCOM calls this future: Augmented Logistics. TIMOCOM understands it to mean an extension, reinforcement, enhancement and improvement in logistics. For its customers, this means that they can solve their logistical challenges with TIMOCOM. The need for innovative solutions is what drives TIMOCOM; what has always driven the company. As the pioneer and guide for European logistics networking, it is expanding the logistics industry using smart, safe and simple solutions to meet the daily challenges faced by customers. TIMOCOM is offering what it describes as Europe’s first Smart Logistics System,

Corporate Profile

TIMOCOM GmbH is a mid-sized IT and data specialist, with more than 500 employees from more than 30 countries, and representative offices in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The company founder Jens Thiermann is at the helm, working in cooperation with his son, Tim Thiermann, combining long standing management experience with new perspectives as the family run company moves forward. TIMOCOM is united by a joint vision for the future of logistics.

which connects road hauliers, freight forwarders and manufacturing and trade companies in a neutral network encompassing more than 43,000 verified companies. This neutrality is an important advantage, as the transactions can be concluded directly between the contract partners. The TIMOCOM system application hosts up to 750,000 international freight and vehicle offers daily, and is used to track more than 133,000 vehicles, as well as plan and calculate countless routes and transportation costs. Standardised interfaces allow the TIMOCOM system to integrate with customers' existing processes.

Industrial markets served All manufacturing and trade companies seeking to optimise their supply chain with smart logistics solutions. Countries served Pan-European.

Website: www.timocom.co.uk

Improve compliance when assigning transport orders at timocom.co.uk

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V OICE technology

Success story

Aliaxis chooses the Honeywell/BEC Voice Solution liaxis, a global leader in the

A

production and distribution of advanced plastic piping systems, based in Kent, England, is responsible for the

entire journey of manufactured product, from the factory to the warehouse, through to order picking and fulfilment and ultimately the final delivery of completed orders to their customers.

Paper-based system For more than 20 years, the Aliaxis warehouse process was manged with a paper-based system that was prone to ever increasing Aliaxis’ research led it to Honeywell/BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd who represented a voice-based data capture and electric point of delivery (epod) scanning solution.

human error in accuracy and customer service complaints of inaccurate deliveries. After careful internal evaluation, Aliaxis

device is equipped with a unique

decided to bring in a fully automated system

locations identifier allowing the workforce

statistics. There has been a 40%

that would:

to accurately receive and follow

improvement in consignments and

instructions through speech recognition

deliveries that are accurate the first time.

Improve the picking, consolidation and

headset for picking the correct items in

Overall, there has been 34% reduction in

loading processes

the warehouse and in the yard where

queries from customers and an 80%

Integrate seamlessly with Aliaxis’

large items are stored. Picked items are

reduction in complaints regarding

Microsoft Dynamics Warehouse

also scanned for order completion on

Management System

delivery vehicles.

• •

• •

Improved customer service and delivery

shortages. •

Realtime dashboards and up-to-date

Delivery. The ePod portion of the included

reporting drive value for staff and

traceability

the Honeywell CT50 mobile computer

customers. Dashboards give staff a true

Allow reliable ePod and improve customer

loaded with the BEC eSmart ePod

snapshot of warehouse daily workloads

satisfaction levels

software. This combination is used in the

and provide customers visibility into their

Help reduce human error and increase

vehicle cab for tracking and delivery of

Solution

orders and deliveries.

orders including signature capture.

ePod Solution automates labour intensive processes. The ePod solution provides for

Aliaxis’ research led it to Honeywell/BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd who represented a

The eSmart Voice software working in

clear and accurate signature capture for

voice-based data capture and electric point

conjunction with eSmart ePod manages the

goods received, with a clear time and

of delivery (epod) scanning solution. There

entire solution pick to delivery which includes

geographical time stamp.

were two parts to the solution that were

dashboards for easy reporting and process

deployed on across a 5G network:

management.

Worker satisfaction. With an hour’s training, the operators can use the system autonomously.

Warehouse and Yard. The

picking, consolidation, and

The Honewell/BEC solution coupled with

fulfilment solution included

Aliaxis’ logistical and fulfilment

Stable robust solution. From day one Aliaxis found the solution to be stable and worry free. Plans are being made to

BEC eSmart Honeywell-

process improvement

expand the solution to the company’s

based Voice Solution

experienced a plethora of real-

Scottish division.

running on Honeywell A710 Talkman devices coupled with SRX2 cordless headsets. Each

38

Business benefit

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December 2019

time, sustainable results that included:

Watch the full video case study at: https://hwll.co/aliaxis

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V OICE technology

Today’s distribution centres (DCs) require optimised and

Industrial markets served

flexible solutions that maximise existing technology

Honeywell serves customers in aerospace, automotive,

investments. That is why Honeywell Voice is the preferred

commercial building, first responder, field service, healthcare,

mobile technology solution used by one million workers

logistics, manufacturing, oil & gas, power and utilities,

around the world each day. Empowering mobile workers in

medical, retail, supply chain, test & measurement and

your DC to operate hands-free with voice technology benefits

transportation markets.

both the worker, with intuitive and ergonomic wearable technology, and the DC operation, with outstanding

Countries served

productivity and business value.

Worldwide.

Solutions offered Honeywell Voice is part of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions, which provide comprehensive solutions enhancing workplace safety and incident response, improve enterprise performance and enable greater product design innovation. Customers rely on Honeywell’s connected solutions to provide real-time safety intelligence, increase worker productivity and enrich operational intelligence with data-driven insights.

Website: www.honeywellaidc.com/voice

Corporate Profile

Honeywell Voice


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Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice-directed picking

Boxing clever Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about current and possible future trends and areas of development within the world of warehouse management systems and voice-directed picking solutions – including those related to automation, augmented reality and the digitisation of warehouse processes.

M

any warehouse or distribution

assistants to drone inspections. She adds that

through efficient order

centres today need to be more

the software-based management systems have

processing, increasing

agile than ever before. This is in

also seen a fair amount of improvements with

productivity of

no small part due to the

cloud being the major driver for change. “Cloud-

employees, reducing

continuing rise of omnichannel,

based WMSs have allowed retailers and other

management time and

balancing online orders – often single orders to

supply chain owners to overcome the barriers of

lowering customer

ship to single consumers – with bulk orders to

legacy systems and connect to any ERPs, CRMs

support burden

store. In order to make their daily routines as

and marketplaces,” says Vidyasekar. “In today's

(returns etc) through

efficient as possible many solutions vendors are

omnichannel scenario, the ability to talk to other

cloud-based systems

rising to the challenge to meet these more

systems is extremely important. For instance,

or new tech such as

dynamic picking and replenishment

imagine a scenario where a customer orders

voice picking is

requirements. In this report we will look at the

online but chooses to pick up from the store but

essential.”

current state of play regarding warehouse

then decides to return it and opts for ‘collect from

management systems as well as other

home’. This means a logistics company will have

Robert Hood, principal, Capgemini, comments

complementary solutions that can all contribute

to pick up the product from the customers home.

that hands-free devices for order picking are

to greater time, cost and accuracy in the

This type of fulfilment involves three disparate

becoming increasingly important due to the

warehouse or DC. One of the most important

systems (online marketplace, store and the

increasing requirements for each-picking to

areas of technology in this regard is voice-

logistics company) and without the cloud APIs

support direct-to-consumer fulfilment.

directed picking systems. We also consider what

enabling real-time communication, it would be

“Distribution centres that historically may have

might be on its way to

time consuming to co-ordinate the job orders

been required to fulfil in pallets, layers or cases

the mainstream in the

between all three.”

are now being required to support each picking

Robert Hood, principal,

and parcel shipping as consumer demand is

near future.

driving CPG companies to begin accepting

Archana Vidyasekar, research director, Visionary Innovation Group,

40

IT

So, to begin, Archana

Omnichannel

direct-to-consumer orders,” he says. “Voice

Vidyasekar, research

Vidyasekar maintains that the omnichannel, fast-

picking solutions are superior to the use of

director – Visionary

paced nature of the business is the biggest

handheld devices as they provide a truly hands-

Innovation, Frost &

incentive for change. “Legacy systems simply

free operation. The continued trends toward

Sullivan, makes the

cannot keep up,” she comments. “The cost of

increased automation in distribution centres is

point that warehouses

order fulfilment can be anywhere between 60% -

driving emphasis on integrated warehouse

have seen a lot of

70% of the total cost and if a product is returned

control that provide the ability to coordinate

innovation over the

owing to wrong picking or flaky consumers, the

activities among traditional handheld and voice

past decade, from

additional returns costs will squeeze any

picking and varying types of automated material

robots picking

margins. Therefore, lowering operational costs

handling equipment including goods-to-person,

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WMS/Voice-directed picking

Simon Tunstall, senior principal analyst,

Special Technology Report

robotics and

refers to as extended WMS capabilities that

been a growing move

conveyance/sortation

extend into things such as value-added services.

towards single item

systems. DC

“We are seeing some major growth here and in

picking alongside the

management requires

other areas of extended WMS because many

big batch picking,” he

an integrated view of

retailers and industrial users are now looking for

says. “The more

all in-process activities

things such as task interleaving, labour

people buy online the

across these areas to

optimisation and yard management for their

more single items

identify any

more complex environments,” he explains.

need to be picked.

bottlenecks or staffing

“Although there are solutions that provide yard

That has had a huge

imbalances that need

management functionality independently, many

impact on the

to be addressed.” In

WMS vendors have begun to concentrate more

warehouse

Hood’s view, the key

on this area now.”

environment and the

David Krebs, executive vice president,

way they have to

drivers for change in

manage more complex picks. It also has an

the warehouse are:

The rise of automation

impact on the type of layout of the warehouse.

Another increasingly common theme is

Moreover, it has had an impact on cycle times.

requirements driving each picking,

automation. Tunstall explains that Gartner takes

Turnaround time in a warehouse operation is

significantly lower line items per order and

around 1000 enquiries each year related to WMS

now much more demanding from this direct

much greater volume of customer returns.

and a growing number of these enquiries are on

perspective. Therefore, WMS vendors are having

• Same day or next day shipping requirements

the automation topic. “We have seen a growth of

to adapt in a number of ways.”

• Proliferation of direct-to-consumer fulfilment

to meet customer demands.

interest in what we call the traditional bolted-tothe-floor forms of conveyors and sortation, but

David Krebs, executive vice president, VDC

complexity of distribution centres to meet

there has also been a growth of interest in more

Research, reflects that the pressures on

direct-to-consumer requirements along with

flexible types of automation such as mobile

warehousing operations are not abating, so the

brick & mortar retail deliveries.

robots what we used to call smart AGVs,” he

need for greater time, cost and accuracy

• Omni-channel strategies increasing

explains. “There has been a huge growth in the

efficiencies around both item-level, direct-to-

increasing dependency on temporary/gig

number of vendors offering these types of

consumer fulfilment in the warehouse or DC as

labour staffing.

solutions and the challenge for WMS vendors

well as around the more tradition bulk order to

now is shaping their offerings to the types of

retail is considerable. “We all hear about supply

increased opportunities to enhance labour

demands that customers have around

chain and warehouse automation as being a

scheduling, workload balancing and real-time

automation. Within Gartner’s 10 dimensions of

distinguishing or differentiating feature amongst

KPI availability.

complexity one dimension is the level of

leaders in the industry and I would agree with

automation companies have within their

that,” he says. “Those who are good at that

operations.”

function certainly do better than their peers, so I

• Declining availability of warehouse workers

• Availability of advanced analytics creating

In the view of Simon Tunstall, senior principal analyst, Gartner, one thing to bear in mind is

think this is an area of competitive differentiation

WMS is a very mature market so most

Additionally, there is a move away from the

established vendors will have the core

traditional ‘brick gun’-type scanners in the

capabilities; receiving, inspection, put-away,

warehouse. “There is a nascent approach of

Krebs believes optimisation has been something

some form of cross-docking, pick/pack/ship,

consumer-grade BYOD devices being used for

of a challenge especially as companies try to get

cycle counting etc. Where he sees differentiation,

low complexity types of environments where

closer and closer to

however, is in the depths of those core

maybe there are some temporary operatives that

the customer.

capabilities. “For example, some vendors might

a company employs to conduct very basic

“Customers are more

only have a handful of picking scenarios while

operations,” Tunstall points out. “However, more

and more in urban

others might have more than a dozen different

vendors are now offering industry scanners that

areas so we see

types of picking scenarios,” he says. “Most if not

are more like consumer devices in terms of their

warehouses take on

all will say they do cross-docking, but there are

feel and look but are actually much more secure

different shapes and

some very complex forms of cross-docking

and ruggedised.”

sizes such as the

which not all vendors will offer. The types of

in terms of the warehouse itself.”

multi-tier warehouses

functionality I have cited above has been

According to Tunstall, one of the biggest impacts

where there are more

considered as core for some time, but it's the

on the warehouse and logistics environment is

limited constraints

depth that differentiates the different solutions.”

the growing move to individual parcel delivery to

from a footprint

single consumers as well as bulk delivery to

standpoint,” he says.

stores. “Because of this trend, there has naturally

“So, instead of

Tunstall adds that there is also what Gartner

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Bryan Ball, vice president, principal analyst supply chain management,

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Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice-directed picking

building out you build

seamless can lead to more accurate despatch

in danger of injuring themselves through walking

up. The trend of the

and dock management activity.”

into something or being hit by, for example, a passing forklift. Devault is also seeing more use

mega warehouse –

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

500 or 1 million sq ft

Still on the topic of scheduling, Ball makes the

of robotic automation with co-robotics; where

plus operations –

point that in the case of WMS some vendors

technology parallels people’s activity. “For

while certainly not the

have incorporated the factory planner

example, the person might pick the first ten

norm are become

functionality into the scheduling so users can be

items, then once the robot has learned the

more customary.

more time-efficient in the warehouse and be

motion and what to do it can be a substitute for

better able to schedule dynamically. “Not all

that kind of human activity,” he explains.

In the case of voice

vendors offer this and not every user needs it,”

technology, Bryan

he says, “but certainly many of the larger

In terms of WMS trends, Devault observes that

Ball, VP & group

organisations need this in order to better

companies such as Manhattan Associates and

director – global supply management practices,

manage bulk and single-item picking, for

JDA are offering more advanced warehouse

Aberdeen Group, believes it’s really a case of

example.”

functionality – supply chain management, forecasting and demand planning and so on.

focusing on any way comapnies can improve their warehouse operations. “In other words,

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

“Those type of tools are being implemented

don’t necessarily make everything voice, or scan

Panorama Consulting Solutions, explains that the

more from an operational standpoint because

or keypad; the best solution or mix of solutions

clients Panorama works with range from $25

they are lower risk and offer a higher rate of

really depends on what a particular worker is

million in revenue up to multi-billion dollars in

return,” he says. “If a modern WMS has a good

doing,” he says. “Voice may be the best

revenue. “Some of these companies have one

stable back end and the order management

depending on the situation, but the key point to

location and some have global footprints, so the

functionality is good then it can really help to

make is the technology needs to be as simple

use of and need for technology can really vary

optimise a company’s supply chain. Then, as the

and effective as possible so the worker doesn’t

considerably per location and from company to

supply chain is improved companies can better

need to do anything differently to what they are

company,” he says. “One area of technology that

re-organise warehouses to fit that new

used to doing. It could simply be the case that

is becoming increasingly popular is voice

methodology.”

they need to hear an audible indication to inform

picking, with many companies currently going

them they have completed a picking task.” Ball

through the selection process. These types of

Eric Carter, solutions architect, Indigo Software,

adds that augmented reality (AR) could be

solutions are certainly effective and efficient, but

observes that end users are focused on

something that proves to be of benefit from an

they are not necessarily a good fit for everybody.

developments that enable them to fulfil e-

efficiency and accuracy perspective. “We now

We see the benefits more in terms of high-

commerce orders more quickly, such as batch,

see a lot of headsets with this type of

volume, more mid-sized products where you still

pick and sort functionality. In addition, he makes

functionality built in where the user can see

have people doing more of the picking and

the point that many manufacturers are reliant on

everything and can then respond using voice,”

packing than you do robotic activity. Then, the

short-term, low-cost labour, which is an issue

he says. “Maybe this type of technology isn’t yet

real benefit is to keep the people out on the floor

because the ready supply of this is disappearing

ready for primetime but it could prove very useful

picking orders either in a consolidated wave

and there is a skills shortage.

for certain applications in the warehouse or DC.”

picking process or picking orders and staging as well. So, if voice fits this type of model well

In the warehouse, Carter is seeing many

Ball also makes the point that not all the MWS

then it can prove to be of great value – freeing

companies embrace voice technology as part of

vendors incorporate dock management or dock

up pickers’ hands, freeing up the activity,

an overall integrated warehouse management

scheduling functionality within their systems. “If,

increasing volume and reducing picking errors.

solution, delivering efficiency gains and a lower

say, a carrier has an appointment at door

Of course, any related picking technology, such

entry price point than

number 52 at 2 o‘clock in the afternoon and

as barcode scanning, is also going to be

in the past. “During

misses the slot, he/she is going to be waiting

beneficial in reduce mistakes on the shopfloor,

the past year, a

overnight and incurring extra cost on the freight

but in general these types of mobile devices can

number of

because of not showing up on time. So,

really provide pickers with the ability to keep

organisations we have

incorporating those kinds of constraints into the

going without necessarily having to return to a

engaged with were

planning for the people involved in the shipping

home-base for new instructions.”

seeking voice

can prove to be a major benefit. This may be

solutions because

more on the shipping and transportation side

Devault added that another advantage of voice

they have the potential

rather than pure WMS but the point to make is

technology is that people aren’t so reliant on

to reduce labour costs

there is an important link between the shippers

paper pick lists, which means they are hands-

by 20% when

and the warehouse or DC, so and incorporating

and eyes-free. In this way, they can be more

compared to a simple

those two pieces and making them more

aware of their surroundings and not be so much

paper only pick

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Eric Carter, solutions architect,

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WMS/Voice-directed picking

Special Technology Report

has been growing demand for more flexibility in

distribution centre to

production with batch sizes reducing to the

deliver more

In terms of

ultimate customisation of ‘batch size one’. “Within

throughput,” he says.

technological drivers

distribution channels, it is the changes in

“What that does to

for change, Carter

consumer behaviour and the impact of next and

companies like

makes the point that

same day delivery options from e-commerce,”

Voxware is that it

end user expectations

he says, adding that across Europe the

forces them to make

for rapid delivery at

availability of warehouse personnel and

sure companies are

low cost have gone

expensive labour costs have led to pressure on

leveraging all of the

through the roof and

organisations to optimise current warehouse

different technologies

this is an expensive

infrastructure and processes. “For vendors, Big

that are available in

service to offer.

Data and AI technology are increasingly

the space, not just

“Companies are

available for warehouse management systems

voice, but scanning and augmented reality.

looking for ways to recoup order fulfilment costs

and the use of these technologies is rising,” he

Companies also have to figure out how to

because in the majority of cases, they are not

points out. “The need for improved user

integrate the human worker into the world of

able to ask the customer to pay,” he says.

interfaces and the use of mobile devices has

automation and figure out which technologies

“Identifying micro-savings by clever use of

brought pressure for greater usability and

best support the human worker to enable them

technology is one solution and it starts with a

functionalities of warehouse management

to interface with automation and drive the highest

WMS.”

systems. Current developments with automation

level of optimisation.”

process,” he explains.

Steve Richmond, director of logistics systems,

Keith Phillips, president and CEO,

and smarter/digitised warehouse equipment are Steve Richmond, director of logistics systems,

also placing new demands on a WMS.”

Blockchain

Jungheinrich UK, reflects that different industries will vary. However, the digitisation of warehouse

Phillips highlights a move towards blockchain.

processes remains a top priority for the majority

Push for automation

“We all know there's plenty of data out there and

of organisations, not only to help optimise

Keith Phillips, president and CEO, Voxware, Inc.,

we offer a very robust analytics solution to

process KPIs but to enhance connections

continues to see the push for automation

manipulate and leverage that data,” he says.

between production systems and the WMS, as

throughout the entire distribution centre, not just

“What’s important is the integrity of the data and

well as connecting online shopping systems to

for picking. “For Voxware, it’s about the

the usability of that data, which is where

the warehouse (facilitating same day and next

multimodality of the solution and providing our

blockchain comes in. Then companies need to

day deliveries).

customers with the right technology to complete

understand how to leverage that data to drive

their specific tasks,” he says. “It’s important for

their operation. The impact that it's having from a

Richmond also observes that automation is a

our customers to have options so they are able

practical perspective is it allows senior level

growing trend – whether this is the integration of

to leverage the appropriate technology to do

people in a distribution operation, for the first

fully automated or semi-automated intralogistics

their job. Beyond that, companies need to layer

time, they have a need to, and quite frankly will

models. “We are, however, seeing increased

in analytics. People are learning that just

not be competitive if they don't do it, to look at

demand for hybrid systems, using a combination

automating with a multimodal solution is only part

data, and figure out how to move product

of both manual and automated solutions,” he

of the puzzle. Once you automate, you need to

through their entire supply chain.”

explains. “For a lot of industries, the clear focus

actively manage it effectively to get the maximum

is improving warehouse processes by making

output out of the workforce.”

them more transparent and measurable, helping

Darrel Williams, sales director Europe, Honeywell Voice Solutions, considers that the awareness of

to reduce errors to zero. The use of big data and

Phillips points to a few things that have driven

the technology of voice is commonplace, no

artificial intelligence (AI) are also being

change. First and foremost, he believes it starts

more so than in

integrated to provide extensive reporting

with the end consumer. “This is regardless of

mission-critical

capabilities and continuous optimisation. For

industry – they demand a different level of

business applications.

Jungheinrich, the functionalities of a WMS, the

service,” he says. “This demand has forced

“The consumerisation

user experience and how interfaces are able to

distribution companies in every sector to rethink

of voice in everyday

link numerous and existing system environments

how they get product to the market. That’s where

life has led to at least

together are key. These offer operators more

it all begins.”

a basic understanding

robust processes, quicker learning times and greater flexibility within a system’s dashboard.”

of the what’s The second issue raised by Phillips is the

possible,” he says.

ongoing labour shortage. “The shortage is

Williams adds that

In terms of drivers for change, Richmond makes

magnified by the strong economy, so you’ve got

since the last

the point that, from a customer standpoint, there

two opposing forces putting pressure on the

Manufacturing &

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Darrel Williams, sales director Europe,

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Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice-directed picking

Logistics IT special

per user on training,” he explains. “This means

free, eyes-free solution

technology report on

that an ‘untrained’ system is becoming the

for picking as well as

voice-directed picking

standard. Zetes launched the untrained system

many other

solutions, there has

10 years ago.”

applications in the DC. Affordability, ease of

been an explosion of demand – and a mass

The second main topic highlighted by Van Vliet

deployment and the

adoption of voice – in

is the re-use of devices, especially in the case of

short ROI timeframe,

almost every walk of

smaller warehouses where users need to

effectively bring

life. “The key drivers

undertake multiple tasks. “You don’t want a

device-based voice

behind this build on

dedicated device for just one process,” he says.

within the reach of

the basic principles of

“This means, you buy any Android device and

firms of all sizes.”

ease of usage,

install the voice app and you can use this device

flexibility, agility and

with voice, barcode, display etc. You create a

Bova adds that modern voice-enabled workflows

empowerment of the worker,” he says. “E-

true multimodal environment. Finally, you want to

deliver increased flexibility. “The tight labour

commerce has shifted consumer demands,

manage the users and devices. This means you

market has given rise to a workforce that is more

leading to more adoption of technologies

need to have a platform that provides all the

fluid, often moving between firms for incremental

including voice. Consumers expect a seamless

business data (users performance, achieving

increases in the hourly pay rate,” he points out.

and flawless online shopping experience.

KPIs, voice recognition performance, device

“Voice-based workflows facilitate rapid ramp-up

Anything less than perfect – from a poor

performance, battery status, etc) which allows

for new team members, increase productivity for

customer experience, to cumbersome returns

the team leader/manager to make decisions

the existing team, support bilingual workers and

process, to the loss of repeat customers –

based on up to date data.”

smooth the ramp-to-rate for seasonal staff.

Robert Van Vliet, country manager,

Bob Bova, CEO,

Modern voice solutions do not require voice

reflects negatively on the business and is costly.” In Van Vliet’s view, the main changes and

training or the maintenance of voice files for each

Williams also reflected that the growth of

developments have been driven by changing

individual.”

urbanisation is changing the distribution pattern

the end-user requirements. “The standard voice

of goods. He adds that companies are also

pick installations are still there, but the need to

increasingly focused on workers and their well-

optimise more complex process pushed voice

Move to e-commerce

being, which is critical to improving worker

companies like Zetes to create an environment

In terms of what has driven these changes, Bova

health, longevity and overall productivity. “At

which is more ‘multimodal’ and not voice only,”

considers that the move to e-commerce

Honeywell, we continue to see a deeper and

he says, adding that this is because of the

operations is continuing and expanding to a

more seamless integration of technology

omnichannel and the requirement for shorter

global perspective. “In the retail sector, the drive

throughout the DC and companies should focus

lead times etc. Van Vliet explains that Zetes has

to present a unified experience between the

on the application of that technology to help

installed over 250.000 voice terminals over the

online, catalogue and in-store experience

complement the mobile workforce – for example,

past 10 years and makes the point that over the

continues to evolve as firms compete on

pairing robotics with voice technology to help

past two years there has been a growth in the

availability, price, the shopping experience and

eliminate travel time. With these changes among

amount of installations with a combination of

customer loyalty,” he says. “For manufacturing

many other business pressures, supply chains

technologies; voice together with Put to Light.

and wholesalers, this means that goods which

are facing a wave of technology innovations to

“This means you pick the item by voice and put

were channel delivered, are now drop-shipping

drive operational changes. This includes the

it on the trolley with a light above the box.

directly to the end-consumer. In the distribution

concurrent use of multiple technologies to meet

Especially when you do multi-order pick this

centre this may necessitate multiple shifts

business requirements. Selecting adaptable

speeds up the process.”

working to fulfil orders,

technologies that can grow alongside their

often three shifts

business and pairing it with another solution like

Bob Bova, CEO, AccuSpeechMobile, considers

working 24x7. The

voice technology can contribute to the creation

that the ability to extend the useful life of existing

higher cost of errors

of best-in-class processes and workflows.

investments, and simultaneously realise

requires improving

Ultimately, each business situation has common

increased productivity in the near-term,

order accuracy as a

and unique requirements and Voice can deliver

continues to be a business imperative. “Modern

competitive necessity.

satisfaction to many situations.”

voice solutions offer a compelling value

For most

proposition to meet this need,” he said. “These

organisations,

Robert Van Vliet, country manager, Zetes,

voice solutions are deployed 100% on the

optimising what they

reflects that for several years a key talking point

mobile device, with the OS most suitable to the

already own is an

is ease of use. “Staff turnover is very high, which

business (Android, Windows, iOS), supporting a

ideal scenario.

means you don’t want to waste 30/40 minutes

multilingual workforce and providing a hands-

Modern device-based

44

IT

MANUFACTURING

&LOGISTICS

December 2019

Lance Bennett, technical services director,

www.logisticsit.com


MLIT Dec'19 Special Report p40-45.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 28/11/2019 14:08 Page 45

WMS/Voice-directed picking

Special Technology Report

voice is the perfect

solution. This means that even users with

voice systems. The

complement to layer

pronounced dialects, accents or unclear

new expectations

into their customised

pronunciation can be reliably recognised

can only be met with

workflow processes to

without voice template training. Especially

heavy investment in

see results rapidly.”

for non-native speakers this is a significant

new technology. We

advantage.

invested more than 15 man-years in

Lance Bennett, technical services

2. “More ergonomics in voice processes. We

developing Lydia 8

director, Renovotec,

do justice to this, for example, with our

technology. So, the

considers that the key

Lydia Voice Wear order-picking vest, the

enhancements in

talking points within

more ergonomic alternative to the classic

technology can

the industry and

headset. The order picking vest is a

benefit the user, if the

among the user

patented solution that convinces with its

voice provider

community include the use of voice on Android

high wearing comfort. All voice components

understands to match both tracks: usability

devices; speaker-independent voice recognition;

are already integrated into the vest - for

and technology – and we do.”

and multi-mode applications that mix voice,

maximum freedom of movement and

scanning and screen imagery. “The cost of voice

satisfied employees. Hands-free, eyes-free

solutions is considered by many in supply chain

and now also headset-free. The Lydia

Beyond, comments that the platform shift that

to be too high,” he says, “ though that point is

VoiceWear High Vis + is a further

has been created by the demise of mobile

less relevant where voice is deployed in higher

development of our Lydia VoiceWear in the

Windows and replaced largely with Android

value environments – for example maintenance

design of a warning vest. It is certified

and iOS devices has opened doors to lower

and inspection, where it is critical to follow and

according to the European standard EN ISO

cost of ownership in the voice-directed

record the results of a set process.”

20471. The vest is equipped with reflective

workspace. “Taking advantage of new, low-

Tim Just, CEO, EPS,

Mark Batchelour, managing director,

Mark Batchelour, managing director, Voice

strips of the highest quality so that

cost hardware platforms is one part of the

Regarding drivers for change, Bennett

employees are always clearly visible under

equation,” he says, “but it needs to be

comments that the advent of and massive

any lighting conditions. This is especially

balanced with matching software and support

investment in better speech recognition,

important in some countries, such as the

to provide an end-to-end system that provides

worldwide and in multiple markets is a big

UK, where the use of warning vests in the

high quality at a more affordable cost point.

driver (think Alexa). “Multi-purpose Android

warehouse is mandatory.

The Android switch has enabled new opportunities from existing suppliers, for

devices: if you have a device that one moment can be used for voice picking and the next for

3. “Big Data and Intelligence. Lydia

example the ‘optional training’ systems now

say load-checking and scanning, then end

Warehouse Intelligence is our solution to

available, giving the best of both worlds in

users believe they can secure better value

cope with the increasing flood of data in the

both trained (high accuracy, low crosstalk)

from their investment,” he says, adding that he

warehouse. LWI continuously structures and

and untrained (fast start up time for new

doesn’t believe there is much blue sky thinking

analyses various KPIs and makes them

workers) systems.”

by the vendors, though that is partly because

available for further evaluations in real time.

voice is a mature technology, at least in the

LWI informs for example. about the

Batchelour believes the switch to Android

supply chain.

remaining battery life on the basis of the

devices has driven a lot of market change.

collected battery data (predictive

Another driver of market change in his view

Tim Just, CEO, EPS (Ehrhardt + Partner

maintenance). This allows the customer to

has been the big growth in the small-medium

Solutions), currently sees three central

react promptly and continuously optimise

e-commerce companies who need effective

development directions, which EPS is already

their processes to get the most out of the

and accurate ways of picking small orders for

implementing in Lydia Voice:

voice application. LWI collects also the WIFI

multiple end customers, often with stock that

network data, the duration and number of

varies in size and shape. “Voice works well in

requests between client and server as well

that scenario,” he says. Batchelour adds that

as the quality of speech recognition.

end users are now seeing voice as an option,

1. “The integration of AI components in speech technologies. We have already implemented this development in the

and in some cases, essential for a wider range

Release 8 of Lydia Voice. The latest

In terms of drivers for change, Just reflects

of applications than before. “Lower price point

generation is based on neural networks and

that end users expect more usability and

has helped voice expand out from picking to

the deep learning concept. The integration

ergonomics due to their personal experience.

other processes such as replenishment,

of the AI components has improved

“Personal assistants like Alexa and SIRI make

moves, inventory count, facility and vehicle

recognition security (confidence) by a

‘voice’ more common,” he says. “These leads

management and quality inspections,” he

further 25% compared to the previous

to higher customer expectations for enterprise

explains. n

www.logisticsit.com

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MANUFACTURING

December 2019

&LOGISTICS

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