education 1651251 640A digital transformation is taking hold around the world, and new business models are transforming entire industries. Uber and Didicar, for instance, are disrupting the taxi business with a totally new way of hailing rides - and now driverless cars. And Airbnb is upending the accommodation industry by offering millions of beds globally.

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In the supply chain, a lot of attention is focused on results, such as manufacturing quotas or delivery deadlines. Barcode scanning is a standard means of tracking supply chain assets and performance, and measuring results.

But as a supply chain executive or manager, are you considering the impact of barcode scanning on your employees? Your employees may be meeting or even exceeding their goals, but they might be suffering along the way. Be honest: when’s the last time that you gave some serious thought to the ergonomic barcode scanning issues that are affecting your employees?

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Following the industrial revolution, over the last 35 years the supply chain has gone through a linear evolution process, spanning material requirements planning (MRP), manufacturing resource planning (MRP II), distribution requirements planning (DRP), lean, vendor managed inventory (VMI), collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR), and business-unit centric planning. These improvements were successful and appropriate as supply chains evolved, but companies today are operating in a new world. The very backbone of the supply chain has been shaken by the digital revolution, which is characterized by innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, robotics, machine-to-machine communication, and demand sensing, among other things. As supply chains merge with IoT and big data, the one-size-fits-all, linear supply chain that “buys, makes, moves, stores and delivers” products to all customers and channels in the same lean and operationally efficient way (referred to as Mode 1) is becoming archaic and no longer adequate for future success (see Figure 1).

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Networking Facilities, People, and Assets for Supply Chain Success

Companies such as Uber and Airbnb are impacting your business, whether you realize it or not.

In addition to spurring today’s sharing economy, these two leading companies have figured out ways to navigate this complex environment.

With Uber and Airbnb having turned traditional business processes completely upside down, companies in every industry and line of business are left grappling with how to cope.

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Real-time insight via IoT is the new competitive battleground for consumer goods companies looking to increase efficiencies and improve the customer experience

As the recent collapse of Hanjin Shipping – leaving cargo worth an estimated $14 billion stranded on ships barred from ports and more than 8,000 cargo owners in limbo – showed, we are in an era of unprecedented disruption to the traditional supply chain. Consumer goods companies have to contend with a perfect storm of increasingly stringent regulation, more agile competitors, emerging technologies, and rapidly-changing consumer behaviors. It is increasingly clear that a smarter, more adaptive approach to supply chain operations, built on real-time data, is needed to address the new challenges being posed.

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