By Tom Knutilla, VP & Division CIO, Ryder Dedicated Transportation Solutions & Supply Chain Solutions and Gary Allen, VP-Supply Chain Excellence, Ryder Supply Chain Solutions
How do you see the benefits of cloud computing for the supply chain and transportation industry, and how have you embraced it?
There are numerous benefits of cloud computing for the supply chain and transportation industry. It supports the constant need for greater data storage capacity and ensures greater reliability of our hardware. It also enables us to move quickly to meet customer needs and changing market dynamics. Cloud computing allows us to support disaster recovery and benefit from the cost savings associated with it. At Ryder, we are currently taking the appropriate steps needed to move our in-house systems over to SaaS and IaaS/PaaS solutions.
The more advanced technology gets, the greater its ability to provide timely information about freight/inventory
Companies are moving fast towards cloud-based TMS. Please share how this is affecting end-to-end supply chain?
Cloud-based TMS is requiring us to become extremely proficient at integrating cloud-based applications into legacy infrastructure. Bringing the disparate data sources together can be a challenge.
Ryder is working to modify its security models to address the security challenges associated with these cloud-based applications. This movement has allowed for better visibility of freight, lower costs, and greater flexibility.
What does the Internet of Things mean for supply chain and transportation industry?
IoT is providing us with more accurate and timely logistics information that is driving better decisions around what to manufacture, how much to make, and where to ship and store it. It also enables us to know where exactly a shipment is at any given time. It’s changing the logistics industry by providing real-time data of assets, products, people, events, and material flows across the supply chain.
How can technology be used to mitigate rising supply chain costs?
The more advanced technology gets, the greater its ability to provide timely information about freight/ inventory and the easier it is to determine just how much to manufacture and store. This will eliminate the need for safety stock. Advancements in analytics and modeling tools are especially valuable because of their ability to help companies predict and plan for supply chain disruptions.
Most organizations have high hopes for using big data analytics in their supply chain but many have had challenges in deploying it. What are your thoughts on this?
The challenges are many. The data is stored in disparate systems. Much of the data is the same, but it’s difficult to match it amongst the different applications. Timestamps associated with data are inconsistent across disparate systems, making it hard to know which data source has the timeliest information. Finding and developing the right talent to interpret the data also continues to be a challenge for many organizations. In spite of the hurdles along the way, the benefits of having the data available for analyzing and forecasting make the challenge of bringing the data together truly worthwhile.