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Key to supply chain: Intelligence

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Every company in the supply chain is being forced to cut costs and improve performance. But, says THABO NDLELA, non-executive director at IFS, these companies can cut their costs and achieve the same delivery performance using Enterprise Operational Intelligence.

Every company in the supply chain is continually being challenged to deliver operations in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. The prospect of cuts to budgets puts greater emphasis on using the supply chain to reduce costs and enhance value.

The good news is that many successful organisations have shown that it is possible to make cost savings of up to 20% while operating a world-class supply chain. With the latest enterprise technology, these organisations have reduced the total purchasing cost of materials, controlled their stock levels, accelerated fulfilment while lowering overhead costs, and optimised their delivery performance.

The route to achieving these goals is Enterprise Operational Intelligence technology, which can make something useful of the wealth of big data from the Internet of Things, enterprise resource planning and other data sources across the supply chain. We can create a real-time map of the entire supply chain and link it to enterprise software to monitor processes via key performance indicators to deliver on strategic goals.

Actionable operational intelligence

You need to have an integrated real-time overview of the business to inform actions that reduce costs and enhance value. Typically, in the past, that sort of actionable intelligence wasn’t available until some predefined point – a two-week, monthly or even yearly report. With real-time access to data, however, you can make decisions that affect current operations rather than the end of the week or even later.

An Enterprise Operational Intelligence platform provides functionality for numerous aspects of the end-to-end operations, including real-time analytics, dynamic forecasting, workflow management, process management, risk and compliance. Raw transactional data from IT systems is consolidated into a single dynamic management layer, providing powerful situation awareness.

On top of that you can build a performance-based logistics (PBL) solution incorporating a number of the following elements:

·         Contract for supportability and availability

·         Connect processes, performance and risk

·         Connect all parties in the supply chain through cockpits

·         Connect KPIs, workflows and reports to your strategy

·         Align global sourcing strategies

·         Eliminate waste within your supply chain

·         Implement supply chain performance management techniques

·         Achieve transparency of inventory levels

·         Measure and manage all costs together

A single version of the truth

Connected management cockpits are designed to deliver one version of the organisational truth. With an integrated environment you can have all the information you need presented in a clear, role-based way. Users can see clear visualisations allowing them to anticipate, control and react to changing demands. It also enables collaboration across the supply chain and other business functions, such as finance, which drives efficiencies.

By connecting your existing IT source systems, you can make changes to processes without making manual, time-consuming costly changes to underlying ERP and other source systems. This ability provides leading organisations with the much-needed agility to deliver at lower cost without affecting capability to enhance the value they provide.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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