Monthly Archives: January 2014

Quality – data, information & visibility (original post: August 28, 2011)

I am struggling with how to make a clear distinction between data quality, information quality and visibility quality. Oh, maybe there should not be any distinction – the quality is all have the same underpinning attributes such as accuracy, timeliness, completeness, currency, etc. The distinction rests only in the context – data, information and visibility. Of course, some of you may ask why not data, information, knowledge and wisdom. Well, I am trying to get there but at this point, without a collective thinking that is firm and normative. Hopefully, I will reach that point. Let’s get back to the context.

The context points back why quality matters and in what way. With data quality, we are talking about if the data becomes information, how accurate would the information be in the context it is being used? There are two views: Is there a one-to-one mapping with some degree of degradation, from data to information? does the quality of one data contributes to the overall information quality when the information is based on multiple data sources? Because we assume here the attribute ‘accuracy’ is used to describe both the quality of data and information – accurate data implies accurate information. If so, I am done here. To gain accurate visibility quality, I need to ensure data quality is accurate – with the assumption data leads to information to visibility.

Yet, we would not use the word ‘visibility’ to talk about information completeness within a corporation. We are biased in that we view ‘visibility quality’ is affected by information from multiple sources and these sources are not singular. I believe information quality affects visibility quality. Yet the effect is measured based on the value of the visibility. The visibility in a supply chain includes information from more than one party. The value of the visibility lies with who is viewing and what information (not quality yet) is available. Oh, now I use the word ‘value’ not ‘quality’. Are they interchangeable in our discussion?and

Push Visibility (original post: June 28, 2011)

Push Visibility refers to supply chain visibility (SCV) that is ‘pushed’ to the user’s web browser. The supply chain in question is RFID-enabled. For this discussion, SCV is the visibility of business processes across the supply chain, and it is argued with that visibility, performance in general improves. Data made available by these processes are somehow available in some form for the construction of a visibility template on the fly. Visibility delivered as the user would like to ‘see’ (e.g., out-the-door data of all parties are now visible – pushed). Yet, in certain situation, the raw data should not be made available to protect privacy. Yet, the determination of how the raw data should be ‘shown’ depends on who the user is with respect to the privacy domain of the supply chain. Thus, the raw data must be ‘massaged’ before it is delivered to the user on the fly. The article ‘AjaxScore: A Platform for Remotely Monitoring the Client-Side Behavior of Web 2.0 Application’ by E. Kiciman & B. Livshits of Microsoft Research in ACM Transactions on The Web 4 (4), 2010, discusses on the fly instrumentation of code sent to a user for monitoring purposes would fit the bill on how, in one instance, that privacy can be protected without the omission of a piece of data (reducing the clarity of visibility). The raw data will be ‘morphed’/’changed’ to a certain characteristics to protect the privacy of the data owner and yet the resulting visibility is only ‘gracefully degraded’ (from fault tolerant computing!!). What do you think?

There are new concepts and terms that require further clarification. Would a visibility ontology do? or ‘killing a chicken with a big bad butcher chopper’? Disclaimer: Ok, the word ‘bad’ has no implication.

Supply Chain Visibility Entitlement 101 (original post: September 2, 2011)

Allow me to put some perspective on SCVE (Supply Chain Visibility Entitlement). This is a new thinking – away from access control.

Take the one academic view of supply chain visibility (SCV) is (there are not many and they do not converge in the conceptual level), and as a result, SCV can be defined as that a firm has the ability to track the flow of goods, inventory, and information in the supply chain in a timely manner. We translate this ‘ability’ to be achieved by a technology artifact such as the ‘visibility platform’ at where information obtained by the firm clearly shows both the physical and information flows of the supply chain. We further assume such physical flow is now converted to information flow with RFID adoption at strategic hotspots of the supply chain. That is, such ability is the knowing of “the issuing of an ASN and where exactly the (supply chain) items, or SCEs are presently”. With RFID, the timely manner requirement can now be achieved with information delivered in a real-time manner with respect to the hotspots. As such information must be gathered from different data sources in the supply chain. The issue of access control amplifies in the context of supply chain, and in addition, with differing requirements when RFID-enabled physical movement data are now available.

Access control polices who can access what. The ‘who’ and the ‘what’ requires refinement in our context. ‘What’ is the raw data and it could assume different facets such that this ‘who X1’ can access this facet A and that ‘who X2’ can access that facet B of the same raw data. What differentiate that A and B facets? Privacy. What distinguish the who’s (they are the same who as in ‘a doctor’ or ‘a supplier’) – privacy also. The relationship of X1 and X2 defines the level of privacy must be enforced, and in terms, defines which facet fits that privacy level. The access, or security in allowing access to the what, now involves multiple locations. Thus, SCV must be entitled for “clarity and fidelity” (otherwise, it would be static, linear/single dimension, limited and blind-sided.

Entitlement for SCV has four dimensions. The first dimension is the who – indicated by the neighbour index. The second dimension is the relationship with the who and vice versa – indicated by the business partnership. The third dimension is the where to entitle – indicated by the data locations. The last dimension is the currency to entitle – indicated by the freshness of the data. These four dimensions define what we call the entitlement token, as such, the visibility will be rendered by the visibility platform using the token to obtain all necessary data as specified in the visibility template created on-demand by the participant.

Ok, let me work on this more and come back to you. The above has been accumulating for the past two months in my head…before I could spill it out now.

Open Forum on RFID Adoption in a Supply Chain (original post: June 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm)

Just some information about the Open Forum on “RFID-based Enabling Technology for On-Target Visibility in Garment Supply Chains” that was held at The Chinese University of Hong Kong [go].  The Forum was hosted by the Center of Cyber Logistics, then part of the Li & Fung Institute of SCM & Logistics, CUHK.

Executive Search Firm (original post: June 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm)

I have my very first brush with an executive search firm.  Oh, the firm states it is “one of the largest executive search firms in the world.”  The interview was for a CEO job for a R&D Center.  It seemed that the position was already filled (based on the way they conducted the interview); just an exercise that the Center (government owned) had to go through the protocol before the announcement of the new hire to replace the current CEO who was retiring.  The interview was in the ‘Chairman’ office, about 3m x 2m, and I was sitting in a low two-seat sofa looking up at the Chairman, to my left, in a swivel chair and the Associate, to my right, also in a similar chair.  I would not be able to have the view of both in my vision, turning left and right, answering questions.   It was interesting.

No opening pleasantries.  Just, oh, this is a job for da da da.  Questions shooting left and right.  I am sure they are experienced recruiters, at least the Chairman.  But it was far from what I had done when I interviewed new staff.  So, either I was too naive or my expectation of a ‘largest firm’ was too high.

Motivation to Blog (original post: June 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm)

Come into knowing about RFID technology was around 2004; Wal-mart and Auto-ID Center appeared in most conversations along with HF and UHF.  We explored the applicability of such technology in logistics industry.  We did not know how to actually be able to articulate how and why the use of RFID technology could achieve what one wanted to improve in some supply chain and/or logistics business process.  Anyhow, we came into learning about SCOR and Privacy & Security (P&S) with respect to RFID technology.  My hope is to continue to build up some discussions along the main focus of this blog (oh yes, I will side-track once in a while): RFID adoption in Supply Chains.

Recurring Issues – RFID Adoption (original post: July 31, 2011)

A workshop hosted by GS1 HK & GS1 US was conducted last week starting on the 26th July in Hong Kong.  Two  lingering issues were ‘how and what to tag’ and ‘what and where are the ROIs’.  Mostly RFID solutions providers touted their solutions in how to have solutions to tag what you want to tag with accuracy and standard-based codes.  Serialization is often mentioned – an inherent characteristics of Internet of Things.  I used the term single unique identity (SUI) in discussion of privacy and security in 2005 to highlight the importance of not only the uniqueness dimension of the EPC (Electronic Product Code) must be addressed, but also the singleton nature.  Was there a solution to ensure this SUI tagging is guaranteed – not until a global entity can and is allowed/supported to take up this responsibility.

There is a possibility I will be working with a label and accessory company to start the thinking on this, and if possible, working along with GS1 and see if the ezTrack in another form can incorporate such capability by default.

As for the first issue, we believe we have a possible working framework to guide the how and what with methodologies that are grounded in both academic research and practitioners’ visions.  For the second issue, I will study more of what the current thinking of those corporations (mainly retailers) who had experienced the RFID adoption in one way or the other.  With that, we will enrich our current model of SCOR-based KPI-driven Visibility Platform.