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.

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