Tag Archives: Supply Chain Management

Visibility & Invisibility (original post: April 9 2012)

I was invisible to the general public. No one in the public knows where I am now (ok, ok, I did turn off my ‘Latitude’ apps on the Android phone – even Google, I believe, is not tracking me by my WiFi spot and/or my GPS position). My social invisibility remains even I step into the land of the Great Britain with those CCTV cameras ‘looking’ at you! Right, ‘looking’ at you as in the generic you as Person X. You are only visible until perfect facial recognition software picks X up with identity. With that, my tracks are available, tracing me is another matter. Privacy issues come up when my tracks are looked at for no apparent (legal) reasons and without my consent.

Anyhow, my invisibility is eroding for sure if I carry my Android phone everywhere with some tracking apps on. In supply chains, tracks by default are created at all operational points, such as receiving, put away, pick-n-pack and shipping. With supply chain business transactional data and third-party information agents, tracing of the goods (raw materials, WIPs, products, etc.) could be constructed, and thus, visibility of the supply chain is available to some extent. Yet, we are still talking about how to gain SCV. Why?

In the field of visibility, supply chain invisibility is created by, at least, two main culprits. First, the ‘boundaries’ drawn up inherently in a supply chain!! We speak of supply chain management from the perspective of a number of echelons working together by adding values to goods in transit from upstream to downstream. The boundaries are walls that create discontinuities resulting in discussion such as supply chain integration, and daringly the classic bullwhip effects. The discontinuity renders invisibility. The second culprit is ‘thresholds.’ At this time, I would collectively label that as ‘entitlement threshold.’ What threshold would one (supply chain partner) tolerate without sacrificing data and information that adversely affect its competitiveness and sovereignty, among other sustainability characteristics. How much of one’s operations is your partner entitled to be seen? Yes, in the field of (SC) visibility, we must consider both seeing and to be seen – purely seeing has minimal value (like the CCTV). Whom to be seen and what to be seen are the entitlement consideration.

The man-made supply chain invisibility calls for supply chain visibility. We might have a solution with RFID.

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.

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.