Tag Archives: visibility

Instance Phenomenon

Happy Year 2016!!

Another hour or so, CA (or other States in that time zone) will be bidding goodbye to 2015. That instance of counting down to 2016 will be recorded and shared among many.

Yes, I am still chasing that illusive concept of ‘visibility.’ Along the way, a few brews were made, not getting any better in understanding the elements that affect the taste outcome of the brew. Was it the weather? Was it the water amount I used in the wort? Or the typical yeast that was recommended by the shop? No clue.

We are moving towards the instance phenomenon unknowingly to most of us. Instance visibility is one of the phenomena; so is that instance when the first firework shot up the Australia skyline. We are not looking for instant phenomenon, but only that instance. In supply chains, that instance is being defined by the person who is looking for that phenomenon. We argue ( in a paper presentation in ICEB 2015) that a duality in visibility demands a more investigative study in a supply chain environment. A consequential presentation with respect to that paper was a ‘visibility cloud’ view that I allured to earlier in the posts.

I hope to detail a bit more our thinking on supply chain visibility, with big data!! here in a more regular fashion. My excuse is that to keep up with the term ‘big data’ and what have been discussed out there takes up much time to filter the lint off the topic fabrics.

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.

Clouding the Issues (original post: December 24, 2011)

Cloud computing did raise attentions to some colleagues in the technology field. I have been struggling with a number of issues in VC (Visibility Cloud) and the clouding cold weather is not helping. Let’s look at the following picture I dreamed up while in Pattaya doing nothing:
Supply Chain Visibility Clouds

What’s on my mind: 1) not sure if ‘cloud services’ are fully in business here in Hong Kong. Was told that Singapore has most of the data centers of the big (US) players. One conversation on if ezTrack was deployed in a cloud, the discussion ended up in the efficiency of the so called provider P and the technical know-how remained to be seen. The database giant O was currently only at the partnership level with the local telecom H. No publishable cloud services were available. Please, someone sends in the clouds to Hong Kong!! 2) not sure if Android 4.0 apps development is fully entrenched in the local software companies here in Hong Kong. Few mentioned that they were capable and had the manpower, and one suggested that they did know some good Android apps developers here in Hong Kong. Could an Android app, not from the Market, once deployed in a mobile device, be able to deployed another in that device OTA? This is an important trait of our cloud-based intelligent apps. Still looking for answer – but first have to find out where to look first, and 3) not sure if a ‘dual’ inlays are at all not possible both technically and is engineering challenged – putting a NFC RFID inlay (ISO-14443) and a UHF RFID inlay (ISO-18000-6C) on one tag? The source tagging, say, of a pair of jeans at the manufacturer should demand a UHF tag for ease of handling, up until at the display shelf of a retailer. Current NFC phones would require upgrade (protocol-wise at least) before an UHF tag could be read, thus, pointing to a straightforward solution to ‘re-tag’ the jeans with a NFC/HF tag and/or a QR code.

Well, too many ‘not sure’ already!! Will have to read more to get an idea how to tackle these issues. At the same time, will read about a ‘traceability implementation case study’ from GS1 to design the plan to a GTC take on a garment supply chain. Back to work. Happy holidays.

Supply Chain Visibility Service in the Cloud (original post: October 29, 2011)

Wow, anyone wants to touch on that topic? Let’s just say having ‘in the Cloud’ means that the IPSaaS (Infrastructure, Platform & Software) are all in the cloud for all the supply chain parties. Given that, how do we provide the visibility service in the cloud? In a service economy, knowledge is exchanged together (and applied) via a service to co-create value. If we take this line of service-dominant logic marketing thinking, then the service is accomplished by the existing of a visibility platform (VP) and the on-demand need of a supply chain party to gain a current snapshot of the supply chain. The knowledge of what to see is beneficial (the user) and the knowledge of how to gain that view (the technology) are being exchanged and visibility is created. Obviously, the user can access SaaS in the cloud to ‘express’ (as we have a drag-and-drop interface in the VP) the view needed, and the app that composes the accesible data and information in the RFID-IS and ERP-IS (please see previous posts) can exist also in the cloud. MapReduce may play a role in accessing the RFID-IS as it is likely to be a pool of distributed data sets (not necessary all database – or there could be NoSQL databases). I am not sure if ‘in the cloud’ requirement imposes any design issue on the visibility service? Will see once I know how to characterized the visibility service. For example, would ‘perishability’ be a characteristic? That is, a visibility service can be reused if the perishability can be tweeted. More later.