July 2010 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Can You See Me Now? Achieving Supply Chain Visibility

Tags: Logistics I.T.

Subhash Chowdary is CEO, Aankhen, Inc., 408-387-0083

Manual data inputs. Multiple data sources. Data latency. Point-to-point interfaces. These are just a few key obstacles to achieving supply chain visibility. But, there are solutions available that deliver visibility and intelligence as a service with process, security, and environmental monitoring.

Q: What are some of the challenges companies face when trying to achieve supply chain visibility?

Chowdary: Globalization has fundamentally changed the requirements for supply chain visibility. Key challenges in achieving supply chain visibility include: Manual data inputs, multiple sources of data, data latency, and point-to-point interfaces.

Existing solutions provide fragmented visibility, resulting in ‘versions of truth’ and higher costs.

Q: What new technologies are available to address these end-to-end supply chain visibility challenges?

Chowdary: Tracking devices using RFID/GPS technologies attached to assets have been used in defense and commercial logistics. These tracking devices address some visibility challenges through accurate, automated, and real-time data capture. In addition, automated global data capture managed by on-demand software reduces the need for point-to-point interfaces.

Sensors integrated into the tracking devices provide security and environmental monitoring, with geo-location intelligence enabling real-time supply chain management to see and respond to risk.

Q: What difficulties are posed by using these new tracking technologies?

Chowdary: Some hardware technologies present challenges. For instance, RFID tags/devices require hardware readers to read the data from the tags/devices. In a global supply chain, a network of readers will need to be installed globally. This is not practical. GPS devices with communications built in are addressing this issue. As a tag/device traverses the global supply chain, it needs to be able to communicate its data. Satellite communications are expensive. Cellular network coverage requires access to global network providers. Out-of-network costs can be expensive. No coverage in the route can create blind spots. The technologies must become more cost effective.

Applications developed are hardware vendor- and device-centric, and not supply chain focused.

Q: How does Aankhen address these challenges and provide thought leadership?

Chowdary: Aankhen’s solutions deliver supply chain visibility and intelligence as a service with process, security, and environmental monitoring. Aankhen’s device and ‘deviceless’ tracking innovation is another first in the industry incorporating optical character recognition (OCR) technology to track containers, trucks, and railcars without having to attach a hardware device to the asset.

Aankhen creates new supply chain functionality with new sources of data and analytics not possible before to improve quality of product delivery at lower cost to customers.

Aankhen uniquely leverages investments required by enterprises to comply with security and compliance mandates to create significant, immediate, visible, and measurable ROI for all supply chain partners including enterprises, suppliers, customers, carriers, 3PLs, customs, border protection, homeland security, and financial institutions. Our knowledge of what works and what does not can help customers save time and money to achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility faster with no risk.