Cognitive Supply Chains Unlock New Value
Article by Bettina Warburg
Technology is only successful relative to the benefits it provides human beings. The asset chains we will use to build cognitive supply chains will allow economies to more efficiently and quickly find natural equilibriums in supply & demand.
Ironically, the lack of human intervention that will allow asset chains to succeed will ultimately amplify the value of human talent and subsequent innovation. Over the course of five separate stages – design, make, deliver, use, coordinate – firms that invest in both the technologies that create asset chains, as well as innovative spirits and minds, will spur the vast majority of future value.
Designing For a Hungry Marketplace
With a decentralized framework and cognitive supply chains essentially leveling the playing field across all industry participants, successful firms will be those that are best able to leverage in-house innovation, transform it into impactful design and intellectual property, and continue harvesting those distinctly human outputs.
Traditional infrastructures simply won’t work in a system that places such high value on thought and creativity due to the prevalence of digital privacy issues and a generally insecure data communication framework. Cognitive supply chains, however, are not susceptible to such dangers given the unassailable nature of the blockchains they’re constructed upon, freeing trade of innovative human thought.
Making Goods On-demand
Despite the recent implementation of technological advances in additive manufacturing, robotics, and IoT, the overall production process still requires an overhaul to meet ever-growing consumer demand that expects immediacy in fulfillment. In traditional inventory management, products sit idle in warehouses or on retail shelves. This system must be replaced with spontaneous production, which seamlessly meets consumer demand where and when it’s needed.
Once more individual companies and industries embrace the different technologies that drive on-the-spot manufacturing, cognitive supply chains will become the norm, eliminating the need for contractors and various third-party intermediaries. Point-of-need or use products will dominate the marketplace, lead times will plummet, and the added value invested into additional innovations will feed itself, creating a thought-driven process that accelerates exponentially to meet exponential demand.
Automated Delivery With Speed and Scale
After design and manufacturing, products must delivered to end users with speed, reliability, and security. Suppliers must replace the labor-intensive supply chains of traditional models with automated technologies that leverage AI and IoT to shift necessary resources from the production workforce to fast and scalable delivery.
Whether it’s labeled the Amazon Effect or something else, companies are already exploring a variety of different means to increase speed. From drones and 3D printing-capable delivery trucks to autonomous vehicles and blockchain-driven shipping containers, improved delivery networks will fully utilize the flexibility of assets chains within logistics networks to further unlock trapped value. Asset chains will connect these varied systems and delivery methods into a shared value network where data communication and delivery is seamless, transparent, and incredibly efficient.
Self-Policing, End-to-End Use
Consumers need assurances that the products they purchase are legitimate. he current system focuses more on damage control rather than a proactive approach to guaranteed provenance. Asset chains will guarantee provenance, a particularly important function in highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals, aerospace, and food, throughout all stages of supply chains. Likewise, the tokens used in the blockchain component of asset chains will drastically reduce paperwork and cumbersome paper trails. Tokens will also significantly enhance the ability to exchange disparate products, further unlocking value throughout trade networks and creating entirely new marketplaces that otherwise are impossible to develop.
A Coordinated, Single Source State
Well-organized, technology-driven supply chains are already in place in some companies and industries but, due to their insulated and singular usage, do not provide wide-sweeping efficiencies in overall logistics. In contrast, asset chains aren’t enterprise specific. Instead, they create a single source of supply chain state that is currently impossible to implement given the inefficient structure of traditional supply chains as they are missing a needed trustless system shared by competing firms.
Asset chains eliminate the information silos and knowledge gaps that inhibit the most efficient use of capital assets throughout shared supply chain networks. Embracing a single source model will reconfigure the source of value, replacing displaced and unequal information between rival firms as a competitive advantage with one that uses human capital as its primary driver.