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Using IoT to Identify and Address Supply Chain Risk

A new partnership shows promise for companies that want to use technology to detect and address supply chain risk.

According to a recent Accenture survey, companies ranked technologies associated with real-time data capture and analysis as being among the most important for transforming and improving business processes.

Aimed at helping those companies increase productivity while also reducing enterprise risk, Accenture is now working with DB Cargo and Mars, Inc., to help improve monitoring of shipments as they move around the globe.

IoT Factory Solution

According to Accenture, German railway company DB Cargo is using its IoT Factory solution to help shippers more closely monitor items that are stored in its freight cars. The solution provides insights from the rail operator’s Internet of things (IoT) network, including predictive maintenance based on shock detection data from locomotives.

Accenture says the technology—which incorporates Splunk’s enterprise security solution—helps DB Cargo improve daily sensor data quality while also creating opportunities to use data for new revenue streams. The first manufacturer to test out the system is Mars, a food, confectionary, pet care, veterinary care, and food science company.

“Thanks to the joint solutions from Accenture and Splunk, we have turned our data into insights that drive meaningful business outcomes,” said Mars’ Gregory Poniatowski, in a press release. “Our team is able to find data across departments to enable more strategic and proactive decisions every day, which ultimately improves our customer service and increases productivity.”

Incorporated Advanced Technologies

Accenture’s collaboration with Splunk has produced some new solutions that incorporate innovative capabilities around artificial intelligence (AI), demand forecasting, IoT, and supply chain management. The companies began collaborating in 2016 to integrate Splunk products and cloud services into Accenture’s application services, security, and digital offerings.

“Our fast-growing relationship with Splunk enables us to help clients differentiate themselves and grow their business by using data in new ways that go beyond IT and security,” said Accenture’s Jeff Chancey in the press release, “enabling them to drive incremental business value across all departments within their organizations.”

More to Come?

Applying IoT and data analytics to enterprise risk isn’t new, but it is a concept that’s advancing every year. By helping companies go from being “reactive” to “proactive,” these technologies help fix problems before they even happen. Relevant for the procurement arena, where detecting issues in advance can often help ward off major problems down the road, this type of technology can apply to many different links in the supply chain.

“Also, the prescriptive insights obtained from big data lead to a decrease in the risk of damage and waste, thereby generating more effective operational results and revenue potential,” Stefan Reidy writes in SupplyChain247.

“The entire supply chain management process is complex. It involves a large amount of point-to-point communication with outdated processes that are heavily dependent on email and phone communication,” Reidy continues. “It involves controlling and monitoring a product’s flow from the procurement of raw materials to the distribution of the final product to the end user.”

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