New (e-)takeoff for aviation industry

New technologies, from robotics to machine learning, are ushering in a period of rapid change and development. While the aviation industry is working to reap the benefits of this industrial automation, standards, especially those of ISO/TC 184/SC 4, will play a key role in ensuring a smooth flight path – but only if they can keep up.

Ever since Icarus boldly strapped on his wooden-framed wings made of feathers and wax and took to the skies, human beings have been defying gravity, designing and creating all kinds of contraptions and devices to get themselves airborne.

Finding solutions to these challenges calls for cost-­effective, fast and flexible new production processesHubris, along with solar power, did it in for Icarus, but these days, the likes of Elon Musk, founder and chief designer of SpaceX and creator of Tesla, and Jeff Bezos, founder of and Blue Origin, are blazing new trails in the skies, driven by their vision and a sense of adventure, and propelled by the new technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

These modern-day Icaruses can afford to think big, and their successes, trailblazing endeavours and projections are splashed across the media. Of course, the aerospace and aviation industry has been pushing boundaries for years. From the first commercial air flight in 1914, demand for air travel has grown exponentially. As a result, the industry has had to seek new ways to design safer, faster, lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

> Read entire article New (e-)takeoff for aviation industry | Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis |

Will or will not autonomous trucks eliminate huge numbers of truck driver jobs?

Most seem to believe autonomous trucks really are coming, if the timing is still highly uncertain.

But an perhaps more interesting question is what in the end will be the impact of self-driving trucks on the millions of Americans who drive trucks for a living. And perhaps surprisingly, there are all sorts of opinions on that topic.

The jobs facing the greatest risk are those where drivers move cargo over hundreds of miles but perform few specialized non-driving tasksSome industry observers, for example, have said use of autonomous trucks for line haul routes would have a minimal impact on driver employment overall, with many jobs involved in more local pick-up and delivery processes, at a time when there is a driver shortage estimated by the American Trucking Associations currently of at least 50,000 drivers and expected to get much worse in coming years.

> Read entire article Will or Will not Autonomous Trucks Eliminate Huge Numbers of Truck Driver Jobs? | Supply Chain Digest

Nine automakers to share Supply Chain data

The Surgere digital environment directly tackles the inherent loss and inefficiency in the automotive supply chain and is predicted to create seismic improvements in profitability for both OEMs and their suppliers through shared use of highly accurate technology, dynamic data analytics, and massive collaboration.

The automotive supply chain data ecosystem has being widely deployed and has moved to an Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) committee to form ongoing industry standards on ecosystem subsets such as Returnable Container Data Mapping.

Founding members of the Automotive Data Ecosystem Design Group and AIAG Committee include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Honda North America, Nissan North America, Toyota North America, Adient, Denso North America, MAHLE North America and Yanfeng Automotive Interiors.

> Read entire article Nine automakers to share supply chain data | James Henderson | Supply Chain Digital

How many distribution centers workers does it take to fulfill 200,000 ecommerce orders per day?

That’s right: four workers, mostly just there to keep an eye on the operation.

We’ve reported in recent months about a number of stories in major media such as the New York Times about how automation in distribution will not really eliminate that many jobs, and that humans and robots can happily coexist, especially in businesses that are seeing rapid growth in volumes.

One New York Times article, for example, noted how Dave Clark, an Amazon operations executive, recently said that even after Amazon has installed more than 100,000 of its Kiva robots at 26 distribution centers in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, it is still hiring massive quantities of DC associates.

> Read entire article The Future of Distribution Automation, It Seems, is Here Right Now | Supply Chain Digest

How automation will affect you – the experts’ view

More companies are turning to smart machines to save money on slow, expensive human employees. Here’s everything you need know about automation – and what it means for your job.

With soft, nimble fingers, an arm stretches out to delicately pluck an apple from a shelf and place it gently into a basket.
It performs the task again with a bag of limes and again with a pepper, never tiring, never complaining.

This is a prototype robotic arm being tested by Ocado, the British online supermarket. The irregular shape and delicate flesh of these common groceries have meant they tend to be packed by human workers at Ocado’s warehouses. But the company is pursuing robotic technology that could assist these human warehouse workers but still handle produce safely, making the process faster and cheaper for the company.
Ocado is far from the only company pursuing automated workers. It is happening in hospitals, law firms, the stock market. The list goes on.

The question is… how does this affect the human workforce? How might it affect you?

BBC Future Now asked a panel of experts for their views, as part of our special series on the ‘Grand Challenges’ facing humanity. We hear a lot about doom-and-gloom surrounding robots stealing our jobs, but what will actually happen? Who’s at risk, and what could your workplace actually look like in five years?

The answers might surprise you.

Here’s everything you need know about automation – and what it means for your job.

Read entire article How automation will affect you | BBC

Machine intelligence and human creativity in supply chain planning

I am reading this absolutely fascinating book “Deep Thinking: Where machine intelligence ends and human creativity begins” by Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion. As the title suggests, in this book Kasparov shares a highly provocative point of view on artificial intelligence and its implications for the human race, with the backdrop of his 1997 loss in a highly publicized chess match up against IBM’s chess computer Deep Blue. The book did make me reflect on my own experiences and views on the division of labor between the machines and human supply chain planners.

Much has been written and said about how machine intelligence is impacting supply chain planning in the form of automating a human planner’s function, with implications on the future of the profession itself. I would be remiss in stating that automation will have no impact on planning profession. Yes! The focus on automation in planning is increasing and will continue to increase. However, this has to take place in the context of empowering planners and significantly augmenting their productivity to handle activities with larger scope and with higher levels of cognition that can drive strategic value for business.

When done in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, automation initiatives can significantly benefit planners who are willing to adapt and change, and organizations as a whole.

I come across many organizations that made extensive investments in advanced planning technologies with the intent of bringing more automation and standardization into their planning process. However, the tragic reality is that most of these deployments languish, only to see the planners bypass these systems to revert back to their excel spreadsheets and manual means of planning.

How automation is impacting Supply Chain planning

Read entire article Machine intelligence and human creativity in supply chain planning | 21st Century Supply Chain

Supply chain in the era of intelligent automation

Every business on the planet strives to increase revenue, enhance profitability and make its customers happy.
In the past, organisations mainly focused on achieving customer satisfaction with timely product or service fulfilment. Today, however, most organisations recognise that it’s no longer enough to compete merely on products and services – instead, it’s about managing customer experience and their business outcome as a value add.

We could go as far as to say this is the era of the experience economy. Most organisations make their customers happy by meeting their needs, solving their problems and providing experiences marked by immediacy, vantage and customisation. To my mind, however, what really matters is the outcome of an individual customer’s needs – which will lead to the next wave of evolution and differentiator as the “outcome economy.”

The outcome economy not only addresses customer end needs by selling a promise of outcome, it also senses and creates wish lists that open new sales opportunities for businesses to improve revenues and profitability, delivering a notable return on investment and assets, and achieving a substantial reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO).

“Amazon-like” has become an industry standard for customer experience

Companies such as Amazon are already leveraging their artificial intelligence (AI) tools to enable the development of the outcome economy, and we have all seen their growth over the last few years.

Food Safety for the 21st Century

Farmers and manufacturers are turning to automation for prevention-based control throughout the supply chain.

The technology will help them comply with the looming deadlines of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

On a little farm in Peterborough, N.H., students are using advanced sensor instrumentation in a greenhouse growing tomatoes to collect valuable data around the taste and quality of the fruit.

It is also a chance to educate students on how crops can be managed throughout the agricultural supply chain to support food quality, sustainability, traceability and nutrition.

Indeed, this is no ordinary farm. It is the Cornucopia Project, a non-profit farm-to-fork organization that is teaching next-generation farmers about 21st century agriculture and how to harvest tastier, more sustainable—and safe—food.

It is so advanced that it is even using blockchain technology, a distributed ledger and unalterable peer-to-peer recordkeeping system that enables the secure sharing of information in the supply chain.

Read complete article Food Safety for the 21st Century | AutomationWorld