Photo - Delegates take their seats for the first keynote at the second special industry vertical forum, Manufacturing & Logistics Forum, held 2 June 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.
Specially-invited IT professionals from Malaysia's manufacturing & logistics sectors travelled to the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur on 2nd June 2016 to probe the impact of innovative technological advancements at a special industry vertical event, the Manufacturing and Logistics Forum 2016, organised by Executive Networks Media.
Expert speakers drawn from industry, IT leaders, research bodies and the government such as MIMOS and MIDA offered insights on issues affecting supply chain networks, growth opportunities, changes, and the practical implementation of technology in supply chain management during this second specialist forum.
Highlights included feedback from delegates participating via real-time electronic voting showed that increasing efficiency and reducing costs remained the top drivers for adopting new technology within their organisations. However, insufficient funding and the lack of an overall strategy were impeding their organisations from exploring new technology such as 3D printing and the Internet of Things (IoT).
These technologies were not new but studies showed a significant growth in their influence over industry practices. "3D printing as a method of manufacturing has been around for a very long time, but its impact can be clearly felt now," said Malaysian Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) research director, assistant professor Dr. Shardul Phadnis in the first keynote address.
"In terms of cost, traditional methods are still more cost-effective for high volume manufacturing. However, 3D printing has a superior cost performance in the manufacturing of personalised products and small quantities," he continued. "As personalisation demands increase, smart materials become increasingly available and 3D printing matures, printing capabilities will replace inventory."
IoT as a game-changer
IoT was another innovation which could significantly improve manufacturing and supply chain performance. "The possibilities IoT provide are limited only by our creativity," said Dr. Phadnis. "Our research has shown that leveraging on IoT leads to more efficient procurement, lower work-in-progress and raw material inventory, and dampens the variability of orders and shipments. This results in fewer losses and phantom stock-outs."
"However, the ideal supply chain strategy is not always obvious," added Dr. Phadnis. "With supply chains undergoing radical changes, organisations have to explore, examine and experiment to find out what works best for them."
In his keynote address, national applied research & development agency MIMOS Berhad's senior director and head of corporate marketing strategies, Helmi Halim expanded on IoT's impact on the supply chain. "With the digitalisation of logistics data, efficiency has been enhanced. Data and insights on processes have resulted in better forecasting in anticipating demand, facilitating zero-inventory manufacturing," he said.
He continued, "With IoT, we have also seen the 'Uber-fication' of logistics with a sharing culture driven by cost optimisation, and the empowerment of consumers as they attain visibility and an ability to dictate the supply chain."
Helmi shared an IoT example where MIMOS worked with the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) on tracking the logistics of premium durians exported to China. "Cloned durians from other countries were affecting exports. We designed a tamper-proof traceability system, which could track the movement of the durian from the time it was picked up at the orchard, through processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution and shipping to the end-customer," he said.
"The system was simple enough for workers to process, and made device-agnostic to allow for better flexibility. As phones could be used to read the Quick Response (QR) code, retailers and customers could trace the durian all the way back to the orchard and even to the specific tree from which the durian originated. Thus, they could be assured that the durians were genuine," he continued. "Security labels were included to ensure there was no tampering by importer or exporter."
The resultant analytics also provided positive end-to-end results. "Customers benefited from faster delivery through efficient network planning and product information; suppliers learnt where their market hotspots were, had access to predictive yield analytics and could compile customer profiles; and logistics providers gained insights into the supply chain network beyond distributions centres, resulting in more efficient resource and capacity utilisation," said Helmi.
Digital infrastructure improvements
Smart solutions which improved latency and security continued to be crucial elements in data centre processing. "With digital traffic expanding annually by 23 percent, there is a need to scale digital infrastructure," said Schneider Electric business development's Alex Keng. "Processing certain data intensive applications away from the network core allows for faster processing of data. The data volume decrease reduces transmission costs, shrinking latency and improving service quality."
"Security is also improved as encrypted data is now exchanged with the network core, reducing the risk of lost data and data corruption," he added.
Improved technology had also reshaped backup and availability options. "Backup is a legacy solution; availability is what is required for forward-thinking enterprises," said Veeam Software Malaysia technical director, Asia & Japan, Raymond Goh. "Eighty-two (82) percent of CIOs say there is a gap between the level of availability legacy backup solutions provided and what end-users demand. This gap results in loss of business and reputation, unplanned downtime and its related costs."
"The questions organisations have to ask themselves when choosing what they need for recovery is how quickly they can recover what they need, how they can reduce the risk of data loss and how to improve risk awareness through better visibility," said Goh.
Business opportunities in logistics and manufacturing
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