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Logistics and Cloud Computing

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2016 Supply Chain Management Part I – May the Cloud Be With You

The original Star Wars movie was released in 1977. It quickly became a cult phenomenon and the phrase “May the force be with you” immediately became part of the lexicon.

Back then, 39 years ago, the supply chain and logistics environment was very different from what it is today. Business cycles were more predictable. Skilled management teams navigated challenges as they cropped up, while still achieving significant cost reductions over time. This was accomplished by establishing manufacturing agreements with partners in cheaper locations, frequently overseas, by reducing inventories and by applying kaizen (constant improvement) and agile methodology to their processes.

Today, constant change is the new normal. All businesses (even if they have a bricks and mortar component) are digital businesses. The role of supply chain management has grown, but at the same time it has become more crucial to be strategic rather than transactional, while continuing the trend to make their services more affordable. Paraphrasing Star Wars, today we can say to supply chain leaders: “May the cloud be with you”.

The benefits of cloud-based management far outweigh the headache of transitioning, or of integrating traditional systems with cloud models. In our next post, we will go into more detail on these benefits and what they mean, but the bottom line is that, no matter where in the world you’re based, cloud-computing is critical, because without it, the information you need to run your business and to react to change in real time can never be accessed inside your office. If you want to move raw materials and finished product to their destinations in a more efficient manner, you do need the cloud to be with you.