In the mid-1990s, the U.S. Council on Competitiveness used the term "innovation ecosystem" to describe the system of interconnections and interdependencies that bring individuals and enterprises together to drive the advances in science and technology that keep the economy moving forward. In a sense, the innovation ecosystem was a supply chain of ideas, supported by talent, investment and infrastructure, and aimed, ultimately, at creating new products and services.
In this magazine, we concern ourselves, appropriately, more with the supply chain of things – the ecosystems of partners that get those new products to the consumer by transforming raw materials into finished goods and moving those goods out to customers. But innovation remains an intrinsic component of our coverage, for our readers look to us for information on the innovative technologies, services and processes that are giving leading enterprises their competitive edge.
For that reason, this year's "Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100" focuses on supply chain innovation. We looked for solution and service providers that are helping to drive supply chain innovation by providing their customers/clients with unique software, solutions and/or services that address those clients' primary current and future supply chain challenges.
The result of this year's "100" process in the pages that follow is a listing of "next-wave" innovations in supply chain software, solutions and services that we hope the readers of Supply & Demand Chain Executive can take advantage of in their own organizations to improve the performance of their own supply chains.
How to use the information on the following pages? We suggest your read the expanded listings below and on the following pages to learn more about the solutions and services that are applicable to your company and its supply chain. Our intent is to get you thinking about new directions for your supply chain, and to provide signposts to help get you on your way. Which road you choose to follow is up to you, but whichever direction you take, your supply chain improvement journey starts here.
San Jose, CA/USA
Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support
Reliance on increasing import of goods manufactured offshore requires end-to-end visibility of the physical and financial supply chain. Yet, as Aankhen sees it, existing visibility solutions are focused on the wrong end of the financial and physical supply chain, and spend management in financial supply chains is an after-the-fact backward-looking process. Companies must be able to determine what they should be spending so that they can plan and execute to a financial strategy, particularly when they face renegotiations in light of rising fuel costs and a falling dollar. Aankhen offers automated "Shouldbe Cost" computation solutions that provide financial visibility and insight to "total cost of procurement" at a part level, influencing sourcing decisions, logistics and working capital management. In addition, Aankhen offers a physical supply chain visibility solution using RFID and GPS technologies to create real-time visibility into where your inventory is in the world, helping to expose inefficiencies hidden within traditional EDI transactions.
Integration & Infrastructure/ERP
Instead of implementing RFID as yet another siloed function, Acsis Inc. said manufacturers are now beginning to realize the wisdom of using more holistic solutions that track data and improve processes across the shop floor – from receiving to production, quality management, warehouse management, shipping/distribution and third-party processing. Acsis develops agnostic end-to-end track-and-trace solutions that help manufacturers and distributors ensure safe, secure and efficient supply chains. One such solution is Acsis PharmaTrak, a first-of-its-kind serialized distribution application specifically for pharmaceutical organizations. Also, Acsis ProducTrak automates and monitors the movement of finished goods from manufacturing through distribution and into the retail environment.