In the current challenging economic environment, consumer spending is tight, business investment is restricted, and infrastructure spending – apart from a few over-publicised projects – is also being largely held back. The conditions are in fact perfect for a recession, and anyone in the trade of supplying high-value machinery for businesses could be forgiven for wanting to adopt a ‘batten down the hatches’ approach. Read more
As commerce, in general, has become more competitive and advances in technology continue at breakneck speed, an efficient supply chain is crucial for the survival and success of your business.
With Industry 4.0, the suite of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, sensor technology and data analytics are transforming how businesses operate with their trading partners and consumers. Australian businesses can make their supply chains more efficient by reducing costs and boosting their competitiveness. Many of these technologies are underpinned by GS1 standards, the most widely used supply chain standards in the world.
While most companies are aware that ‘supply chain improvements’ are needed to drive efficiencies across the whole of their business operation, managers and business owners often don’t have enough expertise to start implementing practical steps.
GS1 Australia’s extensive Network of Solution Providers is available to help member businesses implement GS1 standards quickly and accurately, from barcode labelling through to data warehousing.
“GS1 partners have expertise in helping companies improve visibility across their supply chain as implementing traceability and anti-counterfeit measures is a key challenge facing manufacturers and their suppliers.”
One-stop supply chain solutions provider network
Introduced more than ten years ago, GS1 created the Alliance Partner program to connect business members with solution providers that have a thorough knowledge of the GS1 system and to share its vision of delivering tangible supply chain benefits for its members.
Today, around 20,000 business members from more than 20 industry sectors can take advantage of the pool of knowledge and expertise within the Alliance Partner community. All partners in the network are trained in GS1 standards and implementation across a range of industry sectors including retail (apparel, general merchandise and food & beverage), healthcare, freight and logistics, and rail.
The GS1 community offers businesses a complete suite of products and solutions to help them build efficient and effective supply chains, from barcoding of products (printers and labels), software like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messaging for purchase orders and invoices and Enterprise Resource Planning for procurement of goods, through to data warehousing and warehouse management systems (WMS).
Some further benefits that the GS1 Alliance Partner community can bring to a business include:
- Value-added tools and resources to complement and enhance the GS1 system.
- Access to the latest information on supply chain products and services, some of which is global by nature.
- Ongoing support to help businesses continue to innovate and extend their supply chain efficiencies.
Additionally, GS1 partners have expertise in helping companies improve visibility across their supply chain as implementing traceability and anti-counterfeit measures is a key challenge facing manufacturers and their suppliers.
Finding a solution provider
Businesses have many opportunities to connect with the Alliance Partner community and find the right solution provider for their needs. To help businesses readily find GS1 partners, the Solution Providers Directory is available at www.gs1au.org/what-we-do/solution-providers/find-a-solution-provider. Visitors can search for a provider and contact them directly by submitting the short request form. From the directory you can view a description of the solutions offered by each of the Alliance Partners, together with their contact details and a link to the company website.
Business members can also meet face-to-face with many of the Alliance Partners exhibiting at events and training sessions hosted by GS1 Australia across the country. One of the key networking opportunities for businesses to connect with the Alliance Partner community is at GS1’s premier conference, NEXUS, which is held every two years and brings together supply chain leaders from industry, government trade associations and the GS1 business member community. Additionally, the popular one-day Barcode Basics for Your Business is held regularly and is available for GS1 business members and non-members.
With the pace of change in business showing no signs of slowing, connecting and consulting with a GS1 Alliance Partner can help improve your business efficiency, profitability, safety and security.
For more information about GS1 Solution Providers or if you’re interested in becoming an Alliance Partner, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.gs1au.org/what-we-do/solution-providers/.
In early April I had the opportunity to visit Promat 2019 in Chicago. Promat is North America’s largest materials handling equipment and systems exhibition, featuring over 950 exhibitors and 150 educational seminars. Read more
Amazon continues to change the face of retail and recent news hints that the e-commerce giant will have a greater impact on logistics providers in the future. The retailer recently ramped up its ocean freight services and has begun trying to woo shippers from FedEx and UPS as it aims to gain more control of its supply chain. With Amazon showing no signs of letting up, this could signal changes that may bring great transformation to the supply chain industry. Read more
Data warehouses are far from new. The term itself was coined back in the 1970s, and repositories for data amassed from a range of sources that can be used to inform business decisions have been part of Australia’s corporate high-tech landscape for almost as long.
With data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) the primary foci for organisations of all stripes and sizes, it’s an opportune time for businesses to review their data warehousing strategies, to ensure they’re well positioned to support burgeoning demand for insights.
Here are some tips for maximising the value of the data warehouse.
Adopt an ‘as-a-service’ model
What’s the primary role of your data warehousing team? Is it to manage infrastructure or to support the development of data programs that drive efficiency and profitability across the enterprise? If you haven’t yet adopted an ‘as a service’ model, you’ll likely find it’s the former. Management and administrative tasks – think partitioning, scaling, maintenance, back-up scripts and the like – are likely to consume a significant portion of your team’s time. As a result, there’s less time for them to work on projects that add value to the enterprise. Adopt an as a service model and all that changes. Data and service protection, database management and security are taken care of, leaving staff free to focus on exploiting data to help the organisation succeed.
Broaden your horizons
Data no longer comes in two flavours – structured and semi-structured. If your organisation is not ingesting data from a wide variety of sources – enterprise applications, mobile applications, the internet, APIs and the Internet of Things (IoT) – then you’re at the back of the pack. Today’s data integration technology makes pulling these data sources together to exploit the insights they contain a much more straightforward matter than once it was.
Implement self-service data analytics
Historically, data analytics was the remit of small specialised teams within organisations. If business units wanted queries run or information analysed, it was a matter of lodging a request and waiting for the results to be returned. Delays were a common but unavoidable occurrence.
User-friendly data analytics software has turned this model on its head. An increasing number of Australian enterprises are adopting a self-service model, whereby employees are given access to the data warehouse and provided with tools to extract insights for themselves.
The benefits of democratising data in this way can be significant. Bottlenecks can be minimised and results extracted and acted upon more quickly. Conversely, businesses that fail to throw open the data warehouse risk being left behind, as their more nimble counterparts gain a competitive ‘information advantage’.
Foster a data-driven corporate culture
Empowering employees to access and manipulate data is a vital step towards the establishment of a data-driven corporate culture, in which up-to-date information is used to inform every business decision.
“Exploiting the full potential of the corporate data warehouse is vital to the process.”
Data-driven decision making has superseded decision making based on intuition or gut feeling in at least a third of Australian boardrooms, according to 2016 research by PwC.
ICT staff can play a vital role in fostering this culture at all levels of the enterprise. Instead of acting as gatekeepers for the data warehouse, they should be regarded as trusted guides for their colleagues throughout the organisation.
Control the quality
If leveraging data across all areas of the enterprise is the aim – and it should be – it’s vital to ensure its quality and integrity. Establishing a rigorous data governance regime will ensure what’s extracted from the data warehouse is clean, trustworthy and correct.
Old-school data warehouse professionals were required to be masters of scheduling. Their challenges invariably included finding time slots when large jobs could be run without monopolising finite processing resources and disrupting other activities.
Migrating to a cloud-based, as-a-service data warehousing model puts paid to this issue. Eliminating the competition for resources allows IT staff to run multiple jobs concurrently and deliver results and insights more efficiently to stakeholders.
Improving the efficiency of the data warehouse begins with finding the right metrics with which to measure its performance and its cost to the organisation. It makes sense to include management overhead in the calculations. Many tasks and procedures which require management intervention under an in-house model can be executed automatically under an as a service model. The time savings can be considerable, over time, and should be included in any reckoning of the relative costs and benefits of the two models.
Doing more with data
In today’s digitally driven business environment, data has been dubbed the new oil. The insights it contains can help organisations become more efficient and profitable. Exploiting the full potential of the corporate data warehouse is vital to the process and Australian organisations which fail to do so may find themselves struggling to keep up with their data-driven competitors.
Peter O’Connor is the vice president of sales, Asia Pacific and Japan, at Snowflake. For more information visit www.snowflake.com.
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