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Business-to-Anything Integration Powers the Autonomous Supply Chain – CIO

If you are using blockchain, AI/ML, and IoT, congratulations! You have hit the trifecta of trendiness. But are these technologies really helping your business be more efficient, serve customers better, and improve product quality? They should be. And they will be, if you are using all three to build an autonomous supply chain.

First, the foundation for an autonomous supply chain is a business-to-anything (B2A) digital backbone.

This blog entry explains how to build a B2A platform that combines both internal (application to application, or A2A) and external (business to business, or B2B) integration. To build that digital backbone, digitize your paper documents so they can be stored, referenced, and managed. Then integrate A2A and B2B. And voilà – B2A.

Second, collect data from IoT sensors that are monitoring the condition of products, machines and delivery vehicles across your supply chain and feed it into AI and ML algorithms to gain the insights of predictive analytics. And because you’re bringing in ERP data from your internal systems (B2A, remember), your entire ecosystem is participating.

You can monitor sources of potential disruption from a control tower. This blog entry explains the value of an ecosystem control tower that provides visibility across your entire B2A environment, not just your supply chain.

Third, make it a process to record information permanently in a blockchain. That record can be referenced should any problems require troubleshooting after the fact. The blockchain record will reveal how a disruption developed and point to the causes.

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Now you’re ready to go. To assure the continuity of supply chain operations, you can monitor a forklift as it cruises through a warehouse. If a forklift part is about to fail, the IoT sensor data fed into an AI/ML predictive analytics system will tell you. That information will enable you to schedule maintenance so that your manufacturing process is not disrupted.

Perhaps product defects are higher than normal. Your blockchain record will tell you what parts arrived when and from which suppliers. That record will tell you which supplier’s parts are not up to par and will inform you of the provenance of all parts or ingredients that make up a finished product.

Perhaps your supply chain includes rare-earth metals from regions that are affected by earthquakes. By monitoring social media for earthquake news, you can be as informed as your mining suppliers as to whether mining operations might be disrupted. That intelligence will enable you to look for an alternate source of supply before your competitors.

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You can build an autonomous supply chain today. OpenText technology can enable you to build the digital backbone needed for B2A integration that includes IoT data, as well as AI/ML predictive analytics, and will eventually enable you to integrate blockchain technology through its business partners.

With these technologies in place, your autonomous supply chain will soon become a reality—and with it, a more agile and efficient business.