18 December 2017 | By: Laurent Chavagne

The next level in digitizing the supply chain

Reflect and look ahead; December is always a suitable period to reflect on the developments of the past year and the year to come.

When I look back on 2017, it was a pretty eventful year in the innovative field with the introduction of the new e-business platform as a highlight. It is the ambition of MAG45 to make this e-commerce environment the gateway to all other solutions. This means that all questions can be handled via the e-commerce platform, which is available 24/7.

The basis of this platform is the big data solution HUGO, which was introduced last year and is now continuously being improved and made more efficient. This combination ensures, among other things, that the right part is easier to find, enabling customers to work more efficiently. This also makes it possible to request quotations via the e-business platform. That saves customers a lot of time and they always have real-time insight into applications and can always see the status of an quote enquiry.

Efficiency thanks to innovation
But when I look back, other innovations in 2017 also contributed to making the integrated supply chain process of users more efficient and simpler. For example, my colleagues at Solutions Engineering have developed the new stock-at-hand solution that makes it possible to replenish stocks automatically with the help of RFID technology. This state-of-the-art solution has been developed in collaboration with our customer Stryker.

Thanks to the new Vendor Managed Inventory software, customers can manage stocks more easily. Because the software runs in the cloud, there is always real-time insight into stocks. This software is also integrated within the e-commerce environment, making it easy to make new quote requests via the system.

The future
These developments have also laid a solid foundation for new opportunities in the future. For example, we are now working hard on an RFID solution for an unmanned internal warehouse. As a user you can take an article from the warehouse, scan it with RFID, after which the item is registered and you can leave the warehouse again. The combination of the e-business platform and data solution HUGO offers many more opportunities for the future. The possibilities for our customers are virtually infinite; it is the intention that the system will eventually be able to do a large part of the projects independently thanks to machine learning, and that people will only be involved in exceptions.

The coming years will mainly focus on steps in this direction. This means that different products, services and processes are digitized. Where technology was mainly a tool until recently, I see that it plays a central role in the future of the industry. The developments of the past year show that MAG45 is becoming a fully digital company fast in the field of integrated supply. A fairly revolutionary approach was chosen; the data analyzes that have been used are based on artificial intelligence technologies.

How does that benefit our customers? In addition to a more efficient way of working, it also offers advantages in terms of compliance. I foresee that compliance will play an increasingly important role in the supply chain in the coming years – there is more and more legislation and regulations that you as an organization have to meet. Our data lake is fully equipped, because you can store compliance information with articles. To give an example: one of our customers produces medical equipment. Many parts of this equipment require certification from the FDA; as a producer, you have to store this type of information and make it transparent. Moreover, you are expected to monitor that a certificate is valid and therefore renew it in time. All this information is stored in our data lake, and we provide valid certifications.

This allows me to conclude that e-commerce and big data are only small steps towards an ambitious goal, and that is taking digitizing the supply chain to the next level.