In this week’s QAD Precision Report, Glenn Graney, Director of Industrial and High Tech at QAD looks at advanced technologies and how QAD Labs works with customers to discover how emerging technologies can deliver benefits and ROI.
It would be nearly impossible to be unaware of Industry 4.0 and the tsunami of information around both the technology and potential benefits. When talking with manufacturing and supply chain leaders, QAD repeatedly hears the challenges that they face in sorting through and prioritizing the myriad of technology options. Technology for technology’s sake will not deliver the necessary return on investment. QAD is engaging with its customers in addressing the challenge and jointly making progress in using emerging technology to make a significant impact on business objectives.
In addition to delivering unprecedented technology in its core offering, QAD is engaging with its customers through experimentation in the QAD Labs. QAD Labs is not a physical place with scientists in white lab coats. Instead, QAD Labs is a virtual combination of people, technology and passion for addressing the challenges of manufacturing and supply chain planning and operations. The guiding force behind QAD Labs is the collaboration between QAD and our customers. This collaboration involves experimenting with advanced technologies to address legacy or emerging challenges. The experimentation is not hindered by the large budgeting cycles of major projects. By design, the QAD Labs approach allows for rapid application, rapid evaluation and strategic pivots to build on success or investigate alternatives.
QAD Labs and Experimentation
At QAD Labs, experimentation can be aligned with Industry 4.0 exploration initiatives and associated technologies such as IoT, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation and Data Lakes. Alternatively, the initiative can be associated with innovation to solve long-term problems with the explosion of these emerging new technologies. So what do these collaboration examples look like inside QAD Labs? Here are a few examples:
MACHINE LEARNING-ASSISTED PLANNING
A consistent challenge for Tier 1 auto suppliers is translating the fluctuations of the long-range schedule provided by the OEM into a forecast that will more closely match actual production levels. QAD and three of our Tier 1 customers have been collaborating in the QAD Labs to address this challenge through Machine Learning-Assisted Planning. We have applied machine learning techniques to historic forecast and shipment data and the early results show a significant improvement in predicting the actual expected shipments and, correspondingly, the plan. We continue to jointly refine the effort with great excitement for the promise of lower inventory costs, optimized resources, maximized capacity utilization and mitigated risk.
RPA FOR GLOBAL TRADE AND TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a method of automating repetitive, routine tasks through mimicking the activity a human would typically carry out on a screen to perform such tasks. Manufacturers can benefit from this technology by using it for any manual processes or repeated tasks that involve an application or manual data entry. Many manufacturers are challenged with the required data gathering of all relevant information as individual pieces of information are stored in disjointed legacy systems. RPA shows great promise for the automatic gathering of required data and error-free transposing of the values into the execution system.
IOT AND INTEGRATED SHOP FLOOR CONNECTIVITY
QAD manufacturing customers have continuously bemoaned the information gap between the shop floor and the planning function. A more collaborative enterprise can drive better decision making, reduce inventory levels and increase customer responsiveness. QAD is delivering multiple pilots with direct connectivity to both production equipment and simplified data capture from shop floor operations. The influx of live production status reduces the time to knowledge and allows for unprecedented enterprise agility. These pilots are showing immediate productivity gains and laying the foundation for broader applications of shop floor connectivity.
Get your Mad-Scientist-Self on in the QAD Labs
QAD is always looking for additional lab partners! Whether the activity is centered on Machine Learning, IoT, Robotic Process Automation or other emerging technology, QAD is providing a platform and resources to jointly move our customers’ capability along. If you have a need or idea for experimentation around advancing technology, please let us know at QAD_labs@qad.com.
About QAD Precision – Trusted Global Trade and Transportation Execution
QAD Precision (Precision Software), a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global trade management, transportation execution and multi carrier shipping software solutions from a single, integrated platform. Preeminent industry leaders in every region of the world rely on QAD Precision’s global support centers to leverage thousands of carriers and manage millions of shipping transactions every day. Our open architecture easily integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning, Warehouse Management Systems and legacy solutions. An ISO-certified company, QAD Precision assists companies to minimize shipping costs, optimize first mile and last mile deliveries, automate free trade agreement compliance, avoid customs delays and mitigate the risks associated with dynamic trading environments to maximize their competitive advantage. QAD Precision’s customers span multiple industries including banking and finance, life sciences, high technology, retail, industrial, automotive, higher education and public sector as well as logistics providers. For more information about QAD Precision, visit www.qadprecision.com.
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