Consolidation is a phrase that connects itself to simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness. It’s a phrase that I have heard, and now seen applied throughout industries to achieve all these benefits and more. Technology continues to evolve, and the improvements and opportunities that more capable and feature rich solutions bring to the table open possibilities to consolidate and simplify.
Look around – look at the industries that have changed the direction that was prevalent 10-15 years ago around a highly distributed approach to supply chain, effectively trying to push the costs as far down / away from source as possible, for maximum perceived profits. This approach perhaps looked good on the P&L – but came with a significant level of risk and complexity to manage, with so many links within the chain to potentially fail.
The past few years has seen changes in the way we operate globally that most people would not have considered possible, or likely, even just 5 years previous. The FMCG industry has been shaken, rattled, and rolled from pillar to post just to keep functioning, to continue to thrive and survive, or buckle under the challenges. Step changes in market conditions always present opportunities for those in a position to make the right moves, and in this case, I believe we have seen a move towards organizations wanting higher degrees of control and visibility than ever before.
Previously relying on 3rd parties to manage a specific part of the end-to-end process of converting a range of raw materials into a consumer product was acceptable – push the costs elsewhere. That risk appetite appears to be now changing with a move to own and control as many of the companies and processes required to deliver that product. This provides opportunities for more ‘connected’ revenue management activities as in theory – the visibility and access to data from a batch of grain that ends up in a can of beer for example, is easier to collect.
What’s interesting about this globalization of company and process, is the next step to absolute visibility and control not just in the physical world, but in the digital also, enter in the much talked about Blockchain technology.
For the shorter definition – a Blockchain is effectively a digital ledger of information that can be held and stored across multiple databases, all synchronized with the same information, and in essence impossible to ‘break the chain’ of transactional information.
For a full explanation, please click this link: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blockchain.asp
I doubt many readers of this article will not have heard of Bitcoin, or Crypto Currency, this new global financial system is still only about 12 years old – but the technology around it has grown faster than any other technology – perhaps even beating ‘Boyes’ law of exponential growth, the ‘seed’ that started this all off was the concept of the Blockchain.
Here’s a simple flow of how a transaction on a Blockchain would work:
As the power of this concept was understood – the application of it has branched out into hundreds of different areas, and it was only a matter of time before its application was utilized to help the IT and Manufacturing industry, and therefore Revenue Management.
Consolidation (and perhaps Conglomeration!) of companies to improve control and visibility will take us so far, however, connecting the areas of complexity with digital technology such as Blockchain will improve the accuracy, efficiency, and accountability of this information in a way that has never been achieved before. In turn – this will provide a layer of reporting accuracy and therefore improved decision efficiency also not achievable without this immutable linkage of information.
As you would expect – there is not a ‘one solution fits all here’ – Blockchain will be the new ‘source code’ – or ‘base layer’ that applications will be built on to improve the existing solutions and capabilities available on the market to support the end-to-end processes required to support IT and manufacturing. There was a time when RFID tags were futuristic in their ability to track an item as it moves through the supply chain – blockchain is RFID on steroids, a fully digitised ledger of transactional information allowing complete visibility and accuracy to the process it’s being applied to.
Projects such as Morpheus have been heavily adopted by huge global supply chain organizations such as SAP, SalesForce, Fedex, UPS and DHL (https://morpheus.network/) with their focus on solving global supply chain inefficiencies.
Here are a list of other SCM Blockchain projects that are set to disrupt the SCM market and further improve our abilities to diagnose and improve Revenue Management processes:
In some of the other blogs I’ve written, specifically around Trade Promotion Management and Retail Execution – I highlighted the fundamentals around any software application and business solution – the need for ‘rock solid’ data sources, data reliability and consistency are the foundation from which all other aspects – mathematical translations, forecasting, smart analytics, optimization and all other insights are based off of. Block Chain solutions will completely transform the speed and ability to produce consistent, accurate and reliable data to drive management decisions. We have seen the consolidation in the physical business world – we will now see the same start to evolve in the ‘digital’ business world.
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