Infinite IoT: The Future of Supply Chain Operations

Since Covid took the world by storm in 2020, supply chain issues have come to the forefront of the news as no one was exempt from the challenges of getting common everyday items. And while it doesn’t take a global pandemic to disrupt supply chain operations, it was this very event that made people aware of how much they relied on operations throughout the globe.

IoT podcast host Mat Ackley, sat down with Dave Evans, CEO and Co-Founder at Fictiv to discuss the current state and potential future for the supply chain. And this rising star knows what he’s talking about. Since graduating from Stanford University in 2011, his accolades include being featured on Discovery, TechCrunch, Inc., named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, and receiving a Manufacturing Leadership Award from NAM. In March 2013, he co-founded Fictiv, a manufacturing company dedicated to providing the infrastructure needed for teams to streamline prototyping and accelerate development lifecycles.

The discussion began with a look at the most pressing supply chain challenges including the inefficiencies that wreak havoc on a company’s operations when they can’t get the supply they need for their product line.

For example, in quarter one of 2022, 17.5M people were put on lockdown in Shenzhen, China overnight due to Covid shutting down manufacturing operations throughout the area. Traditionally, companies affected by an event such as this respond in one of two ways; one, sit and wait until suppliers come back online, or two, run a fire drill and transfer operations to a new supplier. Both are costly and infective ways of responding.

Evans noted that at Fictiv, they “had 249 orders in flight just in that region, just in Shenzhen, and what we deployed was basically our disaster recovery plan where our software and our operations were able to move all 249 orders in 24 hours to new facilities with near zero impact to lead time or cost.” In fact, over the next 90 days the company only saw a 2% dip in on-time delivery rates.

So, what is the answer for companies looking to upgrade their supply chain operations – ensuring they are both agile and resilient. And while some may think these terms are interchangeable, Evans explains how they are quite different as well as their significance to meeting supply chain challenges whether they are created by a pandemic or natural disasters such as floods or snowstorms.

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