The Bionic Supply Chain

The convergence of a range of evolving technologies such as blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things have ushered in a new concept known as the “Bionic Supply Chain”.

In this episode of LokadTV, we are delighted to be joined by Stefan Gstettner to discuss with us how we can integrate people with machines and how this new concept compares to more traditional approaches that already exist on the marketplace.

Stefan is a Partner & Associate Director at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he focuses on end supply chain management and logistics. In addition to this, he is adjunct Professor at MIT, teaching digital supply chain management to future young supply chain talents. His current focus at BCG is helping their core clients to digitalize their supply chains and achieve a “Bionic Supply Chain” - which is to say leveraging the latest technologies and establishing the ever growing colloboration between humans and machines.

In an industry already filled with buzzwords, we have to be careful not to add more, which is not the idea here. The BCG Thinktank already developed an idea of what the future of companies will look like, which they named the “Bionic Company”. This is now being applied to supply chains as they are a complex system that relies very heavily on the collaboration of humans and machines. Human insight is also incorporated at Lokad through the concept of the “Supply Chain Scientist”, we can’t quite say we’re bionic yet but this is the path that we’re naturally following.

One of the major pitfalls is that humans are usually resistant to change, being less than enthusiastic to embrace new technologies and algorithms, preferring to stick with their Excel sheets. In addition, without fully grasping the end-to-end aspect of a supply chain and its related problems, technology implementations can end up simply displacing these problems instead of solving them. To reorganize a supply chain fully and end-to-end with new softwares often becomes a task so vast that complexity management becomes a real issue.

To conclude, we discuss in more detail the concept of a “Digital Twin” and the role of supply chain executives in these future, Bionic Supply Chains. We go into more detail as to what a successful Bionic Supply Chain implementation will look like and how it can be achieved.

Timestamps

00:08 Introduction

00:29 Stefan, perhaps you can start by telling us a little more about your background and what you are doing at BCG?

01:55 Can you give us a brief overview of the Bionic Supply Chain?

03:18 Joannès, what are you views on this idea of a Bionic Supply Chain?

05:31 What are some of the challenges which have made it so difficult for humans to interact with these digital technologies?

08:15 What have you observed when it comes to transforming supply chains in the industry?

10:47 How are today’s supply chain executives trying to implement the latest technologies?

12:30 What does the Bionic Supply Chain look like in reality?

15:48 Stefan, how about the concept of a digital twin? How does that fit into the picture?

17:19 Looking at the future, what can we do to our supply chains to make them more bionic?

20:16 As a final word. What will a successful Bionic Supply Chain initiative look like?