Event Sourcing for Supply Chain systems

When relational databases emerged in the 70’s they provided a breakthrough for companies to turn their supply chain digital, decades before the ‘digitalization’ buzzword. However, event sourcing has now emerged as a more manageable, more reliable and more scalable way to design supply chain systems compared to the relational design. At the core of this revolution, a perspective on reality itself which is too frequently under appreciated by supply chain practitioners.

Event Sourcing is the idea that the state within a computer system is only the reflection of a series of events. Therefore, all data and any information recorded is the direct result of events.

For example, a stock level displayed in your inventory management software is only the direct result of a stream of stock movements - quantities that were picked and put there. Then, consolidating all these movements - or events - creates a synthetic number that is the stock level, otherwise there is no such thing as a “stock level” within the software.

A simple model that has become extremely popular within the world of supply chain, with most supply chain optimization softwares falling into this category, is the CRUD system: an acronym for “Create Read Update Delete”. The idea being that you have tables of data and that each table has fields, your software then allows you to add a line (create), read the line, modify (update) the line and/or delete it. It’s become so ubiquitous that sometimes we forget that there are actually alternative methods, such as Event Sourcing.

A significant, yet incredibly mundane benefit of Event Sourcing is bug fixing. Large supply chain software systems usually have numerous bugs and undesirable features, with hundreds of tickets getting pushed to IT and never getting fixed. But with Event Sourcing, when facing a bug, the past events only need to be replayed one by one to be able to reproduce the exact same situation that created the bug, allowing you to find the root cause.

To conclude, we talk about how the vast majority of ERPs, such as SAP, do not use Event Sourcing and the intrigue and history behind this. Nowadays, those using Event Sourcing are major tech operators managing their own supply chains with their own bespoke software, that is, huge players such as Alibaba and Amazon. We also ask the question on many’s mind, at this rate, will Amazon take over the entire marketplace?

Timestamps

00:08 Introduction

00:28 What exactly is event sourcing?

01:46 What about the different event sourcing techniques? Are we seeing them often in the marketplace?

04:26 Did the CRUD approach introduce any kind of constraints or assumptions that we are now used to work with?

06:03 Are there any other benefits to events sourcing other than having an understanding of what has happened in the past?

09:27 How easy is it to go back to the past and check what has happened in order to get to the root cause of a problem?

12:29 Should small companies be interested in event sourcing?

15:35 Can you see event sourcing as being more commonplace across the market in the next couple of decades? Are there any barriers we still need to overcome for that to happen?

20:25 Will Amazon take over the entire market?