View all Posts Supply Chain News

On Demand News: 10/24/18

OnDemand Supply Chain News - The Stream Less Traveled: Computers provide data and powerful processing but human brains provide more useful insights.

The Stream Less Traveled

24 October, 2018 // On the recent motional tour for his new book, Life After Google, economist George Gilder recalled a story that Margaret Mead once told. She discovered a mariner tribe that had at one time thrived on fishing. When she met them, the tribe had forgotten how to make the streamlined canoes that had once enabled their prosperity. “When Mead found them, they were sitting on the beaches gazing glumly out at the ocean,” Gilder told a reporter. “They were on a path to extinction with no idea that streamlined canoes were the solution to their problem.”

Gilder sees a parallel problem with blind trust in the raw, computing power of artificial intelligence. Google and other tech companies, he argues, think they have built systems that think better than humans. He calls their approach “deterministic sufficiency.” While it’s true that cloud computing can run analytics millions of times faster than a person, that doesn’t make it a brain. And, it turns out that brains are uniquely good at original insights and creativity.

Life After Google is worth reading for a its trip through Gilder’s own brain—with nods to mathematician Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and the Königsberg bridge problem, blockchain technology Chaitin’s law of algorithms and plenty more philosophy, information theory and economics all delivered in a passionate argumentative style that’s turned up to eleven.

We mention, though, because Gilder’s ideas also apply directly to supply chain. We’re fans of big data and analytics. We developed the ChronosCloud platform specifically to gather data and connect the previously unconnected far points of the supply chain—across systems and vendors.

Still, more data and more powerful processing doesn’t necessarily yield better information—or more useful insights. For that, you still need human brains. Gilder argues that real breakthroughs come when data systems serve people, not the other way around—experts who can apply their human experience and creativity to that data.

So, while you’re building your end-to-end visibility systems, deploying new Internet of Things sensors and creating predictive, cross-vendor productivity platforms, don’t forget how to build the canoe. At Morgan, we transform leading supply networks (including work with two of top five in Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 companies), using both information and insight; algorithms and expertise.

If you’re looking to haul in the big productivity fish, we would love to learn more about your challenges and talk about how we might help.

 


 

While You Were Shipping…

More Recent Stories You May Have Missed That Caught Our Eye

Drivers Are The Drivers (Supply Chain Digest)

Dan Gilmore’s great report on CSCMP recaps a breakout session with the CEOs of YRC, Wener and New England Motor Freight. He writes that each CEO was asked to list his top three concerns. Each exec put drivers at the top of the list.

While Labor Shortages Force FedEx and UPS to Pay Pilots Bonuses (Reuters)

Trying to keep brand purple flying high through the holiday crunch, FedEx offers bonuses to keep pilots from retiring. UPS recruits, too, without offering bonuses.

And Warehouses Are Short-staffed, Too (Wall Street Journal; Paywall)

XPO Logistics COO Erik Caldwell tells the Wall Street Journal that his company is looking to robots and other tech solutions to mitigate a worker shortage in fulfillment warehouses. Money quote: “It’s a fight for talent…. It’s like ‘Game of Thrones out there.’ ”

The Fleet Management Answer (Talking Logistics)

Amid labor shortages and regulatory bottlenecks (ELD, hours of service), Adrian Gonzales looks at how companies are improving fleet management to get the most out of the resources they have. That’s a creative approach not unlike what we wrote about in our recent post, The General Theory of Productivity. Gonzalez adds to that argument, citing a Descartes study that found 73 percent of the fastest growing companies believe that transportation is a competitive differentiator. 

The Bill of Lading Gets A Makeover (Journal of Commerce; limited free access with registration)

Seems incredible that we’re just having this discussion now, but JOC reports on efforts to digitize the humble bill of lading, which goes back in various forms about a millennium. More than 50 percent of all errors come from typing hand bills into computer systems.

 

On Demand Supply Chain Blog

Continued Reading

Stay up-to-date with supply chain news and articles by reading more posts written by our team at D.W. Morgan.