May 17, 2020

Big data is not the answer

Big Data
Supply Chain
Freddie Pierce
4 min
The first part of this feature looked into why scrutinising the people and processes within the service supply chain is vital and this second instalment continues to investigate the importance of util
Follow @ ShereeHanna Can business intelligence change the fragmented service supply chain? – part two The arrival of complex data analytics may...

Can business intelligence change the fragmented service supply chain? – part two

The arrival of complex data analytics may seem to be the answer to such issues, but Centrex Services’ managing director Glyn Dodd believes that the data alone is not enough to improve the current state of the service supply chain.

“There is a widely held belief that generating ever increasing amounts of data is the answer to all our service supply chain needs, but alone it is irrelevant if not turned into useful information. It’s the business intelligence transforming this into relevant information which is vital for the creation of an efficient, integrated service supply chain, abolishing the silos that plague the current model.”

Companies such as Centrex Services source business intelligence from reason code data and apply a layer of diagnostics. The codes detail the circumstances that have caused the code to be raised and the associated completion code. Rather than just documenting each code and applying the same reasoning to each circumstance, the business identifies repetitive causes and designs a solution to resolve the issue, without it reoccurring.

This intelligence was applied when Centrex identified a recurring problem on the point of sale system at a fast food outlet. A plastic part of the POS hardware was continuing to break, causing the same reason code in the majority of the support calls.  When the business analysed the fault, they found the operators were leaning on the part of this hardware during use.  The plastic was simply not robust enough.  By tooling a metal replacement part, the problem was resolved permanently.

“Delivering customer satisfaction is a critical part of any business and deriving intelligence plays a large part in the experience. Diagnostics of reason codes is therefore vital, yet many do not see the long term benefits which have an adverse affect on customer satisfaction within the service supply chain. 

“If businesses diagnose the reason codes, business intelligence can be created, which in turn can be used to offer improved SLA’s, rather than accepting a failure rate.”

Why should we plan to fail?

In addition to the people, processes and data, the service supply chain is heavily reliant on service level agreements. Glyn questions the current ethos in place throughout the service supply chain, claiming some companies are in fact preparing for failure.

“There are circumstances where SLA’s are not being met as a direct result of people and processes being deployed without applying context to the data which has been sourced. I also question why SLA agreements are being signed allowing up to a 15 per cent failure rate when the deployment of business intelligence can realistically create a network in which success is inevitable.”

The need for such change was identified in a business intelligence not utilising business intelligence, which resulted in an SLA being missed.

Glyn explains, “A client of ours works closely with a very well known American diner chain and have in place an agreement which states once a call has been made to report a technical fault, there must be a field-service engineer on-site to resolve the issue within four hours.

“The issue here was, these calls can come in at any time of the day and the mentality was that the SLA must be met at all costs. So, when a call reporting faulty point of sales systems was placed at 1.00pm, processes were set in motion to guarantee an engineer was on-site by 5.00pm.

“However, once they arrived, they were turned away, as the restaurant was unable to accommodate the work during their busiest period as this would result in a decline in productivity which in turn can lead to a loss of custom. Ultimately, the SLA was not met.

“This demonstrates just how vital it is that the service supply chain changes, as had business intelligence been utilised, there is no way an engineer would have been sent to a restaurant during such a busy time.”

Business intelligence is the future

Efficient communication, processes and correct analytics provides the business intelligence needed to simplify the fragmented supply chain. Simplification leads to more efficient service delivery, guaranteed SLA’s, greater customer satisfaction and ultimately transforms the service supply chain for competitive advantage.

Now is the time for senior decision makers to challenge all elements of the chain; without constant innovation and new thinking the industry will continue to be perceived as a laggard – a disparate set of fragmented, commoditised services that fail to meet the required standard.

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 


Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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