May 17, 2020

Blackberry earns Tier 1 status with Ford Motors

Supply Chain
Ford Motors
software operating systems
Dale Benton
4 min
Blackberry earns "Tier 1" status with Ford Motors
Blackberry, the once and former smartphone leader, has been unveiled as a “Tier One” supplier for Ford Motor Co.

The Tier 1 status allows B...

Blackberry, the once and former smartphone leader, has been unveiled as a “Tier One” supplier for Ford Motor Co.

The Tier 1 status allows Blackberry to supply directly to Ford Motors, as opposed to working with other suppliers to to sell to large companies like Ford.

Announced on Monday this week, the move represents an important development for Blackberry’s presence in the automotive market.

Blackberry will be providing Ford with an “unmatched, holistic solution”, protected by BlackBerry’s legendary security pedigree, technology, and services and the highly reliable, safety-certified, and secure QNX software platform, to secure and power the connected car.

The Canadian company is aiming to offer products that can enable so-called connected cars and the QNX Software is already in a number of leading cars from Volkswagen AG to General Motors Co.

“Ford is an industry leader and the opportunity to contribute our world-class technology to their products is a privilege. Ford’s expanded application of our software and services illustrates the diverse and broad value we can bring to market,” said John Chen, BlackBerry executive chairman and CEO.

24 ways you interact with Blackberry every day:

QNX Software Systems is a big part of everyday life – from controlling infotainment systems in cars to delivering renewable energy to homes.

Flip a light switch — QNX technology controls thousands of power generation systems, from wind turbines to nuclear stations to hydroelectric plants.

Go online — QNX technology is at the core of massive Internet routers that handle data, voice, and video traffic for hundreds of millions of users every day.

Use a credit card — Banks the world over use QNX-based systems to issue payment cards and PINs, facilitating secure, reliable transactions.

Take a nap — QNX-based spinning and weaving systems produce high-quality fabrics for everything from bed sheets to towels, sweaters, and furniture.

Mail a letter — Mail-sorting machines use QNX technology to push the performance envelope, processing 40,000 letters per hour.

Take a train — QNX technology works hard on the railroad, coordinating traffic, controlling locomotives, managing cockpit controls, powering black boxes, and even performing tilt control.

Fly in a plane — From the tarmac to the open sky, QNX-based systems go the distance, training pilots, tracking aircraft, handling luggage, and powering in-flight infotainment.

Board a boat — QNX-based navigation systems keep cruise ships on course by helping crews navigate through fog, bad weather, and narrow estuaries.

Ride a motorbike — Being an easy rider is easier than ever, thanks to QNX-based infotainment systems that provide GPS, satellite radio, and smartphone connectivity.

Get roadside help — Deployed in millions of cars, QNX-based telematics systems automatically call for help in a crash and can even tell emergency responders where to find you.

Stay connected on the road — QNX-based infotainment systems personalize your driving experience with seamless access to the latest cloud content and smartphone apps.

Get a caffeine fix — Car navigation systems built on QNX technology not only provide automatic route selection and turn-by-turn directions, but can even locate the nearest coffee shop if you’re thirsting for a latté.

Go for a digital drive — QNX-based digital instrument clusters combine 3D navigation, backup cameras, virtual mechanics, and personal content for the ultimate driving experience.

Make a hands-free call — Using QNX acoustics technology, automotive hands-free systems filter out noise from roads, tires, and air vents for the ultimate in crisp, clear phone conversations.

Enjoy a quality ride — Test and diagnostic systems powered by QNX technology help automakers work the kinks out of new car models before they hit the road.

Go for a checkup — QNX-based diagnostic devices perform everything from blood analysis and eye testing to angiography, mammography, hemodynamic monitoring, and CT scanning.

Get better — QNX technology is at the heart of healthcare systems that destroy cancer, perform dialysis, infuse medication, monitor heart pumps, and control surgical robots.

See better — Every day, QNX-based laser surgery systems help people reduce their dependency on glasses and contact lenses.

Keep it green — From blowout preventers for oil rigs to monitoring devices that detect air pollution, QNX-based systems work night and day to protect our environment.

Save gas — QNX-based traffic control systems help reduce fuel consumption by optimizing traffic flow, minimizing traffic jams, and reducing waits at intersections.

Catch an action flick — From motion-control systems to Oscar-winning flying cameras, QNX technology helps Hollywood create, and film, spectacular special effects.

Watch TV — Broadcasters worldwide rely on QNX-based systems to manage and transmit live television productions.

Do Vegas — QNX technology powers intercasino gaming systems that can pay out multi-million-dollar winnings, with zero tolerance for error.

Tune in — QNX-based audio routers help radio stations broadcast to millions of listeners, 24 hours a day, non-stop.


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Jun 11, 2021

NTT DATA Services, Remodelling Supply Chains for Resilience

6 min
Joey Dean, Managing Director of healthcare consulting at NTT DATA Services, shares remodelling strategies for more resilient supply chains

Joey Dean, the man with the coolest name ever and Managing Director in the healthcare consulting practice for NTT DATA and is focused on delivering workplace transformation and enabling the future workforce for healthcare providers. Dean also leads client innovation programs to enhance service delivery and business outcomes for clients.

The pandemic has shifted priorities and created opportunities to do things differently, and companies are now looking to build more resilient supply chains, none needed more urgently than those within the healthcare system. Dean shares with us how he feels they can get there.

A Multi-Vendor Sourcing Approach

“Healthcare systems cannot afford delays in the supply chain when there are lives at stake. Healthcare procurement teams are looking at multi-vendor sourcing strategies, stockpiling more inventory, and ways to use data and AI to have a predictive view into the future and drive greater efficiency.

“The priority should be to shore up procurement channels and re-evaluate inventory management norms, i.e. stockpiling for assurance. Health systems should take the opportunity to renegotiate with their current vendors and broaden the supplier channel. Through those efforts, work with suppliers that have greater geographic diversity and transparency around manufacturing data, process, and continuity plans,” says Dean.

But here ensues the never-ending battle of domestic vs global supply chains. As I see it, domestic sourcing limits the high-risk exposure related to offshore sourcing— Canada’s issue with importing the vaccine is a good example of that. So, of course, I had to ask, for lifesaving products, is building domestic capabilities an option that is being considered?

“Domestic supply chains are sparse or have a high dependence on overseas centres for parts and raw materials. There are measures being discussed from a legislative perspective to drive more domestic sourcing, and there will need to be a concerted effort by Western countries through a mix of investments and financial incentives,” Dean explains.

Wielding Big Tech for Better Outcomes

So, that’s a long way off. In the meantime, leveraging technology is another way to mitigate the risks that lie within global supply chains while decreasing costs and improving quality. Dean expands on the potential of blockchain and AI in the industry

“Blockchain is particularly interesting in creating more transparency and visibility across all supply chain activities. Organisations can create a decentralised record of all transactions to track assets from production to delivery or use by end-user. This increased supply chain transparency provides more visibility to both buyers and suppliers to resolve disputes and build more trusting relationships. Another benefit is that the validation of data is more efficient to prioritise time on the delivery of goods and services to reduce cost and improve quality. 

“Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) is another area where there’s incredible value in processing massive amounts of data to aggregate and normalise the data to produce proactive recommendations on actions to improve the speed and cost-efficiency of the supply chain.”

Evolving Procurement Models 

From asking more of suppliers to beefing up stocks, Dean believes procurement models should be remodelled to favour resilience, mitigate risk and ensure the needs of the customer are kept in view. 

“The bottom line is that healthcare systems are expecting more from their suppliers. While transactional approaches focused solely on price and transactions have been the norm, collaborative relationships, where the buyer and supplier establish mutual objectives and outcomes, drives a trusting and transparent relationship. Healthcare systems are also looking to multi-vendor strategies to mitigate risk, so it is imperative for suppliers to stand out and embrace evolving procurement models.

“Healthcare systems are looking at partners that can establish domestic centres for supplies to mitigate the risks of having ‘all of their eggs’ in overseas locations. Suppliers should look to perform a strategic evaluation review that includes a distribution network analysis and distribution footprint review to understand cost, service, flexibility, and risks. Included in that strategy should be a “voice of the customer” assessment to understand current pain points and needs of customers.”

“Healthcare supply chain leaders are re-evaluating the Just In Time (JIT) model with supplies delivered on a regular basis. The approach does not require an investment in infrastructure but leaves organisations open to risk of disruption. Having domestic centres and warehousing from suppliers gives healthcare systems the ability to have inventory on hand without having to invest in their own infrastructure. Also, in the spirit of transparency, having predictive views into inventory levels can help enable better decision making from both sides.”

But, again, I had to ask, what about the risks and associated costs that come with higher inventory levels, such as expired product if there isn’t fast enough turnover, tying up cash flow, warehousing and inventory management costs?

“In the current supply chain environment, it is advisable for buyers to carry an in-house inventory on a just-in-time basis, while suppliers take a just-in-case approach, preserving capacity for surges, retaining safety stock, and building rapid replenishment channels for restock. But the risk of expired product is very real. This could be curbed with better data intelligence and improved technology that could forecast surges and predictively automate future supply needs. In this way, ordering would be more data-driven and rationalised to align with anticipated surges. Further adoption of data and intelligence and will be crucial for modernised buying in the new normal.

The Challenges

These are tough tasks, so I asked Dean to speak to some of the challenges. Luckily, he’s a patient guy with a lot to say.

On managing stakeholders and ensuring alignment on priorities and objectives, Dean says, “In order for managing stakeholders to stay aligned on priorities, they’ll need more transparency and collaborative win-win business relationships in which both healthcare systems and medical device manufacturers are equally committed to each other’s success. On the healthcare side, they need to understand where parts and products are manufactured to perform more predictive data and analytics for forecasting and planning efforts. And the manufacturers should offer more data transparency which will result in better planning and forecasting to navigate the ebbs and flows and enable better decision-making by healthcare systems.

Due to the sensitive nature of the information being requested, the effort to increase visibility is typically met with a lot of reluctance and push back. Dean essentially puts the onus back on suppliers to get with the times. “Traditionally, the relationships between buyers and suppliers are transactional, based only on the transaction between the two parties: what is the supplier providing, at what cost, and for what length of time. The relationship begins and ends there. The tide is shifting, and buyers expect more from their suppliers, especially given what the pandemic exposed around the fragility of the supply chain. The suppliers that get ahead of this will not only reap the benefits of improved relationships, but they will be able to take action on insights derived from greater visibility to manage risks more effectively.”

He offers a final tip. “A first step in enabling a supply chain data exchange is to make sure partners and buyers are aware of the conditions throughout the supply chain based on real-time data to enable predictive views into delays and disruptions. With well understand data sets, both parties can respond more effectively and work together when disruptions occur.”

As for where supply chain is heading, Dean says, “Moving forward, we’ll continue to see a shift toward Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics to optimise the supply chain. The pandemic, as it has done in many other industries, will accelerate the move to digital, with the benefits of improving efficiency, visibility, and error rate. AI can consume enormous amounts of data to drive real-time pattern detection and mitigate risk from global disruptive events.”


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