Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Infor SCM incorporates IoT, AI, Automation

William Payne
February 28, 2018

Industry-specific cloud applications specialist Infor has launched a revised version of its supply chain management (SCM) system that incorporates new capabilities including Big Data, Machine Learning, IoT and automation, to provide predictive ETAs, real-time visibility, and 3D visualisation of warehouse flow.

Using machine learning and historical network data, the Infor GT Nexus Commerce Network platform calculates a predictive ETA, based on each informational update and transaction across the network. The system continually updates ETAs, using the latest information available. Machine learning enables the system to develop accurate, up-to-date supply chain models, and it continuously fine tunes the model's parameters based on the latest trends and patterns observed in real-time.

"We have been an innovator in this space, helping customers move beyond static lead-time estimates with dynamic ETAs based on performance models," said John Bermudez, Infor VP of Products and Strategy. "We now are delivering the next technology evolution, applying machine learning to shipments, resulting in up to 80% greater accuracy predicting arrivals."

Infor's Live Ocean uses AIS (Automatic Identification System), a real-time IoT information source, to provide continuous visibility of goods in transit from port to port. Companies gain real-time, visual updates of all ocean vessels with specific identification of ships carrying their goods. By linking order, shipment and item information, the solution supports inventory tracking and planning. Information details also include vessel status, speed, headings, and next/previous port of call.

"Most ocean visibility solutions rely on EDI messages and can't see beyond the shipment level," said Bermudez. "Live Ocean provides real-time location of the vessel and connects the vessel information to the more detailed item-level information, which allows customers to monitor both shipments and inventory in motion. For companies that strive to run agile, high-velocity global supply chains, visibility into the high volume of inventory they have moving at sea is critical."

Using the GPS data available in the AIS information, users can set up a geo-fence to trigger alerts when shipments cross a particular location, helping companies better manage inventory and plan for downstream processes.

Infor WMS (Warehouse Management System) now incorporates a 3D visual warehouse, providing a three-dimensional, interactive mechanism to visualise and orchestrate the warehouse flow. Users can identify picking and put-away bottlenecks to prevent delays, enhancing flow-through and worker productivity.

3D Visual Warehouse works in conjunction with wave management to enable users to virtually "see" workflow, areas of order concentration, and locations at risk of causing delays, and they also can initiate corrective action. This might involve changing task priorities, shifting labour, generating replenishments, or reissuing waves. It provides a visual decision hub to manage locations, inventory, pending picks, routing, and equipment.

"Our 3D Visual Warehouse solution provides a much more holistic view of opportunities, and it creates a more intuitive basis for identifying opportunities and bottlenecks," said Heidi Benko, Infor VP of Solutions Strategy and Marketing. "This helps companies move beyond tactically tackling work, to understanding macro-level implications on the use of assets, from inventory to labour, and from equipment to space."