Cloud computing solutions can revolutionize supply chain management by freeing wholesale and retail distributors from the limitations of physical systems.
Jim Cafone, vice president of supply chain for Pfizer Inc., experienced the benefits of the cloud on a personal level after he dropped his iPad, breaking the screen, according to a blog post from the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. Cafone bought a new iPad, and within 10 minutes, he had uploaded all his files on his new device. All he had to do was pull the files from the cloud.
The anecdote demonstrates just one advantage of the cloud and shows the type of capabilities that Pfizer taps to get exhaustive visibility and enable greater supply chain management.
“The pharmaceutical company is using the cloud and a device-agnostic, external information platform to connect with every freight forwarder, carrier and other logistics service vendor across the globe,” the article states.
A major benefit of Pfizer’s cloud-based structure is that it allows the company to easily switch service providers. If a partner isn’t performing, it can be more easily replaced.
What happened to Cafone on a personal level and the speed with which he was back up and running is a great example of the power of the cloud, especially as it relates to disaster recovery. This example illustrates very well the concept of anytime, anywhere access to your systems and data.
Essentially, an entire layer of complexity related to the maintenance of physical computing infrastructure has been eliminated in one fell swoop.
We have been writing for some time about the new agile supply chain and how part of this supply chain is an interchangeable network of business partners. Changing these partners as needed would be extremely difficult without the anytime, anywhere access offered by the cloud. It also supports certain other enabling technologies, such as open web-service-based APIs, to speed the integration of data and processes.
The Pfizer case study is a great testament to that philosophy put into motion. Distributors that follow suit with cloud-based solutions stand to benefit greatly from this powerful technology.
Source: MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, October 2013