Supply Chain Traceability Technology Tools
By Laura Olson

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Traceability solutions can assist in:
• Documentation and recordkeeping
• Monitoring of goods to help protect consumer safety
• Enabling process improvements
• Better decision making
• Helping to increase brand satisfaction through faster, more effective product recalls
• Identifying and tracking problem products sooner so that consumers can
be notified immediately
Types of Traceability Technology Tools
1. Product Identification and Marking (ID)
2. Traceability Tools and Software
3. Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID)

Traceability Tools and Software:
Using software designed for product traceability can help your business to compete more effectively in winning the business of retailers. This is especially
true when dealing with those that require data exchange via EDI or with retailers that require that product recalls be completed in only a few hours.
Today, some warehouse management systems include track and trace
capabilities and there are also various freestanding traceability software systems available.
Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID)
The use of RFID for product traceability is increasing as the cost of this
technology has been reduced. Some retailers and governmental agencies use
RFID Smart Labeling in order to track product movement throughout the supply
chain.
To do this, a smart label or smart tag is placed on a product. The tag
relies on radio frequency communications between the smart label and a portable
memory device and host computer to exchange data.
RFID tags can be encoded with a variety of information that can then be collected
using an RFID reader.
RFID does not require human intervention and can be used passively to track the
movement of products within closed systems such as within a warehouse. No
scanning of barcodes or labels are needed and multiple RFID smart labels can be
read simultaneously.
What is IoT?
IoT, the “Internet of Things” is an intertwined system of a variety of technologies
that capture data and communicate it through IP networks to software
applications. The status of physical objects is monitored and the data from the
smart object is stored in a centralized database then sorted into a humanreadable format. The information captured may be generated using either a manual or automated
interaction and auto-ID technology is used to enable the communication
between devices and objects.
Supply Chain Software
(WMS)
RFID
ADC
Material Handling
EDI
IoT can aid in:
• Monitoring shipment status
• Providing the real time location of inventory within a facility
• Tracking the point of origin, days until expiration and other attributes of
goods
• Provide component/ingredient-level visibility of products, including product
lifespan data
• Reducing the labor and errors associated with manual track and trace
efforts.

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Amazon is getting ready to bring Alexa to work

Alexa will soon be going to work.

While Amazon has been busy announcing new cloud services for developers this week at its annual re: Invent conference, the company is preparing to talk about new tools that will make it easier for people to use Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated virtual assistant in the workplace, four sources have told CNBC.

 The company intends to announce an Alexa for Business Platform, along with a set of initial partners that have developed specific “skills,” or apps, for business customers.

The new technology could well come in handy for connecting into teleconferences or adding data to enterprise-focused sales programs, sources said. It would also add more personalized features, like an enterprise security layer that identifies and authenticates different people using the app at work, one person said.

Three years ago, Amazon debuted Alexa as the smart star inside the Echo speaker. Alexa performs the work of understanding what people say and then finding the best possible answer based on what it knows.

Amazon has released tools to accelerate third-party development around Alexa, and today Amazon boasts more than 20,000 third-party skills that people can install and then summon from Alexa. And Amazon has expanded its line of Echo devices and made it possible for other companies to insert Alexa into their devices

.https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/amazon-alexa-for-business-platform-planned.html

I am wondering what Alexa can do in Hospitality or service industry, I expect it can be used in hotel rooms to fulfill customer requests ( weak up calls, handling  room services orders, maintenance requests and  reserve rooms and helping in check in and out)

Cyber Monday 2017: The Biggest Online Shopping Day In History?

Cybersecurity Cyber Monday
This Cyber Monday could be the biggest online shopping day in history, according to Wednesday (Nov. 22) reports from CNBC.

— shoppers have spent 17.9 percent more this November than they did over the same month last year. In fact, consumers spent more than $1 billion a day for the first 21 days of the month, totaling $28.6 billion between Nov. 1 and 21.

Those stats come from a recent report by Adobe Analytics. The same report noted shoppers are expected to spend $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday, bumping total holiday spending up to $107 billion — a 14 percent increase over last year.

The trend won’t stop there, though, experts say. It’s not so much that Black Friday has spread out into a so-called “Gray November,” but that people are just ready to spend more. It’s worth noting that last year’s holiday shopping season got a slow start due to the distraction of the U.S. presidential election — and for some, the economic concerns the outcome raised.

Analysts say that hefty Cyber Monday activity won’t necessarily take away from brick-and-mortar sales. Rather, it indicates a strengthening economy and an overall increase in spending both online and in physical store locations.

Black Friday is still expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year, with 70 percent of people planning to hit the stores according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. By comparison, just 48 percent of survey respondents said they planned to shop online on Cyber Monday.

On and offline, spending is predicted to continue on this upward trajectory through the holidays, with Black Friday sales doing little to dent its growth as consumers have learned to bide their time and wait for the best deals

“The American consumer is an online shopping ninja now; they know they need to wait until they see sales drop further,” said Tamara Gaffney, strategic insights engagement group director at Adobe.

Alibaba’s Singles Day Is About to Put Amazon Prime Day to Shame

 Alibaba's Singles Day Is About to Put Amazon Prime Day to Shame

“Alibaba is like a combination of Amazon, WalmartHome DepotLowesKrogerGapVisa, and Netflix,” in China said Green.

Alibaba(NYSE: BABA) crushed analyst expectations for its second quarter last week but the company has barely had time to celebrate as it preps for its biggest sales day of the year on November 11: Singles Day. 

Singles Day day is important for Alibaba and its investors because it has become a measure of how well Alibaba is doing. Of course, if you watched earnings last week, you already have a good feeling about Alibaba.

In addition to reporting61% revenue growth over the same period last year, the company hiked its full-year revenue growth forecast to between 49% and 53%, up from 45% to 49%. 

For a made-up holiday, Singles Day does pretty well. Last year, Alibaba recorded $17.8 billion in sales during its 24-hour Singles Day event, up from $14.3 billion in 2015. This year, customers are expected to spend $23 billion on Alibaba’s platform this Saturday, according to global consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

What is Singles Day?

The sales holiday takes place on November 11 each year, supposedly because of the loneliness of the number “11” with its two “ones.” Started in the 1990s to help single people celebrate a sort of anti-Valentines holiday, Alibaba took advantage of the sentiment in 2009 by encouraging people to buy gifts for themselves since they don’t have a significant other.  An expert in the field, Mitchell Green, managing partner of Lead Edge Capital said: “Alibaba created a holiday and it actually worked. It’s remarkable.”

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Amazon wants its own delivery service to rival FedEx and UPS Oct 5, 2017,

Oct 5, 2017,

Amazon is testing a new delivery service that could reduce overcrowding in its factory warehouses and bring two-day Prime shipping to more of its products. Amazon plans to call the program Seller Flex.

Amazon usually leaves last-mile delivery up to third-party partners, including FedEx and UPS, making this yet another move toward reducing its reliance on outside entities and vertically integrating its logistics chain.

What is Seller Flex?

Seller Flex’ is a program which is intended to share Amazon’s best practices in warehousing, inventory management, and shipping with the sellers. This way, sellers have greater flexibility and growth in their expertise. It is mainly for the sellers who have availed (Fulfillment by Amazon, an Amazon warehouse) option. This program helps sellers to minimize the cost to transporting their goods to Amazon warehouse and taking back non-moving products from warehouse. It will also help Amazon to get rid of certain tax issues imposing by certain states. However, this program is not yet launched officially and not available to all the sellers and this service is under trial. 

https://sellercentral.amazon.in/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=109461

The service started in India two years ago, and Amazon is secretly preparing to expand the service to the US. It’s already started on a trial basis near the West Coast and will come to other states next year, according to Bloomberg. Amazon plans to call the program Seller Flex.

“Amazon’s final-mile efforts reflect a logical extension of its model as it builds network density,” Benjamin Hartford, a Robert W. Baird analyst, told Bloomberg.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/5/16433110/amazon-delivery-service-test-seller-flex-ups-fedex-competition

What happened? based on a report by Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper:

  • Amazon is testing a new service that would allow the company to oversee the transport of vendor packages from warehouse to customers’ homes.
  • The service, dubbed “Seller Flex,” is in a pilot phase in West Coast states, but Amazon plans to expand it in 2018.
  • Seller Flex seeks to help Amazon boost the number of goods eligible for its Prime free two-day delivery and free up warehouse space,

https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/Amazon-Seller-Flex-UPS-FedEx-analysis-retail-supply-chain/506717/

Casino staff uniform tracking via RFID now common in Asia


Casino staff uniform tracking via RFID now common in Asia

The deployment of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to manage the whereabouts of uniforms and linens, as well as to track casino currency used on gaming floor tables, is increasingly common among casino resorts in the Asia Pacific region.

“RFID tags are discreetly attached to the [staff] uniforms to uniquely identify each item and to enable automated inventory tracking,” said Oswald Lares, director of sales and marketing for U.S.-based InvoTech Systems Inc, a supplier of technology for such uses.

Mr. Varley also noted that another feature of the Asian market is that employees are not usually allowed to take their uniforms home. “Large numbers of uniforms are therefore sent to the laundry each day – often 5,000 soiled, and the same number [of] clean [ones]. To keep track of these movements, it is essential that the conveyors are wholly integrated with the uniform-tracking software,” he explained.

“The same RFID controls are now being applied to room linen which can also be an expensive asset. One Macau casino tracks 20,000 linen articles a day to the laundry,” the Autovalet director said

 

https://www.ggrasia.com/casino-staff-uniform-tracking-via-rfid-now-common-in-asia-2/

MIT Builds Drone-Based RFID Relay to Track Boxes in Warehouses

A silver drone flies through an aisle of sheleves lined with boxes in a warehouse.
Photo: MIT
Recently, researchers have begun to investigate other ways for these industries to trace items, including systems that can snap photos of labels or identify shipments by other visual cues. Now, an MIT group thinks they have an even better answer.

A team led by Fadel Adib, a principal investigator at MIT Media Lab, attached an RFID relay to a drone that he says could fly around and scan all the RFID tags on every box in a warehouse, and transmit that information back to a reader.

 

Referrence:
https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/consumer-electronics/gadgets/mit-builds-drone-based-rfid-relay-to-track-boxes-in-warehouses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toEVwqA2HKQ

“Al Baik” One of The most crowded restaurants in Saudi Arabia

“Al Baik”

One of The most crowded restaurants in Saudi Arabia                                                       “We are a homegrown, privately owned company that has been in the industry for more than 40 years. Starting off small, our vision has grown to put MMMMMs and WOOOWs on our customers’ lips, every time, everywhere, the world over, and we look for future partners who think as we do – partners who are as committed to quality, service, great tasting food and value”. Al Baik website homepage.

 

I highly recommend watching this video,

 

How does Al Baik restaurant order line “queue” looks like?

If you pass by any restaurant of Al-Baik, you will find overcrowded conditions everywhere. Whenever I go to Al-Baik, I have to wait not less than 30 minutes to get my ordered items.

As one of the hospitality students after starting our Operation Management class and discussing the operation plans, employees affecting in quality and finally the service Queue. My curiosity made me ask my friend as he was one of Al Baik service quality auditor Zaheer, about the average waiting time in al Baik restaurant? The answer was:

“For busy restaurants like Makkah, the waiting time ranges from 45 minutes to 120 minutes maximum, per person. For a less busy restaurant like Arbaeen3 or Mosadia in Jeddah the wait time is 15 – 30  minutes”, said Zaheer.

What did Al Baik do to respond to this challenge and reduce the waiting time?

“First, they have production plan based on the previous sales data of that day, for example, they have data of last month Saturday that how many sales were there and they forecast and prepare food accordingly.

Secondly, the managers push the employees, motivate them and appreciate them to work fast on busy hours.” said Zaheer.

I found an article online speaking about the online order service as another plan Al Baik considered to reduce the Queue time.

Finally, Al-Baik management has also considered this fact and they have launched an online portal to order Al-Baik online. It will minimize the waiting time considerably.

…You will have to select your menu, select if your meal is regular or spicy. Click on the “+” button and add items to your pick up branch then your system will ask you to share location with the website of Al-Baik. Allow Al-Baik to get your location. It will help them in identifying the nearest branch. You can also make the nearest branch your default location. Ultimately, “Checkout”.

Once you reach the restaurant branch, please find the on-site kiosk to print your order ticket. You can scan the QR code received on your email address or enter the order number in the KIOSK machines. After Printing, your order should be ready within 2 minutes.

On the other hand, Al Baik is expanding and opening more restaurant to those who used to travel to the nearest Al Baik restaurant.

This restaurant is a very good material to be discussed from operation management point of view.

https://youtu.be/ZMoF3hnsY8U

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1172346/saudi-arabia

http://lifeinsaudiarabia.net/blog/2015/09/30/procedure-to-order-albaik-online/amp/

 

 

 

Experimental Balloon Project Aims To Give Cell Reception To Puerto Rico

Project Loon, from Google parent company Alphabet, uses high-altitude solar-powered balloons instead of the usual land-based cell towers to provide your phone’s wireless connection to the network. It began as a somewhat bizarre project from the company’s X “moonshot” group, but now Google has tested it in Peru and expects to launch it as a real business.

References

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59d81a7fe4b046f5ad9856ca

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/google-puerto-rico-balloons-experiment_us_59d81a7fe4b046f5ad9856ca

 

 

Shake Shack to open cashless, kiosk-only location in New York City

Shake Shack is opening its first-ever cashless kiosk, in New York this month.

It’s the future of fast food bytes in the Big Apple.

Robots will replace humans and cash won’t be accepted at a soon-to-open Shake Shack in the East Village, reps for the popular burger chain said Monday.

Located in Astor Place, this Shake Shack won’t have a cashier’s counter. Instead, guests will use digital kiosks or their mobile phones to place orders. Manning these kiosks will be “hospitality champs,” Shake Shack employees who specialize in making customers’ time in the restaurant as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

Orders will go directly to the kitchen, which has been rearranged to “eliminate friction time,” Garutti told CNBC.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/02/shake-shack-to-open-a-cashless-kiosk-in-new-york.html