September 2018 Archive

September 12, 2018
Germany’s Merck Introduces Automation to Supply Chain (WSJ)

The company is currently using analytics software to mitigate supply shortages, predict spikes in demand and bottlenecks with about 100 products related to fertility drugs. This has improved service to customer. It plans to expand the pilot program to its 5,000 products by the end of next year. Artificial intelligence is a way to augment the jobs of the company’s supply chain planners, and reduce often tedious and repetitive work.

September 4, 2018
Inside the Factory of China’s Future (WSJ)

Workshop 18 is designated by Chinese industry officials as a model demonstration facility for Beijing’s plan to upgrade its corporate champions so they can better compete in the world, a policy known as “Made in China 2025.” Engineers at the plant run by Sany Group Co. figure out how to make better products by analyzing information fed in real-time from machines operating around the world to a data center nearby. The company tracks 380,000 of its internet-connected concrete mixers, excavators and cranes, and it has collected more than 100 billion items of engineering data. Sany, one of China’s three big heavy machinery makers, said the integration of technology has increased capacity, shortened order-delivery times and slashed operational costs, all by at least 20%. The company is also betting that the technology will enable it to build a reputation for innovation and quality, rather than for lower prices for copycat products that made Sany a big player domestically.

September 4, 2018
Why Walmart Shoppers are Finding More Items ‘Out of Stock’ (WSJ)

Walmart has begun telling online shoppers that some products in its warehouses are “out of stock” after the retailer changed its e-commerce systems to avoid orders deemed too expensive to ship. The new system, introduced earlier this month, has led to a decline in sales at some companies that sell their products on walmart.com forcing suppliers to stock their products at more Walmart warehouses around the country to keep sales steady.