Omnichain and the Manufacturing Cloud

Posted by Gavin Davidson, Vertical Lead, Manufacturing

I recently authored an article in the Fall 2014 edition of Supply Chain World where I coined the term Omnichain. At the time it was one of those “aha!” moments where everything falls into place and makes sense.

But what is the Omnichain?

To be honest, it’s something that’s been kicking around in my head for a while now – in fact, as far back as March 2012, I penned a blog on the importance of location to manufacturers that was really the genesis for a lot of the concepts. In particular, I referenced a passage from Bill Gates’s book,Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System:

"To function in the digital age, we have developed a new digital infrastructure. It's like the human nervous system. Companies need to have that same kind of nervous system—the ability to run smoothly and efficiently, to respond quickly to emergencies and opportunities, to quickly get valuable information to the people in the company who need it, the ability to quickly make decisions and interact with customers."

Over the last few years I had also noticed a significant shift in our prospects and customer expectations when it came to supply chain visibility and control. The level of flexibility, scalability and data visibility that they were getting from cloud applications really started to change their expectations.

I called it Location Irrelevance.

In the manufacturing cloud, the world truly is your oyster. Shouldn’t it be irrelevant whether you make a product yourself in your own facility, outsource it entirely to a 3rd party or do any combination of the above? The answer, of course, is yes.

And that’s what the Omnichain does. In the omnichain, you get global manufacturing without compromise. You get the same level of control, data assurance and visibility regardless of where, what, when (important unless you never sleep) or who is doing the manufacturing.

  • You need to know that your supplier five levels deep in the omnichain is experiencing higher than normal scrap on an assembly, because you need to be able to address it before it becomes a problem.
  • You need to know that as a result they aren’t going to be able to finish their existing run so you can arrange to have more components delivered to them – or arrange for an alternate supplier to pick up the slack.
  • You need to know so you can automatically notify the upstream processors that might be receiving fewer components for their processes and adjust their schedules.
  • You need to know so that you can notify engineering of the higher than normal scrap AND the reason codes so they can work with your omnichain partners to find the optimal resolution
  • And you need all this to happen at the same time, in real time.

That only happens in the cloud. And it only happens in the omnichain.

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