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Top 46 Resource And Optimization Influencers (Plus A Few Others)

Jen Cohen Crompton

resource and optimizationFACT: According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, around a third of all the food produced in the world ends up being wasted somewhere along the production and consumption line.

FACT: Around the world, there are 884 million people who lack access to fresh water; by 2040, at least 3.5 billion people will run short of water.

FACT: The population living in urban areas is projected to increase from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050. Our environment is changing, and so must the way we do business.

These facts about our changing landscape affects all of us in one way or another, and they all point to one commonality – we need to learn how to optimize our resources for more efficient and effective management to ensure the sustainability of businesses, the economy, and the environment.

As companies realize this urgent call to action, they are working to more properly manage their supply chains to reduce waste and improve efficiency, and looking at sustainability and corporate social responsibility to limit, or reverse, the negative effects on resources.

Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of influencers who can share thoughts and insights on how the world is changing and what we can do to support positive change for businesses and for the greater good.

Here is a list of 46 influencers in supply chain management and sustainability, and 10 companies providing useful information. Enjoy!

Supply chain management influencers

1. Kevin O’Meara – Kevin has over 20 yeasr of experience with logistics and supply chain operations. He enjoys working with all things logistical and supply chain-related and has a special passion for alternative energy.

Twitter: @Logisticsexpert – Website: http://10xlogistics.blogspot.com/

2. Jeff Ashcroft – Jeff is a marketing, supply chain, and retail logistics specialist. He is an agent for green, RFID, social and airships.

Twitter: @JeffAshcroft – Website: scigroup.com

3. Steve Brady – Steve is a professor and has his PhD in supply chain. He is a consultant in areas of inventory, collaborative SCM, and space logistics

Twitter: @SCMProfessor – Website: http://theprofessornotes.com/

4. Sherrie Miller – Sherrie has an MBA and degrees in supply chain management and management information systems, and is interested in strategy, innovation, CRM, and BPM.

Twitter: @SupplyChainSher – Website: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sherriemiller

5. Martin Murray – Martin is an author and About.com expert for logistics and supply chain.

Twitter: @AboutLogistics  – Website: logistics.about.com

6. Brian Hamrock – Brian is a supply chain industry expert, consultant, and social media guru.

Twitter: @scmtechtrends – Website: N/A

7. Dave Meyer – Dave is a senior environmental heath and safety advisor. He is an experienced sustainable business practitioner, advocating for sustainability and supply chain management.

Twitter: @DRMeyer1 – Website: valuestream2009.wordpress.com

8. Dave Inglis – Dave is all about providing practical supply chain management, process mapping, and business improvement.

Twitter: @SCMDude – Website: louisvilleconsult.co.uk

9. Cheryl Berklich – Cheryl has expertise in building top-performing, world-class procurement operations. She has a proven track record of driving dynamic cost reductions and productivity in expense and capital operations for small, mid-size, Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 settings.

Twitter: @cherylberklich – Website: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cherylberklich

10. Dustin Mattison – Dustin is an education innovator, social entrepreneur, teacher, and writer. He is interested in building knowledge platforms that create unique learning environments and interviews supply chain experts for the Kinaxis Supply Chain Expert Community.

Twitter: @dustinmattison – Webite: http://dustinmattison.com/

11. Matt Wilkerson – Matt is a supply chain, operations, and technology transformation leader.

Twitter:@SupplyChainIT – Website: synthesis-advisory.com

12. Mike Stay – Mike is a general manager with experience in leader operations, supply chain, and logistics.

Twitter: @MikeStay – Website: linkedin.com/in/mikestay

13. Tony Colwell – Tony is an executive interim manager and consultant in procurement, supply chain, and change management. He is passionate about stakeholder engagement and effective process.

Twitter: @tonycolwell – Website: acuityconsultants.com/wp/

14. Lisa Ellram – Lisa is a supply chain researcher, educator, and professional interested in sustainability, value enhancement, cost management, and offshoring/outsourcing.

Twitter: @SupplyChainLisa – Website: N/A

15. Paul Snell – Paul is a procurement and supply chain journalist at Supply Management and Supply Business.

Twitter: @procurementpaul – Website: supplymanagement.com

16. Lisa Anderson – Lisa is a supply chain expert and business consultant who helps manufacturers and distributors elevate business performance.

Twitter: @LisaAndersonLMA – Website: lma-consultinggroup.com  

17. Kenneth Kowal – Kenneth focuses on supply chain logistics, ecommerce order fulfillment, and social media. He has worked with hundreds of companies, from lone entrepreneurs with a vision to Fortune 100 companies, on virtually every aspect of their logistics supply chain.

Twitter: @kennethkowal – Website: logisticsbi.com

18. Randy McClure – Randy is advancing transportation and supply chain management through IT innovation. His current focus is to help shippers and transportation carriers achieve 100 percent on-time delivery and leverage 100 percent of transportation costs.

Twitter: @mcislog

19. Mark Gavoor – Mark is a supply chain and quality consultant, writer, speaker, and professor.

Twitter: @mgavoor – Website: http://cr-supplychain.com

20. Tom Napier – Tom focuses on discussing supply chain management, innovation, logistics, and project management ideas.

Twitter: @Tom_Napier – Website:  PSIengineering.com

21. Paul Baris – Paul is a supply chain guru and senior executive, involved with purchasing, distribution, forecasting, and transportation. He is a supply chain transformer and problem-solver with extensive experience driving results and changing cultures.

Twitter: @scguru – Website: N/A

Sustainability Influencers:

22. Marc Gunther – Marc is a writer and speaker on business and sustainability, editor-at-large Guardian Sustainable Business Us, and a contributor at Fortune.

Twitter: @MarcGunther – Website: marcgunther.com

23. Jim McClelland – Jim is a sustainable futurist, writer, and speaker. As a journalist, he  has written supplements to The Times, and has been quoted in The Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times.

Twitter: @SustMeme – Website: jimtheeditor.wordpress.com

24. Andrew Winston – Andrew is a globally recognized business consultant-speaker-writer, hoping to change minds. He is an author Green to Gold, Green Recovery, and The Big Pivot.

Twitter: @AndrewWinston – Website: andrewwinston.com

25. John Elkington – John is the co-founder of Volans, an environmental and sustainability data service. He wrote 18 books and blogs at Volans, CSRWire, and Guardian.

Twitter: @volansjohn – Website: volans.com

26. Chris Price – Chris is a young profession and entrepreneur in LA who is deep into everything green and sustainable.

Twitter: @ahtohg – Website: N/A

27. Dave Stangis – VP Public Affairs/CR for the Campbell’s CSR Foundation. He has experience in working across all levels of public corporations (Board of Directors to front lines), non-profit agencies, and with policymakers.

Twitter: @DaveStangis – Website: campbellsoupcompany.com/csr

28. Hunter Lovins – Hunter is a social entrepreneur who consults to large corporations, small businesses, communities, and dozens of nations around the world. She was named the 2008 Sustainability Pioneer by the European financial community for her 30 years of work framing the sustainability movement. She is also the Millennium TIME Magazine Hero of the Planet.

Twitter: @hlovis – Website: natcapsolutions.org

29. Jeffrey D. Sachs – Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the author of To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace.

Twitter: @JeffDSachs – Website: jeffsachs.org

30. Jo Confino – Jo is an executive editor of the Guardian, chairman and editorial director of Guadian Sustainable Business, and advisor to Guardian Media Group.

Twitter: @joconfino – Website: http://www.theguardian.com/profile/joconfino

31. Christian Figueres – Christian is an executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and her passion is fighting climate change.

Twitter: @CFigueres – Website: unfccc.int

32. John Friedman – John Friedman is an award-winning communications professional and internationally recognized sustainability expert with more than 20 years of experience in internal and external communications, and a decade in corporate responsibility and sustainability. He currently works within Sodexo Corporate Responsibility Communications and is a Huffington Post blogger.

Twitter: @JohnFriedman – Website: huffingtonpost.com/john-friedman

33. Leon Kaye – Leon has over 2500 articles published on The Guardian, Triple Pundit, Inhabitat and Earth911 since 2009. He has insight on issues including environmental sustainability, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, water stewardship, and clean energy.

Twitter: @LeonKaye – Website:  greengopost.com

34. Tim Mohin – Tim is an author of Changing Business from the Inside Out. He is the director of Corporate Responsibility at AMD and has worked in CSR at Apple and Intel, and in policy at EPA and the Senate.

Twitter: @TimMohinAMD – Website: http://www.amd.com/us/aboutamd/corporate-information/corporate-responsibility/Pages/information.aspx

35. William McDonough – William is a designer, advisor, and co-author of Cradle to Cradle. He is a TIME Magazine Hero of the Planet who is changing the design of the world.

Twitter: @billmcdonough – Website: mcdonough.com

36. David Quilty – David is the founder of the daily environmental web magazine, The Good Human, and developed it into a well-respected and widely-sourced “green” brand. 

Twitter: @thegoodhuman – Website: thegoodhuman.com

37. Mike Barry – Mike is the director of Sustainable Business Marks and Spencer. He was voted Sustainable Business innovator of the year in 2011 and is leading the Plan A journey.

Twitter: @planamikebarry – Website: https://twitter.com/planamikebarry

38. Ramon Arratia – Ramon is the Sustainability Director for Interface EMEAI. He is an author of the book, Full Product Transparency and is avidly campaigning for radical sustainability.

Twitter: @RamonArratia – Website: interfacecutthefluff.com

39. Peter Gleick – Peter is the President of Pacific Institute. He is a climate/water scientist and a member of the National Academy of Science.

Twitter: @PeterGleick – Website: gleick.com

40. Sally Uren – Sally is the CEO of Forum For The Future. She is on a mission to create a sustainable future and focuses on sustainable business, sustainable food, and change.

Twitter: @sallyuren – Website: forumforthefuture.org

41. Stephanie Moram – Stephanie is an educational environmental lifestyle blogger and social media consultant. She is a freelance writer for ecosnobberysucks.com and founder and Editor-in-Chief of Good Girl Gone Green.

Twitter: @GGirlGGreen – Website:  ecosnobberysucks.com

42. Alexandra Michalko – Alexandra is a CSR/sustainability professional (currently at REI) with a decade of experience in the private and nonprofit sectors across industries. She has an MBA and a Master of Environmental Management with concentrations in strategy, environmental economics, and social entrepreneurship.

Twitter: @AlexRMichalko – Website: sustainablevalue.wordpress.com

43. Cindy Hoots – Cindy is a believer that a company’s true character is revealed by what it does when no one is watching. She is engaging stakeholders through their CSR initiative and sustainability issues.

Twitter: @ethicalbiz – Website: N/A

44. Beth Terry – Beth is attempting to live plastic-free and blogging all about it since 2007. She is advocating for the movement that we all could lead a plastic-free life.

Twitter: @PlasticfreeBeth – Website: myplasticfreelife.com

45. Steve R – Steve is all about sustainability – social responsibility, corporate and personal responsibility, energy, housing, and food and water conservation.

Twitter: @SustainablSteve – Website: N/A

46. Sarah Wechsberg – Sarah is a foodie, entrepreneur and vegan. She is passionate about sustainable business and a sustainable food system.

Twitter: @TheEcofoodie – Website: N/A

…and here are some companies to follow for supply chain management

Supply Chain Network – Supply Chain Network is a network developed to connect supply chain and logistics professionals to the people and information they need.

Twitter: @SupplyChainNtwk – Website: http://www.supplychainnetwork.com

Inbound Logistics – Inbound Logistics is an educational and supply chain resource for businesses seeking to better match demand to supply, and orient operations to support that shift.

Twitter: @ILMagazine – Website: http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/index.php

SupplyChainToday.com – Supply Chain Today offers social and business information relating to innovation, collaboration, and strategy.

Twitter: @SupplyChainBlog – Website: http://www.supplychaintoday.com/ 

Supply Chain Digest – Supply Chain offers supply chain related news and insights.

Twitter: @scdigest – Website: http://www.scdigest.com/

Supply Chain Management Revieve (SCMR) – SCMR is a magazine with content geared toward supply chain management professionals.

Twitter: @SCMR – Website: http://www.scmr.com/

Sustainability:

TreeHugger.com – Treehuggers shares links, ideas, and opens communication to foster conversations about all things green.

Twitter: @TreeHugger – Website: http://www.treehugger.com/

HuffPost Green – Huffington Post Green features the latest news on energy, environment, animals, and plenty more “green” content.

Twitter: @HuffPostGreen – Website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/green/

Guardian Environment – The Guardian Environment offers green news, commentary, and more.

Twitter: @guardianeco – Website: http://www.theguardian.com/environment

Grist – Grist is an online new organization that uses humor to interpret green issues with the overall goal of inspiring environmental action.

Twitter: @grist – Website: http://grist.org/

Sustainable Business – Sustainable Business is the global voice for cutting edge sustainability comment, debate, and expert insight.

Twitter: @GuardianSustBiz – Website: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business

————-

See other influencer lists

 

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About Jen Cohen Crompton

Jen Cohen Crompton is a SAP Blogging Correspondent reporting on big data, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics, sports and tech, and anything else innovation-related. When she's not blogging, she can be caught marketing, using social media and/or presenting at conferences around the world. Disclosure: Jen is being compensated by SAP to produce a series of articles on the innovation topics covered on this site. The opinions reflected here are her own.

How 3D Printing Could Transform The Chemical Industry

Stefan Guertzgen

The history of 3D printing started 30 years ago with Chuck Hull, the Thomas Edison of the 3D printing industry, who introduced the first 3D printer. Since then, 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) has been used to create everything from food and other consumer goods to automotive and airplane parts.

Key drivers of adoption

The tremendous growth of 3D printing has been driven by three key factors. First, the cost is rapidly decreasing due to lower raw material costs, stronger competitive pressures, and technological advancements. Second, printing speeds are increasing. For example, last year, startup company Carbon3D printed a palm-sized geodesic sphere in a little more than 6 minutes, which is 25 to 100 times faster than traditional 3D printing solutions. Third, new 3D printers are able to accommodate a wider variety of materials. Driven by innovations within the chemical industry, a broad range of polymers, resins, plasticizers, and other materials are being used to create new 3D products.

While it’s difficult to predict the long-term impact 3D printing will have on the overall economy, it is safe to say that the it could affect almost every industry and the way companies do business. In fact, the chemical industry has already implemented 3D applications in the areas of research and development (R&D) and manufacturing.

Innovative feedstocks and processes

3D printing provides a vast opportunity for the chemical industry to develop innovative feedstock and drive new revenue streams. While more than 3,000 materials are used in conventional component manufacturing, only about 30 are available for 3D printing. To put this into perspective, the market for chemical powder materials is predicted to be more than $630 million annually by 2020.

Plastics and resins, as well as metal powders and ceramic materials, are already in use or under evaluation for printing prototypes, parts of industry assets, or semi-finished goods—particularly those that are complex to produce and that require small batch sizes. Developing the right formulas to create these new materials offers an opportunity for constant innovation within the chemical field, which will likely produce even more materials in the future. For example, Covestro, a developer of polymer technology, is developing a range of filaments, powders, and liquid resins for all common 3D printing methods; 3M, working with its subsidiary Dyneon, recently filed a patent for using fluorinated polymers in 3D printing; and Wacker is testing 3D printing with silicones.

The chemical industry is also in the driver’s seat when it comes to process development. About 20 different processes now exist that share one common characteristic: layered deposition of printer feed. The final product could be generated from melting thermoplastic resins (for example, laser sinter technology or fused deposition modeling) or via (photo) chemical reaction such as stereo-lithography or multi-jet modeling. For both process types, the physical and chemical properties of feed materials are critical success factors for processing and for the quality of the finished product.

New tools and techniques in R&D and operations

Typically, the laboratory equipment used to do chemical synthesis is expensive and complex to use, and it often represents an obstacle in the research progress. With 3D printing, it is now possible to create reliable, robust miniaturized fluidic reactors as “micro-platforms” for organic chemical syntheses and materials processes, printed in few hours with inexpensive materials. Such micro-reactors allow building up target molecules via multi-step synthesis as well as breaking down molecular structures and detecting the building blocks through reagents which could be embedded during the 3D printing process.

Micro-reactors can also be used as small prototypes to simulate manufacturing processes.

In addition to printing equipment used in laboratories, some chemical manufacturers are using 3D printers for maintenance on process plant assets. For example, when an asset fails because of a damaged engine valve, the replacement part can be printed on site and installed in real time. Creating spare parts in-house can significantly reduce inventory costs and wait time for deliveries, hence contributing to increase overall asset uptime.

For companies that do not want to print the parts themselves, an on-demand manufacturing network is available that will print and deliver parts as needed. UPS has introduced a fully distributed manufacturing platform that connects many of its stores with 3D printers. When needed, UPS and its partners print and deliver requested parts to customers.

Commercial benefits

Across all industries, 3D printing promises to reduce costs across the supply chain. For example, the ability to print spare parts on demand can save money through improved asset uptime and more efficient workforce management. 3D printing also helps control costs with reduced waste and a smaller carbon footprint. In contrast to traditional “subtractive” manufacturing techniques in which raw material is removed, 3D printing is an additive process that uses only the amount of material that is needed. This can save significant amounts of raw materials. In the aerospace industry, for example, Airbus estimates 3D printing could reduce its raw material costs by up to 90 percent.

From a manufacturing perspective, 3D printing can streamline processes, accelerate design cycles, and add agility to operations. Printing prototypes on site speeds the R&D development cycle and shortens time to market. Researchers can make, test, and finalize prototypes in days instead of weeks. Also, the ability to print parts or equipment on demand will eliminate expensive inventory holding costs and restocking order requirements and free up floor space for other purposes. In the U.S. alone, manufacturers and trade inventories for all industries were estimated at $1.8 trillion in August 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Reducing inventory by just 2 percent would be a $36 billion savings.

Barriers to adoption

As with most new technology, barriers must be overcome for this potential to fully be realized. One much-discussed but unresolved issue is intellectual property protection. Similar to the way digital music is shared, 3D printable digital blueprints could be shared illegally and/or unknowingly either within a company or by outside hackers.

In addition to digital files, users can print molds from scanned objects and use them to mass-produce exact replicas that are protected under copyright, trademark, and patent laws. This problem will continue to grow as companies move to an on-demand manufacturing network, requiring digital blueprints to be shared with independent fabricators. This poses a huge threat on companies losing billions of dollars every year in intellectual property globally.

Regulatory issues are slowing the adoption of 3D printer applications. This is especially applicable in the medical and pharmaceutical industries but has potential impact in many markets. For example, globally regulating what individuals will create with access to the Internet and a 3D chemical printer will be difficult. Also, as 3D printing drives small and customer-specific lot sizes, it will likely spur an explosion of proprietary bills of material and recipes, which will be hard to track and control under REACH or REACH-like regulations. Because this is a new frontier, many regulatory issues must be addressed.

In addition to legal and regulatory challenges, the industry has a long way to go in reliably reproducing high-quality products. Until 3D printing can match the speed and quality output requirements of conventional manufacturing processes, it will likely be reserved for prototypes or small-sized lots.

3D printing: a new frontier

While 3D printing has not reached the point of use for large-scale production or to consistently make custom products, ongoing innovations drive high demand. 3D printer market forecasts estimate that shipments of industrial 3D printers will grow by ~400% through 2021 to a value of about $26 billion. Global inventory value is estimated to be over $10 trillion. Reducing global inventory by just 5% would free up $500 billion in capital. Manufacturing overall is estimated to contribute ~16% to the global economy. If 3D printing just would capture 5% of this $12.8 trillion market, it would create a $640 billion+ opportunity.

3D printing will initially help chemical companies increase profitability by lowering costs and improving operational efficiency. However, the industry-changing opportunity is the chance to develop new feeds and formulations. The most successful chemical companies of the future will be the ones with the vision to begin developing and implementing 3D printing solutions today.

Learn more about SAPPHIRE NOW and secure your spot today!

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About Stefan Guertzgen

Dr. Stefan Guertzgen is the Global Director of Industry Solution Marketing for Chemicals at SAP. He is responsible for driving Industry Thought Leadership, Positioning & Messaging and strategic Portfolio Decisions for Chemicals.

How Are Drones Influencing The Business World?

Mark Chesterman

Drones have long been viewed as little more than cool toys for adults (or at their worst, weapons of war). But people are now beginning to understand that drones can also be useful business tools.

How? They collect data, and data collection is big business. Collected efficiently and analyzed properly, the right data helps companies make good decisions faster than ever before.

Drones fill a perfect niche, easily accessing the airspace above the ground and below the clouds—that middle place that’s above surface of the earth but below airplanes and satellites. This perspective enables drones to scan, map, and record surfaces and objects in three dimensions with a level of clarity and detail never before possible.

Dronelife predicts that in 2017, companies will transition from exploring drones’ potential to implementing their use. Companies have already been purchasing drones to learn about their capabilities in the field. Now business owners are approaching developers with ideas about what drones can do for their companies.

Automated work processes

Automation is a primary area drones can be utilized. For example, instead of driving for hours to inspect crops, farmers can send a drone to take a look and record how things are progressing. Ranchers can check on their cows without riding the plains in search of them. Construction companies can keep an eye on construction sites and expensive equipment. Property inspectors and insurance agents can survey properties for damage or code violations.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, drones can be cost-effective as well. A job that may have previously taken up to six hours can now be done in one, freeing employees to work more efficiently. Such productivity gains will quickly offset the $2000-$3000 investment in the cost of a roof drone.

Employers and insurance companies are always looking for safer ways to perform difficult and dangerous tasks. A roof drone can safely inspect and record information on a damaged roof, for example, enabling the insurance inspector to analyze and report on recorded data from the safety of the office.

Disaster cleanup companies find drones very useful for estimating damage from flooding, rock slides, and other emergencies, guiding cleanup workers and helping them conduct rescues and repairs with minimal risk.

Better delivery and service

According to Business Insider, the drone industry will quickly change the way many companies do business. As an example, the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show was filled with quad-copters promising faster package delivery.

Emergency medical researchers have successfully tested an AED (automated external defibrillator), which can be quickly and efficiently dispatched via drone by 9-1-1 personnel to assist heart attack victims. The drone, which resembles a large spider, carries the AED in its body compartment. When the drone lands, the 9-1-1 caller (or others on the scene) simply follow voice commands issued by the unit to implement potential life-saving measures before the ambulance arrives.

Advertising tools

Drones are also changing the marketing industry. Since 2014, drones have been routinely used to display advertising banners. Since then, some restaurants have experimented with using them to serve food and for stunts such as hovering mistletoe over tables at Christmastime and displaying ads outside office building windows at lunchtime. Florists have dropped roses over city streets on Valentine’s Day. Many businesses agree that drones offer unique, innovative, and effective ways to advertise their products and services.

If a company needs an aerial photograph or a video of a major event, a manufactured prototype, or a new location site, a drone will do the job nicely without scaffolding or helicopters. Drones create stunning promotional photos and videos, while also showing the company as modern and innovative.

Regulatory concerns

Amidst the excitement, many companies are also taking a serious look at the insurance and liability aspects of drone flying. This quickly evolving issue has already resulted in insurance companies adding clauses to their contracts. Regulatory and safety concerns regarding drone use will undoubtedly cause many company owners to move cautiously.

Although few doubt that the commercial drone industry is poised for takeoff, many bugs still need to be worked out with the Federal Aviation Administration. The question of who has the right to use the air space above the earth has been a push-and-pull issue for decades.

To illustrate the importance of drone regulation, consider the recent Oroville Dam crisis, where government drones were used to monitor the erosion of the broken spillway ramp. Facing a seven- to ten-day window to clean the debris at the bottom of the ramp, government workers prohibited private drone owners, including media companies, from flying drones over the area. Any glitch in the cleanup timetable could have delayed the reactivation of the electric power plant downstream and caused the evacuation warning to remain in effect.

The quickly evolving nature of drone technology creates many questions about their commercial use and safety concerns. Recent crashes between drones and power lines and a highly publicized landing on the White House lawn put pressure on the FAA to develop a new set of regulations that will need to be updated frequently.

As entrepreneurs invent new ways for drones to impact the business world and society in general, companies will respond, using drones to reduce costs and increase safety and efficiency. As a bonus, the publicity that comes with innovative drone use could offer them a publicity boost.

For more on the role of drones in digital transformation, see Drones: Poised For Takeoff In The Digital Economy.

Image: Flickr

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About Mark Chesterman

Mark Chesterman is a drone enthusiast. He aspires to becoming a force to be reckoned with in this field. His passion for drones started after buying a simple quadcopter model and getting a passion for aerial photography. Mark recently started the Droneista project. The website offers useful advice for anyone who wants to learn how to choose a drone or how to fly with it. Also, Droneista focuses on extensive reviews.

How Emotionally Aware Computing Can Bring Happiness to Your Organization

Christopher Koch


Do you feel me?

Just as once-novel voice recognition technology is now a ubiquitous part of human–machine relationships, so too could mood recognition technology (aka “affective computing”) soon pervade digital interactions.

Through the application of machine learning, Big Data inputs, image recognition, sensors, and in some cases robotics, artificially intelligent systems hunt for affective clues: widened eyes, quickened speech, and crossed arms, as well as heart rate or skin changes.




Emotions are big business

The global affective computing market is estimated to grow from just over US$9.3 billion a year in 2015 to more than $42.5 billion by 2020.

Source: “Affective Computing Market 2015 – Technology, Software, Hardware, Vertical, & Regional Forecasts to 2020 for the $42 Billion Industry” (Research and Markets, 2015)

Customer experience is the sweet spot

Forrester found that emotion was the number-one factor in determining customer loyalty in 17 out of the 18 industries it surveyed – far more important than the ease or effectiveness of customers’ interactions with a company.


Source: “You Can’t Afford to Overlook Your Customers’ Emotional Experience” (Forrester, 2015)


Humana gets an emotional clue

Source: “Artificial Intelligence Helps Humana Avoid Call Center Meltdowns” (The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2016)

Insurer Humana uses artificial intelligence software that can detect conversational cues to guide call-center workers through difficult customer calls. The system recognizes that a steady rise in the pitch of a customer’s voice or instances of agent and customer talking over one another are causes for concern.

The system has led to hard results: Humana says it has seen an 28% improvement in customer satisfaction, a 63% improvement in agent engagement, and a 6% improvement in first-contact resolution.


Spread happiness across the organization

Source: “Happiness and Productivity” (University of Warwick, February 10, 2014)

Employers could monitor employee moods to make organizational adjustments that increase productivity, effectiveness, and satisfaction. Happy employees are around 12% more productive.




Walking on emotional eggshells

Whether customers and employees will be comfortable having their emotions logged and broadcast by companies is an open question. Customers may find some uses of affective computing creepy or, worse, predatory. Be sure to get their permission.


Other limiting factors

The availability of the data required to infer a person’s emotional state is still limited. Further, it can be difficult to capture all the physical cues that may be relevant to an interaction, such as facial expression, tone of voice, or posture.



Get a head start


Discover the data

Companies should determine what inferences about mental states they want the system to make and how accurately those inferences can be made using the inputs available.


Work with IT

Involve IT and engineering groups to figure out the challenges of integrating with existing systems for collecting, assimilating, and analyzing large volumes of emotional data.


Consider the complexity

Some emotions may be more difficult to discern or respond to. Context is also key. An emotionally aware machine would need to respond differently to frustration in a user in an educational setting than to frustration in a user in a vehicle.

 


 

download arrowTo learn more about how affective computing can help your organization, read the feature story Empathy: The Killer App for Artificial Intelligence.


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About Christopher Koch

Christopher Koch is the Editorial Director of the SAP Center for Business Insight. He is an experienced publishing professional, researcher, editor, and writer in business, technology, and B2B marketing. Share your thoughts with Chris on Twitter @Ckochster.

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Predictive Procurement Gets Real

Marcell Vollmer

The physical and digital worlds have officially collided. In the old days, we’d have the morning paper delivered to our doorsteps and read it on the way to work while sipping coffee we made at home. Today, the news stories we care about are automatically delivered to our mobile devices, and we scan them while enjoying the beverage that was ready and waiting for us at the local coffee shop after we ordered it via mobile app. In years past, we attended events after work to expand our professional networks. Now we link to our peers — and their peers — around the world, online in real time.

Connecting the dots

As a society, we are more connected than ever. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), we can see and be seen like never before. We can learn about the future and use this information to shape it to our advantage.

There are plenty of examples of this in the consumer world—for example, refrigerators that predict when you’re about to run out of milk and automatically order and have it delivered before you even notice, and devices that know you’re on your way home and turn on the lights before you get there.

It’s happening in procurement as well, and transforming the function as we know it. Procurement is complex and involves lots of moving parts, from sourcing and manufacturing to transportation and logistics. It’s an intricate web of systems, processes, and relationships that must be coordinated and managed, both internally and externally, to ensure that goods and services get delivered on budget and on time.

Predicting the future

Over the years, procurement has made great strides, leveraging disruptive forces such as business networks and cloud technologies to evolve from a tactical manual process to a strategic digital one. Paper orders and invoices are all but dead. Electronic payments are taking hold. Buyers and sellers are meeting and collaborating online.

Yet the transformation has only begun. Aided by Big Data and the IoT, procurement is becoming smarter and more predictive than ever.

Data is the lifeblood of any organization. From structured information on production, marketing, sales, HR, finance, facilities, and operations to transaction-level data on suppliers, customers, and partners, it tells the story of a business. For years, companies have been mining data simply to figure out what it all means—essentially, to learn from the past and perform better in the present.

Now they are leveraging advances in technology such as in-memory computing, real-time analytics, and the IoT to create assumptions about what will happen in the future and take actions that drive optimal outcomes.

Eliminating risk

Supply chains are more global than ever, and as a result, fraught with more risk. Many companies are turning to the IoT to anticipate and mitigate this risk before it disrupts their business. Consider the mining industry. Trucks are the critical link to transport raw materials to either further process or sell them on the market. If one of these trucks stands still due to maintenance issues, losses to the company could run into the millions, as they only can sell what they get out of a mine and deliver.

With the help of sensors, companies can continually monitor their fleets and receive notifications on upcoming maintenance needs to prevent breakdowns before they occur. Critical components such as engines and braking systems, for example, can be connected by small IoT sensors that monitor their temperature, hydraulic pressure, container angle, position, and vibrations. The sensors transmit all data to a live dashboard, and if a key parameter such as temperature changes, it will trigger an alert for the radiator. This information is then automatically routed to the procurement system, where a replacement order for radiator hose and radiator cleaner is automatically processed in line with the company’s procedures and policies. Related maintenance service is scheduled with a qualified technician who will arrive as soon as the material arrives and perform the work before a fatal defect of the radiator causes the truck to literally stop in its tracks. Risk avoided.

Delivering value

Supply chains are no doubt complex — and the data within them even more so. But data is the new global currency. And the IoT holds the key to unlocking its value. With the IoT, companies can not only spot patterns and trends in their business but anticipate risk and changes and adapt their businesses to gain advantage.

For more on how data analysis is transforming business, see Living The Live Supply Chain: Why You Need Data Scientists.

The article originally appeared in Spend Matters. It is republished by permission.

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Marcell Vollmer

About Marcell Vollmer

Marcell Vollmer is the Chief Digital Officer for SAP Ariba (SAP). He is responsible for helping customers digitalize their supply chain. Prior to this role, Marcell was the Chief Operating Officer for SAP Ariba, enabling the company to setup a startup within the larger SAP business. He was also the Chief Procurement Officer at SAP SE, where he transformed the global procurement organization towards a strategic, end-to-end driven organization, which runs SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass solutions, as well as Concur technologies in the cloud. Marcell has more than 20 years of experience in working in international companies, starting with DHL where he delivered multiple supply chain optimization projects.