Loyal readers of the Supply Chain Matters blog are well aware of the alarming increase of incidents of supply chain disruption and risk.  A week does not go by without some incident occurring, and of late, the financial consequences are getting much higher. Supply chains involving food, pharmaceuticals and medicines have all been impacted. The companies impacted are ones we never would have imagined.  Brands such as Toyota and others, have been subject to the negative effects of a breakdown in product quality anywhere, including the lowest levels of the supply chain.

When I talk with firms about mitigation of supply chain risk, I address needs in two broad dimensions.  The first is having a process in place to identify the most important risks, along with a series of mitigation activities to respond and manage such risks from damaging the firm. The second is the leveraged use of technology to facilitate a broader collection of supply chain business intelligence, provide visibility to products flowing within the supply chain, or communicate mitigation information in a secure manner.  It is to the latter area that we continue our blog series featuring technology providers in the supply chain risk management area. 

Last week I had the opportunity to meet and discuss needs in supply chain risk management with the bulk of the executive team at Acsis, Inc, including its new CEO Gene Eubanks, Andre Pino CMO, and John DiPalo CTO.   Acsis technology supports supply chain traceability and visibility, with an emphasis on automating processes that include the need for individualized serialization of products.  The pharmaceutical industry is currently piloting the means to conform with future government mandates for drug visibility and control from production to distribution and consumption. Other industries subject to regulation and control are at various stages of piloting or implementing item level visibility and control. Acsis thus has an impressive listing of customers to include AstraZeneca, Bayer, BASF, Dupont, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Hershey’s and others.  The Acsis VisiTrak technology provides pre-built and certified integration to SAP supply chain execution and factory intelligence applications, which helps in tackling needs in the timely extract and integration of various system transactional data.  From my discussion with the management team, they clearly understand user frustrations in unlocking information that is spread across various operational systems or between various partners within a supply chain.

In our recent guest posting, CSI-Supply Chain, Rich Sherman noted that although there are many different discrete process applications offered in the market today, there are very few choices in providing end-to-end supply chain visibility.  What is needed is an information consolidator that can support an intelligent supply network, one application that has the capability to identify, track, alert, and anticipate areas of risk.  My discussions with the Acsis team lead me to believe that they get this concept.  The key elements of a services oriented software architecture that leverages existing applications, abstraction, and interoperability are the foundation for VisiTrak.  While the company has more work to do, the foundation has been built.

 Bob Ferrari