ITW Discovers the Future of the Supply Chain with Ariba
Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is the latest multinational manufacturer to capitalise on Ariba’s revolutionary supply chain management software as the future of procurement continues to pick up speed.
After capitalising on the internet boom in the late 1990s, Ariba’s then-unique e-procurement offering was set up to automate a purchasing process which notoriously drained time and resources from both sides of the supplier partnership.
Now, through the Ariba Discovery business network, both buyer and seller are able to make themselves visible, on a global scale, to produce the smoothest and most comprehensive supply chain strategy possible.
Sundar Kamakshisundaram has been with the company for 15 years and as Senior Director of Global Solutions Marketing and with a wealth of experience in the manufacturing sector, he knows all too well how a service like this can help businesses such as ITW.
“On one side you have buyers and on the other side you have sellers and they’re all connected virtually through a web-based system in the middle,” he said. “As a buyer, you express what you need, and if the supplier sees that they can provide that then they can choose to participate.
“Once they express interest, it’s a question of strategic sourcing; their people actually competing for the business depending on the strategy of the buyer.
“Essentially, we are providing the opportunity for suppliers to expand their revenue. Nowhere in the world do people have the opportunity to actually see all the projects and events and opportunities to expand, in one place.”
Broadening ITW’s field
ITW has been a renowned organisation in the manufacturing of components, equipment and consumable systems for more than 100 years and now utilises Ariba Sourcing and Ariba Discovery, under the overarching Ariba Networks offering, in order to identify optimum sellers, interact with them and eventually work alongside them.
This is an ongoing process however, with the functions of such a network allowing different searches to be carried out for different projects, whether they’re direct requirements of raw materials or more indirect supplies such as machinery parts.
“ITW essentially post on the Ariba website asking, for example, for a faster supplier for a contract on a particular scale, with the supplier having to supply to five different plants in certain areas, on a three-year basis,” Kamakshisundaram explained. “This is just the basic information, and what we’re trying to do for ITW is to broaden their field in terms of who is available.
“Ariba Discovery has a matching engine based on the specific attributes that are very applicable to the category or item the customer is looking for and also the categories of regions or even revenue.”
All attributes are collected as part of the initial posting process and stored within the Ariba Network cloud, making the entire search seamlessly integrated with no additional work required from ITW or prospective suppliers.
This isn’t to say that the process of qualifying potential suppliers is circumnavigated, but taking the strains out of the initial search allows businesses on both sides of the matching engine to enhance their B2B footprint as well as optimise their supply chain.
Manufacturers aren’t the only exponents of the service either with retail, financial services and numerous other industries able to hone in on sector-specific clients to take their business forward.
This is especially the case for small to medium sized businesses who struggle to achieve the same supplier scale through traditional systems due to the lack of revenue or resources.
Kamakshisundaram added: “Typically, small companies have had to just work with whoever they can find. Ariba Discovery and Network is a real game-changer for SMEs and a vast amount of the suppliers in our network are companies with revenues of $10 million or less.”
Expanding from 100,000 suppliers within the network in the early 2000s to more than a million a decade later, running in line with the company being acquired by global ERP giant, SAP in 2012, there is little to no doubt that Ariba’s exponential growth will continue as the trend builds momentum.
And now, with the ongoing growth of the cloud and social media collaboration, never has there been an environment more prepared for a globalising platform such as this to take hold across industries, and especially within the world of manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is becoming a country without borders and Ariba is offering more opportunities than ever before,” Kamakshisundaram concluded.
“Offerings like Ariba Discovery help buyers find companies to match as supplying companies, not only for the operational sourcing needs, but also across their indirect materials too, and as the companies realise the potential of network and collaboration, they are embracing at a much faster pace than we’ve ever seen in the past, attracting companies like ITW.
“Companies are fascinated by the concept from both sides. It is here to stay and will become the new normal in terms of how manufacturing companies will do business in the foreseeable future.”
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.