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In previous blogs, we have highlighted the need for bespoke visibility. Especially in the area of real-time transportation visibility, an area of the supply chain that involves many independent stakeholders, operating across unique networks, with a variety of potential use cases.
Entopy enables bespoke visibility to be achieved. Whilst we have a technology platform, how it is deployed can change, and importantly, it can fit around and within existing systems operating across the supply chain.
Our ability to deliver this, quickly and cost-effectively, is proving to help our customers achieve true competitive advantages, deliver specific requirements, and operate across complex and multi-faceted networks.
First, we have to start with hardware…
To explain how we deliver bespoke visibility with a single platform, we must start with our journey, and more importantly, the development journey of our platform. Entopy has always grappled with the question: if visibility is widely recognised by many supply chain leaders, and there are many companies offering supply chain visibility tools, why do most businesses not have the visibility across their supply chains that they need?
Our starting point was a lack of data, or specifically, a lack of the right data and a viable means of capturing it. This led us down the path of hardware development. We recruited some great engineers and set about developing our supply chain monitoring device. The device we developed monitored location, temperature, shock, and speed using multiple sensors and communicated this data over the cellular network. The device was designed to fit on supply chain handling units, as close to the product/consignments we were monitoring as we could get.
Alongside the hardware that we were developing, we developed our software platform. The main function of this was to turn sensor data captured into meaningful data through association with what it was monitoring. This is where our digital twin concept was born.
Throughout that hardware development process, many iterations were made to the device, changing the way it communicated, changing the format of the data that we received, changing the communication frequency. The software had to be able to cope with severe interruption throughout the testing process but still gather highly valuable insights to aid the development process.
It was here that the flexibility of our platform was embedded – quite simply because it had to be. On the software/platform side of things, the team had to be able to react in real-time to unexpected changes, unforeseen events. Our ability to do this was critical to having any chance of meeting delivery timeframes. The flexibility of the software, born out of necessity, is a key component in what differentiates Entopy today.
As Entopy and our platform has evolved, the software platform has taken over and the hardware has become redundant. The platform has been developed to be able to receive data from a whole range of systems and devices making it completely open and capable of using data present within the supply chain today. The hardware development process provided immense value and has meant that our team have developed a deep understanding of how target systems work. As we have evolved, we have built on the early learnings, developing our now proven data framework that allows us to implement our digital twin foundation to any business.
A smart architecture.
The digital twin foundation is the key that enables us to deliver highly flexible and bespoke outputs – we call it Entopy core. Data is brought together in a way that we have individual, independent virtual objects, each representing a target ‘thing’ within the supply chain network (typically a consignment).
This data is captured, and subsequent objects are created within the platform core. Our core is dynamic, building in much of the learnings from our hardware development process, much of the flexibility required throughout that time to enable targeted data capture. Our architecture allows us to dip in and out of connected systems, pulling relevant data to relevant objects in a targeted way.
This of course can be configured to meet specific business requirements. Maybe you want a location update every minute, maybe every 10 minutes. Maybe you only want to monitor consignments of a certain value or consignments that are going to a certain customer or place. All do-able.
But critically, the applications and other interfaces we deliver sit on top of the core. This means we can deliver bespoke applications very quickly; we can deliver customised dashboards, search tools, API suites and tools. The way our platform has been developed allows us to be incredibly dynamic, not just when we start, but throughout a customer’s time with us.
Non-restrictive commercial framework.
Above all else, we value innovation and customer success. We want to be able to do the things others can’t and deliver outcomes for our customers that create genuine competitive advantages. We have been very careful to ensure our commercial framework doesn’t get in the way of that.
Therefore, we have a fully consumption-based pricing model that provides our starting point. Because we start at such a granular level, we maximise flexibility on the commercial side to ensure that we can align with who we are working with. It also ensures value and cost are aligned.
A collaborative, long-term approach to business.
The final, and most important point here is our approach. We invest in each of our customers and partners, taking the time to understand the challenges, the requirements, the data flow, the desired outcomes. This approach, alongside our development resource to mobilise the platform to ensure long-term alignment and success.
Entopy’s open real-time transportation visibility platform has become hugely flexible, built on our learnings from an in-depth hardware development process and ensuring we stay focused on flexibility and our capability to deliver bespoke visibility. The platform captures and combines data from disparate supply chain systems to create digital twins at consignment level. This capability will help supply chain leaders to drive real transformation and gain true competitive advantage through visibility technology.