The Supply Chain Matters blog features our April 12, 2019 Edition of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech, a brief synopsis of noteworthy supply chain management focused technology news which we believe would be of specific interest to our global-based readership.

Included in this edition are roughly three weeks of highlights related to noteworthy announcements and/or developments related to:


Amazon and Canvas Technology  This Week in Supply Chain Technology

Elemica and Centifuge

LavaData and Lenovo

Supply Wisdom and NormaShield


Walmart to Deploy Robots at Physical Stores

The Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart will expand its use of autonomous robots among select U.S. Super Centers and retail stores. Applications will include the monitoring of inventory, cleaning floors and unloading trucks. The investment is described as allow the freeing-up of time among in-store workers to support online fulfillment needs. According to the report, the retailer has hired 40,000 store workers to pick groceries in fulfillment of online orders.

Under the reported $11 billion investment effort, upwards of 300 stores will utilize automated shelf scanners produced by Bossa Nova Robotics to monitor inventory levels and report out-of-stocks, after a year of preliminary testing. The robot alerts workers to shelf replenishment needs if the out-of-stock item is located in the store backroom, or the Fast Unloader automated truck unloader if the inventory has recently arrived.

Autonomous floor scrubbers will reportedly be deployed among 1,500 stores and the automated conveyor belts that scan and sort products as they are unloaded will double to 1,200 stores. An additional 900 stores will be utilizing 16-foot high automated towers that allow shoppers to pick-up online orders at local stores.

From our lens, the investment is a further indicator that Walmart will leverage both automated physical stores and larger customer fulfillment centers to support online customer fulfillment needs. Stores will likely be the focal point of grocery and fresh food online fulfillment.


Amazon Acquires Warehouse Robotics Technology Provider Canvas Technology

TechCrunch reported this week that Amazon has confirmed the online retailer’s acquisition of autonomous warehouse robotics start-up firm Canvas Technology. The technology provider provides the Canvas Autonomous Cart,  described fully autonomous cart system for customer fulfillment pick and pack process needs.

The startup previously raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Playground Global. No terms of the Canvas Technology acquisition were disclosed.

Canvas will reportedly be assimilated into Amazon’s Robotic business division for future deployment needs among the online retailer’s customer fulfillment center. No financial terms were disclosed. Announces Strategic Investment by ICONIQ Capital

Online freight matching technology provider announced a majority investment from ICONIQ Capital, with the investor becoming the majority shareholder.  Founder Scott Moscrip and the online provider’s existing management team will reportedly maintain a significant ownership in the company.

The technology provider provides a SaaS based freight matching marketplace across North America, connecting carriers with freight brokers to tender shipments. In addition to freight matching, services include partner vetting tools, credit and insurance insights, transactional cargo insurance and transportation management systems (TMS) integration with major industry software partners.

With the added equity investment, plans call for expanding the company’s portfolio of technology support offerings geared toward improving efficiencies for existing customers.


Elemica Partners with Centifuge for Digital Finance Support Needs

Elemica, a process industry focused B2B technology platform provider, announced a partnership with blockchain technology-based protocol provider Centrifuge to create a visibility and financing offering.

Both technology providers will reportedly build a network and collaborative space to address the challenges of decentralized finance that enable supply chain finance, improve supply chain processes and explore various additional use cases, making transactions more manageable and easily authenticated.


Lenovo to Partner with LavaData on AI-Driven Transformation of Sourcing and Procurement Processes

Applied artificial intelligence provider LavaData announced this week that high tech and computer manufacturer Lenovo will launch that company’s cognitive sourcing platform globally among commodity teams to identify data-driven insights for supplier negotiations and improve procurement agility.

According to the announcement, the initial deployment will focus on Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group, which is the company’s largest business unit, manufacturing a wide range of consumer electronics including mobile phones, PC’s and smart devices. Global sourcing teams in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China, as well as Raleigh North Carolina will work closely with LavaData to investigate where AI and machine learning technology will impact Lenovo’s procurement procedures for developing a 360-degree view of the supply base and the cultivation of new supply chain insights.


Supply Wisdom and NormaShield Partner to Enhance Cybersecurity Support for Businesses

Supply Wisdom, a continuous cyber-risk intelligence and monitoring services provider announced a partnership with NormaShield, a cyber risk scorecard services provider to offer global enterprises with comprehensive risk mitigation coverage and reportedly eliminate the need for subscriptions with multiple risk intelligence providers.

Since 2010, Supply Wisdom has provided offerings of continuous third-party risk intelligence, real-time risk monitoring and in-depth assessments. The partnership reportedly adds expanded coverage to include cyberattack susceptibility and vulnerabilities that includes external suppliers and trusted third parties.


Note to Readers- Supply Chain Matters will feature our This Week in Supply Chain Tech series as announcements warrant.


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