Concepts like supply chain optimisation via cost effective packaging, robot-controlled warehouse, regulation compliance and risk management are promising, but they're certainly not the only way to save costs. There is, however, a new avenue that can achieve supply chain optimisation.

Grid computing supports multiple units that share the service in the supply chain. This requires the use of software that can divide and farm out pieces of a programme as one large system image to several thousand computers and servers in the electronic supply chain. One concern is that if one piece of the software on a node fails, other pieces of the software on other nodes may fail as well. This can be overcome with a failover component on another node. If this component is not included, the entire grid will downgrade or shut down.

The supply chain users can access on demand a single or multiple applications while assisting in reducing infrastructure costs and peak load capacity. When a disruption occurs, traffic flows can be rerouted from blocked to available nodes.

The following are several ways that grid computing can help organisations attain supply chain optimisation, particularly through enhanced disaster planning.

  1. Disaster recovery plan focuses on recovering from natural and man-made disasters through supply chain risk management. This would help any OEM and/or supplier take a proactive approach rather than reactive when dealing with and recovering from natural disaster disruptions. If some computers and servers are down due to a disaster, unaffected computers in grid will continue to operate while providing temporary re-routing traffic flows in the supply chain.
  2. Regulation compliance ensures the players in electronic supply chain comply with new and evolving regulations as the supplies electronically travel through countries before reaching their final destination. Not to be overlooked is the United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards. The State Department has ranked countries into three tiers: fully complaint, not fully compliant and not compliant with the regulation. Grid computing could support sending alerts on non-compliant countries attempting to send the supplies.
  3. Supplier tier visibility looks at how the OEMs can quickly identify their deep tier suppliers after the disruptions. In at least one instance, a third-tier supplier was discovered as the single source for multiple suppliers in the second-tier. This third-tier supplier became unavailable for a few weeks. Grid computing could send alerts on this discovery and rerouting of traffic to avoid supply delays.
  4. Supplier risk frequency formula looks at several factors on how often the suppliers should be evaluated within a year to ensure their availability. They include threats, supply item criticality and United States anti-human trafficking regulation compliance. At the minimum, a weight should assign to each risk level (high, medium and low) for each factor. This would help to optimise risk evaluations in the grid.
  5. Dynamic on-demand service grids could consider and evaluate unexpected demands for supplies due to disruptions including new regulations, political changes (tariffs and taxes), large scale labour unrest and mergers. This could allow organisations to temporarily reroute traffic and minimise the impacts of sudden rise in load capacity in portions of the grid.