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Yesterday, Supply Chain Brain published an opinion piece of mine that explores the emergence of a new type of technology that I believe will fundamentally alter the way logistics and transportation providers operate.
It’s called a “virtual orchestration highway”. I’ve included an excerpt of the piece below, as well as a link to the full text over at Supply Chain Brain. What do you think?
The best example for how virtual highways work comes from the airline industry. Let’s say you want to buy a plane ticket from the U.S. to Australia. You prefer to fly American Airlines because of your frequent flier miles, but American doesn’t fly to Australia. You’re out of luck, right? Of course not—as anyone who flies knows, airlines have formed alliances among themselves in order to provide a far larger travel footprint than any single airline can. Thus, you can book a ticket to Sydney solely with American Airlines’ website, but since it doesn’t fly to Sydney one of its partners (in this case, Qantas) will carry you for part of the route. Seems simple, but actually such a seamless experience is only possible because of extensive work on the back end to integrate multiple airlines’ booking, schedules, rates, and routes information—all of which are subject to minute-by-minute changes. It’s a pretty amazing arrangement when you think about it, and yet as consumers we take it for granted that buying a ticket halfway around the world with multiple carriers should be this easy.
Similarly, in the virtual highways I’m describing, enterprise customers are able to source products anywhere in the world and fulfill them to anywhere. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, suppliers and transportation providers use the virtual highway’s underlying common network backbone to seamlessly work together to fulfill these orders.
Photo Credit: dbgg1979