Use Cases

Supply Chain / Logistics

Supply chain management and logistics require accurate real-time tracking of items and activities at every step of the process. Any delays or inconsistencies can result in lost revenue, so speed, security, and reliability are critical characteristics for an IT system that drives a supply chain.

Like other industries that rely heavily on data, the supply chain and logistics industry requires fast and accurate processing on data that is continuously changing. Tracking inventory levels, shipped goods, order status, and other elements in the supply chain needs to be an extremely streamlined process to make sure all the moving pieces are where they are supposed to be. In any streamlined process, even a small hiccup can cause major problems in the operation.

Supply chain IT systems today can be overloaded because they are built in a fragmented, narrowly focused way. This means separate applications end up being built for each specific task of the supply chain. Some applications might be focused on order management, while other applications are used for tracking shipment locations, while others might be used for inventory management. Each of these applications are built on separate databases that create “data silos” that must be integrated in a seamless way.

For example, if an order requires 10 units of item XYZ, then the order application must first ensure that 10 units are available in inventory, and then it must then subtract 10 units from the inventory tracking system. But because these databases are typically managed separately, a single application cannot handle all the processing.

Many businesses today use a complex infrastructure of integration technology to reconcile the data across each database. This type of infrastructure is typically deployed as a services-oriented architecture (SOA), which is ideal for exchanging large payloads of data across silos in a non-real-time way, but not for compact payloads that must be delivered immediately. This unnecessary complexity not only results in processing overhead that slows the system down, but it is prone to error as well. With growing workloads and greater demand for real-time responsiveness, this traditional architecture can create significant liabilities.

Business Requirements

Errors in the supply chain are often due to miscalculations with data. Records might show that a shipment was delivered when in fact it was not, or that a product is available for shipment, but the inventory is actually at zero.

To minimize such errors, successful supply chain business needs an IT system that enables:

  • Real-time updates to all data records in the supply chain to ensure efficient operations without costly errors
  • A simplified IT architecture that ensures smooth operations as well as opportunities to innovate, without risk of breaking the system
  • Faster time-to-value when developing new business applications that add innovation
  • Faster data access across the many interconnected processes
  • 24/7 operation with the resilience to tolerate IT system failures

A traditional IT infrastructure requires coordination across the separate silos. But rather than trying to update data at location A and B, and then at B and C, etc., businesses should implement a more efficient process integration strategy. IT operations that support supply chains can be simplified and optimized by deploying a “digital integration hub.” In such an architecture, a single technology acts as the central controller for data across the many silos, and any application that needs to access the supply chain data can go through the digital integration hub. Updates to data in the digital integration hub are then written back to the source database to ensure consistency across the system.

A key component of the digital integration hub is the stream processing capabilities that enable real-time data processing that helps pull up-to-date data into the hub so that operations teams can see a live, complete picture of the business. Technologies like Apache Kafka act as the messaging bus for real-time updates from the operations, and Hazelcast can consume that data to update the digital integration hub as well as perform real-time, automated operations to further streamline processes.

Why Hazelcast

Hazelcast works with many customers who turn to us for speed at scale, security, and reliability. The Hazelcast Platform uniquely provides a high-speed stream processing engine combined with distributed, ultra-low-latency storage to run the fastest applications in any type of data-intensive environment. Consider some of the technology advantages that let Hazelcast customers run highly successful data-driven operations:

Simplified development

Hazelcast was designed to simplify the application development process by providing a familiar, common-sense API that abstracts away the complexity of running a distributed application across multiple nodes in a cluster, allowing developers to spend more time on business logic and no time on how to write code to distribute compute work across available resources. Its cloud-native architecture requires no special coding expertise to get the elasticity to scale up or down to meet highly fluctuating workload demands.

Microsecond performance

Whether you are tracking inventory levels or optimizing delivery routes, Hazelcast is designed for high performance which enables greater efficiency when running real-time IT operations. Efficiency is especially important in streamlined operations where costs are carefully tracked, so the right technology is needed to deliver maximum return on investment.

Mission-critical reliability

With built-in redundancy to protect against node failures, and efficient WAN Replication to safeguard against total site failures, Hazelcast was built to provide high availability to run mission-critical systems. The extensive built-in security framework ensures data is protected from unauthorized viewers, and security APIs allow custom security controls to be added to the most sensitive environments.

Use Cases

To seamlessly integrate order management functions into the supply chain, you need direct access to status information on other components in the supply chain. With Hazelcast powering a digital integration hub, all orders can be processed within the hub, and data on inventory, shipping, backorders, etc. are immediately available for updates.

Tracking the movement of physical goods is important not only for reporting purposes, but also for analysis to seek ways to optimize delivery and thus reduce costs. Hazelcast lets you capture ongoing streams of location data to run the analysis to identify ways to improve shipment efficiency.

Fleet management is an important practice for supply chains, since fleet-based delivery is one of the more unpredictable activities in the operation. Hazelcast can capture “connected vehicle” data to optimize delivery routes, to analyze traffic patterns, to identify distracted drivers, etc.