ATLANTA — Surgere Inc., a Green, Ohio, analytics company, is tackling a major pain point in the auto industry's supply chain — keeping up with things in transit. Surgere uses a suite of technologies (RFID, NFC, Bluetooth and GPS), as well as predictive analytics software, to help automakers track millions of products — from widgets to engines — as they move through the supply chain. Surgere recently announced that five automakers — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Honda North America, Nissan North America and Toyota North America — will jointly use Surgere's data platform to tackle loss and inefficiency in the supply chain. Surgere CEO Bill Wappler spoke with Staff Reporter Urvaksh Karkaria here about the art of keeping track of things.
Q: What problem is Surgere solving for the auto industry?
A:The automotive industry suffers from operating supply chains that are not sustainable. It simply costs too much to move products and the inefficiencies reduce the ability to compete.
How big of a problem is U.S. auto supply chain inefficiency really?
Research suggests that costs associated with inefficiencies in the automotive supply chain can exceed $6.8 billion [annually]. Complexity dramatically increases the severity of a problem. Product complexity, supplier complexity, transportation complexity and market complexity exaggerate the impact of supply chain problems and therefore increase the costs.
How do you solve that problem with technology?
Surgere captures highly accurate and very large volumes of data to provide visibility across the supply chain. Once we have information in such large scale and depth, we provide analytics that point to extremely valuable long term solutions.
How will the automakers collaborate using your technology?
The automakers and their suppliers will deploy three elements that will, for the first time, allow them to all act as a single unit. They have agreed to work under a common process and share information. They have defined a common data map.
The power behind the ecosystem is common technology, common processes and common shared information. The lack of commonality was always the barrier to full visibility and efficiency.
The coming together of the OEMs and their suppliers to design and deploy this commonality is the key to solving this very costly problem.