The CES of Las Vegas took place at the beginning of January and once again, this conference has proved to be a must-attend event in terms of technology and the future. It has once again confirmed itself as the world’s most important Tech event. It is also becoming an important automotive trade show in the United States, as demonstrated by the 2023 edition. More than ever, this 2023 edition had a Supply Chain focus through the innovations presented but also through the challenges of the industry.
Moreover, the Supply Chains of innovative companies are themselves affected and investments are sometimes reduced. While the smart home is at the heart of innovations, we learned in November that Amazon was planning to lay off 10,000 employees, mainly in its Alexa division, due to its unprofitability. These model restructurings can have an impact on product availability and costs.
Not surprisingly, these tech giants are the forerunners in digitalizing operations. As a result, expect companies to move beyond digital transformation into a new phase of automation and virtualization, with more and more industrial IoT applications throughout the economy, including fully automated and intelligent factories or even farms and hospitals.
Beyond the Supply Chain challenges of companies, innovation also had its place in connection with the Supply Chain. Thus, many innovations had obvious links with the Supply Chain and underpinned the objectives of resilience and sustainability that are very present in various industries. Creating sustainable and collaborative Supply Chains that improve resilience is indeed at the heart of the issues.
For Supply Chain improvement, one of the challenges is to improve visibility along the chain and thus avoid blockages as much as possible. In order to streamline processes and keep an eye on its entire Supply Chain, Daimler Truck North America has put forth the use of the Microsoft Supply Chain Platform to improve visibility, reduce downtime and increase efficiency. With the new MO360 data platform, Mercedes-Benz is connecting its approximately 30 car plants worldwide to the Microsoft cloud, improving the transparency and predictability of its digital production and Supply Chain.
Also, in the area of innovation, new technologies and navigation tools have been proposed. These are crucial, especially since most fleets will be going electric. On the transportation side, technologies that could facilitate autonomous driving had an important place. Developers such as Waabi, Waymo, Aurora, Gatik, Plus and Kodiak Robotics presented their automated driving systems.
This important presence at the level of commercial and industrial vehicles testifies to the strong trend in this area. As an example, truck manufacturer Paccar Inc. had three vehicles on display at the show: a Peterbilt Model 579EV battery-electric, a Kenworth T680 fuel cell, and a Peterbilt autonomous demonstration truck with Aurora autonomous driving technology.
Big names at CES 2023 also showcased technologies for building Supply Chain resilience. Microsoft also shared lessons learned from its own global Supply Chain and partner ecosystem. So, collaboration is also gaining momentum.
Other sustainability issues highlighted the challenges of sourcing, including the choice of partners and materials and effective strategic sourcing.
For this 2023 edition, which represented the real return to normal for the post-Covid CES, the Walloon Region (Belgium) and AWEX (Walloon Export and Foreign Investment Agency) was indeed present once again with two separate pavilions, one for 9 handpicked startups and located in Eureka Park, the most visited and mediatized hall of the CES, strictly reserved for startups, and another for SMEs (7), in the area of international pavilions.
As a highly innovative region, dedicated to the digital sector, but also a major industrial and logistics region, the Walloon Region has a very close eye on the Supply Chain issues of the various industries. Bringing a permanent approach of strengthening value chains for these strong sectors and companies, the Region also had a major interest in its participation to be able to follow the trends and anticipate the challenges of tomorrow.
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