The Connected Supply Chain™

The Connected Supply Chain™ is the future of supply chain — not only as we know it, but as we have only just begun to imagine it.  The continual advancement of internet-connected, data-producing sensors in machinery, equipment, and infrastructure has opened a world of possibility for producers and consumers of goods and everyone in between.  Concurrently, advances in computing technology have made the secure tracing of product and material possible through unique digital identifiers.


But What Is It?

In engineering terms, The Connected Supply Chain might be called an “always-on”, integrated system of data-based controls that allow real-time visibility, analysis, and management of goods and products, from their source to their end use.  However, the sheer breadth and power of this system means that its definition may change contextually depending on who you are and what it does for you. 


But Why Is It Needed NOW:

The growth of machine automation, smart devices, and data-producing sensors in equipment has brought immense promise, especially in an age of high-volume, high-complexity eCommerce, distribution, and fulfillment.  IoT has the potential to create more efficient, cost effective, and reliable warehouse environments that are safer, more comfortable, more secure, and better poised to maximize customer satisfaction.  However, the sheer number, complexity, and output of connected devices has created new challenges as well.

How can companies harmonize each respective data stream, avoid information overload, and identify valuable data?  How do they get different systems with different standards to talk to each other?   How do they set up functional analytics and identify useful patterns?  Even if all this can be accomplished, how do they implement changes, apply controls, and optimize their environments based on that data?

If you have recognized how challenging and promising IoT in the warehouse environment will be for your organization, you may already be looking for the solution.


Enter The Connected Warehouse®

The Connected Warehouse® is Tompkins’ reinvention of the warehouse environment for the digital age.  It integrates three key elements people, processes, and automation.  It is built upon SensorThink™, the world’s first IoT and data integration platform designed for the warehouse.  The Connected Warehouse is ultimately about creating the future agile company; a place where people and technology integrate, leading to operations that are responsive, intelligent, cost-effective, and robust. 


The Power of SensorThink™

Every piece of digital information generated in the warehouse can be collected, processed, stored, and analyzed; allowing one to manage material handling automation, security, HVAC, lighting, lift trucks, maintenance systems, and more in ways never before possible.  SensorThink’s cloud-based machine learning and cross-platform analytics engine allows you to view and analyze this information within the building or across the distribution network.  For the first time, SensorThink ties all elements of production, performance, and execution into a single platform.


Tompkins WES Integration

The Tompkins Warehouse Execution System (WES) is the first system designed to capitalize on IoT in the warehouse.  Now integrated with the SensorThink platform, it makes orchestration of The Connected Warehouse possible.  Tompkins WES can access information from IoT and non-IoT enabled devices, machines and sensors, as well as other software solutions.  This unique interaction with a warehouse’s digital landscape allows Tompkins WES to manage operational tasks and material handling automation in an unprecedented fashion, while providing a seamless view of process, data, and performance.  The combination of Tompkins WES and SensorThink provides distribution center operators with visibility and capabilities that until now were simply unavailable.


An Expert Consulting Team

In a nutshell, The Connected Supply Chain begins with The Connected Warehouse, the next-generation environment for storage, material handling, manufacturing, distribution, and fulfilment.  The Connected Warehouse is to The Connected Supply Chain what a cell is to the body, the essential building block.  Without this elemental “smart environment”, organizations will not only have limited participation in a fast-approaching future of connected supply chains, they may be left behind altogether. 

By emphasizing thought leadership and technical innovation in the supply chain industry, Tompkins has identified and developed a practical roadmap to this exciting future.  Through our consulting services, we can help you develop a comprehensive connected supply chain strategy, so you can be ready to implement the systems required.  With our IoT product development, we are supporting both the long-term strategic readiness of our clients for The Connected Supply Chain, as well as their infrastructural transition to this new level of smart, data-driven operational efficiency. 

We invite you to learn more about our services including Supply Chain Technology Strategy Development and our IoT software platform that is making the building blocks of The Connected Supply Chain a reality today.

For more information on how The Connected Supply Chain can benefit you, consider it from the perspective of different industries.



Click each industry to expand for more details

  • Producers and Raw Material Providers

    In the current system, producers frequently lose sight of materials once they are delivered to customers.  With The Connected Sup­­ply Chain, producers, growers, and material providers can enable powerful traceability technology for unique items, lots, or quantities from day one, allowing for a strategic response to how and where raw materials are handled, processed, and consumed.  The traceability would also create greater accountability, help mitigate risk, and improve quality control, and even help producers better manage the dynamics of trade and position their materials in their respective markets.   


  • Manufacturers

    Enabled by real-time feedback from both their supplier and distributor data, Manufacturers will gain unprecedented levels of efficiency. They will be able to quickly adjust operations based on fluctuations in supply and demand, as well as create better inventory management and scheduling around seasonal products.  They will also be able to view and respond to complex patterns in data to vastly improve quality control and reduce operating expenses.  The ability to leverage new datasets associated with raw materials and manufacturing processes could even help companies demonstrate the value and distinctiveness of their products, in addition to providing powerful tools for developing highly-accurate operating cost projections.


  • Distributors

    Distributors will be able to take control of their Network and DC/FC Designs, planning them not only with information from existing records and limited future projections, but by overlaying these with rich data sets that push the horizon of supply chain visibility out further than ever before.  It would theoretically be possible to design and operate a dynamically optimized distribution network that integrates up-to-the-minute data related to production, manufacturing, consumption, demographics, sales, labor, transportation, commodity prices, energy prices, and even weather events!  Such a “smart network” would seek to optimize itself based on business objectives, alerting managers to act on algorithmically-discovered opportunities for streamlining, energy savings, inventory rebalancing, facility maintenance, and more.


  • Retailers and eCommerce Businesses

    In addition to streamlining operations in ways discussed above, Retailers will reap extraordinary benefits in terms of their ability to improve service and their overall customer experience.  Depending on the product or solution in question, they will be able to tailor a shopping experience to the specific needs of a given consumer, using data that matters to them.  Does your customer care about the material and/or regional sources used in the making of their product?  Lead times?  Freshness?  Sustainability?  Price?  Delivery, pick-up, and payment options?  The Connected Supply Chain will give retailers unprecedented power to improve CX and engage consumers in areas they care about, even granting levels of convenience and 2-way control to end users that were impossible in times past.  Moreover, they’ll be able to do so efficiently, with data that is instantly linked across multiple retail channels and the many “touch-points” of the retail experience, including digital, brick & mortar, social media, and advertising.


  • Consumers of All Types

    The “consumer-beneficiaries” of The Connected Supply Chain include not only traditional buyers among the public, but the agents of B2B transactions as well, working at all points in the supply chain.  Informed purchasing will take on a fully new meaning, when, for example, a buyer understands in precise terms how energy inputs affected the price of an industrial product, or the distance that each raw ingredient of a sandwich has traveled to the point of its sale.  Consumers will be able to make purposeful choices based on quality or end use of a product, and critically, provide rapid feedback to other points of the supply chain, allowing for informed improvements in efficiency and quality where there was before only guesswork. 

    The bottom line, for consumers and all supply chain actors discussed above, is a promise of unprecedented supply chain efficiency and responsiveness.   It will be a world where “supply and demand” are far less like obscure market forces, and a lot more like perfectly matched like dance partners; clearly visible while they move, generate, and selling goods with athleticism.


  • Government Researchers, Economists, and Policy Makers

    This brief overview of the benefits of The Connected Supply Chain would be incomplete without some mention the power of supply chain data to create new knowledge.  With the ability to analyze rich data sets related to the supply and demand, we may develop better, more insightful economic policies, as well as strategies to improve employment, reduce poverty, and better leverage the comparative advantages of global trade.

Additional Resources

ETC Re-Opening

Author: asouthern/Wednesday, November 15, 2017/Categories: Events

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Event date: 2/20/2018 - 2/21/2018 Export event


Emerging Technology Center Re-Opening
February 20th and February 21st
Orlando, FL

Updated, Modernized, Innovative

Come see the newly updated Tompkins Emerging Technology Center (ETC) during our event on Tuesday February 20th or Wednesday February 21st in Orlando, FL.

Featured at the ETC will be the following discussion sessions and live demonstrations:

  • MonarchFx fulfillment
  • Tompkins Robotics
  • Equipment Partners – RightHand Robotics and SI Systems A-Frame Dispensers
  • SensorThink – Creator of The Connected Warehouse
  • Tompkins Warehouse Execution System (TWES)
  • Softeon Supply Chain Solutions
  • Next Generation Auto Bag and Box Equipment and Automated Batch Pick
  • A Future Zone for Next-Next-Next Generation of Products and Services

The format of the event is a morning and afternoon session on each of the two days of the event. Each session will offer discussions led by subject matter experts and live demonstrations of the latest technology advances.

Meet with Jim Tompkins – CEO Tompkins International and MonarchFx, Denny McKnight – CEO Tompkins Robotics and President Tompkins International, Eric Peters – President and CEO SensorThink, Mike Futch – President Tompkins Robotics.

A Continental Breakfast and Lunch will be available at the event for all attendees. Transportation will be provided between your hotel and event sites.

View the One Pager.


Join us for one of our four live demonstration sessions, each session is identical and lasts about 4 hours. Please indicate which session you would prefer when registering.

Tue, Feb 20

Wed, Feb 21

7:00am - 8:00am
Check-In & Registration for Session 1 (Continental Breakfast)
8:00am - 12:30pm
Session 1 – Live Demonstrations and Hotel Informative Sessions
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Lunch Q/A
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Check-In & Registration for Session 2
1:00pm - 5:30pm
Session 2 – Live Demonstrations and Hotel Informative Sessions
7:00am - 8:00am
Check-In & Registration for Session 1 (Continental Breakfast)
8:00am - 12:30pm
Session 3 – Live Demonstrations and Hotel Informative Sessions
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Lunch Q/A
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Check-In & Registration for Session 2
1:00pm - 5:30pm
Session 4 – Live Demonstrations and Hotel Informative Sessions
Session Events
Split the group into 3 pre-assigned rotating teams as follows:
  • Team 1: Tompkins Robotics - Current and Next (40 minutes) - Mike Futch and Jim Serstad
  • Team 2: TWES / RH Robotics / SI (40 minutes per topic) - Rick Kaminska, RH Robots and SI
  • Team 3: IoT and the Connected Warehouse (40 minutes per topic) - Eric Peters and John Spain
Hotel Conference Room Sessions
  • Unichannel Ecosystems and Distributed Logistics (40 minutes) - Jim Tompkins
  • Softeon WMS and DOM (40 minutes)
  • New Retail (40 minutes) - Michael Zakkour
Hotel One on One Sessions
  • Channel Advisor
  • 3PL's: DHL, Kenco, NFI


SensorThink is your Digital Platform for warehousing, distribution and fulfillment center operations. It is the first IoT platform built from the ground up to support the unique needs of the warehousing industry. SensorThink can capture IoT and non-IoT enabled information and make that information accessible in the cloud across the organization. Whether it is human or machine generated, software or sensor created, SensorThink can capture, cleanse and harmonize that information so that it can be used to drive operational efficiencies in your buinsess. Enhance worker and machine productivity, reduce energy costs, improve safety and security and drive higher asset utilization with the SensorThink platform. All of this is accomplished through both our cloud based analytics and machine to machine learning technology and through our industry specific applications like our IoT enabled Warehouse Execution System. Start your Digital Revolution on the SensorThink platform.
RightHand Robotics is a partner of Tompkins Robotics and a leading piece-picking provider. Their proprietary solution, RightPick, combines vision and machine-learning software with smart grippers that enable the robots to handle thousands of items, gathering data from each pick to improve performance. This makes the robots uniquely capable of performing induction onto the t-Sort Robots. A picking robot will be positioned at the induction station. As t-Sort pulls up to the induction station, the RightHand robot will pick a unit from a bin and place it onto the tray of t-Sort. Significant advancements in vision technology by RightHand have now made robotic piece-picking commercially viable, and Tompkins is excited to showcase this integration of robotic piece-picking with robotic sorting at the Tompkins Emerging Technology Center.
SI Systems is a leading provider of high speed automated piece-picking A-Frame systems. The Mobile-Matic portable A-Frame dispensing system and integrated t-Sort Robots creates a dynamic fast and reliable order picking solution. Items are dispensed onto the top tray of each t-Sort Robot as it passes by the Mobile-Matic system. Multiple SKUs and lines per SKU can be dispensed at speeds of up to thousands per hour. Each Mobile-Matic unit can have up to 16 SKU positions. Multiple units can be daisy chained to increase the system’s capacity. The Mobile-Matic portable A-Frames require zero picking labor and has multiple sensors to assure the proper item has been picked and into the correct order. SI Systems is excited in partnering with Tompkins Robotics to provide this automated solution in the Tompkins Emerging Technology Center.
As a complete packaging capabilities and solutions provider, Piedmont National is a full-line distributor of high quality end-of-line packaging products and solutions for e-commerce businesses. As your company grows, your packaging must rise to meet the demands of your customer. We help businesses rapidly adapt to market changes and industry demands in productive and cost-effective ways without losing momentum or vision. We believe the future success of our customers will require a partnership providing full visibility into every facet of the packaging process. Piedmont National is excited to partner with Tompkins Robotics to highlight end-of-line packaging solutions in the Tompkins Emerging Technology Center.


Concierge: Cristina Ortiz




Event LocationOrlando, FL

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