Georgia-Pacific Seeks Supply Chain Excellence
Georgia-Pacific next month will unveil the "Point A Center for Supply Chain Innovation," a collaborative space in hometown Atlanta where academic institutions and businesses of all sizes can explore use cases for "Industry 4.0" improvements.
Use cases will center on robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning and autonomous vehicles to address the most pressing supply chain challenges. The emphasis will be on retail models, network efficiency and data visibility. G-P is investing $5 to $7 million in the 15,000-square-foot center, which will initially be housed in Atlanta’s TechSquare Labs, a mixed-use complex aimed at technology-oriented companies.
G-P is already actively recruiting members. To date, they include Chick-fil-A, Delta Airlines, Genuine Parts Company, Grainger, Siemens and G-P parent company Koch Industries. Point A plans to work with large companies, startups and academic institutions.
“We’re seeing greater emphasis on digitalization, automation and advanced analytics in plants and warehouses,” said Kevin Heath, G-P’s senior vice president and chief procurement officer. “Supply chain leaders are trying to unlock the potential of current and future technologies. We need to work together because, individually, we can’t solve the problems we face.”
"G-P is spearheading this effort because we have a big challenge. That challenge is to transform ourselves from a very successful 20th century manufacturing business to a 21st century knowledge-based company," added G-P chief executive officer Christian Fischer. "Point A will focus on solutions that will ultimately serve customers faster and more reliably, as well as provide a superior brand experience for an end customer.”
Over the next few years, G-P plans to move Point A into a new, dedicated 23,000-square-foot space in its downtown GP Center headquarters building. Also planned is an additional 30,000 square feet of warehouse space for proof-of-concept testing; a location has not yet been determined.
For G-P and other companies, Atlanta has become a hub for digital supply chain activities. According to a Deloitte study released last September, the region placed second among seven cities. (New York City was number one.)
Among other things, the study found that 20% of the top 100 IT logistics providers have a presence in downtown Atlanta. The region also boasts 17 corporate innovation centers that are fully or partly focused on supply chain. And, Atlanta’s talent pool draws from four of the top 25 supply chain institutions, with Georgia Tech having the largest program among the top 25. This is complemented by an attractive, affordable housing market.
“Georgia, and Atlanta specifically, is quickly becoming the supply chain hub of the world,” noted Heath.