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Quantum Computing: Coming Soon To Your Supply Chain?

When it comes to delivering value to your customers and your business in the face of disruption like the current pandemic, technological innovations like artificial intelligence and blockchain and the less familiar quantum computing (QC) could become the superheroes of the fashion industry.

QC, a technology destined to be the next black, is predicted to be a game-changer across industries. Scott Shaw, Supply Chain Services Leader, defined Quantum Computers as a technology capable of allowing computers to solve problems up to 100 million times faster than traditional computers. Poised to solve problems within a fraction of the time it currently takes leaves me wondering whether now is the time to invest in next-gen computers?

Making A Case For QC

Compared to traditional computers, experts are excited about quantum computers because they can run calculations exponentially faster. Stefan Filipp, a quantum scientist at IBM Research, believes that it makes sense to augment the classical approach with a new platform at the rate that technology is progressing. “It needs to be one that follows its own set of rules,” he says.

Although not quite ready for mass-scale production, because each computer costs millions of dollars to produce, QC is still a powerful technology with enormous potential. This is confirmed by QC authoritarians who believe that the technology could solve complex real-world problems like optimizing supply chains. So who should businesses that are interested in QC turn too?

Leading in this field is IBM, a tech giant that has been quite busy making their mark in this space. According to Forbes contributor Paul Smith-Goodson, IBM is committed to providing clients with quantum computing breakthroughs capable of solving today’s “impossible” problems. On their commitment to QC, Jay Gambetta, Vice President, IBM Quantum, said: “With advancements across software and hardware, IBM’s full-stack approach delivers the most powerful quantum systems in the industry to our users.”

Solving Supply Chain Problems with Quantum Computing

With many Quantum Computing use cases, it is easy to see why it can be game-changing technology across industries. QC promises to address complex supply chain challenges faced by modern businesses today. The practical application can competently handle complex, ever-changing variables within a decision-making model with a high degree of excellence. This is one of the reasons why QC could bring extraordinary new potential to the supply chain. Shaw believes that QC can harmonize various types of data from different sources. Tackling specific challenges, including those linked to the pandemic, could induce fashion business changes, including supply chain disruption. “[This is what] makes it especially useful for optimizing resource management and logistics within the supply chain,” he explained. 

With unpredictable spikes in demand, QC’s positive effects have been visible in manufacturing, where the technology allows manufacturers to detail a specific accounting of the energy used on the production floor in real-time. It also equips members of the supply chain with the rapid insight needed to optimize resource management and logistics on-the-fly. 

As one of the most promising applications in the supply chain, QC is catching fashion businesses’ attention. Those interested in finding out more about how quantum computing could improve their supply chain do so through collaboration. By partnering up with companies making advancements in QC has allowed fashion businesses to build pilot applications in their supply chain planning and network optimization. Through partnership, supply chains can benefit from quantum-based optimization greatly.

Lastly, with the power to solve complex challenges and transform industries, QC can intelligently help the fashion industry adapt to new conditions and new environments. Although it brings to the forefront advantages like an increase in sustainability within the supply chain, QC is still a work in progress that probably won’t reach full impact for at least another decade. That said, I do believe that fashion businesses can still benefit from being a bit more knowledgeable about how quantum computing can help their supply chain evolve into the next normal.

Learn how the Suuchi GRID is revolutionizing the fashion supply chain

Written by Muchaneta Kapfunde

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