By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing
If there is a single problem that is common across the supply chains of various industries, it is visibility. Companies need the ability to track where their goods and materials are. Green, Ohio-based Surgere gives its customers that knowledge, Dana McBrien says.
“Ultimately, Surgere specializes in solving visibility issues, which in return reduces costs and increases productivity,” he explains. “Also, it’s about the collection of data that eventually helps make decisions related to the movement of goods.”
McBrien serves as the guiding architect for AutoSphere, a massive automotive based community formed by Surgere, which leverages multiple forms of sensor-based technology to collect data for its clients. The data is then used to solve visibility issues and transmitted to Surgere’s proprietary cloud network, where it is analyzed and used to optimize its clients’ supply chains. The true value lies in the community approach.
For example, its flagship product, COS, tracks returnable containers by leveraging hardware – such as portals and handhelds – throughout a facility to track RFID tags on them. Surgere’s applications also include AERIS, which is used to track trucks, and HAWKEYE, which is used for finished vehicles.
McBrien notes that the company’s technology can be applied to nearly any industry. “Regardless of the storage solution or what you are tracking, the Surgere solution can be expanded to fit each use case,” he says.
Surgere’s primary application is focused on returnable containers. However, “We are integrated into other parts of the supply chain and intend to continue to develop future applications that align with our clients’ strategic goals,” McBrien says.
A Seasoned Veteran
McBrien carries more than 30 years of practical experience in the supply chain, which has included various roles in purchasing and logistics. These have provided him with a deep view “into virtually all aspects of supply chain,” he says.
“Being a part of and leading the development of supply chain solutions and processes in response to growing business complexity was the best experience possible,” he says, noting that he recently served as the associate chief advisor for Honda of America (HoA).
McBrien was able to help HoA with blind spots in its supply chain, which is a common problem among large automotive OEMs.
“All OEMs have worked hard to close these gaps but all still struggle in their own ways … especially when it comes to returnable containers,” he says.
Today, at Surgere, he serves as one of its main change agents. “My current role is to apply that knowledge to expand the use of the base data being created and the returnable container best practices into the rest of the supply chain,” he says.