Product Supply Chain – Interweaving IoT Supply Chain with Developer Operations

As the internet of things breaks down barriers between hardware, electronics, software, and orchestration of delivery to customers, the supply chains powering them are becoming more intertwined. The software supply chain often represented by or associated with developer operations (DevOps), and the traditional supply chain, highlight this entanglement. One taking code, the other raw materials, and transforming them into value-adding solutions for customers. 

In the software supply chain, we’re working to safely, securely, and effectively deploy software changes to edge devices that are always in flux. From when a module starts on the manufacturing line through its lifecycle with a customer. Devices like those used for fleet tracking or autonomous vehicles engage WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular at a moment’s notice and always operate on a shifting spectrum of signal strength. Gateways within smart manufacturing plants contend with similar connectivity challenges when factories are in emerging areas and do not have reliable network connectivity. 

On the supply chain side, we are working to do the same but with non-virtualized units, utilizing interfaces such as Bluetooth low energy sensors to determine where specific units are at any given time. We might have gateway modules on the line being flashed for the first time, being transported in a truck, or being set up and configured at their final destination. During this time, multiple versions of the software deploy, and the module needs to be informed so that it can download and verify the update, update itself, and report back it’s confirmation of installation and health. 

As we find synergies between these two operations to make them as agile as possible, there are two key measurements of success for the performance of your product supply chain, throughput, and stability as measured by:

  • Throughput
    • Lead time for a change
    • Deployment Frequency
  • Stability
    • Mean time to restore (MTTR)
    • Change failure rate

Setting ambitious objectives to improve your pipeline’s performance in these areas helps you to make your product supply chain one of your competitive advantages. There are a few idea starters on how to start making an impact on each below.

Reducing Lead Time For Change

With lead time for a change, we’re aiming to reduce the period between identifying a change that needs creation to that change shipping to customers.

MethodTarget EnvironmentsExample Tools
Over the Air DeploymentIoT Edge DeviceMender, Greengrass,
Blue / Green DeploymentCloudHeroku, Amazon Web Services
3D PrintingManufacturing / Engineering3D Systems
Virtualized EnvironmentsMechanical / Electrical EngineerSiemens, Mentor Capital
Virtualized EnvironmentsSoftware EngineerDocker

Increase Deployment Frequency

For deployment frequency, we want to increase the rate at which a team ships changes to stakeholders/customers. Doing so allows us to launch experiments and gather information more quickly and efficiently.

MethodTarget EnvironmentsExample Tools
Continuous IntegrationSoftware ValidationCircleCI, Jenkins, TravisCI
Adaptive ManufacturingEngineeringUltiMaker

Reduce Mean time to restore

Reducing the duration between an outage occurring in production and its resolution is critical in building the confidence that enables teams to ship multiple changes a week.

MethodTarget EnvironmentsExample Tools
Application performance diagnostics & prognosticsCloud & IoT,, New Relic, Dynatrace
Asset TrackingIoT, Samsara
Fleet TrackingFleet VehiclesMVCS,, Samsara
Factory Sensor PrognosticsFactory Production LineIBM IoT, Oracle IoT, IoT Factory
Incident Response ManagementAll SystemsPagerDuty, Opsgenie
Threat Analysis and Risk AssessmentAll SystemsMITRE Overview

Reduce Change Failure Rate

Driving down the percentage of changes that make it into production that result in degraded service for customers or stakeholders helps to improve customer experience and reduce release support.

MethodTarget EnvironmentsExample Tools
Automation of Smoke TestingCloud & IoT EdgeMochaJS, Jest, PyTest, JUnit
See Continuous Integration
OSS Licensing ManagementCloud & IoT EdgeWhiteSource, BlackDuck
Secret Key ManagementAll SystemsVault
Static Code Style AnalysisCloud & IoT EdgeJSLint, Black
Static Code Security AuditCloud & IoT EdgeSnyk

Continue Adding to Your Competitive Advantage

Developer operations teaches a performance-oriented culture that focuses on measuring what matters and using iterative experimentation to figure out what moves the needle the most on those metrics. Adopting this approach requires operational teams to enable groups within their organization to experiment rapidly with the ability to recover from failures and productionize successes fast.

Get Support On Your Top Technology Problems

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