Case Study

Google Data Center Logistics powered by Everstream Analytics

“By integrating multiple third party data sources into a single platform, Everstream Analytics increases our operational efficiency and our ability to be proactive when exceptions happen. That’s helping our people manage the continual growth of the network while minimizing the additional costs caused by supply chain disruption.”

– Ilse Schultz, Global Transportation Manager, Google

For many, Google is part of everyday life when it comes to search, video, and other screen activities. However, it is the seemingly invisible infrastructure that fuels that effortless experience.

Providing sophisticated information services at scale requires a formidable amount of hardware. To do so, Google operates a network of hundreds of facilities -from giant, hyperscale data centers to smaller end-point installations at strategic locations around the world. And the relentless pace of demand growth, innovation and technological changes mean that the company is continuously expanding that infrastructure.

Customer Objective

Google is known for designing and assembling much of the equipment used in its complex data centers in-house under tight schedules. This requires a complex physical supply chain, handling everything from complete servers to components, racks, and networking equipment.

Managing hundreds of thousands of shipments annually between thousands of origin destinations, Google ships cargo that is often high-value, proprietary cargo, and time- critical. The loss or delay of a single item has the potential to throw a build project off schedule as well as risk expose sensitive intellectual property. Hence, the business needed a solution to identify supply chain risks before they impact in-transit supply chain. “We had a greater need for information on the status of the supply chain than many of our carriers were able to provide,” says Ilse Schultz, Global Transportation Manager at Google. “And we wanted the ability to act faster and be more proactive when exceptions occurred or even before exceptions surfaced.

Customer Solution

In pursuit of the goals around real-time visibility and predictive exception processing, Google’s logistics division has been implementing a portfolio of technical and infrastructure solutions towards making its supply chain world class. One such initiative entails a network of command and control centers around the world with their hub in the United States.

The digital backbone of this visibility and control infrastructure is Everstream Analytics, the predictive supply chain risk analytics platform. Working closely with the Everstream Analytics, Google’s logistics division has built a complete model of its transportation network in the system, and integrated network data from several existing legacy systems to provide risk assessment and analytics of all shipments across its network.

Everstream Analytics overlays Google’s transportation network and in-transit inventory over its platform, which is linked to data feeds from millions of external sources, collecting near real-time information on situations and incidents that have the potential to affect transport operations. Those events include severe weather, road congestion or local industrial action and are filtered and prioritized using artificial intelligence technologies. This ensures that the transportation team at the command center is notified promptly of the most relevant and actionable events.

The platform also taps into extensive internet-of-things (IoT) technologies to provide precise information on the location of transportation assets – ships, trucks and aircraft – and even specific items. Working with specialist telematics providers, Google logistics and Everstream Analytics have established links to the IoT assets that accompany these high-value critical shipments.

Customer Benefits

The introduction of Everstream Analytics in its command centers has allowed Google logistics to become much more proactive in its management of supply chain in-transit issues. “The system allows us to take better ownership of exceptions,” says Vivek Syania, Head of Americas Transportation Ops in Google. “Instead of responding after a problem has occurred, we can now make decisions about shipments before they enter the pipeline or while they are in transit.”

Since the platform went live with their command centers in the final quarter of 2017, the new platform has already demonstrated its value on numerous occasions. “One of our major hubs located in the southeast U.S., had a two-month period at the end of the year, impacted by three major disruptive events: a fire that shut down operations for two days, a major electrical failure and a storm,” says Syania. “Each one of those incidents affected hundreds of our shipments, but we were able to take appropriate action in every case, contacting our internal customers and our carriers to make alternative arrangements that minimize the impact on our operations.”

“Over the whole quarter,” says Schultz, “our on-time delivery performance remained at world class levels despite these events. More importantly, we achieved an extremely high level of stability making the last quarter of 2017 our most successful ever.” She continues, “That’s significant, since the winter months can be the most challenging time of year due to bad weather and seasonal capacity constraints.”

Google and Everstream Analytics are now working together on the next phase of the platform implementation, which will include the introduction of a mobile application, allowing logistics personnel and internal stakeholders to access real time alerts and situation updates while on the move anywhere in the world.

Customer Objectives
– Enhanced visibility of time- and business-critical shipments of components and equipment used in major data-center projects
– Early warning of potential supply chain delays or transportation issues, to allow proactive management of supply chain exceptions
– Greater operational efficiency to help logistics staff manage continued and rapid growth in demandEverstream Solution
– Multiple internal and external data sources
integrated into the Everstream Analytics Supply Chain Risk Management platform to provide full visibility of the status of shipments
– IoT integration using GPS data from third party smart tags to provide real-time location information
– Real-time incident monitoring using Everstream Analytics’s machine learning technologies to filter millions of data points and alert the Google logistics team about events that have the potential to disrupt
transportationCustomer Benefits
– Faster, more timely and more accurate information flow for logistics personnel, carriers and internal customers
– On time delivery increase in the first quarter of operation. Improved supply chain stability, despite seasonal and weather-related challenges
– Three major incidents over two months at a critical logistics hub managed without disruption to wider operations