Best of the Best Supply Chain Blog Posts of 2014

Published December 22nd, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

best of the best supply chain blog-posts

As you take time over the holidays to sit back and reflect, here are the top ten excerpts from the best of the best posts on the Kinaxis supply chain blog. They touch on hot topics and industry trends discussed over the past year, so grab a coffee (or a spiked eggnog) and enjoy! We look forward to continuing the conversation in the New Year.

#1 “And much as we have had to rethink the first applications that were simply a digitization of a paper-based paradigm, we need to rethink how we structure our organizations and get work done to get maximum utility out of the digital world.”
FROM SMAC in the Middle of Supply Chain Change

#2 “Visibility is losing its clarity.”
FROM Visibility is Losing Its Clarity

#3 “The ‘ah-ha’ moments are the catalyst to innovation.”
FROM “Storage Wars” Rescues Supply Chain Ignominy

#4 “Many companies have several instances of ERP, each deployed differently. Despite many moving to a single instance of ERP there are still many ‘shadow IT’ required to do what the core ERP solution cannot. And then there is the planning layer, which is even less harmonized or standardized. Most business people consider this an IT problem. Guess what? It isn’t going away until the business makes solving the data issue their issue.”
FROM Gartner Supply Chain Leaders Conference – What Will Be Hot?

#5 “Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. Your company has implemented an S&OP process. At first it showed some promise, but now it has turned into a blamefest, attended – if at all – by lower level representatives that aren’t empowered to make decisions.”
FROM Poorly Executed or Non-Existent S&OP Is Costing Your Supply Chain Money

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Posted in Control tower, General News, Inventory management, Miscellanea, Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management


Transform your supply chain process – don’t just improve it

Published December 18th, 2014 by John Westerveld 0 Comments

transform your supply chain handsawDid you ever hear the joke about the old lumberjack? The old lumberjack came out of the forest and went for supplies. He needed a new saw – his old two-man saw had been sharpened so many times there wasn’t much left. At the store, the salesman showed him the newest tool for cutting trees called a chain saw. The salesman said that he can cut trees 10 times faster than with the two person hand saw. The lumberjack was impressed! He bought one. Several days later he came back and said to the salesman “This saw is no good! No matter how fast I push and pull it doesn’t cut! What’s worse – my partner keeps cutting his hand because there is no handle at the other end.

Okay… admittedly that was a silly joke. But if you consider how many people think about supply chain software it’s like the old lumberjack and the chain saw. The chain saw was a revolutionary tool and if used right, could make a single man more effective than a team of two. Advanced supply chain planning software like RapidResponse can do the same thing for supply chain.

In my role, helping the sales team, I’m often asked to reproduce a report that the prospect currently uses to run the business. I totally understand why this is important – the prospect wants to feel assured that their current business process can be maintained. Creating even the most complex report in RapidResponse is a breeze so it’s not a big deal for us. The prospect gets value because the report that I’ve just built in RapidResponse replaces an Excel report that takes hours every day to update. In RapidResponse, the update is instantaneous and can show changes with every data update and with every change to the scenario.

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Posted in General News, Response Management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Top 10 Reasons Why Santa Has The Best Supply Chain

Published December 18th, 2014 by Bill DuBois 0 Comments

Since the Holiday season is upon us, what better way to celebrate than with a top 10 list, which I hope will put everyone in a festive mood!

Here are 10 Reasons Why Santa Has the Best Supply Chain

#1 No ERP system, just a list. Now, he does do some risk assessment… using patented approved simulation. For example, what if Johnny is good this year?

#2 Air freight without the fuel costs. And a big zero on the carbon footprint

#3 No capacity issues, no union, no vacation, no breaks… work is play and play is work for elves.

#4 His forecast is always accurate. Let’s see that forecast!
top 10 reasons why santa has the best supply chain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 One currency for every country. Milk and cookies.

#6 No customer service issues. If a customer is rude, obnoxious or grumpy they get a rotten egg and a lump of coal and told to stick it where the mistletoe doesn’t grow.

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Posted in General News, Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management


The Supply Chain “Change” Dilemma!

Published December 15th, 2014 by Prasad Satyavolu 0 Comments

Trevor Miles and I have been having a healthy discussion on the Internet of Things and how these technology changes are shaping the way we work.

This is part 4 in our Internet of Things Series: The Supply “Change” dilemma!

A few weeks ago, Charles Wehlage wrote a blog post on his take on The Innovators Dilemma. I thought his analogies with supply chain strategy and execution were spot on. In this piece, Clayton Christensen specifically focused on why organizations fail. And not just any organization, but the great ones! The key learning is that the individuals who as a team have just witnessed a big win as a result of a hard worked strategy are highly likely to miss the budding wave of disruptive forces and be ready for the next change.

My own experiences witsupply change dilemna Svyantek DeShon System interface and hierarchy of effortsh different large scale transformations certainly point to this valid the hypothesis. An organization’s capability to sustain its innovative streak is largely dependent on the organizational “software” a.k.a. human resource + DNA. Therefore, the dilemma is how to synchronize the “social dynamics” within an organization and lead continuous change as digital technologies evolve and their adoption is a necessity.

The graphic from Svyantek and DeShon’s thoughts on “System interface and hierarchy of efforts required for change in an organization” illustrates the complexity of change. Organizational software comes before process and technology.

 

supply change dilemna organizations as machine or living system

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Posted in Demand management, General News, Inventory management, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Your supply chain is costing you money – Reason #10 Failure to adequately train your supply chain planning staff

Published December 12th, 2014 by John Westerveld 0 Comments

Supply chain career pathOver the years, working for and with numerous manufacturing companies, I’ve seen many supply chain practices that cost companies money. Over the next several weeks, I’ll outline these issues and discuss some ideas around how to avoid these practices. You can find the previous posts here:

Reason #10: Failure to adequately train your supply chain planning staff

When you think about it, your supply chain planning team is responsible for making decisions that can impact millions of dollars. A bad decision can result in missed orders, significant inventory, or scrapped materials.

Yet, when you look at the background of many supply chain planning workers, you’ll find a huge variation in education and experience. From people with a basic education that worked their way up from the shop floor, to people with engineering degrees that fell into supply chain planning, to business majors who have never been to the factory floor, to recent graduates with a supply chain planning background, but don’t have real-life experience on how manufacturing and supply chains work.

Having worked with a cross section of these people, I’ve seen the very best and the very worst. The very best include people that not only understand supply chain from end-to-end, but can also come up with creative solutions beyond what the typical supply chain education can prepare you for.

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Posted in General News, Products, Response Management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain management


Kinexions, a tale of growth and potential

Published December 9th, 2014 by Trevor Miles @milesahead 0 Comments

building-kinexions-trevor-milesI’m on my way back from Tokyo where I attended our user conference, Kinexions Tokyo, in Japan, just 5 weeks after our Kinexions North America user conference in San Diego. As a side note, I had a stunning view of Mount Fuji from my hotel room on two of the three days I was in Tokyo. I have become so lazy about carrying a camera with me that I could only capture this photo with my smart phone.

If attendance at both conferences is anything to go by, 2015 is going to be even busier than 2014. In both cases we had about 50% increase in attendance over last year. In both cases we had the largest contingent of prospects ever and the largest contingent of partners ever. We also had the most customer presentations with 11 case studies in total including:

• ASICS
• Avaya
• Buffalo Technologies
• Dow AgroSciences
• Keysights
• Schneider Electric
• TE Connectivity
• Qualcomm

Kinexions `14 graphic recording

Kinexions graphic recording

The diagram above captures the essential elements of the San Diego conference in which you can see how important the customer case stories were to the overall conference. What struck me most is the diversity of the industries and the breadth of supply chain maturity represented. Before I comment further on specific stories, let me state that while the destination reached is important, it is the distance travelled that most impresses me. In other words, while I love the stories of the customers that are doing amazing stuff, it is the one that changed the most that really impresses me. For example, you only have to look at the Gartner Top 25 to see that Apple has been number one for the past 5 or so years. Yawn. I’m always looking for the companies that have started low in the ranking and are making rapid progress up the ranking. Change is hard, but change is necessary. It is easy to follow, and a lot more difficult to lead. Or, as Angel Mendez of Cisco likes to say, yesterday’s stretch goal is today’s benchmark.

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Posted in General News, Milesahead, Miscellanea, Pharma and life sciences supply chain management, Supply Chain Events


On-demand Webcast: Continuous S&OP for Life Sciences – Breaking the Mold

Published December 5th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Today’s Friday post is to let you know that we have posted the on-demand version of last week’s webcast on “Continuous S&OP for Life Sciences – Breaking the Mold” (registration required). In this webcast, learn about the unique S&OP challenges for Life Sciences companies, the importance of changing S&OP mindsets, and how to break the S&OP mold from both a process and technology perspective.

Webcast: Continuous S&OP for Life Sciences - Breaking the Mold

 

You can also view the slides that we’ve posted to slideshare…

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Posted in General News, Milesahead, Pharma and life sciences supply chain management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply Chain Events, Supply chain management


Your supply chain is costing you money – Reason #9: Relentless pursuit of one metric at the expense of other metrics.

Published December 3rd, 2014 by John Westerveld 0 Comments

supply chain metric

Over the years, working for and with numerous manufacturing companies, I’ve seen many supply chain practices that cost companies money. Over the next several weeks, I’ll outline these issues and discuss some ideas around how to avoid these practices.

You can find the previous posts here:

Reason #9 Relentless pursuit of one supply chain metric at the expense of other metrics

Imagine that your child brings home their report card and it’s a mix of good and fair grades. You tell them that the only grade that matters is their geography mark. You tell them that you expect an A in geography – and you don’t care what happens to their Math grade. History? Don’t care. Social studies? Pshaw. Just focus on geography and forget about anything else. Sound ridiculous? It should. Yet, these are similar instructions as what is passed down to the supply chain from executives focused on a specific supply chain metric.

One example that I’ve seen several times is around inventory targets. The typical example is as follows;

  • A company uses complex software to model the supply chain considering a desired customer service level, lead time data, and statistical analysis of supply and demand variability.
  • This software then calculates the statistically correct, time phased safety stock levels across multiple levels of the supply chain, providing the optimum inventory in the optimum location.
  • If you sum this inventory across all locations, it represents the minimum inventory needed to achieve the desired service level given the current capabilities of the supply chain.
  • The executive team then provides the supply chain planning team with new inventory targets that are (of course) much lower than those values calculated by the inventory optimization tools.
  • The supply chain team then ramps down the inventory to the new target and responds to the inevitable stock-outs by expediting short materials and shipments.
  • The result is a lower inventory level, but much higher expedited costs and reduced customer service.

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Posted in General News, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management