The Changing Role of IT in End-to-End Supply Chain Management

  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

End-to-end supply chain managementBusiness processes are shifting. Technology is evolving. The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding. Is your global end-to-end supply chain management (SCM) strategy set to keep up? Industry 4.0 is here, and it’s bringing with it a whole new world, one that’s likely going to involve substantial change to your IT infrastructure.

By 2020, Cisco predicts there will be 50 billion IoT connected devices. Gartner believes this will add $1.9 billion in economic value, resulting in IDC’s forecast of $7.1 trillion of IoT solutions sold within that same timeframe. Availability and utilization of data will be key in driving that growth.

Doing More with Available Data

The McKinsey Global Institute, a leading technology research firm, says less than one percent of available data is currently being accessed by businesses – who primarily mine it for alarms and real-time control. They say so much more can be done to use that data to help transform business processes and enable new business models through the use of optimization and prediction.

Industry 4.0 can’t just be driven by technological advances. There has to be strategy behind the selection, deployment and interaction of these new devices and networks. Zoltan Pekar, the VP of Roland DG’s Global SCM Division, recently discussed this very topic at Kinexions, the Kinaxis annual user and training conference. During his presentation, he noted two emerging technologies his company is focusing on as they move toward the future – artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-to-machine (M2M) interfaces.

Read the full story

Kinexions Day 2: Supply Chain Data, and Processes, and People, Oh My!

  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

Kinexions Supply Chain“The future is about this connected enterprise with people working together.”

– Trevor Miles, VP of Thought Leadership at Kinaxis

The first day of Kinexions 2016 introduced the revolution of the supply chain. There’s no stopping the speed at which supply chains are running today, which means businesses have to integrate technology, processes, and people in order to successfully manage their supply chain and mitigate risks that arise.

So how do we actually implement integrated supply chain solutions?

That’s where Day 2 of Kinexions came in, with sessions and discussions focused on how businesses today are actually leveraging technology and transforming their internal infrastructures for more efficient end-to-end supply chain planning. Based on learnings from the second and final day of Kinexions, here’s how to actually implement digitization and take your supply chain to the next level.

Leverage IoT and AI in Business Strategy

In his session, Zoltan Pekar explained that while Roland DG Corporation had been at the forefront of digital technology and computing, there was now a need to integrate thanks to the rise of IoT and AI – the “4th Industrial Revolution”. In order to do this, Roland DG needed both the right technology and processes in place. With RapidResponse, Pekar and his team were able to set the foundation of their integrated strategy, becoming more data-driven, agile, and responsive. They then created a new corporate culture and management system, embracing digitization, collaboration, and customer centricity. By integrating new technology and strategy, Roland DG has been able to break down siloes and connect its entire value chain.

Read the full story

Let’s Start a Revolution: Kinexions Supply Chain Conference Day 1

  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

kinexions supply chain conferenceHow do you start a supply chain revolution in Nashville? With some toe-tapping music from the Late Late Supply Chain Show band and rockin’ guitar playing from Kinaxis Director of Marketing Content, Bill DuBois, of course!

After an electric and entertaining opener, it was time to get down to business. From opening remarks from John Sicard, president and CEO of Kinaxis, to presentations from SCM World, Ford, and Keysight Technologies, the core theme was this revolutionizing of the supply chain where integration of technology and human involvement are paramount. Let’s take a deeper dive into Day 1 of the Kinexions supply chain conference:

Supply Chain Planning Components are Better Together than Apart

“Humans have to be involved, they have to be empowered.”

In supply chain planning, there are a lot of individual processes – capacity planning, demand planning, inventory management, etc. As Sicard put it, each individual process in supply chain planning is like a link in a chain. Each link serves a purpose and is necessary for making the supply chain function. However, supply chains have focused on these “links” one at a time and in siloes, rather than integrating them. According to Sicard, all parts of the supply chain must be interconnected, with human involvement and empowerment at the forefront. As the supply chain continues to speed up and evolve, anyone should be able to simulate anything they want at any time for faster and more strategic decision making and maintenance of the supply chain.

Read the full story

3 Predictions for the Future of Supply Chain by 2030


Future of supply chainI was recently asked a simple question during an interview: “Where do you see supply chain in 2030?”

I started thinking about this question when it dawned on me… where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I graduated from Penn State armed with a degree in Industrial Engineering and started a consulting job implementing demand planning and supply planning modules for a large CPG company.

And when I thought of the future of supply chain, I thought to myself that the year 2030 is 14 years from now—the same 14-year span of when I started in supply chain. A lot can change in such a short amount of time!

Last month, I attended the Supply Chain Insights conference in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a great conference, and I heard from many leaders in the industry on their supply chain journeys and how they are solving key problems with people, process and technology. There were many different stories that were shared on their successes in all industries, and the theme of the conference always came back to where supply chain will be in 2030. There were some excellent thoughts on software, processes, and even how robotics will be at the forefront.

Read the full story

Knobs, Switches and the Evolution of the Automotive Supply Chain


Automotive supply chainLast weekend, a senior member of my family asked me if I could come along to help him shop for a car at a local dealership. What I thought was going to be a non-exciting “dealing with a car salesman” kind of day turned out to be a thought-provoking automotive supply chain awareness trip.

After going over the inventory in the dealership system, we zeroed in on a car and decided to take it out for a spin. As soon as my uncle took the driver’s seat and started the car, he got dispirited and asked the salesman, “where are the knobs?” You know…the kind which you turn to start the radio, the air condition and the fans?

The salesman informed him that everything is high-tech now and is in the LCD panel. My uncle was not impressed, but still tried to figure out the panel, which for myself sitting in the backseat found to be very intuitive. Nevertheless, he decided not to take the car for a drive and declared he wanted a car where you have to turn the knobs for radio volume, etc. The salesman informed us that for that make/model, knobs went away a couple of years back and since then, it is only available in higher priced makes/models.

Read the full story

Fishing for Supply Chain: How Red’s Best is Transforming Supply Chain Management

  • by Kevin McGowan
  • Published

Supply chain managementA recent New York Times article demonstrated that supply chain management innovations can come from some unexpected places. In response to some challenges with provenance on their product, Boston-based seafood distributor Red’s Best created its own software to track where they get their fish, and where it goes once it leaves the warehouse.

This simple idea has transformed fishery end-to-end supply chain management, and other organizations are starting to follow suit. Lovers of fish and other seafood are starting to demand information on what they eat, very similar to other food industries, and that means opportunity is knocking for small fisheries who want to appeal to responsible consumers who are seeking quality product that is caught in a responsible way.

The software developed by Red’s Best removes the need for paperwork. As founder Jared Auerbach says:

“[The fisherman is] putting their catch data directly onto the internet, and our whole staff all over the country can see in real time as fish is being unloaded onto our truck.” This beats the paper-based system, and allows purchasers to track a fish-specific barcode so they know who caught it, where they caught it, and where that fish is going in the supply chain.

Read the full story

Kinexions Supply Chain Conference 2016 Keynote Speakers Promise to Rock the House


Supply chain conferences 2016What do an SCM thought leader and a legendary lead guitarist have in common?

Easy. They’re going to jazz up our annual supply chain conference Kinexions with keynote sessions that inform, inspire and entertain.

This year, the Kinexions ’16 team is thrilled to welcome Kevin O’Marah, Chief Content Officer, SCM World and Don Felder, Lead Guitarist, The Eagles, as our day 1 and day 2 keynote presenters.

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store from these world-class speakers at one of the best supply chain conferences of 2016:

Day 1: Future of Supply Chain: Be Prepared to Work Hard to Rock On!

Presenter: Kevin O’Marah

Megatrends conspiring to reshape the supply chain future include:

Read the full story

The 5 ‘C’s’ for CMO Relationships in Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

  • by Bill DuBois
  • Published

Pharmaceutical supply chainI recently attended the LogiPharma conference in Princeton, NJ to hear a number of speakers give their thoughts on the state of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Of particular interest was a session on Contract Manufacturing Operations (CMO) relationships with Michael Daly, Director of Supply Chain for Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He talked about the 5 C’s for a CMO relationship in pharma.

There was agreement among many at the conference that pharma is a bit behind the high tech and automotive industries when it comes to supply chain efficiencies. To their credit, those same individuals acknowledged they were looking to other industries for best practices. High tech and automotive have long realized they could drive efficiencies up and costs down by not doing everything from scratch.

In many cases within high tech and automotive, the leaders in supplier relationships have developed interactive supplier engagements that allow for easy communication between customer and supplier. These improved supplier relationships have enabled the easy sharing of purchase order information, forecast requests and the ability to initiate collaborative reviews and adjustments. It’s become easier for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to track supplier commitments and get alerts to gaps between request and commit dates, so action can be taken to avoid shortage conditions.

Read the full story