Posts by Alexa Cheater

5 steps to supply change management success

AlexaCheater

Supply change managementWorking in supply chain means getting comfortable with change – changes in supply, changes in demand, changes in capacity, etc. The list is virtually endless. But supply change management isn’t just about dealing with unanticipated supply chain risks and adjustments.

Sometimes, it means changing your business processes and company culture to stay afloat in a complex, digitized world. Sometimes, it means pushing outside your comfort zone and trying something new. Sometimes, it means updating outdated supply chain management systems and bringing in better technology.

In any of those cases, especially that last one, achieving such a feat may seem daunting. But there is good news. There are things you can do to ensure you set yourself, your company and your team on a path to supply change management success.

Vision: Create a compelling vision of the future, a roadmap outlining what successfully implementing the change means, and what your team should expect as a result. Develop a clear plan with scope, and support it with a firm business case. Follow it.

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Supply chain inventory optimization – Beyond the analytics

AlexaCheater

Supply chain inventory managementFrom designing, sourcing and manufacturing, to distribution and consumption, your supply chain is at the heart of your customer satisfaction levels. It has become a competitive weapon that could help you win the consumerism war. But the sheer complexity of supply chain networks, and the impact design decisions have on operational performance, makes supply chain inventory management aligning inventory investments with on-time customer delivery and margins a major challenge.

The equivalent of 7% of America’s GDP is tied up in inventory, and accounts receivable and payable. That’s $1.1 trillion in cash according to a 2013 US Working Capital Survey. It’s no wonder that number is so high with a lot of companies still struggling with inventory optimization, trying desperately to find that sweet spot between supply volume and customer demand.

Implementing inventory optimization

The challenges of inventory optimization can be immense. The focus with Inventory optimization is often on analytics, but that’s just the beginning. You’ll need to overcome distributed data and inventory, navigate a complex network of locations and bills of materials (BOMs), and manage the configuration of thousands of parts. And if you’re still using dated technologies that don’t support robust and adaptive collaboration, you may even need to make critical decisions without the context of knowing their impact on corporate-wide metrics and objectives. It’s certainly no walk in the park.

The first step in navigating these obstacles is integrating inventory management into the rest of your supply chain planning processes, and the technology solution(s) powering them. Why? Because inventory management will be the backbone of your inventory optimization processes, and has strong interdependencies with sales and operations planning (S&OP), master production schedule (MPS) and supply action management (SAM).

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It’s time to shake up supply chain scenario simulation

AlexaCheater

Scenario simulation Scenario simulation is nothing new in supply chain. Practitioners have long heralded it as a sign of a mature sales and operations planning (S&OP) process. And it is. Having the ability to model and simulate the impacts of a change in your supply chain — whether it’s a sudden increase in demand, the loss of a key supplier or an unexpected capacity constraint — is a critical success factor. Asking ‘what-if?’ is commonplace.

But while a supply chain planning (SCP) revolution is beginning to take hold thanks to Industry 4.0 and SCP 4.0, some companies are still using scenarios the same old way. In a world as fast paced as ours, is it really still acceptable to wait on results and not leverage scenario simulation software?

Speed equals success

The creation of what-if scenarios should happen in the blink of an eye. Anyone on your team should be able to simulate anything at any time with unparalleled speed. It’s what lets you make better supply chain decisions, faster. Imagine having to wait hours or even days to understand the full impact of a change. Think of all the ramifications each extra minute could potentially have on your bottom line.

A recent paper by SCM World, Concurrency: Embracing the Death of S&OP, outlines how what-if simulation is a foundational capability of concurrency, which is ushering in a new era of supply chain planning where you can simultaneously and continuously plan, monitor and respond in a single environment across all business functions.

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MSD’s journey to remove silos in its end-to-end supply chain

AlexaCheater

End-to-end supply chainEliminating silos from any company’s supply chain planning processes comes with challenges. And those challenges are only amplified the bigger your supply chain is. When you’re a large global pharmaceutical company operating in more than 100 markets across four geographical regions, overcoming operational silos in the end-to-end supply chain  may seem like an insurmountable feat. That’s how MSD ’s supply chain planning story began.

Supply chain planning challenges

Known as Merck & Co., Inc. in the US and Canada, MSD was desperately seeking a way to connect its end-to-end supply chain, which spans four planning hubs, over 80 distribution centers and more than 20 internal and external sites. Setting out on a journey to standardize its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform meant finding a way to sync its supply chain data and enable access across all those divisions and locations to support better business decisions.

Henrik Frojdh, Supply Chain Planning Lead at MSD, quickly realized the only way to elevate supply chain planning capabilities to support that level of synchronization and at the same time optimize inventory levels, was the adoption of an integrated solution – one that enabled end-to-end supply chain planning, visibility and decision-making.

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Is it time to take your supply chain glocal?

AlexaCheater

supply chain glocalNope, that’s not a typo. I really did mean glocal. In case the term is new to you, glocal, in a supply chain context, is the blending of global integration with local responsiveness. I first heard the term only a few months ago during Zoltan Pekar’s presentation at our annual training and user conference, Kinexions. Pekar, the VP of Roland DG’s Global SCM Division, gave some interesting insights on the changing role of IT in supply chain. You can check out a recap of his presentation in my blog The Changing Role of IT in End-to-End Supply Chain Management or check out his presentation yourself on our YouTube channel.

What really jumped out for me during his session was this idea of glocalization. As defined by the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, “glocalization is the adaptation of globally marketed products and services to local markets.” And apparently the term has been around since the late 1980s, first appearing in print in the Harvard Business Review.

Global companies have been using glocalization for years when it comes to products and services. Restaurant mega chain McDonald’s is an example easily identified by most. Their regional menus offer things like the Chicken Maharaja Mac in India, the Croque McDo in Belgium and the KiwiBurger in New Zealand. Automotive manufacturers are another great example, although many of the differences between European and North American car models are due to specific regulations, with the most obvious being which side the steering wheel is on and whether the speedometers show miles per hour of kilometers per hour.

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Running on autopilot

AlexaCheater

The growing role of AI in supply chain management

artificial intelligenceRapidly evolving technology and a digitally focused world have opened the door for a new wave of automation to enter the workforce. Robots already stand side-by-side with their human counterparts on many manufacturing floors, adding efficiency, capacity (robots don’t need to sleep!) and dependability. Add in drones and self-driving vehicles and it’s no wonder many are questioning the role of humans going forward.

Supply chains, although automated to a degree, still face challenges brought about by the amount of slow, manual tasks required, and the daily management of a complex web of interdependent parts. The next generation of process efficiency gains and visibility could be on your doorstep with artificial intelligence in supply chain management, if only you’d let the robots automatically open it for you.

History of automation

Mankind and machines have worked in harmony for decades, with some citing Henry Ford’s adoption of the assembly line way back in 1913 as its early beginnings. Fittingly, D.S. Harder, an engineering manager at the Ford Motor Company, officially coined the term ‘automation’ in 1946, using it to describe the increased use of automatic devices and controls in mechanized production lines.

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Building a Bimodal Supply Chain

AlexaCheater

bimodal supply chainInnovate to survive. It’s a common mantra among businesses these days, driven by the digital revolution and all that entails. It’s changing the way the world works, and how we as consumers interact with it. Your supply chain and S&OP process isn’t immune to the impacts.

Keeping up with digitization, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) requires a supply chain that’s flexible, scalable and adaptable. It requires innovative new processes and approaches to data management. But driving that level of growth can’t be easily achieved if your supply chain is solely focused on efficiency. Doing the same old things won’t yield new results. It’s time to do things differently.

The key is running two modes within your supply chain simultaneously. Mode one focuses on maintaining the status quo and managing day-to-day operations. It seeks to reduce overall cost structure. Mode two is all about breakthrough innovations and what’s needed to break into new markets and launch cutting-edge solutions. It focuses on experimentation and driving revolutionary changes in how supply chains adapt to new risks and opportunities.

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5 supply chain management habits that will land you on the naughty list

AlexaCheater

supply chain management naughty list

It’s that time of year again when Santa’s busy making a list, checking it twice and trying to find out who’s naughty or nice. If you haven’t broken these ineffective supply chain management habits, you’re likely to find nothing but a lump of coal in your stocking come Christmas.

1. Working in silos

When it comes to achieving supply chain success, it can’t just be all about your own results.

That’s unfortunately often the prevalent mentality in siloed organizations. It doesn’t matter what’s happening in the rest of the supply chain, as long as your team is meeting its goals and objectives. Siloed processes, people and functions work toward their own goals in isolation, instead of working towards the health of the overall supply chain. These negatively affect response time, as it can take hours, days or weeks to understand the complete impact of a decision on the entire supply chain. So get out there and collaborate. Your supply chain and your social life will thank you.

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