Posts categorized as 'Miscellanea'

Top 10 Reasons My Dad is Happy I’m in Supply Chain

BillDuBois
  • by Bill DuBois
  • Published

Father's DayWhen I told my dad I was going into supply chain, he grudgingly said, “That’s nice son,” and then whispered into my mom’s ear, “He’s not moving back in with us.” Well I think he finally came around after I moved all my stuff out of the house. Here are the top 10 reasons he was eventually happy I went into supply chain:

10. He doesn’t have to listen to me try to sing my way into the music business.
9. I could never be a doctor, I pass out at the sight of blood.
8. When I said I wanted to get into professional sports he said, “that’s fine son but I don’t think water boys make that much.
7. I wanted to be an inventor, but he didn’t like my solar powered night vision goggles idea.
6. He told me not to quit my day job when I practiced my standup comedy routine on him.

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The shape of a supply chain distribution network

ImanNiroomand

Today, I’d like to discuss distribution networks shapes. A distribution network is a channel that a company uses to get its products from the manufacturer to the end customer. The shape of this distribution network could vary from a small and simple size network to very complicated networks such as power grid network. The factors that are involved in defining the shape of the distribution network are end customer product demands, product variety, product availability, response time, returnability, and customer experience. Among these factors, response time gets higher weight in establishing the distribution shape.

Response times are the time between when a customer places an order and receives delivery. If customers can tolerate a large response time, fewer locations are required in a distribution channel and the emphasis would be on the larger capacity at each location. However, if customers require short response times then the more locations should be built in the network.

Changing the distribution network is something that a company is often reluctant to do in short range since it has direct impact on supply chain cost elements such as inventories, transportation, facilities and handling. But it is just a matter of time and sooner or later a company needs to reshape its distribution network.

As a rule of thumb we can say, the more facilities in a network, it causes more inventory costs but less shipping costs. In opposite, the less number of facilities would lead to less facility overhead cost but more transportation costs for remote customers. So if we assume the distribution costs are a summation of facility and transportation costs and call it logistic costs, then would these two elements be enough to configure the shape of the distribution network? Where would the response times fit in this equation?

Distribution Network Figure 1

Figure 1

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And I thought last year’s Top 25 Supply Chain was a surprise

CJWehlage
  • by CJ Wehlage
  • Published

On the bus ride back to the McDowell Marriott after the 2016 Gartner Top 25 Supply Chain event, I plugged my ear phones into my cell and listened to some Pearl Jam. Their classic hit, Last Kiss, the song summed up my thoughts about the 2016 rankings. So, the supply chain version of Last Kiss would go something like this…

“Oh where, oh where, can my supply chain be?

The trends took her away from me

She’s gone peripheral, so I’ve got to think Core

So I can get my supply chain back to reality”

The “Green Washing” of the Top 25

If you take out the new CSR ranking from 2016, your Top 25 rankings would be:

Actual 2016 Rank Without CSR Rank Wehlage Bold Predictions
1 Unilever Amazon Amazon
2 McDonald’s McDonald’s Unilever
3 Amazon Unilever Inditex
4 Intel Intel Intel
5 H&M Cisco Samsung
6 Inditex H&M Cisco
7 Cisco Inditex McDonald’s
8 Samsung Nike H&M
9 Coca Cola Starbucks Nike
10 Nestle Colgate Palmolive Starbucks

 

Three pieces of edgy insights from this:

a. My Bold Predictions were not far off. I did call the Nike and Starbucks entry into the Top 10. I am bolder on Samsung, simply because they had the highest 2016 Inventory Turns aside from McDonalds. As well, Samsung was 7th in Peer Voting rank, so the other “185” Peer voters agree with me.

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Design for the Supply Chain Pt 8: Long-Lasting

JonathanLofton

“Oxfords, not Brogues”Design for the Supply Chain is Long Lasting

If you’re into supply chain and liked the movie this quote is from, then we’re on the same street!

Ok, now that we’re straight on ‘classic’ shoes, let’s talk about the next principle in the “10 Principles of Good Design” as applied to supply chain and supply chain management (Design for the Supply Chain).

Principle #7: Good design “Is long-lasting”

“Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.” – ‘Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design

I was talking with my wife recently and she mentioned the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle) for some systems engineering project she’s working on. I gave an example from inventory management about ABC classification. This way of classifying inventory to provide guidance on which items to place the highest focus on has been around since the 1950’s.

There are a multitude of approaches or techniques for managing inventory (e.g. just-in-time, kanban, postponement, backordering, consignment/vendor-managed-inventory, etc.). Different techniques are appropriate for different businesses and even different segments of inventory within a business. However, there’s always a need to do some level of classification to determine which technique makes the most sense. I keep debating with myself whether to say some techniques have gone “out of fashion” or we’ve just gotten a lot better at determining which ones to use as we’ve learned to manage extended supply chains.

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What is a Supply Chain Planning System of Record (SCP SOR), and Do You Actually Need One?

AlexaCheater

Collaboration

How many times have you heard about the perils of having siloed supply chain functions? I know we’ve written about them more than just once or twice on this very blog. And while working inside your own little box definitely isn’t ideal, it’s also not quite the all-consuming, end of the world type evil that is responsible for single handedly bringing down your entire supply chain.

That’s because, in my opinion, very few supply chain practitioners actually want to work in total isolation. In many cases, they’re forced to, thanks to antiquated technology that makes company-wide alignment and collaboration more difficult than traversing Dante’s nine circles of hell. Endless email chains, revision after revision of all those Excel spreadsheets, countless hours spent importing and exporting data to and from various enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. You can see why comparing it to purgatory isn’t that far of a stretch.

So what can these poor practitioners do? Implement a supply chain planning (SCP) system of record (SOR) of course! But what exactly is a SCP SOR apart from another in a very long line of supply chain-related acronyms?

Technology research firm Gartner Inc. defines a supply chain planning system of record as, “a planning platform that enables a company to create, manage, link, align, collaborate and share its planning data across a supply chain — from demand plan creation through the supply-side response, and from detailed operational planning through tactical-level planning.

Okay, sounds great. But what does that actually all mean, and how can something like that even be implemented?

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Change is coming: How will 3D printing affect your Supply Chain?

JohnWesterveld

3D PrintingI recently had the great pleasure of teaching a group of new hires about manufacturing. As I finished describing traditional manufacturing techniques we paused to discuss 3D printing and how 3D printing will change the face of manufacturing (note I said will…not if). It was a great discussion and led me to think further about the impact 3D printing would have on the supply chain and supply chain planning.

3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique for making 3 dimensional solid objects from a digital file. In additive manufacturing, items are created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. You may have the mistaken impression that 3D printers can only fashion little plastic toys. That couldn’t be further from the truth; in addition to plastic there are 3D printers that can make ceramic, metal, food, resin, glass, medical implants, concrete (there is even a 3D printed house), and electronic components.

Currently, 3D printing is being used to create items for aviation and for NASA, prototype items for the automotive industry and approaches are being studied to use 3D printing in the medical space to create body parts such as noses and ears. Recently, a team of researchers have even created a 3D printed organ.

I’m not the first to discuss the impact of 3D printing on supply chain. You can find other Kinaxis discussions here and here.

So, let’s think about how 3D printing can impact your supply chain…

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Four Times You Really Should Have Listened to Your Mother

AlexaCheater

Happy Mother's DayMoms are full of great pearls of wisdom, cultivated from years of experience and life lessons. But how many times have you thought ‘I know better than that’ and ignored her sage advice? I know I’ve done it more times than I care to admit, and you know what—it almost always comes back to bite me. I’ve already written about what your mom can teach you about supply chain efficiency, so I thought I’d take a look at those times you really should have listened to your mother, and learned to apply the lessons she taught you early in life to your supply chain.

  1. Don’t jump into something blindfolded
    Sometimes phrased as don’t rush into something without giving it some thought first, this one applies to your supply chain in a big way. If something unexpected arises (and let’s face it, that’s bound to happen), don’t just guess at how to handle it. Run scenario simulations and weigh all of your possible options. There are always tradeoffs in life (more great mom wisdom!) and you want to ensure before you move forward you’re choosing the solution that best balances things like cost, delivery times, demand, and customer satisfaction levels.
  1. Play well with others
    In supply chain terms, that means not working in silos. Forming a collaborative process that accounts for input from all business functions is going to greatly enhance the way your supply chain performs. By working toward a common set of metrics based on the overall business strategy, everyone involved in your supply chain is focused on the big picture, not just the metrics related to their own role.

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Supply Chain Solution Providers Help Navigate Change

AlexaCheater

Supply Chain Solution Provider

How many silos are still operating in your organization? If you work in supply chain, the answer is probably too many. With economic pressures in countless industries swirling rapidly, companies still using Excel and email as their main planning and communication tools are likely to be left adrift at sea. Adapting to a more effective and efficient way of running supply chains is the key to survival. But in order to navigate this tidal wave of change, you’re going to need a strong partner by your side.

Ed Shepherdson, executive vice president of products and services operations at Kinaxis, recently sat down with Bob Ferrari of Supply Chain Matters to talk about the role of solutions providers, and where he feels the future of supply chain technology is headed. Spoiler alert—it doesn’t involve silos, Excel, or struggling to bail water out of a leaky boat!

Change Management Ahoy!

In their in-depth interview, Ed noted even those who recognize the need to change in terms of collaboration, extended visibility, and transparency, may not actually have the capacity to do so. At least not all at once. He says many companies simply can’t absorb the change management required to go from a one to a 10 on the process maturity scale in a single stroke.

That’s where it becomes the responsibility of an organization’s supply chain management solution provider to help them out. Assuming of course they took that first required step and actually implemented some kind of technology other than mass quantities of spreadsheets!

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