Posts categorized as 'Miscellanea'

Chasing perfection is killing your supply chain

AlexaCheater

Forecast accuracyThere’s no such thing as 100% when it comes to forecast accuracy. Let me say it again. One hundred percent accuracy does not exist. I don’t care how good your demand sensing is or how sure your sales team is of their market projections. It’s just not possible. Anyone who says differently is either selling something, or a deity. So why are you spending so much time trying to make the impossible real?

Time and again I’ve heard how important forecast accuracy is when it comes to improving supply chain operations. It always seems to be a priority no matter where on the maturity scale a company falls. But this practice of chasing perfection is killing your supply chain. Not slowly, over time, but rapidly, like a tsunami sweeping your profits out to sea as that one giant wave recedes. Because that’s all it takes to destroy you. One catastrophic unexpected event.

Why forecast accuracy fails

It could be a natural disaster, a drastic shift in the political landscape or even the collapse of your only tier one supplier. The unknown is your biggest supply chain weakness, and the one you’ll never see coming, no matter how great you are at forecasting. Pretending otherwise, that forecast accuracy can save you when the unexpected strikes, is foolhardy at best, a death sentence at worst.

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Supply chain planning in the digital age

MelissaClow

Recently, Madhav Durbha, Vice President of Industry Strategy at Kinaxis was interviewed by SupplyChainBrain on supply chain planning in the digital age.

I wanted to share their fascinating conversation with our readers – check out the video interview and transcript below:

Supply chain planning in the digital age

Madhav Drubha, Supply Chain Planning, SupplyChainBrain

SupplyChainBrain: What are you hearing from your customers about the biggest challenges they are facing right now in supply chain planning?

It’s fairly simple. It’s complexity and volatility are the two themes that I constantly hear from our customers, regardless of the industry, that seems to be the recurring theme.

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Supply chain leadership lessons from Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman

AlexaCheater

Supply chain leadership - footballPro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, who led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories in four years in the early ‘90s, may not be the first person you think of when it comes to giving great supply chain advice. One thing the legendary pro athlete does know is leadership. You can’t be a great quarterback without it and that was the topic of his keynote presentation at the recent Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference.

The wisdom he shared, while not directly related to supply chain leadership, is certainly applicable to that space.

Lead from a basis of who you are

There are tons of great leaders out there, and while some have common characteristics, Aikman says ultimately, being a good leader means being true to who you are. He cautions that if your personality naturally tends to swing one way or the other between soft and caring, and tough and demanding, you’re going to need to find a way to strike a better balance. You can’t coach everyone the same way. Learn what works with your team members and be a better leader by motivating them in the way that works best for them.

This lesson comes down to gaining a better understanding of how you and your team members work individually, and as a whole. When it comes to your supply chain, understanding cross-functional dynamics, much like the dynamics between the different positions of a football team, becomes critical in overcoming the all too common issue of silos. If you properly manage the team dynamic, you’ll have a team that’s more collaborative, and ultimately a supply chain that’s better equipped to make better, faster decisions.

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Agility and flexibility in the age of digital supply chains – Insights from the 2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expo

Dr. MadhavDurbha

2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expoAs supply chain professionals, we can grow insular in our thinking, as on a day-to-day basis we risk confining ourselves narrowly to our domain of responsibility or solving challenges specific to our regions. However, from time to time, it is important to find opportunities to network with our peers from different regions or from different functional domains and learn from each other. The 2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expo was one such opportunity. About three hundred supply chain professionals from various pockets of the world representing manufacturers, retailers, logistics providers, and technology vendors took part in the summit. It was a 3 day event with some very provocative content while providing sufficient opportunities for networking and peer-to-peer learning. Here are the key takeaways for me from the event.

1. Innovation in the warehouse: Markus Kückelhaus of DHL trend research, in two separate panels gave very compelling presentations on the innovation DHL is driving in the warehouse. One of them is Augmented Reality (AR). Through the pilots that DHL conducted, AR is showing tremendous productivity gains in the warehouse such as a 25% gain in picking productivity. Through the use of wearables, employees are able to navigate, scan, pick, and put away product. These wearables are eliminating the need for the associates to carry scanners, freeing up both hands to be more productive. There was also some discussion around AR vs VR (Virtual Reality). While VR has some potential in terms of testing out layouts and such, Markus observed that for the most part the potential for VR seems to be fairly minimal in the warehouses as compared to AR.

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Winds of change in freight transportation supply chain: Platooning technology

CarmenHumplik

Freight transportationEvery year, the city of Ottawa hosts an event called Doors Open Ottawa. Approximately 150 historically, culturally, and functionally significant buildings open their doors to the public. If you’re a resident of the city, it’s a great way to explore your own backyard as it allows you to gain access to buildings that are normally closed to the public.

This year, my family and I decided to take advantage of the event and visit National Research Council (NRC), Canada’s 9 m wind tunnel testing facility. This is the third largest wind tunnel testing facility in the world. Their testing spans across many industries including aerospace, automotive, surface transportation, construction, energy, and sports.

Our tour guide, one of the researchers at the facility, was speaking about both their past and current projects. I found it interesting to discover that one of their current projects has direct impact on supply chains; more specifically, on freight transportation. They are currently testing the aerodynamics of trucks driving in a peloton formation, which is also known as platooning.

Platooning is a technique that is similar to those employed in cycling road races where cyclists ride in close formation to help them conserve energy and reduce drag. When you reduce the distance between trucks (somewhere around 5 to 10 meters), you can also reduce drag, and, as a result, save on fuel and lower C02 emissions. Advocates for truck platooning also claim that it could have the added benefit of improving highway safety because it better controls speed and could help reduce chain collisions.

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[Video] Digital Technology and Strategies for Effective Knowledge Sharing

MelissaClow

This blog is part of a video interview series. Check out the video below as well as links to other supply chain practitioner and Kinaxis executive interviews.

Even though some traditional forms of learning continue, companies are turning more and more to digital technology and learning tools to collect, analyze and share knowledge, says Sarah Sedgman, Kinaxis chief knowledge officer.

While familiar forms, such as instructor-led teaching, continue to some degree, industry is shifting to digital knowledge networks because of the flexibility the technology offers. “Among other things, that flexibility means there is instant access to information when people need it,” says Sedgman.

Companies that may once have been slow to invest in such technology see now that they become more efficient and make better decisions, Sedgman says. “It’s important for us to invest in these technologies and become more familiar with them, and that’s true all the way up to the executive team, not just those who are actually using these technologies.”

Strategies for Effective Transfer of Knowledge

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[Video] Supply chain centers of excellence and customer success

MelissaClow

This blog is part of a video interview series. Check out the video below as well as links to other supply chain practitioner and Kinaxis executive interviews.

The ideal center of excellence not only supports internal teams at a company but advocates for customers, says Leah McGuire, director of the Kinaxis Center of Excellence.

The Kinaxis COE supports project teams, consultants deploying the company’s RapidResponse tool in the field, and pre-sales teams that use demos, says McGuire. Additionally, the center is responsible for developing best practices within the tool. All of which means that center employees have to have strong technical backgrounds as well as complete familiarity with RapidResponse.

Supply Chain Centers of Excellence & Customer Success

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Overcoming the Amazon effect: Pushing retail supply chains to the limit

AlexaCheater

Amazon supply chain managementHow to overcome the Amazon effect

When it comes to supply chain excellence, particularly in the retail sector, there is one behemoth dominating the landscape. Amazon is driving innovation and change at a pace that’s putting the pressure on other businesses to find a way to keep up, or fold.

The online retailer’s most recent patent focuses on drone technology, and would involve drones delivering packages with parachutes. It’s just the latest in a string of patents that span the gamut from smart stores to flying warehouses. Amazon is even entering the transportation space, signing agreements with the Air Transport Services Group and the Chinese government to enter into the freight cargo business – effectively cutting out the middleman.

It has leased 20 Boeing 767 aircraft to shuttle goods around the US, and helped ship at least 150 cargo containers from China since October 2016. It’s all part of the global expansion of ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’, which provides storage, packing and shipping to small independent merchants selling products on Amazon’s website.

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