Posts categorized as 'Supply chain management'

Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Ron Stappert

AlexaCheater
  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

Ron StappertContinuing with our ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, we bring you the sarcastic wisdom of Ron Stappert. Ron has been a business consultant with Kinaxis for the past four years, and despite what his answers below may portray, he really does love his job. We promise!

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
Climbing mountains wasn’t challenging enough, so I picked supply chain management.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
If it was easy, anybody could do it.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
Your greatest recurring challenge will be overcoming resistance to change.

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Tapping the Power of Many – The Application of Social Enabled Supply Chain Processes

BobFerrari
  • by Bob Ferrari
  • Published

hand touching touch pad, social media conceptThe following guest blog commentary is contributed by Bob Ferrari, Founder and Executive Editor of the Supply Chain Matters blog and Managing Director of the Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC.

In March of 2011, I had the opportunity to join fellow supply chain management bloggers Trevor Miles and Lora Cecere in a Kinaxis sponsored thought-leadership webcast focusing on the potential of the social supply chain. The concept of the social supply chain was relatively new, not well understood, and lacking many specific examples to cite. The closest context was one articulated by noted IT author Geoffrey Moore, who labeled the term “systems of engagement”. Back then, supply chain organizations were becoming aware of Facebook and Twitter, but not in the context of business. Many businesses were banning the use of social media on work premises.

Yet, we all believed that the potential leveraging of social media tools in demand, supply and risk management elements of supply chain business processes had enormous potential. I noted in a Supply Chain Expert Community posting at the time that: “social concepts do not equate to endless 120 character streams of unrelated or broadcasted information, but rather a context to a business process need.”

Indeed, four years later, after much market education and early adopter successes, leveraging social supply chain applications to enhance business processes has far more meaning and applied uses. The notion of social tools as mechanisms for matching people possessing respective skills, expertise, and knowledge with specific internal or external process and decision-making needs has more meaning and application. That is especially pertinent to today’s reality of increasingly complex and fast moving globally based supply chain networks.

It is about tapping the expertise and power of the extended supply chain network.

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Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Dominic Thomas

AlexaCheater

Dominic ThomasMoving along with our ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, we bring you the newbie – Dominic Thomas. Dominic has only been with Kinaxis a few short months, but he’s no slouch in the supply chain field, with more than 20 years experience!

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
I applied for a co-op job in university in which the description said “opportunity to travel”. A few years and several software implementations later, I switched over to business consulting and have done this ever since.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
After being in this business for 20 years, I know that developing the “perfect” plan is a fruitless exercise. Supply chains are getting more complex, competition is increasing and consumers are becoming more demanding. The only certainties in life are death, taxes and that (supply chain) plans change all the time. Responding to these changes in a timely way is what matters.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
It’s a fascinating area to focus on. The supply chain matters! It delivers things that you and your family use every single day. Learning about it and being creative in your approach to problem solving can be very rewarding.

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Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Bill Riordan

AlexaCheater

Bill RiordanThe next victim err… I mean willing participant in our ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, is Bill Riordan. Bill has been with Kinaxis just over a year.

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
Probably like most of us in the BC role, we didn’t start out looking to become supply chain BCs. In fact, for many of us who’ve been around a while, the term supply chain hadn’t even been coined yet. I started out working with and developing plant floor manufacturing and controls systems, so that was my introduction to a part of the “supply chain”. I really enjoyed both the challenge of understanding and managing the dynamics of a supply chain, as well as the software technologies of the solutions that were being developed to address the challenges of the supply chain. Fast forward through a handful of really interesting technology companies which addressed different parts of the supply chain problem, and here I am.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
You’ll never develop the perfect plan. Or, if you do, it’s good for about a second. The best supply chains are those that do a good job of anticipating what’s going to happen while at the same time having the ability to adjust when things (inevitably) change.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
Like any career, make sure you like what you do first and foremost. Supply chain isn’t sexy, but it matters and it makes a difference to a company’s performance. And, it offers an array of challenges from technology to organization to pure creative problem solving.

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What Qualities Make the Best Supply Chain Leaders?

KirstenWatson

leading change, shared vision, empowering people - all good examples of a strong supply chain leaderWhen considering what attributes supply chain leaders are most likely to possess, it’s easy to think first of hard skills—analytical prowess, technology expertise, and operations and economics knowledge quickly come to mind. But while hard skills may land you a job, many times it’s your soft skills that will keep you there—and accelerate your climb up the corporate ladder. So what attributes from both areas are today’s supply chain leaders most likely to possess?

The APICS Supply Chain Council set out to answer this question in its latest industry report entitled “Supply Chain Leadership Report: Many Styles Generate Success.” The findings were generated from multiple sources, including surveys of APICS members, articles, and external research. With the goal to share a professional capabilities blueprint for current and future supply chain leaders, the report explores pivotal features of a successful supply chain leader, including his or her attributes, leadership style and ability to formally and informally influence an array of stakeholders.

With its focused research of supply chain and operations management professionals across multiple industries and management levels, APICS pinpointed these core themes for successful supply chain leadership:

  • Applying certainty to uncertain situations affecting others, such as in forecasting or decision making
  • Balancing risk and reward in careful analysis using hard and soft skills
  • Aligning tactics to strategy in planning and harmony with organizational culture
  • Maintaining and improving relationships of supply chain partners
  • Satisfying competing priorities and stakeholders on an ongoing basis

Let’s take a closer look at why these skills have undoubtedly earned relevance in today’s supply chain management industry.

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Modern Slavery in Today’s Supply Chains

AlexaCheater

A farmer represents part of the agricultur supply chainI used to think slavery was, for the most part, a thing of the past. An abhorrent practice that was abolished for very good reason, and a constant reminder that human life has tremendous value and as such should be respected and honored. I used to think there was no way slavery would ever have a place in modern society, that no one would allow such a practice to exist outside the most desolate and desperate places on Earth. I used to have my head buried in the sand.

The sad reality is that slavery, in all its unpleasant forms, exists much closer to home and in much greater numbers than I ever expected. Traces of it can be found virtually everywhere. In the clothes on your back, the shoes on your feet, the food that you eat, and even the computer, tablet or smartphone you’re likely reading this blog on. How? Through the supply chain.

Modern slavery is one of the supply chain industry’s dirty little secrets, but thankfully, governments in the US and UK are attempting to wash it clean, working to put a stop to a problem that should never have been allowed to exist in the first place. Or at least, they’re trying to.

As the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports, new rules recently announced by British lawmakers will require companies “to give an annual disclosure detailing efforts to root out slavery and human trafficking in their global supply chains.” The new provision, which is part of the broader Modern Slavery Act enacted in March, will impact more than 12,000 UK companies whose global revenues each total more than 36 million pounds. It’s based on California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which was passed in 2010.

The problem is, both laws only require companies to disclose their use of slave labor, not actually put an end to it. So how is this going to solve the supply chain slavery issue?

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Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Hans Velthuizen

AlexaCheater

Hans VelthusizenA look at the roster of Kinaxis employees reveals an incredible depth of supply chain talent, knowledge and experience. We thought we’d tap into that wisdom pool by sitting down to gather industry insight from members of an elite group who are entrenched in the pitfalls and successes of supply chain management on a daily basis – our very talented business consultants. For the next few weeks we’ll be featuring answers from these supply chain gurus – some shrewd, some sarcastic and some just off the wall silly!

First up, Hans Velthuizen. Hans has been a business consultant with Kinaxis for more than three years, and is based out of the Netherlands. Yes, he does like tulips!

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
I wanted to become a lorry driver, moving goods from A to B, but it took me too long to get a drivers’ license.

Okay, so actually I studied Distribution Management and always wanted to travel. I became a business consultant immediately after my studies. I never found the urge to change my role since I think I have one of the best jobs ever. There’s never a dull moment.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
It’s all about teamwork, but only one out of five project members is a team player.

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Wrapping a Ribbon Around it Doesn’t Mean You Have Tied Things Together – The #1 Supply Chain Software Roadblock

LoriSmith
  • by Lori Smith
  • Published

Ready for a bit of a rant? I may not be a Jon Stewart or a Dennis Miller, but I just have to share my thoughts on something. I feel like the supply chain industry is at a roadblock. The concept of managing the value chain end-to-end is pervasive, yet the understanding of what’s fundamentally needed to get there still has a way to go. There is too much talk about data integration and not enough about process integration. The industry talks about capabilities in isolation, yet the value is in the combination of them. Too many speak about bringing functions together when they should be talking about running them as one. We want the whole, but we think we can get there by putting disparate pieces together.

It reminded me of the other day when I ate a whole bunch of chocolate truffles. I’m just sick over it. I was in a candy store and there was this neat row of lovely looking truffles. They looked just right… and the description said all the right things. For sure they would satisfy my sweet tooth! So I went to buy one. The candy clerk told me that for the craving I had, I really needed four or five truffles together. And so I bought the whole bunch… it cost a lot more than I had wanted to spend. I also had to wait for longer than I expected as the clerk struggled to arrange all the truffles in a box that they didn’t really fit in. And then she loosely and awkwardly tied a ribbon around the whole thing… all of that came with an extra charge by the way. But finally, finally, I had my truffles and with great anticipation, I took a bite – YUCK! It was not what I was expecting… it certainly wasn’t what I wanted… and it definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. I went back to the clerk and questioned if there was an error – she insisted that it must be something wrong with my taste buds, and instructed me to try another (though she did offer to custom make more at added cost and time). So I went back and tried the truffles again thinking that as I got accustom to them I would understand and appreciate how the flavors were supposed to work together, but over and over again I had the same sour experience, until finally I said ‘enough is enough’.

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