Posts categorized as 'Supply chain management'

The Future of Supply Chain Management

TeresaChiykowski

Closed Today. Fresh out of Supply Chain Talent.

Future of supply chain management

There’s no time like the present to talk about the future of supply chain management. That was the perfect lead-in for a great Supply Chain Insights webinar I attended recently – Journey to Supply Chain 2030.

Admittedly, 2030 is a few years out. Sometimes it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen next week let alone 14 or 15 years down the road. But here’s the thing about supply chains: Today’s supply chains are the result of what we’ve done in the past; tomorrow’s supply chain will be the result of what we’re doing today. So it’s time to get planning.

Technology, digitization and automation are dramatically changing the supply chain. The cloud and massive streams and lakes of data are making for a vastly different way of managing operations. The manufacturing firms that continue (successfully) into the future must possess the “talent” with the right competencies, and the “strategic thinking and problem solving” abilities to deal with the new and increasingly more complex supply chain.

But, how confident are firms that they’ll have this workforce at the ready? Not very. In Deloitte’s 2015 Supply Chain survey of 400 executives, only 38% of respondents say they have the competencies they need today. And that doesn’t even consider the future.

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Six Degrees of Separation in your Supply Chain

PalvashahDurrani

supply chain communicationIn our digitally connected world – information is easy to access, available on demand, and of varying levels of quality and veracity. While being connected means it might be difficult to escape the latest zeitgeist, it also means that you are aware of your current context and fragments of the world around it. And, if you want to step out of what you passively receive – you can actively chase down countless threads of inquiry to learn more.

Integrated supply chains take advantage of these multi-threaded inquiry patterns by coordinating across supply chain functions, however, how interconnected is communication in your processes? Can you reach across your supply chain to achieve diverse and innovative solutions in just six steps or less?

One way to enhance your communication channels is to engage in group problem-solving. Yes, you might do that currently across teams; you might even engage external stakeholders such as suppliers or distributors when resolving a shipping challenge or similar issue. To truly integrate communication across your supply chain, consider involving both internal and external stakeholders at other stages—not just when there’s a problem to resolve.

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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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All I want for Christmas is supply chain flexibility

BillDuBois

end-to-end supply chainIt’s that time of year again where moms and dads are busy gathering Christmas lists from their kids and ensuring they have exactly the right gifts under the tree. But for retailers, it’s a lot more complicated – they can’t just ask their customers to write letters to Santa; rather, they need a flexible supply chain to meet customer needs.

Impacts of seasonal demand

Wrangling demand signal information from independent toy manufacturers, clothing creators and electronics giants – whose interests don’t always match your own –  is easier said than done. And basing your sales forecasts on their word combined only with your historical data could leave you out in the cold.

Last year, Americans spent more than $635 billion during the Christmas season, accounting for up to 30% of annual sales for some retailers. With that kind of revenue on the line, it’s no wonder retailers around the globe have been gearing up for the big event for months. When it comes to delivering on your Christmas promises to customers, it’s not just which supply chain management software you use that matters. The quality of information you feed into it is key.

That information becomes even more vital in industries where forecasts are constantly changing the closer Christmas gets. Oftentimes, either you’re caught short and can’t respond to demand in time, or you don’t sell enough and are left with overstock. These seasonal surges in demand make supply chain management that much more difficult.

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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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How the Supply Chain Planning System Stole Christmas

TaunyaMacDonald

cabbage patch kidThe year is 1983, and all my sister and I wanted from Santa was a Cabbage Patch Kid doll. We had been dying for one for months, and my sister and I even dressed as Cabbage Patch Kids for Halloween that year (see picture proof included). If you were a little girl (and some boys I’m sure too, fess up boys!) around this time, you likely asked for the same thing from Jolly old St. Nick that year. If you were not part of this craze, let me tell you it was not a logical fad during the home computer and video game revolution of the 80’s. Cabbage Patch Kids were homely fabric dolls with yarn for hair, and each one was unique and came with a name. During a time when toys were continuing to get flashier and included electronics, these basic dolls were the hottest toy going that Christmas.

Cabbage Patch KidsThese dolls were manufactured in Asia and typically shipped by boat. While this was a cost effective shipping method, the entire supply chain planning system wasn’t fast and took four to six weeks for the dolls to arrive on the West Coast. In the weeks leading up to Christmas of 1983, the Cabbage Patch Kids craze was at its height. It gave rise to something that we are all too familiar with now – the shopping frenzy and in-store brawls over a toy. Display tables were knocked over, fights broke out. All of this chaos was caused by the shortage of the dolls. Once the company saw that they were not going to have enough supply to cover demand, they tried to fly the dolls rather than ship by boat, but their long lead times prevented them from manufacturing enough of the dolls to cover this unforeseen demand.

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Balance and Segmentation – What the Election Can Teach Supply Chain

CJWehlage

supply chain balanceIf you haven’t already, please read Bill Dubois’s blog, “Latest Polls Show We’ve Lost Faith in Polls”. Bill speaks to three factors, unpredictability, high randomness and variability. In my opinion, these are factors that led to the pollsters being so far off on the 2016 US election, and how supply chain practitioners can help these pollsters to improve.

Multi-tasking, I was reading Bill’s blog while I was watching the 2014 movie Godzilla. The general plot, if there ever is one in the Godzilla movies, is that Godzilla is awakened by nature to restore balance, and defeat the MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). I have to admit, it was cool to see the MUTO walk down the Las Vegas strip and knock down the casinos.

Thinking about Bill’s comments on teaching pollsters, and combining with Godzilla restoring balance, it hit me. Regardless of where you stand, left or right, agree or disagree, we hope that balance will reset itself, sometimes incrementally and sometimes shockingly. When Godzilla and the MUTO’s final battle occurred, half of San Francisco was destroyed. The results of that ‘ReSetting” was shocking, and cool to see them battle along the Embarcadero.

Balance is also critical for supply chains. We must have an ability to monitor the supply chain, and detect when it goes out of balance. This is why mature S&OP’s are needed. I say mature, as most supply chains can detect the cost based – unit demand vs unit supply imbalance. The more difficult, and mature S&OP, is the value based, where, profit, opportunity, risk, and market share, are balanced. See Figure 1.

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