Posts categorized as 'Supply chain management'

Rocky Balboa and the Bimodal Supply Chain

Dr. MadhavDurbha

Bimodal supply chainI recently watched this very inspiring documentary From Rocky to Creed: The Legacy Continues, featuring Sylvester Stallone and his costars, sharing their journey through the Rocky movie franchise. For those of you not familiar with Rocky, he is the fictional, perennial underdog boxer who won some very memorable boxing matches with odds heavily stacked against him.

The franchise started with the Oscar winning Rocky in 1976. After Rocky V was released in 1990, Stallone decided to finish the series with Rocky Balboa in 2006. The movie was a treat to all diehard Rocky fans. However, the 60+ year old, out of shape, arthritic Rocky working his way to tackle the then young heavy weight champion Mason “Line” Dixon was bit of a stretch. I thought that was the last I saw of Rocky. Then came the movie Creed in 2015, launching the character of Adonis Creed, son of the most flamboyant, very likeable, champion boxer Apollo Creed from the original Rocky series.

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The Changing Role of IT in End-to-End Supply Chain Management

  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

End-to-end supply chain managementBusiness processes are shifting. Technology is evolving. The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding. Is your global end-to-end supply chain management (SCM) strategy set to keep up? Industry 4.0 is here, and it’s bringing with it a whole new world, one that’s likely going to involve substantial change to your IT infrastructure.

By 2020, Cisco predicts there will be 50 billion IoT connected devices. Gartner believes this will add $1.9 billion in economic value, resulting in IDC’s forecast of $7.1 trillion of IoT solutions sold within that same timeframe. Availability and utilization of data will be key in driving that growth.

Doing More with Available Data

The McKinsey Global Institute, a leading technology research firm, says less than one percent of available data is currently being accessed by businesses – who primarily mine it for alarms and real-time control. They say so much more can be done to use that data to help transform business processes and enable new business models through the use of optimization and prediction.

Industry 4.0 can’t just be driven by technological advances. There has to be strategy behind the selection, deployment and interaction of these new devices and networks. Zoltan Pekar, the VP of Roland DG’s Global SCM Division, recently discussed this very topic at Kinexions, the Kinaxis annual user and training conference. During his presentation, he noted two emerging technologies his company is focusing on as they move toward the future – artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-to-machine (M2M) interfaces.

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3 Predictions for the Future of Supply Chain by 2030


Future of supply chainI was recently asked a simple question during an interview: “Where do you see supply chain in 2030?”

I started thinking about this question when it dawned on me… where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I graduated from Penn State armed with a degree in Industrial Engineering and started a consulting job implementing demand planning and supply planning modules for a large CPG company.

And when I thought of the future of supply chain, I thought to myself that the year 2030 is 14 years from now—the same 14-year span of when I started in supply chain. A lot can change in such a short amount of time!

Last month, I attended the Supply Chain Insights conference in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a great conference, and I heard from many leaders in the industry on their supply chain journeys and how they are solving key problems with people, process and technology. There were many different stories that were shared on their successes in all industries, and the theme of the conference always came back to where supply chain will be in 2030. There were some excellent thoughts on software, processes, and even how robotics will be at the forefront.

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Knobs, Switches and the Evolution of the Automotive Supply Chain


Automotive supply chainLast weekend, a senior member of my family asked me if I could come along to help him shop for a car at a local dealership. What I thought was going to be a non-exciting “dealing with a car salesman” kind of day turned out to be a thought-provoking automotive supply chain awareness trip.

After going over the inventory in the dealership system, we zeroed in on a car and decided to take it out for a spin. As soon as my uncle took the driver’s seat and started the car, he got dispirited and asked the salesman, “where are the knobs?” You know…the kind which you turn to start the radio, the air condition and the fans?

The salesman informed him that everything is high-tech now and is in the LCD panel. My uncle was not impressed, but still tried to figure out the panel, which for myself sitting in the backseat found to be very intuitive. Nevertheless, he decided not to take the car for a drive and declared he wanted a car where you have to turn the knobs for radio volume, etc. The salesman informed us that for that make/model, knobs went away a couple of years back and since then, it is only available in higher priced makes/models.

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Fishing for Supply Chain: How Red’s Best is Transforming Supply Chain Management


Supply chain managementA recent New York Times article demonstrated that supply chain management innovations can come from some unexpected places. In response to some challenges with provenance on their product, Boston-based seafood distributor Red’s Best created its own software to track where they get their fish, and where it goes once it leaves the warehouse.

This simple idea has transformed fishery end-to-end supply chain management, and other organizations are starting to follow suit. Lovers of fish and other seafood are starting to demand information on what they eat, very similar to other food industries, and that means opportunity is knocking for small fisheries who want to appeal to responsible consumers who are seeking quality product that is caught in a responsible way.

The software developed by Red’s Best removes the need for paperwork. As founder Jared Auerbach says:

“[The fisherman is] putting their catch data directly onto the internet, and our whole staff all over the country can see in real time as fish is being unloaded onto our truck.” This beats the paper-based system, and allows purchasers to track a fish-specific barcode so they know who caught it, where they caught it, and where that fish is going in the supply chain.

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Engineering Change Management – Shouldn’t This Be Easier?

  • by Bill DuBois
  • Published

Engineering change managementAlmost daily I read about supply chain challenges and the increasing complexities driven in part by demand volatility and unexpected supply disruptions. As much as we strive to improve forecast accuracy, nobody can predict the future and the events that will throw plans out of balance. Managing and responding to unexpected change rapidly and effectively is a competitive advantage. However, dealing with engineering changes seems to be harder than it should be. Why? Because it’s one of the few changes we know about in advance that requires an engineering change management process.

Engineering changes are implemented for different reasons – everything from product enhancements, cost savings and meeting regulatory standards. In any case, regardless of the priority of the change, someone in the organization knows the change is on its way. That someone is the Engineer. Unfortunately, since engineers rarely talk to supply chain planners, this seemingly easy type of change causes headaches for both groups. Engineers typically don’t ask if there’s material and capacity available to hit engineering change dates, so it turns into a surprise when those engineering change notice (ECN) dates are missed. Supply chain planners are managing a change that to them, goes under the radar and causes excess or shortage conditions. While touring an aircraft assembly facility, I asked a production manager what the key was for hitting delivery commitments. Without hesitation he blurted, “stopping the engineering changes.” With shortages comes missed deliveries, and in most industries – particularly the aerospace industry – that means big dollars in late delivery penalties.

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Everyone’s Anxious About Increased Job Stability – But is it a Myth?

  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management.

Supply ChainEvery once in a while, we like to take a step back and assess the state of the job market, as well as the state of how people feel about it. It’s clear that the world of work is changing. The workforce is becoming nimbler, and it’s less common than ever for someone to stay at one job, or one company, for your whole career. From multinational consulting companies to us at Argentus, everyone seems to be talking about the rise of the” gig economy” – the contingent workforce that moves from contract to contract, trading long-term job security for higher wages and flexibility.

When we write about the benefits of this kind of contingent work in our area of Supply Chain and Procurement, we sometimes get pushback from commenters. They say that contingent work – or “precarious employment” – is taking the place of what used to be permanent, secure jobs, leading to less stable employment and worse career outcomes across the board. We find jobs for quite a few high-skilled workers who actually prefer contingent work, so we know that lots of people find contingent work to be a vital alternative to long-term employment. But we also recently read a really interesting and thought provoking New Yorker piece proposing that increased “job instability” is actually more of a myth than we might realize.

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The Sensing +Intelligent + Social Supply Chain: End-to-End Supply Chain Agility

  • by Trevor Miles
  • Published

End-to-end supply chainGlobal supply chains are getting bigger and more complex. As a result, companies are facing added pressure to respond effectively to fluctuating demands and unexpected change. Add in more frequent supply disruptions, managing product life cycles, and increased regulatory controls, and it’s no wonder it’s getting more difficult to protect the bottom line. So how can businesses profitably keep pace with the challenges of today? The answer is increased end-to-end supply chain agility.

What is the Sensing + Intelligent + Social Supply Chain?

Reducing lag time in decision making is critical. To achieve success, organizations need to connect data, processes and people across the entire network. Until that happens, demand translation and response will be cumbersome and slow. Competing metrics need to be visible, and actionable insights easily accessible. That is the heart of what a Sensing + Intelligent + Social Supply Chain addresses. Its hallmark characteristics are:

  • Sensing—alerting decision makers when an unexpected supply chain event occurs, and identifying impacts on other parts of the network.
  • Intelligence—providing rapid understanding of business issues and consequences, and allowing tradeoff analysis of multiple alternatives by comparing metrics side-by-side.
  • Social—bringing the right people together in a collaborative environment to share assumptions, vote on alternatives, and discuss opportunities.

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