Posts categorized as 'Supply chain management'

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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Did Pokémon Go Solve a Historic End-to-End Supply Chain Problem?

  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

Pokemon Go Solving End-to-End Supply Chain ProblemsGetting the Right Product in Front of the Right People

It took an augmented reality video game and a host of made up monsters to seemingly solve one of end-to-end supply chain’s biggest problems–getting the right product in front of the right people. Too bad the tactics Pokémon Go has implemented aren’t easily repeatable by the rest of us mere mortals.

In fact, their tactic isn’t really a tactic at all. It’s more a case of demand far outstripping supply. People are so crazy about catching the variety of Pokémon running amok on their smartphones, they’re actually willing to travel to where the supply is—it doesn’t matter the location, or the time of day, these folks are prepared to do darn near anything to get the inventory they want. Much to the envy of every supply chain manager out there. Who wouldn’t love hordes of consumers coming directly to you?

For those that aren’t quite familiar with this new craze sweeping the globe, Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. Making use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices, the game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world.

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NASCES 2016: End-to-End Supply Chain Management Transformations

  • by Trevor Miles
  • Published

I was at the North American Supply Chain Executive Summit in Chicago earlier this week. I’m a pretty jaded conference goer, so it is difficult to please me, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the keynotes and sessions I attended. The general theme of the conference was about transformational change. What kept nagging at me though is that the presentations were largely about “righting the ship” rather than “moving from ship to air.”

Undoubtedly there were many case studies on companies making huge leaps in performance, and great advice on how to get change. But I couldn’t help think that much of the advice was focused on doing well what we have been doing in supply chain for the past 20-30 years. I’m trying to determine what we will do differently over the next 10-20 years.

Peter Gibbons of Mattel said we should focus on behaviors rather than culture. He said that in all companies there is a lot to be valued in the culture, but, more importantly, trying to change the culture will usually be met with strong resistance. Changing behavior is a lot easier, and if the behavior changes, the culture will change in the manner desired. Another great piece of advice from Peter is to focus on the outcome, the “what”, not on the method, the “how”. Perhaps most importantly though, was Peter’s view that you cannot get transformation without disruption.

NASCES 2016: End-to-End Supply Chain Management

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Advantages and Pitfalls of Push and Pull Strategies in Distribution Networks


What’s driving your supply chain – immediate consumer demand or future projections? In either case, the goal is likely the same: to provide the best customer experience. A truly customer-oriented supply chain strives to fulfill the customers’ demands on-time. Success is defined by the on-time-delivery to request (OTD-R).i In other words, when the product actually gets to the end consumer.

Supply chains are planned based on when a product is produced, delivered to distribution centers and made available at retail stores. The most common strategies for moving from upstream to downstream sites are push and pull strategies, or some mix of both. A pull strategy is when customer demand drives the entire production process. On the other hand, a push strategy is when production is based on long term customer forecasts.ii So which one is better? The answer is, it depends. There are pros and cons to using push vs. pull strategies within your distribution network.

Let’s put the concepts of push and pull strategies into a real-world example. Assume you own a restaurant and for simplicity sake, you only serve breakfast. The main processes (Figure 1) to get a customer his or her order would be procurement (buying ingredients), manufacturing (cooking), and delivery (serving the customers).


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4 Characteristics of the Evolution of the Supply Chain


It’s Time for the Evolution of Supply Chain: 4 Characteristics to Watch for With Supply Chain 2.0

evolution of supply chainThe right product, at the right place, at the right time. The decades-old challenge of supply chain is now more difficult to solve than ever before. Globalization, market volatility, demanding consumers, vast amounts of data—it’s no wonder past strategies are failing to solve today’s mounting challenges.

With complexity growing, an evolution of the supply chain needs to begin now. Not just to solve current problems, but to be better prepared for future ones. But how are companies going to be able to adapt? How are they going to take advantage of existing opportunities to capture market share, increasing brand loyalty and profitability?

According to global services firm Accenture, the answer lies in the evolution of supply chain. It lies in Supply Chain 2.0! In the firm’s recent white paper, Supply Chain For a New Age, the authors, Mohammed Hajibashi and Ashoo Bhatti, map out a next generation supply chain blueprint.

Getting to the next generation of supply chain capabilities would require breaking down functional silos, redefining priorities, and building synchronized planning and fulfillment capabilities.”

They describe the characteristics of Supply Chain 2.0 as:

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4 Ways Supply Chain Management Has a Higher Purpose

Dr. MadhavDurbha

The Higher Purpose of Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain ManagementMy wife’s phone rang as we were driving home from the restaurant. I turned off the music and the kids had gone quiet as she answered the phone. It was a distraught mother at the other end of the line. She was nervous and was calling about her toddler’s fever that would not go down. My wife talked to her in a calm voice, told her what she needs to do for the night to keep the fever under control, and advised the mother to bring her toddler to the clinic the next morning. With her nervousness abating, the mother profusely thanked her and hung up. As a parent of young children myself, I can very much appreciate the difference a physician, like my wife, makes in the community.

As we reached home, I retired into my study and picked up the Ken Follett thriller where I left off. I was trying to read, but the thought kept running through my head. Yes, both my wife and I are career-minded professionals. We both are in our professions to be successful, make money, and enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer. But is there a higher purpose to what we do?

There certainly is a higher purpose to what my wife is doing. One wellness visit, one infection cured, one disease diagnosed at a time, she is making a difference. The results are very tangible. But what about supply chain management professionals like me? Is there a higher purpose to what we do as executives, consultants, planners, or technology providers? As I pondered upon this topic, the answer turned out to be a resounding yes. Here are few examples of how supply chain management professionals make a difference in the world:

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Design for a Green Supply Chain


Design for the Supply Chain Pt. 10: Environmentally Friendly

It’s been a long time; I shouldn’t have left you, without a new blog to read through!

Now reread that with the rhythm and voice of “I Know You Got Soul” by Eric B. & Rakim. I was waylaid, but let’s get right into the next principle in the “10 Principles of Good Design” as applied to green supply chain and green supply chain management (Design for the Supply Chain).green supply chain

Principle #9: Good design “Is environmentally friendly”

“Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.” – ‘Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design’

I was talking with my good friend and colleague Dan Fischer about the blog series and mentioned this principle. He told me about cases he had seen with some clever work on re-usable packaging, where the supplier’s packaging can be taken into its customers’ facilities and is either used to move the resulting product through the process and on to its next destination, or the empty containers go back to the supplier for use in a future delivery.

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