Posts categorized as 'Supply chain risk management'

Non-Traditional Supply Chain Pt 2: People

AlexaCheater

People can be considered non-traditional supply chainIn part one of this series I talked about how businesses trading in data as a commodity could be classified as using non-traditional supply chain. It was the most obvious case to prove non-traditional supply chain is actually a valid concept. After giving it some careful consideration, I can come up with an additional area that falls into the non-traditional supply chain category – people.

Take my sister for example. Her job requires her to travel to multiple hospitals in the region to provide a service, and she often has to visit more than one location in a single day. As her employer it would be nice to know exactly where she is, how much she has left to do at each location, and what her ETA is for arriving at the next one. Short of installing a tracking device and camera to monitor her every move (I’m sure she’d love that!), the only option is to put in place a standardized procedure where she checks in with her supervisor at regularly scheduled intervals to give a status update. Great in theory, but full of potential pitfalls in practice.

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What if… you really could “what-if” in your supply chain?

JohnWesterveld

What-if?We’ve all asked ourselves the question… what-if? What if I bought that new car? What if I took that job? What if I won a million dollars? It’s fun to dream. But sometimes the what-ifs are slightly more mundane yet still important…. especially when you say “what-if” with your supply chain.

  • What if I could decrease the lead time on this part? What impact would this have on safety stock?
  • What if I accepted this large order? Could I build it by the due date? What other orders are impacted?
  • What if my key supplier suddenly couldn’t deliver for three months? What would that do to my revenue? What customers are affected?
  • What if I shifted production to a new supplier that had much lower costs but higher lead times? What would that do to my margins? My inventory levels?

The list goes on… we’ve only barely scratched the surface of the types of what-if analysis that supply chain professionals try to do every day. The challenge supply chain planners and analysts face every day is that the tools they are provided really don’t support what-if analysis. ERP systems don’t support multiple simulation scenarios, they have fixed, part-by-part reporting that doesn’t support further investigation, and it takes hours to run the batch processes needed to evaluate a significant change.

Since they can’t effectively perform what-if analysis in the ERP system, supply chain analysts often need to model these key decisions using Excel. And while Excel is an excellent tool for doing basic models, it simply cannot effectively capture the complexity of a real supply chain. Layer on top of this, the errors that inevitably end up in any Excel model, and you are often making key strategic and tactical decisions based on a flawed model.

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Non-Traditional Supply Chain Pt 1: Data as a Commodity

AlexaCheater

Data represents a non-traditional supply chainAn interesting topic came up the other day at the office, the idea of non-traditional supply chain. Not non-traditional in the sense of a company that thinks and acts a little outside of what’s considered to be ‘normal’ supply chain operating processes. Rather, supply chains that don’t deal with material goods at all. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Millennial, part of Generation Y, and came of age at the same time the internet did, but my very first thought was of course there’s such a thing as non-traditional supply chain – just look at the data!

Anyone who works in traditional supply chain knows data is king. It plays an integral role in managing not only your sales and operations planning (S&OP), but rules the roost so to speak when it comes to making sure your supply chain is operating effectively. Without accurate and timely data, that’s also easily visible, you’re likely not making the best decisions for your business.

But what I’m talking about isn’t using data to enhance your supply chain. I’m talking about data as a commodity – and it’s a booming business right now.

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How Do You Define Your Supply Chain Challenges?

AndrewDunbar

A common supply chain challenge is resource planningGoogle “Top 10 supply chain challenges” and you’ll find 44 million different opinions on the biggest issues our industry faces today. Many are filled with our favourite industry buzzwords: Visibility, Risk Management, Cost Pressure, The Internet of Things, Security Threats… and the list goes on. These are all interesting and catchy concepts but they don’t necessarily address the fundamental challenges faced by your supply chain organization. A common mistake when developing a supply chain strategy is to select some key initiatives or technology platforms and a list of best practices, and work backwards to highlight the business problems you’ll solve with your plan. If this is your approach then the Boston Bruins aren’t the only one’s putting the cart before the horse (Go Sens!).

I like the approach recommended by Peter Bolstorff, a Supply Chain Council Executive Director with APICS. He recommends a fundamentals-first approach to strategic planning and suggests focusing on three basic challenges:

  1. Rate of supply chain planning
  2. Resource management in a global organization
  3. Real time transformation of data into competitive insight.

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Know sooner, act faster and accelerate your supply chain performance!

JohnWesterveld

A globe with highlighted routes representing supply chain performanceWhen things happen in supply chain, knowing sooner and acting faster can mean the difference between a major catastrophe and a minor hiccup in your supply chain performance. It can mean the difference between late orders and angry customers and the ability to win additional market share. It can mean the difference between getting fired and getting a promotion.

Imagine this scenario; you are a supply chain executive for a major U.S.-based electronics manufacturer. It’s a Sunday morning in May 2008. You’ve woken up and are reading the Sunday news. Suddenly you read something that makes you spill your coffee. There has been a major earthquake in Chengdu, China… where several of your key items are manufactured. This is bad…. very bad, but you know you have the tools to respond. By end of day Monday, you have identified the key items that are manufactured in that region, identified the customers and revenue impacted by the loss of those items, identified alternative sources, and were able to shift to new suppliers and reschedule orders. All with minimal impact to your customers.

Is this kind of performance too good to believe? Can you imagine your supply chain planning team being able to pull this off? Supply chain performance like this is not out of your grasp. It takes two things:

  1. Knowing sooner
  2. Acting Faster

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Cognizant – Mining Critical Data in the Era of the Internet of Things – SupplyChainBrain & Kinaxis Video Series

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

SupplyChainBrain attended our annual Kinexions user conference, and while there, they completed a number of video interviews with customers, analysts, and Kinaxis executives. And, we’d like to share them!

In the age of the Internet of Things, how can companies extract meaningful insights from the mass of data that is available to them today? We get answers from Yogesh Amraotkar of the Innovation and Solutions Group of Cognizant.

Watch now: Mining Critical Data in the Era of the Internet of Things

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Accenture – 10 Years After: How Close Are We to True Demand-Driven Supply Chains? SupplyChainBrain & Kinaxis Video Series

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

SupplyChainBrain attended our annual Kinexions user conference, and while there, they completed a number of video interviews with customers, analysts, and Kinaxis executives. And, we’d like to share them!

It’s been about a decade since companies began talking about the dream of a truly “demand-driven” supply chain. How far have we come? It’s been 10 years since companies began striving to create “demand-driven” supply chains. Today, companies are “realizing that perhaps it’s not quite as short a journey as we thought it would be,” says Roddy Martin, managing director of Accenture Supply Chain Strategies.

Progress has been made, however, especially among consumer-driven retailers and even some large industrial manufacturers. “We’re way down the road,” says Martin, whose comments came at the annual Kinaxis user conference.

Why has the journey been so difficult? One reason lies in companies’ heavy investment in traditional enterprise resource planning and demand-planning infrastructure, says Martin. That has led to an “inside-out” focus with businesses. But the volatility of demand, coupled with growing risk in global supply chains, has shown that this approach won’t give companies the agility they’re seeking. What they need to be pursuing is the ability to conduct demand sensing and shaping within their supply chains, made possible by complete visibility of inventory at all points.

Watch now: 10 Years After: How Close Are We to True Demand-Driven Supply Chains?

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Do your supply chain challenges have you feeling a little snowed under?

AndrewDunbar

A snowed in car represents challenges weather can create for supply chainsThe first day of spring is less than a week away but the Canadian winter is still wreaking havoc on local supply chains.

A friend of mine wrote off his beloved Mazda 3 last month after being rear-ended on a snowy country road outside of Ottawa. This unfortunate event kick-started an urgent need for a replacement vehicle that would fit his growing family and replace the car he’d loved for longer than he’d even known his three children. His wife, demonstrating both her love and a generous dose of pity for her grief-stricken husband, agreed to let him upgrade to a brand new Audi Q3. “Don’t worry my friend, the car of your dreams will be here soon. It’s already on a ship to Halifax!” assured the sales rep.

Now five weeks late, my friend’s wife is still driving him to work and her pity has all but evaporated. What went wrong you ask? It’s hard to believe, but the ‘car of his dreams’ is currently frozen to the ground at CN Rail’s Eastern Passage Autoport.

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