2015 New Year’s Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry

Published January 2nd, 2015 by CJ Wehlage 3 Comments

2015 New Years Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry2015 will be my 25th year in the supply chain industry, mostly as a practitioner. I’ve had the benefit of stepping away from the grind for 2 years, spending time at AMR Research, where I visited with many companies and learned about their supply chain practices. As well, these past 2 years at Kinaxis have brought great insight on the operational challenges of supply chain leaders.

Which brings me to today… I was planning out my 2015 supply chain conference schedule, and noticed the conference themes: Digital, Green, Internet of Things and Social. These are what I call “Cool Theme” topics. But after my 25 industry years, I find that the fundamentals of revenue, profitability and service are the still most important themes. It feels like we’ve drifted away from the fundamental supply chain strategies. So, I decided that 2015 needs to be a re-focus on the hard core fundamentals of supply chain success. And change in the New Year begins with resolutions…

 

My 2015 Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry

Resolution #1 – Stop using the term VISIBILITY

People say that information is power. I beg to differ. I say, an informed decision is power. The visibility term has been over used. I’ve even heard some say that getting visibility to your supply chain is 80% of the challenge. They must not have run a supply chain. I see many supply chain leaders that have visibility, some in excel and some in automated tools. The ones that don’t have visibility can easily call the supplier and get it. Getting visibility isn’t the challenge. The real 80% challenge is “what are you doing with the visibility?”

  • Are you using visibility to eliminate searching for exceptions?
  • Are you setting control limits on your visibility to set planning priorities?
  • Does your visibility provide a proactive view into supply chain challenges?
  • Are you doing the #1 supply chain best practice, simulation, with your visibility?

Most supply chains can actually answer these questions, but with multiple spreadsheets, phone calls, MRP runs, and planning modules; in essence, without having agility. With today’s complexity, these questions need to be answered in seconds, concurrently across multiple exceptions. Yet, supply chain leaders seem to be stuck in the strategy of incremental change. Problem is: supply chain complexity is growing exponentially, customers and competitors are becoming more global, and the time to make decisions is shrinking to minutes instead of days and weeks.

This lack of urgency is driven by the “Supply Chain Anarchists”. This is a group that tries to undermine the best efforts of supply chains.

The Supply Chain Anarchists had a meeting in late 2014, to figure out a way to stop supply chain progress. The first person said, “Let’s tell everyone that there is no Complexity”. The others thought about it, and said, “that’s good, but people will still be on late night conference calls with far off suppliers, and have to travel around the globe for supply chain issues”, so that won’t work.   The next person said, “Let’s tell everyone there is no Risk”.   After a while, the others said, “that’s interesting, but there will be another earthquake, flood, or political event, and people will see the risk”. So, they thought some more, and one person said, “I got it”. “Let’s say there’s no Hurry”… Supply chain leaders don’t need to change their strategy this year.   You can make small, incremental improvements in 2015. It would be difficult to align all your partners. “Things can wait for now.” They all agreed, that’s the ticket. We will stop supply chain progress by making people think “there’s no Hurry”…

My #1 resolution for 2015 is to drive that sense of urgency to change. Informative decisions across your entire end-to-end network are needed now. You need to proactively simulate issues. You need to make your supply chain THE differentiator. The traditional horizontal Plan-Buy-Make-Deliver model is gone. Disintermediation is happening to your supply chain as you read this. Look at what Amazon is doing to the Deliver model. You need to be using visibility to bring value and differentiation.

 

Resolution #2 – Read only ONE “Cool Theme” report

In 2014, I saw the emergence of Cool Themes from all the Analysts. The digital supply chain, green supply chain, internet of things, and the best, social supply chain.   What happened to the core fundamentals of revenue, profitability and service?

In 2015, I resolve to read only one Cool Theme report. I’m tired of research analysts peddling these themes as a means to gain an edge on readership. Yet, I watch the audience during some of these Cool Theme presentations. And, half the people are on their smartphone working core issues back home, while the Analyst is talking about how supply chains should save the Panamanian golden frog, reduce the ozone layer, produce products with plastic wire from 3D printers and generate forecasts from Facebook posts!

 

Resolution #3 – Stop moaning about Bad Data

Let’s face it, everyone has some form of bad data. And, when you include all your tiered suppliers, they have bad data. The one constant is that you will never fix all the internal and external bad data. Yet, I still hear supply chain leaders say they need to focus first on fixing the data. I’ve seen many presentations from “Top 25” supply chains and how they’ve cleaned data, and why they should be considered a top tier supply chain story. This reminds me of my farmer friend…

I needed to borrow an auger from my farmer friend. He has many tools, and I went over to his farm. His wife said he was out in the barn. When I turned the corner to the back side of his barn, I saw him with a Hoyt Spyder Turbo bow and arrow – Top of the line and expensive. I looked at the side of his barn and saw 17 bull’s-eyes. And in the middle of each bull’s-eye was an arrow… dead center! I stuttered to get my words out, and said did you do that. To which he said yes. I turned back around and looked at the side of the barn, and asked him how long he’s had the bow and arrow. He said about 2 weeks. I said, only two weeks? That’s amazing! 17 bulls-eyes, 17 hits in the center of each bulls-eye. You’ve only practiced for 2 weeks. How can you be so accurate? He said it’s easy. I shoot first and they draw the bull’s eye around where the arrow hit!

I’ve seen many supply chain presentations that are like my farmer friend. They appear more on target than they actually are. They may talk about cleaning all the data, but the truth lies in using both good and bad data. The thing leaders should focus on is executing to what data is there and, where there’s bad data, use simulation tools to make up the difference.

And that’s the resolution to make. It’s okay to moan about bad data. But, don’t let bad data dictate your execution. The best simulations I’ve seen have focused on supplementing the bad data. Sort of like the scientists in Jurassic Park – where they supplement frog DNA code to make the dinosaurs.

 

Resolution #4 – Fix the Disruption you can influence, not the Disruption you are concerned with

There are two types of disruptions. That which you are concerned with, and that which you can influence.

Volatility, regulation, geopolitics, economics, energy, and the list goes on. These are in your Circle of Concern. They happen, and you should be concerned. Yet, many supply chain leaders face fail to focus on the Circle of Influence, the area where you can make a difference.

There are two methods to manage your Circle of Influence. The first, and most widely used, is to simulate disruptions before they happen, or quickly after they occur. The second, and not widely used, is called “responsibility based collaboration.” It’s having the right people, with the right information need to make the right decisions, in the right time. Without responsibility based collaboration, too many people are involved. Redundant work is processed. Planners feel dis-empowered. The process of resolving the “disruption” is creating more disruptions.

Core questions to assess your level of responsibility based collaboration:

  1. Are senior managers as close as possible to the decision?
  2. Can the decisions be implemented faster?
  3. Do those making decisions have the detailed understanding?
  4. Does the decision account for “carnage” created elsewhere?
  5. Are all the impacted departments aware of the tradeoff?
  6. Are Planners feeling more empowered to analyze and decide?

Concurrent, responsibility based collaboration is needed in 2015.

 

Resolution #5 – Scrap the Talent Research, Make Planners more Productive

After reading all the Talent Research done in 2014, the topics of attrition, retiring professionals, and university-business alignment, I notice a big gap. The one thing missing in all this Supply Chain Talent research is the concept of being more productive with the talent you already have.

How can every supply chain improve productivity? In every supply chain I’ve seen in my past 25 years, there’s one constant – they all use some form of Excel – mostly to search for exceptions. Planners spend half their day dumping ERP and BI data into Excel, and then search for exceptions.

And that’s not even the biggest problem! Once a Planner finds an exception, they work to resolve it. Yet, 80% of the exceptions found don’t actually break and end-to-end control limit. So, the Planner, after half a day searching, is now working on the wrong exception. And, even worse, that Planner resolves the exception without concurrently understanding how they’ve impacted other areas. That’s called “carnage” – aka “next week’s exceptions”.

This is the main reason I love the Kinaxis solution. Single code, pulling end-to-end data, running all the time, in memory fast, alerting Planners only when control limits break, and providing concurrent understanding of how a resolution impacts all nodes of the network.

The result is that Planners no longer search for exceptions. That’s half the day back = much more productive. Then, Kinaxis customers use that gained productivity to simulate future issues = more proactive planning. In essence, fixing exceptions before they happen. This is the reason Kinaxis customers are “giddy”.

These are my Five Resolutions for 2015. What are your resolutions?

 

Posted in General News, Miscellanea, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Best of the Best Supply Chain Blog Posts of 2014

Published December 22nd, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

best of the best supply chain blog-posts

As you take time over the holidays to sit back and reflect, here are the top ten excerpts from the best of the best posts on the Kinaxis supply chain blog. They touch on hot topics and industry trends discussed over the past year, so grab a coffee (or a spiked eggnog) and enjoy! We look forward to continuing the conversation in the New Year.

#1 “And much as we have had to rethink the first applications that were simply a digitization of a paper-based paradigm, we need to rethink how we structure our organizations and get work done to get maximum utility out of the digital world.”
FROM SMAC in the Middle of Supply Chain Change

#2 “Visibility is losing its clarity.”
FROM Visibility is Losing Its Clarity

#3 “The ‘ah-ha’ moments are the catalyst to innovation.”
FROM “Storage Wars” Rescues Supply Chain Ignominy

#4 “Many companies have several instances of ERP, each deployed differently. Despite many moving to a single instance of ERP there are still many ‘shadow IT’ required to do what the core ERP solution cannot. And then there is the planning layer, which is even less harmonized or standardized. Most business people consider this an IT problem. Guess what? It isn’t going away until the business makes solving the data issue their issue.”
FROM Gartner Supply Chain Leaders Conference – What Will Be Hot?

#5 “Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. Your company has implemented an S&OP process. At first it showed some promise, but now it has turned into a blamefest, attended – if at all – by lower level representatives that aren’t empowered to make decisions.”
FROM Poorly Executed or Non-Existent S&OP Is Costing Your Supply Chain Money

#6 “…a supply chain planning system of record should be focused on how it can drive tangible business outcomes not just on how to run the supply chain planning function.”
FROM Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record

#7 “…Yet my contemporaries are the ones making large decisions about organizational structures, processes, and solutions that are rooted in mental models developed and perfected in the 1970s and 1980s. And far too many of the analysts and management consultants continue to position these mental models as best practice. They are not; they are yesterday’s practice.”
FROM Do Supply Chain Planning Systems Generate Any Value?

#8 “Collaboration is not about ’being social’, it’s about making information available, connecting people and improving business processes.”
FROM Purposeful Collaboration: What It Could Mean for Your S&OP Process

#9 “… even the smartest people can juggle no more than nine variables when making decisions. Since there are a lot more than nine variables that need to be considered when making a cross-functional decision in supply chain, the solution was to eliminate the people and let a machine make an ‘optimal’ decision. It is time that we corrected this imbalance.”
FROM The Eternal Dilemma of Decision Making: Human Judgment or Machine Optimization

#10  “Supply chain visibility alone won’t yield effective supply chain orchestration; it is a prerequisite capability, among others.”
FROM Overcoming the Challenges to Achieving End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility

 

Posted in Control tower, General News, Inventory management, Miscellanea, Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management


Transform your supply chain process – don’t just improve it

Published December 18th, 2014 by John Westerveld 0 Comments

transform your supply chain handsawDid you ever hear the joke about the old lumberjack?  The old lumberjack came out of the forest and went for supplies.  He needed a new saw – his old two-man saw had been sharpened so many times there wasn’t much left.  At the store, the salesman showed him the newest tool for cutting trees called a chain saw.  The salesman said that he can cut trees 10 times faster than with the two person hand saw.  The lumberjack was impressed! He bought one.  Several days later he came back and said to the salesman “This saw is no good!  No matter how fast I push and pull it doesn’t cut! What’s worse – my partner keeps cutting his hand because there is no handle at the other end.

Okay… admittedly that was a silly joke.  But if you consider how many people think about supply chain software it’s like the old lumberjack and the chain saw. The chain saw was a revolutionary tool and if used right, could make a single man more effective than a team of two. Advanced supply chain planning software like RapidResponse can do the same thing for supply chain.

In my role, helping the sales team, I’m often asked to reproduce a report that the prospect currently uses to run the business.  I totally understand why this is important – the prospect wants to feel assured that their current business process can be maintained. Creating even the most complex report in RapidResponse is a breeze so it’s not a big deal for us.  The prospect gets value because the report that I’ve just built in RapidResponse replaces an Excel report that takes hours every day to update. In RapidResponse, the update is instantaneous and can show changes with every data update and with every change to the scenario.

The problem when you buy new software like RapidResponse and use it to speed up the old way of doing business, you are missing out on the true revolution that RapidResponse can bring to your supply chain.   One company we were selling to a few years ago wanted us to reproduce a report that alerted the buyer whenever a purchase order was changed by the supplier through the on-line portal.  So, we did that.  We also added a few additional bits of information that they could never get before.  One was how many customers were impacted by that delay.  The other was how much revenue was impacted.  With this new information, the buyer can instantly see the priority in which they need to tackle these late purchase orders; some changes had no impact at all – the orders were just replacing safety stock.  Others drove millions in potential revenue.  This simple addition significantly reduced the time the buyer spent on chasing down late orders that really didn’t matter and allowed them to focus on the ones that did matter!

If I were to offer any advice to those looking at new supply chain software it’s this; your supply chain planning can be (and should be) a competitive advantage for your company.  You are looking for better planning because you recognize the flaws in your current system. By all means, ensure that the candidate software can address your current processes, but then work with the vendor to think outside of the box. You don’t want to do your current processes faster – you want to revolutionize your processes altogether. Only then can you achieve the supply chain transformation you seek.

Are you considering transforming your supply chain?  Have you just gone through the process? What were the results? Comment back and let us know!

Posted in General News, Response Management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Top 10 Reasons Why Santa Has The Best Supply Chain

Published December 18th, 2014 by Bill DuBois 0 Comments

Since the Holiday season is upon us, what better way to celebrate than with a top 10 list, which I hope will put everyone in a festive mood!

Here are 10 Reasons Why Santa Has the Best Supply Chain

#1 No ERP system, just a list. Now, he does do some risk assessment… using patented approved simulation. For example, what if Johnny is good this year?

#2 Air freight without the fuel costs. And a big zero on the carbon footprint

#3 No capacity issues, no union, no vacation, no breaks… work is play and play is work for elves.

#4 His forecast is always accurate. Let’s see that forecast!
top 10 reasons why santa has the best supply chain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 One currency for every country. Milk and cookies.

#6 No customer service issues. If a customer is rude, obnoxious or grumpy they get a rotten egg and a lump of coal and told to stick it where the mistletoe doesn’t grow.

#7 No labor costs… except for room and board.

#8 Free overnight delivery…on everything.

#9 No need for finance or Sarbanes Oxley, Saas70… everyone is honest at the North Pole.

#10 No inventory issues. The perfect Lean, JIT system ever.

Bill Dubois top 10 reasons why santa has the best supply chain
Comment to let us know why you think Santa has the best supply chain!

From everyone at Kinaxis, and the Late Late Supply Chain Show, all the best to you and your families over the holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Posted in General News, Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management


The Supply Chain “Change” Dilemma!

Published December 15th, 2014 by Prasad Satyavolu 0 Comments

Trevor Miles and I have been having a healthy discussion on the Internet of Things and how these technology changes are shaping the way we work.

This is part 4 in our Internet of Things Series: The Supply Chain “Change” dilemma!

A few weeks ago, Charles Wehlage wrote a blog post on his take on The Innovators Dilemma. I thought his analogies with supply chain strategy and execution were spot on. In this piece, Clayton Christensen specifically focused on why organizations fail. And not just any organization, but the great ones! The key learning is that the individuals who as a team have just witnessed a big win as a result of a hard worked strategy are highly likely to miss the budding wave of disruptive forces and be ready for the next change.

My own experiences witsupply change dilemna Svyantek DeShon System interface and hierarchy of effortsh different large scale transformations certainly point to this valid the hypothesis. An organization’s capability to sustain its innovative streak is largely dependent on the organizational “software” a.k.a. human resource + DNA. Therefore, the dilemma is how to synchronize the “social dynamics” within an organization and lead continuous change as digital technologies evolve and their adoption is a necessity.

The graphic from Svyantek and DeShon’s thoughts on “System interface and hierarchy of efforts required for change in an organization” illustrates the complexity of change. Organizational software comes before process and technology.

 

supply change dilemna organizations as machine or living system

I equate corporates especially the supply chain organizations with living organisms. They evolve as new scenarios emerge, oil prices fluctuate, new suppliers are added, customers are acquired, new markets penetrated and more data and information becomes available. It is wrong to assume that the collective intelligence of a thinking group can be subsumed in the so-perceived “automated Internet of Things (IoT)” world. Also, pushing the organizational supply chain change issues to a set of mere “team building” workshops will not suffice either.

Information flow within an organization plays a critical role in creating a culture of transparency, commitment to shared goals and observable leadership behaviors. The microcosm of the organization is thus formed within each cell of the organization. The information flow through these cells or nodes spread out within and outside the organization’s supply network shall determine the sustainability of change. Can we leverage the IoT paradigm to create a different organizational culture?

For most global organizations, the supply chain as a system can perhaps be best characterized as geographically spread but comprising of interdependent elements guided and orchestrated by thousands of brains. Arguably, these supply chains are highly complex and difficult to change.

As technologies provide new opportunities for disruptive innovation, building a “learning organization”- along the lines of the model proposed by Peter Senge- could perhaps help in not getting caught in its own success. According to Senge:

‘learning organizations’ are those organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”

He argues that only those organizations that are able to adapt quickly and effectively will be able to excel in their field or market.

So, when Trevor and I started discussing the impact of Internet of Things on the Supply Chain; it soon became clear that we are looking at a massive opportunity for transformation. The path to realization will require balancing the communication, computing and control with human intervention on one hand and building a continuously learning organization on the other.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Comment and let us know.

Posted in Demand management, General News, Inventory management, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Your supply chain is costing you money – Reason #10 Failure to adequately train your supply chain planning staff

Published December 12th, 2014 by John Westerveld 0 Comments

Supply chain career pathOver the years, working for and with numerous manufacturing companies, I’ve seen many supply chain practices that cost companies money.  Over the next several weeks, I’ll outline these issues and discuss some ideas around how to avoid these practices. You can find the previous posts here:

Reason #10: Failure to adequately train your supply chain planning staff

When you think about it, your supply chain planning team is responsible for making decisions that can impact millions of dollars. A bad decision can result in missed orders, significant inventory, or scrapped materials.

Yet, when you look at the background of many supply chain planning workers, you’ll find a huge variation in education and experience. From people with a basic education that worked their way up from the shop floor, to people with engineering degrees that fell into supply chain planning, to business majors who have never been to the factory floor, to recent graduates with a supply chain planning background, but don’t have real-life experience on how manufacturing and supply chains work.

Having worked with a cross section of these people, I’ve seen the very best and the very worst. The very best include people that not only understand supply chain from end-to-end, but can also come up with creative solutions beyond what the typical supply chain education can prepare you for.

The worse have me wondering why they decided on a career in supply chain at all.  These are the planners that don’t know and don’t care how supply chain works. They do their jobs moving inventory from here to there, opening orders that the system says should be opened, cancelling orders that the system says should be cancelled, yet never questioning why or whether it makes sense.

Why is this a problem?  Lesupply chain management training t’s look at a quick example. Have you ever seen a situation where some result from a system– whether a bill from the phone company, a stock report or MRP recommended actions have been messed up?  It might be a programmatic error but more likely it is caused by bad data.  So imagine that you are a supply planner and the MRP report is telling you to increase orders 10x for an expensive component.  Do you do it?  The computer told you to, right?  If you are one of those planners that just blindly execute what the system says to do, then you probably would order it.  However, better supply chain planners might question that recommendation.  They use their knowledge of how planning systems work to peg up to find the source of the change and determine that someone changed the wrong record causing the change and confirm with the planner that the change was intended.  By doing this, they could potentially save the company millions of dollars in excess inventory.

There will always be people that just want to do things the way they always have. Don’t want training and aren’t interested in learning.  However, there are also those people who have a real drive to learn and would like to understand supply chain better. These are the folks you want to do everything in your power to give them the education they need.

While traditional supply chain training isn’t the only way to get really good at supply chain (I’ve met some planners that instinctively “got” supply chain – and knew their way around the system better than most) it certainly helps to have a good foundational knowledge of supply chain concepts.  One very good source of supply chain training is APICs (American Production and Inventory Control Society).  They have multiple resources as well as two certification programs; CPIM (Certified in Production Inventory Management) and CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional). CPIM is broken out in to 5 modules that each have an optional instructor led review course.  At the end of each module, the student is encouraged to write the exam.  Once all 5 exams have been passed, you achieve your CPIM certification.  CSCP consists of three workshops followed by an exam for certification.  Many companies have paid for their employees to achieve their certification and some have even brought instructors into the workplace to do the certification training there.  In reality, providing training in this way is a win-win for the company and the employee. The company gains by having better educated planners, the employee gains by having a certification that is recognized my many companies around the world.

Supply chain is a very complex world. Yet, it’s one place where practitioners can have a huge effect on the business yet have minimal education…and I really think that’s kind of cool!  But your supply chain team could be much more effective if given the right tools and some basic supply chain education.

How did you learn about supply chain?  Do you have any education advice for people just starting out and wanting to learn?  Comment back and let us know!

 

Posted in General News, Products, Response Management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain management


Kinexions, a tale of growth and potential

Published December 9th, 2014 by Trevor Miles 0 Comments

building-kinexions-trevor-milesI’m on my way back from Tokyo where I attended our user conference, Kinexions Tokyo, in Japan, just 5 weeks after our Kinexions North America user conference in San Diego. As a side note, I had a stunning view of Mount Fuji from my hotel room on two of the three days I was in Tokyo. I have become so lazy about carrying a camera with me that I could only capture this photo with my smart phone.

If attendance at both conferences is anything to go by, 2015 is going to be even busier than 2014. In both cases we had about 50% increase in attendance over last year. In both cases we had the largest contingent of prospects ever and the largest contingent of partners ever. We also had the most customer presentations with 11 case studies in total including:

• ASICS
• Avaya
• Buffalo Technologies
• Dow AgroSciences
• Keysights
• Schneider Electric
• TE Connectivity
• Qualcomm

Kinexions `14 graphic recording

Kinexions graphic recording

The diagram above captures the essential elements of the San Diego conference in which you can see how important the customer case stories were to the overall conference. What struck me most is the diversity of the industries and the breadth of supply chain maturity represented. Before I comment further on specific stories, let me state that while the destination reached is important, it is the distance traveled that most impresses me. In other words, while I love the stories of the customers that are doing amazing stuff, it is the one that changed the most that really impresses me. For example, you only have to look at the Gartner Top 25 to see that Apple has been number one for the past 5 or so years. Yawn. I’m always looking for the companies that have started low in the ranking and are making rapid progress up the ranking. Change is hard, but change is necessary. It is easy to follow, and a lot more difficult to lead. Or, as Angel Mendez of Cisco likes to say, yesterday’s stretch goal is today’s benchmark.

And our customers are leading the charge in the transformation of supply chain, which is captured nicely in our tagline of ‘Know Sooner, Act Faster’. At the conference, that transformation was captured best by a pharmaceutical manufacturer and Schneider Electric. Their industries couldn’t be more different and their product portfolios and supply chain structures couldn’t be more different. But both were faced with deteriorating market positions a few years back that have necessitated huge transformations in their organizations, with supply chain being at the heart of the change. The pharmaceutical manufacturer was facing a massive patent cliff with many small molecule blockbuster drugs reaching patent expiry and have now made a radical shift into biotechnology. Schneider Electric has grown by acquisition and was faced with shrinking margins because of inefficient and poorly thought out supply chain operating models. Both companies needed to do something radically different. They both chose Kinaxis as the enabler of that change. Both realized that they could not transform their organizations by following the 1990’s supply chain mental model of functional optimization. You can’t cross the Grand Canyon in 10 min by walking. You need a helicopter for that.

Schneider said it best: The speed at which information flows across the supply chain is more important than what gets done with the information at each node in the chain. Now, to be honest, in my opinion they are expressing the area in which they had to make the largest mental leap, the greatest transformation. I would reword Schneider’s statement to state that the speed of information flow is just as important as what gets done in each functional box. In fact, I am not much of a fan of simple visibility solutions. What really matters is the speed of decision making, and that takes more than transmitting information quickly or being able to calculate quickly. You need both. This is the ‘Know Sooner’ part. And you need a third element too. You need to be able to bring people together as a team to make trade-off decisions quickly, as well as capture all the assumptions and provide a full audit trail of the decisions made. This is the ‘Act Faster’ part.

To be honest, our customers typically find it easier to describe the barriers to change and the inefficiencies of their previous operating models, than the new capabilities adopted. And this is true for most companies, and is where Avaya comes into the story, and to some extent Buffalo Technologies. Avaya have turned the value pyramid on its ear to focus on the real value generation of prediction/action/innovation. Dick Ling, the ‘father’ of S&OP said it best: It is far better to be approximately right than precisely wrong. Your data is never going to be 100% correct. You processes are always going to be in flux. Move on. Focus on how people will use the information you have to make a decision that will drive the company forward. At some point speed is quality. Plan. Monitor. Respond. In days, not months. By focusing on speed of decision, and quality of decision, Avaya has posted some truly amazing financial and operational gains. Obviously it is up to Avaya to share these gains publicly.

Avaya Kinaxis supply chain conference slides

Josh Greenbaum wrote a great summary of his impressions of the Kinexions conference in San Diego, specifically the unusually high number of women in attendance. Josh makes the point that it is perhaps our focus on supplier collaboration that draws more women to Kinaxis. If that is true, it is a most welcomed side benefit. To be honest I do think women are better at driving consensus and making compromises through trade-offs. Whether this is true because of nature or nurture is far beyond the scope of this discussion. What is important is the realization that the speed and manner in which people reach agreement across competing objectives is really important, and that it is a consensual process. If women are better at this, then all the more reason to bring them into senior leadership roles to drive change. We need the change. And we need more women in supply chain.

In wrapping up, let me give a quick shout-out to Watanabe-san of Abeam Consulting who presented the keynote in Japan. I ran a panel in San Diego discussing the technology innovations that will drive change in supply chain management. This was theme of Watanabe-san’s presentation, but he did a much better job of giving concrete examples of how these technology changes have already made changes to supply chains. My only (admittedly selfish) wish was that he has used English slides. I could only follow along on the simultaneous translation. For example, he used IKEA as an example of crowd sourcing in supply chain. After all, they are relying on the ‘crowd’ to do the final assembly, which has a radical impact on their cost to manufacture, distribute, and sell their products. What I found interesting was the manner in which he made new terms familiar and less alien, and therefore easier to accept and adopt.

So, all in all, a really positive set of conferences providing a great launch pad for 2015.

 

Posted in General News, Milesahead, Miscellanea, Pharma and life sciences supply chain management, Supply Chain Events


On-demand Webcast: Continuous S&OP for Life Sciences – Breaking the Mold

Published December 5th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Today’s Friday post is to let you know that we have posted the on-demand version of last week’s webcast on “Continuous S&OP for Life Sciences – Breaking the Mold” (registration required). In this webcast, learn about the unique S&OP challenges for Life Sciences companies, the importance of changing S&OP mindsets, and how to break the S&OP mold from both a process and technology perspective.

Webcast: Continuous S&OP for Life Sciences - Breaking the Mold

 

You can also view the slides that we’ve posted to slideshare:

 

Webcast Abstract
Trevor MilesView the recording of Trevor Miles, VP of Thought Leadership, Kinaxis, as he presents on the following topic.

Business realities have changed so tremendously in the last thirty years that the traditional ‘plan then execute’ S&OP model has become highly ineffective. It is unable to facilitate decision making amid acutely complex supply chain networks, or within the time horizons required. This is particularly true for Life Sciences companies faced with varying regulatory requirements and aging product portfolios.

In response, there is an emerging recognition that operational information must be accessed and evaluated on a continuous basis, whereby decisions that may have once only been considered as part of a scheduled S&OP process can be made as needed throughout the cycle. In this capacity, process execution evolves into operational orchestration.

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Posted in General News, Milesahead, Pharma and life sciences supply chain management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply Chain Events, Supply chain management