Step One: Stage Five Supply Chain Planning System of Record (SCP SOR)

CarolMcIntosh

Talent is key for supply chain planning system of recordReaching best in class. Stage Five of a five stage supply chain model. You all want to get there. Let’s discuss this from a practitioner’s view point.

Yes, we are talking about the supply chain planning system of record. The market is confused with terms; end-to-end, control tower, IBP, concurrent planning, integrated supply chain and planning systems of record. What really matters is what we are trying to achieve.

It has to start with the people.

Step One: The Right Talent

There has been a lot of discussion on this topic. It can’t be overlooked. In my years of experience in the industry and working with software, people are still the difference makers. The supply chain has changed. Increased volatility, more complex supply chains, more competition, and big data.

Supply chain talent must understand and be able to interpret big data but solving problems still requires people collaborating to evaluate tradeoffs. Today’s unpredictability is less deterministic.

Collaboration is at the Core of the Talent Requirement

Morten Hansen, who wrote the book ‘Collaboration’, refers to T-shaped managers. People who can perform their own individual work very well (the vertical part of the T) and also contribute effectively across the organization (the horizontal part of the T). In the supply chain world I translate that to mean T-shaped people have the ability to collaborate across the vertical silos (order fulfillment, demand planning, supply planning, inventory planning, logistics, S&OP) to ensure that decisions made are directionally correct. Thinking deep and broad.

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Is your inventory manager a firefighter or an air traffic controller?

AndrewDunbar

An Inventory Manager uses a tablet to check stockManaging inventory can be a challenging job! Inventory managers have to balance multiple conflicting priorities, support multiple internal and external customers, and are typically responsible for millions of dollars spread across multiple sites. They often manage their company’s single largest asset and receive little thanks for their efforts.

Unfortunately, many inventory managers don’t have the tools necessary to meet these responsibilities effectively. Supply chain complexity is increasing as companies find new ways to provide value to their customers. The inventory manager needs tools to exploit this complexity to get the most out of your inventory investment. All too often inventory managers are stuck spending all their time building reports and urgently responding to the latest shortage. They become experts at transferring and reallocating inventory to put out the latest fire, but can’t always track the true impact of their actions on the organization. Training and professional development is often sidelined to maintain focus on daily issues.

As companies increase the maturity of their inventory management process, the role of the inventory manager often evolves. The best planning systems provide users the ability to visualize and plan their inventory, monitor their inventory performance, predict issues before they happen, and prescribe improvements to maximize the benefits of your inventory. Once a plan is set, the system should alert the inventory manager so they can effectively respond where adjustments are required. With the right tools and training the inventory manager can evolve from a firefighter to an air traffic controller and become an expert at manipulating the levers that set a company up for success, not just today, but 3, 6, and 12 months from today.

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How Confident Are You in Your Supply Chain?

AlexaCheater

A new survey shows most aren't confident in their supply chainIt’s a simple question really. How confident are you in your organization’s supply chain, and its ability to actually perform in a way that supports your business needs? If you answered ‘not very’ you may be surprised to learn you aren’t alone.

According to the results of Deloitte’s third annual supply chain survey, a measly 38% percent of executives claim to be ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ confident their current supply chain has the competencies required to meet their needs. To me, that number seems frightening. It means almost two-thirds of executives aren’t confident about their supply chain’s capabilities!

What’s more, just 43% consider their supply chain organization to be ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ when it comes to strategic thinking and problem solving.

But it’s not all bad news. Most of those surveyed recognize the rapidly changing landscape means they need to start increasing their supply chain’s capabilities. Deloitte asked respondents about what it calls 13 fast-evolving technical capabilities:

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Is knowing tomorrow “good enough”?

DominicThomas

supply chain planning means knowing todayMy wife and I just moved into our new home that we spent a good deal of our lifesavings building. We worked with our builder on every detail—windows, floors, paint, lighting—you name it. We met with so many of the tradespeople who invested so much time with us making everything just right—under my wife’s watchful eye I might add. Shortly after we moved in, one key decision that we were left with was which company to use to install and monitor our alarm system. You see, I travel a lot for work and knowing that all is well at home is something that’s pretty important to me.

These days there are so many security companies to pick from, each one trumping the other with the latest and greatest innovation. From controlling access from your mobile device, to motion detecting camera systems, the common thread is “innovation”. When securing your family and the things you cherish most, would you rely on old technology? Would “Hey, if we detect a burglar in your house, we will let you know tomorrow morning after our next batch run” make you feel good about your security company?

Shouldn’t the same go for your supply chain? Companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars, pounds, euros and yen in supply chain planning systems since the late eighties. For a few, planning may have improved. For most, however, smart users have figured out ways of working around each of their disparate ERP and planning systems to make their businesses work. It is no secret that Microsoft Excel still remains the number one supply chain planning system in the world today.

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Are you getting the most out of your inventory management process?

AndrewDunbar

Inventory Management ManagerInventory is often the single largest asset on a company’s balance sheet and your inventory management process can have a huge impact on your organization’s bottom line. Understandably, the inventory management process is getting a lot of attention by organizations looking to squeeze out some extra profit in a challenging marketplace.

When you think about the priorities of your inventory management process, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it reducing excess and obsolete? Improving on time delivery performance? Balancing stock between distribution centers? Strategic reduction of your lead times to help obtain and fulfill more customer orders? Now what’s your next priority? And the one after that? Your first answer is likely dependent on your industry, the size of your organization, your role, and your company’s corporate strategies. Your second answer, if you have one, is typically dependent on the maturity of your inventory management process. Finance and business management will prioritize inventory reduction to increase profitability. Customer service representatives prioritize stock-out reductions to improve customer satisfaction. Manufacturing operations needs just the right parts available at just the right time. The inventory manager is often caught between multiple groups with conflicting priorities and becomes an expert firefighter, skilled at supporting whoever complains the loudest. It’s easy for an inventory manager to get tunnel vision and give one metric too high a priority over others.

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Top 25 Supply Chains Pt. 2: Epiphany About Speed

CJWehlage
  • by CJ Wehlage
  • Published

Amazon utilizes speed to become top supply chainIn part one of this blog series, I noted the changes, or lack thereof, to Gartner’s list of the Top 25 Supply Chains. After realizing little has changed, with the exception of creating a new “Masters” category, which doesn’t really fix anything in the rankings, I had two important thoughts and an epiphany.

Amazon’s #1 Position makes me think of two things:

Where in the world is Google?

Amazon is a software company that built expertise around services and distribution. That distribution model is fantastic for getting fast delivery. In the same light, I would advocate FedEx, UPS and DHL be in at least the Top 50 ranks.

Google is an internet company. Sure, they are known as a search engine, maps, communications, advertising, and services company. However, the key message from Gartner this year was the “digital” aspect of supply chains.

We tend to think of a traditional hardware company adding digital to its product and supply chain. However, let’s take direction from Guy Kawasaki (the Keynote speaker at the conference), and “Jump to the Next Curve”. What about a digital company that adds hardware? Google is adding cars, glasses, mobile, tablets, and even contact lens. And I believe Google should be added to the list.

Put Apple (and P&G) back in the Top 25

This isn’t because I used to work at Apple. I get it. People are tired of seeing Apple there every year. But, the problem isn’t fixed.

As I said in my May 2014 blog, where I predicted Amazon to be #1, Amazon has done everything great, except pull a profit. There’s been a lot spending on assets these past few years at Amazon. And soon that asset spending will be seen in their significant revenue growth. They’ve already finished in the top five, five years in a row, even with 0.0% ROA in 2015! My bet is that Amazon will be #1 for 2016 and 2017 (and then placed in the Masters category). Yet, the problem that left Apple at #1 for seven years, and potentially place Amazon at #1 for three years, will not have been fixed.

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Your opportunity to be a supply chain hero is here!

JenniferBell

A supply chain hero!If your business is currently leveraging SAP APO as part of your enterprise architecture, now is the time to upgrade to Kinaxis RapidResponse. You may be asking why now and how does this make me a supply chain hero?

As you know, SAP has announced their intention to discontinue support for their APO suite. This can be a scary time, especially if you have good adoption of APO within your user community. Why is it so scary for the user community? Because it means change.

But, as a soon to be supply chain hero, you appreciate the changing tides of technology. This potentially scary situation is really an opportunity in disguise. You can be a hero by:

  1. Being a Change Agent: Kinaxis is offering a low risk upgrade program, specifically to Kinaxis qualified SAP APO customers. Kinaxis will work with you to develop an upgrade program that allows you to transition key business processes to RapidResponse without a big bang implementation. This agility gives you the opportunity to test drive an exciting solution without a financial commitment until the value of RapidResponse is proven.
  2. Minimizing Supply Chain Risk: You know that cyber risk leads to business risk. The RapidResponse solution is cloud-based and proven. With customers like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, Kinaxis holds itself to the highest standard of security to support their government contracts. The same model is used for all Kinaxis customers, so you know your data is secure and cyber risk is mitigated.
  3. Setting a Business-Centric Vision: Set your vision and use RapidResponse as part of the strategy to get there. Your supply chain will thank you. Just imagine the following:

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The Supply Chain Dilemma – Do I Make House Repairs or Do I Redesign the Home?

LoriSmith
  • by Lori Smith
  • Published

Home renovations mimic supply chain dilemmaI live in a 40 year old house and in some ways it is certainly showing its age. When there is something that isn’t working, not meeting my needs, or simply has gotten out of date, I find myself asking the question of do I try to fix up what I have or replace it? There is a lot of maintenance needed to keep things running around the house, but for some things there comes a time when you have to ask “how far is this repair/upgrade going to take me?” If I keep investing just to maintain what I have, and at best, see an incremental improvement, when I am ever going to have the resources for re-designing and making real renovations? It is indeed a balancing act… and not at all unlike the decisions being made in managing supply chains.

A theme that resonated for me at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive conference the other week was the notion of “managing” versus “transforming”. There was a panel discussion on the Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) Imperatives for Executing the Global Supply Chain Strategy where each of the panelists said that among their main priorities was balancing continuous improvement with transformative innovation. You have to do both. And of course technology investment is a key factor, given that most, if not all supply chain innovation will be supported by technology.

This point really hit home during Dwight Klappich and Chad Eschinger’s session where they discussed the results of their Supply Chain Technology User Wants and Needs Study. A key takeaway from the study was that SCM IT investment and supply chain maturity/performance go hand in hand.

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