Technology questions YOU should be asking

JustinKing

Supply chain technology questions

For most humans, the fear of public speaking ranks #1 on the list of ‘things most feared’ – often scoring higher than death. Apparently my genes were cross-connected at some point and I actually enjoy opportunities to speak. In my role as a Technology Evangelist for Kinaxis, I jump at any opportunity to talk to our customers or prospects about their technology needs. A typical day might have us sitting down with those who are evaluating the solution and walking through the planning process. The business team would show the capabilities live in the tool and then at the end of the session we will often open up the floor for questions. Usually I’ll get very thought-provoking questions that are quite relevant to the conversation . Occasionally I’ll get “that guy” who wants to sound smart, asking what color network cables we use or why we don’t use 8,192-bit keys rotated on an hourly basis. Recently, I was asked a question that really took me by surprise. The prospect asked, “What questions should we be asking, but aren’t?”

At the time, I was taken by surprise and probably didn’t come up with a good answer; however, I’ve given this much thought and now have compiled a list of questions that I think every organization should ask their technology vendor – regardless of what they are buying.

1. How many products are you offering?

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On-demand SCM World webcast – Concurrency: The new era of supply chain planning

MelissaClow

Concurrency: The New Era of Supply Chain PlanningI’m happy to share that the following recorded webcast is now available: Concurrency: The new era of supply chain planning with Kevin O’Marah, Chief Content Officer, SCM World and Trevor Miles, Vice President of Thought Leadership, Kinaxis.

Future supply chain leaders will look back at 2016 as the end of an era. Spurred by unprecedented disruption, volatility and technology evolution, leading organizations are abandoning outdated, overly rigid supply chain planning processes and moving towards the future of planning: concurrency.

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Essence of optimization in supply chain and logistics

ImanNiroomand

optimization in supply chainSupply chain processes and transactions have been captured and automated by IT solutions. The process automation will help the supply chain planners and practitioners to do and track the operation tasks easily.  While these innovations would reduce the planners daily job hassle significantly but not necessary would help planners to get the most efficient and optimal solutions.

The planner requires a way to translate operational requirements and constraints into something that computer can understand and use to produce not just a solution but an effective solution. Let’s call this requirement, an operational model.  For example, the shipment of products into loads of a truck is an example of loading model. A very simple model uses product’s weight and volume as a loading requirement and produces an efficient load profile for shipment. One might ask, why this efficiency is matter and how we could gain this efficiency.

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Four Steps to End-to-End Supply Chain Success

DuncanKlett

End-to-end supply chainSupplying products to customers is clearly important. If you can’t satisfy the needs of a prospective customer, that prospect can easily buy from someone else who can deliver what they want, when they want it. Lost sales and additional expediting costs hit your bottom line.

At one level, end-to-end supply chain success is simple: get the right stuff to the right place at the right time. So, what’s hard about that?

The answer is “lots”. Products change. Customers order at the last minute and change their orders. On-line customers expect their product to be shipped, if not delivered, on the day they place the order. Supplies don’t arrive as expected. Supply chains typically use several layers of companies, manufacturing sites, and warehouses between raw materials and customer delivery. The number of products and the number of units of those products produced are enormous: 5 million integrated circuits a day, 35,000 vehicles per day, 3,000 major appliances per day.

I recall a visit to an electronics manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico. Every week, amongst other products, they made about 200,000 units of a consumer electronics product. They did this despite having to manage an average of 30 production changes to that product every day! How did they do it?

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The Future of Supply Chain Management

TeresaChiykowski

Closed Today. Fresh out of Supply Chain Talent.

Future of supply chain management

There’s no time like the present to talk about the future of supply chain management. That was the perfect lead-in for a great Supply Chain Insights webinar I attended recently – Journey to Supply Chain 2030.

Admittedly, 2030 is a few years out. Sometimes it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen next week let alone 14 or 15 years down the road. But here’s the thing about supply chains: Today’s supply chains are the result of what we’ve done in the past; tomorrow’s supply chain will be the result of what we’re doing today. So it’s time to get planning.

Technology, digitization and automation are dramatically changing the supply chain. The cloud and massive streams and lakes of data are making for a vastly different way of managing operations. The manufacturing firms that continue (successfully) into the future must possess the “talent” with the right competencies, and the “strategic thinking and problem solving” abilities to deal with the new and increasingly more complex supply chain.

But, how confident are firms that they’ll have this workforce at the ready? Not very. In Deloitte’s 2015 Supply Chain survey of 400 executives, only 38% of respondents say they have the competencies they need today. And that doesn’t even consider the future.

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Improving Supply Chain Collaboration: Connecting Processes

TeresaChiykowski

This is the second blog post in our three-part series discussing ways to improve supply chain collaboration.

S&OP processIn my first blog post in this series, I touched upon one of the biggest challenges companies operating global supply chains face today. I’m talking about the disconnect between the data, processes and people in the supply chain and how it inhibits collaboration and the ability to make the best decisions quickly.

My last post focused on connecting data. So today, I’m going to do a deeper dive into connecting S&OP processes.

The challenge: Disconnected sales and operations planning processes

Today’s supply chain processes and functions operate in silos.

What I mean by “silos” is that, across organizations, managers are responsible for one specific department, each with different priorities, responsibilities and objectives. As a result, managers aren’t aware of what other departments are doing in terms of their goals and priorities.

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Six Degrees of Separation in your Supply Chain

PalvashahDurrani

supply chain communicationIn our digitally connected world – information is easy to access, available on demand, and of varying levels of quality and veracity. While being connected means it might be difficult to escape the latest zeitgeist, it also means that you are aware of your current context and fragments of the world around it. And, if you want to step out of what you passively receive – you can actively chase down countless threads of inquiry to learn more.

Integrated supply chains take advantage of these multi-threaded inquiry patterns by coordinating across supply chain functions, however, how interconnected is communication in your processes? Can you reach across your supply chain to achieve diverse and innovative solutions in just six steps or less?

One way to enhance your communication channels is to engage in group problem-solving. Yes, you might do that currently across teams; you might even engage external stakeholders such as suppliers or distributors when resolving a shipping challenge or similar issue. To truly integrate communication across your supply chain, consider involving both internal and external stakeholders at other stages—not just when there’s a problem to resolve.

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Running on autopilot

AlexaCheater

The growing role of AI in supply chain management

artificial intelligenceRapidly evolving technology and a digitally focused world have opened the door for a new wave of automation to enter the workforce. Robots already stand side-by-side with their human counterparts on many manufacturing floors, adding efficiency, capacity (robots don’t need to sleep!) and dependability. Add in drones and self-driving vehicles and it’s no wonder many are questioning the role of humans going forward.

Supply chains, although automated to a degree, still face challenges brought about by the amount of slow, manual tasks required, and the daily management of a complex web of interdependent parts. The next generation of process efficiency gains and visibility could be on your doorstep with artificial intelligence in supply chain management, if only you’d let the robots automatically open it for you.

History of automation

Mankind and machines have worked in harmony for decades, with some citing Henry Ford’s adoption of the assembly line way back in 1913 as its early beginnings. Fittingly, D.S. Harder, an engineering manager at the Ford Motor Company, officially coined the term ‘automation’ in 1946, using it to describe the increased use of automatic devices and controls in mechanized production lines.

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