Posts Tagged ‘Manufacturing’

What the Analysts Are Saying About…A&D Supply Chains

Published July 18th, 2014 by Bill DuBois 0 Comments

What the Supply Chain Analysts Are Saying About A and D

Are you looking for some reading material to pass the time on your next flight? Even if you’re not you should check out Supply Chain Insights, Supply Chain Metrics That Matter. For the past several years, Supply Chain Insights has been delivering this research series.  What caught my eye is that for each report, they do a deep dive on a specific industry and use a mix of financial data, survey research results and interactions with their clients to help get a better understanding of various industries’ supply chains.

I spread my Supply Chain wings at an Aerospace company and since Aerospace and Defense is a key vertical market for Kinaxis, the recent Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Aerospace & Defense report was downloaded on my laptop to read on my next flight. The research benchmarks A&D companies against other industries and looks at the top five A&D companies over the last decade. Although it didn’t give any suggestions on what to do when you find yourself in row 32, you know the one next to the washroom, it did discuss the challenges the industry is facing as well as offering up solid recommendations for areas of improvement.

From a challenges perspective, here are the highlights covered in this report.

The obvious challenge is the complexity in the A&D industry. The report uses the Boeing 747-8 International as an example. It has about 6 million components which are manufactured in 30 countries by 550 unique suppliers. Think about those design, sourcing and delivery challenges. I always thought getting through security these days was complex.

With such a heavy reliance on first, second, third, fourth and fifth tier suppliers and in some cases having only one or two suppliers for specific components, it’s easy to see how delays and budget overages can happen. A supply chain based so heavily on external sources is susceptible to more risk than catching a flight on time out of Newark. As Supply Chain Insights mentions, this is having a significant impact on the company’s bottom line.

Interestingly, to help address the issue of ensuring materials are available when needed; the research indicates that A&D companies have “developed some of the most advanced sourcing techniques and practices.” Companies like Lockheed Martin, are looking at new strategies for materials (raw or otherwise) that are harder to source, especially in the cases where increased Supply Chain volatility have thrown a wrench in their “Just In Time” approach. The challenge is balancing reduced material delays with rising inventory levels and longer Days of Inventory.

To help address these challenges, Supply Chain Insights makes a few recommendations that I think are spot on. Suppliers, in particular of materials that are sole sourced, play such a large and important role in the A&D supply chain, it’s vital that there be a focus on supplier collaboration and communication at every level.  A big part of this is increasing visibility into the supply chains to ensure they can anticipate and plan for potential disruptions. Focusing in these areas will help reduce supply chain risk, and make A&D companies better prepared to deal with inevitable disruptions when they do occur.

Thanks to Metrics That Matter, not only did I get some valuable A&D insights but it took my mind off of sitting in row 32 on a delayed flight out of Newark. The report covers a lot more ground than what I’ve discussed here, so feel free to download a full copy of Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Aerospace & Defense report here. (No registration required.)

Posted in Best practices, Demand management, General News, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Three Distinct Capabilities of Best in Class – From the supply chain leadership series

Published April 16th, 2014 by CJ Wehlage 2 Comments

supply chain leadership seriesAs I mentioned in my last post of this series, I am starting a blog series on “supply chain leadership”. I hope to pose thought provoking, and forward looking questions to executives in my supply chain network. This series will provide insights into the most pressing challenges, innovative items in supply chain leader’s budgets, and how these executives have handled talent, complexity, end-to-end S&OP, and technology. Next up is Clarence Chen, Partner at AT Kearney.  I have known Clarence from his days at PRTM as Partner of Electronics & Semiconductors.  His background and opinions on the future of supply chain is truly fascinating.

1. As we enter 2014, how would you describe the most pressing supply chain challenges?

Some of the most pressing supply chain challenges in 2014 continues to be that of delivery, quality and cost.  I think the factors that compound those challenges are changing at a faster pace than most industries are able to cope with, thereby making attainment of the core supply chain objectives even more challenging.

There are two vectors for those factors:

1)  At a geo-demographic level there are the shifting patterns of demand and growth along with cost factors rising quickly in some geographies/countries and inputs into production.

2) At a technological level, the pace of innovation continues to accelerate.  Not only is the pace of NPI increasing in technology, but that same clock speed is now moving into broad sectors as trends such as the internet of things/devices become more pervasive beyond traditional high tech penetrating into industrial, healthcare, automotive sectors, etc.

To cope with these factors, companies have to rethink the core supply chain capabilities of plan, source, make, deliver and the skills and resources required to manage supply chains in 2014 and beyond.   Companies will need to manage with greater precision, tightness, and control over their supply chain assets and partners. Those who don’t master that well will risk high E&O and overall inventories, supply-demand mix issues which impact service levels, and slow response times to changing market demand patterns

2. The End-to-End supply chain strategy has been well documented. What capabilities does your company have that is better in class for integrating end to end?

The best-in-class companies have three distinct capabilities that are more developed than others.  First is a thorough mastery of the demand management process – not just focused on forecasting, but on developing a better “quality” of demand.  This emphasizes factors such as being able to understand whether shifts in demand represent a timing issue driven by big deals, or whether the market is fundamentally at new level of demand, and then driving the rationalization of actual demand against a plan. Second is an ability to propagate demand across an extended supply chain, taking into account the key control nodes and depth of the supply chain, and balancing that against supply, inventory, service and supply chain level constraints. Third is the ability to collaborate with key long lead time suppliers to ensure that they are able to meet the forecast and execute against actual requirements. This direct control of the end-to-end supply chain minimizes bullwhip effects, and enables the responsiveness required in today’s volatile environments.

3. How aligned and connected are you to the many supply chain nodes?  What are the reasons you would want to improve this alignment?

Back in 2010, on the heels of a severe component shortage environment as companies emerged from the 2008 market downturn, I conducted a survey with 14 leading computing and storage companies to better understand how some coped better than others with the upswing in demand, and extreme supply shortages.  The findings validated that those companies with greater visibility and control of their extended supply chain fared much better in recovering supply than those companies that did not.  By visibility and control, it means that those that had visibility at component level, and sometimes at tier 3 level visibility, coupled with planning and orchestration across the extended supply could then proactively allocate precious supply to demand priorities and manage tightly the placement of P.O.s at the extend lead times. In particular, those that modeled what their contract manufacturers and key supplier suppliers (e.g. die banks with silicon devices) and were able to balance S-D at each node fared the best.

I love Clarence’s insights, especially on the main challenge: delivery, quality, and cost.  These are the core objectives from the past 20 years, and remain the core challenges.  However, as he notes, demand demographics and speed of NPI cycles are stressing the core in new ways.  Most people want visibility.  But, a lot don’t drill into the question, “What will you do with visibility?”  As Clarence notes, the quality of demand needs to improve.  What segments are relevant?  You need to propagate this relevance throughout your supply network.  What are the insights to this change?  And, then you need to collaborate with the key nodes to execute the change.

You can see those supply chains that can prioritize change, analyze the end-to-end impact, and collaborate in real time are doing so with better margin  and operating costs, capturing more market share, and controlling supply chain risk and disruptions better.

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


7 Life Sciences Supply Chain Processes That Require an Integrated Approach

Published April 7th, 2014 by Trevor Miles @milesahead 0 Comments

The emerging or intensifying industry dynamics that I discussed in an earlier blog post, along with significant shifts in strategy, are having a direct and material impact on the way Life Sciences supply chains must operate. The compounded effect of a host of complexity drivers is creating the need for supply chain transformation. By satisfying the following seven supply chain processes in an integrated manner, Life Sciences teams will be better equipped for success in today’s new, complex world.

  1. Collaborative launch management – clinical, regulatory and commercial
  2. Jurisdictional control to respect regulatory needs during planning
  3. Consensus demand planning across affiliates and countries
  4. Risk evaluation and recovery to deal with shortages and FDA shutdowns
  5. Shortage analysis and reporting for FDASIA compliance
  6. Supply and capacity planning to balance demand across regions
  7. Expiry management to balance long supply lead times and shifting demand

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

Coordinated Launches

The effective launch of a new product is critically important in any industry, but it is of particular importance in the Life Sciences industry given the long time it takes to bring a new drug to market from discovery through clinical trials and commercialization, with regulatory oversight and conformance throughout the process. When the ‘long tail’ trend is coupled with shorter patent protection, the margin and market captured during the early launch period will be crucial to the recovery of the R&D investment, and thus the pressure to streamline and coordinate clinical trials and the regulatory process with the commercial launch has become intense.

Revenue Trends throughout the Product Life Cycle

phamacutical supply chain graph

Jurisdictional Control

In addition, mandates by regulatory bodies require jurisdictional control of demand satisfaction to account for third country sourcing, validation, and shelf life requirements, amongst others. This requires sophisticated attribute based planning to link demand characteristics to supply characteristics while simultaneously analyzing and reducing expiry risk, especially when inventory postponement strategies are used.

Consensus Demand Planning

For tax, legal, and regulatory reasons, many Life Sciences companies establish semi-independent sales affiliates or subsidiaries in some jurisdictions or sell through third parties. Creating a consensus demand plan across all the affiliates and subsidiaries is not a trivial task. Often, each demand region will forecast in different units (doses, standard packs, grams of API, etc.); almost always in different currencies; at a different cadence (quarterly, monthly, weekly); and over different time horizons. However, manufacturing needs to create a single forecast using a consistent unit of measure so that they can net the demand against available supply and determine future manufacturing capacity needs. To make matters worse, the affiliates are often less than fully transparent about their on-hand inventory.

Risk Evaluation and Recovery (including Shortage Analysis and Reporting)

Current technical architectures do not provide the capabilities needed to address new requirements under FDASIA ̶ reporting obligations for drug shortage issues and more active inspection of production facilities for instance. Information flow is typically limited to EDI exchanges with little or no ability to understand, for example, the impact of an API supply de-commit on future treatment —drug or device— availability in a regulatory region. To do this, Life Sciences companies will require much greater visibility and what-if scenario capabilities to both inspect and affect the global supply chain across Third Party Operators and into the supply base.

Tender Analysis and Management

Many manufacturers lack the required process standardization in manufacturing, inventory and expiry management, and other core business disciplines to make the required trade-offs during tender analysis between demand satisfaction, expiry risk, and constrained capacity utilization, ultimately leading to effective supply and capacity planning to balance demand across regions. Collaboration across the players in the supply chain is often insufficient and inefficient to achieve these tradeoffs. Given the harsh penalties imposed for non-conformance, being able to make the trade-offs to maintain profitability span the life cycle of the tender, not simply the tender acquisition phase.

Expiry Management

Streamlining manufacturing and distribution processes in order to satisfy demand while reducing unit cost is therefore becoming increasingly important in order to maintain profitability, reduce inventories and enhancing competitiveness within the industry. This is especially true given the long manufacturing lead times, often as long as 12-18 months in bio-pharmaceuticals, which lead to the need for expiry risk and stop sell analysis capabilities to balance effective demand satisfaction with efficient capacity utilization.

A New Technology Paradigm for a New World

phamacutical supply chain graph #5Legacy demand planning and supply chain planning systems were not designed for today’s complexities, and consequently don’t meet the many challenges that have emerged. As a result, Life Sciences companies are adopting process improvements and new technologies targeted at removing business “silos,” improving collaboration, and increasing productivity.

For a true breakthrough, you need an integrated solution. People must be able to leverage a single system with one set of data, supported by comprehensive analysis and decision-making capabilities, no matter what the process or the problem.

To keep a finger on the pulse of the supply chain, today’s solutions must:

  • Embrace the reality that today’s supply chains are multi-enterprise in nature and, thus, must provide comprehensive visibility into the extended supply chain to regain an understanding of the manufacturing commitments and inventory positions throughout the supply network. Visibility is an essential pre-requisite for effective orchestration of the business.
  • Proactively bring to light major variances to plan, identifying not only specific events, but also identifying and quantifying the consequences to customer service, revenue, margin, and a number of other financial and operations metrics, and thereby flagging those that could do most harm to the business.
  • Arm decision-makers with scenario simulation capabilities for risk trade-off and response, to model and compare situations quickly and appropriately to ensure a profitable response is put into action. And it must facilitate and incorporate human judgment, since many of the decision requirements are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to capture in a mathematical model — the foundation of an optimization system.
  • Foster collaboration for team-based decisions that tap the collective insight of the right people in the organization — those that understand the potential impact of any event and proposed action alternatives.

 

Posted in Best practices, Demand management, Milesahead, Pharma and life sciences supply chain management, Supply chain management


Supply Chain Leadership Series: High Tech executive focused on global external manufacturing

Published April 3rd, 2014 by CJ Wehlage 0 Comments

I am starting a blog series called “Supply Chain Leadership”, where I hope to pose thought provoking, and forward looking questions to executives in my supply chain network.  Posted monthly, this series will provide insights into the most pressing challenges, innovative items in their budgets, and how these executives have handled talent, complexity, end-to-end S&OP, and technology.

First up is a high tech executive in the enterprise storage industry. He is leading the global external manufacturing group and based in Ireland. His deep experience in working with the complexity of outsourced manufacturing, to me, is the most extensive I have known.

1.       As we enter 2014, how would you describe the most pressing supply chain challenges?

Supply Chain challenges are coming at us from multiple fronts. The ones we know about are increases in regulations, e.g. BIS, and finding the right balance between cost and the ability to service our customers in the most efficient way from an availability and lead-time standpoint. The biggest challenge, however, is being prepared for the next major Supply Chain disruption. Over the past 3 years we have had many natural disasters including ash clouds, earthquakes, flooding & hurricanes. While these events have had a really terrible impact on people lives within the region where they have occurred, they have also had a significant impact on the supply of materials to many locations world-wide. From a Supply Chain standpoint, our challenge is to prepare as robust a supply chain as possible to deal with other natural disasters that will certainly happen in the future, but we just don’t know where or when.

 

And the data supports his concern:

  • Japan Quake/Tsunami – $210B cost
  • Thailand Floods – $30B cost
  • Volcano Ash Clouds – $5B impact to global GDP

 

Global Billion-Dollar Economic Loss Events by Region

2.       Looking back at the past few years, what parts of supply chain have improved and what have you seen as the contributing factors for that improvement?

Rather than specific processes, applications or techniques, I believe the biggest improvement over the past couple of years is the general acceptance that manufacturing in, or sourcing material from, the lowest cost region is not always the right option. Many manufacturing companies, particularly in the high-tech sector, are focusing on the concept of “Right-Shoring”, which is basically optimizing multiple locations to take advantage of total cost, time to market and other factors such as consumer’s pride in “Made in x” or concerns about worker’s conditions is certain regions.

This general acceptance or mind shift change has encouraged and facilitated a different type of thinking that has driven improvements in many supply chain related areas.

 

3.       In the creation or support of your Budget Plan, what are the new items you see for this year and beyond, things that haven’t been on prior year Budgets, or things that have seen the greatest increase in priority?

One item that is chewing up a larger portion of tightening budgets is the cost associated with complying with importation regulation is many countries. As supply chain professionals, we have an obligation to ensure that our products do not present any risk to humans or the environment. However, over the past few years more and more countries have implemented unique requirements that are costing a lot of money and increased difficulties in the supply chain.

I am not really seeing enough effort to eliminate these unique requirements and move to a global standard. This needs to be a priority for our industry over the next couple of years.  

 

4.       The End-to-End supply chain strategy has been well documented. What capabilities does your company have that is better in class for integrating end-to-end?

A global footprint of fulfillment sources, both our own factories and CM facilities, which allows us to vertically integrate at the most competitive, cost to best service our customers. Selecting the most suitable partners who are as interested in growing a sustainable business as we are, has been one of the most important elements of our end-to-end supply chain strategy. Our supply chain partners provide us the world class service. They totally understand the direction that our business is going and what our future needs will be, sometimes before we do ourselves.

 

5.       How aligned and connected are you to the many supply chain nodes?  What are the reasons you would want to improve this alignment?

I believe we are very aligned and connected with our supply chain nodes. We are also very much aware of alternative supply chain nodes and how quickly we could turn them on if we needed to. Partnering with some of the world’s leading supply chain experts is an integral part of our supply chain strategy. However, we always need to keep improving this alignment. The world is changing at a faster pace than ever before and we need to stay at the leading edge. Technology is improving and the use of near real-time data can provide tremendous benefits. We must embrace these changes and continue to drive further alignment to reap the benefits.

 

I find his answers fascinating.  Would you agree?

When talking about outsourcing, he calls out the real challenge… global decisions.  Connecting trading partner data is a given. What you do with that data – Decision Making – is the heart of successful external manufacturing. When a disruption occurs, whether it’s a supply shortage or a natural disaster, the ability to structure the decisions is critical.  And what makes a decision? = policies.

Visibility into data gives you just a number. The difficult part is determining what that number means. What is needed is visibility into policy, because you can now determine the relevance of what’s impacted, and the insight as to what to do about it.

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Posted in Best practices, Demand management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP)


The Innovator’s Dilemma: How Does it Apply to Supply Chain?

Published March 26th, 2014 by CJ Wehlage 2 Comments

It has been said that the business book that most influenced Steve Jobs was ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’. Considering the success Jobs experienced in his lifetime, I’m intrigued as to what he learned from it. We all know Jobs was a highly successful businessman, for example, Apple stock increased nearly 7,000% during the time Steve returned to Apple in August 1997 until passing the reins over to Tim Cook in August 2011.  It made me wonder what this book means to the supply chain business. So I decided to read ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’. But when I read it, I inserted the word “Supply Chain” where “Product” was mentioned.

I’d like to share some insights I gleaned from the book:

Clayton Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma’ said,

“The reason why successful companies fail is they invest in things that provide the most immediate and tangible evidence of achievement.”

In ‘supply chain speak’, that means the inability to link strategy with execution.  Most of us get caught in the day–to-day challenge of running the business. For example, planners spend endless hours on finding and resolving exceptions. There’s just not enough time in the day to focus on strategy and innovation.

A very good method I have used when leading supply chain strategies, is to focus on the decisions, rather than the information.   Asking, “What margin do I need this network to have for the first three months of NPI?” is better than asking “How can we get safety stock data to match between systems?”

Why is this better?  I say because of “critical thinking”. Planning is a combination of systems and human judgment. Too many planning organizations rely only on the system output. Yet, with complexity and volatility in today’s global network, critical thinking is just as important to solve the planning challenge.

I have a saying: ‘Information isn’t Power, Informative Decisions is Power’.  Figure 1 shows a very common supply chain decision flow.

Information isn’t Power, Informative Decisions is Power

Reactive supply chains manage right to left, meaning the majority of their time is driven by the impact (low profitability, excess inventory, shortage, etc).  Predictive supply chains manage left to right, meaning they simulate the plan for desired impact, and then execute.  The majority of their time is doing critical thinking and collaborative scenarios.   All supply chains bounce between reactive and predictive.  However, a heavy focus on reactive makes a more efficient supply chain, and solves today’s issue. However, it doesn’t make for a more effective supply chain or solve forward looking issues such as profitability, total cost to serve and market share.

Another good book to read is ‘Profit Mapping’.  A quote I really like is:

“We see many instances where a company may have become more efficient when viewed through a process improvement lens, but not necessarily more effective as far as the business is concerned.”

Being more effective at operating margins and inventory turns (two very good supply chain metrics) only occurs with predictive planning and critical thinking.  And, while efficient supply chain leaders can improve their KPI’s, most industries find it difficult to sustain that improvement. See the research table from Supply Chain Insights LLC presented at their 2013 Supply Chain Insights Global Summit.

 

 

Pretty much across the board, sustaining growth in turns and operating margin beyond three years is not likely to happen. Typically, progress stalls after two years.

The three reasons found to stall progress

1. Functional leadership

Today’s supply chain continues to focus on functional fixes, such as purchasing, logistics, etc.  With the network so complex, global, and outsourced, the greater impact is on your ability to manage the end-to-end process.   This requires not only visibility of end-to-end, but also, the ability to simulate and collaborate end-to-end.  It has less to do about your ERP system, and more to do with the entire network’s planning capabilities.

2. Complexity of systems used

Many companies have multiple systems, multiple ERP instances, and in many cases, functional systems bought for functional purposes.  Middleware is everywhere, and spreadsheets rule the day.  I’m not talking about the number of systems, because when you think about “end-to-end”, you now include all your 1st and 2nd Tier suppliers, 3PLs, distributors, etc.. Face it, there are a lot of systems.  I’m talking about the justification of the landscape.   It’s difficult to justify a functional system for an end-to-end process.

3.       Lack of a supply chain strategy

Lack of a supply chain strategyI’ve seen many supply chain leaders, while working on a supply chain strategy, get caught in the idea that data needs to be cleaned before innovation.   Don’t get me wrong, clean data is a good thing. But, how you go about getting there is the innovation.  Rather than spending countless hours of data cleanup, look at your most critical end-to-end processes, ask what knowledge is needed to plan and execute, and pareto the data needed to execute and fix.

 

The Roadmap to Sustainable Progress

Clayton has a statement in ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’, “great managers…must first understand what has caused those circumstances and what forces will affect the feasibility of their solutions.”  I believe there are three core steps a supply chain can take to achieve end-to-end control.

Step 1: Collect end-to-end data, and the policies that drive the data

  • Data is good, but the policies that drive the data, especially when considering the time/events that drove the rules, like beginning of the month, last quarter, etc.
  • With the end-to-end data, set control limits to the policies.  When an issue arises, effective alerts go off, keeping the planners focused on core priorities

Step 2: Improve planning by launching what-if capabilities

  • With end-to-end data, you will have exposed the bad data.  Start your first simulations around what policies are most impacted with that bad data.  This will drive the pareto of what data absolutely needs to be fixed.
  • Yesterday vs today: run what if scenarios that tell you each morning what has changed from yesterday, and what are the most critical actions for today.
  • Informative decisions: simulate what it would take for higher profit, better turns, less excess inventory, better COGS, etc…

Step 3: Segment your end-to-end priorities

  • Segment your products and customers. Simulate various supply chain policies against those segments.  Test the attributes that make up each segment

Great supply chains need to align a strategy with the execution.  Putting an intense focus on simulation in Planning allows you to prepare in advance of the impacts.  And that’s summarized well in the book Profit Mapping:

“a wise manager knows that success only comes with operational excellence that is properly aligned with strategy.  The challenge is knowing what actions to take and when to take them – navigating without knowing the impact of your actions on the bottom line is a risk you can’t afford to take.”

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Posted in Demand management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain management


Revolutionize Your Supply Chain for $2.99

Published February 4th, 2014 by Bill DuBois 0 Comments

I’m fortunate to work with a group whose primarily objective is to learn about your business, in particular about your supply chain. As a group we’ve conducted discovery sessions for literally hundreds of companies. In many cases the discovery sessions ultimately lead to supply chain improvements that resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of value, new business, excited customers, reduced costs and even promotions among the supply chain group.

These discovery sessions can be challenging. Many times it feels like a war as there are barrages of questions launched at the participants. Much like a doctor you have to ensure you’re asking the right questions and hope your audience can articulate their complex problems in a manner that you can digest them. It may or may not include all stakeholders. Multiple sessions sometimes have to happen to ensure all inputs are gathered. The struggle then becomes making sense of the pages of notes and then confirming that you’ve got it right. Often when confirming you’re findings you’ve missed something in the translation so getting it right can often take some time. Recently a colleague of mine, Carol, took a different approach to discovery. Let’s call it the “Post-It Note Revolution”. Calling it “Value Stream Mapping” was already taken.

Before I continue, many Lean-Six Sigma practitioners will say this is nothing new and I’ll be the first to agree. The Lean folks have been doing this for years. Unfortunately, at least in Supply Chain, what we’ve observed in the hundreds of discovery sessions we’ve conducted is that lean tools for process improvement aren’t as widely used as one would hope or expect. So for approximately $2.99, the price of a package of post it notes, Carol lead a collaborative session involving all stakeholders where they were able to easily map out the current state of key supply chain processes. A highlight was the visual of the finished “post-it note” process which leant itself to consensus on the current state. Process owners used the post-it notes to document each step along with identifying obvious opportunities for improvement. Every single person in the room had their say and an opportunity to provide input. Carol used some specific “lean brainstorming” techniques to ensure that happened. The visual representation made it easier for the owners to map the processes and much easier for Carol to learn about their business and understand where to take them in the next steps of improving their supply chain.

Identifying the problem in a clear, concise method is half the battle. For $2.99 this company is on its way to making a substantial difference in their supply chain. I’m sure the Lean folks reading this are rolling their eyes at us in Supply Chain but better late than never. There are tons of great Lean improvement tools to identifying and reducing waste, typically associated with manufacturing but other groups including Supply Chain should not forget about them. Just imagine adding millions of dollars’ worth of value to your Supply Chain for only $2.99.

Do you have any improvements you’ve made in your Supply Chain using Lean tools and methods? Would you like to experience the “Post-It Note Revolution”? Let us know.

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Posted in Miscellanea


Jake Barr: The evolution of CPG companies and their supply chains

Published August 23rd, 2013 by Melissa Clow 1 Comment

Recently, we had the privilege of recording three interviews with Jake Barr. In our first video, The evolution of CPG companies and their supply chains, Jake discusses industry dynamics and how supply chains (and the respective technologies to support the supply chain) have changed over the past 10 years. He describes it as “the perfect storm”.  As a result, the need for speed and depth of decision making has dramatically increased.  There has been a drastic time compression in having to react to the marketplace, and that requires a different technology architecture.

In Part 1: An executive’s perspective: The evolution of CPG companies and their supply chains, Jake Barr explores the following questions:

  • How have consumer packaged goods companies changed in the last ten years?
  • How has supply chain management changed for consumer packaged goods companies?
  • How has supply chain management technology changed for consumer packaged goods companies?

Jake, a 32-year employee of the Procter & Gamble Company, directed the Global Supply Network Design efforts for the Company, in addition to being the discipline Director for Supply Network Operations. So, as a former practitioner, he has a lot of insight to share.

… please check it out!

 

Notable quotes:

“The speed of which they need to make business decisions today versus ten years ago is dramatically different. It can be measured in a clock speed of minutes and hours versus days and weeks. You no longer have the luxury of buffering with cash and people. Extra people to make decisions or to catch up for mistakes that you make. So the thing that has dramatically changed is in that time compression of the need to react to what’s going on in the marketplace. So if you are not able to make those business decisions faster, you literally become a victim of a circumstance.”

“Today the ability to lay over decision-making processes that aren’t infrastructure based, that can bring pieces of operational data about your current performance, right now, just in time and make it visible in a very tangible and simple way for executives to make not only decisions about today but pre-emptive decisions about where they want to the operation to run tomorrow and the week after that. That would not have been possible ten years. It is radically possible today.”

 

Happy Friday 21st Century Supply Chain readers!

 

p.s. stay tuned for more in this series…

Part 2: Supply chain transformations: Going after game changing change

Part 3: Insights for today’s business leaders

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


Industrial manufacturing supply chain success story: Satisfying profitability and customer expectations

Published August 16th, 2013 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Today, we want to feature a couple of case studies from our industrial manufacturing customers. We know that  industrial manufacturing supply chains typically operate relatively low-volume, non-commodity businesses, this doesn’t prevent them from having demanding customers or complex supply chains. Increasing outsourcing…faster order delivery expectations…rising commodity costs: The result is a situation where profitability and customer expectations are often at odds.

To thrive in today’s environment, industrial manufacturers need to shift from a role of controlling all aspects of manufacturing, to one of coordinating activities, with in-depth input and interaction with customers and suppliers.

We want to share how these companies have turned to Kinaxis to help them face these challenges head on and are seeing breakthroughs in operations performance as a result.

Industrial manufacturing customer testimonials

“We have hundreds of users pulling ad hoc reports from RapidResponse every day. I can’t begin to list all the benefits, but they include improved inventory management, supply/demand alignment, better information to buyers, and identified PO split opportunities.” Read more

“For any report that must be written quickly, we use RapidResponse. Report development time in SAP is months versus same day in RapidResponse.” Read more

Check out the case studies of two industrial manufacturing supply chains

enterprise industrial manufacturing supply chain case study

industrial manufacturing supply chain case study

Other industry case studies:

If you would like to check out other case studies similar to this one, visit our TechValidate page and you will find 28 cases studies, which you may browse by industry.

More about our supply chain survey

As you may have read in our first blog of the series, we completed a customer survey project with TechValidate and are very pleased with the over 150 survey responses and the many stories we can share. And so, for our Friday posts, we have been featuring the customer results on how they are using RapidResponse in their supply chain and the benefits they are realizing.

Take a look at past topics we have explored in this series:

If you visit our TechValidate page, feel  free to share any of the content we’ve published to-date, select the share button to distribute through various social media channels.

Happy Friday!

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