Posts tagged as 'Supply chain management'

Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Bill Dubois

AlexaCheater
  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

Bill DuboisAs part of our ongoing ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, we bring you the comedy stylings of Bill Dubois. Bill has been part of the Kinaxis team for more than 12 years, and is also the host of our home-grown Late Late Supply Chain Show. Take from his answers what you will!

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
I lost a bet. Well actually, I was in manufacturing when I was asked to join what was Kinaxis at the time as an Integration Consultant. I jumped at the new opportunity to gain experience in a software company and inside of a year of joining a Business Consulting role came up. I didn’t apply for it and the VP of Sales at the time asked why. Well he must have been a good sales person because within an hour I went from telling him why I didn’t apply to why I was the best candidate for the position. The next week I was on a plane to Europe to deliver my first demo.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
The plan is always wrong. You have to plan but be ready for the unexpected. The best golfers are the ones that can hit great shots out of the bunkers or other hazards. It’s like that in supply chain. The best supply chains are the ones that can respond when things don’t go as planned.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
Network. Consultants, Analysts, Practitioners (especially from other industries) all have valuable insights into the best practices for supply chain management. Meet and talk to as many people as you can. Hit some conferences. (Kinexions is a great place to meet all of the above!) The next generation of supply chain technologies are at a tipping point and getting outside your own four walls will keep you up to speed on what’s next.

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3 Ways Crowdsourcing Is Revolutionizing Supply Chain Management

KirstenWatson

Visual representation of crowdourcing using heads made of mechanical gearsThe term crowdsourcing—the process of obtaining ideas, services or information by soliciting feedback from a large group of people—has existed since 2005. But its fundamental concept predates the name by centuries. In 1714, the British government offered the public a monetary prize to the person who created the best solution for measuring a ship’s longitude.

As has been this case with so many concepts, the internet has given crowdsourcing phenomenal reach and influence. We’ve already seen the significant impact that crowdsourcing has on modern business product development, production and delivery, and that effect will undoubtedly only grow over time. Here are three ways that crowdsourcing is revolutionizing supply chain management today—and in the future.

Crowdsourcing increases on-time, cost-effective delivery.

Amazon consistently ranks on or near the top of lists touting the best supply chains—and for good reason. It drives an innovative fulfillment strategy through its vast distribution center network and independent delivery fleet that enables it to guarantee two-day delivery. Amazon’s achievements in supply chain management have led consumers to establish an incredibly high bar for timely and accurate product delivery. The Amazon customer satisfaction standard has changed the game for every retailer of every size.

Crowdsourcing transportation presents a solution for smaller enterprises to compete in this environment. One such service provider is Cargomatic, who connects local shippers with carrier companies who have extra space in their trucks. The “last-mile” phase of the traditional fulfillment process is often the most expensive (accounting for as much as 50 percent of a company’s logistics costs), but crowdsourced transportation can sometimes enable same-day delivery at the cost of standard shipping. And crowdsourced traffic apps like Waze are helping a multitude of delivery drivers find the most efficient routes with real-time help from other drivers.

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Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Ron Stappert

AlexaCheater

Ron StappertContinuing with our ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, we bring you the sarcastic wisdom of Ron Stappert. Ron has been a business consultant with Kinaxis for the past four years, and despite what his answers below may portray, he really does love his job. We promise!

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
Climbing mountains wasn’t challenging enough, so I picked supply chain management.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
If it was easy, anybody could do it.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
Your greatest recurring challenge will be overcoming resistance to change.

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Tapping the Power of Many – The Application of Social Enabled Supply Chain Processes

BobFerrari
  • by Bob Ferrari
  • Published

hand touching touch pad, social media conceptThe following guest blog commentary is contributed by Bob Ferrari, Founder and Executive Editor of the Supply Chain Matters blog and Managing Director of the Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC.

In March of 2011, I had the opportunity to join fellow supply chain management bloggers Trevor Miles and Lora Cecere in a Kinaxis sponsored thought-leadership webcast focusing on the potential of the social supply chain. The concept of the social supply chain was relatively new, not well understood, and lacking many specific examples to cite. The closest context was one articulated by noted IT author Geoffrey Moore, who labeled the term “systems of engagement”. Back then, supply chain organizations were becoming aware of Facebook and Twitter, but not in the context of business. Many businesses were banning the use of social media on work premises.

Yet, we all believed that the potential leveraging of social media tools in demand, supply and risk management elements of supply chain business processes had enormous potential. I noted in a Supply Chain Expert Community posting at the time that: “social concepts do not equate to endless 120 character streams of unrelated or broadcasted information, but rather a context to a business process need.”

Indeed, four years later, after much market education and early adopter successes, leveraging social supply chain applications to enhance business processes has far more meaning and applied uses. The notion of social tools as mechanisms for matching people possessing respective skills, expertise, and knowledge with specific internal or external process and decision-making needs has more meaning and application. That is especially pertinent to today’s reality of increasingly complex and fast moving globally based supply chain networks.

It is about tapping the expertise and power of the extended supply chain network.

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Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Dominic Thomas

AlexaCheater

Dominic ThomasMoving along with our ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, we bring you the newbie – Dominic Thomas. Dominic has only been with Kinaxis a few short months, but he’s no slouch in the supply chain field, with more than 20 years experience!

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
I applied for a co-op job in university in which the description said “opportunity to travel”. A few years and several software implementations later, I switched over to business consulting and have done this ever since.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
After being in this business for 20 years, I know that developing the “perfect” plan is a fruitless exercise. Supply chains are getting more complex, competition is increasing and consumers are becoming more demanding. The only certainties in life are death, taxes and that (supply chain) plans change all the time. Responding to these changes in a timely way is what matters.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
It’s a fascinating area to focus on. The supply chain matters! It delivers things that you and your family use every single day. Learning about it and being creative in your approach to problem solving can be very rewarding.

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Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Bill Riordan

AlexaCheater
  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

Bill RiordanThe next victim err… I mean willing participant in our ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, is Bill Riordan. Bill has been with Kinaxis just over a year.

How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
Probably like most of us in the BC role, we didn’t start out looking to become supply chain BCs. In fact, for many of us who’ve been around a while, the term supply chain hadn’t even been coined yet. I started out working with and developing plant floor manufacturing and controls systems, so that was my introduction to a part of the “supply chain”. I really enjoyed both the challenge of understanding and managing the dynamics of a supply chain, as well as the software technologies of the solutions that were being developed to address the challenges of the supply chain. Fast forward through a handful of really interesting technology companies which addressed different parts of the supply chain problem, and here I am.

What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
You’ll never develop the perfect plan. Or, if you do, it’s good for about a second. The best supply chains are those that do a good job of anticipating what’s going to happen while at the same time having the ability to adjust when things (inevitably) change.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
Like any career, make sure you like what you do first and foremost. Supply chain isn’t sexy, but it matters and it makes a difference to a company’s performance. And, it offers an array of challenges from technology to organization to pure creative problem solving.

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What Qualities Make the Best Supply Chain Leaders?

KirstenWatson

leading change, shared vision, empowering people - all good examples of a strong supply chain leaderWhen considering what attributes supply chain leaders are most likely to possess, it’s easy to think first of hard skills—analytical prowess, technology expertise, and operations and economics knowledge quickly come to mind. But while hard skills may land you a job, many times it’s your soft skills that will keep you there—and accelerate your climb up the corporate ladder. So what attributes from both areas are today’s supply chain leaders most likely to possess?

The APICS Supply Chain Council set out to answer this question in its latest industry report entitled “Supply Chain Leadership Report: Many Styles Generate Success.” The findings were generated from multiple sources, including surveys of APICS members, articles, and external research. With the goal to share a professional capabilities blueprint for current and future supply chain leaders, the report explores pivotal features of a successful supply chain leader, including his or her attributes, leadership style and ability to formally and informally influence an array of stakeholders.

With its focused research of supply chain and operations management professionals across multiple industries and management levels, APICS pinpointed these core themes for successful supply chain leadership:

  • Applying certainty to uncertain situations affecting others, such as in forecasting or decision making
  • Balancing risk and reward in careful analysis using hard and soft skills
  • Aligning tactics to strategy in planning and harmony with organizational culture
  • Maintaining and improving relationships of supply chain partners
  • Satisfying competing priorities and stakeholders on an ongoing basis

Let’s take a closer look at why these skills have undoubtedly earned relevance in today’s supply chain management industry.

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Modern Slavery in Today’s Supply Chains

AlexaCheater
  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

A farmer represents part of the agricultur supply chainI used to think slavery was, for the most part, a thing of the past. An abhorrent practice that was abolished for very good reason, and a constant reminder that human life has tremendous value and as such should be respected and honored. I used to think there was no way slavery would ever have a place in modern society, that no one would allow such a practice to exist outside the most desolate and desperate places on Earth. I used to have my head buried in the sand.

The sad reality is that slavery, in all its unpleasant forms, exists much closer to home and in much greater numbers than I ever expected. Traces of it can be found virtually everywhere. In the clothes on your back, the shoes on your feet, the food that you eat, and even the computer, tablet or smartphone you’re likely reading this blog on. How? Through the supply chain.

Modern slavery is one of the supply chain industry’s dirty little secrets, but thankfully, governments in the US and UK are attempting to wash it clean, working to put a stop to a problem that should never have been allowed to exist in the first place. Or at least, they’re trying to.

As the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports, new rules recently announced by British lawmakers will require companies “to give an annual disclosure detailing efforts to root out slavery and human trafficking in their global supply chains.” The new provision, which is part of the broader Modern Slavery Act enacted in March, will impact more than 12,000 UK companies whose global revenues each total more than 36 million pounds. It’s based on California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which was passed in 2010.

The problem is, both laws only require companies to disclose their use of slave labor, not actually put an end to it. So how is this going to solve the supply chain slavery issue?

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