Posts tagged as 'Supply chain management'

Yoda’s Advice for the Supply Chain Padawan

AlexaCheater

Yoda’s Advice for the Supply Chain Padawan

In honor of Star Wars Day (yes, that’s a semi-real thing), I thought I’d resurrect my Star Wars blog series. In this latest installment, I explore what the small, but mighty, Jedi Master Yoda can teach us about supply chain. While he might not have said them directly about supply chain management, these pearls of wisdom still apply.

“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” – Yoda

Your beliefs are based on what you think you know. But in reality, are you really only seeing a small portion of a larger picture? When it comes to your view of the supply chain, what you perceive as reality is directly related to how much end-to-end visibility you have. If you’re working with partial or incomplete data—perhaps only looking at top tier suppliers—you won’t really know if you can meet changing customer demand in the most efficient manner. Sure you can determine if orders can be fulfilled, but you wouldn’t really know if you were doing it in the way that best meets corporate objectives. For that, you’d have to look outside of what you think you know, to what all the data—not just your limited view of it—is really showing you.

It also means expanding your vision of the supply chain to include the truths of other departments. So often supply chain functions are siloed within an organization. Sales makes promises supply managers can’t keep. Marketing runs a promotion without letting the demand planners know. Everyone is working toward their own end goals. This creates chaos and conflict. When everyone works from the same complete picture, the same version of the truth as illustrated by the data, decision-making becomes collaborative, and departmental objectives harmonious with those of the company as a whole.

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Video: Schneider Electric Charts an End-to-End Supply Chain Roadmap

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

Does your organization have a massive worldwide supply chain network? A diverse IT landscape? These were some of the challenges Schneider Electric was facing. Their network is made of about 250 factories, about 100 distribution centers, various IT systems and a significant number of products.

The company decided they wanted to build an extended visibility network to be able to better address customers, deliver products on time, and move from reactive supply chain to a proactive one.

Watch now: Schneider Electric Charts an End-to-End Supply Chain Roadmap

Schneider Electric Charts an End-to-End Supply Chain Roadmap

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Video: Trinity Rail – Building a Sense-and-Respond Supply Chain

MelissaClow

How do you face uncertainty in your supply chain?

According to Mike Hegedus, vice president of supply chain management at Trinity Rail, one of the most difficult things a supply chain manager faces is uncertainty in the supply chain. In their business, there are so many different possibilities of train cars that can be built. And among those different car types, they’re customized in many ways for each customer – making it nearly impossible to forecast what the customer’s going to require.

Realizing that “the forecast is always wrong,” Trinity Rail opts instead to focus on creating a “sense-and-respond” supply chain, to deal with real-world developments in demand for transportation equipment.

In this video, Mike Hegedus explains how their ability to quickly satisfy those customer demands has improved since moving to a sense-and-respond operating model: “we get our executives from sales, operations, finance, and supply chain together on a weekly basis. And we review the demand situation to make decisions; very important decisions about how to handle these orders.” Having supply planning technology in place to have a flexible supply chain is an important component to make it possible to deliver on their business strategy.

Watch now: Trinity Rail – Building a Sense-and-Respond Supply Chain

Trinity Rail: Building a Sense-and-Respond Supply Chain

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Supply Chain Lessons from Prince and Other Fallen Musical Heroes

BillDuBois
  • by Bill DuBois
  • Published

Musical Hero

The past year has not been kind to our musical idols. Although many have passed, including David Bowie, BB King, Glen Frey and most recently Prince, we’ll always have a phenomenal body of musical works to keep them alive in our hearts and minds. When you hear these names and their music you don’t immediately think supply chain, but for all the supply chain nerds out there we’re always thinking, ‘what’s the impact on the supply chain?’ Aside from family, now that my hockey team is out of the NHL playoffs, supply chain and music are what’s running through my brain.

As a guitar player myself, I was in total awe of Prince’s prowess on the fretboard. Check out the YouTube video of Prince soloing on While My Guitar Gently Weeps during George Harrison’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The smile on Harrison’s son at 4:46 of the video says it all when it comes to Prince. While watching the video I was thinking two things. He is the ultimate axe slinger / showman, and there will be a huge demand spike for everything purple. Thinking about the musical geniuses mentioned above there are few other helpful lessons we can take away in their memory.

Challenge the Status Quo

I’m huge Eagles fan. I couldn’t believe someone could tear up the guitar as well as Prince. So I paid close attention to the careers of both Glen Frey and Prince. From the time a song idea popped into their heads, until that song ended up as soundwaves directed at fans’ ears, they both were meticulous about the entire process. That includes the song writing, recording, and distribution of their works. Glen Frey for the most part fired Glyn Johns, the same guy who produced The Who, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones, because he wasn’t satisfied with the recording process. Glen and Prince also challenged the way music was distributed. For example, the Eagles completely bypassed the record companies to distribute their album The Long Road Out Of Eden. Instead they inked a deal to distribute directly with Walmart. If Prince had been a supply chain leader (just imagine that) he would likely be asking the same questions he asked during his musical career, ‘Why are we doing things this way?’ or ‘this isn’t good enough, what else can we do?’ We should ask the same questions about our supply chain processes and technologies all with the goal of achieving excellence.

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6 Prophetic Supply Chain Quotable Quotes

BillDuBois
  • by Bill DuBois
  • Published

Prophetic Supply Chain Quotes

When I was growing up my parents always had a Reader’s Digest on the coffee table. When a new one came into the house I immediately went to either the ‘Points to Ponder’ or the ‘Quotable Quotes’. I guess they were your grandparent’s Twitter. In both cases there were great lessons in a couple sentences, most which would meet Twitter’s criteria of 140 characters. Although I don’t pick up Reader’s Digest as much, I still love a great quote. Here are six interesting supply chain quotes that provide some lessons along with a prophetic vision of the supply chain future.

1. “You need to start your supply chain conversation.” S&OP Demand Planning Manager, Sonus

Sales talk to Operations and Product Line Managers? What happened to just throwing it over the fence and letting things happen? In most cases the customer got what they wanted, close to when they wanted it. This quote is powerful because it implies getting ahead of potential problems and immediately driving to a solution that likely includes compromise, trade-offs, and dialog. Reacting and seeing impact after the fact won’t cut it anymore; start your supply chain conversation.

2. “If you had to wait a week for Google to respond, would you use it?” Dominic Thomas, VP Business Consulting, Kinaxis and Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine 2016 Provider ‘Pro to Know’

I was fortunate enough to hear Dominic present and when this line came out I committed it to memory. My immediate thought was the supply chain planning community is either extremely patient or has surrendered to Excel and legacy planning systems. This gets back to starting your supply chain conversation. Today asking a supply chain question like, ‘what’s the impact of a 20% demand increase?’ could mean another meeting while those who have to answer try and piece the response together. I didn’t include it as one of the quotes but I once heard a supply chain executive say, “It takes me three weeks to get the wrong answer.” Future supply chain planning processes should no longer include ‘waiting’ as one of the squares on the Visio flowchart.

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The rise of contingent workers is shaking up the 21st-century economy

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management.

Contingent Workers of the 21st Century EconomyThis week, we want to highlight a fascinating survey by global management consultancy Deloitte. Titled Human Capital Trends 2016, the survey solicited 7000 responses from executives at 130 countries about a vast array of workforce topics including organizational design, hiring, leadership, and other issues, with the goal of assessing how the 21st-century workplace is evolving.

Most relevant to our work at Argentus, Deloitte’s survey features a section on the way that the rise of contingent workers is shaking up the 21st-century economy, with lots of great takeaways for companies looking to make their organizations nimbler, more responsive, and cost effective.

The big headline, for us, is that 42% of executives surveyed plan to increase or significantly increase the use of contingent workers over the next three to five years. Conversely, only 16% of executives expect to decrease the size of their contingent workforce. According to the survey, 62% of Canadian executives surveyed rated the trend towards a more flexible workforce as “important” or “very important,” with that number going even higher in some rapid-growth markets such as India and Brazil.

Deloitte’s survey factored in a variety of contingent workers, including contractors, freelancers, and part-time employees. According to the survey, one in three workers in the U.S. is part of the contingent workforce, with that number expected to grow to half in the coming years.

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Video: What’s Driving Change in Supply Chain Management?

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

How are companies meeting the challenge of big data, the Internet of Things and the need for change management? How does the big trends affect supply chain management?

In this video, hear a wide-ranging roundtable discussion with industry leaders about how companies are meeting the challenge of big data, the Internet of Things and the need for change management — all with the goal of improving the planning function and achieving end-to-end supply-chain visibility. This discussion features Mark Ramirez, chief technology officer with Trinity Rail; Josh Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, Trevor Miles, vice president of product innovation with Kinaxis; and Bob Bowman, managing editor of SupplyChainBrain.

Watch now: What’s Driving Change in Supply-Chain Planning?

What's Driving Change in Supply Chain Planning?

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Connecting the Supply Chain Dots

AlexaCheater

While recently watching a great video series featuring supply chain leaders from companies like Roland DG, Merck, Schneider Electric, TrinityRail, and more, one thing really stood out. The value of connecting the dots. Connecting the Supply Chain Dots

While connecting the multitude of dots in your value chain may seem like an insurmountable task, rest assured it can be done—and without pulling out all your hair in the process! These global enterprise companies are proof of that. But don’t let growing complexity in your own supply chain keep you from trying. By developing more agile processes and a better picture of your end-to-end supply chain, you’ll be able to quickly and confidently make the necessary decisions to support your business’s corporate goals.

What does it mean to connect the dots?

Connecting the dots means being able to draw a continuous line from one end of your supply chain all the way to the other—from customers to as far down the supplier network as you can get. It’s a complete look at both your upstream and downstream nodes, and also includes all your internal data steams coming from existing ERPs, distribution centers, factories, etc. But be warned, this isn’t about a one-way flow of information. Your relationship with your suppliers and customers should be symbiotic, with information passing freely back and forth, feeding into the same data pool—the same version of the truth—to ensure everything is on track and running smoothly, or provide the necessary details to analyze and course correct if it’s not.

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