Posts tagged as 'Supply chain'

Let the Holiday Shopping Madness Begin!

  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

Santa in a warehouse  preparing for holiday rushThere’s just no escaping it. Despite the fact it’s barely into the beginning of fall, the holidays are coming—quickly. And while we all know Santa’s supply chain just can’t be beat, some retailers may have an extra hard time trying to give the jolly old man a run for his money this year.

Material Handling & Logistics reports frantic shoppers should have no difficulty elbowing their way through the crowds and getting their hands on perfect presents for everyone on their list. Import cargo volume at major retail container ports has been increasing steadily and is on track to meet or surpass last year’s levels. However, finding enough happy little elves to pack and ship all those gifts may prove a tall order.

According to the Washington Post, the American retail industry is expected to add around 755,000 temporary workers during October and November—the same number as previous years. But due to the popularity of online shopping and the rise of free shipping policies, retailers are changing up their hiring plans, staffing more warehouse workers and fewer cashiers and greeters.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, that could cause big headaches thanks to a potential labor shortage in the industry. That shortage is the result of a seven-year low in the national U.S. unemployment rate. Couple that with the fact big retailers have been rapidly building and expanding warehouse and distribution centers and suddenly hiring managers are starting to feel a lot more in tune with the Grinch.

Some employment agencies are already reporting trouble finding warehouse workers to stock, pack and ship holiday inventory, forcing them to raise base pay rates. The WSJ notes starting wages are rising by up to $3 an hour in some markets as retailers get desperate to attract and retain the talent they need this holiday season.

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Are Universities Training Students for Obsolete Jobs? And Where Does Supply Chain Fit in?

  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

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

Teacher With College Students Giving Lesson In ClassroomFor a few years, economists and technology analysts have been closely watching the increasing automation of the workforce. Analysts have also long-discussed how automated manufacturing has replaced middle-class domestic manufacturing jobs. In recent months, there’s been increased buzz over Google and Uber’s efforts to develop self-driving cars, as well as talk of self-checkout McDonald’s counters. These and other technologies have led analysts and journalists to clamor over predictions that robots will gradually replace truck drivers, retail staff, and other service industry jobs.

And now, there are increasing predictions by academics and pundits that, in the coming decades, automation will threaten white-collar professions as well. There’s a proliferation of articles on business websites talking about how financial reporters, legal associates, financial analysts, and online marketers are already under threat of automation, with other, more skill-intensive white collar professions to follow. Scientific American recently reported on a University of Oxford study that estimated that 702 occupations, or a staggering 47% of U.S. workers’ jobs, will be threatened by automation.

Economists seem divided about whether existing metrics are sophisticated enough to properly measure the link between technology and job loss. However, there seems to be wide agreement that the impact of automation on a number of fields might be much larger, and arrive much faster, than anticipated. While people have worried for centuries about technology eliminating jobs, and have often underestimated the role of innovation in creating new careers, it’s clear that immense change in the job market is on the horizon.

Last week, we read a report that stopped us in our tracks: an Australian non-profit studying education and career prospects for young people in Australia reported that nearly 60% of Australian university students are studying for “dying” careers – or jobs that will be automated during those students’ lifetimes.

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A Collection of Bad Supply Chain Poems

  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

supply chain poetry bookYes, you read that title right. In honor of Bad Poetry Day I asked my colleagues to send me their best (and worst!) supply chain-related sonnets, odes, limericks, haikus – well you get the point. It turns out I work with quite a creative crowd.

Now keep in mind this is BAD poetry day. So if you’re looking for Shakespeare quality prose, I suggest you just keep on looking. Without further ado, enjoy these supply chain poems written by Kinaxis staff just for you!


An Ode to Supply Chains
By Alexa Cheater

O supply chain, how I do appreciate thee,
always working hard to bring things to me.

From raw goods to finished, and everything in-between,
your complexities are many, especially when you’re lean.

Don’t let anyone dismiss you or belittle your worth,
because without you supply chain, nothing could ever circumvent the Earth!


Supply Chain on the Brain
By Lori Smith

I’ve got supply chain on the brain
I’m trying to stay sane
Amid my supply-demand pain
I don’t want to plan in vain
So I need to refrain
From forcing only one lane
Go against the grain
The key is to bend and change
Flexibility without strain
Old supply chain models slained!
My determination will not wane


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The Millennial Mentality: Is Your Supply Chain Ready for the Shift?


A group of millennials jump for joy. They have the purchasing power to change supply chains.It seems like everywhere I look I see mention of millennials, that ‘next generation’ who seems to be shaking things up in a big way. From the way companies do business to the products available on store shelves to the rising stars of the executive world, there’s no mistaking the millennial influence. That got me wondering, what kind of sway does this technology-loving, values-driven, need-to-know right now, group have over your supply chain. And do they deserve the power we’ve given them?

I should start by saying that I am in fact a part of this often talked about demographic, which according to Wikipedia is comprised of anyone born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. I’ll let you guess where in that range I fall.

So why the big fuss about us up-and-comers? Well, according to Forbes, who agrees that 2015 is the Year of the Millennial, there are 80 million millennials in the U.S. alone, and it’s estimated that by 2017 we’ll be spending $200 billion annually. But it’s not just our spending power that has companies taking note. Here are a few facts from a Forbes and Elite Daily report.

  • A measly 1% are swayed to trust a brand based on advertising
  • 75% believe it’s fairly or very important for a company to give back
  • 62% will engage with brands on social media
  • 60% are often or always loyal to their regular brands
  • 42% are interested in co-creating products with companies
  • 87% use between two and three tech devices at least once a day

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From Grower to Garden: The Complexities of the Nursery Supply Chain


A woman holding a plant brought by the nursery supply chainToday is ‘Take Your Plant for a Walk Day’ (yes, apparently that is a real thing), and in honor of houseplants everywhere I thought I would look at the supply chain of an industry that has long fascinated me – the nursery industry. What exactly goes in to getting all those lovely shrubs, trees and flowers from the grower to the garden?

Let me start by saying that I personally do not have a garden. Why? Because while I love plants, they do not love me. No matter how enthusiastically the very knowledgeable staff tell me that this plant or that one can survive anything, the sad truth is none has survived my very, very black thumb, despite years of trying.

That of course does not stop me from visiting my local nursery to see what they have in stock. From seeds to shoots to seedlings and fully-grown shrubs, trees and flowers – the complexities of getting these plants to the end consumer are many.

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What your Dad can teach you about effective supply chain


Co-author: Alvaro Fernandez

Dads can teach you a lot about supply chainHappy Father’s Day to all those hardworking dads out there! Ever notice how your dad’s advice always seems to come from a place of experience? He’ll always let you make your own mistakes, unless he’s already made those same mistakes himself. In honor of these dads’ accomplishments in the field of trial and error, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 lessons your dad can teach you about supply chain.

10. First pants, then shoes – Whether you’re getting dressed for work or increasing your supply chain maturity, it’s important not to get too far ahead of yourself. Make sure your supply chain solutions help you excel at each capability as you progress through the maturity model.

9. Know the risk – Ex. In principle, just-in-time processes are very efficient. You get to hold on to your hard earned money for longer, you don’t have to store extra inventory, and your workspace isn’t cluttered with things you don’t need yet. In practice, these high rewards comes with high risk. Dads have learned this the hard way by applying this approach to things like anniversary gifts, anniversary cards, and sorry-I-missed-our-anniversary flowers. It’s important to understand the risks in your supply chain, and to have the right mitigation strategies in place.

8. Never trust the salesman – As the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Save yourself the hassle and choose proven and recognized solutions.

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Is knowing tomorrow “good enough”?


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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Kinaxis Introduces SAP APO Customers an Upgrade Path

  • by Doug Colbeth
  • Published

Based on the conversations we’ve had with prospects, analysts and others in the field, we believe that most, if not all, are seeing SAP’s plans to discontinue standard support for their APO suite as the equivalent of an end-of-life plan without a directly replaceable product from SAP. That kind of uncertainty can be unnerving to say the least and only builds on existing frustrations in the market as it relates to supply chain planning solutions. As a result, many are reevaluating their solution strategy. We’ve witnessed that directly on a number of occasions, as enterprises have already replaced APO modules with RapidResponse. Given our success in this regard, we’ve established a formal upgrade program, which not only provides a proven technology alternative, but offers it in a way that allows companies to confirm the value before paying any software subscription fees.

This offer demonstrates our confidence that RapidResponse can provide the technology capabilities, SaaS delivery, and innovation cycles that are consistent with the needs of today’s businesses and that are in question with APO’s unsupported future.

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