Posts tagged as 'Supply chain'

What Does It Mean to be “Strategic” in Supply Chain, Anyway?

MelissaClow

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

Strategic Supply ChainEverywhere you look in the Supply Chain industry (including the Argentus blog), there’s lots of talk about how Supply Chains are becoming more strategic. It’s part of the big change taking place in the field – a shift that Supply Chain Management Review recently described as a “metamorphosis.” This function that – for decades – has specialized in bringing products to market on time, in the right quantity, is blooming into a much broader function with impact all over corporate organizations.

In short, Supply Chain is evolving from one concerned with tactics to one concerned with strategy.

But what exactly does it mean to be strategic rather than tactical in Supply Chain?

We don’t want strategy to be a buzzword – so we wanted to write this post to get a discussion going about what distinguishes strategy from tactics in Supply Chain.

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Latest Polls Show We’ve Lost Faith in Polls: 3 Lessons Election Pollsters Can Learn from Supply Chain

BillDuBois

Supply Chain Polls“What happened to the polls?” next to “What now?” was likely the most frequently asked question as soon as the first results started to roll in back on Election Day. The results shocked everyone as the polls, both national and state, had Hillary consistently pegged to take her seat in the Oval Office. So what went wrong? How could the polls be so far off? What’s the likelihood of getting Canadian citizenship before January? All valid questions but let’s focus on the first two.

What’s fascinating about this is that so many polls, or let’s call them what they are, forecasts, were off the mark. All the different polling methodologies used by all the different polling organizations missed calling what was the biggest electoral spectacle in all of U.S. history. There are a number of theories floating around but all would agree the future is tough to predict. This is something supply chain practitioners live every day and not just during the election process.

Like the pollsters, demand planners in particular, model the future. However, many planners are well versed in expecting the unexpected, considering multiple variables, modeling and comparing multiple scenario outcomes and quickly adjusting plans when needed. Unfortunately for the popular vote there’s nothing we can do about 2016 but here are three lessons for the pollsters come 2020.

The lessons are actually borrowed from a post written by my colleague, Trevor Miles, from 2013 called Truth, Lies and Statistical Modelling in Supply Chain. I would recommend everyone, especially the pollsters, check out this three-part blog series where Trevor concludes “we model all of our manufacturing and supply chain systems using deterministic models, when in fact everything around us is stochastic.” You’ll quickly understand what he means when we get into the lessons.

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6 Supply Chain Lessons from Henry Ford

AlexaCheater

Ford Supply ChainHenry Ford has become synonymous with revolutionary advances in manufacturing. His utilization of the assembly line for his Model T changed not only the way businesses operated, but consumer demand as well. As an early technology adopter and strong proponent of innovation, Ford was more than a manufacturing master. He was a supply chain pioneer. His company delivered on affordability and availability, designing with the customer need in mind. It’s something every business today tries to emulate.

David Thomas, Director, Global Capacity Planning, Ford Motor Company recently resurrected some of the company founder’s most inspiring quotes during his presentation at Kinexions, the Kinaxis annual user and training conference. While he used them to illustrate Ford’s regional and global changes in recent years, I thought I’d put an even bigger supply chain spin on them. Here are the top six things Henry Ford can teach you about your supply chain.

  1. “Businesses that grow by development and improvement do not die.” Stagnant companies (and their associated supply chains) will forever stay stuck in the past. As seen time and time again in the consumer electronics space, companies that innovate and push new ideas and concepts forward are often more successful than their counterparts focused solely on efficiency and maintaining the status quo. Developing a bimodal supply chain, one that allows for efficiency and innovation simultaneously, is the way forward.

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Building a Supply Chain Masterpiece with Concurrent Planning

AlexaCheater

concurrent planningThere’s something to be said about the resiliency of a really good supply chain. One that’s able to quickly respond to those unexpected problems, easily adapt to changing industry conditions and make waves with its innovative, yet still efficient, processes. It’s like a piece of moving artwork – all those intricacies and people working behind the scenes to deliver exactly what the masses of the world want, when and where they want it.

But as a seemingly growing number of companies face very public breakdowns in their supply chains, it’s becoming increasingly clear very few organizations actually have these masterpieces within their midst. Failure to keep pace with consumer demands. Inability to react to unanticipated risks like environmental disasters or political unrest. Breakdown in cross-functional communication. All present supply chain challenges that need to be overcome.

Traditional supply chain processes tend to be linear in nature. Plan, then execute. Plan demand, then plan supply, then plan capacity, then plan inventory, etc. If a potential risk interrupts one of those steps, it’s back to the beginning, starting all over again with a new plan – and that’s assuming they even noticed the problem before execution, which wasn’t always the case… Doesn’t seem like a very efficient model, does it?

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Ooh, Scary Stuff, Kids. Tales from the Supply Chain Crypt.

TeresaChiykowski

Halloween Supply Chain ManagementWarning: This blog post isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, I should include a PG-13 rating on it. Just kidding, although, for those involved, the scare factor must’ve been pretty high at times.

Halloween is big business. In fact, National Retail Federation’s annual survey estimates that enthusiastic celebrators will spend an estimated 8.4 billion on Halloween – an all-time high in the survey’s 11-year history. You could say the pressure’s on for retailers to deliver the costumes, treats and decorations demanded by the estimated 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities.

But the scary truth is that sometimes retailers can’t deliver. Often, unexpected events such as suppliers failing to deliver, software glitches and even Mother Nature can wreak havoc with even the best supply chains.

On that note, I’d like to share some tales that undoubtedly still “haunt” the parties involved.

The great pumpkin shortage scare

What are Halloween and Thanksgiving without pumpkins?  In October 2015, it was a frightening thought for fans of falls’ favorite flavor. Predictions warned that only those who got to the store weeks before Thanksgiving would find canned pumpkin. A pie-making crisis was inevitable.

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Kinexions Day 2: Supply Chain Data, and Processes, and People, Oh My!

MelissaClow

Kinexions Supply Chain“The future is about this connected enterprise with people working together.”

– Trevor Miles, VP of Thought Leadership at Kinaxis

The first day of Kinexions 2016 introduced the revolution of the supply chain. There’s no stopping the speed at which supply chains are running today, which means businesses have to integrate technology, processes, and people in order to successfully manage their supply chain and mitigate risks that arise.

So how do we actually implement integrated supply chain solutions?

That’s where Day 2 of Kinexions came in, with sessions and discussions focused on how businesses today are actually leveraging technology and transforming their internal infrastructures for more efficient end-to-end supply chain planning. Based on learnings from the second and final day of Kinexions, here’s how to actually implement digitization and take your supply chain to the next level.

Leverage IoT and AI in Business Strategy

In his session, Zoltan Pekar explained that while Roland DG Corporation had been at the forefront of digital technology and computing, there was now a need to integrate thanks to the rise of IoT and AI – the “4th Industrial Revolution”. In order to do this, Roland DG needed both the right technology and processes in place. With RapidResponse, Pekar and his team were able to set the foundation of their integrated strategy, becoming more data-driven, agile, and responsive. They then created a new corporate culture and management system, embracing digitization, collaboration, and customer centricity. By integrating new technology and strategy, Roland DG has been able to break down siloes and connect its entire value chain.

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Did Pokémon Go Solve a Historic End-to-End Supply Chain Problem?

AlexaCheater

Pokemon Go Solving End-to-End Supply Chain ProblemsGetting the Right Product in Front of the Right People

It took an augmented reality video game and a host of made up monsters to seemingly solve one of end-to-end supply chain’s biggest problems–getting the right product in front of the right people. Too bad the tactics Pokémon Go has implemented aren’t easily repeatable by the rest of us mere mortals.

In fact, their tactic isn’t really a tactic at all. It’s more a case of demand far outstripping supply. People are so crazy about catching the variety of Pokémon running amok on their smartphones, they’re actually willing to travel to where the supply is—it doesn’t matter the location, or the time of day, these folks are prepared to do darn near anything to get the inventory they want. Much to the envy of every supply chain manager out there. Who wouldn’t love hordes of consumers coming directly to you?

For those that aren’t quite familiar with this new craze sweeping the globe, Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. Making use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices, the game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world.

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Poems about Supply Chain Management Software

AlexaCheater

A collection of bad supply chain poems: volume 2

Poems about Supply Chain Management Software After the success of last year’s bad supply chain poems, I’ve decided to resurrect this cringe-worthy tradition in honor of Bad Poetry Day. So sit back, kick your feet up, and prepare to be amazed by the literary talents of the Kinaxis team around today’s supply chain and our supply chain management software.

Dawn of a new supply chain
By Alexa Cheater

Down with Excel,
Let’s turn supply chain planning on its head,
No more hours compiling data in spreadsheets we dread!

It’s time for a new way,
Much better than before,
Where teams work together, instead of in silos or behind closed doors.

The future is now,
And it sure is bright,
Features like adaptive collaboration and concurrent planning mean sleep-filled nights.

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