Supply chain impact before, during, and after Hurricane Irma

BillDuBois

What are your supply chain thoughts when you see this picture?

As pictures start to emerge showing the damage caused by the recent string of hurricanes like Harvey and Irma, immediate thoughts go to the safety of the people caught in the path of these storms. Thoughts and hopefully many donations are going to all those involved in disaster recovery efforts.

The image below is an aerial photo taken and released by the Dutch Department of Defense showing the damage of hurricane Irma wrought on a shipping yard in the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

Hurrican Irma - Supply chain impact

If you happen to be involved in any way in supply chain, whether it’s supply chain planning, manufacturing or distribution, your next thought after hoping people are okay is likely, “holy crap!”. Once the initial shock has worn off, your supply chain instincts will kick in as you assess the damage from a supply chain perspective.

You’re probably asking the question, “What’s the impact on supply?”. As you look at this picture, it’s natural to think about the amount and value of supply that is damaged or stuck on route. That immediately leads to worrying about the impact on the customer:

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Supply chain pain points: Automotive

AlexaCheater

6 speed bumps on the road to automotive supply chain success

Automotive supply chainA trending move from regional to global supply chain processes is adding complexity to the automotive supply chain at an unprecedented level, driving a growing need for automation and collaboration. That’s revving up interest in realignment, consolidation and optimization of supply chain activities. The problem is, limited investment in top tier suppliers is causing constraints, and the rise in connect devices (including cars) means requirements for further innovation must extend beyond environmental footprint and safety.

Emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China are further changing the automotive landscape, as automakers look to streamline distribution and better serve these areas, who combined represent 40% of the world’s population and have gross domestic product (GDP) growth far exceeding that of more fully developed countries.

Staying competitive has become harder than ever. Here are just a few of the other challenges facing the automotive industry.

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Does your supply chain hear the change coming?

JoeCannata

What rapid adoption of virtual assistants means for CPG supply chains

CPG supply chainI recall watching the original Battlestar Galactica series in the late 1970s, and there was an episode where Commander Adama was dictating his log. Before him was a computer screen recognizing his voice, taking his spoken words and translating them to perfect text for all to see. The capitalization and punctuation were perfect. Who knew back in 1978, when a home computer was slightly more than an expensive toy, and large computers were mainframes that ate punch cards and spewed paper and hole-punched tape, that this stunning scene would be a reality in my lifetime?

Now let’s move on to December of 1983, when a small company owned by Exxon Enterprises, named Verbex, interviewed me for a Systems Analyst position. Verbex had nothing to do with oil. They were one of the early pioneers of voice recognition technology, and produced a device about the size of a small paperback book, that had an active vocabulary from 300 to 10,000 words. It was being used at the time for everything from bridge painting to package sorting. I didn’t get the job, but I was made quite aware that the “future” shown in a 1978 TV show was five years closer to becoming a reality.

Now if we fast-forward to present day, we have the likes of Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Bixby, all on personal devices. I have spoken into my phone to Google to get directions on numerous occasions. People dictate text messages. And now, using technologies like Amazon Echo, people can order whatever they want, any time, from any place. This fundamental shift in the shopping paradigm is posing unique challenges for supply chains. Already, supply chains have had to adapt to online shopping, and crazy fulfillment demands. After reading a recent article in SCM World by Kevin O’Marah, I learned that CPG companies have felt extreme upstream pressure, as he puts it.

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Countdown to Kinexions ’17: Supply chain stories that inspire

TeresaChiykowski

Supply chain conferenceIt’s hard to believe that Kinexions ‘17 is only a few weeks away. Time flies – just like astronaut Chris Hadfield, who will be joining us as our keynote speaker on the Kinexions mainstage in Orlando this year.

For those of you who missed my last blog post, Kinexions is the premier annual event for our RapidResponse® user community, including customers and prospects. The supply chain conference offers two full days of networking, inspiring keynotes, informative general sessions and a variety of breakouts delivered by customers, product experts and partners.

Last post, I touched on the top five reasons to attend the conference:

  1. Supply chain stories that inspire
  2. Out-of-this-world keynote speakers
  3. Network. Network.
  4. Fun, exercise and a touch of Supertramp
  5. More opportunities for RapidResponse learning

Today, I’d like to dig a little deeper into reason #1: supply chain stories that inspire.

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10 must ask supply chain data security questions

AlexaCheater

Supply chain dataWhen it comes to cyber safety, your supply chain could be your biggest weakness. Approximately 80% of data breaches originate from within the supply chain, and the financial impact of a breach could do more than destroy your bottom line. It could ruin your credibility with your customers.

In 2013, Target, one of the largest retailers in the US, fell victim to a massive data breach when a cyber intruder stole credit and debit card information on more than 40 million customers and personal details like addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of 70 million customers. It cost Target more than $88 million in damages. Attacks like these have become the number one threat to many organizations and their associated supply chains, but protecting yourself isn’t enough.

Target’s breach was traced back to malware installed on its point-of-sale system. The attack came through one of its vendors, making it even more important that you have end-to-end visibility through all tiers of your suppliers – not just the top few.

While cyberattacks aimed at stealing data remain the most visible risk, attacks designed to deny or disrupt service are also gaining in popularity. These types of cyberattacks jeopardize production and delivery schedules, causing delays and negatively affecting customers. Nodes along the entire supply chain can feel the impacts.

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Supply chain risks: The knowable unknowns that can hurt your supply chain performance!

Dr. MadhavDurbha

Supply chain riskCSX, one of the only two railroad operators in the USA that handles nearly all the shipments that move by train east of the Mississippi River has been experiencing serious challenges since the month of May. The reasons behind this were well chronicled in a recent Wall Street Journal article. To sum it up, an activist investor caused a major shakeup in the company earlier this year and a new CEO took over in March. The new CEO embarked on several cost reduction initiatives in conjunction with a number of changes (some may argue too fast and too soon) on how the company operates its freight-trains. This has resulted in significant delays and disruptions in shipment deliveries. An extreme example of this is a ride from Chicago to Colesburg, Tennessee taking 18 days, 13 hours, and 57 minutes!

The effects of these delays are being felt by many companies including McDonalds, Kellogg, Kraft-Heinz, and PepsiCo, as the article cites. These companies had to haul expedited shipments by truck so they could keep their production lines running and, in turn, meet the commitments to their customers. This has led to increased costs, not to mention all the inventory stuck in-transit.

Needless to say, such major challenges are visible enough and have significant enough disruptive power that considerable energy gets spent on addressing them, including executive engagement. However, did you know there are enough lead time problems lurking in your current supply chain operations that go completely unnoticed? These are the “knowable unknowns” that can hurt your supply chain performance.

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Sustainability vs. profitability: Is it one or the other?

AlexaCheater

SustainabilityHow 25 multinational companies achieved sustainable supply chains

I’d like to think that most companies have moved beyond the point of believing that sustainable business practices aren’t a priority. I hope they recognize the importance of environmental protection and the value of leaving the planet a little better than they found it. Sadly, the reality it seems for many is that it’s all about the tradeoffs. Do we implement greener policies at the cost of our bottom line?

But does it really have to be one or the other? In my opinion, thankfully not. And I’m not alone in my assessment. Building sustainable supply chains has been a growing trend for years, and as it turns out, those early adopters may actually be seeing an increase in profits.

According to a World Economic Forum report, companies like UPS, SABMiller, DHL, Unilever and Nestle are among 25 multinational companies that focused on sustainability and ended up increasing revenue by up to 20% while cutting supply chain costs as much as 16% as a result. Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Value Chains outlines 31 best practices for businesses to follow to see similar results. The primary idea behind the best practices is simple – work to achieve profitability through measures that also benefit society and the environment.

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An out-of-this-world showcase of supply chain innovation

TeresaChiykowski

Kinexions - KinaxisKinexions ’17, our annual user and training conference, is right around the corner and we’re ready to blast off. Taking place October 9-13 in beautiful Orlando, it’s more than just an opportunity to have a little fun in the sun. It’s a way to get inspired by some of the latest and greatest supply chain innovations around.

From customers sharing their own supply chain innovation journeys to our expert staff guiding you through a look at what’s to come, Kinexions is THE place to discover where you are on your own supply chain journey, and what it’s going to take to propel your company into the stars. It’s all systems go as we explore what’s new in industry trends, and with our cloud-based supply chain management software, RapidResponse®.

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