Posts by Alexa Cheater

What could you do with a faster, more effective supply chain?

AlexaCheater

How concurrent planning can help you take back your time

effective supply chainStop being a slave to your supply chain and take back your time! Don’t wait around for your supply chain to catch up to the speed of life. Why spend hours, days or even weeks waiting for data transfers, analyses or simulations when you can accomplish all of those things in a fraction of the time it takes you today. All you need is the right supply chain management software – one that enables concurrent planning.

Concurrent planning isn’t a collection of disconnected functional models. It’s a way to look at the supply chain as a whole, not just individual links in a broken chain. It allows you to bridge the gap between data, process and people, so you can better manage sales and operations planning (S&OP) and supply chain planning more effectively.

Here are just a few of the things you could find time for if you ran an effective supply chain with concurrent planning at its core:

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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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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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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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Supply chain pain points in the Aerospace and Defense industry

AlexaCheater

7 barriers to aerospace and defense supply chain success

Aerospace & DefenseAs air travel demand soars, aircraft equipment manufacturers continue to innovate in areas like jet engine fuel efficiency, navigation technology and materials science. These improvements, especially around fuel efficiency, are driving demand for newer aircraft models, and speeding up the replacement of previous generations as a result.

For supply chains in the aerospace and defense industry, keeping pace with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who are dramatically increasing production rates for components, systems and services, is a major challenge. As the flying public continues to demand lower airfares, a ripple effect is running through the entire supply chain, from OEMs to tier one suppliers and lower, as everyone struggles with the ongoing challenge of competitive pricing.

The global defense industry is also facing new challenges, including how to grow profitably in the face of a potential market decline and how to cut costs to maintain acceptable financial performance. These organizations are cutting costs to maintain their margins in this declining revenue environment. Successful defense companies have anticipated defense budget cuts, already reducing staff, cutting overhead costs and getting leaner. They’re accelerating process automation instead of hiring more staff, resulting in higher operating earnings per employee.

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Why inventory management should be a company-wide conversation

AlexaCheater

inventory management practicesDon’t get caught having your company’s inventory management conversation alone!

Making the most of one of your company’s largest assets means bringing together everyone involved from the manufacturing floor to the corner office, and focusing on more than just what’s in your warehouse.

Re-evaluating your inventory management practices can help you overcome rising supply chain costs, increasing customer demand and the growing complexity of global operations. It can also help raise profits and reduce risk. Successful inventory management all boils down to a delicate balancing act. You need to have enough of a product to satisfy customer demands, but not so much that it risks becoming obsolete or sinks your business with high carrying costs. As David Thomas, Director of Global Capacity Planning at Ford Motor Company says, inventory is “… dead money.”

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How Kennametal developed an integrated supply chain by connecting its data dots

AlexaCheater

Integrated supply chainFaced with growing global complexity and increasing demand volatility, Kennametal set out to improve its supply chain maturity, increase data integration and improve its bottom line as outlined in a recent case study published on Kinaxis.com. According to Kennametal, what was required for supply chain success was finding new ways to connect data, process and people.

As Jochen Kraetschmer, Manager of Global S&OP at Kennametal, explains in the case study, driving the decision to change was the impact of market demands on Kennametal’s revenue. Inventory levels were bloated, customer satisfaction levels were low and a very high SKU count and complex supply base across all continents meant it was a challenge to keep data connected and processes optimized. Complexity overlaid nearly every aspect of the global manufacturer’s operations.

So how could Kennametal overcome it?

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Life is complicated. Supply chain management shouldn’t be.

AlexaCheater

Complex supply chainRushing kids out the door, walking the dog, navigating traffic—life is complicated enough without having to deal with overly complex supply chain management processes. Unfortunately, increasing consumer demands, growing globalization and mounting pressure to stay profitable in an ever-changing world is the new reality, and for many it means working harder than ever.

Just because supply chains are getting more complex, doesn’t mean the job of managing them has to as well. Isn’t it time you simplified your day-to-day responsibilities, made room for a little more ‘me’ time and moved away from bracing for chaos every single day at work?

Connect data

The first step in re-gaining your work-life balance and getting your sanity back is ditching the plethora of Excel files littering your desktop. To do it, you have to take a deep breath and say goodbye to running your supply chain from Excel. Instead, bring a little peace back into your life by harmonizing all that disparate data from multiple sources and legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and bringing it together in one solution.

Having access to all supply chain data in a single system means you’ll gain the ability to run what-if scenario simulations faster and more effectively. They’ll be no need to import and verify data from multiple sources, which will cut down on the potential for data errors or integrity issues, and speed up the decision-making process. No more fretting about whether your data’s up-to-date and accurate. Just think of all the time you’ll save not having to do multiple data pulls and merging Excel files. You might actually make it home on time for dinner!

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