Posts by Bill DuBois

‘Win the Moment’ at Kinexions ’19

BillDuBois

“Delay of supply chain, that’s a penalty. Roughing the supplier, that’s two minutes. Excessive use of inventory, you’re out of the game!”

As you’ll find out in the video below, egregious supply chain planning tactics don’t go unpenalized under my watchful eye.

But the truth is, in my role as a supply chain referee, I don’t want to put anyone in the supply chain sin bin. In fact, it’s my job at Kinexions ’19 to help keep you out of the box and on the supply chain ice where you’re most valuable to your organization.

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Examining LogiPharma 2019 – Top 3 symptoms you caught the life sciences supply chain bug

BillDuBois

Examining LogiPharma 2019 – Top 3 symptoms you caught the life sciences supply chain bug

With LogiPharma 2019 in the books, a big congratulations goes out to all the organizers, speakers, vendors and attendees for a successful event. LogiPharma 2019 featured a strong lineup of speakers and life sciences supply chain industry experts who delivered valuable and relevant content, spurring attendees to participate with passion while host (and former Premiership Rugby match official) David Kurk injected a good dose of energy and humor to keep things moving.

Most impressive at this event was the content — and we’re not talking about skin deep, stick out your tongue and say “ah” level content. Speakers went deeper on their respective topics than a colonoscopy, which by the way, if you are around 50 years old and you haven’t done so, you really should get a colonoscopy, because symptoms can go unnoticed.

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Digital transformation in the life sciences supply chain – show me the data

BillDuBois

Digital transformation in the life sciences supply chain – Vas NarasimhanThe life sciences supply chain starts with a miracle

Is there a more challenging industry than life sciences? In a recent Forbes interview on why it’s so hard to bring tech into pharma, Vas Narasimhan, Chief Executive Officer of Novartis AG pointed out that only one in twenty drugs make it out of clinical trials.

One in twenty. A rate that hasn’t increased in over a decade. The only thing that has increased are the costs. Everything we talk about in supply chain starts with discovering that product you can market and sell. For those in consumer-packaged goods, it’s safe to say we’re fairly knowledgeable about our customers and target markets.

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Top 10 signs you’ve been working in supply chain too long

BillDuBois

Top 10 signs you’ve been working in supply chain too long

Boomers, millennial leadership and supply chain management jokes. Is it time for the older generation to move on?

It’s no secret supply chain talent has been top of mind for many executives for some time. Research firm Gartner even has it listed as a hot topic for its Supply Chain Executive Conference in Phoenix, May 14–17.

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is the aging population. A number of reports from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Pew Research Center state 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day. It’s easy to speculate there would be some supply chain talent retiring. The question is: How do you replace the knowledge gap created by those retirements?

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A brilliant mind: 5 Stephen Hawking quotes

BillDuBois

A brilliant mind: 5 Stephen Hawking quotesOn March 14, 2018, the world lost an unbelievable talent in Stephen Hawking. Tributes continue to pour in around the globe for a man who gave so much to science, all while fighting motor neuron disease since the age of 21. As astronaut Chris Hadfield commented on Twitter, “Genius is so fine and rare.”

Fortunately, for us, Hawking’s genius will live forever as his words continue to inspire generations. He had many great quotes that motivate anyone regardless of profession. Like many others, I try my best to apply Hawking’s wisdom to my work. If you’re reading this, that work is likely improving supply chain planning and our lives in general. The two often intertwine, which makes the wisdom even more valuable.

With that in mind, I thought I’d pass along some of my favorite Stephen Hawking quotes and tie them to supply chain planning.

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Supply chain planning – it’s time to get personal

BillDuBois

When sacrificing family time becomes the norm

Supply Planning Without the Personal Sacrifice Supply planning – to profitably align supply with demand. It sounds like something you could get done during an honest day’s work. As it turns out, it’s not that easy.

When I was planning supply, it wasn’t unusual to have a dinner interrupted, a weekend cut short or a vacation disturbed. That happened to be the norm. It wasn’t a surprise when a supplier shipped late, a machine was suddenly overloaded or a demand planner informed you that you were working off the wrong demand plan. We spent hours, even days sifting through countless spreadsheets and trying to navigate manual processes.

During that time, we also invested in some “just-in-time” techniques we borrowed from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Unfortunately, our planning survival instincts kicked in and our just-in-time processes were supplemented with just-in-case fallbacks. All of a sudden, we had just-in-case inventories,  and an exceptionally high number of expedites which really did nothing more than mask our supply planning deficiencies.

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Data integrity: Bad data and 3 good things to do about it when supply chain planning

BillDuBois

Supply chain planning - data integrityEvery business plans, but not every business runs as planned. Delays, shortages, quality issues, catastrophic weather events and fluctuating commodity prices are just a few examples of the exhaustive list of worries that will throw plan into disarray. Achieving a realistic forecast and aligning supply plans is an extreme long shot at best. The best supply chains need to manage business when it’s not business as usual. That’s what sets them apart.

However, even the best supply chains struggle with a recurring issue – data integrity. The alignment of demand and supply is more difficult because most, if not all, supply chains have data integrity issues. That means even if you take away all the supply chain disruptions, your plans are off before you even get started.

Successful supply chain planning starts with data

Setting yourself up for successful planning starts with your data. What could arguably be the single biggest deterrent to undertaking a supply chain planning improvement project is, “my data is crap.” Even though it’s likely true, you’re using the current state of your data to plan, and there’s still value in that. Data integrity shouldn’t be the reason not to take on a process improvement initiative, it should be a part of any supply chain planning improvement project.

Why the data issues?

Like the supply chain disruptions listed earlier, there are just as many reasons why data accuracy is as difficult as maintaining forecast accuracy. Here are the big reasons:

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Good-bye siloed, functional planner. Hello storm chasing network planner.

BillDuBois

natural disasters If you had anything to do with supply chain planning in the early days of enterprise resource planning (ERP), you may consider those years the “good ol’ days”. Spreadsheets were the latest and greatest thing, your biggest headache was a supplier failure, and collaboration meant walking down the hall to visit with your buyer or dropping by the shop floor to check on a machine breakdown.

Times have changed. Supply chain planners (I’m lumping in all the silos, including demand, supply, inventory and capacity planning) today are dealing with challenges that were unimaginable when Lotus notes were the next big thing. Arguably, changes to the good ol’ days started with product proliferation, increasingly shorter product life cycles, globalization and a more educated, demanding customer.

Aligning the supply plans to these new volatile demand profiles was no easy achievement. However, none of this physically destroyed your supply chain. The increase in extreme weather events is becoming commonplace for the supply chain community and the challenge of managing around these supply chain disruptions is the new norm.

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