Posts categorized as 'Miscellanea'

2018: The Winter Olympics, a royal wedding, space exploration and, of course, big supply chain planning events

TeresaChiykowski

2018 eventsAs we bid farewell to 2017 and usher in a new year, what can we expect to see in 2018?

As per usual, folks will flock to the gym in record numbers to burn off those extra holiday pounds and then, all too soon, workouts will become a distant memory (These are “January people” according to an article in the Huffington Post).  I know this to be fact because I am a January people.

This year will also see athletes from around the globe gather in Pyeongchang, South Korea to go for gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. “Royals” fans will be glued to their TVs and personal devices to watch Prince Harry wed actress Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in England. In November, space travel enthusiasts will follow the launch of NASA’s InSight as it embarks on a journey to the “Red Planet” – Mars.

But wait, there’s more.

When it comes to big events in 2018, let’s not forget about the world of supply chain planning. There are some cool events in 2018 you might want to check out. Here are just a few at a glance.

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8 steps for a successful business case for your supply chain investments

Dr. MadhavDurbha

business case for your supply chain investmentsOver the years I’ve had the opportunity to engage in or witness the process organizations go through to prepare business cases in support of supply chain investments, from the successfully crafted and executed, to those that fail to gain traction.

Based on that experience, I wanted to share my eight most important pieces of advice for those being asked to prepare a business case for their supply chain investments.

  1. Ensure clarity on the strategic objectives of your organization.
    Any sizeable supply chain investment draws the attention of the senior leadership. Rightfully, your leadership will look to understand how the initiative supports the overall strategic objectives of the business. Being well versed with these objectives and able to demonstrate how the proposed initiative will support them is paramount to getting buy-in from your executives.
  2. Show how the initiative supports strategic objectives.
    Are your executives measured on servicing strategic customers better than your competition and reducing regulatory risks? If so, your business case will need to show how you can align with these objectives. For example, understanding your customers’ buying behaviors and segmenting and serving them based on these behaviors will help differentiate strategic customers. By enabling end-to-end visibility across your entire network, you can put a flashlight on looming regulatory risks. Make strong links between the strategic objectives and the enablers as directly and explicitly as possible.

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A Supply Chain Software Christmas Story

JonathanMatthews

Supply Chain Software Christmas Story T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a… well, that’s not quite correct.

There was some stirring in the Clause house as Santa slowly shifted positions in his easy chair, looking out the window into the howling snow storm outside. The weather forecast said the storm would be blowing over soon and, and truth be told, it wasn’t that bad of a snowstorm. Certainly not like the famous storm eleven years ago.

But the weather had been poor the past month, and certainly not conducive for the last minute production crunch leading up to Christmas. Mentally preparing himself for the insanity the next 24 hours would bring, Santa mulled over the past year.

He should have been notified about production delays by now, but strangely, nothing had crossed his plate. Not even the unsavory incident he had overheard about in early November, when an elf drank a little too much eggnog and broke machinery, leading to a production delay. Even in the best years there are delays and problems. Right?

“Honey,” Santa Clause said softly, getting Mrs. Clause’s attention from the book she was reading. He noticed that it wasn’t her usual novel type book, but rather looked more like a technical manual. Without his glasses on, Santa didn’t try to strain his eyes to make out the title; he’d ask her later about it.

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Forecasting and demand management for new events using machine-learning algorithm

ImanNiroomand

Football - demand planning and forecastingWhat does a machine-learning (ML) algorithm have to do with the Super Bowl?

When it comes to forecasting and demand management, a lot.

Consider this: According to the National Retail Federation, approximately 189 million people watched Super Bowl LI, and viewers spent an average of $82.19 on electronics, apparel and food specifically for the game, up from $77.88 compared to the previous year.

For events like the Super Bowl, retail demand planners create forecasts using data from a variety of sources to adjust product demand profiles in anticipation of which product, or group of products might be in demand the most.

This is a daunting task when one considers the variety of products available to football fans – from cheeseheads to cheezies and everything in between. In the past, only about one brand in 50 was able to precisely adjust their football-frenzy driven supply chain to meet demand during the short two-week window between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

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An optimist’s view of Blockchain in supply chain: Learnings from Bitcoin

Dr. MadhavDurbha

BitcoinThese days, not a single supply chain conference I attend goes by without someone mentioning Blockchain. Given the growing chatter, I wanted to share my views on the topic. In fact, my interest in Blockchain further increased as I started dabbling in Bitcoin, an application of the Blockchain technology.

As per Wikipedia, a Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Bitcoin is a form of decentralized digital cryptocurrency, not controlled by any nation or issuing bank.

Launched in 2009, Bitcoin was initially written off as a scam or fad. However, to the surprise of naysayers, Bitcoin did survive and is thriving, building quite a following. Here are some factors that are making Bitcoin a very attractive proposition, which are a direct result of the underlying Blockchain technology:

  1. Secure encrypted transactions ensuring privacy of the involved parties: Through a combination of public and private key encryptions facilitated by Blockchain, Bitcoin provides a virtually hacker-proof way of making and receiving payments. This is quite fascinating considering the code behind Bitcoin itself is open source. In a Blockchain, each transaction is recorded to a “block” across a large number of distributed systems. This transaction is then authenticated by each node in the network and is facilitated by individuals like you and me, who are referred to as “miners” in the Bitcoin world. Once recorded, the transaction cannot be altered, and it forever resides in a public distributed ledger that’s shared between the network nodes. The identity of the sender and receiver are protected through the encryption mechanisms. Not surprisingly, some of the early adopters of Bitcoin were those dealing in illegal goods and drugs through the now defunct Silkroad, online marketplace being the most prominent. While any technology can be put to both good and bad use, supply chains require a high degree of privacy and security to ensure validity of transactions for perfectly legitimate reasons – which Blockchain can enable.

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Six pieces of out-of-this world supply chain advice from astronaut Chris Hadfield

AlexaCheater

out-of-this world supply chainMesmerizing. Motivating. Magical. That’s how best to describe the experience of hearing famed Canadian astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station (ISS) Chris Hadfield address the crowd at Kinexions, our annual user and training conference.

Hadfield’s inspiring presentation focused on preparedness, failure and what it takes to blast into the future. While not speaking directly on the topic, his presentation was full of revelations and pearls of wisdom you can apply directly to your supply chain.

  1. “When you do it the first time, you’re going to get it wrong.”

No one gets it perfect on the very first test flight. NASA didn’t. Just look at the Vanguard TV3, the space agency’s first attempt at launching a satellite into orbit. Two seconds after leaving the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, the rocket came crashing back down and exploded. It had only reached a height of about four feet.

If NASA can’t blast it out of the atmosphere on its first attempt, what makes you think your supply chain can? The expectation of immediate perfection is particularly relevant when implementing process or technological changes. These things take time, effort and persistence, but you can’t give up. Trying something new within your supply chain may seem like an exercise in futility, but it you stick with it, you’ll soon find yourself soaring above the stars – and your competition.

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[Webinar] How to get started with artificial intelligence in your supply chain planning

AlexaCheater

A pragmatic approach to getting started with artificial intelligence in supply chain planningReal, practical steps you can take today to start implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in your supply chain planning

Stop struggling and start implementing! Join us on Tuesday, November 28 at 2pm ET to learn directly from companies like Merck and Schneider Electric in our latest webinar, A pragmatic approach to getting started with artificial intelligence in supply chain planning.

Find out how these companies overcame barriers and put their latest AI and ML innovations into action. Hosted by SupplyChainBrain’s Senior Editor Robert Bowman, our expert panelists include:

  • Brian Tessier, VP Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric
  • Paul Cocuzzo, Senior Director ERP Program Integration and Operation, Merck
  • Trevor Miles, Thought Leader, Kinaxis

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Reflections on Kinexions, through a fresh set of eyes

MikeMcAllister

Kinexions - Kinaxis“Hi, my name is Mike. I’m the new Influencer Relations Manager here at Kinaxis.”

That’s the line I delivered dozens of times over the span of two and a half days to customers, analysts, and co-workers alike at Kinexions ‘17 in Orlando, to which one reply came, “What exactly does an Influencer Manager do?” I was about to find out.

To provide a bit of context, I started at Kinaxis just one week prior to Kinexions. Just. One. Week. Though that may sound somewhat ominous, the expectations on my attendance and participation were reasonable, and quelled any concern over having to understand the industry right out of the gate.

The mandate was simple: to meet as many people as possible, analysts, customers, and co-workers included. And listen. Listen to the language of the industry and absorb as much as I could in a short amount of time.

The opportunity to dive in to all things Kinaxis right out of the gate proved invaluable. I quickly discovered that in many ways supply chain management was something to which I could easily relate. Something that was both immediately accessible yet infinitely complex.

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