Posts categorized as 'Miscellanea'

Does supply chain’s image need to catch up with the times?

BillDuBois

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

supply chainIt’s our perpetual hobby horse here at Argentus that Supply Chain needs to be doing more as a field to attract young people. And the industry has started to pick up the slack. Whether it’s organizations partnering with universities to provide information and educational opportunities, or industry associations holding informative events aimed at the wider public, many Supply Chain leaders are using creative strategies to develop the next generation of talent in the field.

But is there something about Supply Chain’s image that’s holding it back from being seen as the crucial, strategic function with tremendous career potential it is today?

This is an issue that popped up in our discussion of why there aren’t more Women in Supply Chain Leadership roles: it’s the question of Supply Chain’s popular image and whether it’s preventing women and others from viewing it as a lucrative and vibrant career option.

On company websites, magazines, promotional videos, and industry association pages, the Supply Chain industry has always employed imagery of the nuts-and-bolts of how products get to market. We’re all used to images of hard hats, warehouses, trucks, trains, shipping containers, boxes, and palettes as a sort of visual shorthand for Supply Chain as a function. We use plenty of these images here at Argentus in our blog posts, service pages, etc.

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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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Career advice: Keeping your edge as a supply chain professional in the face of change!

Dr. MadhavDurbha

Supply chain professional advancementThere is a standalone vehicle emission check shop that I visit to get my car checked prior to the annual tag renewal. For those who are not familiar with the emission check process, you drive your car into the shop. As you wait in your car, a technician hooks your car up to his computer, measures emissions and prints a certificate. The whole process takes about 5 minutes. Just about 4 or 5 years ago the service had cost $25. The aforementioned shop was one of the very few shops providing the service in the vicinity. However, over the next few years, nearly every auto mechanic shop in the area started offering an emission check service. For them, it was simply a loss leader to get the cars in. Then they took advantage of the opportunity to sell higher margin services they offer. Soon, the prices for the service started dropping. The cost of an emission check went down to $20, then $15, and now stands at $10. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out where the trend will continue to go!

The moral of the story is simple. When a service gets commoditized, the differentiation disappears, and the price that one is willing to pay drops. It doesn’t have to be a service. It can be a product, or even a professional like you and I. We get commoditized, too! Jack Welch said it – “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”. While he said it in the context of organizations, this could very well be true for individuals, as well.

Let’s talk about the implications of this for supply chain professionals. Supply chain management is quickly evolving to be quite an interdisciplinary field. Just recently, I was talking to a youngster studying industrial engineering with specialization in SCM. The curriculum he is going through is quite well rounded with coursework and internships that included industrial engineering, operations research, big data analytics, systems engineering, and programming. Besides majoring in industrial engineering, he is also getting a minor in computer science.

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Top 5 reasons to attend Kinexions ’17

TeresaChiykowski

“Focus on the journey, not on arriving at a certain destination.”
Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

Kinexions '17It’s all systems go for Kinexions ’17, which will take place Oct. 9 – 13, 2017, in Florida at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. With a theme of Where are you on your supply chain planning journey?, this year’s Kinexions promises to be bigger and better than ever.

If you don’t know what Kinexions is, let me fill you in.

Kinexions is the premier annual event for our RapidResponse® user community, including our customers and partners. Offering two full days of networking, inspiring keynotes, informative general sessions and a variety of breakouts delivered by customers, product experts and partners, Kinexions ’17 will offer something for everyone – regardless of where they are on their supply chain journey.

Now, for the top 5 reasons to attend Kinexions ’17…

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Chasing perfection is killing your supply chain

AlexaCheater

Forecast accuracyThere’s no such thing as 100% when it comes to forecast accuracy. Let me say it again. One hundred percent accuracy does not exist. I don’t care how good your demand sensing is or how sure your sales team is of their market projections. It’s just not possible. Anyone who says differently is either selling something, or a deity. So why are you spending so much time trying to make the impossible real?

Time and again I’ve heard how important forecast accuracy is when it comes to improving supply chain operations. It always seems to be a priority no matter where on the maturity scale a company falls. But this practice of chasing perfection is killing your supply chain. Not slowly, over time, but rapidly, like a tsunami sweeping your profits out to sea as that one giant wave recedes. Because that’s all it takes to destroy you. One catastrophic unexpected event.

Why forecast accuracy fails

It could be a natural disaster, a drastic shift in the political landscape or even the collapse of your only tier one supplier. The unknown is your biggest supply chain weakness, and the one you’ll never see coming, no matter how great you are at forecasting. Pretending otherwise, that forecast accuracy can save you when the unexpected strikes, is foolhardy at best, a death sentence at worst.

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Supply chain planning in the digital age

MelissaClow

Recently, Madhav Durbha, Vice President of Industry Strategy at Kinaxis was interviewed by SupplyChainBrain on supply chain planning in the digital age.

I wanted to share their fascinating conversation with our readers – check out the video interview and transcript below:

Supply chain planning in the digital age

Madhav Drubha, Supply Chain Planning, SupplyChainBrain

SupplyChainBrain: What are you hearing from your customers about the biggest challenges they are facing right now in supply chain planning?

It’s fairly simple. It’s complexity and volatility are the two themes that I constantly hear from our customers, regardless of the industry, that seems to be the recurring theme.

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Supply chain leadership lessons from Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman

AlexaCheater

Supply chain leadership - footballPro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, who led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories in four years in the early ‘90s, may not be the first person you think of when it comes to giving great supply chain advice. One thing the legendary pro athlete does know is leadership. You can’t be a great quarterback without it and that was the topic of his keynote presentation at the recent Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference.

The wisdom he shared, while not directly related to supply chain leadership, is certainly applicable to that space.

Lead from a basis of who you are

There are tons of great leaders out there, and while some have common characteristics, Aikman says ultimately, being a good leader means being true to who you are. He cautions that if your personality naturally tends to swing one way or the other between soft and caring, and tough and demanding, you’re going to need to find a way to strike a better balance. You can’t coach everyone the same way. Learn what works with your team members and be a better leader by motivating them in the way that works best for them.

This lesson comes down to gaining a better understanding of how you and your team members work individually, and as a whole. When it comes to your supply chain, understanding cross-functional dynamics, much like the dynamics between the different positions of a football team, becomes critical in overcoming the all too common issue of silos. If you properly manage the team dynamic, you’ll have a team that’s more collaborative, and ultimately a supply chain that’s better equipped to make better, faster decisions.

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Agility and flexibility in the age of digital supply chains – Insights from the 2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expo

Dr. MadhavDurbha

2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expoAs supply chain professionals, we can grow insular in our thinking, as on a day-to-day basis we risk confining ourselves narrowly to our domain of responsibility or solving challenges specific to our regions. However, from time to time, it is important to find opportunities to network with our peers from different regions or from different functional domains and learn from each other. The 2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expo was one such opportunity. About three hundred supply chain professionals from various pockets of the world representing manufacturers, retailers, logistics providers, and technology vendors took part in the summit. It was a 3 day event with some very provocative content while providing sufficient opportunities for networking and peer-to-peer learning. Here are the key takeaways for me from the event.

1. Innovation in the warehouse: Markus Kückelhaus of DHL trend research, in two separate panels gave very compelling presentations on the innovation DHL is driving in the warehouse. One of them is Augmented Reality (AR). Through the pilots that DHL conducted, AR is showing tremendous productivity gains in the warehouse such as a 25% gain in picking productivity. Through the use of wearables, employees are able to navigate, scan, pick, and put away product. These wearables are eliminating the need for the associates to carry scanners, freeing up both hands to be more productive. There was also some discussion around AR vs VR (Virtual Reality). While VR has some potential in terms of testing out layouts and such, Markus observed that for the most part the potential for VR seems to be fairly minimal in the warehouses as compared to AR.

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