Posts categorized as 'Miscellanea'

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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Top 3 Supply Chain Planning Buzzwords

AlexaCheater

Supply Chain Planning BuzzwordsMarketing spin or actually making a difference?

When it comes to supply chains, certain words seem to be bandied about like the ball at a championship tennis match. Back and forth, over and over, these supply chain buzzwords seem to have an endless lifespan. But are they just creative marketing spin (after all, developing them is kind of part of the job), or is what they stand for actually making a difference in your supply chain planning? I set out to find the answer and share my findings on whether they’re all hype, or actually helpful.

Internet of Things – HYPE

Ok, ok, I know a lot of folks may disagree with me on this one. But I stand by my claim that IoT in supply chain planning is more hype than helpful. At least for now. Let me explain.

The Internet of Things, often referred to as simply IoT, is hard to ignore. With advancements in technology and new IoT-enabled devices launched daily, there’s little question as to why supply chain leaders are taking note. IHS Markit Ltd. estimates the number of IoT-enabled devices will surge to more than 30 billion by 2020 and 75 billion by 2025.

According to Gartner Research Director Andrew Downard, IoT enabled devices power supply chain planning by letting you continuously sense, communicate, analyze and act. In one of my earlier blogs, I recapped his presentation at this year’s Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, where he noted several real-world IoT examples, including Coca Cola’s Freestyle machines, HP’s Instant Ink subscription model and Tesco’s virtual grocery stores. He also provided commentary on the rise of IoT order buttons, like Amazon Dash, and the impact they’re having on customer orders.

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It’s time to welcome the supply chain CEO

BillDuBois

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

supply chain ceoAnyone who’s been paying attention knows that Supply Chain Management has emerged from its status a back-office function to become a major strategic differentiator for business. Over the past few decades, companies have realized that the way they bring products to market – from sourcing parts and services, to manufacturing, to shipping, to distribution – isn’t just a practical necessity, but an avenue for competitive advantage. For example, we wrote recently about how Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market represents more than a new stream of brick and mortar business, but the possibility of improving its last mile delivery – the so-called “Holy Grail of Logistics,” and therefore gaining a further leg-up over its eCommerce competitors in the grocery category.

As a result of technology and big data providing insights about every stage of the supply process, the Supply Chain profession has taken off. What was once seen as either a purely administrative or blue-collar profession has stormed the gates of executive business, with more companies appointing Chief Supply Chain officers – analytical, proven professionals who are able to build relationships with a diversity of internal and external partners, as well as provide the kind of operational excellence that allows companies to get ahead of the competition. An article in the Wall Street Journal called Supply Chain the hot new MBA, outlining how more and more future business leaders are also coming around to seeing the function as a career of the future.

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Continuous delivery drives continued supply chain innovation

AlexaCheater

Supply chain innovation

When was the last time you made changes to your supply chain? I’m not referring to order changes, SKU changes or capacity changes, but rather, the processes and functionality that drive your day-to-day decision making. If it’s been too long to remember, you’re likely lagging behind when it comes to supply chain innovation. That isn’t good news when it comes to keeping up with the competition.

Innovation is happening all around us, and at a pace so fast, it may make your head spin. But the reality of doing business in a globally competitive environment is that you have to stay ahead of – or at least be part of – the pack if you want to succeed. For supply chains, the added complexity all this change is bringing about can be daunting. It’s becoming harder and harder to keep inventory costs low while still meeting customer demands for customization, same day shipping and easy returns.

Waiting for big, bulky annual releases to your supply chain management software doesn’t really seem to fit with the fast-paced world we live in. Why then is that still the norm for most companies? Wouldn’t you rather get immediate access to the latest supply chain innovations as soon as they become available? That’s the idea behind continuous delivery, and it’s far from new. App developers have been using it for years to provide regular feature updates to your smartphones. So have consumer software companies – just look at Adobe’s Creative Cloud or Microsoft’s Office 365. Yet enterprise software companies still seem to be lagging behind.

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