Posts categorized as 'Supply chain collaboration'

Will that be automatic or semi-automatic to manage your supply chain?

ChristopherHatcher

semi automatic software blog chris hatcherYears ago when I was in the army, one of the most memorable days of my mostly forgettable BASIC training experience was flipping the switch to automatic. Yes, we’re talking about the M16 rifle standard issue weapon for soldiers. We were trained on this weapon out at the firing range where we learned to hold the weapon steady, breath calmly, and ignore the clamor of dozens of shots ringing out through the earplugs nestled in our ears.

It was cold out in Missouri in the middle of winter, but it was a bit of a thrill to do what I’d done as a kid with toy guns. This was the real thing. Well, sort of the real thing in the sense that the weapon and bullets were real, everyone was dressed in camouflage fatigues with serious looks on their faces, but the targets that popped up anywhere from 50 to 300 meters away were just some special fabric that fell over if a bullet whistled through it.

What we learned was that the cowboys shooting from their hips and hitting their targets was a fantasy of Hollywood. Hitting the targets required patience, focus, and a bit of luck. Like most training in the Army, the thought was that if you do it long enough it would become ingrained in your psyche and muscle response. As it turned out, after months of training out at the firing range I qualified as a Marksman, but that was not the big thrill. The big day was actually at night when we were allowed for the first time in months to flip the little switch on the M16 to automatic. Up until that night, each shot was aimed, the trigger squeezed and the result was immediately apparent.

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Is There a Third Option for SCM Executives Looking to Revamp their Supply Chain Management Operations?

MelissaClow

erwin hermans celestica  Is There a Third Option for Supply Chain Management Executives Looking to Revamp their SCM Operations? Our partner Celestica recently published the following article, ‘The Third Option for Supply Chain Management Executives’. The author, Erwin Hermans, vice president of Supply Chain Services, describes the three main areas to consider when revamping your supply chain management operations:

Growing companies often consider two options when implementing or revamping their supply chain management (SCM) operation—hiring a consulting company to work with their in-house SCM team, or buying specialized software and going it alone. Consulting firms deliver strategy and process improvements, but leave the customer to execute and sustain the new process, while software companies sell new supply chain capabilities without executing and driving its adoption.

A new alternative is now possible for companies, especially those looking to gain a competitive advantage with their SCM operations.

The case for working with a strategic partner that can go beyond implementing a new tool and designing new processes to actually drive, execute and sustain a company’s supply chain has arrived. Every company is looking to improve its time to value. The traditional notion of a three- to five-year transformation program is not practical in today’s fast-paced environment.

Improvements need to be achieved in months, not years, a reality that can only be realized through a managed services partnership in which the only measure of success is tied to the operational improvements resulting from the program. While many supply chain executives have never seriously considered managed services as an SCM option due to liability, performance or security risk concerns, this is indeed an economical, efficient and strategically viable solution that supply chain leaders should consider to deliver operational performance.

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2015 New Year’s Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry

CJWehlage

2015 New Years Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry2015 will be my 25th year in the supply chain industry, mostly as a practitioner. I’ve had the benefit of stepping away from the grind for 2 years, spending time at AMR Research, where I visited with many companies and learned about their supply chain practices. As well, these past 2 years at Kinaxis have brought great insight on the operational challenges of supply chain leaders.

Which brings me to today… I was planning out my 2015 supply chain conference schedule, and noticed the conference themes: Digital, Green, Internet of Things and Social. These are what I call “Cool Theme” topics. But after my 25 industry years, I find that the fundamentals of revenue, profitability and service are the still most important themes. It feels like we’ve drifted away from the fundamental supply chain strategies. So, I decided that 2015 needs to be a re-focus on the hard core fundamentals of supply chain success. And change in the New Year begins with resolutions…

 

My 2015 Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry

Resolution #1 – Stop using the term VISIBILITY

People say that information is power. I beg to differ. I say, an informed decision is power. The visibility term has been over used. I’ve even heard some say that getting visibility to your supply chain is 80% of the challenge. They must not have run a supply chain. I see many supply chain leaders that have visibility, some in excel and some in automated tools. The ones that don’t have visibility can easily call the supplier and get it. Getting visibility isn’t the challenge. The real 80% challenge is “what are you doing with the visibility?”

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Transform your supply chain process – don’t just improve it

JohnWesterveld

transform your supply chain handsawDid you ever hear the joke about the old lumberjack? The old lumberjack came out of the forest and went for supplies. He needed a new saw – his old two-man saw had been sharpened so many times there wasn’t much left. At the store, the salesman showed him the newest tool for cutting trees called a chain saw. The salesman said that he can cut trees 10 times faster than with the two person hand saw. The lumberjack was impressed! He bought one. Several days later he came back and said to the salesman “This saw is no good! No matter how fast I push and pull it doesn’t cut! What’s worse – my partner keeps cutting his hand because there is no handle at the other end.

Okay… admittedly that was a silly joke. But if you consider how many people think about supply chain software it’s like the old lumberjack and the chain saw. The chain saw was a revolutionary tool and if used right, could make a single man more effective than a team of two. Advanced supply chain planning software like RapidResponse can do the same thing for supply chain.

In my role, helping the sales team, I’m often asked to reproduce a report that the prospect currently uses to run the business. I totally understand why this is important – the prospect wants to feel assured that their current business process can be maintained. Creating even the most complex report in RapidResponse is a breeze so it’s not a big deal for us. The prospect gets value because the report that I’ve just built in RapidResponse replaces an Excel report that takes hours every day to update. In RapidResponse, the update is instantaneous and can show changes with every data update and with every change to the scenario.

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The Supply Chain “Change” Dilemma!

PrasadSatyavolu

Trevor Miles and I have been having a healthy discussion on the Internet of Things and how these technology changes are shaping the way we work.

This is part 4 in our Internet of Things Series: The Supply “Change” dilemma!

A few weeks ago, Charles Wehlage wrote a blog post on his take on The Innovators Dilemma. I thought his analogies with supply chain strategy and execution were spot on. In this piece, Clayton Christensen specifically focused on why organizations fail. And not just any organization, but the great ones! The key learning is that the individuals who as a team have just witnessed a big win as a result of a hard worked strategy are highly likely to miss the budding wave of disruptive forces and be ready for the next change.

My own experiences witsupply change dilemna Svyantek DeShon System interface and hierarchy of effortsh different large scale transformations certainly point to this valid the hypothesis. An organization’s capability to sustain its innovative streak is largely dependent on the organizational “software” a.k.a. human resource + DNA. Therefore, the dilemma is how to synchronize the “social dynamics” within an organization and lead continuous change as digital technologies evolve and their adoption is a necessity.

The graphic from Svyantek and DeShon’s thoughts on “System interface and hierarchy of efforts required for change in an organization” illustrates the complexity of change. Organizational software comes before process and technology.

 

supply change dilemna organizations as machine or living system

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Your supply chain is costing you money – Reason #9: Relentless pursuit of one metric at the expense of other metrics.

JohnWesterveld

supply chain metric

Over the years, working for and with numerous manufacturing companies, I’ve seen many supply chain practices that cost companies money. Over the next several weeks, I’ll outline these issues and discuss some ideas around how to avoid these practices.

You can find the previous posts here:

Reason #9 Relentless pursuit of one supply chain metric at the expense of other metrics

Imagine that your child brings home their report card and it’s a mix of good and fair grades. You tell them that the only grade that matters is their geography mark. You tell them that you expect an A in geography – and you don’t care what happens to their Math grade. History? Don’t care. Social studies? Pshaw. Just focus on geography and forget about anything else. Sound ridiculous? It should. Yet, these are similar instructions as what is passed down to the supply chain from executives focused on a specific supply chain metric.

One example that I’ve seen several times is around inventory targets. The typical example is as follows;

  • A company uses complex software to model the supply chain considering a desired customer service level, lead time data, and statistical analysis of supply and demand variability.
  • This software then calculates the statistically correct, time phased safety stock levels across multiple levels of the supply chain, providing the optimum inventory in the optimum location.
  • If you sum this inventory across all locations, it represents the minimum inventory needed to achieve the desired service level given the current capabilities of the supply chain.
  • The executive team then provides the supply chain planning team with new inventory targets that are (of course) much lower than those values calculated by the inventory optimization tools.
  • The supply chain team then ramps down the inventory to the new target and responds to the inevitable stock-outs by expediting short materials and shipments.
  • The result is a lower inventory level, but much higher expedited costs and reduced customer service.

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Kinaxis on the road: 12th American Supply Chain & Logistics Summit

MelissaClow
SCL Summit

The American Supply Chain and Logistics Summit, now in its 12th year, brings together senior executives from across the Supply Chain and Logistics fields to enjoy an unbeatable mix of networking, expert case studies, interactive debates and master classes over three exceptional days.

Join Benji Green, Director of Global Sales, Operations, Supply and Inventory Planning at Avaya for the Kinaxis supply chain optimization workshop on December 9th. Register using the link below to receive 25% off your registration.

December 8-10, 2014
Dallas, Texas

Learn More and Register for the Summit

Schedule Meeting

 

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Your supply chain is costing you money – Reason #8: Keeping supply chain information in silos (and preventing your users from making the best decisions)

JohnWesterveld

supply chain information silos

Over the years, working for and with numerous manufacturing companies, I’ve seen many supply chain practices that cost companies money. Over the next several weeks, I’ll outline these issues and discuss some ideas around how to avoid these practices. You can find the previous posts here:

Reason #8 Keeping supply chain information in silos (and preventing your users from making the best decisions)

Don’t ask… you don’t want to know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase from different people in different contexts. Sometimes it’s true. I probably don’t want to know. Sometimes (like when I hear it from my son) I probably not only want to know, I NEED to know. Not because I want to pry (well… maybe a little) but mostly because I care and if I know I might be able to help.

When companies deploy supply chain solutions, they often make the decision for users… “you don’t want to know”. They do this by preventing them from getting (or making it very difficult to get) any more information than they absolutely need to do their specific job. Sometimes this information limitation actually prevents them from doing their job adequately.

Sometimes this is intentional and necessary;

  • Some companies (especially publicly traded companies) restrict access to revenue / margin information to prevent unauthorized financial data from getting out.
  • Some companies prevent access to data to prevent trade secrets (or in the case of US military manufacturers ITAR regulations prevent foreign nationals from accessing manufacturing data)

Sometimes this is intentional and questionable;

  • One company I’ve talked to told me that they limit information to their planners because they wouldn’t know what to do with it… that it would just confuse them. But in my opinion, there are few things more complex than supply chain management. Planners are smart people and if educated (APICS training should be a prerequisite in my opinion), they likely will have no problem absorbing and using additional information.
  • In other cases, information is limited because of interdepartmental rivalries, for example, “I don’t want demand planning to see my supply planning information. I’ll tell them what they are getting.”This is just plain wrong on multiple levels. If you hear this rational, then I’d look at your management levels and how people are being rewarded. In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, the only metrics that count are how a change impacts the company’s goals. Departmental goals should be secondary.

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