The days of preparing for new trade policies are over. For decades, companies were given advance notice of coming tariff announcements, with time to adapt to the upcoming changes. But that has changed in today’s “tweet today, implement tomorrow” pace of business. That speed and volatility have opened the door for a new style of global trade management to emerge. A recent Aberdeen Group survey of 126 companies identified the organizations that excel at global trade management and the key factors that drive their success.
Posts categorized as 'Supply chain management'
In today’s fast-paced world, success means getting ahead of change, not just keeping up with it. It’s no different for your supply chain. Growing customer demands.
Shifting regulations. Big impact events like natural disasters. It’s no wonder companies are looking for hyper-agile, synchronized supply chains.
But are they looking in the right place?
If there’s one thing you can count on in supply chain, it’s that things will change. Often. It could be as relatively small as a last minute order or engineering change, or as big as an industry-wide shift that sends your end-to-end supply chain spinning in an entirely new direction. At the recent Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, there was a lot of talk about the latter. As it turns out, that future state we’ve all been speaking about for years isn’t as far off as you might think. It’s already here and the impacts on your supply chain are happening right now—whether you’re aware of them or not.
Gartner Research Director Tom Enright gave an enlightening presentation on Future Supply Chains for the Digital Era and Beyond, and shared some unstoppable forces in motion right now that will change the very notion of supply chain. If you haven’t already started to embrace and prepare for this new digital future, you may already be too late.
1. The customer
Customers have always been at the heart of supply chain. That much isn’t new. What’s changing is how they want to engage and interact with it. As I mentioned in an earlier blog about the Gartner conference, customers are demanding you deliver an experience, not just a product. They want a continuous, seamless experience that blurs the lines across companies, retailers and partners.
These were the words that popped out at me during an excellent presentation by Alex Brown of Xilinx during his keynote presentation. Recently my colleague covered an interview with Alex and it reminded me of his aptly titled presentation “Taming Complexity”.
As a practice Supply Chain Management is made up of a bunch of engineers who pride themselves in their mathematical skills, and Alex, with a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, is a prime example. Nothing pleases us as much as solving complex problems using mathematics. We spend years learning about linear programming and the theory of optimization, so we want to put these skills into action.
What we don’t get taught at university, is that most “interesting” problems are too complex to be solved using mathematics. Recognize that word “complex”? It was in Alex’s title. What we are taught at university is the word “intractable”.
Madhav’s experience and educational background show his passion and enthusiasm for supply chain and the role it plays in making the world a better place. He shares this passion with others through his speaking engagements and writings. Madhav brings deep knowledge across verticals and significant market intelligence to Kinaxis. He is also a strong asset and advocate to our customers as we enable their transformation by revolutionizing planning.
I asked Madhav to share some insight with our readers. Check out his responses.
What do you believe are the biggest supply chain challenges companies are faced with today and for years to come?
The key challenges facing today’s organizations are complexity and volatility. The root causes for these include growing channel complexity, SKU growth, demand variability due to more dynamic pricing and promotions, trading partner growth, increased outsourcing relations, geopolitical risks, and informed consumers. Not all of these factors apply to all industries but most industries are impacted by a subset of these.
It was in 1965 that Dr. Gordon Moore made a prediction that changed the pace of tech. His prediction, popularly known as Moore’s law, was with regards to doubling of the number of transistors per square inch on an integrated circuit every 18 months or so. As a result of the innovations attributable to the endurance of Moore’s law over the last 50+ years, we have seen significant accelerations in processing power, storage, and connectivity. These advances continue to have major implications on how companies plan their supply chains. In my nearly two decades as a supply chain professional, I have seen quite a few changes.
Let’s look at some of the big shifts that have taken place in the supply chain planning space.
1. Planning community gets bolder in tackling scale:
Early on in my career, I remember working with a large global company who had to take their interconnected global supply chain model and slice it up into distinct independent supply chain models. This was because the processing power at the time was simply not enough to plan their supply chain in a single instance. This surgical separation of supply chains required a high degree of ingenuity and identifying the portions of supply network with the least amount of interconnections, and partition them. This was not the most optimal way to build a supply chain model, but they did what they could within the limitations of the technology then. With the advent of better processing power, they were able to consolidate these multiple instances into a single global instance leading to a better model of their business. This is just one of many such examples.
Eliminating silos from any company’s supply chain planning processes comes with challenges. And those challenges are only amplified the bigger your supply chain is. When you’re a large global pharmaceutical company operating in more than 100 markets across four geographical regions, overcoming operational silos in the end-to-end supply chain may seem like an insurmountable feat. That’s how MSD ’s supply chain planning story began.
Supply chain planning challenges
Known as Merck & Co., Inc. in the US and Canada, MSD was desperately seeking a way to connect its end-to-end supply chain, which spans four planning hubs, over 80 distribution centers and more than 20 internal and external sites. Setting out on a journey to standardize its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform meant finding a way to sync its supply chain data and enable access across all those divisions and locations to support better business decisions.
Henrik Frojdh, Supply Chain Planning Lead at MSD, quickly realized the only way to elevate supply chain planning capabilities to support that level of synchronization and at the same time optimize inventory levels, was the adoption of an integrated solution – one that enabled end-to-end supply chain planning, visibility and decision-making.
Chocolates, wine, flowers, jewelry? What will you buy for the special person in your life this Valentine’s Day? Not planning to buy anything at all? You might want to seriously rethink that decision before you show up empty-handed.
Over the years, Valentine’s Day has become big business.
As you know, Valentine’s Day is an annual holiday, celebrated on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints named Valentinus. Today, Valentine’s Day is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world.
Commercial celebration is right.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are poised to spend more than $18 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts in 2017. That comes to about $137.57 per person. I’d really love a $137.57 box of chocolates. Heck, let’s round it up to $140 and skip the sentimental greeting card.