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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How supply chain planners should spend their time, with cues from Chris Hadfield

DuncanKlett

Chris Hadfield, KinexionsI was fascinated watching the key note address from Chris Hadfield at the Kinaxis user conference, Kinexions 2017. Canadians and space junkies will know him as the first Canadian to walk in space and as a commander of the International Space Station.

While in space, he also did a live stream playing Space Oddity from the ISS. See his web page, http://chrishadfield.ca/ for more information.

But, it was not all his accomplishments that made everyone else in the room feel inadequate. It was his level of preparation. As Hadfield said, “Astronauts are not adrenalin junkies. Adrenalin is an indication of lack of preparation and can have fatal results.” Rather, astronauts train for what they must do. They train to handle all the things that might go wrong and for making decisions with incomplete information.

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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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Machine intelligence and human creativity in supply chain planning

Dr. MadhavDurbha

artificial intelligence I am reading this absolutely fascinating book “Deep Thinking: Where machine intelligence ends and human creativity begins” by Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion. As the title suggests, in this book Kasparov shares a highly provocative point of view on artificial intelligence and its implications for the human race, with the backdrop of his 1997 loss in a highly publicized chess match up against IBM’s chess computer Deep Blue. The book did make me reflect on my own experiences and views on the division of labor between the machines and human supply chain planners.

Much has been written and said about how machine intelligence is impacting supply chain planning in the form of automating a human planner’s function, with implications on the future of the profession itself. I would be remiss in stating that automation will have no impact on planning profession. Yes! The focus on automation in planning is increasing and will continue to increase. However, this has to take place in the context of empowering planners and significantly augmenting their productivity to handle activities with larger scope and with higher levels of cognition that can drive strategic value for business. When done in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, automation initiatives can significantly benefit planners who are willing to adapt and change, and organizations as a whole.

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AI, ML aren’t magic pixie dust, and other supply chain insights from Kinexions day one

AlexaCheater

From catching up with the very first Kinaxis customer to exploring the future of supply chain, day one of Kinexions, our annual user and training supply chain conference, proved to be an out-of-this-world learning experience, aptly set to a soundtrack of songs by ‘80s rock group Journey.

And what a journey day one at Kinexions has been. Here are just a few of the great insights coming from the conference:

AI - Kinaxis Kinexions“Artificial intelligence and machine learning aren’t magical pixie dust.”
John Sicard, CEO, Kinaxis

As Kinaxis CEO John Sicard put it, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) aren’t magic, but they can help you create a little in your supply chain. Sicard talked about the notion of a self healing supply chain, one based on machine learning algorithms, which can help you:

  • Detect deviations
  • Analyze and make intelligent predictions on what your values should be
  • Heal itself automatically
  • Monitor performance improvement and value over time

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Supply chain agility, the disillusioned data scientist, Amazon effect, and other tales from LogiPharma US 2017

Dr. MadhavDurbha

LogiPharma - Pharmaceutical supply chainI was at the recent LogiPharma US conference for the pharmaceutical supply chain leaders. However, most of the insights and the stories I took away from the event are applicable to other industries as well. Here they are:

1. Personalized medicine demands supply chain agility: During a highly engaging panel discussion on “Building a patient-centric supply chain”, Kevin Cook, VP of North America supply chain at Sandoz (a division of Novartis) talked about the unique nature of the recently approved Kymriah, CAR-T cell therapy for children and young adults with certain types of Leukemia. The therapy showed an 83% remission rate in the patient population studied! In CAR-T cell therapy, every single dose of a treatment is completely personalized, as it involves extracting the patient’s immune cells, bringing them to a production facility, genetically modifying them, transporting them back (at minus 180oF!!), and then reinfusing the patient to fight the cancer cells. So, personalized medicine is here! With it comes several logistical challenges.

While Kymriah is the ultimate example of personalized therapy, there were several attending companies that provided therapies for rare diseases affecting a few hundred to a few thousand patients across the globe. In such a high mix, low volume portfolio, decisions such as how to allocate short supply to patients in case of contamination of a manufactured batch, can be lifesaving. Brad Pawlowski of Accenture said it right during his opening remarks – “Instead of executing one supply chain a thousand times, we should get ready to execute a thousand supply chains, one at a time”.

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Are you ready for the fallout? How proposed US trade policy changes will impact your end-to-end supply chain

AlexaCheater

global supply chainLove them or hate them, it’s hard to escape the proposed sweeping changes to America’s trade policy put forth by US President Donald Trump. From withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it’s clear the 45th President of the United States is pushing hard on an America-first agenda. But what impact will his trade policy changes have on your end-to-end supply chain?

Supply chain risks

The majority of US manufacturing leaders are optimistic about this shift toward more business-friendly policymaking, at least according to a recent survey by the Aberdeen Group and consulting firm TBM. Their research found as a group, manufacturers anticipate a 1.8% increase in profits and a 1.6% revenue gain from proposed tax, regulatory or trade policy changes. What remains unclear is the potential fallout of any changes to international trade agreements, which could be devastating to companies running global supply chains.

According to the 2017 Aberdeen Supply Chain Readiness Research Study, tax structure changes are likely to have the biggest impact on financial results over the next few years, but unfortunately for you, that’s largely out of your control. What you can control is how you mitigate the supply chain risks associated with any negative impact of changes to foreign trade agreements. That means knowing:

  • What could change?
  • When could that change happen?
  • How will it affect current cost structures?

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