Tag Archive: supply chain management

Supply Chain Management Is Evolving: How Will It Affect Your Enterprise?

June 12th, 2018

Operational efficiencies, productivity improvements, and cost savings are the top-three strategic advantages of cloud-based supply chain management, according to an IDG survey of senior managers and directors around the world. To gain these advantages, enterprises need to have infrastructure that helps them cost-effectively harness their large data workloads and move to the cloud easily.

In fact, the biggest challenge for most companies is figuring out how to have their on-premises infrastructure engineered in such a way that it mirrors the capabilities of the cloud. This way, when companies are ready, they can take their supply-chain data and make a seamless, fast migration to the cloud. Whether you’re a manufacturer, retailer, or large corporation, companies looking to gain real-time, complete visibility in their supply chain require integrated infrastructure with scalable data storage, processing, and computing power to get the job done.

To better uncover these benefits and how innovation and infrastructure are changing the supply chain, I spoke with Oracle and shared insights around helping businesses maximize value.

You’ve said that the customer experience continues to play a role in the transformation of supply chain management. How is it impacting both B2C and B2B industries?

We’ve all become accustomed to getting whatever we need, whenever we need it, with frequent status updates and easy returns. We’ve raised the bar. And it leads to a host of challenges for vendors, mainly in the sense that they need a wide breadth of products available to meet customer demand at any time.

Even though the vast majority of my clients are not in the retail or B2C world, they’re all impacted by this elevated experience. I was recently talking with a couple of distribution executives who said that, several years ago, there was a small percentage of deliveries that were due on the same day, if any. Now, roughly 80 percent of the orders they receive are expected on the same day. They’ve had to start working on Sundays because customers—including business customers—are expecting these extremely rapid deliveries.

There are several other ecommerce themes that are changing supply chain management. One is 24/7 accessibility: the ability to place orders and look up your order status whenever and wherever you are. Another is rapid customization. One of my clients has become number one in his industry by making sure his company provides not just rapid deliveries, but also quickly customized orders. His company does things like paint on the fly, which doesn’t normally happen in manufacturing.

What is the technology that is making this supply chain management transformation possible?

Blockchain impacts supply chain management by allowing for immediate visibility and transparency of global financial transactions—like electronic data interchange (EDI) on steroids. When products require traceability, such as if you have a recall, you can use blockchain to immediately see where your products are in the supply chain and who paid for what. That traceability can certainly be achieved within ERP software already, but if you require the next layer of complexity and immediate transparency, then blockchain technology could be useful.

Big data is another aspect of technology that is changing the supply chain landscape because companies can better tailor the customer experience when they know more about what the customer wants. IoT comes down to data, because you’re trying to attach the data together between different devices. In manufacturing, IoT shows up in preventive maintenance and anticipating when a machine might break down before it happens. When you see how different elements are working together, you can target what needs to be fixed or maintained, without just following a schedule that may or may not be addressing a real problem. This can reduce waste and improve efficiency.

But data is just as challenging as it is helpful. Before we get to work every day, we receive lots of messages between emails, texts, videos, billboards, and messages from our cars—everything is connected these days. The biggest challenge that my clients face is that they’re overwhelmed with data, but they also want and need the data to provide a better customer experience and understand what their customers really need. And they also want to figure out how to do that in a scalable and profitable way.

The challenge is how to sift through all the data that’s collected and put it all together into something meaningful and provide information at your fingertips. My clients are very interested in solutions like dashboards, and it’s a key ingredient in selecting the software; however, getting it implemented correctly is difficult.

 

It sounds like the right infrastructure that can manage multiple data sources and provide actionable insights can improve the entire supply chain process. What about the role of the ERP system in supply chain management? 

We’ve improved supply chain performance significantly by focusing a lot of effort on the demand plan. Instead of using the older perspective of a monthly forecast and whether it’s accurate as is, we’re looking at how we can do this in a more agile, flexible way. The ERP system needs predictive analytics to be able to modify a demand forecast on the fly.

Also, by using vendor-managed inventory systems, we’ve been able to reduce lead times. We’re able to meet short lead time orders that we couldn’t previously meet, with the same or slightly lower inventory levels, at a 5 percent margin improvement. It wasn’t solely due to demand planning, but that was the first step.

Once you get beyond demand planning, the next element is going to be a more agile production schedule geared to the customer—one that’s going to offer suggestions, give you notices, and be exception-based, so that you don’t have to put as much manual effort into it. The demand plan flows down into the production schedule, and then capacity analysis is the next key topic.

What steps can enterprises do to modernize their supply chain management?

We’re in the era of the customer, so start with the demand side of the equation. There are ways, regardless of what your tool set is, to improve upon your demand now and your prediction of future demand. You may not have a system in place to do this yet, but regardless, you should be doing more to look at the demand within your supply chain.

One other quick tip is to look at what information you are getting out of your system and how you can better utilize that information. I find that no matter what client I’m working with, we can always do a better job of accessing information and taking the most relevant information to make better decisions. Even if your system isn’t yet modernized to the point of predictive analytics, you want to move in that direction. You can do this by just getting information from multiple sources and creating a simplified database.

What will supply chain management look like in five years or 10 years from now, and what technology can help take enterprises there?

We’re going to continue seeing the ecommerce effect: the importance of speed, responsiveness, and agility, and the rise of smaller, more frequent orders. All of my clients are interested in managing their vast supply chain networks with lower costs, but better service. They’re trying to find technology to support these goals and figure out how to automate using AI and data.

One ideal future is with 3D printing, because you can print what you need, where you need it, when you need it, and further extend your supply chain. Even then, distribution is going to have costs associated with it, and the last mile will continue to be one of the biggest challenges. Delivering all these smaller, more frequent orders to both consumers and businesses impacts transportation negatively and your distribution network significantly. You need your inventory strategically located closer to a customer, or to have flexible manufacturing capabilities that can respond quickly to demand. The system comes into the picture when you want to set up your network to have what you need, where you need it. How to improve delivery metrics will continue to be a key consideration in the future.

If we can reduce the cost to manufacture and distribute inventory by leveraging supply chain management tools, we can reduce prices and actually do something as radical as bringing more manufacturing back to the U.S.

Take a Deeper Dive…

Supply chain management professionals are eager for new ways to leverage data to drive business value. It is important to understand, however, that successfully using big data requires the right infrastructure designed to manage multiple data sources and provide the computing power to deliver actionable insights across the entire supply chain process. The key to gaining business value from supply chain data is by using big data infrastructure that can acquire, store, process, and analyze huge amounts of data workloads for supply chain insights.

 



APICS Inland Empire Announces Panel for November 4 Fall Symposium

October 20th, 2017

APICS Inland Empire Announces Panel for November 4 Fall Symposium

Panel Addresses Technology for Supply Chain Success   

CLAREMONT, CA – October 19, 2017  APICS Inland Empire Chapter (APICS-IE), the leading association for supply chain and operations professionals, is proud to announce the Expert Panel assembled for the November 4, 2017 Symposium: “Leveraging Technologies for Supply Chain Success”.

 “Technology affects all aspects of the Supply Chain from the movement and tracking of raw materials to forecasting and scheduling and the jaw-dropping autonomy of machines and transportation” notes Lisa Anderson, APICS-IE Chapter Leader and President of LMA Consulting Group. The topic is broad and far-reaching.  “Various technologies are experienced and leveraged within the supply chain.  We are thrilled to have such an experienced panel of supply chain professionals who will share their experiences and discuss the technological innovations and practices that will dominate and impact the end-to-end Global Supply Chain in the near future” she concluded.

Panelists include:

  • Terrie Dean, Director, ISCM Compliance Technology at The Walt Disney Company
  • Craig Young, Vice President of Operations at Tropicale Foods, Inc.
  • Stephen Ritchie, Professor, Civil Engineering, University of California, Irvine

The symposium attracts industry professionals from throughout the Inland Empire and Southern California and is supported in large part by sponsors that benefit from and support supply chain professionals.  This year’s sponsors include: Arbela Technologies (Arbela), The Manufacturing Executive Institute and Reveel.  “We are delighted to support the APICS-Inland Empire chapter. Professionals experience the effects of digital transformation everyday” commented Nima Bakhtiary, President of Platinum Sponsor, Arbela, a global consulting and software solutions provider for the manufacturing and distribution industries. “The Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning have taken monitoring and predictive capabilities to a new level. We see these solutions being used across the supply chain from forecasting and manufacturing for efficiencies to sales and marketing for predicting consumer behavior. This is will continue to evolve” concluded Bakhtiary.

The APICS-IE Fall Symposium: “Leveraging Technologies for Supply Chain Success” will be held Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 8:00-11:30 AM at the Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona. Fees to attend are $15 for members, $25 for non-members and students are free. A breakfast buffet is included. Register online at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eejzcmlh6e2c67f6&llr=pd7pgykab

About APICS

APICS is the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management and the premier provider of research, education and certification programs that elevate end-to-end supply chain excellence, innovation and resilience. APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designations set the industry standard. With over 37,000 members and more than 250 international partners, APICS is transforming the way people do business, drive growth and reach global customers.

About APICS – Inland Empire

The APICS Inland Empire Chapter (APICS-IE) covers the Inland Empire region of Southern California, which spans the easternmost portion of Los Angeles county and includes San Bernardino and Riverside counties.  The chapter offers educational classes, programs and special events in the hotbeds of manufacturing and distribution activity including Ontario, Riverside and Temecula.  APICS-IE partners with other organizations supporting manufacturing and distribution such as the DMA (Distribution Management Association), neighboring APICS chapters, industry leaders and government officials in support of furthering the region’s workforce development and growth



Robots, IoT, AI, Autonomous Vehicles and More – Update From APICS 2017

October 18th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

I’ve been attending APICS 2017 in San Antonio, and there is LOT of talk about the digital transformation of the end-to-end supply chain. I listened to executives from J&J, Cisco, Microsoft, Whole Foods, Caterpillar, and innovative high-tech, rapidly growing companies, and the consensus is: Pay attention to technology. There is an opportunity to learn about the latest technologies such as robots, IoT, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, blockchain and more at APICS Inland Empire‘s executive panel and networking symposium on “Leveraging Technology for Supply Chain Success“. More important than understanding these cutting edge technologies, is thinking about how to apply them for end-to-end supply chain success. Are you taking the time to think about the impacts to your business and your career? Join us on Nov 4th.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

To get the juices flowing in advance of this important industry event, start thinking about the potential impact to your business. For example, IoT has a lot of benefit for predicting machine maintenance needs. However, it can go far beyond this simple use. I’ll dedicate another article to just this topic as the APICS 2017 speaker from Microsoft had several compelling examples which will not only radically change how we perform jobs but it will also radically change the types of people we look for and the background/training that might give an interested candidate an exciting job.

Blockchain can have an enormous impact when considering the increasing need for transparency and risk mitigation with all the security issues that have occurred lately. The potential impact could be enormous for connecting partners and transactions in the end-to-end supply chain in a fast, secure and informed way.

Autonomous vehicles for all intensive purposes are “here”. It will take some time with testing and regulations but there will be interesting impacts when considering some of the issues that plague transportation today. For example, drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day; however, an autonomous vehicle could.  What would that mean for the speed and cost of deliveries?

Join us to learn about these technologies and more.

 



What Do Sears and Amazon Have in Common?

October 10th, 2017

Thanks to my client Dan Vest, I read a fascinating article about Sears and Amazon. Who knew Sears and Amazon had so much in common? Pretty startling! The Reader’s Digest version is as follows: Sears was the former Amazon about 100 years ago, growing 50-fold within a decade with its world-famous catalog and then transforming from a mailing company to a brick-and-mortar giant. They were the everything store with an uncanny feel for consumer demand. Sound familiar? So what might we learn from history and paying attention to trends?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Perhaps Sears isn’t something to be totally ignored… As transformative, customer-focused and growth-oriented as they were 100 years ago, they stopped looking for the next customer-focused innovation and have suffered mightily. Clearly, if you lose track of your customer, you are likely to lose track of your growth and profits. It is also easy to get lost as you get big – suddenly what used to be innovative is replaced with ridiculous rules and bureaucracy with no glance in the direction of the customer. Walmart came on the scene with amazing service and low costs. And now Amazon is the 80 pound gorilla.

There is another interesting development to note. Amazon tends to choose strange bedfellows and has partnered with the brick-and-mortar giant. Amazon will sell smart technology such as the Echo in Sears stores and the Sears flagship Kenmore brand product line will be sold online through Amazon. Unique collaborations seem to be driving success.  Just look at the partnership of innovative Amazon with “not-known-for-its-innovation” United States Postal Service (USPS), yet it works. Do you see postal trucks delivering on Sundays? I do.

In short, pay attention to history, trends and never stop thinking. Add collaboration into the mix and you might just hit a home run.

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Which Business Best Practices Do Top Notch Trusted Advisors See?

October 5th, 2017

In my ProVisors ODAM (Ontario-hosted Distributors and Manufacturers group – don’t you love the play on words?) meeting this month, we discussed business best practices we’ve seen with our manufacturing and distribution clients. It was a fascinating discussion as our group is diverse and consists of the most respected attorneys, CPAs, commercial insurance, business financial advisers, and consultants from around Southern California. Yet, we agreed rather quickly on core best practices. Thanks to Ron Penland for making the meetings engaging and trend-worthy.

Best business practices, this way….

Here are some of the top themes surrounding best practices:

  • Start by understanding financial statements and cost – it’s interesting how often this arises with our clients.
  • Look for the value add.
  • Find ways to scale without increasing costs. There are many options such as leveraging technologies, best practices, trade associations and more.
  • Leadership equals profit improvement. End of story.
  • Don’t start planning your exit “too late”.
  • Consider process improvement techniques such as lean manufacturing, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning), etc.
  • Be aware of your indicators and metrics.

More Best Practices

Are you reliant on figuring everything out yourself? We hope not! The most successful people find groups, attend seminars and conferences, engage with trade associations and interact with others who are up-to-speed on the latest trends and timeless success traits. If you think you might need to go a step further, feel free to contact us and we’ll suggest a few strategies for you.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on the topic:

100 Best Practices, Tips to Elevate Business Performance in Manufacturing