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21st Century Supply Chain

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by Alexa Cheater

Is Your Supply Chain the Tortoise or the Hare?In Aesop’s Fables there is a very famous story about a tortoise and a hare. For those of you unfamiliar with this children’s classic, the moral of it is this—slow and steady wins the race. Except of course, if you work in supply chain.


While turtles and tortoises have many wonderful qualities that should be celebrated as part of World Turtle Day, their characteristically slow pace and unhurried nature can prove detrimental to any business trying to keep up in this digital age, and the rapidly changing consumer demands that go along with it.


Now that’s not to say I’m advocating rushing headlong into anything without some thought. Your supply chain does need to be at least part tortoise in that aspect. There’s value and protection in stability. But if you spend all your time planning, are you really going to be prepared when the course unexpectedly changes direction? If your first thought is to go back to the planning stage to factor in this new variable, you may soon find yourself left in the dust of a much faster paced and agile competitor.


My colleague CJ Wehlage has described speed as the true innovation in supply chain. He talks about the ability to act on change in minutes, bringing your suppliers, distributors, shippers, etc. together and getting everyone on the same page as quickly as possible. Digital technology has enabled your customers to make decisions more rapidly and confidently, making the process that much more efficient and effective. Shouldn’t your supply chain be able to do the same?


Dominic Thomas, Kinaxis, vice president of business consulting, uses a great analogy to explain it. He says to think of your supply chain like Google. You type in your question and expect to get an immediate list of possible answers. You don’t expect to have to wait hours, days, or weeks for the results to be returned. And you shouldn’t have to—not even when it comes to understanding the repercussions and impact of decisions across your supply chain network. Advanced analytics, real-time data visibility, and rapid scenario simulation capabilities are all current realities thanks to the evolution of supply chain management technology.


If you’re struggling to transform your supply chain from a tortoise into a hare, well-known research firm Gartner has some advice that may help. They’ve outlined seven steps to improving supply chain process velocity. Chief among them is the ability to advance through the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, moving your organization in the desired direction using their concept of SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound) objectives.


Essentially, you need to concurrently and continuously plan, monitor, and respond to changing variables in a single environment and across business functions. That allows the ability to shrink supply chain planning cycles and response times, while improving the accuracy of analysis and profitability of actions.


Getting there means turning your supply chain into a hybrid. One part tortoise to allow for planning and forecasting, and two parts hare to enable the ability to know sooner and act faster.


The post Is Your Supply Chain the Tortoise or the Hare? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.




Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by Jonathan Lofton

“Oxfords, not Brogues”Design for the Supply Chain is Long Lasting


If you’re into supply chain and liked the movie this quote is from, then we’re on the same street!


Ok, now that we’re straight on ‘classic’ shoes, let’s talk about the next principle in the “10 Principles of Good Design” as applied to supply chain and supply chain management (Design for the Supply Chain).


Principle #7: Good design “Is long-lasting”


“Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.” – ‘Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design


I was talking with my wife recently and she mentioned the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle) for some systems engineering project she’s working on.  I gave an example from inventory management about ABC classification. This way of classifying inventory to provide guidance on which items to place the highest focus on has been around since the 1950’s.


There are a multitude of approaches or techniques for managing inventory (e.g. just-in-time, kanban, postponement, backordering, consignment/vendor-managed-inventory, etc.). Different techniques are appropriate for different businesses and even different segments of inventory within a business. However, there’s always a need to do some level of classification to determine which technique makes the most sense. I keep debating with myself whether to say some techniques have gone “out of fashion” or we’ve just gotten a lot better at determining which ones to use as we’ve learned to manage extended supply chains.


Likewise, I’m not sure that it’s fair to say that outsourcing to low-cost countries was a fad now that there’s a case for moving manufacturing again (U.S. Manufacturing No More Expensive Than Outsourcing To China By 2015: Study). What I can say though, is that putting window dressing on a technique, much like broguing a shoe, may add some style, flash, or sense of ‘new and improved’, but it doesn’t change the basic functionality. I believe that as we identify new or different techniques for managing inventory we should be constantly asking ourselves, “what is the basic, fundamental element of the solution that gets the desired results versus what is simply ‘broguing’”.


There was an article in RetailWeek last year where some experts predicted what supply chain technologies were fads. Interestingly enough, they noted mobile apps as a fad where “instead of apps we could be moving to an ‘internet of things’ age with connected products in-store”. This is very much in-line with Industry 4.0. When I think about mobile apps, I get the sense that most apps are pushing information to the user in an effort to get them to make a purchase.


That’s great from a marketing perspective, but I think the fundamental advantage we want from a supply chain perspective is better forecasting. What if the connection allowed us to be able to apply probability/statistical analysis based on knowing that a customer physically went into the store, went to a specific aisle or department, spoke to a sales person, etc., much like the analytics applied to on-line shopping. That’s where the connection to products in-store would make a difference and meet a fundamental need without the window dressing (pun intended).


What do you see as a supply chain fad?


Want to learn more about Design for the Supply Chain? Check out the rest of the series:


The post Design for the Supply Chain Pt 8: Long-Lasting appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.




Originally posted by Jonathan Lofton at

by Melissa Clow

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


Today, we’re bringing your our follow-up to our interview with Supply Chain guru and advisor to Chief Supply Chain Officers Michael Massetti. In the previous installment, Michael gave us the lowdown on big picture trends he’s witnessing in Supply Chain and the market for talent in the field, as well as a discussion of Chief Supply Chain Officers and how titles might actually mean more than they seem.


Michael Massetti is Executive Partner in Supply Chain at Gartner, a leading technology research company. He has a background in the world of technology, having led Supply Chains at some of the world’s largest tech companies. He’s also a great advocate for the field, providing thought-provoking and engaging content about Supply Chain on LinkedIn Publisher.


In this follow-up, we talk about the role of automation in the Supply Chain. We talk about whether Supply Chain needs an image makeover, as well as challenges that Supply Chains face at high-growth, mature, and turnaround organizations, respectively.


Michael MassettiIn your work with Gartner, you act as a Supply Chain advisor to executives at Fast-growth, mature, and turnaround organizations. What different Supply Chain challenges do you think each of these types of companies encounter?

I’ll address one at a time.


  • Mature Supply Chains are being challenged by business dynamics in the world outside of them. Sometimes they have a rather slow response to that change because the people in the organization are used to doing things the same way they’ve always done them. That challenge is a reality for a culture and an organization, if their market is changing. Just look at the PC world in the last ten years. They’ve gone from the only game in town to people questioning whether they’ll actually survive. People are going through that change, and it’s difficult. Why did Michael Dell take his company private? To do what he needed the company to do without worrying about the short term reactions of Wall Street.
  • In terms of start ups and high growth companies, the trickiest thing is that as you move from a purely entrepreneurial company to one that’s trying to structure itself and trying to grow, you sometimes miss the recognition that Supply Chain is a critical function. It’s important, as you grow, to move up the Supply Chain maturity curve from different siloed functional groups into an integrated approach. Siloed functions within a Supply Chain don’t achieve the value of a mature function, and people need to think beyond individual functional areas. You might think, “okay, our warehouse is good” without thinking about the end to end. Procurement might have hit their cost savings metrics, but if it meant purchasing more than needed, and that might hurt your warehouse inventories. That’s one of the big challenges that growing companies have – breaking people out of functional siloes, plus the financial need to look at things instead of just in terms of their physical supply chain needs.
  • In terms of companies in the middle, we often work with Sales & Operations processes for them. I might be talking to someone who’s done that function for 5 years, but the market is now different. Your process is most likely not tuned or has not kept up to snuff with what’s going on in the business. These companies need a constant refresh of their business processes and the people responsible for them. We spoke about the onslaught of data and the need for people with analytics skills. The S&OP process 3-4 years ago didn’t lean on that as much as it does now. They might be realizing that their processes aren’t keeping up with the tech and the capability that their competitors have. Retailer A is still competing with Retailer B. They have the same stores, but maybe Retailer B is ahead in their digital environment, and A is realizing they aren’t keeping up to speed with their competitors’ best in class capabilities – so, they reached out to Gartner for guidance.

One thing that comes through in your LinkedIn publisher articles is your passion for the field. What do you love about Supply Chain?


I started out this conversation saying that if I look back at my career, I don’t know how I could have planned to get the job I have today. What I love about Supply Chain is that it’s a great combination of three things. I get involved with people, I get involved with business, and I get involved with the technology. All three of those things are interesting and exciting to me. Today, I don’t deal with the product as much as a service provider, but I have electronics companies, I have consumer goods companies, and I have manufacturing companies that I work with. I love getting to understand and play with all of those areas. The diversity is exciting. I really believe that a Supply Chain is a critical success factor for any company. If it’s a company that ships hard good especially, it doesn’t exist without a Supply Chain. There’s a lot of fun – and I try to convey that with my articles. It’s an interesting profession with breadth and depth that’s critical to the success of companies.


Supply Chain seems like an often misunderstood or under-acknowledged area. It often only seems to make the news when Supply Chain failures happen. Do you think this is an issue, and if so, how do you think the field should go about changing it? Or do you think Supply Chain professionals should just go on being quietly excellent?


That’s interesting. An old classical perspective of Supply Chain is that you want to have it so that nobody knows it exists. Things are coming in, going out, high quality, it’s good – if it’s quiet in the Supply Chain world, everyone can relax. That’s old school. What’s transformed over the last 30 years as Supply Chain has become more defined, is that you have companies like Dell Computer who redefined their business model based on Supply Chain in a way that no one else was doing. Then Amazon came on and said that Supply Chain had to be out front. As companies realize the value that they get from making their business more cost-effective and responsible, Supply Chain has to be front and centre.


Also, we can’t talk like Supply Chain geeks. As much as we like to make jokes about Supply Chain metrics with each other, if we aren’t understood by the outside world and our executives, they won’t know we exist. At Gartner, we actually tell people to communicate in a way that businesses understand. Speak about how you’re driving faster responses to customer requirements, how you’re growing revenue in new segments – use terminology that business leaders understand.


Are there any other issues you’re interested in at the moment that you’d like to share with our readers?


Sure: the plight of workers in a world of automation. One of my upcoming blogs is going to be about a fictional impact of over-automation and robotics. I’m in the process of reading a couple of books, including Rise of the Robots. My whole question is, why are we working so hard to put so many people out of work? Automation, AI, all those things are great. But when you look at technology moving forward, you ask, what is the end goal of automation? You talk about Corporate Social Responsibility, but you need to have support for your workers. We have to keep people employed. If I were to put that conversation in a Supply Chain question I would say this: long term, how are both global companies and countries going to deal with the supply of talent, and the demand for talent, at all levels, as automation and intelligence really starts increasing beyond pure physical productivity to mental productivity as well? At first, a lot of jobs at the clerical or “algorithmic” level will be at risk, and then other jobs, and I’m interested to see how this development plays out.




Interesting stuff. Thanks again to Michael Massetti for the engaging and thought-provoking interview! If you haven’t done so yet, check out the first part of our interview, as well as Michael’s LinkedIn Publisher posts on a variety of Supply Chain topics.




The post Executive Advisor Michael Massetti on Supply Chain’s Image, Workforce Automation, and Supply Chain Challenges appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.




Originally posted by Melissa Clow at

by Alexa Cheater

Collaboration - Supply Chain Planning System of RecordHow many times have you heard about the perils of having siloed supply chain functions? I know we’ve written about them more than just once or twice on this very blog. And while working inside your own little box definitely isn’t ideal, it’s also not quite the all-consuming, end of the world type evil that is responsible for single handedly bringing down your entire supply chain.


That’s because, in my opinion, very few supply chain practitioners actually want to work in total isolation. In many cases, they’re forced to, thanks to antiquated technology that makes company-wide alignment and collaboration more difficult than traversing Dante’s nine circles of hell. Endless email chains, revision after revision of all those Excel spreadsheets, countless hours spent importing and exporting data to and from various enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. You can see why comparing it to purgatory isn’t that far of a stretch.


So what can these poor practitioners do? Implement a supply chain planning (SCP) system of record (SOR) of course! But what exactly is a SCP SOR apart from another in a very long line of supply chain-related acronyms?


Technology research firm Gartner Inc. defines a supply chain planning system of record as, “a planning platform that enables a company to create, manage, link, align, collaborate and share its planning data across a supply chain — from demand plan creation through the supply-side response, and from detailed operational planning through tactical-level planning.


Okay, sounds great. But what does that actually all mean, and how can something like that even be implemented?


Well, for starters, it means the beginning of the end for organizational silos. According to Gartner, one of the key tenets of a good SCP SOR is the ability to enable Stage 3 supply chain maturity, as outlined in their five-stage demand-driven maturity model. Stage 3 is characterized by the integration and synchronization of individual functions, like demand planning, supply planning, and inventory management. It also sees supply chain processes begin to align with overall business goals and metrics.


More importantly, you have to have a good SCP SOR to ever reach Stage 4 or Stage 5 supply chain maturity, which focus on collaboration and orchestration, and is where big businesses are starting to see major supply chain breakthroughs.


Independent supply chain consultant Carol McIntosh wrote a blog series last year on what it takes to achieve a mature supply chain planning system of record. It includes talent, functional excellence, connecting the dots, collaborative management, and forward thinkers. Which not so coincidentally are also what’s required to make your supply chain perform more efficiently—driving improved overall business results.


To go about implementing a SCP SOR, you’re likely looking at some kind of technology solution, along with a healthy dose of change management across all levels of the company. Gartner has complied a report outlining which vendors are at the head of the class, the Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record.


We’ve also pulled together this handy infographic on the 5 Things to Look for in a Supply Chain Planning System of Record.


So to answer my own question from the title of this blog, a supply chain planning system of record is a platform enabling you to reach higher levels of supply chain efficiency. And if you’re looking to get out of planning hell, then yes, you’ll probably need one. If not now, then definitely when your business is ready to take supply chain planning to the next level.




¹Payne, T., Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record, Gartner Inc., January 19, 2016

The post What is a Supply Chain Planning System of Record (SCP SOR), and Do You Actually Need One? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


blog-email-scp sor infographic-kinaxis


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by John Westerveld

3D PrintingI recently had the great pleasure of teaching a group of new hires about manufacturing.  As I finished describing traditional manufacturing techniques we paused to discuss 3D printing and how 3D printing will change the face of manufacturing (note I said will…not if).  It was a great discussion and led me to think further about the impact 3D printing would have on the supply chain and supply chain planning.


3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique for making 3 dimensional solid objects from a digital file.  In additive manufacturing, items are created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. You may have the mistaken impression that 3D printers can only fashion little plastic toys. That couldn’t be further from the truth; in addition to plastic there are 3D printers that can make ceramic, metal, food, resin, glass, medical implants, concrete (there is even a 3D printed house), and electronic components.


Currently, 3D printing is being used to create items for aviation and for NASA, prototype items for the automotive industry and approaches are being studied to use 3D printing in the medical space to create body parts such as noses and ears.  Recently, a team of researchers have even created a 3D printed organ.


I’m not the first to discuss the impact of 3D printing on supply chain.  You can find other Kinaxis discussions here and here.


So, let’s think about how 3D printing can impact your supply chain…


  • Spare Parts – Think about the challenges most companies face managing spare part inventories.  First, you need to forecast spare part demands which typically means understanding failure rates.  For new products, that can be a real challenge when you don’t have historical data to draw from.  Once you forecast the demands, then you need to build out the spare parts network – meaning that you need to have spares within reasonable shipping distance to the point of use… or risk providing poor service to a customer potentially already dealing with a defect causing them not to be able to use your product.Enter 3D printing.  Imagine now that you can strategically position a set of 3D printers around the world. Instead of sending parts, you simply provide the raw material (spools of plastic or metal, containers of powder or resin) and the electronic files. When the spare parts order comes in, you simply print the item and ship it out. Forecasting simply becomes an estimation as to how much raw material to buy – a much simpler calculation…

    Thinking further, the printer could actually be at the point of sale.  Imagine going into your dealership for a repair, and instead of having to wait a day or two for the repair part to show up, it could be printed and installed while you wait.

  • Prototyping – If you think about the traditional approach to designing new products, there is a large investment, a lengthy production time and a lot of risk involved in building prototypes. If there isn’t a dedicated prototype shop, the production facility is often disrupted by the creation of the prototype.  The reason to create a prototype is to test out a design in real life.  Given the costs and risks of prototype creation, often companies will limit the number of prototypes, thus often creating a less than ideal first version of the new design.  With 3D printing, prototypes are much simpler, take less time, cost significantly less and as a rule don’t impact the production facility.  As a result, rapid prototyping and iterative design become a possibility resulting in better products.
  • Component manufacturing – There is an interesting video from the “How It’s Made” TV show. In the video, the product being built is 3D printers.  The fascinating thing about this is that the machines used to build the printer’s components are 3D printers themselves.  If demand exceeds capacity, they simply build additional printers to increase capacity.  There is a lot of legal and copyright issues to be worked out, but imagine if a company produced many of its components with 3D printers, and imagine if they had a license agreement with the builder of the 3D printers that allowed them to build additional printers based on capacity need.  Imagine what this would do for capacity planning. The only real capacity limit would be the space available to house the printers.Aside from self-replicating manufacturing, 3D printers could have a significant impact on low volume manufacturing. Picture the traditional process oriented factory layout – cutting, drilling, milling, forming, etc.  Imagine the space each of those workstations need.  Now imagine them all replaced with a set of 3D printers and a robot at the end to do final assembly.
    • Setup time is reduced to the few seconds it takes to download a new design file.
    • Manufacturing is done in minimal lots so work-in-process inventory is non-existent.

    So much of the complexity of manufacturing planning and control systems simply goes away.  From a green perspective, you aren’t cutting, or milling or stamping so scrap material simply doesn’t exist.

  • Distribution – This may be a few years out, but imagine the ability to simply print a product at point of use.  Imagine walking into the Apple store and placing an order for a new phone. While you get your service provider contracts figured out the phone is printing in the back. A short time later a phone is presented to you hot off the press (so to speak).  Talk about the ultimate postponement strategy – you don’t make the product until the order comes in! Forecasting and demand planning become a much less critical component.  Distribution?  Not an issue.  Simply be sure that each store has an adequate supply of raw materials and a few printers and you are done!

While I believe 3D printing is going to revolutionize supply chain, I think that it may be some time before the 3D printed future becomes a reality.  In truth, there are still a lot of complex details to figure out;


  • Some complex shapes are difficult to print.  For example, unsupported spans can be very troublesome.
  • Electronic printing is crude at best right now.
  • High strength requirements (structural components for example) might be difficult to 3D Print
  • Manufacturing speed is limited.  High volume production can churn out product by the thousands.  3D printers currently could not achieve that throughput.
  • Even with very experienced operators, converting a 3D design into a physical object can be challenging.

But change is coming and when it does, the supply chain and supply chain planning will need to change too. What do you think? Comment back and let us know.


The post Change is coming: How will 3D printing affect your Supply Chain? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


blog-email-scp sor infographic-kinaxis


Originally posted by John Westerveld at

by Joe Cannata

Though it may sound like an odd subject, nature and manufacturing do work together in some sort of hybrid supply chain. What got me thinking about this, was when I returned home to Atlanta from a recent trip. Upon arrival at my car in the airport parking garage, I encountered this sight:


Pollen on Car


My car looked as if someone had emptied a few containers of yellow-green baby powder all over it. Ah yes, a fact of living in the U.S. Southeast, pollen season. Our pollen counts typically hit the thousands in the spring. Mind you, a count of 120 or higher is where people start to feel irritation. This is the price we pay for all of the gorgeous flowering trees and plants that bring a huge burst of color each spring, and then on through the growing season.


These tiny grains that look like alien life forms, can range from .006 mm to .090 mm and find a way to invade every possible space inside and out. They are a necessary part of the circle of life for the plant world. Some plants self-pollinate, others require external stimuli to reproduce. There is also cross-pollination, where the mixing of plant genetic material produces some sort of hybrid.


PollenSo what does all of this have to do with supply chain? The plant reproductive process is really a self-contained supply chain of its own, but that is not the larger story. 20% of plant pollination is abiotic, meaning some external event like wind or water causes pollen to reach its target. The other 80% is biotic, where an external organism needs to be involved in the transfer of pollen to its intended target. Most of these pollinators are insects, but there are also some species involved like birds, bats, squirrels, rodents and even some monkeys. Surprisingly, there is a supply chain when it comes to pollen and the process of pollination.


The next time you bite into an apple, or enjoy the taste of an almond, you are taking advantage of the end of the supply chain. Commercial orchards in upstate New York, the massive California almond orchards and the blueberry fields of Maine employ tens of thousands of hives of US honeybees to enhance the pollination process. Other species of bees are used to pollinate crops such as cucumber, melon, strawberries, and the alfalfa fields of western Canada. The growers require an ever increasing demand for hives. Since demand for these hives exceeds supply, growers must manage the availability of the hives in order to get an optimal and bountiful harvest of their crops.


As a “manufacturer” of crops, the grower not only has to worry about the normal goods required to produce the crops, like seed, water, fertilizer and pest control. They also have to worry about the key manufacturing component that turns their “raw materials” into finished goods, like an apple. It is obvious that crops will grow and get pollinated on their own, just as they always have. In order to maximize the manufacturing output, of say, an orchard, the introduction of the hives is required. Now there is a variable component to the growing season. The bees become one of the raw materials, managed by the beekeepers, (the suppliers), which are in demand by the growers, the manufacturer. The crop output may be dictated by the availability of the pollinators.


As a beekeeper, one would have to be able to meet the demand for the hives, by maintaining and generating more of them. Mathematical models are used to determine the optimum plant-pollinator relationship, and even scenarios are run to see what happens when environmental conditions such as storms and drought can affect the ability of the bees to perform their tasks. Artificial stimuli such as chemicals may be introduced, to “incentivize” the bees into performing even a greater pollination effort.


We have a natural agricultural cycle for the production of crops, which in itself is a supply chain, and also part of a larger supply chain. Within that agricultural cycle, there is the supply management of pollinators where required, which generates a set of supply chain concerns. The beekeepers, in producing their own product, hives, have a supply chain to manage as well, in terms of raising the bees, keeping the bees fed, increasing the number of hives, transporting those hives to a destination, having the bees perform optimally, and then gathering them for their next mission. That is how the beekeeper makes a living.


So the next time you sneeze due to allergies, remember that the pollen in the air is part of a complicated ecological supply chain that keeps us nourished, and also delivers the beautiful flowers we see each spring.


The post The Supply Chain of Pollen appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


blog-email-scp sor infographic-kinaxis


Originally posted by Joe Cannata at

by Melissa Clow

Ever wonder how you can challenge the norms when it comes to defining supply chain processes?


This is something First Solar is in fact doing. For example, with supplier collaboration, the norm for collaborating with suppliers on components and raw materials needs is often through email – providing those fulfillment orders via external systems. It’s often difficult to give suppliers visibility to forecasts and on-hand inventory.


First Solar sets out to create a centralized network that will allow it to share forecast data with suppliers upstream, and customers downstream.


In this video, Systems Analyst Cameron Sulfaro describes the initiative, and what it has achieved to date. Challenged the norm in the sense of we are moving now at a completely different pace than we were prior to. Very fast, very cutting-edge in a sense.


Watch now: First Solar – Challenging the Norm in Supply-Chain Management


If you’re interested in learning how other supply chain leaders are adapting to face different challenges, we’ve created a video series. Hear supply chain leaders from Merck, Trinity Rail, Schneider Electric, Amgen, and Anritsu share their insights on top supply chain management priorities and initiatives.


Check out the other videos in this supply chain interview series: 
Video: How Roland DG Corp. Is Building a Customer-Centric Company
Video: Anritsu Forges a Proactive Supply Chain
Video: Merck’s End-to-End Supply Chain Vision
Video: What’s Driving Change in Supply-Chain Planning?
Video: Amgen Transforms Its Supply-Chain Planning
Video: Trinity Rail – Building a Sense-and-Respond Supply Chain
Video: Schneider Electric Charts an End-to-End Supply Chain Roadmap


The post Video: First Solar – Challenging the Norm in Supply-Chain Management appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


blog-email-scp sor infographic-kinaxis


Originally posted by Melissa Clow at

by CJ Wehlage

Future PredicitionsTwo years ago, I made some very bold predictions on the 2014 Top 25 Supply Chains, and about 80% of them were true.  Last year, I made the not-so bold predictions, as the Gartner 2015 Top 25 Supply Chain rankings were pretty much unchanged.  That is, except for the new “Masters” category.  I sure hope the Gartner gang will keep a focus on the Masters (Apple and P&G), as these two supply chains continue provide best practice learnings.  Which leads me to my first Bold Prediction…


Bold Prediction #1:  The Master’s category will be, more or less, forgotten this year.


Apple and P&G were put in a Master’s category in 2015.  I’m still a bit confused about this move as I’m not sure if this was a way to clear these two perennials out and make room for others, or a means to focus on their unique capabilities.  Having worked at AMR Research, I understand the need to showcase other companies – helps readership.  But, like Ric Flair would say, “if you want to be the man, you gotta beat the man….”


Next year (2017), by the rules of “those companies that have consistently had top five composite scores for at least seven out of the last 10 years”, Amazon will be moved into the Master’s.  However, I predict in next month’s Top 25 Gala, that both Apple and P&G will not have much airtime.  Unfortunate, as I believe Apple and P&G can still share some significant strategies on supply chain.  So, I will state one thing each of the Master’s can teach us.


Apple = Leverage
This starts with product simplification.  Supply chain leaders talk about SKU rationalization, but rarely achieve it.  Apple has.  With a succinct variety, you can leverage common parts, and more precisely optimize the supply chain network.  Apple’s supply chain also has a small amount of suppliers, allowing them to leverage relationships, price and volumes.  The result being higher profit margins, something Apple could use to leverage exclusivity agreements (such as booking out UPS and DHL shipment capacities).


P&G = Control Tower
P&G taught us about the “Three Moments of Truth”: see the product at the store, purchase & use the product, and become a fan of the product.  P&G has built a supply chain success around these three moments, with visibility and control from the demand back into their supply network.  Their control tower manages the bull whip effect better than most.  They continue to implement automation in the control tower practice, and this is where P&G can show the Top 25 some advanced supply chain analytics strategies.


Bold Prediction #2: The Top 10 from 2015 stays the same, except for One


Starbucks replaces Colgate Palmolive in the Top 10.  Otherwise, it’s status quo.


The voting categories are Financial (ROA, Revenue, Inventory Turns), and Voting (Peer and Analyst).  A careful investigation of what impacts these categories will lead to a prediction.  Like Captain Jack Ross from A Few Good Men said, “these are the facts of the case…and they are….undisputed..”


Here’s the basis of my forensics…..




  • Watch the Revenue growth, as this is one of the components of the Top 25 ranks. The 3 year Revenue average has more volatility than any other.
  • Inventory turns, mostly, will follow Revenue.
  • ROA can be impacted by acquisitions and new products. But, this is much less volatile than Revenue.



  • Peer and Gartner voting pretty much stays the same year over year.
  • There’s been some increased supply chain executive movements in 2015, which could alter the Peer votes, but the one factor that drives Peer voting is the conference speaking. The more a company speaks at conferences, the more known their supply chain is.
  • Gartner voting can been seen by what white papers & reports they write. The more references to a specific supply chain, the more recognized that company will be in the Analyst vote.  They’ve brought on more international supply chain analysts, so expect a higher ranking for non-US based supply chains.

Here’s how the 2016 Top 10 Supply Chains will fall…..


  1. Starbucks – fantastic year, record revenue up 17%, operating income up 19%, Starbucks is setting the trend for the Digital Supply chain, through digital ordering & payment, rewards and loyalty through apps and cards, and using social media for demand shaping.
  2. Nike – revenue up 10%, gross margin expanded 120 basis points to 46%, net income up 22%. The brand is solid, and they are announcing significant innovation, such as the self-tying shoe.
  3. H&M – steady financials, but they are leaning heavily on the ROA, where they scored #1 in the 2015 Top 25 at 26.60%. However, the Gartner Opinion vote had them at 23rd, and the Peer Opinion had them at 19th. With a store growth expansion underway, their ROA could take a small hit, and drop them inside the Top 10.
  4. McDonald’s – 2015 was a tougher year, sales were down, there was structural and operational changes, the menu was reduced, cooking methods changed.
  5. Cisco – if Cisco didn’t fall to #6 in 2015, they would be in line for the Master’s category. They’ve done some great work in elevating the supply chain into the Board Room. Angel Mendez was a pioneer in showing the C suite the value of a supply chain strategy.  As well, Cisco’s work on risk management and simulating outcomes has been successful.  2015 saw revenue and net income slightly up.
  6. Samsung – in all honesty, this is the supply chain I believe should be #1. Seeing is believing. Once you’ve spent some time with the Samsung team, you will understand why they have taken the supply chain practice to a level I’ve never seen.  By the 2015 numbers, sales were slightly down, but operating profit increased.  The S7 phone was introduced, and Samsung has done a great job at filling the innovation void.  Seems as if Apple has done some incremental product changes, and Samsung is setting the tone for consumer electronics innovation.  Samsung continues to master the smart home, and I can’t wait to see what a folding phone is like.
  7. Intel – Gartner does a good bit of writing about Intel. However, the 2015 Peer vote had Intel at #14. Intel had good financial performance in 2015, albeit flat revenue and net income down the past three years.  They did acquire Altera in the “Semiconductor” merger & acquisition frenzy.   Nothing says they are going down, but nothing points to going up.  So, Intel stays at #4.
  8. Inditex – numbers will speak to why Inditex will rise. Net profit up 15%, net sales up 15.4%, invested 1.52B euros into capital, mostly logistics automation and design centers.
  9. Unilever – coming in at #3 in 2015, Unilever will move up to the #2 spot in 2016. They’ve influenced the Peer vote by winning the SCM World Breakthrough Supply Chain of the Year award. Sales were up 4.1%, operating margin up 14.8%.
  10. Amazon – the capital spending Amazon has done in the past years is paying off, in the form of revenue and profit. They had their largest holiday sales in 21 years. Amazon now accounts for one quarter of all retail sales growth in 2015.   Amazon will significantly increase their two traditional lower scoring areas: Gartner Opinion and ROA.

Gartner Opinion – with Amazon doing a bunch of “Bi-Modal” and “Digital” concepts, Gartner has to move them up from their #4 spot (Gartner 2015 Analyst Rank).  Amazon speaks about “60 minutes to a customer’s doorstep”, and with the “Amazon-as-a-Service”, they will significantly innovate the fulfillment and logistics functions of the global supply chains.


ROA: Amazon was a 0.0% ROA in 2015, and still was #1 !  ROA is Net Income/Total Assets.  Amazon’s Net Income:


                2012       -$39M


                2013       $274M


                2014       -$241M


                2015       $596M


The 3 year ROA average last year was -$2M.  In 2016, it will be $209M.


A jump in ROA and Gartner votes will place Amazon far and above the rest of the Top 25.  As my kids would text, IMHO, or in my humble opinion, I would love leave Apple and P&G in the Top 25 ranks, and see how they match up against what Amazon is doing over the next few years


Bold Prediction # 3: Largest Jump up the Rankings


Schneider Electric: I love what Schneider Electric is doing with the end-to-end supply chain strategy, building out a collaborative, fast S&OP process, and getting the message out.  From Annette Clayton, to Alain Huillet, to Stephen Wagner, to Mourad Tamoud, the message of Schneider Electric’s success will help their Peer and Analyst Votes.  They also won the SCM World award for Talent Breakthrough of the Year.  For those reasons, I predict Schneider Electric will jump from 2015 #34 spot to 2016 #24 spot.


Ford:  2015 was a great year for Ford.  Revenue and operating margin both increased.  Net income hit $7.4B, up $6.1B.  Europe returned to profitability, Asia-Pacific best ever annual profit, global market share up two tenths, announced plans to invest $4.5B in electrified solutions by 2020.  Ford is also simplifying their product line.  Take a note from Apple, as this will help their supply chain tremendously.  Ford will jump from 2015 #45 spot to 2016 #25.


Now, all we have to do is wait for next week and see how accurate my Bold Predictions will be.  Would love to know your Bold Predictions on supply chains.


The post The 2016 Top 25 Supply Chains – Three Bold Predictions appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by CJ Wehlage at

by Alexa Cheater

Happy Mother's DayMoms are full of great pearls of wisdom, cultivated from years of experience and life lessons. But how many times have you thought ‘I know better than that’ and ignored her sage advice? I know I’ve done it more times than I care to admit, and you know what—it almost always comes back to bite me. I’ve already written about what your mom can teach you about supply chain efficiency, so I thought I’d take a look at those times you really should have listened to your mother, and learned to apply the lessons she taught you early in life to your supply chain.


  1. Don’t jump into something blindfolded
    Sometimes phrased as don’t rush into something without giving it some thought first, this one applies to your supply chain in a big way. If something unexpected arises (and let’s face it, that’s bound to happen), don’t just guess at how to handle it. Run scenario simulations and weigh all of your possible options. There are always tradeoffs in life (more great mom wisdom!) and you want to ensure before you move forward you’re choosing the solution that best balances things like cost, delivery times, demand, and customer satisfaction levels.
  1. Play well with others
    In supply chain terms, that means not working in silos. Forming a collaborative process that accounts for input from all business functions is going to greatly enhance the way your supply chain performs. By working toward a common set of metrics based on the overall business strategy, everyone involved in your supply chain is focused on the big picture, not just the metrics related to their own role.
  1. Don’t settle for less
    Why accept mediocracy from your supply chain, when it’s capable of greatness? If you know your supply chain isn’t functioning at optimal efficiency, consider the reasons why. If it’s at all related to people, process, or technology (and most of the time it is), look at the possible places where you can implement change. But just be aware…
  1. True change doesn’t happen overnight
    If you’re looking at transforming your supply chain practices, pay special attention to this one, because that type of change doesn’t happen quickly, and it doesn’t always happen smoothly. To effect real change in your supply chain operations, you need to get everyone on board—from the CEO down to the end user. That type of change management requires patience, time, and a clear vision that connects everyone and inspires them to work together with a shared goal in mind.

So thanks mom for all your amazing advice, even if I didn’t really appreciate it at the time. Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women out there!


The post Four Times You Really Should Have Listened to Your Mother appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by Alexa Cheater

Supply Chain Solution ProviderHow many silos are still operating in your organization? If you work in supply chain, the answer is probably too many. With economic pressures in countless industries swirling rapidly, companies still using Excel and email as their main planning and communication tools are likely to be left adrift at sea. Adapting to a more effective and efficient way of running supply chains is the key to survival. But in order to navigate this tidal wave of change, you’re going to need a strong partner by your side.


Ed Shepherdson, executive vice president of products and services operations at Kinaxis, recently sat down with Bob Ferrari of Supply Chain Matters to talk about the role of solutions providers, and where he feels the future of supply chain technology is headed. Spoiler alert—it doesn’t involve silos, Excel, or struggling to bail water out of a leaky boat!


Change Management Ahoy!


In their in-depth interview, Ed noted even those who recognize the need to change in terms of collaboration, extended visibility, and transparency, may not actually have the capacity to do so. At least not all at once. He says many companies simply can’t absorb the change management required to go from a one to a 10 on the process maturity scale in a single stroke.


That’s where it becomes the responsibility of an organization’s supply chain management solution provider to help them out. Assuming of course they took that first required step and actually implemented some kind of technology other than mass quantities of spreadsheets!


Hire a Coxswain, Not a Coach


I tend to think of a good solution provider as being like a rowing team coach, sometimes also known as a crew team. The coach helps businesses successfully navigate through the interim stages to full process maturity by guiding them from the sidelines. A great supply chain solution provider is more like a coxswain.


The coxswain is actually IN the boat with the team, steering, motivating, working directly with them to ensure everyone is in unison and headed in the right direction. Sometimes they even double as the coach. For companies struggling with change management and transforming their supply chain, this is far more valuable than someone trying to shout instructions from the shoreline.


Build a Better Boat


Another great point Ed made in the interview is even if companies are ready to move to a higher level of supply chain maturity from a change management perspective, they might not be from a technology standpoint. Do I need to mention again how Excel just won’t cut it at this stage?


The Internet of Things (IoT) has allowed enormous opportunity to thread the physical aspects of the supply chain together. But with that comes a dramatic increase in potential for data overload. To prevent your entire supply chain process from going overboard, businesses need to make sure they have the technical capabilities in place to handle that amount of data, and manage the analytics that go along with it.


Set Your Course


Advances in machine-to-machine learning may help in making operational decisions based on all of these new streams of data, but as Ed explains, the pace of decision making is increasing, and supply chain teams need to understand the key factors related to those decisions.


When it comes to predictive analytics, Ed believes that’s a future state, but one that will be upon us soon and help drive future decision making processes—and I would have to agree. Every company seems to have a data modelling standard completely unique to them, making uniformity a challenge. While industry standardization is on the horizon, there’s still a long ways to go in terms of deep analytics. And when it comes to the predictive variety, breaking down business silos is a must. You can’t predict anything if you can’t see the complete picture.


Talk to your Crew


He also explains the importance of contextual collaboration. The context surrounding a decision needs to be thorough, clear, and easily accessible for the decision-makers across the various teams. And firing off a quick email isn’t likely going to be the best solution.


The social aspects of decision-making are vitally important, and you want to have the best mechanism possible for communication. Ideally, a supply chain management solution with these capabilities built-in is the wisest option, as it means users don’t need to leave the tool to bring others into the decision-making process.


Chart the Stars


For some larger, more traditional organizations, the future may appear a scary place. It’s entirely possible (and in my opinion highly probable) that the wave of change the supply chain industry is already facing is going to sweep us beyond some people’s comfort zones.


When asked about the merger of supply chain planning and execution, Ed says that’s likely to happen, and the first step is to revolutionize planning. That will help pave the way for the eventual emergence of a network planner, someone who supports decision-making encompassing the entire end-to-end process, instead of supply planners, demand planners, inventory planners, etc.


But to get there, there’s going to need to be a whole lot of knowledge and education highlighting where the industry can go, what that voyage looks like, and the benefits that can be realized.


With the right tools, provided through a partnership with the right supply chain solution provider, you can chart the stars and map out your supply chain of the future, secure in the knowledge that you’ll get the support and course correction you need at every stage of the journey.


If you’d like to learn more about Ed’s views on the future state of the supply chain, check out his entire interview here!


The post Supply Chain Solution Providers Help Navigate Change appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by Alexa Cheater

Yoda’s Advice for the Supply Chain PadawanIn honor of Star Wars Day (yes, that’s a semi-real thing), I thought I’d resurrect my Star Wars blog series. In this latest installment, I explore what the small, but mighty, Jedi Master Yoda can teach us about supply chain. While he might not have said them directly about supply chain management, these pearls of wisdom still apply.


“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” – Yoda


Your beliefs are based on what you think you know. But in reality, are you really only seeing a small portion of a larger picture? When it comes to your view of the supply chain, what you perceive as reality is directly related to how much end-to-end visibility you have. If you’re working with partial or incomplete data—perhaps only looking at top tier suppliers—you won’t really know if you can meet changing customer demand in the most efficient manner. Sure you can determine if orders can be fulfilled, but you wouldn’t really know if you were doing it in the way that best meets corporate objectives. For that, you’d have to look outside of what you think you know, to what all the data—not just your limited view of it—is really showing you.


It also means expanding your vision of the supply chain to include the truths of other departments. So often supply chain functions are siloed within an organization. Sales makes promises supply managers can’t keep. Marketing runs a promotion without letting the demand planners know. Everyone is working toward their own end goals. This creates chaos and conflict. When everyone works from the same complete picture, the same version of the truth as illustrated by the data, decision-making becomes collaborative, and departmental objectives harmonious with those of the company as a whole.


“If no mistakes have you made, yet losing you are, a different game you should play.” – Yoda


Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So why do you keep running your supply chain the same old way, yet expect it to perform better? If you aren’t getting the results you’re looking for, perhaps it’s time to change the game! Stop focusing on building that elusive perfect plan. Face it, those forecast accuracy numbers are never going to hit 100%. Instead equip your supply chain to adapt faster to change—like an unexpected order coming in, or an unplanned shortage at a manufacturing site.


Another of Yoda’s quotes, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” highlights this point exactly. Your supply chain is full of moving parts, many of which are not in your control. Running your supply chain based solely off predictions is going to leave you constantly one step behind, even if you think it’s getting you one step ahead.


Let me be clear. Enabling your supply chain to win in today’s unpredictable business environment isn’t about being reactive to change. In reality it’s more about being proactive—developing mechanisms allowing you to know sooner and act faster when things start to take an unexpected turn. This way you’re getting in front of the changing situation, instead of running along behind it. It requires a fundamental shift in mindset about the type of game you’re playing.


But if you don’t believe a change like that is truly possible…


“This is why you fail.” – Yoda


That’s Yoda’s response to Luke Skywalker after he raises Luke’s x-wing fighter from the depths of the Dagobah swamp. Luke tells him, “I don’t believe it.” And that’s a problem facing many supply chain practitioners. Belief that a new way of managing their supply chains could yield better results doesn’t come easily—even if the proof is right in from of them. A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog on just how hard it is to change mindsets about traditional supply chain management. As Yoda says, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”


Current practices and processes are often based on the technology companies are using to manage their supply chain. More often than not, this means enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, Excel spreadsheets, or a combination of both. But these tools can be outdated, and in the case of Excel, have evolved very little in the past several decades, despite huge leaps in what newer technology has made possible.


Changes in customer demands and market trends means your supply chain tools now need to allow for greater flexibility, easier collaboration, faster decision-making (based on accurate data), increased analysis and scenario simulations, and of course, the ability for personalization so it fits your specific and unique business challenges and goals.


“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda


Perhaps one of the most iconic quotes from the Star Wars franchise, this simple line has become a modern slogan—a reminder to commit fully, win or lose, to what you’re trying to achieve. Either you’re going to work to improve your supply chain processes, or you aren’t. You either believe there’s a better way than devoting all your time to forecast accuracy, or you don’t.


However, unlike Luke when he’s trying to lift that x-wing out of the swamp, changing your supply chain practices doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. Given the complexity and size of many of today’s global supply chains, a phased approach may realistically be the only option.


But that doesn’t mean you still don’t have to commit fully to the project. There has to be an end goal in mind. It could be as small as moving the needle on just one of your key metrics, or as large as connecting all the nodes of your value chain to achieve true end-to-end visibility. Whatever the goal, set the necessary steps to get there and stick with it—even if at times the road seems daunting.


“Patience you must have my young Padawan.” – Yoda


This piece of advice is perhaps the most difficult to follow, at least for me. Once I’ve set my mind to something, I want to barrel full steam ahead. But when it comes to supply chains, that’s rarely the case.


Connecting hundreds of disparate ERPs, located all over the globe, is not something that can be achieved overnight. Mapping all that data, including number changes, currency exchanges, unit of measure conversions, etc., takes time and planning. And that’s the easy part.


Convincing others of the value of a new way to look at supply chain management is an even more arduous undertaking. People are often reluctant to move away from what they know. Being your company’s agent of change means you’re going to need an abundance of patience. But don’t fear Padawan, it can be done. You just have to believe it’s possible.


May the fourth be with you!


The post Yoda’s Advice for the Supply Chain Padawan appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by Melissa Clow

Does your organization have a massive worldwide supply chain network? A diverse IT landscape? These were some of the challenges Schneider Electric was facing. Their network is made of about 250 factories, about 100 distribution centers, various IT systems and a significant number of products.


The company decided they wanted to build an extended visibility network to be able to better address customers, deliver products on time, and move from reactive supply chain to a proactive one.


Watch now: Schneider Electric Charts an End-to-End Supply Chain Roadmap


If you’re interested in learning how other supply chain leaders are adapting to face different challenges, we’ve created a video series. Hear supply chain leaders from Merck, Trinity Rail, Schneider Electric, Amgen, and Anritsu share their insights on top supply chain management priorities and initiatives.


Check out the other videos in this supply chain interview series:
Video: How Roland DG Corp. Is Building a Customer-Centric Company
Video: Anritsu Forges a Proactive Supply Chain
Video: Merck’s End-to-End Supply Chain Vision
Video: What’s Driving Change in Supply-Chain Planning?
Video: Amgen Transforms Its Supply-Chain Planning
Video: Trinity Rail – Building a Sense-and-Respond Supply Chain


Stay tuned for the upcoming videos in this supply chain leadership interview series:
Video: First Solar – Challenging the Norm in Supply-Chain Management


The post Video: Schneider Electric Charts an End-to-End Supply Chain Roadmap appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by Melissa Clow at

by Jonathan Lofton

We’re getting into the second half of the “10 Principles of Good Design” as applied to supply chain and supply chain management (Design for the Supply Chain). This week we’re talking about the honesty of the supply chain management solution.


Principle #6: Good design “Is honest”


“It does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.” – ‘Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design’


This principle immediately brings to mind for me the Gartner hype cycle. As an example, below is the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015.


Design for the Supply Chain is Honest


Source: Gartner


I like to think about the hype cycle as being similar to Tuckman’s model of group development: Forming–Storming–Norming–Performing where:


  • Innovation Trigger and Peak of Inflated Expectations ≈ Forming
  • Trough of Disillusionment ≈ Storming
  • Slope of Enlightenment ≈ Norming
  • Plateau of Productivity ≈ Performing

This is a pretty natural progression in terms of the introduction of new technology or ways of doing things. I think there’s a common belief that you have to oversell capabilities in order to get buy-in for moving in a new direction. I’ve seen my fair share of projects where teams jumped through hoops to cost justify implementing new software and/or business processes to get approval for the project. They unturned every stone to try and show as much value as possible in an attempt to make the projected impact so high that the decision to support the effort would be a “no brainer”. The trouble with this overselling approach is that it can quickly lead into the “Trough of Disillusionment” AND make the trough deeper. This is even more problematic with “big bang” or “all-in” type projects.


In addition to the normal project justification I think it’s good to break things down so that the project starts with a proof of concept (POC) to test the waters and prove that the desired results can be achieved. Utilizing an Agile Methodology to run the POC (as well as the subsequent phases of the project) allows for frequent and on-going checks against project deliverables and value realization. In this way there is a continuous check-and-balance to ensure that the solution is “honest”. When the solution is not honest, it creates a vicious cycle that spawns additional projects or rework that goes through these same stages. What a waste of precious resources…


At the end of the day, this principle is important because being honest about the solution at inception through implementation allows the business to incorporate change in a way that is more realistic, which helps to reduce additional churn (storming), thereby being able to perform effectively a lot sooner (shorter path from Norming to Performing).


In terms of Industry 4.0, reference the hype cycle above for where various aspects are in the cycle (e.g. IoT Platform, Advanced Analytics with Self-Service Delivery, Digital Dexterity). I believe there will always be a certain level of hype with anything new because there’s always enthusiasm for the ‘new and improved’. I’m in favor of getting on with some POCs to show, with integrity and “honesty”, the real value of this framework while minimizing the “Trough of Disillusionment”.


What has your experience been in terms of supply chain improvement projects – have they been predominately honest in their projections and results?  What do you do to ensure an honest solution?


Want to learn more about Design for the Supply Chain? Check out the rest of the series:


The post Design for the Supply Chain Pt 7: Honest appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by Jonathan Lofton at

by Melissa Clow

Supply chain functions have often been segmented into siloed activities specific to functional goals and that reflect organizational structure. Over the years, software has been designed, developed and deployed in the same isolated manner. In contrast to this approach, a supply chain planning (SCP) system of record (SOR) enables a company to ‘create, manage, link, align, collaborate and share its planning data across a supply chain’.1


More and more supply chain teams are recognizing the value this type of planning platform can bring to supporting their end-to-end supply chain networks. However, there are some key considerations to keep in mind when evaluating these solutions, such as:


  • Does it solve the fundamental challenges you face?
  • Is it providing something different from what you have?
  • What are your peers leveraging?
  • Is it uniquely and purposely designed for end-to-end supply chain management?
  • What ROI does it deliver?

We’ve created this supply chain planning system of record infographic which highlights the top 5 things to look for in planning platform, and shares results achieved by Kinaxis customers. Let us know what resonates with you.


Supply Chain Planning System of Record Infographic


Download Infographic


If you’d like to learn more about planning systems, download a copy of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record research report.


1 Payne, T., Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record, Gartner Inc., January 19, 2016


The post Before Adopting a Supply Chain Planning System of Record, Consider This appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by Melissa Clow at

by Melissa Clow

How do you face uncertainty in your supply chain?


According to Mike Hegedus, vice president of supply chain management at Trinity Rail, one of the most difficult things a supply chain manager faces is uncertainty in the supply chain. In their business, there are so many different possibilities of train cars that can be built. And among those different car types, they’re customized in many ways for each customer – making it nearly impossible to forecast what the customer’s going to require.


Realizing that “the forecast is always wrong,” Trinity Rail opts instead to focus on creating a “sense-and-respond” supply chain, to deal with real-world developments in demand for transportation equipment.


In this video, Mike Hegedus explains how their ability to quickly satisfy those customer demands has improved since moving to a sense-and-respond operating model: “we get our executives from sales, operations, finance, and supply chain together on a weekly basis. And we review the demand situation to make decisions; very important decisions about how to handle these orders.” Having supply planning technology in place to have a flexible supply chain is an important component to make it possible to deliver on their business strategy.


Watch now: Trinity Rail – Building a Sense-and-Respond Supply Chain


If you’re interested in learning how other supply chain leaders are adapting to face different challenges, we’ve created a video series. Hear supply chain leaders from Merck, Trinity Rail, Schneider Electric, Amgen, and Anritsu share their insights on top supply chain management priorities and initiatives.


Check out the other videos in this supply chain interview series:
Video: How Roland DG Corp. Is Building a Customer-Centric Company
Video: Anritsu Forges a Proactive Supply Chain
Video: Merck’s End-to-End Supply Chain Vision
Video: What’s Driving Change in Supply-Chain Planning?
Video: Amgen Transforms Its Supply-Chain Planning


Stay tuned for the upcoming videos in this supply chain leadership interview series:
Video: Schneider Electric Charts an End-to-End Supply Chain Roadmap
Video: First Solar – Challenging the Norm in Supply-Chain Management




The post Video: Trinity Rail – Building a Sense-and-Respond Supply Chain appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


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Originally posted by Melissa Clow at

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