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21st Century Supply Chain

991 posts
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 http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/05/yodas-advice-for-the-supply-chain-padawan/

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 http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/05/video-schneider-electric-charts-an-end-to-end-supply-chain-roadmap/

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 http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/design-for-the-supply-chain-pt-7-honest/

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 http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/before-adopting-a-supply-chain-planning-system-of-record-consider-this/

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.

 

blog-email-scp sor infographic-kinaxis

 

Originally posted by Melissa Clow at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/video-trinity-rail-building-a-sense-and-respond-supply-chain/

by Alexa Cheater

Musical Hero The past year has not been kind to our musical idols. Although many have passed, including David Bowie, BB King, Glen Frey and most recently Prince, we’ll always have a phenomenal body of musical works to keep them alive in our hearts and minds. When you hear these names and their music you don’t immediately think supply chain, but for all the supply chain nerds out there we’re always thinking, ‘what’s the impact on the supply chain?’ Aside from family, now that my hockey team is out of the NHL playoffs, supply chain and music are what’s running through my brain.

 

As a guitar player myself, I was in total awe of Prince’s prowess on the fretboard. Check out the YouTube video of Prince soloing on While My Guitar Gently Weeps during George Harrison’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The smile on Harrison’s son at 4:46 of the video says it all when it comes to Prince. While watching the video I was thinking two things. He is the ultimate axe slinger / showman, and there will be a huge demand spike for everything purple. Thinking about the musical geniuses mentioned above there are few other helpful lessons we can take away in their memory.

 

Challenge the Status Quo

 

I’m huge Eagles fan. I couldn’t believe someone could tear up the guitar as well as Prince. So I paid close attention to the careers of both Glen Frey and Prince. From the time a song idea popped into their heads, until that song ended up as soundwaves directed at fans’ ears, they both were meticulous about the entire process. That includes the song writing, recording, and distribution of their works. Glen Frey for the most part fired Glyn Johns, the same guy who produced The Who, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones, because he wasn’t satisfied with the recording process. Glen and Prince also challenged the way music was distributed. For example, the Eagles completely bypassed the record companies to distribute their album The Long Road Out Of Eden. Instead they inked a deal to distribute directly with Walmart. If Prince had been a supply chain leader (just imagine that) he would likely be asking the same questions he asked during his musical career, ‘Why are we doing things this way?’ or ‘this isn’t good enough, what else can we do?’ We should ask the same questions about our supply chain processes and technologies all with the goal of achieving excellence.

 

Do the Work

 

There’s a great segment in the documentary, History of The Eagles, where Glen discusses how he learned the craft of songwriting. In it he says he listened to Jackson Browne get up every morning, make some tea and work on a single line or melody for hours. “Elbow grease” is one of the many descriptions of the formula for songwriting success Glen observes. Prince would spend hours and even days in the studio recording all parts and all instruments to make sure it was just right. He put in the work. The results were impressive, but they didn’t just happen. The same goes for supply chain transformations. I’m not sure who the quote is attributed to but, “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Sometimes it’s just easier to firefight, it’s what we know. But for breakthrough improvements we need to put in the work. Managing all the disruptions and risk supply chains face today isn’t going to get any easier, so to make our supply chains sing, we’ll have to do the work.

 

Put Your Fans First

 

David Bowie was one of the first to bring theatrics into his show. Prince would show up unexpectedly at small clubs to give his fans an experience they would never forget. Glen Frey made sure the Eagles played all the hits even though he may have been tired of them after singing the same tunes hundreds of times. This was all done with one purpose in mind—exciting the fans. These artists put themselves in the shoes of their fans, imaging they were the ones on the concert floor. We should do the same for our customers. What can we do that will excite them? How can we make them fans? Short of sending them Princes’ full catalog of music, we can drive supply chain improvements that will result in benefits to their business, and work hard every day to exceed their expectations.

 

On another note, are you booking you concert tickets for Kinexions 2016? It’s in Nashville this year so there will be lots of music. Let us know if you have any song requests.

 

The post Supply Chain Lessons from Prince and Other Fallen Musical Heroes appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/supply-chain-lessons-from-prince-and-other-fallen-musical-heroes/

by Bill DuBois

Prophetic Supply Chain QuotesWhen I was growing up my parents always had a Reader’s Digest on the coffee table. When a new one came into the house I immediately went to either the ‘Points to Ponder’ or the ‘Quotable Quotes’. I guess they were your grandparent’s Twitter. In both cases there were great lessons in a couple sentences, most which would meet Twitter’s criteria of 140 characters. Although I don’t pick up Reader’s Digest as much, I still love a great quote. Here are six interesting supply chain quotes that provide some lessons along with a prophetic vision of the supply chain future.

 

1. “You need to start your supply chain conversation.”  S&OP Demand Planning Manager, Sonus

 

Sales talk to Operations and Product Line Managers? What happened to just throwing it over the fence and letting things happen? In most cases the customer got what they wanted, close to when they wanted it. This quote is powerful because it implies getting ahead of potential problems and immediately driving to a solution that likely includes compromise, trade-offs, and dialog. Reacting and seeing impact after the fact won’t cut it anymore; start your supply chain conversation.

 

2. “If you had to wait a week for Google to respond, would you use it?”  Dominic Thomas, VP Business Consulting, Kinaxis and Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine 2016 Provider ‘Pro to Know’

 

I was fortunate enough to hear Dominic present and when this line came out I committed it to memory. My immediate thought was the supply chain planning community is either extremely patient or has surrendered to Excel and legacy planning systems. This gets back to starting your supply chain conversation. Today asking a supply chain question like, ‘what’s the impact of a 20% demand increase?’ could mean another meeting while those who have to answer try and piece the response together. I didn’t include it as one of the quotes but I once heard a supply chain executive say, “It takes me three weeks to get the wrong answer.” Future supply chain planning processes should no longer include ‘waiting’ as one of the squares on the Visio flowchart.

 

3. “In essence, this is establishing a single version of the truth for the supply chain plans, regardless of what the underlying ERP landscape looks like.” Tim Payne, Gartner Analyst, describing the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record, published March 6, 2014

 

Everyone would get value from “establishing a single version of the truth for the supply chain plans.” I won’t get into the details about why that is, or the value companies have received by establishing a ‘single version’, but the interesting thing about Tim’s quote is that ERP systems do not factor into the solution. Back to the first quote, companies are not starting the supply chain conversation with their ERP systems primarily because of what’s implied by Dominic’s quote. It just takes too long and given the increasingly complex supply chain challenges, we can’t wait any longer.

 

4. “In 2-3 years’ time we will no longer have demand planners, and inventory planners, and capacity planners, and materials managers… we will only have network planners.” SVP Supply Chain, Pharmaceutical Industry Executive, May 2015

 

Of all the quotes, this is likely the most prophetic one. The next evolution of supply chain planning will drive toward seamless conversation between the different functional groups like demand, supply, inventory, and capacity planners. However this is what the silos looked like regardless of the ease of collaboration and how we organized in the past. But what if you could see all demand, supply and capacity on one screen, how would you organize? Perhaps you would organize by product family, region, or customer planners. What would those conversations look like if the silos were gone?

 

5. “It is not about improving the accuracy of the forecast and reducing the amount of uncertainty in the future, it is about eliminating the need for certainty.” Director of Supply Chain, Merck

 

There are just some things you can’t plan your way out of. The increased uncertainly and the new challenges that are out of the planner’s control could fill our next white paper. The inability to have those “supply chain conversations” in real-time will put even more strain on your network. Risk and response management will need to become a core competency much like a pit crew responding to driving conditions they may not have planned for. In the case of the pit crew there are only seconds between winning and losing.

 

6. “Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, ‘It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than to be selfish and worry about my liver.’” Jack Handey

 

Well, that doesn’t look like a supply chain quote but have a second look. Behind the backdrop of having a few pints at the expense of liver damage is a customer completely in-tune with how their consumption impacts the supply chain. Customers continue to become even more informed, demanding, and “brand agnostic”. Customer experience is no longer the end-game in the relationship. The new goal is customer advocacy. Your customer can drive new sales or shut down the pipe with just a few online comments. Your supply chain conversations need to make your customer the center of attention.

 

Did you find any of these quotes as inspirational as I did or for some reason do you just feel like going for a beer? Are there any supply chain related quotes that you would add?

 

The post 6 Prophetic Supply Chain Quotable Quotes appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Bill DuBois at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/6-prophetic-supply-chain-quotable-quotes/

by Melissa Clow

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

 

Contingent Workers of the 21st Century EconomyThis week, we want to highlight a fascinating survey by global management consultancy Deloitte. Titled Human Capital Trends 2016, the survey solicited 7000 responses from executives at 130 countries about a vast array of workforce topics including organizational design, hiring, leadership, and other issues, with the goal of assessing how the 21st-century workplace is evolving.

 

Most relevant to our work at Argentus, Deloitte’s survey features a section on the way that the rise of contingent workers is shaking up the 21st-century economy, with lots of great takeaways for companies looking to make their organizations nimbler, more responsive, and cost effective.

 

The big headline, for us, is that 42% of executives surveyed plan to increase or significantly increase the use of contingent workers over the next three to five years. Conversely, only 16% of executives expect to decrease the size of their contingent workforce. According to the survey, 62% of Canadian executives surveyed rated the trend towards a more flexible workforce as “important” or “very important,” with that number going even higher in some rapid-growth markets such as India and Brazil.

 

Deloitte’s survey factored in a variety of contingent workers, including contractors, freelancers, and part-time employees. According to the survey, one in three workers in the U.S. is part of the contingent workforce, with that number expected to grow to half in the coming years.

 

At Argentus, we specialize in finding companies contingent workers for high-skilled, project-based strategic work in Procurement and Supply Chain. So we found Deloitte’s findings interesting, to say the least.

 

One key element of the rise of high-skilled contingent workers we’ve observed is that organizations can save on costs by hiring for specific projects rather than indefinitely, and this is borne out in Deloitte’s analysis: “Cost structure is one factor driving this trend,” says the survey, “with some companies opting to pay purchase orders instead of salaries.” The higher hourly bill-rates that companies pay to strategic contingent workers are more than offset by the costs savings in terms of onboarding and indefinite salary paid to permanent employees.

 

The survey also outlined a key appeal of the contingent workforce for organizations that we’ve heard from our clients: the fact that the money to hire comes from a different pool, with business leaders able to bypass HR processes to make hiring more flexible. As the survey says, “These new additions to the workforce work side-by-side with those on the balance sheet. Many have been recruited through the Procurement office rather than HR systems.”

 

One big thing to note from the rise of high-skilled contingent workers is that companies are beginning to see these workers as part of the backbone of organizational strength, rather than as “seat fillers” for leave coverages, as contingent workers were often perceived in the past. Contingent workers in strategic fields (such as Strategic Sourcing) are highly ambitious – they get bored easily, and are well-suited to making a positive organization on an impact fast. And as we’ve written about before, in areas like Strategic Sourcing, high-skilled contingent workers are better-positioned than permanent employees to drive organizational change and improvement.

 

Far from seeing high-skilled workers as the transactional gap-fillers they used to be, analysts and executives are increasingly seeing these workers as one of the most dynamic factors in the 21st-century economy.

 

We read a great article from Forbes contributor Elaine Pofeldt about this shift, titled: “The Hot Corporate Career of the Future Isn’t What you Expect.” Pofeldt uses Deloitte’s findings, as well as interviews with career experts, as a baseline for an analysis of how contingent workers are taking on a more prominent role as strategic contributors and change agents rather than tactical role-players.

 

It’s something we’re seeing all the time within our recruitment areas of Procurement and Supply Chain, but it’s interesting to see the contingent workforce taking off in the wider world of work as well, even for other high-impact knowledge workers like physicists and specialized engineers. In Ms. Porfeldt’s words: “Freelancing used to be a desperate measure for cash-strapped workers who were between jobs. But today, corporate freelance careers look like the next hot opportunity for ambitious professionals, as big companies embrace a business model where the traditional job is going the way of the steno pool.”

 

One more takeaway from the survey: Interestingly, Deloitte links the rise of the contingent workforce to increasing workforce automation, a topic that we’ve written about before. This aspect of the trend is more relevant to jobs with a high degree of repetition than the kind of strategic, high-impact contingent jobs that are emerging in Procurement and Supply Chain. But it’s interesting to note that organizations see these trends as linked. (One interesting tidbit we’d be curious to hear reactions to: Deloitte’s survey found that 20% of executives expect workforce automation to increase, rather than decrease, hiring.)

 

We recommend checking out Deloitte’s survey. There’s a lot to dig into beyond the topic of contingent workforce management. It’s highly relevant for anyone interested in talent and the 21st-century workplace.

 

The post The rise of contingent workers is shaking up the 21st-century economy appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

blog-email-scp sor infographic-kinaxis

 

Originally posted by Melissa Clow at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/the-rise-of-contingent-workers-is-shaking-up-the-21st-century-economy/

by Melissa Clow

Looking to transform your supply chain? Need some inspiration? In this video, Paul Collier, supply chain senior manager of Amgen, talks about the major initiatives that the company has undertaken to improve supply-chain planning, collaboration and regulatory compliance.

 

Amgen knew that the business was going to be coming into some major transformative change, in terms of international expansion and product candidates that were coming through for approvals. To make this transformation, they needed supply chain planning technology that would be able to respond to that transformative change in a fast, effectively and a quality manner.

 

Watch now: Amgen Transforms Its Supply-Chain Planning

 

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?

 

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

 

The post Video: Amgen Transforms Its Supply Chain Planning appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Melissa Clow at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/video-amgen-transforms-its-supply-chain-planning/

by Jonathan Matthews

Self-Driving TruckWhen talking about exciting new advancements that are coming to the supply chain, the discussion will always usually end up focused around 3D printing. Rightly so, as the 3D printer has opened up new opportunities never before possible in the supply chain. Rather than having to wait for a specialized part, companies can now print the part they need right on site. This can be a huge time and cost saver for companies involved in projects, but when looking at the overall supply chain worldwide, 3D printing is a pretty niche example. Even with 3D printers popping up everywhere, changing the way companies rely on the supply chain, there will always be limitations.

 

Sure, 3D printers might be able to print space habitats on Mars, but they can’t print everything and there will always be a need to transport an item(s) from one destination to another. 3D printing is revolutionary, but there is another absolute game changer about to deploy in the supply side that is an evolution; self-driving trucks. When looking at the amount of freight moved just in America alone, there was 9.2 billion tons (primary shipment only) moved by truck representing 67% of the total tonnage moved in 2011.

 

We’ve all heard about Google (to be correct, Alphabet since Google Inc re-organized itself into its new hierarchy structure) and Tesla in their efforts to create self-driving cars for the mass car buying public, but other companies, especially trucking companies, have not been standing idly by in this field either. As reported by The Guardian a number of European truck manufactures recently collaborated on creating a convoy of more than six semi-autonomous (semi-autonomous because there was still a back-up human driver) trucks that drove from Sweden and south Germany to a port in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Although not ready for complete autonomous driving yet, we can certainly see in the very near future (2018?) a convoy of trucks, completely unmanned driving across the highways of the world.

 

The benefits to the supply chain are enormous. With no human drivers, these trucks will only ever need to stop for gas, there won’t be a need for bathroom breaks, eating and sleeping. An autonomous truck could be loaded in San Diego, California and drive to Halifax, Nova Scotia (5,800km) in 54 hours, only stopping for gas. With a human driver, that time is impossible if there is only one human driver as they will need sleep, food and bathroom breaks. The leading cause of accidents with big trucks is drivers falling asleep at the wheel. With this gone, in theory, suppliers should see more of their products get to the client instead of in the ditch. One can certainly imagine the time and cost savings this would have to a shipping company.

 

But the story doesn’t end there. Autonomous shipping is not just a huge deal for commercial shipping companies, it will also make a huge impact in military applications. Napoleon famously stated that an army marches on its stomach and something that is often overlooked is the supply chain required to keep an army mobile. More challengingly, these supply lines will often have to transport supplies over very rough terrain (such as Afghanistan), minimal escort and protection (these trucks are very lightly armored (if at all) and devoid of all the creature comforts afforded to commercial trucks. Autonomous trucks will be able to remove a huge burden from the military commanders, freeing up soldiers to perform more “soldierly” tasks. If you’ve finished your work for the day and have some free time, I’d recommend watching the following Top Gear clip of a race between a human and an autonomous military supply truck over some very rough terrain…

 

The post Big changes coming to the supply line, just not where you thought they’d be appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Jonathan Matthews at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/big-changes-coming-to-the-supply-line-just-not-where-you-thought-theyd-be/

Kinaxis Inc.

Tesla’s Big Gamble

Posted by Kinaxis Inc. Apr 13, 2016
by Andrew Dunbar

TeslaIf you’re a supply chain nerd like me, you’ve probably noticed that Tesla’s been making some pretty big waves in the auto industry. It seems Tesla is poised to be the first company to truly take advantage of a new market segment. People are looking for vehicles that are environmentally responsible, technologically advanced, safe, sexy, and affordable to the average Joe. Their new Model 3 meets all of this criteria, and has a range about double that of comparable vehicles. They’ve nailed the customer requirements so well that they’ve received over 320,000 pre-orders in the first week, even though deliveries aren’t slated to begin until the end of 2017.

 

To meet this demand, Tesla hopes to reach a production rate of 500,000 vehicles per year by 2020. Wait… what? 500K per year, but not until 2020? Even if they managed to accelerate their production schedule to achieve 500K per year at the end of 2017, they still have at least an 8 month backlog before they even deliver their first car. On the surface, this seems like an unprecedented supply chain challenge. Their level of success at building this new supply chain will make or break their business. To make it even harder, due to the incredible amount of money involved and the sex-appeal of the product, they’ll be undergoing their supply chain revolution with a level of public scrutiny normally limited to the latest iPhones!

 

The media is already speculating that they’re in over their heads, and that delays are inevitable. What could possibly make Elon Musk so confident? It’s simple. This has been done before, over a hundred years ago in fact! Ford was pumping out 500,000 vehicles a year by 1915*, and they were doing it without the benefits of modern supply chain technologies. Toyota reached that rate in the mid ‘60s*. What’s interesting is, the Tesla of today has a strategy very similar to that of Henry Ford. Ford wanted to produce a car that the people who built a car could buy. He made it affordable not only by developing an efficient manufacturing process, but by paying the workers enough to buy them. Tesla is following a similar model, building their cars in America, and pricing them to be affordable to the common man. They’re also focused on building the complete end-to-end value chain to keep their destiny in their own hands, rather than relying on low-cost subcontractors or low-cost labour markets like many high-tech or other automotive companies would. For more details on this strategy, check out Kevin O’Marah’s (CCO at SCM World) recent blog. Will Tesla be able to successfully apply this 20th century strategy in a 21st century market, when the competition is all running in the opposite direction?

 

Myself, I could see this massive gamble going either way, but I’m rooting for Tesla. I’ve already told my wife my next vehicle will be a Model 3, so hopefully they can deliver. Either way, it’s certainly a story to watch and learn from! It’s not often you come across a live case-study with such enormous potential to revolutionize an industry.

 

What do you think about Tesla’s strategy? As a consumer, do you have enough trust in Tesla to spend $1000 to reserve your spot in an already enormous line? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

*My production rate numbers come from Wikipedia so may not be the most reliable. But hey, it’s on the internet, so it must be true!

 

The post Tesla’s Big Gamble appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Andrew Dunbar at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/teslas-big-gamble/

by Melissa Clow

How are companies meeting the challenge of big data, the Internet of Things and the need for change management? How does the big trends affect supply chain management?

 

In this video, hear a wide-ranging roundtable discussion with industry leaders about how companies are meeting the challenge of big data, the Internet of Things and the need for change management — all with the goal of improving the planning function and achieving end-to-end supply-chain visibility.  This discussion features Mark Ramirez, chief technology officer with Trinity Rail; Josh Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, Trevor Miles, vice president of product innovation with Kinaxis; and Bob Bowman, managing editor of SupplyChainBrain.

 

Watch now: What’s Driving Change in Supply-Chain Planning?

 

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

 

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

 

The post Video: What’s Driving Change in Supply Chain Management? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Melissa Clow at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/video-whats-driving-change-in-supply-chain-management/

by Alexa Cheater

While recently watching a great video series featuring supply chain leaders from companies like Roland DG, Merck, Schneider Electric, TrinityRail, and more, one thing really stood out. The value of connecting the dots. Connecting the Supply Chain Dots

 

While connecting the multitude of dots in your value chain may seem like an insurmountable task, rest assured it can be done—and without pulling out all your hair in the process! These global enterprise companies are proof of that. But don’t let growing complexity in your own supply chain keep you from trying. By developing more agile processes and a better picture of your end-to-end supply chain, you’ll be able to quickly and confidently make the necessary decisions to support your business’s corporate goals.

 

What does it mean to connect the dots?

 

Connecting the dots means being able to draw a continuous line from one end of your supply chain all the way to the other—from customers to as far down the supplier network as you can get. It’s a complete look at both your upstream and downstream nodes, and also includes all your internal data steams coming from existing ERPs, distribution centers, factories, etc. But be warned, this isn’t about a one-way flow of information. Your relationship with your suppliers and customers should be symbiotic, with information passing freely back and forth, feeding into the same data pool—the same version of the truth—to ensure everything is on track and running smoothly, or provide the necessary details to analyze and course correct if it’s not.

 

What’s the value in connecting the dots?

 

By connecting all the various dots in your supply chain, you gain enhanced visibility, which in turn means you’ll be able to spot problems, or opportunities, that much faster. Say one of your suppliers is experiencing a temporary disruption due to unforeseen circumstances. You’ll know sooner there’s a potential issue. And since you’ll already have near real-time data easily available, not only orders tied to that specific supplier but all others as well, you’ll be able to act faster in running scenario simulations to determine how best to proceed. In the event you need to delay an order, you’ll also be able to let the customer know earlier, and give a more accurate estimate for when items will be received.

 

For Schneider Electric, that upstream and downstream agility meant confidence in the face of a potential crisis. In 2011 when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Japan, Schneider Electric faced a top line sales risk of €1.5 billion. More than 50% of their key suppliers were based in the region. By leveraging their collaborative planning model, Schneider Electric was able to mitigate the risk and change course quickly, ensuring virtually no customer disruptions occurred.

 

But the benefits aren’t only realized during disasters. For TrinityRail, demand is incredibly difficult to forecast thanks to their made to order environment. The freight railcars they produce are configured to each customer’s unique and exacting specifications. Each of these multiple car types have relatively independent business cycles. Having the available capacity to meet demand in customer lead times requirements became critical to winning orders.

 

In order to meet the challenges of this highly complex environment, they adopted a sense and respond supply chain strategy. Instead of trying to optimize their planning, they quickly realized being able to react faster would better suit their business needs. They even eliminated forecasting altogether. In order to make that move successful, they relied heavily on visibility and collaboration—both achieved through connecting the dots of their supply chain!

 

How can you connect the dots?

 

Now that we’ve established the value of connecting the dots of your supply chain, the question becomes how you can actually do it. For Roland DG, it started with finding the right technology partner. Their requirements included the ability to join their global organization together, while also connecting the whole supply chain end-to-end from manufacturing to customers. This meant technology with the capability to concurrently and continuously plan, monitor and respond in a single environment and across business functions.

 

They opted to move forward with an agile deployment of Kinaxis’ RapidResponse® solution. Working collaboratively, Roland DG was able to begin the ongoing process of connecting all their fragmented planning centers together, which will ultimately lead to transforming into a more customer-centric organization.

 

Merck also utilized RapidResponse to connect all the nodes of their supply chain, preventing each one from continuing to work in isolation. This has allowed the opportunity to drive true customer demand through the entire supply chain, right down to manufacturers and suppliers. The result is the ability to respond faster to customer needs.

 

But for Merck, it wasn’t just about the technology. It was about a fundamental shift in the corporate mindset. Increasing user adoption and focusing on proactive instead of reactive supply chain management became a priority for everyone, from the executive level to the supply chain practitioners.

 

It’s that harmonization between people, process and technology that allows true potential to be realized when connecting the dots of your supply chain.

 

Interested in learning more about how global enterprises are transforming their supply chains? Check out our leadership video series.

 

The post Connecting the Supply Chain Dots appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/connecting-the-supply-chain-dots/

by Jonathan Lofton

We’re continuing to reflect on 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 being able to use supply chain management tools in an uninhibited way.

 

Principle #5: Good design “Is unobtrusive”
supply chain swiss army knife
“Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.” – ‘Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design

 

I really like the idea of leaving room for the user’s self-expression. To me this means making sure there’s space for creativity and innovation (Principle #1). We need to have parameters or ‘guardrails’ in place to ensure that proper business process flow is occurring, otherwise it becomes hard to produce consistent results. On the other hand, we have exceptional professionals who are capable of bringing new ideas to bear on the supply chain design. We want the user to be able to take the designated management tools (e.g. reports, multi-dimensional analysis, dashboards, scorecards, etc.) and reconfigure them to see information in a way that makes the most sense to them individually (recall Principle #4). We also want the user to be able to create scenarios to experiment with various ideas about what can be changed to improve results.

 

One example I’m reminded of is Noveon, who used existing tools and ‘tapped into people power’ as a source of innovation. They created a team charged with focusing on supply chain and sourcing process improvements. The team didn’t have operational duties, just the task of looking for new ways of doing business. In addition, Noveon also leveraged logistics interns from a nearby college to look at the management reports and manipulate the data to provide new insights (Mixing Up an Innovative Culture – Noveon Inc.). This company got benefit and tangible results from their approach of opening up things for exploration but I wonder if it’s an approach that limits the potential for wider “self-expression”. I understand and agree with using ‘fresh eyes’, but I’m convinced that if we do it right we can create an organization-wide culture of improvement that will have a much higher multiplier in terms of ideas generated and improvements realized. Ideally we want the tools to be simple and flexible enough for the folks in daily operations to be able to surface new ideas versus teams or individuals who are outside of daily execution. We just need to make sure the tools don’t get in the way…

 

In terms of Industry 4.0, I believe the development of data integration protocols will allow users to plug-and-play new supply chain data into their existing management tools which will facilitate their ability to explore new theories. I think of it like adding apps to my phone, then being able to make them talk to each other and finally presenting the results in a way that actually encourages me to think about it differently. Our job will be to make sure that the management tools allow this flexibility for users to explore new avenues of optimization while being simple to use for daily execution within operational objectives.

 

Do you have an example of a user creatively using a management tool to uniquely identify improvement opportunities?

 

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 6: Unobtrusive appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Jonathan Lofton at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/design-for-the-supply-chain-pt-6-unobtrusive/

by Melissa Clow

Does your organization struggle to make sure all the nodes within the supply chain are connected? Do you have an approach to collaborative planning?

 

In this interview, Andy Walker, head of supply chain strategy with Merck, details how they are making sure all the nodes within the supply chain are connected so they do not work in isolation. Because the supply chain is connected from an end-to-end perspective, they can take true customer demand and drive that through the supply chain down to manufacturing sites and suppliers, which allows the company to respond faster to customer needs.

 

Andy also speaks about the company’s new approach to collaborative planning. From an execution perspective, the company ensures there’s a consistent set of information being delivered to the manufacturing facility, or contract manufacturer, to enable them to do what they’re really good at, which is scheduling and manufacturing the product. The net result is less inventory sitting around, better balance between supply and demand, knowing the revenue risk, working out the profitability and having a true understanding of the margin.

 

Watch now: Merck’s End-to-End Supply Chain Vision

 

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

 

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

 

The post Video: Merck’s End-to-End Supply Chain Vision appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.

 

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Originally posted by Melissa Clow at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2016/04/video-mercks-end-to-end-supply-chain-vision/

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