I interviewed Terry Walmsley who discussed The Next Generation of Supply Chain.
Can you provide us with a brief background of yourself?
Obviously, I'm Australian. You'll pick by the accent. But I've spent most of my working career in supply chain and logistics. I have a background in defense. I spent 20 years in defense and supply chain, Ordinance Corps in the Australian Army, which time I looked after all fleet aspects and supply chain matters in defense. Outside of defense, I've worked with operations in manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and 3PL.
So I've got a bit of background for supply chain. I've handled all aspects — warehousing, inventory management, procurement, warehouse design, continuous improvement, and the list goes on. It lends me to start thinking about what possible changes and improvements are there, and I suppose that's leading into today's discussion and topic.
Can you first define what is the next generation supply chain?
Since the dawn of time, I suppose you'd look at it, the accounting method that, I would say, 99% of businesses operate under is base unit, a methodology that provides the easy accountable process of one in, one out. And it also provides transparency and accountability of process. My methodology of next gen supply chain turns that process on its head by going weight based as opposed to unit based.
Why is this important?
Why? Cost savings and progression toward a fully automated supply chain functionality.
Can you talk about how this is put into practice?
Design is a weigh pad or weigh platform, which will be designed around storage mediums and warehousing. So what that particular weigh pad will allow for is product to sit on it. A weight will be transferred by to the MRP where it will be converted to a base unit and measured quantity for the system to know what's exactly there.
The benefits to this is it's going to a live volume record, which will mean there won't be a need for stock take. That's probably the primary, but the additional components, it will be added to the weigh platform. It will allow for heat mapping of the item within warehouse structure. It will also allow for security aspects. So if there is a variation to weight that isn't authorized, then that can connect to a camera surveillance system that will automatically engage with any inappropriate activities.
So there's a string of benefits. It will also provide accountability error corrections, as in, if somebody goes to put something in a wrong location, if it's not recorded as correct weight, the system will pick up that it's not the right item in the right location. So many benefits to going to that form of accountability.
The backend issues is the exciting part though in that the system will have probably what would be the missing link in any supply equation that would deal with the supplies of material. So where you have an accurate account balance, then if you know what your consumption data is and the lead time and manufacturing and logistics, then this will provide the information needed to go to a fully automated system, allowing for those external parameters to be input into a supplier equation.
Can you talk a little bit about how you've seen some of this...some success stories or some examples of this being done?
I have heard of a company in New Zealand that has a medical cabinet where it has medical components on it, and as an item is removed and a [inaudible 00:05:02] falls below the minimum quantity, it will automatically reorder. This would be that on a similar scale but on a much grander platform with a lot more — what would you say?—automative functions added to it.
Did we cover everything you wanted to discuss on this topic?
On this topic, yeah.There are many topics that I'm looking at. To give you a heads up, I'm also an industrial engineer, so at present, I'm in the researching via virtual reality headset for measurement processes, as in industrial engineering and recording takt time. So that one will be fairly exciting.And obviously, KPI developments in the form of a new tool to be released or has recently been released. But it's probably waking the world up to KPIs and their true value as a natural progression from things like [inaudible 00:06:17] LEAN, Lean Six Sigma. KPIs are the next progress. It's step in business development. So they're all exciting projects that I'm working on.
I look forward to interviewing you again to cover these topics.
Thanks a lot. Thank you.
Have a nice day.
About Terry Walmsley
Supply Chain, Logistics, Operations & Manufacturing Management Professional owner 1Plus One