How intelligent automation will impact and revitalise global supply chains

The idea of automation in manufacturing and the supply chain is nothing new – since the earliest days of the industrial revolution we have sought to automate tasks with machines, and lower the cost of manufacturing processes.

In countless cases, the application of machines, and more recently software, has meant improvements in the consistency of products, facilitated near 24/7/365 production and has meant staff can be focused on higher value tasks in their company.

Yet the use of technology in the industry may not be fully understood; a recent Capgemini survey showed that nearly half (48%) of UK office workers are optimistic about the impact automation technologies can have. However, while respondents to the survey had a general idea of the benefits that might accrue, they were less clear as to how these technologies could be applied to their specific area of work. And worryingly, only 20% said they felt their organisations were currently benefiting from automation – clearly the industry is missing a trick.

However, as utilisation stagnates for certain companies, the market is maturing. Automation is now reaching far beyond simple process software and mechanisation. Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive computing, advanced robotics, Digital Fabrication and blockchain are becoming increasingly popular, bringing together the power of automation and analytics.

Yet other areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which are proven enablers for new ways of optimizing the supply chain and manufacturing processes, are less understood. It’s agile, forward-thinking businesses that are able to utilise these technologies in a thoughtful way that will reap the benefits.

Read more at How intelligent automation will impact and revitalise global supply chains

Do you have opinions about this topic? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment box. Subscribe us to be the first one to get updates.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Comment: Industry 4.0 is disrupting the supply chain for good

The impact of Industry 4.0 could easily be identified as a threat and a disruptor to the traditional supply chain. The truth is that, when deployed correctly, this dynamic combination is the antidote to supply chain disruption.

In 2016, global supply chains were impacted by a series of unfortunate natural disasters including earthquakes and typhoons that ravaged nations throughout Asia. In 2015, analysis by insurance firm Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty found that between 2010 and 2014, the top five causes of business interruption loss globally were fires and explosions, storms, machinery breakdowns, faulty equipment or materials, and workforce strikes.

Current events that are continually unfolding must also be considered, such as the economic nationalism propelled by the election of Donald Trump and the UK’s impending exit from the European Union. However, there are less dramatic situations that can cause supply chain disruption on a more frequent basis – small acts than have a large impact, such as human error causing delays on the production line. This creates an obvious knock-on effect that directly impacts the rest of the supply chain.

It is clear that the supply chain is vulnerable to disruption. The traditional supply chain ecosystem is built around a rigid process that does not provide supply chain organisations with the flexibility to adjust to disruptions that will impact the bottom line, or the opportunity to predict or prepare for those disruptions.

The traditional process is typically governed by inaccurate analysis of the market that dictates supply chain operations in order to meet the predicted sales. A digitised reinvention of the supply chain will replace this inaccurate, siloed process with a flexible and agile solution that utilises data to severely diminish the impact of disruption.

Industry of Things

The moniker Industry 4.0 represents the fourth industrial revolution which in turn refers to the rise of data exchange and automation in manufacturing technologies. ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is a similar term that supports the same notion of the world becoming more connected and is widely used to describe connected devices used in both industrial and domestic environments. In theory, connected devices, whether in a factory or in the home, bring all of these environments together to create one interconnected eco-system.

Disseminating the data

From the shop floor to the factory floor, each connected device provides important data that can be fed into the digitised supply chain. To be of true value, this data must be tracked and visualised. Visibility is a key area of focus in leveraging data in the evolution of Industry 4.0, and it’s equally as important in the supply chain. Once the data is feeding into the supply chain and clearly visualised, the organisation can begin to think about disruptions before they occur. This can be achieved by manipulating the data in three key areas; supply chain design, event simulation and decision support.

Read more at Comment: Industry 4.0 is disrupting the supply chain for good

Write your opinions below in the comment box and subscribe us to get updates.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

The secret to making customers care about supply chain

Imagine a world where customers care about how products are sourced, made, and delivered, understand what goes into pricing, and generally take great joy in the experience. A world where customers are fluent in the language of supply chain.

It’s not as farfetched as you may think.

Supply chains solve complex problems. And in the company of supply chain professionals, we use big words and complicated terms to talk about it. Words like multi-modal logistics and global transportation, mass-customisation and postponement, procurement and letters of credit, demand management, the cost of inventory and buffer stock, assurance of supply, warehousing, and the last mile.

We nitpick over the differences between distribution and fulfilment centres, debate the true definition of supply chain visibility and the role of control towers to support orchestration across a complex network of suppliers, trading partners, and carriers. And we’re still not sure if our industries are facing an apocalypse or simply working through the growing pains of transformation in the digital age.

It’s a mouthful. And as we dive into the technical details and jargon that comprise the modern language of supply chain, one can’t help but picture the average consumer’s eyes glazing over.

But that’s not necessarily the case. There’s mounting evidence people care more about supply chain than ever – they’re just not using our words for it.

Therein lies the secret.

The words used to describe supply chain were different at the recent Shoptalk Europe conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, a gathering of more than 2,500 retailers, start-ups, technologists, and investors all focused on the worlds of retail, fashion, and ecommerce. Though most attendees weren’t purely in the business of operations and supply chain, all were exploring how to reach, engage, and enlighten the customer wherever and whenever they might choose to shop.

Read more at Comment: The secret to making customers care about supply chain

Write your comments below and subscribe us to get updates.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

6 Ways Quality Can Strengthen Supply Chain Profitability

To thrive in today’s competitive global business environment, manufacturers must have a top-to-bottom quality-oriented approach that infuses innovative thinking into every part of the supply chain in order to deliver world-class performance through products, processes and people.

Some promising news, according to a recently published report by Forbes Insights and ASQ, is that senior executives and quality professionals see a direct connection between the success of their continuous improvement initiatives and the success of their organizations as a whole.

The Forbes Insights/ASQ research surveyed 1,869 executives and quality professionals from around the world and focused on the links between quality efforts and corporate performance, as well as the evolving business value of quality and its relationship to the supply chain. Thirty-six percent of enterprises surveyed said that they regard themselves as an established quality organization, while 39% reported that they are still developing their quality programs and 25% said they are struggling to implement quality in their companies.

For those organizations that do have established quality programs, more than half say their initiatives already encompass a range of key corporate functions, including operations and supply chain management.

This focus on quality for the supply chain is especially crucial when one recognizes that supply chain management is often motivated to achieve the least cost when identifying and qualifying new suppliers. Supply chain leaders are often rewarded for these cost-savings. But then extra costs are incurred once the final product is manufactured and delivered and it is discovered that reworks are required due to the focus on price and not quality.

Read more at 6 Ways Quality Can Strengthen Supply Chain Profitability

Please show us your support by subscribing us in order to be the first one to get updates. Post your suggestions or opinions below in the comment box.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Trax Expands Leadership Team With CRO Hire

Trax Technologies, a global innovator specializing in harnessing logistics data and insights to improve supply chain performance, announced today the company has expanded its’ leadership team with the appointment of Christopher Rajiah as the Chief Revenue Officer. Rajiah is responsible for setting and executing the company’s go-to-market strategy in order to scale the organization and solidify its position as the market leader for freight audit & payment and supply chain data management.

The executive appointment follows the additions of Elizabeth Hart as CAO and Benjamin Morens as COO in 2016. The expansion of the leadership team comes as Trax Technologies experiences significant product adoption as it transforms the freight audit and payment process to improve supply chain performance. Trax provides freight audit and payment services as a cornerstone of its cloud-based logistics performance management solution combining leading controls, supply chain data management, financial classification, and business analytics to deliver accurate, meaningful and actionable intelligence to its global customers.

“Chris’s extensive experience in successfully driving and executing global sales initiatives and growing strategic partnerships will be incredibly valuable as we continue to innovate, develop new capabilities, and extend Trax’s industry leadership,” said Don Baptiste, Trax Technologies CEO. “I’m excited to have him on our team.”

Rajiah joins from Equinix, where he served as VP of Worldwide Channel Partners and Alliances. Prior to Equinix, Chris was SVP Sales & Marketing at ViaWest, as well as the Vice President of Worldwide Partner Sales at Rackspace Hosting. Chris also spent 9 years at Extreme Networks, where he started his career, and, eventually, led their North American channel and worldwide strategic alliance teams.

Read more at Trax Expands Leadership Team With CRO Hire

If you have any opinions, share with us in the comment box, and subscribe us to get updates.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

2017 Parcel Express Roundtable: Paying for peak performance

It can be hard to believe that very much happens in a year, but that theory is put to the test when it comes to the parcel express market.

In fact, over the past 12 months we’ve seen major changes in pricing from the parcel duopoly of FedEx and UPS; the accelerated emergence of regional parcel players; and don’t forget we’re all watching the increasing power and reach of e-commerce giant Amazon as it grows its own delivery capabilities globally.

These developments require parcel shippers to do whatever it takes to stay on top of their parcel game from both a financial and operational perspective. To help them along, Logistics Management has gathered Jerry Hempstead, president of Hempstead Consulting, a parcel advisory firm; David Ross, transportation and logistics director at investment firm Stifel; and Rob Martinez, president and CEO at Shipware, an audit and parcel consulting services company.

Over the next few pages, our experts offer their insight into what’s driving parcel market trends and offers some practical advice for how shippers need to re-adjust to ever-changing market conditions.

Logistics Management (LM): How would you describe today’s parcel marketplace?

Jerry Hempstead: All of the parcel carriers are doing well in volume and earnings—even the USPS is making money if you back out the Congressional mandates. And it’s clear that e-commerce is driving the volumes. To top it off, service levels this year are at record levels and are predictable and consistent.

My observation is that there’s no statistical difference between the service performance offered by FedEx and UPS across a year’s worth of activity, although FedEx offers a faster delivery on ground to about 25% more city pairs than UPS. This pressure on speeding up the promise and refining the networks to make the magic happen will only improve the consumer experience in parcel services.

Read more at 2017 Parcel Express Roundtable: Paying for peak performance

Leave your comments below if you have any opinions and subscribe us to be the first to get our updates.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

The Future Of Performance Management Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

In 2013, CEB research found that 86% of organizations had recently made significant changes to their performance management system, or were planning to. In 2014, a Deloitte survey found that 58% percent of companies surveyed did not think performance management was an effective use of time, and many media outlets jumped on the opportunity to air their grievances.

Finally, the rising wave of discontent seemed to crash in 2015, as a slew of large organizations like GE, Accenture, Netflix, and Adobe all scrapped their age-old annual performance management processes in favor of more continuous feedback systems. And many others followed suit.

But, was it the right move for everyone?

Last summer, I wrote an article on this topic myself, urging business leaders to really consider the implications of following these organizations. The issue, in my opinion, is not that these organizations did something wrong. Rather, the risk is that many leaders misinterpreted these stories to mean that they should abandon performance management altogether.

One thing is clear: the future of performance management in the American workplace is still very much in question.

For more insight into this important topic, I recently sat down with a handful of thought leaders in the performance management space, including Rob Ollander-Krane, Senior Director of Organizational Performance Effectiveness at Gap, Inc., Nigel Adams, Global Chief Talent Officer at Razorfish Global, and Amy Herrbold, Senior Director of Organizational Development at Kellogg. Together, we discussed the future of performance management to understand, from their perspective, why changes to this process are long overdue.

Read more at The Future Of Performance Management Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

Write your opinions in the comment box below and subscribe us to get updates in your inbox.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Accelerating Corporate Performance Management – Partnering Finance & Supply Chain

Corporate Performance Management (CPM) activities time-consuming and labour-intensive, usually because they rely on spreadsheets, old data and outdated manual processes. With financial controls growing increasingly tighter, CPM must be performed effectively. Recently there has been talk of needing Finance and Supply Chain integration to achieve increased corporate performance with them now being key business partners.

The Corporate Performance Management Summit will take place on January 27 & 28, in Miami. Over the two days, the summit will gather over 120+ Finance & Supply Chain professionals to discuss the challenges related to internal performance management and external decision-making. There will be 25+ industry expert keynote speakers, interactive workshops with industry pioneers and over 8 hours of networking opportunities to take advantage of.

Ever considered how to execute performance management initiatives? How to manage external factors in performance management? Or even the role of the CFO in corporate strategy? The summit will explore hot topics such as these, as well as explicitly covering how CFOs can drive strategic performance through acquisitions and harness data to drive decision making. A key component to this summit will also be face-to-face communication and the opportunity to learn from your peers in a truly open environment. ‘The creation of a thought-sharing and interactive setting was always a key aspect for me when creating this summit,’ said Aaron Fraser, International Events Director. ‘I wanted to cultivate a forum for cross-pollination of ideas and advice for those involved in corporate performance management”.

Read more at Accelerating Corporate Performance Management – Partnering Finance & Supply Chain

Be the first to get our updates, subscribe now! You are welcome to leave comments below and contact us for further discussions.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

How visibility can drive supply chain performance

How visibility can drive supply chain performance

At its heart, supply chain management requires a balancing of operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality. Managing the true cost to serve each and every order is the aspiration to allow better negotiation and value creation across the supply chain. Customer and consumer centricity helps anticipate product and service requirements. But supply chains are becoming more extended and complex with a consequent increase in risk and the need for resilience. There are multiple data sources making it difficult to manage and measure end-to-end processes and metrics. Aligning priorities through integrated planning remains pivotal but there is an explosion of data available that needs to be incorporated and the value extracted to understand how supply-demand issues impact profit and revenue targets.

Organisations are looking to enable better and more consistent decision-making across complex processes with diverse systems and data. Many are leveraging business intelligence (BI) platforms to give them the capability to make decisions across the organisation, including environments where mobility and access to decision-critical information on the go is crucial. Putting the information in the hands of the people on the front line – those managing supply chain processes – is key to enabling decision making at the point of decision. But this requires synchronising an enormous amount of data that comes from many systems and sources in a way that it can be easily consumed by people who need to act on the insights.

Read more at How visibility can drive supply chain performance

Share your opinions with us in the comment box. Subscribe to get updates in your inbox.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Supply Chain Impact on Shareholder Value: A Performance Paradigm?

If you ask a supply chain leader how they impact their company’s performance, the response is almost muscle memory, ‘reduce cost and inventory while improving service.’ If you ask the same leader how they impact shareholder value, there is often a long pause.

To shed some light on the subject, the APICS Supply Chain Council conducted a live poll during its jointly hosted Best of the Best S&OP Conference in June. Two poll questions were developed to examine attendee perception regarding shareholder value. Almost two-thirds of the respondents reported that they had some form of supply chain scorecard. Conversely, only three-percent reported that they linked supply chain performance to shareholder metrics.

This dialogue with supply chain leaders has sparked a number of research questions, especially in light of the fact that supply chain executives share a seat in the C-suite, including:

1. What are the key shareholder metrics that matter?

For a publicly traded company the ultimate measure is earnings per share or stock price. For privately held companies, the focus tends to be on the attributes that relate to earnings per share: growth, profit, and return.

2. What are the supply chain performance levers that intentionally add to shareholder value?

The Growth attribute is the conundrum that keeps supply chain leaders up at night. Traditionally, the assumption was that great service level, including both lead-time and reliability, didn’t lose sales and potentially helped grow share of customer’s ‘shelf space’ by having predictable availability.

3. How does that affect your supply chain strategy?

The correlation between supply chain excellence and earnings per share certainly is intuitive, but there is data to suggest that even the best supply chain companies still are not maximizing potential shareholder value.

Read more at Supply Chain Impact on Shareholder Value: A Performance Paradigm?

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or ideas for discussion. Subscribe us to get new article in your email.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone