The Value of a Supply Chain Executive Education

Executive-level supply chain positions have gained both prominence and importance for today’s global companies, and to support this trend, universities, colleges, professional organizations, and training firms have enhanced their supply chain and logistics programs to help executives stay current on supply chain trends.

It wasn’t that long ago that supply chain managers worked mainly behind the scenes, stealthily orchestrating the movement of products from the raw material stage to manufacturing/production and right on through to the final delivery of the finished goods.

Typically occupied by employees who had successfully “worked their way up” through the company, these executive-level supply chain positions have over the last few years gained both prominence and importance for today’s global companies.

To support this trend, universities and colleges have enhanced their supply chain and logistics degree programs; organizations like APICS and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) have expanded their certification programs; and training firms offer myriad options to help executives stay current on supply chain trends.

These executive education offerings provide executives with the opportunity to hone their skills, upgrade their technology acumen and better understand the inner workings of the modern-day supply chain.

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Big Data: The Latest Rage in Supply Chain Management

Early uses of big data were concentrated in two areas: customer segmentation/marketing effectiveness, and financial services, particularly in trading. Recently, supply chain has become the “next big thing.”

Why? A company’s supply chain is rich with data, and it’s also a large cost component. Combined, those facts mean that advanced analytics can become a strategic weapon for optimizing the supply chain.

However, many companies can’t see the forest for the trees. They are optimizing, but not strategically. When applying data to supply chain, it’s critical to step back and look at what truly drives business value.

“They’re Digging in the Wrong Place”

As every fan of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” knows, Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant first. The Germans had far greater manpower and resources and they were more efficient, but they were competently digging a hole in the wrong place. The same goes for using big data in supply chain optimization. You could have the most efficient process in the world, but if you’re making the wrong amount of the wrong product, it will hurt your business.

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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?

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Supply Chain Analytics: How Manufacturers Can Get The Most Value Out Of Their Automated Data Capture Technology

There are a prolific amount of data sets and data sources available that can help overcome the aforementioned challenges. The problem is that “big data” is coming in from so many varied sources, and manufacturers simply do not know what to do with it or how to use it. The answer lies in supply chain analytics. With the right analytical tools, manufacturers can obtain actionable, meaningful, and supported insight from available data in order to make better business decisions. When it comes to AIDC, supply chain analytics are most useful in two chief areas: device optimization (the technology itself) and labor management (those who are using the technology).

AIDC Device Optimization

With supply chain analytics, manufacturers can receive timely and relevant feedback about their AIDC platform to determine how the technology is performing – feedback beyond what is provided by a typical Mobile Device Management solution. Through this insight, users can better understand the underlying causes of inefficiencies, identify areas for continuous improvement, perform predictive analysis, and more. For example, through dashboard and reporting tools, manufacturers can easily see device utilization data to determine user adoption rates. They can monitor battery performance of their devices in the field to prevent downtime. Or, they can even make sure that the right tools are available at the right time. As a result, manufacturers can optimize their mobile deployments to attain additional ROI.

Labor Management

The second component to this equation involves labor management. Using supply chain analytics, it is possible to match the right tools with the right people, and the right people with the work. Analytics platforms accomplish this by gauging and managing the labor resources that use the technology in terms of measurement of activity benchmarking, engineered labor standards, and dashboard reporting. These tools take into consideration production data (volume), integrated with labor, cost, customers, and time data.

Achieving Analytics Success

Supply chain analytics tools can provide practical and fully actionable (fact-based decision making) information to help optimize the supply chain from an AIDC and human capital standpoint. Along with the right AIDC tools and support organization behind those tools, supply chain analytics can assist in driving more revenue, reducing your cost structure and improving the experience of your customers and your workforce. Yet, this is only a piece of the supply chain analytics puzzle. Looking forward, manufacturers will continue to extend the capabilities of analytics tools to gain insight into the overall performance of the manufacturing facility. With the influx of the Internet of Things (IoT), more data points are available than ever before, which allows manufacturers to gauge the efficiency of a particular production line or overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

Read more at Supply Chain Analytics: How Manufacturers Can Get The Most Value Out Of Their Automated Data Capture Technology

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