Time to Rethink Sourcing Rare Earth Elements

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Rare Earth Elements article, and permission to publish here, provided by Joe Carson and Shubho Chatterjee.

It’s amazing how quickly $4 trillion dollars can change a conversation.

With the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, and the resulting supply chain fallout, many have speculated on how the U.S. found itself so reliant on a foreign country, mainly China, but certainly others.

The Covid19 global pandemic has cruelly exposed the utter dependence of the US and the world on China’s mass manufacturing capability and supply of critical medical equipment and materials. Not only are personal protective equipment and medical ventilators in a massive short supply, Chinese supplied medical tests have also been found to be inaccurate when used in various countries.

This acute shortage and dependence has raised alarms and questions about remediation supply chain strategies for materials and finished products.

Why are we so dependent on these countries and what can we do about it?

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Strategic Supplier Relationship Management – Do’s and Don’ts

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Shortly after I joined the Commodity/Category Management Procurement organization I was invited to attend the annual Strategic Supplier Awards event. It was all about Strategic Supplier Relationship management.

There were Executives from dozens of Suppliers in attendance. The event concluded with award recognition given to Suppliers based on their scoring and standing as being of Strategic value to the company.

Prior to joining the Procurement team I had neither understood nor appreciated the importance of Supplier Relationship management. But having seen how motivated and inspired these Suppliers were I started to understand.

But in the weeks, months and years to come I also became much more informed about the good and bad aspects of Supplier Relationship Management.

From company to company I came to develop a list of Strategic Supplier Relationship Management “Do’s” and “Don’ts”.

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Supply Chain Compensation is on the Rise!

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Compensation article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by,  Argentus at  http://www.argentus.com . 

This week saw one of the year’s most highly-anticipated releases in the Supply Chain industry: the Institute of Supply Management (ISM)’s annual salary survey.

As a recruitment company specializing in the industry, we consider it part of our mandate to spread the word about salaries in the field – and educate ourselves even further in the process.

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5 Qualities of a Reliable Supplier!

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Reliable supplier article and permission to publish here provided by Carol Trehearn.

Your business is only as exceptional as the goods or services it offers, and to get exceptional products, the right supplier is a must.

Whether you’re starting a new line of products from scratch or looking to revamp your shelves, here are five qualities of a reliable supplier to prioritize. 

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Enable Spend Aggregation in Procurement!

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Aggregating your procurement spend for the purpose of delivering greater value is a sound objective.  Theoretically you should be able to generate better service, better terms and conditions, and better cost.  Therefore you should enable spend aggregation.

Yet there can be many obstacles in your way to achieving this seemingly simple goal.  Loss of control, fear of job loss, questionable benefits, and a perceived loss of margin are some of the obstacles you may run across.  We discussed these in greater detail in our post Procurement (Part 1!) – The Spend Aggregation Obstacle Course!

You may be trying to aggregate spend within your company or across companies, or you are trying to outsource this to a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO).  To overcome the Spend Aggregation obstacles there are a series of enablers you need to enact to make this successful.

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Purchase Price Variance (PPV)! A Profit or Loss Opportunity?

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Purchase Price Variance, or PPV, is a common term in the realm of Purchasing/Procurement and Finance.

For some, PPV is a mechanical metric only, measured and reported on but without any further attention paid to it. For others it is tightly managed, actioned and used to determine Procurement’s effectiveness in either reducing losses or generating profit. Still for some others it isn’t even on their radar.

In my experience proactive, attentive, and detailed Purchase Price Variance (PPV) can make an incredible contribution to the profitability of a company. To ignore or downplay it is to lose sight of both the potential to drive profits and the exposure to incur losses.

What exactly is PPV, how can it be managed, and what is the strategic value of investing time and energy in this metric?

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Why $0.001 Matters!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

As the old saying goes, “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves!” This phrase, or rather the British version thereof, is attributed to William Lowndes, who lived from 1652-1724. And taking care of the penny is as true now as it was those many centuries ago.

Any savvy professional who works in Procurement or in Finance knows that this adage applies to everything they do. But it is not only the pennies that matter any more, but the fractions of a penny are just as important as ever.

Micromanaging the fractions of a penny across hundreds and thousands of skus in your inventory can add up to substantial savings, and profits, for any company astute enough to understand the opportunity.

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The Supply Chain Detective ™! In Search of Broken Supply Chain Clues!

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How can you tell if your Supply Chain is broken?  Do you need a Supply Chain Detective?

Certainly there can be obvious clues:  your CEO starts firing and hiring people, consultants are brought in, customers start leaving, or operating and financial performance suffers.

But before the situation gets to those extremes what are the clues that your Supply Chain is not working as well as it could, or should?

Supply Chain effectiveness is absolutely critical for companies in most  industries to survive, let alone succeed.  And even if your company seems successful now that is no guarantee that it will be in the future.

So detecting those clues and solving these problems is of paramount importance.

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Supply Chain Predictions!

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Predictions article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by,  Kuebix at https://www.kuebix.com

In the book, The Living Supply Chain, the authors argue that, “Speeding up the supply chain is at the root of everything that is good: improved revenue, reduced working capital, higher profitability, and less obsolete inventory. Conversely, slowing down the supply chain is at the root of everything that is bad: working capital write-offs, reduced profitability, and slowing revenues.”

To “speed” up the supply chain is to invest in change and change will come with the digital transformation of the supply chain, which is the major focus for executives in the future.

Much change in the supply chain industry will be due to innovative technologies for digital transformations, along with the recent tax reforms, and the still-current driver shortage/capacity crunch. Digital transformation of the supply chain will change everything – for the better.

Supply Chain predictions

These are the innovative technology predictions companies must use to undergo this transformation within their supply chains:

Cloud-based technology deployments lower cost of ownership due to not having a large capital expenditure on hardware and upgrades. Cloud-based solutions are ideal for any size business because they can be scaled up as your business grows and are easier to set-up and manage.

Advanced Analytics will support real-time decision making based on data captured across the supply chain. With analytics, businesses can more effectively predict and fill demand. You can also manage relationships with carriers, suppliers and customers while improving processes. Using advanced analytics in a transportation management network to look at historical traffic patterns, you can plan a truck’s route that takes into account time delays for more accurate arrival times.

Tracking and Tracing of raw materials through manufacturing to the end customer must take on Amazon-like capabilities, meaning customers will know where their orders are at any one time, just like when you order from Amazon. With track & trace, you will get deep visibility to SKU-level information from first-mile to last-mile, including the tracking of costs to better monitor transport spend. Communications with customers will be proactive instead of reactive, alerting customers if their order will be late or when it will arrive.

Supply Chain Visibility will make data collected from end-to-end across the supply chain available to all stakeholders, giving them greater control and visibility into what is happening across the enterprise. You can uncover roadblocks within your supply chain that could lead to delays in shipping.

 

Blockchain will provide interconnectivity between ledgers of supply chain trading partners, enhancing traceability of transaction history. Automating the flow of information among trading partners provides transparency and boosts efficiencies. Blockchain works with cryptocurrency to determine payment amounts, allowing drivers to be paid as they complete parts of their journey. This completely removes the transport broker from the equation, giving drivers access to quicker settlement. However, blockchain is still a technology that needs further development before it can be proved useful to some businesses.

Artificial Intelligence initiatives require specialists who are hard to find, potentially stalling any projects. AI utilizes algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning such as predicting whether a carrier will be on-time based on weather conditions and past performance.

Predictive Analytics, often combined with Artificial Intelligence, helps shippers understand, automate and optimize their supply chain processes to gain better efficiencies. Predictive analytics provides shippers with actionable intelligence and predictions to guide the decision-making process, helping you to reduce costs and optimize operations. Scorecards on carrier performance can alert shippers on which carriers can better meet their service obligations.

The Internet of Things (IoT)– More devices, from pallets to trucks will have sensors embedded to transmit status and performance data. This real-time information will be used for monitoring everything from equipment health to asset locations to order tracking and more. Advanced analytical systems use the data to uncover trends that lead to predictions and performance improvements and cost reductions.

 

Originally published on Supply Chain Game Changer on March 14, 2018.

Screen Time! Is That Enough To Be Good In Supply Chain?

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How many screens do you have?  And is your screen time?

You likely have a Cell phone or a Smart phone.  You may have a Desktop computer monitor or a Laptop, or both, between your home and your place of work.  You may have a wearable device like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch.    You may have an iPad or other type of tablet.  And your TV may even have Internet connectivity.

We are surrounded by screens and the amount of time that we spend on them is truly  remarkable.

But for those who are learning about Supply Chain, or any other profession for that matter,  is it best to acquire that learning and gain that experience just by watching screens?  Or is it better in Supply Chain to learn based on actual physical experiences and interactions?

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Putting a Shine on Supply Chain’s Image!

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For many of those who work in Supply Chain they know that there is a lot of excitement in working in this field. It’s time for putting a shine on Supply Chain’s image.

The diverse career paths and responsibilities, the involvement in most aspects of a company’s tactical and strategic activities, and the opportunity to be at the forefront of future change and technological advancements all make Supply Chain exciting.

But for many who work outside Supply Chain, who are new to the work force, or even those who work in the field there can be an outdated or tarnished image of what working in Supply Chain means.

It’s time to make everyone aware of the prospects and future opportunities in Supply Chain and putting a shine on that image.

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Differentiate With Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)!

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Differentiate with a Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Michael Massetti, Executive Partner at Gartner.

Democratic institutions around the world promote the core doctrine that all people are created equally. This is clearly not the case in the world of supplier management. All suppliers are not created equally and they should all be managed with this distinction in mind.

This article on how to differentiate with Supplier Relationship Management will look at a model for stratifying and segmenting your supply base within the confines of a structured and formal supplier relationship program (SRP).

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Digital Procurement Ecosystem Creation in 8 Minutes!

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Digital Procurement Ecosystem article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Sam Jenks at kodiakrating.com.

I was in Paris last week, touring around as people do in Paris, and visited Fondation Louis Vuitton.

If you’ve never been before and are a fan of art, architecture, and culture, I can highly recommend adding it to any future itineraries.

The museum’s collections are magnificent, and the building itself is a true masterpiece. Beyond the artwork, Fondation Louis Vuitton offers an experience to tour the multiple levels of decks that interweave themselves between the inside and the outside of the building’s structure.

On one of the decks sits a piece of artwork named “Where the Slaves Live”. It is a living organism, composed of inorganic and organic materials, forming a ‘living sculpture’ that is a small scale ecosystem- an ever-changing work of art.

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Chinese New Year: Tips to Keep Your Supply Chain Efficient! (Infographic)

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Chinese New Year article, and permission to publish here, provided by Louis at https://excelsior.ph/

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, and more and more freight companies are working on how to sustain productivity and efficiency.

For small businesses that are new to experiencing this holiday, during Chinese New Year, some China-based companies are temporarily shutting down their activities to celebrate and administer different superstitions to have a healthy and prosperous New Year.

And this is also the time of year where freight demands shoot up, prices increase, and containers easily become full making it expensive and difficult to import.

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What is MRO and Why is it Important?

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In the world of Procurement and Operations one of the phrases that you will frequently come across is “MRO”.

But many people throw around the term without truly understanding what it means, and how important it truly is for the ongoing, and successful, operation of any company.

If your production line stops dead because you are out of stock of an MRO item you will immediately develop an understanding and appreciation for this area.

So let’s try and provide some clarification.

What is MRO? And why is it important?

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