When I began my career there was no such thing as “Supply Chain Management“. Supply Chain was not a title to be found anywhere on any organization chart.
Yet all of the functions that we now associate with Supply Chain have been around for a very long time: Planning, Inventory Management, Logistics, Procurement and Purchasing, Warehousing and many more.
Last week I wrote about how my client was reverting back to a vendor-centric approach to drive increased adoption and usage of their products, instead of a customer centric approach.
As we looked to develop the playbook to support their channel partners in the integration of the products, as well as enabling them to sell, train, deploy and support their customers in the usage of the solutions, we fell upon an unlikely analogy; a first date.
What would a vendor-centric versus a customer-centric approach look like on a first date between the vendor and the customer?
It’s an exciting time to be involved in the Supply Chain and for Supply Chain jobs. Across every industry, every geography and every country there are advances in Technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and more.
But none of this can function without Supply Chain professionals. Your expertise and experience are the backbone of developing the strategies and action plans for making these evolutionary and revolutionary improvements .
Several years ago my Granddaughter asked me to load FarmVille 2 – Country Escape on my iPad. She was playing it and she wanted me to be able to play it together with her. I eagerly obliged!
I don’t really play any other video games but Farmville caught my attention. First and foremost was my Granddaughter’s desire to do this with me. But I also found that the ability to grow your Farm by adding capabilities and features, by controlling the way in which you buy and sell things, and managing your inventory levels of all of the materials was both fun and interesting.
And then I realized it. In playing FarmVille I was really just managing a digital Supply Chain!
The theory is simple! If you can increase spend levels through centralized spend aggregation across entities then you increase your leverage in negotiations. This leverage should translate to lower costs and better terms and conditions. But there is a spend aggregation obstacle course to be overcome first.
These entities may be different departments or facilities within your own company. They may be different companies under common ownership. They may be disparate companies within an industry. Or they may be unrelated companies spanning many industries.
The benefits seem clear. So why is there so much resistance when it comes to trying to aggregate spend across these entities?
In shipping and logistics, building strong relationships with your freight or carrier company is often underestimated. Whether you have a small or big contract, a long-lasting freight partnership with a company you trust is critical, especially when your business’s logistics is on the line.
Moreover, finding a reputable freight company that ticks all the boxes of what you’re looking for can often be a considerable challenge.
Indirect procurement of goods and services can be one of the largest areas of expenditure in any company. And the operational impact that the provision of Indirect goods and services can have on a company can be significant, either positively or negatively.
Yet the lack of attention and focus that Indirect Procurement is often given is inconsistent with the true importance of this area. Indirect Procurement takes a back seat to Direct Procurement unfortunately.
Everywhere you turn there is talk of a lot of very exciting technologies requiring Supply Chain investment. The Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR), Drones and Autonomous Vehicles, Robotics, Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Analytics are front and centre.
And all of these technologies have applicability for the Supply Chain in every business and in every industry around the world. The Digital Supply Chain vision is within our line of sight.
But most companies are still working with the same, manual, non-automated Supply Chains that they have had for at least the last decade. And they will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. They are faced with challenges which are going to impede technology investments to advance their Supply Chains going forward.
Doing business with suppliers located overseas or in another country can be an overwhelming and daunting task even for expert Sourcing professionals. But what if you considered Outsourcing Sourcing?
Recently a friend of mine asked me to have lunch with him and one of his associates. The other gentleman had invented a new product. He had a marketing plan. He knew what his cost point had to be on the product which meant that he had to have the product manufactured overseas.
But beyond that he had no idea on where to start to source his product.
For his entire career my Father worked in the field of Procurement. But the job titles that he had during his career alternatively included either the word Procurement or the word Purchasing. I seem to recall that one of his business cards included both words.
When I was young I thought I had a somewhat clearer understanding of what my Dad’s Purchasing job was. His job involved buying, negotiating, contracts, overseas travel, sourcing, suppliers, parts, services, managing, supplier qualification, product qualification, terms and conditions, quality issues and delivery problems.
But was that Procurement or was it Purchasing? Procurement sounded like a somewhat loftier and more sophisticated word than Purchasing but by the same token it also seemed like they were synonymous and interchangeable terms.
What exactly is Procurement? And what is Purchasing?
As we continue on in our 4th year here at Supply Chain Game Changer we have realized some exciting milestones.
We have exceeded 3 million views across the Website, LinkedIn and Twitter. We have had over 100 guest contributors to our site supporting our goal of sharing experiences and expertise. And we have now published over 500 articles since our inception.
Continuing in our tradition of years past we present here our Top 10 articles for the first half of 2020. As everyone knows the globe has been immersed in all things related to and impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve written several articles with respect to the pandemic and the associated impacts on the Supply Chain, some of which are reproduced here.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Here’s our list of our Top 10 articles of 2020, so far:
As we come to the end of our 4th year here at Supply Chain Game Changer we have realized some exciting milestones.
With over 4 million views across the Website, LinkedIn and Twitter our content has continued to be highly recognized. The site is viewed as a key influencer platform in the arenas of Supply Chain, Logistics, Procurement and Management. It is a must read place source for Professionals, Students and Experts alike. We have now published over 600 articles since our inception along with 3 Ebooks.
Continuing in our tradition of years past we present here our 2020 Top 10 List Part 2. As the globe continues to struggle with the Coronavirus pandemic we’ve written many several articles with respect to the pandemic and its repercussions and the future.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Here’s our list of our Top 10 articles of 2020, for the second half of the year:
For a considerable portion of my career I have worked in the Manufacturing and Logistics/Distribution Industries. In these industries a segment of the Procurement organization is called Commodity Management, not Category Management.
However when I entered the Retail industry the group largely responsible for Procurement, amongst other things, was called Category Management.
At its core each group was procuring goods. But while there were shared responsibilities there were also key differences.