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.
Take a quick look around your home or office and you’d be hard-pressed to find a product that has not seen the inside of a truck or delivered by truck drivers at some point in its existence.
In truth, many aspects of everyday life are made possible through the supply chain industry, with trucking alone responsible for 70% of America’s freight volume by weight. This is achieved through the hard work of truck drivers, the unsung heroes of the industry, who travel 430 billion miles per year hauling 10 billion tons of goods that people all need to live.
At the end of this month, the festival of Easter will begin. Aside from the religious connotations, many people automatically associate Easter with the legend of the Easter bunny delivering chocolate Easter eggs to children. I, for one, am a big chocolate lover, so I am fascinated by this amazing supply chain.
Originally, eggs were included in ancient pagan practices and these have, to some degree, been adapted to create some Christian Easter traditions with the egg symbolizing new life. Chocolate Easter eggs are more of a modern tradition and somewhat of a substitute for the former custom of decorating Easter eggs by dyeing and painting chicken eggs in bright colors using vegetable dye or charcoal.
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.
What is the difference between Logistics and Distribution?
On the surface some people may consider them synonymous. Without consulting a dictionary both Logistics and Distribution suggest imagery involving the movement of goods.
But to anyone who works in Supply Chain, in particular with a title including either the term Logistics or Distribution, or if you work in a Distribution Centre or for a Logistics company, then there are distinct differences between these words.
Gartner recently announced their Top 25 Supply Chains List. I always find it interesting to see the list, to see who came out on top, and to hear what their views are on prevailing trends.
But as I review the list, compare it to prior years, and consider the scoring methodology I do wonder whether the list in its current form continues to be relevant for identifying the best of the Supply Chain.
Lots of things are happening in Supply Chain Management! Is Supply Chain immune from fake news?
The field is becoming more digital, with end-to-end planning and blockchain technologies transforming the way products are coming to market. It’s becoming more strategic, as companies integrate their Supply Chains and use them as a source of competitive advantage – instead of just a back-office function.
Larger societal changes are affecting the way companies are planning their Supply Chains of the future – everything from the looming arrival of driverless cars, to consumers’ demands that companies be more socially responsible. And the prevailing use of the term “Fake News“.
E-commerce has changed the game of how parcels are transported and delivered to customers with the expectations of same day vs next day delivery.
With the help of advanced technology, the days have become shorter. We no longer have to wait for the sun to rise and set a few times before we receive that box of meat pie that’s probably not safe to eat anymore.
What once felt as if a pack mule was used to deliver a package, now seems like a teleportation device is involved in the delivery.
Both Logistics and the wider Supply Chain are vital to how companies run today, but the two are still so often confused. We put together an Infographic outlining some of the key differences and points of overlap between them.
While it may be an obvious distinction to many pros across the field, there’s still a lot of ambiguity – sometimes within companies, as well – about what constitutes Logistic Management, and what constitutes Supply Chain Management. As a recruitment firm with over a decade of experience specialized in this area, we figure we’d weigh in!
The trading industry has grown over the years in different areas of the business world, especially in how it affected the online community’s ability to market different products. The importing and exporting business is still the most lucrative industry anyone could venture into.
Aside from the full range of goods to choose from, playing a critical role as an importer/exporter can help you generate anywhere from a few thousand to millions of dollars monthly in revenue.
Anywhere you go anywhere in the world you will find truck drivers delivering goods. Roads and highways are filled with trucks of all shapes sizes. Tractor trailers of all configurations are everywhere on the roads.
If you are driving a car you may be annoyed by all of these trucks. Or if you are an environmentalist you may be concerned by the fuel consumption of these behemoths.
But the reality is that these truck drivers are the backbone of our societies and our economies. They deliver the goods that we need to live the lives that we enjoy. Without them the economy would stop and life as we know it would not be the same.
Truck drivers are truly the unsung heroes of the Supply Chain!
Free shipping is an effective but sometimes costly sales tool. Is it possible for companies to achieve profitable free shipping?
Case studies show that free shipping increases sales, order volume, and conversion rate. Since 60% of shoppers prioritize free shipping and 81% research multiple websites before purchasing, this perk can be the determining factor between someone buying from you or your competitor.
In going door to door trying to sell a Freight Management service, as well as in my experience working in companies, I have had the opportunity to see a variety of ways in which companies, large and small, were managing their Freight and Logistics spend.
Most everyone felt they were doing a good job already. But I’ve seen instances where Freight is one of the top 5 largest expenses within a company. Yet it is managed by one or two people, with no support, and no visibility from upper management.
Depending on the industry your transportation spend can make up anywhere from 1-10% of your company’s total revenue. Aside from the cost impact the service implications of a poor Freight management system are enormous.
So do you have a strategy for managing Freight and Logistics or are you spinning your wheels?
The Supply Chain touches all of our lives whether it be in business or personally. No matter what industry you are in or are touched by, all involve the movement of goods, services, and information. So the most efficient functioning of the Supply Chain affects us all. And it affects us in every aspect of our lives whether we are consumers, employees, or business leaders.
With a career spent in Supply Chain I’ve seen many ways of performing the processes involved in managing the Supply Chain. Many of these processes are highly efficient. Yet many more are highly inefficient. Regardless, everyone strives to improve the way things are done. And every experience has been an opportunity for growth.
In this blog I’d like to share my experiences, and those of others, in improving, working in, managing in and being managed by the Supply Chain.
There have been some remarkable achievements and there have been some missteps along the way. However there are lessons to be learned and experiences to be shared in every case. And I hope that this learning and shared experience will be of value as you seek to improve the Supply Chain you are a part of.
On top of that we want to share anything and everything related to Leadership, Change Management, Technology, Procurement, Purchasing, Distribution, Logistics, and much, much more.
Overall Supply Chain Game Changer can serve you as a guide as you do your jobs and as you progress through your career. The issues and challenges that you face will be different for everyone on any given day. There is something for everyone in Supply Chain Game Changer.
Additionally I invite you to comment and send me content. By learning, not only from successes but from failures, we will all be better going forward. There is a wonderful world of people and experiences that we can all learn from.
So again I welcome you to the Supply Chain Game Changer™ blog.