Value Stream Mapping the Future State Process!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

We had completed value stream mapping the current state processes across some very significant business processes in the company.  It took a fair amount of time even though we had the active involvement of subject matter experts and leaders from every functional organization.

When all was said and done the current state involved hundreds of process steps, almost 200 pain points, and dozens of iterative, repetitive loops.  The company was just being introduced to Lean process improvement techniques.  And as challenging as it was to reach a common understanding of what the current processes were the difficult part was about to start.

How were we going to define and map the Future State process?

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The Complexities of Being a Small Retailer! (Infographic)

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Small retailer article and infographic provided by, and permission to publish here provided by, Patrick Thuot at storetraffic.com.

The advent of the internet and the growth of multiple chain stores means that small and independent retailers now face a number of challenges to their survival.

However, it’s not all bad news. Over the past five years, the small specialty retail store sector in the US have grown by 1% to reach revenue of $41 billion in 2018.

So, it’s clear that there is plenty of opportunity to not just survive but thrive.

This infographic from Storetraffic looks at some of the complexities of being an independent retailer and offers a comprehensive survival guide for 2019. 

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The Amazing Supply Chain of Your Morning Coffee!

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Coffee article written by Julia Severins and originally published on http://allthingssupplychain.com  .  Permission to publish provided by David Weaver.

Even though modern coffee machines offer an attractive variety of caffeinated drinks like cappuccino or latte macchiato, for me it is a simple cup of black coffee that helps kick-start my productivity when the clock strikes 8 am.

This “kick-start”, or boost aspect of coffee was randomly discovered between the sixth and the ninth century. A widespread tale sets the scene in the kingdom of Kaffa, in Abyssinia – which today is Ethiopia – where a shepherd one day observed that his sheep were unusually cheerful after eating white blossoms and red cherries from a previously unknown plant. Further, it is said that the shepherd told monks from the nearby monastery about his new discovery, but they tagged the beans as “Devil´s work” and hurled them into a fire. The delicious smell that rose from the pit of the fire brought on the idea of roasting the beans.

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The Future of E-Commerce! (Infographic)

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Future of E-Commerce article created for Supply Chain Game Changer by Josh Wardini.  Infographic originally published by Subscriptionly at https://subscriptionly.net

Thanks to digital technology we can carry out commercial transactions online. We can buy and sell items or services, pay bills, make orders, and so much more.

Online enterprises are heavily relying on this commodity. This is why we have numerous online businesses nowadays.

The infographic below from Subscriptionly will inform you about the current and future tech trends that will influence the ecommerce sector. Some of the main trends are as follows.

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™! An Interview with Paul Kretz, Head of SCM at Church & Dwight!

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Paul Kretz
Paul Kretz, SCM at Church & Dwight

At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series at Supply Chain Game Changer.  This interview is with Paul Kretz, Head of SCM at Church and Dwight.

I first met Paul at Celestica.  He left to purse other interests but our paths crossed again later on.  I was at a company that had just implemented a new WMS system in the Distribution Centre.  The system cutover  was a disaster.  And the operation had been run without true Warehouse Management experience as well.  As I looked to recruit a new leader I was looking for a someone who could lead change.

I toured my final two candidates through the Distribution Centre, including Paul.  Their reactions would help me decide who to select.  The other person seemed overwhelmed and lost while looking at the mess in the warehouse.  It wasn’t clear what they would do.  Paul looked at the disastrous situation like a kid in a candy store.  He saw opportunity at every turn.  And instead of  being intimidated by the situation Paul was motivated and inspired.  I found my leader!

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Complexity in the Retail Supply Chain!

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As consumers the complexity in the retail supply chain is usually oblivious to us. We go to the store and pick up the goods that we want. Or we order goods online from our devices at home, in the office, or anywhere for that matter. We consume the items, returning them if necessary, unaware of all of the work that went into making those goods available to us.

A phenomenal amount of activity goes on behind the scenes to make this experience as seamless as possible. I am not saying that it always goes smoothly. Sometimes items are broken. They are late. Or there is some other issue.

But behind the curtain that is Retail there are a lot of people managing a lot of processes and dealing with a lot of complexity earnestly trying to make your goods available to you.

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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.

Lessons from the Edge of the Abyss! Surviving a System Implementation!

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The company I had just joined was nearing the finish line on the implementation of a new WMS system.  They had been working on the system change for a few years.  Now implementation was only a few months away.  There were going to be lessons from the edge of this experience.

As the implementation date drew closer one of the key Warehouse management leaders, heading the project from the beginning, left the company.  We forged ahead and implemented the system on April 1st.  That’s right, April 1st!

And that’s when the “fun” began!

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Multichannel vs Omnichannel Fulfillment Solutions!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

“Omnichannel” is certainly the prevalent phrase in the E-Commerce arena.  The expectation in an Omnichannel Fulfillment world is that a customer can order what they want, when they want, on whatever device they want, and have it delivered how they want.

The physical delivery part of the Omnichannel expectation can be very elusive.  Many companies claim that they are Omnichannel service providers.  But are they really?

How many E-Commerce Fulfillment options are there?  And how many do you provide in your company?

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What is a Multichannel Distribution Management System?

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Multichannel Distribution article originally published at and permission to publish here provided by tenfold.com.

Many businesses begin with single-channel distribution. That sole channel could be a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce website. In either case, all sales flow through one outlet.

The advantage of a single-channel distribution management system is simplicity. There’s only one channel to manage, one channel to stock, and one channel to market to customers. As a business expands, however, the single-channel model can limit growth.

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Introducing Lean In Retail … Start in the Backroom!

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The Retail company I had just joined was undergoing a massive transformation.  Fundamentally the new merchandising strategy was to curate a dramatically different set of products from that which was carried historically, but in addition to what was carried historically.  What did this mean for the backroom in every store?

This meant that an enormous number of the business processes had to be transformed to support the new product set because management of the new merchandise required much different capabilities in all aspects of running a retail company.  Not only did this transformation require new capabilities but it also required  improvements to productivity and efficiency throughout the company.  And overall this meant a need for cultural change.

I decided that I would introduce Lean process improvement techniques to this company.

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From Click to Ship in 4 Minutes! Ultimate Principles for World Class Fulfillment!

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The capability we had in E-Commerce order fulfillment was rather basic.  We had employees manually pushing carts up and down standard warehouse racking aisles picking goods off of shelves.  And when they had completed an order or a set of orders they would then push the entire cart back to a centralized order packing station.

As a Supply Chain Services company we needed a dramatically better capability if we were wanted to have customers trust their growing E-Commerce business with us.  Pushing carts around a warehouse is both inefficient and lacks innovation.

We had to go back to the drawing board.  But in doing so we would end up with a World Class solution!

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To DC Or Not To DC? That is the Warehouse Design Question!

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The fast growing E-Commerce channel makes it an attractive avenue for most companies to participate in.  The tremendous amount of investment required to participate in online product sales requires explicit decision making as to how a company is going to fulfill those orders.  You need a warehouse design strategy to provide your fulfillment solution.

The E-Commerce Fulfillment solution you choose must take into account your customer’s demands, your competitive pressures, and the financial constraints that most companies have to deal with.

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Why Millennials are Different and How Marketers can Engage Them!

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Millennials are different infographic provided by Steve Hashman, Director Exponential Solutions at (The Cube) Marketing at https://www.cubemc.com

Understanding your Customer is the first and most important consideration in designing, defining and refining your company and your go to market business model.

In the Retail sector one key demographic that demands consideration is that group called Millennials.  Whether it be Marketing, Merchandising, Supply Chain, or any other aspect of your Go to Market experience understanding what is important to Millennials is critically important.

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The Omni-channel Approach to Customer Experience!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

Customer experience article originally published at, and permission to publish here provided by Karl Crisostomo at tenfold.com

In the last decade, the growing adoption of ecommerce has been swift–and ruthless. Huge retail market players like Best Buy and Toys R’ Us are shutting down huge chunks of their physical locations due to plummeting revenue. Not only is this a result of not embracing ecommerce early in its wave, they are also now competing with ecommerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba who sell the same or competing products online.

Traffic drought in physical stores could be attributed to the rising number of purchases made over the internet for certain customer and product segments. For some, the revenue drop is significant. And yet another part of the challenge big box retailers face as publicly traded companies is that they have to answer to their investors–and with ecommerce delivering superior results, the patience afforded to big box retailers is just not as generous.

So, where does the success of ecommerce lie?

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