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.
Attacking just a single element of inventory has, in our experience and observation, proven to be an insufficient approach to making significant, sustainable changes. The entire ecosystem of processes, variables, and stakeholders requires taking a holistic approach enlisting a variety of tools and techniques (eg. lean inventory management) to drive game changing inventory performance.
Given the breadth, depth and complexity of the Inventory Turnover management ecosystem it is not surprising that there is much to be addressed in this area. We’ve captured much of this in our article Featuring our Top 10 Inventory Management articles.
In this blog article we’ve captured much of this content in a single Infographic
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
Everyone knows that the demographics of the Supply Chain industry are changing, and Supply Chain is becoming younger. They have to. Within a few years, demographers estimate that 400,000 baby boomers will be retiring in Canada every year.
Within the Supply Chain industry, the looming – and in fact, already-started – retirement of baby boomers and shifting job responsibilities brought about by technology are creating a talent crisis.
The Supply Chain function within your company has many responsibilities. From planning to negotiating to buying, from moving goods to processing goods, and from managing data to managing inventory. These responsibilities are at the core of making your company run. But is Supply Chain a Cost Centre or a Value Creator?
Yet often the Supply Chain is undervalued. While every function must help your company grow and prosper when the heat is on uninformed Executives can view Supply Chain as merely a Cost Centre. As such there can be unrelenting pressure to continue to cut costs.
Why is Supply Chain often undervalued? And how do you increase the value of Supply Chain in the eyes of your Executives and other functions?
Hurricanes! Earthquakes! Terrorist Attacks! Train Derailments! War!Fire! Cyber Attacks! Every one is a disaster.
You see it in the news every minute of every hour of every day. Either some natural disaster or some man made despicable act has occurred somewhere on the planet. The result is death, destruction and disruption.
Everyone is trying to pick up the pieces. They are trying to figure out what has happened, how to come to grips with the catastrophic results, and how to get things going again.
Depending on what the disaster is people can be struggling to know where they can get the basics such as food, water and shelter.
This is where the Supply Chain must kick in to gear!
For busy executives, being active on social media and leveraging social media tips is kind of like networking. It’s one of those things that everyone says you absolutely have to do to benefit your career, but it’s hard to make it part of your daily routine.
Let’s be honest: it’s even harder for those who came of age before social media became ubiquitous. It can be tough to pin down what channels you should be on, what you should be posting, and the specific ways that a strong social media presence will bolster your career.