Procurement Terminology is a Mess!

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

From one Procurement organization to the next, terminology differs.

Of course, it’s impossible to expect that every company would work within the exact same framework of understanding and messaging, but the lack of being able to communicate can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.

Procurement is a function, that is undergoing transformation; technologically and ideologically.

With change comes new methods of communicating. RFPs become RFSs (Requests for Solution), and people speak less about TCO and more about TVO (Total Value of Ownership).

Language has a funny way of working. Communication, verbal and non-verbal, is the thing that brings us together as humans and as collaborators in business. But, it’s also the very thing that can create a sense of otherness, confusion or disdain.

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The Disintermediation of the Supply Chain!

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What is disintermediation?

Most definitions of disintermediation characterize it as the elimination of intermediaries, or “cutting out the middleman“.

Further consider that the “Wastes” associated with Lean thinking and principles include transportation, inventory, over production and motion amongst others. Eliminating these wastes is critical for peak performance.

Why is this relevant?

A truly efficient and effective Supply Chain must include a strategy, plans, business processes, and performance metrics that incorporate disintermediation and the elimination of waste!

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Resilience is the New Critical Supply Chain Strategy!

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Resilience article and permission to publish here provided by Sam White at Argentus.

As everyone in Supply Chain Management knows today, the field has come a long way. It’s something we’ve written about a lot on the Argentus Blog. The function – which used to be a back-office, administrative task – has evolved to become a major seat of strategic profitability and brand within companies.

For the majority of Supply Chain’s history, this evolution has been driven by a knack for finding efficiency. Companies have leveraged digital tools, and evolving skills, to collect vast data about product or raw materials sourcing, transportation, logistics, and manufacturing.

They’ve hired strategic Supply Chain professionals who can turn this data into actionable intelligence, and redesign the supplier, production, and transportation network to get products to market quicker and cheaper. They use advanced ERP software and S&OP strategy to match supply with demand, and turn over inventory faster and faster. “Just-in-time” production has become a hallmark of today’s Supply Chains.

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Joe Carson, CEO Spend Strategies, LLC!

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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 Joe Carson, CEO and Founder of Spend Strategies, LLC.

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Why is Supply Chain Such a Great Career Path?

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When I started my career the term “Supply Chain” had just been coined. As such it was many years before I actually heard of the term “Supply Chain Management”.

Regardless I pursued my interests and took on an increasingly diverse set of progressive jobs as time went on. Now as I look back on my career virtually everything I did falls under the banner of Supply Chain management.

Given the phenomenal opportunities that Supply Chain offers for personal and professional growth it is a career path which I highly recommend to anyone.

What is it about Supply Chain that makes it such an appealing career path?

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7 Strategies to Improve Your Supply Chain!

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Strategies to improve your Supply Chain article and permission to publish here provided by Claire Glassman.

The supply chain is a significant part of your overall business strategy and inventory management. An effective and efficient supply chain can help your business improve customer satisfaction and money by minimizing wait times for in-demand products. In other words, it provides you with a real competitive advantage against some companies in your industry.

On the contrary, an ineffective supply chain can be a vast drain on your resources, so it’s crucial to implement some strategic solutions. This way, your supply chain will be as cost-effective and lean as possible. 

Below are some of the best strategic solutions you can consider to maximize your supply chain’s efficiency and performance:

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Waiting for Good Forecasting is a Bad Strategy!

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If you work in Business or Supply Chain you feel the results and the immense pressure caused by inaccurate forecasts. You don’t believe that good forecasting even exists.

When customer demand exceeds forecast you are scrambling to get parts and materials, to secure capacity, and to expedite the movement of goods throughout the Supply Chain. When demand falls short of forecast you are left with too much inventory, excess capacity, under-utilized resources, and profit and cash flow pressures.

If only the planning people could forecast better all would be right with the world. But waiting for better forecasts is a bad, and a lazy approach.

It is much more important to create a more robust and resilient Supply Chain to dynamically respond to any fluctuations in forecasted demand.

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Product Packaging Ideas to Reduce Costs!

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Product Packaging article and permission to publish here provided by Holly Breedon for Kolbus Autobox.

Reducing packaging costs can have a huge influence on your business’ overall profit, hence it’s worthwhile taking time to find the right packaging solution for your companies specific products and customers needs.

While it’s important to save as much money as possible in the packaging and shipping of your products, your packaging still needs to represent your business positively. Cheap or non-branded packaging can paint a negative picture immediately, with packaging being the very first thing clients see.

Here are some of the best ways to reduce your packaging costs, without having to compromise on quality… 

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Strategic National Stockpiles and Sourcing for the National Interest!

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The decision by President Trump to tell 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada and Latin America is astonishing given that all of humanity is facing the same crisis.

Supply issues started with chronic shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and food goods of all kinds. Store shelves have been emptied of the most basic items that we all take for granted.

And then it quickly evolved to shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our Healthcare professionals. The very people whose tireless efforts and personal sacrifices on the front lines of this pandemic don’t even have the basic equipment they need to do their jobs while protecting themselves and their patients.

I never knew what an N95 mask was, nor did I know that there were actually national stockpiles (now proven to be insufficient) of these masks and ventilators and other PPE.

Trump’s action with 3M raises questions for any country about what their Strategic Stockpiles should be and whether future sourcing decisions and actions should be based on parochial nationalistic needs or magnanimous global needs.

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How Can Supply Chain Students Combine Theory and Practice?

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Supply chain students article and permission to publish here provided by Alisia Stren.

Supply Chain Management, a crucial aspect of a business, is the study of the management of large quantity goods and services. This includes inventory management of raw materials and prerequisites for smooth transportation to meet demands on time and efficiently. 

Owing to the nature of the course, theoretical knowledge must be backed by practical activities to get a true sense of the nature of work and, most importantly, perform well as students navigate towards their work journey in this domain. 

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Thoughts on Future Challenges and the Strategic Direction of Supply Chain!

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In a recent interview I was asked to discuss my views on what was in store for Supply Chain in 2022, and beyond. It’s a good time to reflect on recent global events and what this should mean for the future.

A lot has happened in the last 2 years. The pandemic has disrupted and upended a lot of paradigms about how Supply Chains should be run. And the profile of Supply Chain has never been higher.

So let’s talk about the future challenges and the strategic direction of Supply Chain. A Supply Chain Renaissance has begun!

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Supply Chain Gone Viral! The Pandemic Diaries (Ebook)

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2020 will be remembered for one thing, if nothing else, the Covid-19 Coronavirus global pandemic.  

While you previously would have occasionally heard about the potential of a pandemic most of us could not have comprehended how disruptive and catastrophic a full-blown pandemic could be.   The personal, professional, and economic impacts to every aspect of our lives and society have been unprecedented.

Even when an effective vaccine is discovered and distributed it seems clear that the Coronavirus will continue to wreak havoc on our lives for some time to come.  It will be quite a while to get back to any semblance of what we used to consider normal.

Continue reading “Supply Chain Gone Viral! The Pandemic Diaries (Ebook)”

Is Covid-19 the Death of Global Supply Chains?

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Death of Global Supply Chains article and permission to publish here provided by Sam Jenks at kodiakrating.com.

Globalization has dominated as a widely practiced business strategy during the past 15–20 years.

Enter COVID19 stage left, and the world as we know it has suddenly shrunken.

As the Coronavirus’ outbreak continues, and it’s residual effects upon the global economic state have only just begun, there are a lot of questions swirling around about the future of global business, and future application of globalization strategies.

One thing we can hypothesize with a good bit of confidence… global supply chains will likely not operate in a post-COVID19 world as they did in a pre-COVID19 world.

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Offline Marketing in the Modern Age!

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Article written for Supply Chain Game Changer by, and permission to publish here provided by, Lara Douglas at Neon Signs Depot.

Everyone experiences an overload of ads daily. YouTube, Facebook, and even your email inbox are full of them.

They’re effective, and for companies, digital marketing methods are efficient. Unfortunately, that’s led many people to look past the high value of offline marketing. 

Offline marketing is crucial, and you can make it modern, effective, and efficient. 

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How to Become a Supply Chain Game Changer! RateLinx Interviews Mike Mortson!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

Ratelinx interviews article with Mike Mortson originally appeared on ratelinx.com.

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the importance of supply chain management cannot be understated. After watching customers scramble to source household toiletries and life-saving PPE, supply chains are left wondering, “What comes next?” 

As we prepare for whatever comes next, it’s clear we need leaders ready and able to reinvent the supply chain. 

“I founded a website, supplychaingamechanger.com, with the sole mission of sharing experiences and expertise for the benefit of others,” he says. “There are so many people, myself included, who have had great careers and had wonderful opportunities. I believe that it is incumbent on all of us to share those experiences to help others along their career paths.”

Here’s what Mike had to say about the present and future of supply chain in a recent interview.

“The impact of supply chain is so broad and far-reaching that any professional in the field has the opportunity to impact virtually any aspect of a company’s, or even an industry’s, performance.”

Supply Chain Is Essential for Business Success

For the modern company, supply chain management is no longer a singular, separate operation like other business functions. Instead, it’s deeply ingrained, and tied to, a company’s success. So much so that supply chain managers have a unique opportunity to greatly impact the company with their role. 

It is this opportunity, Mike says, that makes supply chain leaders “game changers” for their companies. 

“In many respects, just being a part of the supply chain makes anyone a game changer. The impact of supply chain is so broad and far-reaching that any professional in the field has the opportunity to impact virtually any aspect of a company’s, or even an industry’s, performance,” Mike says. “Supply chain reaches into planning, operations, finance, asset management, procurement, logistics, distribution, sales, marketing, I/T, executive management, third-party partnerships, and leadership of all the above. That means a supply chain professional can shape and impact the tactical and strategic direction, growth, and success of any and all aspects of a company.”

Skills that Turn Leaders into Game Changers

According to Mike, what sets true supply chain game changers apart is skills and leadership qualities that enable them to put their power to its best use.

“The skills supply chain professionals must develop and deploy in the future go far beyond just understanding the transactional mechanics of their functional operations,” Mike says.

“It is incumbent on all of us to create even more robust supply chains in the future. If we don’t learn lessons from the pandemic, we are bound to repeat the problems we have experienced, as disasters of some kind are always on the horizon.”

These skills span the gamut of operational executive requirements. Supply chain game changers must not only understand processes and think bigger when it comes to supply chain management. They must also know how to lead on a much larger, global scale. Mike says the following skills are must-haves for future supply chain leaders:

  • Applied, real-time end-to-end supply chain management expertise
  • Strategic planning and big thinking
  • Technological expertise
  • data analytics mentality
  • Risk management expertise
  • Change leadership
  • Control tower leadership
  • Holistic, global leadership
  • Business process transformation capability
  • Best practices knowledge

Having worked with professionals from dozens of countries in many industries, Mike says these skills are global and universal. “You are either a good, or great, leader or you are not. It doesn’t matter what country you come from,” Mike says. “Your personal expertise, skill, and leadership skill shine through, no matter where you were born or live.”

COVID-19 Illustrated Supply Chain Failures

With professionals in position to impact their company’s future, we need to learn from the past to reshape the future. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has certainly impacted our personal and professional lives and taught us important lessons. 

One way it has done this is by exposing the fragility of the supply chain as it currently exists (causing, for example, difficulty in purchasing, fulfilling, and delivering toilet paper and face masks). But, as much as it has illustrated failings in supply chain management, Mike believes COVID-19 has also provided an opportunity to learn and build a more robust supply chain moving forward.

“It is incumbent on all of us to create even more robust supply chains in the future,” he says. “If we don’t learn lessons from the pandemic, we are bound to repeat the problems we have experienced. Disasters of some kind are always on the horizon.”

Supply Chain Leaders Must Embrace a New Normal

Mike says one lesson from the pandemic is the importance of supply chain talent—the game changers that keep things moving. In addition, we’ve learned the need to design supply chain flexibility and speed of response. There is an even more important capability that professionals must develop: the flexibility and resiliency to take changes in stride.

To build a more resilient supply chain for the post-pandemic landscape, we must accept there is no turning back. The “New Normal” is here, and the industry must not give in to pressures to return to the way things used to be.

New Sourcing and Planning Strategies are Key

One critical part of developing resiliency is diversified sourcing. Mike says, “Companies must look beyond any single sourcing or sole sourcing strategies. By definition, they create single points of failure, which can bring down any supply chain.”

This strategy plays into a larger lesson regarding disaster planning and risk management. Rather than dust off risk management documents once a year, then file them back in a drawer, Mike says supply chain professionals must take these preparations seriously and include them in ongoing strategy.

Additionally, more attention must be paid to strategic inventory planning. Particularly as more companies adopt e-commerce channels, this is a way to remain connected to customers and keep sales alive.

Mike also expects larger supply chain overhauls as companies search for more efficient and safer means of fulfillment. For instance, he mentions “don’t touch” supply chain strategies like dropshipping, which are essential to minimizing the number of points where goods are handled and stored. More advanced outsourcing strategies might also be necessary for companies to streamline their supply chains.

“Companies must consider a more extensive outsourcing strategy,” Mike says. “For instance, I believe that engaging external service organizations providing Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) may be a more strategic way to get access to best-in-class expertise, processes, and techniques.”

The Future of Supply Chain Evolution is Digital

The transformation to a digital supply chain is crucial for success in the near future. Big data and technological advancements have already disrupted the industry on multiple fronts. But greater adoption is necessary to fully build out a digital supply chain.

“There are so many new and exciting technologies that will shape the future, and they all fall under the umbrella of the digital supply chain,” Mike says. “Blockchain, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, end-to-end digital connectivity, big data, cloud computing, machine learning, 3D printing, control towers, cybersecurity, and more.”

Automation is a key piece of the digital supply chain as well. Not just automation on the manufacturing floor, either—advanced analytics and artificial intelligence can assist businesses in automating their processes, too. 

The Time is Now to Invest in Supply Chain Technology

Mike believes control towers will also be crucial in incorporating and streamlining digital supply chain management. “Control tower proliferation should be the new normal. Control towers allow for centralized command and control, in real-time, of the entire end-to-end supply chain,” Mike says. “This is a part of the overall digital supply chain that should be a part of every company’s investment strategy.”

According to Mike, each of these separate technologies are the building blocks of the digital supply chain. And while the implementation of these investments might not be perfected for a few years, supply chain game changers will lead the charge.

“I believe this is the most exciting time to be in the supply chain. It will take decades, likely—far beyond the next five years for sure—as companies and industries figure out how to implement digital supply chain strategies. But who will be at the center of all of this, leading and architecting the future? The supply chain leader,” Mike says. “While I/T experts will develop the technologies, it is the supply chain leader who will create the big-picture vision of what the future will be and shape what is needed to be done to make that future a reality.”

Accepting Change is the Key to Future Supply Chain Success

Although the pandemic continues to create challenges, there is now enough data to examine strategies and find better solutions. With supply chain game changers ready to step up to the leadership plate and think bigger, Mike believes a brighter supply chain future is just in reach.

What’s important in the coming months and years is the ability to turn away from past strategies and accept strategic changes. These might include extensive outsourcing, inventory planning, and heightened disaster preparedness. But most of all, supply chain leaders must be prepared to invest in the capabilities and technologies required to steer supply chain management into the digital future.

Copyright © Mortson Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Originally published on March 2, 2021.