Is Lack of Real-Time Global Data Threatening Your Ability to Service Your Customers?

Is Lack of Real-Time Global Data Threatening Your Ability to Service Your Customers?

So you’ve just learned that there’s good news… and there’s bad news. First, the good news: your sales for a specialty item manufactured in-house are through the roof. In fact, they’re way over forecast. Now, the bad news. You’re short on production orders. And raw materials. And coordinating your global supply chain in a timely manner to meet your customers’ needs feels like an even taller order. This scenario is just one of many that’s all too familiar for manufacturers. So what is the real problem here? And how can you handle the constant change in your supply chains more effectively? In this blog, we’ll discuss how the lack of real-time, end-to-end data can disrupt business operations and what can be done to prevent  the “bad news” scenarios. Too Many Systems, One Major Disconnect First, consider the sheer number of systems that today’s global manufacturers rely upon to run their businesses. Often a result of internal growth or acquisitions, such systems might include everything from multiple ERPs, to CRMs, to S&OPs, to spreadsheets, and so on. The problem, however, is not simply a result of running multiple systems—it’s due to those systems not being interconnected. To make matters worse, those systems are typically not able to “talk” with external systems in their supply chain. This limited visibility, both internally and among partners’ systems, prohibits decision makers from being able to correct problems before they become serious—or conversely, respond to opportunities in the consumer and business-to-business marketplace.  The Missing Pieces Again, what’s missing from the scenario above is real-time, end-to-end visibility of actionable information that allows manufacturers to proactively respond...
Supply Chain 4.0 enabling the Digital Enterprise and Industry 4.0

Supply Chain 4.0 enabling the Digital Enterprise and Industry 4.0

The real value of the “Digital Enterprise” movement & Industry 4.0 can only be realized unless it is encompassed and orchestrated by parallel automation/Digitization of the ‘Supply Chain’ delivery mechanism. “Global supply chain flows must become increasingly digital and integrated, and end-to-end data will be driven in real-time, exponentially increasing upstream information flows and driving integration across the extended value chain”… thus the recent emergence of the “Supply Chain Management 4.0” movement. Read more in this recent research by...
The World is Flattening – Let’s Get Moving!

The World is Flattening – Let’s Get Moving!

Global flattening and the exponential advances in technology are revolutionizing the way we live and do business! This is an era where mind boggling advances in a new digital infrastructure, changes in public policy and the effects of globalization are enabling unknown companies to emerge overnight and dominate industries using information and time as competitive weapons. Thomas Friedman wrote about this in his best-selling book “The World is Flat”, as well as countless others in leading publications such as the Harvard Business Review and the Economist. It’s an undeniable fact that the new economy works across borders, languages, currencies and cultures. It’s also an inescapable fact that the dynamics of legacy supply chain processes and incumbent business relationships make it difficult to adapt to these international realities and new competitive landscape. How do you respond to globalization? For too long we have focused on traditional performance improvement areas “within the four walls” and with continually diminishing returns. We need order of magnitude, game-changing improvements, not percentage point improvements. A company’s success in the new economy is increasingly less dependent on individual performance and more dependent on the overall success of the supply chains they participate in. The supply chain that can satisfy the needs of the customer better – wins. Companies need to look outside their four walls, embrace change, embrace new technologies and eliminate the barriers throughout their extended value chain that impede the flow of information and decisions. Time is a company’s most valuable asset and those with the greatest return on time can respond quicker, out-think and out-maneuver the competition. Speed is a devastating competitive advantage...
The Refrain is the Same: Can You See Me Now?

The Refrain is the Same: Can You See Me Now?

Every year there are several surveys asking supply chain executives to rank the challenges they face. And, for as long as I can remember, supply chain visibility ranks at or near the top. This year’s reincarnation of the control tower metaphor is being applied to supply chain visibility. Can you see me now? If it’s so critical, why haven’t we implemented it? —Rich Sherman, Supply Chain Discipline Expert at Trissential The supply chain landscape is composed of many different applications and systems often within an enterprise, let alone the inclusion of the customers and suppliers required to achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility. It’s a complex functional and technical network. There are many vendors addressing the issue; after all, in many ways it represents the Holy Grail. However, the problem is that for supply chain visibility to work, many systems from many vendors are going to have to interoperate. And, which company in the supply network is going to be the “mother ship”? Your customer and supplier base are composed of competitors to one another and you’re not their only trading partner. Like them, you have competitors that are their customers and suppliers. Aha! Perhaps this is the reason that for as long as we can remember, supply visibility is the most desired yet underserved solution in supply chain. That is not to take away from the number of vendors that are providing visibility to a limited subset of the supply chain. There are some solutions in transportation, electronic transaction exchange, procurement, intra-industry collaboration, and other functional capabilities that provide control-tower-like applications. Just no one seems to be addressing a company’s entire supply chain. Well, no one except Hewlett-Packard. In contract with Vecco International, H-P defined and developed a technology agnostic collaboration platform, primarily to incorporate their supplier base...
Responsibility Lies with Leaders

Responsibility Lies with Leaders

First published in the April 2012 edition of the Lean Management Journal (LMJ) and republished here with permission. When it comes to sustainably and profitably growing an organisation in the face of changing market conditions, Roddy Martin identifies various ‘disconnects’ within these initiatives. To understand and manage these disconnects, a four-layer management system must be well understood by executive leadership teams: Systems of Control, Systems of Record, Systems of Process and Systems of Venture and Sufficiency. Another disconnect is IT’s role within these four layers in order to collaborate, not hinder the process. Roddy explains how executive leadership teams can overcome these hurdles. Roddy Martin proposes a four-layer management system model and explains why alignment between these four layers is so critical. As continuous improvement and supply chain performance improvement practitioners, we know that aligning business operating strategy and business performance improvements, and building end-to-end supply chain capabilities to achieve competitive advantage, are merging to achieve one goal: To grow sustainably and profitably while weathering the dynamics of market change. In reality, however, ‘disconnects’ and ‘project-based approaches’ in these initiatives highlight cross-functional gaps that stand in the way of collaboratively building an end-to-end business with demand-driven process capabilities. “Disconnects” are characterised in the following leadership questions: What is the challenge involved in translating and aligning the business operating strategy into end-to-end business processes and supply chain design, and in achieving sustainable performance improvement capabilities by aligning with continuous improvement? What factors are in the way of aligning and synchronising IT with business and supply chain transformation? How is leading and managing the transformational change embedded into every maturity stage...
2015 Supplier Collaboration Requirements

2015 Supplier Collaboration Requirements

Business Is Changing – FAST In today’s fast-moving and highly interdependent global marketplace, companies are increasingly reliant on complex networks of trading partners, suppliers and outsource service providers to succeed. How effective they are at getting their partners to work together as a seamless, high-performing value chain will ultimately determine customer satisfaction, business performance and value. Tomorrow’s leaders will transform their extended supply chain into a highly responsive business network of synchronized partners focused on a common objective of satisfying customers better than anyone else. They will be able to sense change faster, adapt faster, innovate faster and deliver what the market is demanding before their competition has time to react. To accomplish such transformation however, requires new software technology platforms and applications specifically designed to address multi-enterprise business collaboration. Yesterday’s Software Will Not Solve Today’s Problems Software designed to manage operations within an enterprise cannot be extended to solve the collaborative problems across a network of business partners. The truly integrated business network requires a completely different architecture and set of technologies to support real-time event driven visibility, collaboration and business process execution necessary to react quickly and solve multi-partner supply and fulfillment challenges. Today’s Collaboration Software Must support a new competitive paradigm. The future success of a company will be dictated less by individual effort and more by its ability to be a valued participant in a number of successful supply chains. Will have to support a virtual supply chain, with complex multi-partner business processes, that is continually evolving with market demands. Requires new technology with flexible architectures and federated data models to enable multi-tier collaborative business...