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It’s 11PM – Do You Know Where Your Shipments Are?

Posted by Bryce Boothby     May 28, 2021 3:11:00 PM

The title paraphrases a common nighttime message from my youth. Just before signing off, television stations would ask their viewers: It’s 11pm…Do you know where your children are? It reminds me of a common problem we share in managing our supply chains. We don’t often know the real-time whereabouts of shipments.

Why might that be the case? After all, delivery status updates are ubiquitous. eCommerce merchants email and SMS the order confirmation, shipment date, interim tracking progress at each leg, and now even predict within hours when a parcel will arrive at your front door. Others do less, providing only the tracking number and leaving it up to the customer to check with the carrier on the status of their package.

You may be thinking, “that’s a B2C need, not B2B.” Think again. Two months ago, the massive container ship Ever Given held up over 300 ships for six days after getting stuck on the Suez Canal. If you had a shipment on that or any of those affected ships, how prepared would you have been to know the status and adjust your supply chains and customer expectations to keep them running with minimal disruption?

The unfortunate reality is many companies can’t do this.

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4 FAQs About Supply Chain Control Towers

Posted by Sophia Shats     Mar 22, 2021 1:58:04 PM

You’ve likely heard it said countless times: Ask 100 people to define supply chain Control Towers and you’ll get 100 different answers. With a wide array of Control Tower solutions on the market, each with their own capabilities and differentiators, it can be challenging to decide which is the right fit and how to sell it internally. There are also many ways to implement a solution, so even after purchase, your strategic work has only begun.

Inspired by a recent conversation between principal Nucleus Research analyst, Andrew MacMillen and Alkimius founder and CEO, Mauro Gonzalez, here are some frequently asked questions we encounter on the topic, as echoed in some of their discussions.

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5 Major Misconceptions About Perfect Order Fulfillment

Posted by Sophia Shats     Sep 28, 2020 2:52:35 PM

Whatever the business, perfect order fulfillment is the ultimate aim for any supply chain practitioner. That means delivering on-time and in-full (OTIF) to customers as cost effectively as possible.

This is no secret, and every business is obviously working to achieve a highly effective supply chain strategy that builds customer loyalty while maximizing sales. The problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in what others are doing or define progress through misleading metrics.

Let’s demystify some of the most common misconceptions about the perfect order.

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For Shippers, Dynamic Invoice Matching May Yield a 10% Boost to the Bottom Line

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     Aug 3, 2020 4:48:32 PM

The invoice matching process is typically associated with accuracy. A supply chain business partner performs a service, and the invoice they submit should correctly reflect what was delivered in that agreed upon service.

While it sounds simple enough, times have changed. In today’s complex, global supply chain, operations don’t always go as planned. Logistics service providers frequently encounter delays and unforeseen events that incur charges and ultimately alter the scope of the original estimate of costs.

Current technology enables supply chain software to move beyond simpler paradigms, helping shippers save precious time and already thinning margins.

Let’s take a look at the difference between static and dynamic invoice matching, which can offer shippers a 10 – 15% boost to the bottom line of freight and logistics cost.

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What Does Control Look Like in the Era of Disruption?

Posted by Sophia Shats     Jul 20, 2020 4:06:19 PM

There’s a lot of talk about supply chain resiliency, but what does that really mean in a practical sense?

While the pandemic is an extreme and unprecedented example, disruption has many faces – from daily exceptions to lasting and impactful events, like tariffs and natural disasters.

The first and most practical step all businesses must take to bolster their supply chain resiliency is to invest in a Control Tower and Visibility solution. Yet options vary widely, and few have the necessary capabilities to identify all the costs and constraints within the supply chain. Few deliver the control needed to coordinate and execute across a supply chain network during the most uncertain and vulnerable times.

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3 Ways a Control Tower Can Help You Recover Revenues & Resilience

Posted by Vijay Natarajan     Jun 1, 2020 4:15:21 PM

Supply chains have never been more exposed to uncertainty and disruption. Businesses are turning to Control Towers to secure the visibility they need to stay better informed, connected, and resilient as revenues drop and many supply chain partnerships become less viable.

However, while Control Towers certainly offer greater efficiency and agility, many practitioners and buyers don’t realize just how much they vary in their breadth and depth.

Here we’ll explore three unexpected ways that Control Towers can offer incredible flexibility and financial returns.

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The Hard Economics of Justifying a Supply Chain Digital Transformation

Posted by Bryce Boothby     May 4, 2020 3:50:09 PM

There have been countless times throughout my career where I was either a recommender or approver of significant IT projects. And, I must say, I have always experienced a prevailing attitude among senior management that these transformations are black holes and money pits.

I believe many (if not most) companies still feel this way. Why? There is a litany of cautionary tales: From Hershey’s widely reported $100 million failed ERP implementation in 2015 to our own personal stories. I’ve seen businesses engage consulting firms only to give up about six months in after slow progress and skyrocketing costs; I’ve witnessed first-hand how a $15 million project ballooned to $40 million before it was even finished.

Let’s talk about why this happens and what can be done about it.

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Time for Plan B: How Supply Chains Can Avoid the Mad Scramble of Disruption

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Apr 6, 2020 2:53:32 PM

The famous idiom “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” couldn’t be more appropriate these days. Supply chain management platforms deal with hypothetical and predictive constraints as part of their solve for uninterrupted results. But unexpected and exceptional events can trigger wildly adverse repercussions even with contingency baked into operational plans.

The Coronavirus – among other upsets, like tariffs – has supply chains scrambling for business network alternatives and “loophole engineering” (similar to what automakers have been doing for years). More than anything else, they’re grappling with the consequences of yesterday’s bad decisions. (It happens). While the focus now is to get things back on track in the short-term, businesses must also start acknowledging the new big picture. It’s time to adopt a platform that is more flexible and therefore resilient to today’s and tomorrow’s upsets.

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Why Is Supply Chain Visibility Gaining Momentum?

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     Jan 13, 2020 1:02:09 PM

Supply chain visibility has always been important. Yet, in 2017, improving end-to-end supply chain visibility only ranked 6th as a top objective, according to Geodis’ Supply Chain Worldwide Survey. It didn’t take long for practitioners to begin seeing the capability as a fundamental necessity and not just a tool that would be ‘nice to have.’ In fact, responders to Gartner’s latest SCM Technology User Wants and Needs Study named end-to-end visibility as their top funded initiative.

So, what’s suddenly motivating companies to prioritize this capability?

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3 Core Aspects of ‘Control’ All Digital Supply Chain Control Towers Should Have

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     Dec 9, 2019 3:55:27 PM

Digital supply chain Control Towers are invaluable for helping multi-enterprise business networks better collaborate, improve efficiency, and cut costs. They can, however, vary greatly in the depth and degree of what they actually ‘control’ and how much direct actionability you derive from them.

Here is a brief overview of the core elements of control a digital supply chain Control Tower should have.

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3 Buzzwords to Be Wary of & Why a Dose of Skepticism Is a Good Idea

Posted by Sophia Shats     Aug 20, 2019 9:15:33 AM

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed that the industry is saturated with certain jargon. These ‘buzzwords’ soar to fashionable stardom and contain a certain, undeniable ring that excites hope the way a Pavlovian bell triggers hungry pups to salivate. These words are plastered everywhere: proselytized as a panacea for all, and they’re quick to become the staple of everyone’s brand – though everyone seems to define them differently.

If you’ve been buying into them, fear not. You’re not a dilettante and you’re far from alone. Hope and utopia are powerful platforms to run on, and in this increasingly complex and pressure-filled moment that’s glutted with choice, it’s absolutely understandable to want an easy, shiny answer to your biggest problems.

While not all answers are necessarily easy, getting down to the root of where buzzwords have gone astray can be. Here are a few of the most salient examples of jargon-gone-awry and how to see through the fluff.

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A Brief Guide to Selecting the Ideal Supply Chain Control Tower Solution

Posted by Sophia Shats     Jul 30, 2019 8:38:58 AM

Mention ‘supply chain Control Tower solution’ to anyone in the industry and they’ll nod in recognition. Ask anyone to define it and you’re likely to get a slightly different answer from nearly every person you ask. Why is that?

Software providers often latch the term onto different capabilities, depending on what sector or area of the supply chain they’re intending to address. Moreover, most control tower solutions simply provide visibility and leave much to be desired about control, or actionability. They show users what’s going on (often in a limited scope of the supply chain) and if any corrective actions need to be taken, users tend to have to log in elsewhere to execute them. This also means that your corrective actions are only as good, timely, informed, and comprehensive as the system through which you’re mediating.

With all the technology being promoted, it’s incredibly challenging for companies to effectively weed through the noise and find a robust solution that will actually help with its full range of needs. Here’s a quick and practical guide to simplify the process.

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Can the Software Providers Do What They Say? Put the Finalists Through the Paces. (VI)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Jul 2, 2019 9:13:07 AM

Up until now, the process of choosing software providers has been all talk. As thorough as your due diligence may be, there’s always the possibility that what a prospective vender claims they can do does not ultimately align with what you’ve imagined. Moreover, if you’re hedging your bets on innovators, you want to do everything you can to minimize risk and go into the partnership confident that you’ve made a sound choice.

There are two ways to accomplish that: by checking references and conducting a live demo stress test.

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In 2018 We Established That Supply Chain Collaboration Is Important — Now What?

Posted by Peter Nilsson     Jan 4, 2019 10:24:44 AM

At the beginning of last year, we asked the question: Is 2018 the Year of Supply Chain Networks? We have since established that the answer is not only a resounding yes, but that these growing ecosystems now have a name: multi-enterprise supply chain business networks. They have become such a prominent staple of the industry that Gartner recognized them with a dedicated Magic Quadrant. Toward the end of the year, we ruminated on Why Multi-Enterprise Business Networks Add Value & How to Choose Wisely, which began to touch upon two important queries posed in the former article: What’s the best way to build and connect these networks? And what considerations should we take into account?

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3 Vital Mistakes That Impede Global Supply Chain Success

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     Dec 4, 2018 3:42:39 PM

Growth, global expansion, and building complex networks of partnerships are a boon to businesses, but they also come at a price. Greater complexity invites greater risk and room for error, and if companies aren’t careful, they may easily enter into unwieldy processes and systems that are ineffective and inefficient.

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