We live in a highly demanding time. Customers want more, better, faster, and cheaper. Competition is steep, and meeting expectations while innovating and staying profitable can feel like a pipe dream. As supply chain practitioners invest in and leverage robust technology to deliver on ever-increasing demands and complexities, it’s vital that they see past the fads (quick fix solutions) and focus on long-lasting trends (solutions that best align with where the industry is headed).
We spent the year breaking down how today’s supply chain practitioners are under the gun, feeling pressured to run smoother and leaner operations under thinning margins and during the most disruptive time that has ever existed. We’ve noticed that these conditions have spawned a sense of urgency for quick and easy fixes.
However, we also discussed how, much like lasting happiness, fulfillment, and self-actualization, there are no quick fixes in the journey toward industry leadership. Rather, it requires a thoughtful digital transformation to establish a firm foundation on which new processes and innovations can effectively flourish.
As we close out this year, here are three key takeaways for cultivating a lasting transformation and supply chain success.
We talk a lot about digital transformations and how vital they are to stay ahead. But transformations are about more than staying technologically up-to-date and relevant, they’re about adopting a new mindset and revolutionizing the way you do business.
From practical guidance to contemplating the bigger picture, here are a few quick tips from those who have proven to know what they’re doing.
More than two centuries later and the image of Frankenstein’s monstrous creation still looms large in our collective imagination. Mary Shelley’s timeless piece unfolds the story of a highly gifted scientist who is driven to uncover the secret of life. Using his expansive knowledge and unthinkable feats of engineering, he manages to assemble and animate a creature.
As with so many works of art – and as is so clearly our distinct pleasure – there are many lessons to take away from this tale. Even for supply chain solutions.
We began discussing the industry’s most popular jargon: the ‘buzzwords’ you see and hear everywhere, proselytized as a panacea for all, and the staple of everyone’s brand – though often defined quite differently depending on who you talk to.
Running a supply chain business is harder and more complex than ever, and with customer standards soaring, it’s easy to want a quick and simple answer to overcoming your greatest challenges.
Your time is valuable, so we’ve done the legwork for you. Let’s continue our journey through the fluff to mine the nuggets of truth in a few more buzzy promises.
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.
It’s often been said that business process changes precede technology and software. Companies would first define their frameworks and then seek out software to support those established practices. However, much has changed in the 21st century. The rapid evolution of supply chain software and technology has transformed the industry landscape into a far more complex, fast-paced, demanding, global, and networked ecosystem. To keep up with these changes and to seize upon new opportunities, practitioners have begun shifting their approach to acquiring and implementing emerging supply chain software and technology. Rather than apply new technologies and other innovations to existing frameworks, successful and far-sighted practitioners are increasingly thinking about what new possibilities these innovations hold and how their use might help them pivot to more effective processes.
First introduced to the auto industry in the early 1990s, the philosophy of lean manufacturing centers around a kind of “less is more paradigm.” Though the principles were originally meant to perfect production logistics, the greater automotive supply chain gains tremendous value by reducing superfluous processes and orchestrating smooth, synchronous flows throughout the supply chain.
As supply chain processes continue to go global, businesses face unprecedented levels of complexity. However, by adopting a methodology centered around efficiency, consolidation, collaboration, and continuous improvement, they can leverage opportunities to reach new levels of business potential.
About a decade ago, Satoshi Nakamoto shared an idealistic vision to remove the intermediaries – i.e. financial institutions – from monetary transactions between individuals. The Bitcoin network is a truly democratic solution, favoring autonomy, decentralization, and the greater good of the community. The rules surrounding its future growth and development are clear, and they bar any non-majority user groups from altering the core design.
The Bitcoin network owes its success to novelty; born of the modern world, it never had to contend with legacy transactions or link to physical assets. New bitcoins are simply “minted” directly into the network. However, the very features that make blockchain successful in this instance also hold it back from other use cases.
Gartner just released their Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks. But what exactly are they and how can they help your business?
At its root, the term encapsulates how supply chains have evolved into complex networks involving multiple parties and partners. Across orders, organizations must communicate with everyone from manufacturing and warehousing to transportation partners, freight forwarders, distributors, retailers, and others. While having all these connections is certainly advantageous, the pressing question is: are you really making the most of what you have?
With the rise of online sales, more and more retailers are striving to meet shifting customer expectations. Consider that 45% of consumers have abandoned a basket on a retailer’s website because of unsatisfactory or limited delivery options, according to a MetaPack survey.
No wonder retailers are shaking up their distribution networks and looking for more options.
The world of e-commerce is about to change completely. The United States has indicated intent to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union due to the way the global inter-economy postal tariffs work. These have distorted postal rates so it is cheaper today to ship from China to parts of the US, than within the US itself. This is about to change now, and will redefine competition and competitiveness in e-commerce.
Last week, Geodis released their 2017 Supply Chain Worldwide Survey and it’s worth the read. The findings for the report provide a wealth of information and benchmarking stats on the current state of supply chain strategies worldwide.
Meet MPO at the 3PL & Supply Chain Summit Chicago, June 14-16 .
Any business trying to build a flexible, competitive supply chain that leverages the latest technologies and innovations needs to attend the 3PL & Supply Chain Summit in Chicago this June.
An interview with Kees Jan Roodbergen lecturer quantitative logistics at the University of Groningen.
There are still many questions about e-fulfilment for which there are no ready-made answers.Different retailers make different decisions about outsourcing versus insourcing of their logistics operations. Cross-channel retailing and back-end collaboration with other webshops are other areas in which retailers currently are looking for best practices. It looks like cross-channel retailing and horizontal collaboration are on the rise. Time to get an expert opinion from Kees Jan Roodbergen lecturer at the University of Groningen and leader of the Dinalog project, "Cross Chain Order Fulfilment Coordination for Internet Sales".