Logistics

Air-Traffic-Control-Tower-Mirabel-Quebec

A new term is appearing in the supply chain arena: “Supply Chain Control Tower”.


Just as an airport control tower coordinates airplanes landing and taking off, a Supply Chain Control Tower coordinates inbound and outbound distribution flows. Sure sounds more professional than a “dashboard”. It is all about “knowledge”. Air controllers get information on weather, speed, direction, and altitude of aircraft and use that knowledge to keep their air space safe. Companies must know what is happening with their supply chains so they can prevent disasters too. They need to be able to do “what-if” analysis and work their way around events that will cause disruption and risks to the supply chain. 

What can Supply Chain Management Learn From Video Games?

 

One of the biggest sources of entertainment today is on-line video games. I don’t mean the single player or two players type, but the group versions. No, it is not just kids; many adults play too (rather than playing bridge or golf). There is a huge amount of collaboration and social networking going on too. The Extended Supply Chain has much to learn from them.

BeCycle01Drop-Ship – The Ultimate

Imagine the bicycle delivery person in the picture pedaling through a “pedestrian zone”. His first stop is a small T-Shirt store. He brings their package inside and gets a signature on his hand-held device. Next, he delivers a smaller package to a teenager in a nearby apartment. Again he gets a signature. You have just seen the tail end of the supply chain.

Business Case For Enterprise Social Networks


How do we justify a Social Supply Chain? Companies are not going to have any MORE Information than they have now, but they will use it differently/better because of what is happening with social technologies. Much of this information is beyond the four walls, but he wall between employees, vendors and customers is falling down. Thus highly socially networked companies that take advantage will find themselves in a more favorable position and see improvements over less networked companies. This means increased working capital, decreased inventories and better service levels.

The challenge in going “social” is to copy the real-world relationships found in today’s supply chains. Take a look at Facebook. Why did they succeed where others like MySpace did not? One thing that Facebook found is that a Facebook user’s social network better reflects real-life interactions. Facebook is successful because it crashes the barriers between people who have already demonstrated the desire to communicate with each other in the real world.

What is EDI? A Definition and a History

 

Your first thought might be: “I know already or I wouldn’t be reading this publication”. Yes, we will give you the “schoolbook” definition. We will even tell you a brief history of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), but our real purpose is to give you the Year 2013 definition of EDI; and back it up with an expert opinion.Developed in the United States in the mid-1960s, the idea of what became known as EDI today originated with a group of railroad companies.

The standardization of documents proved to be necessary. They formed an organization known as the Transportation Data Coordinating Committee (TDCC) . Renamed the Electronic Data Interchange Association (EDIA) , they received a charter from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and became the ANSI X12 Committee.

Other businesses began to use proprietary systems to exchange invoices and purchase orders. They recognized the economic advantages of fast, efficient and accurate information flow. Sectors like pharmaceuticals, groceries, automobiles, and banking developed their own set of data elements and messages to meet its particular needs, with the result that the various sectors were not able to exchange messages with other sectors. On the other side of the ocean, standards for documents used in international trade, called Tradacoms , were developed.

Deming

Deming’s Fourteen Points and the Supply Chain


Quality pioneer W. Edward Deming is best known for the improvements he made in the post World War 2 Japan, but he also worked with many American companies. In his book: “Out of the Crisis”, Dr. W. Edwards Deming shows 14 steps toward an improved management. It is not easy in the American Culture to establish such changes. Perhaps that barrier is keeping the American Industry from achieving as impressive results as the ones reached by the Japanese. While he wrote primarily for the “four walls” of traditional manufacturing, his 14 points apply to the extended supply chains that now exist.

Let’s take a look at his 14 Points and see how they apply to the Extended Supply Chain:

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Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider


Cloud computing is rapidly changing the way both IT and the business work. It is no longer a “should we” question, it is a “when are we” question. Companies are interested in outsourced (“public”) cloud offerings in order to reduce costs and increase business agility. Yes ,there are potential risks which must be addressed. Cloud computing conclusions must be joint between business and IT decision makers. Key players need to define business service requirements first and then decide how to balance the use of internal IT resources and external public offerings. This decision-making process must include the main players, which includes the director of Supply Chain Management.

Who Sits Where In The Supply Chain Management Control Tower?

We recently wrote an article on Supply Chain Control Towers. Now, who is going to staff the control tower? Logistics was conceived by the military to get the right amount of supplies to the troops at the right time, supply chain management takes a bigger approach of looking further back into the life of a product to its manufacture and even product design while integrating what were once thought to be unrelated disciplines: marketing and customer service. The Global Supply Chain Forum has identified eight key processes that make up the core of supply chain management: (1) Customer Relationship Management (provides the structure for how the relationship with the customer is developed and maintained); (2) Customer Service Management (the company’s face to the customer); (3) Demand Management (coordinates all acts of the business that place demand on manufacturing capacity): (4) Order Fulfillment (integration of the firm’s manufacturing, logistics and marketing silos); (5) Manufacturing Flow Management; (6) Procurement (supplier relationship management); (7) Product Development and Commercialization (integrating customers and suppliers into the product development process in order to reduce time to market; (8) Returns.

Planning a Logistics System


Let’s say we just got some good news: A client has just given us the assignment to plan a logistics system for a large food distribution contract they are bidding on. WOW! Where do we start? Lets start by planning how we are going to plan!

In planning logistics operations, ‘To plan or not to plan’ should not be the question. Instead, companies must know that failing to plan can have dire consequences. The first step in planning is understanding and analyzing operational data to build a foundation for a solution.

Mission (Who, What, When, Where, Why). Sounds like something the military would invent.

If you ask a dozen practitioners, list to a dozen speakers, read a dozen books, and go to a dozen university classes you will get dozens of ideas on how to plan a logistics operation. Not saying mine is the best, but I emulate the military. Why? Because they have been successful at logistics planning.

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