The Operations Category

Supply Chain Visibility (SCV): Market and Solution Provider Overview [PRO]

customs bill

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides a high-level review of the supply chain visibility (SCV) solution market. SCV is an acronym often used to describe the inventory “track and trace” capability that shippers are rapidly implementing to help manage their logistics, even though SCV also has a broader context for inventory visibility across the supply chain (e.g., within the plant or at a supplier). Logistics providers are all doing so to meet a service level expectation that is coalescing around real-time, track and trace information flows. For example, whether it’s a Wal-Mart store awaiting a shipment or a consumer anticipating a package from Amazon, they both want to know delivery status — and they want that information at their fingertips. 

However, while consumers may only want to know “when,” the shippers want to know all of the surrounding details, including any and all performance and risk information that could support a better inventory management practice, capacity planning and transportation sourcing.

The carriers are also along for the ride (pardon the pun), not just because they’re obliged but also, because it will soon be in their business interest (from a load matching perspective). The more information they share (i.e., the more visible and transparent their hour-to-hour status is), the more likely it is their trucks will stay full — with the right kinds of loads, on preferred lanes.

Along with several shippers and other trade practitioners, we interviewed the following SCV solution providers:

  • FourKites
  • 10-4 Systems
  • project44
  • MacroPoint
Note: While there are many more SCV solution providers, and while they are typically distinguished by transport mode specialization or their target audience (shippers, carriers, LSPs), their ideas, techniques and raisons d’etre are all strikingly similar.

On the Amazon Robotics Challenge, Warehouse Automation and Expired Oatmega Bars

Recently I was on the phone with a Target customer service supervisor, explaining that for the third time in a row, the Oatmega nutrition bars I ordered online had arrived past their expiration dates. If you haven’t heard of Oatmega bars, their nutritional content is thoroughly impressive, and the taste is pretty good, too (after all, it took three shipments of expired bars for me to stop buying them). But there’s one catch: The bars become progressively harder to bite into as the expiration date approaches. And so I was explaining all of this to the supervisor, who blamed it on the warehouses’ robots.

“Buy Online, Pick Up in Store” Services Increasingly Popular Among Consumers

JDA Software Inc. released Monday its 2017 survey on U.S. consumer attitudes toward in-store shopping and e-commerce. With no one batting an eye over free two-day shipping anymore and drone deliveries on the horizon, it’s no wonder that only 54% of the 1,000 consumers JDA surveyed said they prefer to shop in a physical store. In other words, nearly half of shoppers prefer to make purchases online or through a retailer’s mobile app. Interestingly, this pattern was consistent across age groups.

‘Best of the Best’ 10 Years On: APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi on the Past, Present and Future of the Procurement Profession

Sales and operations planning hardly seems sexy on paper. Yet as more than 200 cross-functional professionals poured into the grand ballroom of the Chicago Marriott O’Hare for the 10th annual Best of the Best S&OP Conference Thursday, the participants seemed excited to tackle this essential business process, as well as learn from an impressive lineup of senior supply chain leaders. To learn more about the topics the presenters chose to speak on this year, I sat down with APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, who provided a fascinating perspective on how the conference has developed over the last decade.

Strategies Every Procurement Professional Should Know to Reduce Inventory Levels and Cost

warehouse

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Ana Sofia Gómez, a manager at GEP.

In an organization, the challenge for optimizing costs goes beyond getting the best prices in the market through the procurement function. The challenge also involves implementing strategies, or acquiring added values and services that allow the organization to improve their process administration and get benefits from those improvements. With manufacturing companies, one area of opportunity is inventory management.

The Consumer Products Supply Chain: A Changing Consumer Affects Financial Dynamics

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Guy Courtin, vice president of industry and solution strategy at Infor Retail.

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: the world of retail has changed. The balance of power has shifted from retailers, and the brands they carry, to the consumer. Traditional retailers are being forced to shift their perspective on inventory, align with customer needs and better integrate e-commerce and mobile commerce — all while facing the pressures of an ever-changing retail landscape. But what about consumer product goods companies (CPG)? Are they immune from these changes? Absolutely not.

Should There be a Chief Procurement Information Officer (CPIO) or Chief Supply Chain Information Officer (CSCIO)?

If you do an exact web search on the terms in the title, you will get zero results. Zero. If you do a similar exact search on “chief medical information officer” (CMIO), however, you will get more than 100,000 results. The need for such a person in procurement and supply chain, however, is clear. Since procurement and supply chain organizations are becoming “procurement as a service” (PRaaS) providers that need some level of autonomy to construct the world-class services that support the business, there needs to be an effective operating model between IT and procurement — and someone leading that effort.

IT and Procurement: The Ultimate Power Couple

IT

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Andrew Durlak, co-founder and vice president of operations at Scout RFP.

IT and procurement are two star players. Combine the expertise of both and you get a true power couple. It’s a proven fact that effective and collaborative synergy between the two departments pays off — quite literally. Here’s how fostering the relationship between this power couple can improve overall success for your business.

Sponsored Article

How Embedded Analytics can Measure the ‘Pulse’ of Your Supply Chain Operation

data analytics

Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored article from OpenText.

Many companies today are beginning their journey to transform into a digital business. But implementing a digital transformation strategy does not happen overnight, and you can’t just focus on the internal enterprise. You have to consider how to deploy a digital strategy across external stakeholders, as well.

How to Use ISO9001 to Achieve 100% Mandated Spend Under Management [Plus+]

risk

The latest version of ISO9001 (called ISO9001:2015) is a “quality system” that is really a business management system customers might ask you to get certified in — and that you may in turn ask your suppliers to get certified. The beauty of ISO9001:2015 is that it can actually help you do both of these things simultaneously while also using the power of a customer-required certification as a way to drive internal change management. In the previous two installments that I wrote on ISO9001, I focused on using ISO9001 for such transformation, specifically on how to align risk and compliance, and to build a business case for supply risk management.

In this two-part Spend Matters Plus brief, I highlight how to use ISO9001:2015 to not just run the business but more specifically the business of procurement. This will illustrate how to make a quality management system that is more than just a transformative business management system — a transformational supply management system.

More important, this brief delivers deeper dive into ISO9001:2015 and shows procurement professionals how exactly how to use it to drive 100% spend influence in strategic sourcing and supplier management. People often forget that spend/supply influence also includes supplier management, when, in fact, the leader of ISO9001:2015 described the capabilities from ISO9001 simply as “confidence that customers around the world right through the supply chain — business-to-business and business-to-consumer — right down to us as individuals, can have confidence in the products and services they’re receiving from their certified suppliers”

It makes complete sense, and the certification can help procurement drive a case for change on this simple idea.

Procurement organizations almost always say, “We can’t mandate anything around here.” Well, now you have a mandate. So, use it to your advantage. We’ll show you how.

Executive Q&A with KPMG’s Samir Khushalani: ‘Procurement Needs a Few ‘Wins’

Now that the Big Ten football season is underway, let’s turn our attention to a trailblazer from one of the Big Four. Samir Khushalani is KPMG’s Americas practice leader for the procurement and operations advisory service line and is responsible for strategy setting, thought leadership, executive client management and engagement delivery aspects for this practice. We caught up with him in an email conversation to get his current view on the procurement function and sector.

How Manufacturers are Applying New Technology to Improve Operations

robot

The manufacturing industry may have a long way to go in applying advanced technologies and analytics to improve supply chain management. UPS and IDC recently surveyed more than 100 manufacturing operations professionals to determine technology maturity levels throughout the industry — specifically if and how companies were applying the internet of things, big data and other technologies to enhance manufacturing processes. Applying these technologies is creating a new approach to manufacturing operations, what UPS and IDC called “smart operations."