Key Takeaways From the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference | Phoenix, AZ, May 2019

Posted by Buck Devashish     May 21, 2019 2:30:14 PM

The Gartner Supply Chain Executive conference continues to evolve in both scale and content. This recent one, as Gartner noted, was the biggest one to date. So much so, that Gartner will now be converting the supply chain summit to its larger symposium format starting in 2020.

For seasoned attendees who might recall when this used to be the AMR Research Supply Chain Executive conference, it may feel strange to venture anywhere other than Phoenix in May. But if this event was a testament of what’s to come, Orlando 2020 will be something to look forward to.

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May the Fourth be With You: How to Become a Jedi Knight in the Supply Chain Universe

Posted by Sophia Shats     May 4, 2019 7:24:46 AM

Fans of Star Wars are familiar with the concept of the Force: an energy field that can be tapped into, that gives a Jedi their power. In the supply chain universe, the Force is like the inevitable progress of technology. A seemingly limitless pool of potential we tap into and are empowered by to not only better handle the pressures and challenges of the ever-evolving industry, but to pioneer that very change and transform the world as we know it.

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How Do You Qualify a Software Vendor? (IV)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Apr 30, 2019 9:39:42 AM

Knowing what you want and how to convey it is only half the battle. There is still an overwhelming number of software vendors to choose from, with differing specialties, many of whom offer variations on the same solutions. With so many options and variables to weigh, how do you qualify vendors based on your priorities and what does it take to earn them a seat at your table?

Here is how I like to approach the process, based on what’s worked for me.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Supply Chain Needs: How to Become an Industry Leader

Posted by Peter Nilsson     Apr 24, 2019 10:08:55 AM

Chances are you’re familiar with the renown Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The psychological theory attempts to map out the stages of human growth, starting with physiological needs, like food, shelter, and safety, and moving onward and upward to love, belonging, esteem, until culminating in self-actualization.

The hierarchy is conceived as a pyramid with the basic needs at the bottom; to advance, you must first meet the requirements of the previous level. In other words, starvation takes precedence over safety. Most won’t have the bandwidth to sustain meaningful relationships if they feel unsafe, and they probably won’t reach their full potential if they lack self-esteem.

The same can be said about a business’s growth and development.

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Know What You Want & How to Ask for It (III)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Apr 2, 2019 8:52:53 AM

Approaching a digital transformation can seem daunting. There are many considerations and software providers, so how do you determine which solutions are best? After assembling a small, cross-functional team, outline a strategic approach for summarizing your intentions and highlighting priorities for the initiative.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss how to effectively approach the task and apply your decisions to the vendor selection process.

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The Top Do’s & Don’ts of Effective Transportation Management

Posted by Peter Nilsson     Mar 25, 2019 9:48:24 AM

Transportation management was once straightforward: Order management systems grouped batches of orders into origin-destination pairs based on delivery dates, then sent order releases down to the transportation management system (TMS), which had the sole function of accepting that input and releasing the batch.

A lot has changed since then. Between global competition, high consumer demand, and the rise of multi-enterprise networks, businesses are realizing this legacy method is insufficient to handle the supply chain industry’s growing complexity.

If you need a more effective and efficient way to manage transportation in the modern supply chain, here are several do’s and don’ts to consider:

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Why Static Modeling Doesn’t Cut It in the Modern Supply Chain

Posted by Paul van Dongen     Mar 14, 2019 10:12:29 AM

When you think of the supply chain, it’s easy to recall the antiquated notion of a literal chain of command and linear process. The chain begins at Point A, the order, and ends at Point B, the delivery of the product; what happens in between is as predictable and routine as goods flowing down an assembly track. When consumers were generally local and products typically unchanging, it was practical to invest in the same team of partners, routes, and practices.

The breakneck growth of the Internet has radically disrupted that paradigm. The continuous demand for newer, better offerings has shortened product lifecycles and upended the practice of stable partnerships. As dynamic networks are the new normal, new technology has emerged to better form and manage these vital relationships.

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How to Kick Off Your Project by Building the Right Team (II)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Mar 6, 2019 4:45:22 PM

We opened this series by discussing why digital transformation and continuous improvements are critical to long-term success. But once you’ve made this realization, how do you actually make it happen in an effective and streamlined way? Just because you’ve discovered the key to your company’s inefficiencies and the importance of aiming higher doesn’t mean everyone else does. Besides, small to mid-size businesses don’t typically have a dedicated professional or department to oversee the endeavor, so you need to champion internal support.

Here, we’ll take a quick look at how to craft a value proposition for executive sponsorship, then focus on who you should enlist to ensure the endeavor is handled intelligently and without delay.

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Is Achieving Immediate Synergy After a Merger or Acquisition Possible?

Posted by Vijay Natarajan     Feb 15, 2019 4:58:11 PM

Mergers and acquisitions activity have been on the rise for several years, and according to Deloitte’s The state of the deal | M&A trends 2019 report, they show no sign of letting up. In fact, these deals are projected to continue to grow in size. Whatever the reason for each M&A – whether to stay competitive by acquiring new technology or broaden their market reach – what they all have in common is the drive toward synergy: the belief that the new combined whole will be greater than the sum of their parts.

Then why do about 50-85% of all M&As fail?

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Why Simply Good Isn’t Good Enough (I)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Feb 6, 2019 8:47:11 PM

Having spent over 25 years in the supply chain industry, I noticed that while companies diligently assess their performance and capabilities, they are often unmotivated to improve as long as they do better or earn more than the year before. Satisfaction with small, incremental gains is a setback. The mindset usually stems from the presumption that additional growth demands significant spend, time, resources, and disruption.

In light of this, I’m launching a blog series to relate my perspective as an actual practitioner who has evaluated, selected, justified, and implemented software solutions for e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse management, supply and demand planning, transportation and logistics management, supply chain control towers, reverse logistics, and depot repair. There’s a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the process of systems upgrades, why they are necessary, and what it takes to set them in motion.

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Blockchain Is Not Going to Solve Your Supply Chain Challenges This Year – Here’s Why

Posted by Peter Nilsson     Jan 28, 2019 1:01:01 PM

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.

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In 2018 We Established That Supply Chain Networks Are 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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Why Grinch-Like Policies Won’t Save Your Christmas Margins

Posted by Peter Nilsson     Dec 19, 2018 12:13:14 PM

The holiday season is a time of giving and receiving; UPS alone is anticipating delivering about 750 million packages. However, if you work in retail, it is also the unenviable time of mass returns and exchanges. According to the 2017 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry report, “Total merchandise returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for US retailers.”

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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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Why Multi-Enterprise Business Networks Add Value & How to Choose Wisely

Posted by Peter Nilsson     Nov 21, 2018 9:53:57 AM

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?

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