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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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Supply Chain Needs: Digital Transformation Strategy

Posted by Peter Nilsson     Jun 11, 2019 11:16:10 AM

We recently discussed how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (the psychological stages of human growth) applied to the supply chain (business growth within the industry). This evolution is closely linked with a digital transformation, which itself can be mapped according to a similar journey of fulfillment.

The guiding principles are the same: growth requires building one fundamental layer at a time in order to achieve full potential. Just as businesses must build their capabilities and networks one stage at a time, so too does a digital transformation strategy require various upgrades in technology and innovation to enable new business models through previously unimaginable functionality.

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Peeling Back the Onion: Choosing a Software Provider With Due Diligence (V)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Jun 4, 2019 9:22:33 AM

Both the digital transformation and each software provider are multi-faceted, so think of these next stages of the discovery process as ‘peeling back layers of the onion.’ The surface layers involve understanding each vendor’s capabilities and bid components. Slightly deeper are the back-end particulars of the transformation; your team will be focusing on everything from the platform to the financial and commercial terms to ensure the products and services you choose align well with your priorities and that the rollout will be feasible and smooth.

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Tariff-Proofing: 5 Ways to Gain Supply Chain Resilience in an Uncertain World

Posted by Vijay Natarajan     May 28, 2019 9:02:42 AM

Tariffs, Brexit, and the issue of uncertainty are rampant in the news and have become hot topics for management and round table conferences. It’s increasingly clear that ‘easy fixes’ like stockpiling merchandise before a hike deadline or seeking exclusion options are impractical. They’re also not viable, long-term solutions for businesses that want to do more than just survive each disruption.

Visibility is often touted as the number one solution to the various, looming international trade policy changes – i.e. US-China punitive tariffs, the UK’s torturous divorce from the European Union, NAFTA/USMCA. But though it’s invaluable to see the highest areas of impact, it’s not a panacea.

Visibility alone is passive, and easy fixes are one-offs in an ever-changing landscape. If you want to truly master this new, global domain and stay ahead of the competition, here are five vital steps you can take to boost your supply chain resilience.

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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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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, technology has emerged to better form and manage these vital relationships.

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How to Kick Off Your Digital Transformation 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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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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