Summoning the Courage to Redefine Forecasting: Upending the Apple Cart

By | Demand, metrics that matter, New technologies | 2 Comments

“We have too many planners. And even if we can afford the costs, we don’t get good answers with our current forecasting processes,” stated the supply chain leader on the phone. “I want to build outside-in processes, but I don’t know what this looks like. Can you tell me what you mean by this statement?” My question to her was “Do you have the courage to upend the apple cart?” The…

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Reduce Costs: Invest In Talent

By | Supply Chain Leadership, Supply Chain Talent | 2 Comments

In manufacturing-based companies, 70-80% of costs are in the processes of source, make and deliver. Labor is an important input with 50-60% of company employees reporting through supply chain organizations. Is talent a cost or an asset? Most companies say employees are an asset, but treat it as a cost. Today, with companies having a keen-focus on costs, talent development often takes a back seat. In this post I argue…

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Reflections, Thank Yous, and Rethinking the Future

By | Big data supply chains, customer-centric supply chains, Supply Chain Insights, Supply Chain Leadership | No Comments

Last week I spoke at the CLX Logistics Conference in Philadelphia on the future of Supply Chain Management. As I presented on Supply Chain 2030, I shared research on balance sheet performance, and provided insights on why I believe 90% of organizations failed in the delivery of supply chain excellence at the balance sheet level. My speech also focused on how current technologies are rapidly becoming obsolete due to market…

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Dissecting the Headwinds and Tailwinds of Digital Transformation

By | Big data supply chains, Demand, digital supply chains | No Comments

Headwinds: A force of resistance Tailwinds: A favorable force blowing in the same direction When I travel from company to company and discuss the future of business processes, the term “digital” is ubiquitous. A digital fever abounds. I liken it to the e-commerce frenzy of 2001 (when an “e” proceeded  every strategy). Fear abounds. Growth is slowing. Amazon is expanding. Unlikely players are driving change. For example, Google and Tesla…

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Mining Supply Chain Data for Insights

By | Big data supply chains, Demand driven, Market-Driven, Supply Chain | No Comments

  Mine sweeping is essential to warfare. Soldiers use special devices to detect underground mines and disarm them, keeping them from exploding before they cause harm. At Supply Chain Insights we have been actively working on our own mine sweeping project. Over the course of the last quarter, with help from Cloudera, we built a data lake with information from 1449 public companies (these are mainly North American-based manufacturers, distributors…

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Why Is Blockchain Not Hotter?

By | market-driven value chains, Market-driven value networks | No Comments

I was sitting with a representative from the United Nations on my way back from Colombia. As we took off from Bogota, we discussed the potential of blockchain to help her with feeding children in the highlands of the Colombian-Venezuelan border. I was surprised that she knew enough about blockchain to have a discussion, and I think that she was surprised to find someone who could help her to have…

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Cognitive Computing: Getting Clear on Definitions

By | Big data supply chains, demand driven | No Comments

No doubt about it. The decision-support technologies that we use today–price management, trade promotion management, network design, supply chain planning, transportation planning, supplier risk management–are on the cusp of redefinition through new forms of analytics. We are on a hype cycle. There is no common definition of cognitive computing and there are many variants. A blue ocean lies ahead. We can only imagine what this means.   Navigating the Hype…

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Lassoing S&OP

By | customer-centric supply chains, Demand, Sales and Operations Planning, Supply Chain Leadership, Supply Chain Talent, Supply Chains to Admire | No Comments

A lasso is what supply chain leaders would like to have. Why? To align S&OP. The processes are out of control. Let me explain. As companies transitioned from regional to multi-national organizations, Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) processes proliferated. Today, the average company has seven S&OP processes, but a global chemical company averages over 30. In contrast, as a regional supply chain leader in the 1990’s, my company had one…

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Building the Network of Networks: Some Insights

By | Demand, Supply Chain Excellence, Supply Chain Insights Community, Supply Chain Leadership, Supply Chain visibility | 3 Comments

Let me start this blog post with a story. I believe that supply chains build economies and save the planet. It is about value creation. I also believe that finance is the art of money changing hands until there is nothing left. Supply chain processes and financial flows often run in counter currents. Two years ago I completed a research study on supply chain visibility.  When the report published it…

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A New Red Wagon?

By | Big data supply chains, Global Supply Chains, Supply Chain Insights | No Comments

I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia. In my youth, my mom would frequently exclaim, “Be careful where you hook your red wagon.” The mountain expression is a warning. My mom wanted me to make smart choices and be careful on placing my bets for the future. Amazon bought Whole Foods Market. Google is launching autonomous vehicles. There are seismic shifts occurring between industries in value chains. Fear…

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