Supply Chain Shaman

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Another Year Older. Another Year Wiser.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am another year older, and hopefully a year wiser.  I was glad to celebrate with friends. I was not alone. Through social networks, I learned that many of my friends have the same birthday.  Yes, Bruce, Eric, Jeff, Marianne, Mindy, Mikey and Tom all share my special date. We celebrated virtually. Social networks make this all so easy.
I was blessed. The team at Supply Chain Insights gave me a beautiful gift. It is a collage of their baby pictures and images of all of the things that we have cooked up so far. It now hangs on the wall overlooking my desk to remind me of that cold day when we started the company. It is scary starting a company. Then, I stared at a blank screen and begged people to join my team. I knew that I could not do it alone. Today, I am proud to have a small and committed team to work with.
A lot has changed since we filed the LLC, got our EIN number, learned about PEOs (Professional Employer Organizations), set-up our servers, and filed our first W-9. The book, Bricks Matter,is out the door and off to the editor. I have never published a book before, but I am told that it will publish in the fall. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon. We are busy planning the book tour, and my energies are now turned to starting the design of training materials for the launch.  (I believe that there is a shortage of good training materials for organizations trying to train supply chain professionals.)
We are also hard at work on delivering on my passion to launch a supply chain community.  The Supply Chain Insights Community will launch on September 1st, 2012. This is designed to be a global supply chain community. It is being built on Jive with rewards to unleash the power and creativity of the Supply Chain Superhero that lives within us all. It will have supply chain benchmark data and ratings/reviews of software providers and consulting partners. It is part of my mission to return the power in the supply chain to the buyer of enterprise software. I firmly believe that analysts should not be rating software in a dark room throwing darts at dart boards. I want to redesign the analyst model too.
Yesterday, the team gave me a great gift. It is the design of the new Supply Chain Insights Newsletter. We have been hard at work on the four reports and will showcase them today in a new newsletter. I cannot wait to share it with my wider network of over 6000 supply chain executives today.  I am committed to the redesign of the analyst model to make it friendlier, the data more usable, and to drive new insights. It is my passion.
The four reports that will launch today are in keeping with our new model. We want to focus on research that helps business users to drive first-mover advantage.

  • Market-driven Value Networks. A Handbook for Building a Market-driven Value Network. Get it here.
  • Market-driven S&OP. A Guidebook for Building a Market-driven S&OP Process. Get it here. This follow-on report builds on the concepts of the Market-driven Value Network report and applies the learnings to building a market-driven S&OP process. It is based on data from three quantitative research studies and five years of work with clients in the field. There is so much to say about S&OP, that I have struggled to get it into just one report. I have broken it into two reports. This first one outlines the process and the need for change. It will be followed next week with a second report “Putting Together the Pieces.” In the second report on S&OP, I will discuss how to sort through the options in the market today to deliver on the market-driven S&OP vision.
  • Retail Mobility. Is Mobile the New Answer to Propel Growth? Get it here. This report was completed in conjunction with Retail Connections for their Retail Mobile Summit. It answers the question of “Is mobile an answer for retailers to reverse the trend of declining sales and combat Amazon?” The answer is yes, but the journey is very early. The current state of mobility in retail is an opportunity for both consumer products manufacturers and retailers. We will be doing some follow-up research this month with Retail Connections on the Role of the Store for their executive conference in San Diego, CA on September 23rd-25th (register here).
  • Big Data. Go Big or Go Home. Get it here. I have been following the evolution of big data concepts for the past year. Through attending big data conferences, I have had the opportunity to interview telecommunications and e-commerce giants that think of data quite differently than the manufacturers and retailers that I normally work with. As I watch data pile up around the supply chain, and as I have tried to help supply chain teams rethink their concepts about social and unstructured data, I felt that there was a need for a new report that could help teams to better understand Big Data. The irony is that the number one issue for supply chain IT teams today is “dirty data.”  Supply chain processes and technologies have been largely designed around structured data that is fairly easy to use.  The world today, that they find problematic, is about ready to change in a big way. As companies try to use these new forms of data and use data elements that are changing in variety, velocity and volume, I felt they needed a guidebook. The world of Big Data Supply Chains will change, but you can use this report as a starting point to help you get started.

Enjoy the newsletter. Sign-up for the community and let us know what you think.  Next month we continue our aggressive research schedule publishing three reports. Check out our research agenda here.
Happy birthday all! Thanks for helping me to celebrate my special day.

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