The Logistics and Supply Chain Toolkit by Gwynne Richards and Susan Grinsted is an instructional book based in reality, free from assumptions and pretense but full of real world applications. The toolkit concept, one that is continued throughout the book, spotlights process and analytical assets that are described by the authors as including “guides, frameworks, models, quick calculations, and practical ideas.” The topics covered in the book range from an essential review of Incoterms to a more advanced discussion of Decision Matrix Analysis.
When you think of outsourcing manufacturing operations, what country do you typically think of? China? Vietnam? Philippines? Yes, Asia is typically the go-to region for companies looking to cut costs by outsourcing production processes - and for good reason. Asia possesses both the labor and raw material resources to make the region an effective substitute to higher cost labor in the U.S. and the limited availability of certain raw materials in North America.
While outsourcing to low-cost countries such as China has its benefits (i.e. labor/overhead costs, raw material costs, scalability, freeing up the business’ time to focus on other critical functions, etc.) it comes with challenges as well. Lead times, language barriers, time zone differences, IP integrity, and a general lack of physical presence make outsourcing certain functions a constant struggle for US-based manufacturers and can outweigh the initial savings gained over the long-term. Companies oftentimes look at the price-tag of outsourcing functions such as IT support or manufacturing assembly work, figuring the decision is obvious. However, to minimize risk and to optimize/streamline domestic manufacturing operations it is important to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing, especially in deciding which low-cost region to outsource to, which processes to outsource, and which partner(s) to use.
This week – which is a little slow because some lucky people have Friday off in advance of the July 4th holiday on Monday – is a unique assortment of webinars taking place ‘anyway.’ Two events on direct spend and one that looks at one of the weaknesses in the procurement customer service program. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
This week’s event schedule is a little crazy – one on Tuesday, one of Wednesday, and then EIGHT on Thursday! With that many events, there is bound to be one that you’ll benefit from. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
“Supply chain legal disputes don’t start out as legal disputes. They typically start out as badly written contracts, poor communication with supply chain partners, and an inability to resolve conflicts.” (Authors’ Foreward)
Legal Blacksmith, by Rosemary Coates and Sarah Rathke, is an interesting mix of two perspectives the procurement community is all too familiar with: supply chain and legal. They combine their experience – Coates on the supply chain side and Rathke on the legal side – to provide a view that seems better suited to supply chain professionals looking for an improved legal understanding than vice versa. Interestingly, they met during a court case where a manufacturer was sued by a customer.
I recently got the opportunity to have access to the 2016 class of ThomasNet / ISM 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain stars. I looked through the whole list of impressive young professionals, and one individual really stood out to me. Michael Raezler is a Purchasing and Supply Management Specialist with U.S. Postal Service.
I specifically requested his insight (as captured in the following Q&A) partly because he has accomplished amazing things in his short professional tenure and partly because he is a living example of excellence in a segment of the public sector that all too often goes unrecognized and under-estimated. The procurement profession – and the U.S. Postal Service – are lucky to have him as part of our community.
If you are interested in the entire class of 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain stars, click here to read more.
There are a lot of webinars – 11 – taking place this week. The best of them address the most timely topics in procurement as you will see below. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
“In other words, an effective management of a firm’s digital supply chain will have a positive impact on productivity and growth; ignorance will very likely result in the loss of competitive advantage and have a detrimental effect on performance.” (e-Logistics, p. 4)
In the first part of this two-part series, I established the reasoning behind establishing a diverse supply chain in the nontraditional sense. Emphasis on maintaining a supply chain that is diverse in geographical location, capabilities, and overall corporate values is vital in maintaining supply chain resiliency, sustainability, and adaptability. To achieve a supplier mix that fits these goals, the right questions must be asked during an internal supplier rationalization process, overtaking the traditional values of an RFx.
“The benefits of the global connectivity achieved by both ocean and air transport reach practically every type of modern industry and business and are an essential ingredient of the global supply chain.” (Aviation Logistics, p. 1)
Dr. Tom DePaoli recently released Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse. It is a collection of the best advice he has to give on topics ranging from relationships to negotiation to Kaizens and storytelling. Since I’ve read all of Dr. Tom’s books, I consider it something of a personal challenge to uncover the material he has added – either because the focus of the book is different or because professional priorities continue to change over time.
Like Dr. Tom’s other books, this is for professionals that don’t have the time (or desire) to lose themselves in a 300-400 page book of polished academic theory. His sections are short and to the point and draw in material from third party sites as well as his other writing. You can read one or two sections as time allows and not have any trouble picking up in a different place the next time you sit down.
Supplier diversity is a concept with multiple definitions. Most commonly, a supplier diversity program focuses on the utilization of women owned, minority owned, and else certified diverse businesses within your supply base. There is, however, another interpretation of supplier diversity – a diversity of geographical location, sourcing practices, and overall organizational structure. Evaluating these factors in a meaningful way when evaluating suppliers can be an important factor in managing supply chain resiliency, sustainability, and adaptability.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Robert Mason and Barry Evans, co-authors of the book ‘The Lean Supply Chain: Managing the Challenge at Tesco.’ It was published in September 2015 and you can read my review here.
Barry Evans worked as a Lean Process Manager at Tesco, developing ways for lean thinking to be applied to Tesco’s supply chain. He has also joined the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff Business School as a Senior Research Associate. Robert Mason is a Senior Lecturer in Logistics and Operations Management at Cardiff Business School and has led many business research projects with Tesco as a partner. To read their ongoing blog posts, click here.
This week’s picks are definitely for big thinkers. Big as in big challenges and big opportunity for the organizations that get it right. In addition to the webinars below, Directworks is running a live demonstration of their 2.0 solution on November 11th from 2-3pm EST. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
I went into my review of Fashion Logistics: Insights into the Fashion Retail Supply Chain by John Fernie and David Grant (Kogan Page, November 2015) with pragmatic acceptance of the fact that it would contain more logistics than fashion. I could not have been more wrong. Far from being a dry, flat examination of the global garment industry, this book is a well rounded representation of an industry that is facing not only challenges but an increasing pace of change. The case studies and historical context are as indulgent as many of the brands the authors cover.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mark Larson, the vice chairman of electronic component distributor Digi-Key Electronics. The company was founded in 1972, and Larson joined only four years later to what is now one of the largest such companies not only in North America but the world. He led the company as president for an astounding 39 years, just recently stepping down in July.
In the four decades during which Larson ran Digi-Key, there was considerable change -- in the electronics being sold, in whom the products were sold to, and in the supply chains the products traveled through. The other thing that has changed is the way Digi-Key interacts with different points of contact at each customer. Although it has always aimed its marketing efforts at design engineers -- and continues to do so -- it has had to adapt to the growing role of centralized procurement in managing purchases.
Since the interactions between engineering and procurement have not always been naturally easy, the insertion of a third party into the electronic component purchasing process has brought some benefits. When looked at from an outsider’s point of view, the two teams may have more in common than they realize.
This week is ridiculously busy – there are 15 webinars taking place: five on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and NINE on Thursday. Given the wide range of choices, it wasn’t easy to pick the best ones, but my recommendations are below. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
These webinar notes are from an October 8th webinar on ‘Supply Chain Risk Management: How to Turn Worst Practices into Best Practices’ hosted by SIG and presented by Rolf Zimmer and Laura Enny at riskmethods. The webinar can be viewed on demand here.
The event opened with a look at what riskmethods considered to be the top megatrends: globalization, outsourcing, digitization, and climate change. Running through all of these trends is the changing role that suppliers, and therefore the supply chain as a whole, plays in our ability to understand complexity and the elevated risk levels and additional risk types it leads to.
Procurement has a tendency to think of supply chain complexity as improving the flow of goods, services, funds, and information between suppliers or tiers of the supply base. Although this expanded perspective is an improvement over where we have been in the past, it is still too simplistic. As Zimmer pointed out in the webinar, supply chains are not just lines from point A to point B, but complex networked structures where half of all disruptions take place beyond the first tier of the supply base.
This week I’ve picked two Finance-oriented events and one on supply chain risk. All three of them allow procurement to look outside the box of their own environment for ways to positively impact the enterprise as a whole. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
This week’s calendar filled up last week with some new additions. I’m leaning towards the first three as this week’s best bets for thought leadership and professional development. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and connect to their registration pages.