Supply chains are similar to humans—imperfect. Their successes within business plans are a product of accurately forecasting how to survive crises and minimize damage in high-risk scenarios. Balance is the key to surviving most situations. In a supply chain, the accord between supply chain efficiency and risk mitigation can be difficult to achieve.
One of the interesting things about consistently reading and hearing content from quality sources is that you start to notice trends. It is amazing how often the same topics arise at the same time in different places. We use this blog as a way to help you stay on top of the major themes in procurement and supply chain management.
I think my neighborhood is beginning to look like this! The Boston area has had two blizzards and two major snow storms in 3 weeks. The snow accumulation is record breaking and reached over 100 inches (254 cm). That was followed by high winds and bitter cold. And we still have a lot of winter to go.
Weather like this causes all kinds of delays in the supply chain. Flights are cancelled, businesses are closed, and governors declare states of emergencies. There was a multi-car accident that included a FedEx truck and packages ended up all over the roadway. Not sure if those will get to their final destination!
Some people are commenting that global warming is not happening. However, this is exactly what global warming looks like. Since the oceans are warmer, there is more moisture available to become snow with cold temperatures. This article from Climate Central, What A Warming World Means for Major Snowstorms explains in layman’s terms what we are experiencing. It also discusses that once the land temperature gets warmer, the snow will become more rain which will cause different issues. Even now, coastal flooding is a more significant threat as the ocean levels continue to rise.
As a procurement professional, events like these can wreak havoc as you plan your deliveries and production lines. This blog, written by Jim Fulcher, Blizzards, forecasting and the supply chain is only a few weeks old and discusses the disruption in New York City for the first blizzard. Little did he know this was just beginning!
What is your company doing about supply chain delays due to global warming? What is your company doing to reduce those risks and also reduce your own carbon footprint? Have you thought about a new pet?
Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know the future for certain? There are few fail-proof ways to see shifts in the business landscape before they occur, but there are ways to ensure your goals stay on the correct path regardless of what direction the future takes. Procurement departments, for instance, have objectives that require analysis of factors beyond historic trends—considerations like supply market volatility, supply chain disruption, regulatory changes, and a whole slew of other unpredictable situations. Unless corporations start adding fortune tellers to the payroll, successful procurement groups will continue to optimize their function from the insight gained through predictive analytics.
Online shopping was made for me. I do not like anything about traditional shopping (the time, the money, the effort). Therefore, online shopping is a dream: with just a few clicks, it is done! The delivery method is often by UPS and occasionally FedEx. That is how I did 90% of my holiday shopping this past year. I was in heaven!
Some days I think I eat, sleep, and breathe procurement and supply chain webinars. On a weekly basis I update the calendar. I consider the topics, the speakers, the hosts, the likelihood of promotional content versus thought leadership. I make my recommendations every Monday (on Blog Talk Radio) and share my notes on Fridays.
In 2014 I covered 29 webinars by sharing my notes on Buyers Meeting Point and through social media. They covered a broad range of subjects, including risk, talent, organizational issues, negotiation, and global supply chains. When I look back at the hits per post over the course of the year, there are 5 that stand out for getting over 1K hits each. You might think it was a simple matter of time, and there is something to that – some of our oldest event notes have over 50K hits – but these five events were pretty evenly distributed over the course of the year. They also all have unique hosts, presenters, and topics.
Logistics and Supply Chain in Emerging Markets (Kogan Page, 2014) by John Manners-Bell, Thomas Cullen, and Cathy Roberson adeptly captures the interconnectedness of global economies and commercial activity while also studying a number of countries and industries independently.
Humanitarian Logistics: Meeting the Challenges of Preparing for and Responding to Disasters (Kogan Page, 2014), by Peter Tatham and Martin Christopher, provides a look inside the challenges faced by the people and organizations providing relief after disaster strikes.
“To succeed in business is more complex than it used to be - it is no longer economically desirable to control all the components of your customer value proposition.” (p. 6)
Strategic Procurement by Caroline Booth (Kogan Page, November 2014) is a second edition, updated from its original release in 2010. Before I even get into the book’s content, I think it is worth reflecting upon the pace at which the procurement profession is changing. In the four years since Booth first released this book, there have indeed been significant changes in economies and business dynamics, requiring equally significant adjustments in procurement. In the preface, Booth calls out her increased focus on risk and the improved position of procurement, as well as enough changes in M&A involvement to add a whole chapter on it.
None of us can read minds. Sometimes we try to based on our knowledge of the situation or the individuals involved. It is obviously much easier if it is clearly communicated on a timely basis but that is not always the case.
From time to time it is important to understand what the executives in your organization and in your industry are thinking. What issues keep them up at night? Some leaders will communicate to their associates on strategies and goals and others do not.
This article, 8 things on the minds of Supply Chain Executives was in the Material Handling and Logistics publication last week. Here are the highlights from the article.
- Talent: Finding and retaining the right people is critical to a company’s success.
- The customer: Understanding what your customer’s needs are and help them know where the costs are to comply with their requests.
- Agility: There is a strong desire for increasing agility in the supply chain.
- Technology: Keeping their team equipped with the latest technology and processes is very important.
- Cost: This continues to be a focus for supply chain and procurement. However, in addition to containing or reducing costs, the expectation is for creativity and improved service.
- Regulations and Infrastructure: The list keeps growing and the need to stay current is critical.
- Risk: With global sourcing, there are many more risks to the supply chain. Unexpected interruptions can occur and organizations need to have a plan to manage them.
- Sustainability: This is an area of concentration for many supply chain executives. What is the strategy and how should it be implemented?
Do any of these items surprise you? Did your team concentrate on any one in particular in 2014?
Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint
Warehouse Management: A Complete Guide to Improving Efficiency and Minimizing Costs in the Modern Warehouse, 2nd Edition (Kogan Page, 2014), by warehouse management and logistics specialist Gwynne Richards, is a comprehensive guide to all considerations for managers looking to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their warehouse operations. In fact, that title does not do the book justice, and “Complete” is a term not to be brushed over in this case. A Guide to Modern Warehouse Safety, Automation, Sustainability, Outsourcing, Systems, Picking, Equipment, and Performance Management Strategy is more accurate but not concise or catchy enough.
Supply Chain Risk, by John Manners-Bell, provides a structured look at risk by establishing a series of intersecting dimensions. First the author outlines external risk categories: Environmental, Economic, Societal, Security, and Technological. Each has several sub categories that provide additional detail and clarity. Then he delves into a number of industry sectors to consider their resiliency factors and concerns: Automotive, High tech, Consumer goods/retail, Food, Fashion, and Pharma/healthcare.
The coverage from both perspectives is equally detailed and illustrated with numerous case studies. In their intersection, for instance where Economic risks intersect with the Automotive industry, any supply chain professional will find the information they need to quickly come up to speed on key areas of concern as well as strategies for assessment and mitigation.
One of the best things about having good relationships with publishers is that I end up reading and reviewing titles that range beyond procurement or spend management. And yet, there is no question that the value and competitive advantage of a well-managed supply chain runs right through the center of all business strategy books.
My father was very fond of fishing. Most times he did not catch anything but he enjoyed being out in the boat and absorbing his natural surroundings. As a child, I only enjoyed it if I caught something. One vacation when I was 8 or 9, we were camping on an island. For 3 days, we caught a fish every few minutes. It was exciting. Most of the time they were too small and we set them free but what excitement for all of us!
Supplier Relationship Management in the Supply Chain by Stuart Emmett is accurately titled – it is in fact a book about the importance and execution of supplier relationship in the supply chain. But because so many organizations do not have SRM programs (or would benefit from being more supplier-centric) it is more importantly a book about change. In order to get different results, we must think and act differently. This is a simple enough idea, but bringing about such changes in an organization is complex enough that few of us have reached our desired level of SRM maturity.
Recently, our daughter has become quite the master at creating and canning jam. How did she do that? She took a class, researched the area for the appropriate ingredients and pricing. She also decided she would create jams with the fruits of that season.
How safe is your data and how secure are your supplier interactions?
Many organizations are interested in cyber security and protecting their business. It is a serious economic challenge and we need to be able to depend on having a secure cyberspace.
This article in Supply Chain Brain discusses the issues as they relate to supply chain and procurement professionals. There are very complex relationships in an organizations supply chain and it is difficult to know where the risks are. Data for specifications, consumer credit card information, legal matters are just a few areas that need to be protected.
There is a standard known as ISO27001 which can serve as a great baseline and starting point. There are 11 parts of the standard.
- Security policy - management direction
- Organization of information security - governance of information security
- Asset management - inventory and classification of information assets
- Human resources security - security aspects for employees joining, moving and leaving an organization
- Physical and environmental security - protection of the computer facilities
- Communications and operations management - management of technical security controls in systems and networks
- Access control - restriction of access rights to networks, systems, applications, functions and data
- Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance - building security into applications
- Information security incident management - anticipating and responding appropriately to information security breaches
- Business continuity management - protecting, maintaining and recovering business-critical processes and systems
- Compliance - ensuring conformance with information security policies, standards, laws and regulations
Have you done any of the list above? I know I have participated in exercises that involve many of them. What did you learn and which have you found to be most effective?