Is Your Supply Chain Planning System in the Cloud?

Supply Chain in the Cloud - 310 x 175My job requires a fair bit of air travel so I literally spend a good deal of my time with my head in the clouds. At 6’5” most airline seats are less than comfortable and provide very little leg, arm and shoulder room, so I often find the most practical activity during a flight is critical thinking. Yes, I might look like I am taking a nap but really I am deeply contemplating things like the current state of deploying Supply Chain Planning Technology in the cloud.

With the explosive growth in supply chain complexity and data volumes, a growing number of manufacturers, retailers and distributors of all sizes are all looking for more agile, easily implemented paths to better supply chain performance. Some have found it possible to enact powerful supply chain optimisations almost immediately, while saving substantial amounts of working capital and ensuring timely support for growth and collaboration over the long term.

They have chosen to deploy supply chain planning solutions in the Cloud.

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.

Today, the range of implementation options for supply chain planning solutions stretches far beyond traditional on-premises hardware and software. Some competitive-minded organizations question the advisability of lengthy and complex infrastructure projects. These supply chain teams harness the full potential of the internet by taking advantage of deployment models with names like Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and managed services.

Cloud-based deployment alternatives remove IT obstacles and accelerate the launching of supply chain initiatives. However, are the advantages of cloud deployments for supply chain solutions real and worthwhile? I think so, and I have provided a few of the biggest benefit areas for having your supply chain planning software in the cloud.

Benefit #1: Affordability and Savings

  • Lower upfront costs – Initial capital equipment expenses are reduced and total cost of ownership shifts to a highly predictable annual expense line item.
  • Optimal licensing, hosting and services options – The wide variety of options provide a solution delivery profile that fits just about any organisation’s software procurement model and budget process.
  • Ability to reallocate valuable IT resources – Cloud-based deployments free up enterprise IT resources to focus on strategic initiatives and meet mission-critical demands rather than installing software updates and performing system administration.
  • Scalability to handle supply chain growth – It’s a significant competitive advantage to be able to activate capabilities as requirements grow and flex over time.

Benefit #2: Tangible Business Benefits

  • Accelerated ROI – Cloud deployments often deliver better cash flow and create a positive bottom-line impact much quicker than traditional models.
  • Greater agility to react to change – Because “the infrastructure is on the internet,” there is no hardware to implement and no software to install. Users can access the system from any location through web-connected laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Benefit #3: Reliability and Security

  • Less risk of unscheduled downtime – Resiliency and high availability are characteristics of a well-designed cloud-based deployment.
  • Robust security – The fear that storing business data on a cloud server could make it vulnerable to unauthorised access has been assuaged by the great security track record of hosting providers in securing and ensuring data privacy.
  • Expert administrative services – No one knows the ins and outs of system administration better than the solution provider organisation itself. The provider’s technical personnel are an essential resource for installing software updates, hot fixes, service packs and version updates in an optimum computer environment.

According to Gartner, cloud computing has reached a sufficient level of maturity to be in its “productive phase.” In fact, cloud-based solutions have proven enormously successful in a broad range of commercial applications, revolutionising the affordability and “adoptability” of solutions for a much wider range of companies. It is time for Supply Chain Planning solutions to join in this success?

As you consider the benefits of a cloud-based supply chain planning solution, conduct a self-evaluation by asking these questions:

  1. Does your current supply chain planning technology infrastructure fall short of the task of providing the supply chain planning capabilities you need?
  2. Is it difficult in your organisation to drive new capital investments for updated equipment and systems?
  3. Is your IT staff overwhelmed with user support issues and other system administration tasks?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then it’s time to find out how a cloud-based solution can accelerate one of the most rewarding business improvement initiatives your organisation can undertake: Optimising your Supply Chain.

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About the author

Hank Canitz PictureHenry Canitz is The Product Marketing & Business Development Director at Logility. To read more of Henry’s insights visit www.logility.com/blog.

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Overall view of event logistics is crucial for Melbourne Cup Carnival

The Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation but, behind the scenes, supply chain management experts are far from stopping.

An overall view of the entire end-to-end supply chain with control over the entire management of the process for large scale events is imperative otherwise chaos erupts. We saw this unfold during an Olympic Games where there was no clear management of processes. Most supply chains are managed in an ongoing, sustainable way, however, supply chain management for large scale events operate entirely differently with rapid ramp up and ramp down phases, detailed master delivery schedules, ample availability for consumable goods, and lastly a rigorous plan for waste removal. The Melbourne Cup Carnival is no exception.

Lexian has developed proprietary event management software to manage the logistics for major sporting events.

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The Australasian Supply Chain Institute (ASCI) and myself wish to invite those working in supply chain and logistics to a breakfast where Bruce Craig, from Llamasoft and myself will offer you the opportunity to:

·       Learn how these best practice companies are achieving competitive advantage by significantly improving in the areas of; cost, margin, customer service and risk.

·       Understand how they are implementing analytical centres of excellence to perform; network, product flow, production, cost-to-serve, multi echelon inventory optimisation and simulation.

·       Join a discussion on common supply chain problems

·       Run through the “Supply Chain Matrix Scorecard”

Imagine if you had a living, digital model of the end-to-end supply chain, enabling continuous improvement and innovation to rapidly and accurately answer the toughest ‘What-if’ questions and generate effective and clear data driven recommendations. The principles of Supply Chain Design are applicable to most businesses that have a supply chain. This presentation will provide members with sufficient information about Supply Chain Design so that they can determine the “fit” within their own business as well as the foundations of building a business case for action.

ASCI Networking Breakfast: An Overview of Supply Chain Design

When: 7.30am, 30 November 2017

Where: Michael Page offices, Level 19, 600 Bourke St, Melbourne

Cost: Free to ASCI members and their guests

RSVP: via EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/a-brief-overview-of-supply-chain-design-tickets-38645845765

Guest Blogger

Shaun Gates (Managing Director, Lexian Solutions)

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