Blockchain unlocked for supply chain

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Extract from Supply Chain Management Review

It can be hard for many people to understand what makes a blockchain different from a traditional database. So while the potential opportunities may be huge, the practical reality is that introducing a new technology like blockchain into a large, global organisation takes time, planning, and – most of all – the buy-in of decision-makers throughout the organisation.

ASCI loves free online learning tools for supply chain management!

Here, the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) has developed a free, interactive tool to help supply chain management professionals learn about blockchain and its potential uses. AFIT recently published a live blockchain application that can be accessed from any computer or smart phone, along with a complementary series of tutorial videos that walk learners through a blockchain simulation.

Daniel Stanton, founder of SecureMarking and author of Supply Chain Management for Dummies takes us through AFIT Blockchain for Supply Chain Demonstrations. These include six short “How To” videos on blockchain. It includes links with real time dashboards to practice blockchain software as Daniel walks you through the scenario.

An interesting feature of this demonstration is that it tracks the entire lifecycle of a component – from its point of manufacture to its eventual decommissioning and disposal. This is important because many supply chains now face a challenge of having used products re-introduced and sold as new by unscrupulous businesses. These used products can lead to costly problems such as unexpected breakdowns of equipment. In some situations, tracking decommissioning could also be useful for ensuring that hazardous materials are properly disposed of, or that re-usable components are properly recycled.

VIDEO 1 – An introduction

VIDEO 2 – A military scenario

VIDEO 3 – Create Secmark tokens

VIDEO 4 – Transferring Assets

VIDEO 5 – Decommissioning

VIDEO 6 – Wrap Up

In the process of developing this scenario, the team faced some of the basic decisions that any company will need to address when designing a blockchain. For example:
• Will the blockchain be public, allowing anyone to join, or will it be private, meaning only pre-approved companies can participate in transactions?
• What activities will each company in the blockchain be allowed to perform?
• Will participation be compulsory or will there need to be an incentive structure?
• How much visibility will each company have into the overall supply chain?

Invest in your professional learning and commit some of your commute times to learning some of this exciting technology!

This blog is an extract from Supply Chain Management Review. See full article here.

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Embracing the IOT

By APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

We keep hearing about the potential of the Internet of Things (IOT), but how will it help supply chain professionals specifically? Last week, Industrial Distribution ran “Improving Process Flows in the Delivery System through the Internet of Things,” which outlines the practical applications of IOT.

“As the development and deployment of the IOT capabilities continues to expand, [transportation and logistics] companies could eventually have visibility into every operation across the entire supply chain, from the source of the raw materials to the end use of the product,” writes Thomas Schied, vice president and director of asset management for TD Band Equipment Finance.

IOT connects devices to the internet and collects data, but Schied stresses the value is in knowing how, when and where to use the data. Predictive analytics enables business leaders to make calculations that will increase efficiencies, reduce spending and improve overall processes. For example, data from sensors can be combined with historical data to establish when assets need to be replaced. Likewise, transportation and logistics companies can use sensor data and geographic and environmental information to customize truck maintenance plans.

Further, IOT data and analytics supports organizational decision making, as experts alter routes to prevent bottlenecks at loading docks and changing inventory locations. This information improves on-time delivery and reduces fuel and labor costs.

With all the promises of IOT, Schied does mention likely challenges. These include the potential of security breaches, a reallocation of current jobs and business disruption.

“Additionally, the IOT is expensive and time consuming to implement, and the more parts of a business that are integrated into an IOT system, the more disruptions that business could face,” Schied writes. “However, integration can be conducted in stages over the course of several years.”

He adds, “As we see logistics and supply chains become more complex, implementation of IOT is necessary.”

We’ve transformed our business to help transform yours

IOT is one example of how the world of supply chain is rapidly evolving. Technological advances combined with a renewed focus on sustainability and more, make staying ahead of the curve a challenge for corporations. That’s where we come in. In January 2019, we are officially launching the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). This is more than a new name or a rebrand, this is an entirely new association. With ASCM, we expand our reach and broaden our impact, becoming the leader on all things supply chain. Plus, we’ll still do what we’ve always done — give your supply chain team the tools they need to advance their careers and create value for your company.

Abe Eshkenazi
APICS CEO

Top five supply chain podcasts of 2018

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Australasian Supply Chain Institute has reviewed podcasts interviews all over the globe to bring you the very best for your listening pleasure over the holiday break:

1.The Future of Work

Jacqui Canney, is EVP and Chief People Officer at Walmart and Clay Johnson, is EVP and Chief Information Officer at Walmart.

Jacqui is focused on the development, the retention and the rewarding of their 2 million employees. Clay is charged with putting ICT and HR together to create more productivity and automation. Walmart is the world’s largest employer with 5000 stores in the U.S and 10,000 globally.

Duration: 1 hour

ASCI review: An unbeatable interview on how Walmart is evolving and using tech to train and up skill their workforce; how they are using Blockchain to track food; what the future of Walmart looks like 5-10 years out. An interview just darn worth your time. 

2. ASCI Lounge

Daniel Kohut, Director, Solutions Advisor at JDA, shares his sales and operations planning expertise starting from his Australian career pathway, to the present day and the importance of professional development for supply chain experts in the midst of an era of digitisation transformation.

Duration: 20 minutes

ASCI review: So great to hear the Aussie accent and someone so passionate about the future of supply chain careers. Some good advice for professional development. 

3. Talking Logistics

Scroll straight to Episode 6: Angie Freeman, Chief Human Resources Officer, CH Robinson shares insights and ideas on the importance of recruitment and talent in the supply chain industry.

Duration: 29 mins

ASCI review: Best take on articulating the challenges in a succinct interview.

4. Supply Chain Now

Sandra MacQuillan serves as the Senior Director of Supply Chain Strategy & Transformation for Kimberly-Clark, where she leads company’s global supply chain, with responsibility for procurement, logistics, manufacturing, quality, safety, and sustainability.

Amy Gray serves as HR Director for Global Supply Chain at Kimberly-Clark. Amy has served in a variety of HR-related roles at K-C over the last 12 years, to include HR Business Partner and HR Project Leader.

Duration: 1 hour

ASCI review: Jump to 18 minutes in..the first part is just chatter. Interesting take on diversity to better represent customer profiles and global reach.

5. ASCI Lounge

Indrasen Naidoo, Director, Supply Chain System Transformation, Roy Hill (a 55 mega tonne per annum iron ore producer in Western Australia), joins us on the ASCI Lounge to reflect on Roy Hill’s roadmap for Intelligent Supply Chain for Assets, highlighting the need for leadership capacity; rethinking flows; and applying expert technology.

Duration: 20 minutes

ASCI review: Some salient points on how supply chain in Australia is stuck in traditional programs and what Roy Hill has done to move the dial. 

Enjoy your holiday podcast listening!

ASCI Lounge is Australasia’s supply chain podcast channel with over 3,500 downloads since 2016. To book an interview, or to join a panel discussion on a particular topic, email the ASCI National Office at enquiries@asci.org.au

ASCI National Office is closed from Friday 21 December however, you can purchase Guided Learning registration right up until 6 January 2019. For more information, visit: www.asci.org.au/education 

Monique Fenech is the host of the ASCI Lounge podcast channel.

 

 

 

Danone’s story from RAAF Challenge – ASCI Leadership Series

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Pictured from left: Brendan Iddles (Danone) and Henry Brunekreef, President, ASCI

Photo courtesy of Royal Australian Air Force

by Brendan Iddles

When my planning team mates emailed me that they had signed us up for the ASCI Leadership challenge, I thought to myself … Wow, that sounds awesome! But as it was a really busy period in the office I didn’t think much more about it.

As the day drew closer, and we filled in the induction forms for the RAAF base at Richmond, things started to get real – What would we have to do? Would we just stare at each other blankly in confusion? Would we look foolish in front of the other corporate and military teams? Would we avoid talking about it in the office the next day?

Well the day finally arrived, three of us carpooled out to the base, while our fourth team member drove from home. After a nervous 15 minutes waiting as our fourth team member struggled through Sydney morning traffic – we made the bus and entered the RAAF base.

The first thing that struck us was the historical feel of the Richmond base. Originally a military flying school opened in 1916, the RAAF base was established in 1925 and some of the original buildings and gates are still visible.

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After a brief safety induction on site, we were issued our “Disaster Scenario” documents and treated to a “ride” in the RAAFs Hercules aircraft simulator. To the background hum of engine and other in-flight sounds we familiarised ourselves with the natural disaster scenario set before us and the goals we had to achieve.

After “landing”, we moved to the officers mess to get down to business. As a group, we had to devise a recovery plan to save 5000 lives, cut off by floodwaters in a coastal town in far north Queensland, using a set resource list supplied by the Australian military forces, in only an hour.

I loved the ODGQ (old dead guy quote) from General George S Patton – “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”, which roughly translates to “don’t wait for inspiration, when immediate action is required”.

With two planning specialists on the job calculating flight times and nautical distances to ensure that each resource would arrive at the appropriate time to meet the set goals, and two logistics guys optimising resources and movements to have the right resource in the right place at the right time, we literally had our heads down for the whole hour to develop the best solution to the problem.

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Some “out of the box” thinking around domestic resources available in an isolated mining town really helped the execution plan. In the end, after a thorough review from our RAAF senior leadership hosts, Team Danone walked away with the trophy, much to our collective surprise.

This was a fantastic networking opportunity, expertly hosted by the RAAF, and a really fun day.

Huge thanks to ASCI, RAAF base Richmond and Oracle for organising, hosting and sponsoring the event. Looking forward to defending the trophy next year!

For more information about becoming an ASCI Corporate Member or participating in the ASCI Leadership Series, contact the ASCI National Office on enquiries@asci.org.au or visit the ASCI website.

 

Digital Transformation of Supply Chain Planning

Henry Canitz, Director of Product Marketing & Business Development, Logility

In almost every new supply chain focused industry periodical, you will find an article discussing transformation or digitization. Industry analysts, consultants, solution providers, executives and practitioners are all focused on how to transition from traditional to more “digital” planning capabilities. In fact, a Google search using the words, “Digital Transformation” yields 2,800,000+ results. As a supply chain practitioner it is critical to understand what digital supply chain planning looks like and how to ensure your supply chain is on the right transformational path.

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What is Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation involves a focused effort of activity across multiple processes that accelerates performance and delivers new value-added capabilities. Digital Transformation in supply chain planning usually involves development of new tools, skills, and/or processes that target a step change in speed and/or agility.

Why is Digital Transformation Important?

Digital transformation is one of the top concerns and areas of focus for C-Level executives. There is a growing awareness within senior executives that transforming supply chain planning capabilities to take advantage of the emerging areas of “Big Data,” “Artificial Intelligence,” “Advanced Analytics,”  and “Cloud Computing” is a competitive imperative.

Most supply chain managers already know that there is a “War for Talent” being fought to find and retain qualified supply chain personal. Today there is only one qualified supply chain candidate for every seven planning openings and this ratio is projected to increase before it gets better. The best supply chain planning candidates want to work with advanced technology platforms that allow them to spend more time analyzing problems and developing value-added recommendations. Digital transformation of supply chain planning capabilities is critical to hiring and retaining the best talent.

Supply chain practitioners are being asked to accomplish more with less, to be involved in more business processes and deliver more value-added capabilities while lowering costs and ensuring high customer service. Materials and components are sourced from ever-more remote locations and finished products are being sold into expanding regions and channels. The amount of external data continues to grow at exponential rates. Planning cycles continue to shrink and customers expect shorter and shorter delivery cycles.  All these pressures demand a step change in performance building the need for Digital Transformation.

As a Supply Chain Practitioner, How Can I Facilitate a Digital Transformation?

The first step is to obtain C-Level sponsorship. Unlike most supply chain improvement efforts focused on managing and maintaining the current state and making incremental improvements, transformation involves multi-year, multi-functional, disruptive, and expensive efforts that can only be accomplished when embraced by top company executives. Often to gain executive approval requires a business case showing substantial hard and soft benefits.

Start with documenting the “As-Is” process capabilities and corresponding key performance metrics. This will lay the foundation for any future performance comparison and provide the starting point to develop benefits for transformation. Envision the “To-Be” process capabilities and desired performance metrics through benchmarking, group brain storming sessions, and alignment to business strategy and direction. Include envisioned capability cases to provide a vision of what the “To-Be” environment might look like. Develop a flexible roadmap with critical milestones required to transition from the “As-Is” state to the “To-Be” vision. The trick is to have enough detail in this transition plan to execute against while still maintaining flexibility to adjust to new priorities and emerging technologies.

The skills people need to operate in the envisioned “To-Be” environment will be drastically different requiring training and education. Some employees will find it impossible to make the transition requiring the hiring of new talent. A dedicated focus on change management and employee development is necessary for successful transformation.

Conclusion:

The move to digital business capabilities is affecting all areas of a company including the supply chain. Today, technologies such as RFID, GPS, and sensors have enabled organizations to transform their existing supply chain execution capabilities to be more flexible, open, agile, and collaborative. This same type of transformation from embracing digital capabilities is starting to take place in Supply Chain Planning.

To be truly competitive in an increasingly volatile world, forward-thinking companies will need to transform its supply chain planning capabilities by investing in digital supply chain planning capabilities to improve customer service, reduce costs, and enable company strategies. This new vision of a digitally transformed supply chain has caught the attention of executive management and supply chain practitioners must step up and meet this digital transformation challenge.

 

Additional Reading

Five reasons why the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) could be your most audacious career move yet

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More than 25,000 supply chain practitioners have studied the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) to master the essential technology, concepts, and strategies related to end-to-end supply chain operations. Here’s how it can benefit your career in 2019:

  1. Get promoted by developing unique solutions for the end-to-end supply chain like Arsalan Hussain who after studying CSCP, designed a management dashboard with end-to-end data and KPI visibility which was used by management for reporting. Arsalan was transferred to Procurement and Analytics and within two years promoted to Manager of Supply Chain. On average CSCP designees see a 12% pay increase and improve their hiring potential by 65%.
  2. Gain new ways to collaborate with partners like Maria Petrochenkova who after CSCP, developed the skills to effectively couple strategic buyers with product managers to drive innovation.
  3. Grow prospects for general management roles like Kuban Chetty whose finance background and CSCP study honed his skills to implement productivity initiatives around total supply chain, incorporating planning and operations management. He became confident in running financial scenarios around total supply chain activities and implement productivity initiatives focused on factory planning and highlighting capacity usages.
  4. Lead initiatives where supply chain is the business enabler like Nate Joliff who  after studying CSCP applied it to capture key data on extended database processes for racks and container design which helped minimise transportation and storage costs by 15%, saving US$2.3M to the bottom line.
  5. Bolster evidence for Practitioner Registration eligibility. ASCI’s newly launched Practitioner Registrations for Procurement, Logistics and Operations Management require eligibility through evidence of relevant certifications, qualifications and work experience. According to Dr Pieter Nagel, ASCI’s CEO-Professionalisation, the APICS CSCP is a favourable component for eligibility for registration and furthermore provides a significant knowledge base for examination preparation for the Professional Registration to be made available in 2019.
What’s more, you can now tap into accessible and affordable study options via self study and ASCI Guided Learning two hourly weekly sessions online either within the weekday or week evening as part of ASCI’s online pilot program with APICS! Register to 2019 classes before December 2018 and you’ll receive $100 savings. For more information, please contact us via enquiries@asci.org.au

Diversifying and Optimizing amid the US-China Tariff War

By APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

The escalating tariff war between the United States and China has created uncertainty for U.S. supply chains that mainly source their raw materials and manufactured goods from the republic. To hedge against risks, U.S. companies are looking to new suppliers in other countries while Chinese manufacturers are seeking to add value to their products and retain their customers, Financial Times reports.
As a risk management measure, both U.S. and European companies have been shifting their sourcing to other Asian countries throughout the past decade.  To reduce their reliance on a single country and take advantage of cheaper wages, manufacturers have set up factories in and sent work to Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam.
This trend is being accelerated by the tariff war. In preparation for potential tariffs, handbag designer Steve Madden announced it is shifting more of its production to Cambodia. Following suit, Flex, an electronics producer that supplies Bose and Google, is exploring options in Malaysia and Mexico, and Techtronic, which produces parts for Hoover, is sending business to Vietnam.
However, it may be hard for U.S. customers to find reliable, quality labor in developing markets. Unless companies have existing relationships with factories, suppliers and governments in developing markets, it is challenging to shift labor there because investment laws often are unclear. Similarly, labor and environmental standards often are lacking in these markets. Spencer Fung, chief executive of supply chain management company Li & Fung, says that it will take about two years for a company to stabilize production in a new country.
Plus, because complicated electronics supply chains are so entrenched in China, it’s unlikely that all business will shift away from the country as a result of these tariffs. “Everybody is looking for a way to hedge but it’s not that easy,” said Larry Sloven, executive at Capstone, which sells China-made LED lighting in the United States, in the article. “Think about all the components that go into making an electronic product — they all come from China.”
Chinese companies are not going to let their customers go that easily either. Instead, they are going to rethink their value propositions and business strategies. “This is a moment for the [Chinese] manufacturing industry to think about how to diversify risk, whether to upgrade products and add more value or expand production to other regions,” said Clara Chan, president of the Hong Kong Young Industrialists Council and chief executive of a metal production business in China, in the article. Fung adds that Chinese factories also will invest in automation to boost their competitiveness.
As U.S. companies transition to other manufacturing sources, the switch likely will be slow and possibly even temporary because of China’s market dominance and value offerings. This still leaves U.S. companies with the challenge of figuring out how to grapple with new tariffs while still securing the supply they need.
Managing the risks
As the market fluctuates in the midst of this tariff war, companies will have to utilize a variety of strategies to protect their supply and bottom lines. Risk remains an essential part of supply chain planning, and some companies might be leaning on it now more than ever. Consider the definition of risk response planning as it appears in the APICS Dictionary: “The process of developing a plan to avoid risks and to mitigate the effect of those that cannot be avoided.” Companies that anticipated higher tariffs as part of their risk response planning likely are dealing better than those that didn’t.
APICS offers the APICS Risk Management Education Certificate to help professionals understand how to manage these and other risks that will inevitably affect their companies. An individual who completes the program demonstrates a commitment to protecting his or her employer from supply chain risk and the ability to balance rewards and risks in the decision-making process. To learn more, visit the Education Certificates page.

About the author

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Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE
APICS Chief Executive Officer 
Abe Eshkenazi currently serves as the chief executive officer for APICS and APICS Supply Chain Council. Prior to joining APICS, Eshkenazi was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services.

Five reasons why APICS CPIM is a must for every ERP user and consultant

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For the most part of my career, I have been known to be an active member of the APICS community. This means that, quite frequently, I interact with SCM practitioners and ERP consultants from different industries and with different professional backgrounds. During discussions, I am often asked what ways are best to acquire more in-depth-knowledge of the SCM/ERP domains.

Drawing from my 9 years of extensive, hands-on experience in the fields of Supply Chain Management and SAP ECC ERP implementation/support within the Pharmaceutical and FMCG industries, and a unique techno-functional skill set in SCM enabling technologies and Domain Expertise in the SAP PP/PP-PI module, I have compiled some advice for others.

When reflecting on numerous SAP ERP implementation/improvement projects, I keep falling back on the certainty and solidarity of the APICS certification: Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) which I believe was one of the main factors that led to my implementation success. Here are five reasons why I believe the APICS CPIM is a must for every ERP user and consultant:

  1. It harnesses your talents: It is widely believed that a lack in SCM talent is the reason behind many ERP implementation failures or less than optimal ERP performances – both the user/consultant sides. And while there is no one-size-fits-all kind of advice, the APICS CPIM certification has so many benefits to both users/consultants that I almost always advise people to pursue APICS CPIM because it is more about getting the best ROI of an ERP implementation.
  2. It follows a process-orientated approach: ERP commercial packages are all built to computerise the classical value chain activities of a company. These value chain activities are resembled in the modular structure that all commercial ERP packages follow. For example, business processes relating to Supply Chain Planning including, Sales and Operations Planning, Demand Management, Production Planning/Scheduling would be found under the Production Planning “PP/PP-PI” module in SAP ECC ERP. Likewise, other business process compromising a company’s value chain would be found as “canned” business processes across different modules of an ERP solution. The CPIM follows a process orientated approach to Supply Chain planning in a fashion that’s is almost identical to what is found in a SCM/Manufacturing Modules of and ERP package. This strategic fit between how ERP systems are structured and the process-oriented structure of the CPIM courseware is what makes CPIM the most powerful framework for SCM/ERP professionals in both user/consultant roles.

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    Australasian Supply Chain Institute offers the CPIM Learning System for self study or together with Guided Learning sessions, available right across Australia

  3. It mirrors the same language as your ERP: The concepts and terminology of an SCM/Manufacturing module of an ERP system, such as MPS/MRP, BOM, phantom assemblies, time fences and forecast consumption techniques, just to name a few, that prove tricky for most users/consultants to grasp are explored in-depth in the CPIM courseware in an a clear and easy to follow approach with plenty of real life examples. This helps to better utilise system functionalities/features that are likely to be ignored due to the lack of underrating of such concepts.
  4. It builds confidence to apply a configuration effort: CPIM equips designees with knowledge that proves critical to guide system configuration efforts in the SCM area.
  5. It results in better, more streamlined implementations and a higher ROI for digital transformation efforts: Many companies the likes of BASF, DuPont and Intel have adopted APICS frameworks which helped them achieve organisational goals and increase the efficiency of their systems and people. It’s why over 110,000 other SCM practitioners around the world have attained the CPIM. Now it’s up to you. https://www.apics.org/apics-for-business/customer-stories

By Hatem Abu Nusair, M.Sc. Engineering, CPIM-F, CSCP-F, SAP Certified Application Associate, APICS Master Instructor

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Hatem is a Global Supply Chain Management & ERP Expert. He is currently the Production Planner at Tip Top, one of GWF’s divisions in Sydney, having moved from Jordan where he worked for a blue-chip international company that grew rapidly. Here, Hatem founded the Regional Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Supply Chain Department with the purpose of optimising Supply Chain performance across 13 subsidiaries through demand management and forecasting, capacity management, inventory control, and special projects, which entails: IT initiatives, ERP implementation, re-engineering of Supply Chain processes and other relevant matters.

Hatem is a qualified Industrial Engineer and a Master of Manufacturing Engineering candidate at UNSW. He is a Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM-F) by APICS, a Certified Fellow Supply Chain Professional (CSCP-F) by APICS and a Certified Application Associate by SAP SE.

Hatem will be facilitator for Term 4 CPIM Part 2 Guided Learning for Australasian Supply Chain Institute where will be share his passion of streamlining supply chain processes, eliminating redundancies and utilising enabling technology to achieve operational goals with CPIM Part 2 students.

 

 

Does Your Company Have the ‘Right Stuff’ to Embrace Advanced Analytics?

By: Henry Canitz – Director Product Marketing & Business DevelopmentPicture1

John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on Mercury-Atlas 6 on February 20, 1962, just a few days after I was born. I grew up watching the Apollo Space Program launches including the six launches that sent humans to the moon and back. Like many kids back then I dreamed of being a test pilot and an Astronaut. I partially achieved that dream by becoming an Aerospace Test Engineer and working at Edwards Air Force Base where many of the early test flights by Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield, and other’s took place. On February 6, 2018, 56 years after John Glenn’s historic launch, SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket with Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster and a dummy named Starman on a journey into the solar system. The Falcon Heavy is a new class of rockets that may allow man to colonize Mars and beyond. Today, space launches are routine with launches happening on a monthly if not weekly basis. Exciting stuff for someone who dreamed of being an astronaut.

It is also an exciting time to be a Supply Chain Practitioner. Like space exploration, the supply chain has become significantly more complicated over the last 25 years. Technological advances have simplified and automated a lot of routine processes while opening up entirely new opportunities. These new frontiers require advanced capabilities to drive business value such as cost reduction and customer service improvements. Analytics, for example, today is a routine part of a supply chain professional’s job. We can now analyze the end-to-end supply chain and quickly determine the best path forward. While speaking with practitioners at industry events it is quite apparent, some supply chain teams have the ‘Right Stuff’ to fully embrace advanced analytics while others are just beginning their journey.

Moving up the analytics maturity curve takes a combination of the right talent, processes and enabling technology. Unfortunately, the people component is often not adequately addressed. As supply chain planning incorporates more data, supply chain roles need to be redefined to support analysis and decision making. Just as Chuck Yeager had to acquire new abilities and skills to break the sound barrier, companies have to define new skills and roles to meet their envisioned advanced analytic enabled processes.

Below are a few of the new analytic roles for leading supply chain teams today:

  • Business Analyst: understands business needs, assesses the business impact of changes, captures, analyses and documents requirements and communicates requirements to relevant stakeholders.
  • Supply Chain Analyst: responsible for improving the performance of an operation by figuring out what is needed and coordinating with other employees to implement and test new supply chain methods.
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialist: work on systems that not only gather information but formulate decisions and act on that information. Software that determines Sentiment from Social Data is one example of the work of Artificial Intelligence Specialists.
  • Data Scientists / Big Data Analyst: analyzes and interprets complex digital data, such as the usage statistics of a website, especially in order to assist a business in its decision-making.
  • Database Engineer: responsible for building and maintaining the software infrastructure that enables computation over large data sets.

As our enterprise systems continue to produce volumes of data, we need to make smart decisions faster to drive the business forward. Does your current team have the ‘Right Stuff’ to embrace advanced analytics? What new roles do you need in your supply chain team? How should your team be organized to efficiently run the business while also driving innovation? Are your current supply chain systems sufficient to leverage new data sources and enable advanced analytics? Can you automate routine activities? These are just a few of the questions you should ask as you embrace all that analytics has to offer to keep your supply chain team engaged in value-creating activities.

Related Content:

About the Author:

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

Warehouse of the Future: Adopting Automation within Your Supply Chain – Part 1 of 2

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There’s currently a digital supply chain transformation that’s happening faster than the physical supply chain can react, requiring hybrid solutions in semi-automated environments where humans and robots work in tandem. New incentives to modernize operational capabilities should be added that capture efficiencies not previously achieved, while laying the foundation of a digitalized supply chain, continuously re-evaluating plans and evolving for performance.

Automation has been looked at as a solution to operational challenges, but trends in the marketplace signify an unprecedented rate of adoption taking hold in the coming decade. E-commerce is driving service expectations to levels that may not be achieved without the use of highspeed picking alternatives to manual operations. The aging generations in mature economies and challenges securing a loyal millennial workforce for repetitive tasks are creating increased disruption to staffing, forcing employers to look to automation to offset risk of labor shortages. Continued innovation has reduced costs of entry for automated capabilities, delivering improved business case justification for automation of many forms.

With such a strong justification, operations leaders across the globe are seeking ways to capture the potential that automation offers. Large scale transformation of distribution networks is capital intensive, however, and rarely warranted given the pace of change – however rapid – and market uncertainties. Therefore, we’re forced to look within existing environments to identify opportunities to introduce automation into existing facilities, combining automated equipment with manual operations, which requires the added complexity of orchestrating work across semiautomated operations. This scenario introduces the question of how to create an optimal environment allowing warehouse management systems (WMS) to orchestrate work across manual and automated areas to ensure efficient operations and maintain quality and service levels.

Part 1 of this 2-part blog series will take a deeper dive into today’s automation systems landscape and retrofitting today’s supply chain with automation. Part 2 of the series will cover disruptive technologies and digitalization and next generation capabilities.

The Current Landscape of Automation Systems

In automated environments, WMS often work alongside warehouse control systems (WCS) that manage the routing of containers as they traverse the material handling equipment, and warehouse execution systems (WES) which often have basic task management capabilities but not the level of control or optimization of a WMS. Below are a few general groupings of automation that typically leverage these entities in different ways.

  • Conveyors and sortation equipment receive destination / routing information from the WMS and leverage the WCS to divert containers to the appropriate location.
  • Pick execution equipment, including pick-to-light, carousels, or A-frames will receive pick instructions from the WMS and rely on the WCS to control the MHE. At times, these devices will manage task distribution and user interfaces for the performance of picks, though often, the WMS will manage the tasks through prioritization, and provide a common user experience (using consistent equipment where appropriate) for work performed in the pick modules and in bulk storage which feeds it (this work would include putaways, cycle counting, and picks where appropriate). Often, a WES has been sufficient for high volume outbound operations in retail, but with increasing emphasis on service levels, the advanced functionality of a WMS specific to inventory accuracy, pick module replenishment, cross-docking, and exception handling, the WMS brings a strong justification for a two-pronged approach.
  • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) are well established, though adoption is increasing as more forklift providers offer driverless units. These units can take direction from a WMS (typical when involved in semi-automated environments) or WES (often used in ASRS racking systems where materials are commingled or when the vehicles can follow multiple routes to alleviate congestion). In either scenario, a WMS is often utilized to manage inventory allocation to customer and order.
  • Palletizers use visual determination for pallet building capabilities, but most in use require some level of consistency in product dimensions at the layer level. Advanced pallet building and robotic arm picking capabilities are increasing in use, but require some consistency in dimensions. Improvements in digital sensing will soon be changing the game here.

Retrofitting Today’s Supply Chain with Automation

Automation adoption will continue to accelerate in response to advanced service level expectations and e-commerce, with a focus on scale and speed, whereas a continued migration of margin focused businesses will drive adoption of driverless vehicles and high-density storage modules, especially in cold storage or mega-cities with high volume real estate. The introduction of automation into the existing facilities will bring challenges, such as:

  • Traditional footprints, system capabilities, and business processes will be challenged when faced with the introduction of conveyance, sortation, and pick execution equipment. A natural inclination to delineate businesses, and potentially create channel-specific operations, can result in artificially inflated inventory levels and/or reduced service levels in increasingly sensitive environments to failures in this area. Multi-channel capabilities can be achieved, often driving operational leaders to adopt pick execution capabilities to distribute work without recognizing the backlash to overall service levels of having disparate capabilities with traditional WMS controlled processes. The results, if not thought through, can have repercussions on inventory accuracy, exception management, and operational efficiency.
  • The introduction of driverless vehicles (AGV or ASRS) offer strong advantages in terms of scale and cost, ROI projections in union environments can often deliver break even points less than a year after go-live, even in new projects. However, legacy storage equipment and material flow can introduce limitations. The environments best prepared for the introduction of driverless forklifts are those managing full pallets in bulk locations (where dimensions are predictable and stack requirements are well documented), or those where racking capacity is capable of managing fixed locations that can be tracked in the WMS (if locations can be dedicated to a specific lot), or in the WCS (where multiple pallet locations can be managed by the WCS but the WMS can manage storage/allocation in concert with non-automated areas). In more complex operations, the WCS can take a more active role in determining work and allocation, but this often drives customization and redundancy with WMS functions specific to the needs of the business.
  • More robust, piece level management in advanced pick modules controlled by ASRS such as goods-to-person automation, offer advanced capabilities for high volume distributors and e-tailers. Often, this will require tote storage of product to standardize the storage capabilities, though concessions for non-conveyables must be considered. Integrating pick and pack operations with traditional areas of the same operation also force decisions on how to integrate inventory management with shipping capabilities, adding complexity to projects as WMS and WCS providers offer similar capabilities.

Check back for part-2 of the blog series, where we’ll go into more detail around the technologies driving next generation warehouse automation and digitalization and next generation capabilities.

For more information download the Future Series white paper, “Adopting automation in the digital age.”

About the Author

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Matthew Butler, Industry Strategies Director, JDA Software

More more information contact, 0414 966 232.

Visit www.jda.com