To CSCP or not to CSCP in your career?

CSCP Banner

Guest blog from Andrew Hill CSCP

I did not have anything to prove my competencies to the broader market and had no experience to demonstrate that I could apply my skillset in different industries and contexts.

Like many entering the supply chain profession in the early 2000’s, my entry into the profession was not by design but by taking advantage of an opportunity to shift focus within my career.  Through 13 years of experience at Brightstar, some great mentorship and exposure to international operations, I gained a base of knowledge of supply chain fundamentals in the Telecommunications industry and progressed into senior leadership positions.

When I was faced with the loss of a major contract in the local business and a global restructure, it became clear that my next challenge would not be at Brightstar.  Considering next steps, I saw two challenges that I needed to overcome in order to progress my career:

  1. I had no educational qualifications relevant to my career experience.
  2. I had broad experience working with clients in a single industry, working for a single company.

Considering these from the hiring manager’s perspective, I did not have anything to prove my competencies to the broader market and had no experience to demonstrate that I could apply my skillset in different industries and contexts.

image001

I addressed these challenges by pursuing CSCP certification. Having worked across several functional areas from: demand planning; retail allocation and merchandising; to supply planning, I saw this qualification as a great fit to broaden my knowledge across supply chain and prepare for future leadership roles encompassing the whole of supply chain.

CSCP 2020

I chose the self-directed learning approach to learning, as this allowed me flexibility to study in my own time.  The combination of online and physical learning materials allowed the convenience to learn anywhere, anytime and online quizzes provided instant feedback on my understanding – allowing effective revision to revisit the concepts I needed to review.

While independent online learning fit well for my circumstances, classroom-based options are available for those who prefer a more structured learning experience and to receive feedback from an experienced instructor.

The CSCP program provided me with a solid foundation across a whole of supply chain curriculum, addressing areas where I had not had previous exposure, as well as providing fresh best-practice perspectives in areas where I initially felt I was stronger.

Having completed the CSCP program, I strongly believe that this qualification will provide a great foundation to further my supply chain career and am looking forward to using the knowledge gained through this program in my next role!

For any members wanting to know more about my experience in completing CSCP, please feel free to send questions through the comments section or to connect with me via LinkedIn.

ASCI Online Certification Review Classes for CSCP commence in the Winter Term in July. Purchase your Learning System in advance to ensure you make an informed decision about self studying, like Andrew Hill, or a hybrid solution of self study and online classes. Geta quote today at enquries@asci.org.au or subscribe to our regular updates on pricing and scheduling here. 

Andrew Hill copy

Andrew Hill CSCP 

 

Six Essential Steps to Building Trust in Remote Teams

Guest blog from Marie-Claire Ross, Trustologie

laptop-2562325_960_720

Transitioning to managing a remote team when your team is normally co-located requires a steep learning curve for both team leaders and team members.  Throw in the COVID-19 crisis and high levels of anxiety and trust levels in the team can come crashing down if not managed correctly.

Whenever there is change and uncertainty, employees will naturally withhold expending too much energy into a team, until it feels safe to do so.  The antidote is trust.

After all, when you don’t have trust, it’s like walking through sludge.  Everything takes a long time to get done. Miscommunication and misunderstandings become rife requiring multiple meetings to sort out differences – slowing down decision-making and action.  Blame increases and avoiding accountability resulting in more conflict.

Continuing to boost your teams trust levels is critical, while everyone is learning the ropes.  This is trickier to do remotely because repairing and maintaining trust is much easier face-to-face.  To ensure team performance doesn’t drop precipitously requires the team leader, and team members, to be willing to not only change how they interact, but also their underlying mindsets.

That’s because humans have this odd tendency to only believe something is true if they can see it.  In a work environment, leaders only think team members are working if they can seethem work.

Today, team leaders have to cast aside this limiting belief that has literally stopped remote working from really taking off in the past.  Now, we’re all in this interesting workplace experiment where leaders have no choice but to let go of the reins and trust that people are getting work done.  This requires leaders to stop basing people’s performance on whether they’re seated at their desk from 9-5.  The truly liberating and empowering benefit of working from home is that people can adjust their work schedule to fit in with their lives.  As long as they can attend important meetings and produce the work required, the set times people work are irrelevant.

Pivoting from measuring time at work to delivering outcomes takes time.  Particularly for more mature leaders, who have been conditioned since school to work during set times.  Usually the tendency is to micromanage when people aren’t visible – sending an unintentional message to employees that they’re not trusted.  The result is employees will overwork to demonstrate their contribution.  And during this anxious time, this only compounds stress levels.

The good news is that this can be avoided if leaders are self-aware and have the right tools.  Visibility can be improved through using project management software that makes progress highly visible to all.  While team members need to step up and modify how they work together.

Learning any new skill this takes time.  After all, it’s a bit like moving a team from playing netball to football.  All the behaviours, mindsets, interactions and communication styles all need to change.  And it’s common to make mistakes.

To keep trust levels optimised, there are two elements leaders to focus on in equal amounts.  Otherwise, you risk being strong in one area and not the other, creating minimal improvement.  These elements are:

  1. Building trust with each individual in the team and
  2. Fostering trust between team members.

Counter intuitively; leaders need to spend more time structuring communication and relationship building between team members than when working separately.

Let’s go through the steps to do this using our SUCCEeD Together Trust Framework. This is based on six trust drivers that make it easier to leaders to identify and understand trust issues.

Support – Leaders who care, get the most out of their people.  Support underpins all of the other trust drivers and is more critical to remote teams than co-located ones.  Essentially, humans don’t trust people who don’t care about them.  So leaders need to do more work to ensure that team members feel supported by everyone in the team.

This is so critical because distributed teams have limited opportunities to spontaneously interact in hallways and food areas, which naturally bonds people together.

According to the Building Workplace Trust Study by Interaction Associates, the main way virtual workers wanted their leaders to build trust was to convene periodic face-face meetings (40%).  Of course, during the pandemic this is impossible.  But for teams that have each previously met in person, building trust remotely is easier.  But you can’t take it for granted.

If you’re a team leader, there are two areas that you need to focus on to improve support:

  1. Foster Visibility – This is on three levels. The first one is ensuring that you share as much information as possible.  It can be easy to forget to share making people feel left out.  Make it a general rule to be as transparent as possible, in order to provide the right context for people.  Share meeting notes, send regular updates and ensure all tasks and expectations are clearly documented.  The second level is making sure you’re accessible.  In a workplace, it’s important for leaders to walk the floor and speak to people daily.  Of course, it’s impossible to do this virtually.  To get around it, schedule the same time everyday when people can call you and get an immediate response.  Another example is to let employees know that if they mark their email as a high priority you will respond to it that day.  Finally, make sure everyone has their webcam on in meetings.  Video meetings encourage stronger connection between team members than phone calls.
  2. Help Team Members Understand each Other– Remote teams are less likely to recover from team members who are not trusting or trustworthy. Creating opportunities for people to learn about each other outside of work is important. Make sure that you schedule social time before or after a meeting to allow people to talk about their personal lives.  You can even have virtual coffee or lunches, where people chat over meals.  If your organisation is big enough, consider have a Slack channel where people can find others in the organisation that share the same interests such as knitting or photography.

United to Solve Customer Problems – We trust people who are similar to us.  In a team, you have lots of different people thrown together.  Unite everyone by regularly aligning people to how the work solves customer problems.  On an individual level, connect how each person’s contribution brings value to the team and organisation.  In team meeting, regularly share customer success stories, customer feedback and challenges.

Clarity of Thinking and CommunicationHumans need certainty and communication is all about reducing ambiguity.  Without it, we tend to not trust a situation.  This trust driver requires leaders to spend time clearly thinking and planning how they are going to provide employees with the right information to do their job.

According to the Building Workplace Trust Study by Interaction Associates, there were three things that virtual workers required from their team leaders:

  1. Reveal their thinking about important issues
  2. Remind team members of their common purpose
  3. Create clear working agreements.

To do this requires spending time one on one with people and convening together as a team.

With each individual, make sure you:

  • Discuss what success (including quality) looks like for the team and how their tasks connect to that.
  • Work with them to create their own goals that are tied to the team’s overarching goal (and encourage each team member to share their goals at team meetings).
  • Clearly articulate how they need to communicate progress with you. For example, do they need to send you a summary email of work done at the end of the week or would you prefer a daily phone call?
  • Explain their role, responsibilities, and your expectations. Encourage them to repeat back to you what they believe them to be, so you can check for accuracy and understanding.

For the team, you’ll want to ensure you have regular meetings, in order to co-ordinate team schedules and progress updates.

  • Ensure each team member talks about their progress to help everyone understand each person’s contribution. Make each individual responsible for gathering this information and presenting it.  This is important because we only trust people who are competent at their job. Encouraging each member to prove their competency will help others trust them.
  • Weekly check-ins to discuss what people are working on, what’s keeping them stuck and what is or isn’tworking. If you’re team is new to remote work, implement daily check-ins

Candour – You can’t fix problems, if people aren’t willing to talk about them. Ensuring team members feel safe to talk about issues is one of the defining factors of a high performance team. Unfortunately, conflict can go unresolved because it’s easy to agree in an online meeting.

Improving candour involves the team leader modeling the right behaviours that enable people to speak up.  Allow people to challenge you and respond by listening and asking curious questions. Give positive verbal feedback for those brave enough to express issues and concerns.  If your team does not naturally talk about issues, ask in meetings: Who has a different point of view on this issue?  Consider asking people by name to articulate their support or concerns.

Empowered to GrowYou can’t grow a company unless the people within it are growing.  You want to make sure that learning is safe and it’s a journey that you’re all on together.

Set aside time to learn jointly.  These can either be formal learning (eg: learning how to read a profit and loss statement) right through to ensuring that people are learning from each other.  Don’t forget to do training because you’re remote.

Encourage project wrap-ups to share lessons learned.  And also encourage team members to provide virtual presentations that you can record it, and tag, so that it is easily searchable.

DependabilityAt the heart of trusting others is being able to rely on people.  In a workplace team, we need to feel that others will make good on their promises and do the right thing.  This requires ensuring that each team member understands all of the interdependencies of the role.  The job of the leader is to provide a holistic understanding of the interactions between all the moving parts and ensure everyone is accountable.  Check in with team members regularly about any bottlenecks that are potentially stopping team members from delivering on goals.

Powering Great Remote Teams

Great remote teams thrive in a culture of trust.  And it requires team leaders that are conscious of building trust into their team interactions, actions and communication.

And it’s a skill that is going to more valued in the supply chain market once we are in the brand new world on the other side of this pandemic.  While we don’t know what the future will look like, it’s pretty clear that leaders who micromanage, resist change and find it difficult to rally their people won’t be tolerated.  Low trust leadership slow things down creating unnecessary problems that we can no longer endure in a fast paced world.

The payoff of high trust leaders is extensive.  According to Interaction Associates, virtual workers tend to report a significantly higher level of trust in their organisation than their non-virtual workers.  And the benefits can be quite staggering – the same research study found that organisations that have high trust have 2.5 times the revenue generation of low trust organisations.

Authentic leadership is built on trust.  The more people trust their leader, and each other, the more they will take risks and adapt keeping their organisation alive.  In these difficult times, organisations that can adapt quickly will be more likely to survive.

MarieClaire copy

Marie-Claire Ross is the chief corporate catalyst at Trustologie.  She is a speaker, author and consultant focused on helping CEOs and leadership teams put the right processes in place to empower employees to speak up about issues, challenge each other, and share information.

If you would like a complimentary Remote Team Trust Cheat Sheet, that can help you build trust both one on one and within your teams, go to https://trustologie.com.au/tips-for-managing-remote-teams/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upskilling Supply Chain Professionals for a Sustainable Future

By ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

This week, I attended the GreenBiz 20 conference, which enables sustainability-focused professionals to explore business trends and develop recommendations for better organizational accountability and reporting. Those of us who participated in the supply chain track identified a number of tactics for aligning sustainability goals with supply chain activities. Two key strategies were enhanced cross-training and ongoing professional development.

Indeed, as global supply chains contend with extreme social, economic and ecological change, investing in our people becomes ever-more crucial. As World Economic Forum (WEF) President Børge Brende writes, “Valuing human capital not only serves to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to respond to systemic shifts, it also empowers them to take part in creating a more equal, inclusive and sustainable world.”

According to the WEF’s Future of Jobs Report, 75 million jobs in 20 major economies will be displaced by 2022. Meanwhile, as many as 133 million new roles will emerge to meet the demands of this ongoing transformation.

ASCI Ad - CPIM

These points are underpinned by PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, which reveals the opinions of about 1,600 chief executives from 83 countries. Two central themes that surfaced from the research were upskilling and climate change.

According to the report, the key forces driving the upskilling imperative include automation, less availability of talent, reduced mobility of skilled labor and the aging workforce. “One reality is clear,” the report states, “increases in automation, changes in demographics and new regulations will make it much harder for organisations to attract and retain the skilled talent they need to keep pace with the speed of technological change. They will have to grow their own future workforce.”

Importantly, the CEOs who have embraced upskilling report benefits including stronger corporate culture and employee engagement, greater ability to attract and retain workers, heightened levels of innovation, and enhanced productivity.

“Our current approach can’t continue,” Siemens U.S. CEO Barbara Humpton told PwC. “We don’t have nearly enough qualified applicants to hire because of the technical knowledge required. So we’re going to be training a lot of non-engineers to do jobs engineers would have done in the past.”

The CEOs surveyed also recognize the risk and opportunity of climate change, noting that related initiatives can lead to significant new product and service opportunities, as well as reputational advantages and financial incentives. A recent CNN article validates these findings, reporting that asset-management superpower BlackRock is putting sustainability “at the center of its approach to investing.” The firm currently oversees $7 trillion in investments, but soon will abandon any holdings considered to be a sustainability risk.

“Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” CEO Larry Fink stated in his January 2020 letter to CEOs.

The potential of our people

Today’s investments in talent set our supply chain organizations on an equal, inclusive and sustainable path to the future. At ASCM, we are here to support you in this effort, with a wide array of professional development programs, including APICS certifications and a body of knowledge that has been the global standard in supply chain learning and development for more than 60 years.

Companies around the world recognize the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management; Certified Supply Chain Professional; and Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution designations. These credentials offer forward-looking, transformational education that will position your employees for ongoing success. Learn more about how you can cultivate and support your workforce with this essential learning and development.

Mailchimp Header

Seek Out These 10 Qualities for Ongoing Career Success

By ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

Do you know which skills are most vital to your professional future? More importantly, do you possess them?

According to the new World Economic Forum (WEF) report, “The Future of Jobs,” the top 10 proficiencies and workforce strategies for 2020 and beyond are

  1. complex problem-solving
  2. critical thinking
  3. creativity
  4. people management
  5. coordinating with others
  6. emotional intelligence
  7. judgement and decision-making
  8. service orientation
  9. negotiation
  10. cognitive flexibility.

These findings were derived from chief human resources and strategy officers at leading global employers. The executives were asked about current shifts in business and what they mean for employment, skills and recruitment across industries and geographies.

“By 2020, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have brought us advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, advanced materials, biotechnology and genomics,” says WEF senior writer Alex Gray. “These developments will transform the way we live and the way we work. Some jobs will disappear, others will grow, and jobs that don’t even exist today will become commonplace.”

Although AI tackles many challenges that people cannot, machines are less likely to decipher complicated puzzles that are not clearly defined or span multiple industries. This is why complex problem-solving tops the WEF list. Likewise, critical thinking is a strictly human capability that enables us to process, visualize and make connections in a world of ambiguity and nuance.

With the constant influx of new technologies, it’s no wonder that creativity is among the top three skills. “Robots may help us get to where we want to be faster, but they can’t be as creative as humans,” Gray explains, adding that negotiation and cognitive flexibility are at the bottom of the list because machines are increasingly making our decisions for us. In fact, 45% of WEF survey respondents believe AI will sit on company boards of directors by 2026.

“The future workforce will need to align its skillset to keep pace,” Gray writes. “Change won’t wait for us: Business leaders, educators and governments all need to be proactive in upskilling and retraining.”

The next five years

Something I found particularly interesting while reading the WEF report was the comparison between today’s top 10 and the list from just five years ago. While many skills were fairly comparable, others shifted dramatically (creativity). Some appeared for the first time (emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility), and some fell off the list altogether (quality control and active listening).

In ASCM’s 2019 Supply Chain Salary and Career Survey Report, 82% of respondents said they are likely to remain in the field for the next five years. As these people continue on their professional journeys, I can’t help but wonder what competences the supply chain careers of the future will demand of them. Indeed, our report revealed that job stability is strong — with about 75% of respondents either remaining in their current positions or being promoted last year — but what must supply chain professionals do to keep on this positive trajectory?

ASCM will explore these questions and many more with our 2020 Supply Chain Salary and Career Survey Report. Based on the findings, we will continue to revise and update our content to ensure you have all of the latest skills that employers are seeking. I invite you to add your perspectives as we collect this important data in order to better understand, inform and advance the global supply chain community. Take the survey here before January 31.

Abe Eshkenazi will give a keynote address at MEGATRANS, Melbourne on 1 April 2020 as a special host to ASCI. To register, visit: https://www.megatrans.com.au

The Lifesaving Potential of Drones

Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 10.24.23 am.png

By ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

Reading current news headlines, it’s clear that the global supply chain landscape is constantly being reshaped by innovation. This past week, it was drones garnering much of the media attention.

Wing, Alphabet’s X lab drone, was reported to have completed 80,000 tests since 2014, leading to new collaborations with Walgreens and FedEx for food and beverage delivery. In addition, Alphabet is working with Southwest Virginia retailer Sugar Magnolia to distribute a range of sweet and savory treats, gifts, stationery, and paper goods.

In the coming months, Amazon will test its much-hyped Prime Air service in a to-be-determined location. The company says the drones will depart directly from fulfillment centers with Amazon Prime packages on board.

Uber’s drones will land right on top of Uber Eats driver vehicles, and a thermal feature will be contained within the drones to keep food items cold or hot. Uber has completed tests at a McDonald’s neighboring San Diego State University, and nearby residents soon will be able to order drone-delivered meals.

Going beyond convenience to actually protecting lives, entomologists Bart Knols of Radboud University, Richard Mukabana from the University of Nairobi and social entrepreneur Guido Welter have come up with the idea to use drones to spray a control agent in Tanzanian rice paddies, a natural mosquito breeding habitat. Malaria infects more than 10 million people every year in Tanzania, killing 80,000.

Mailchimp Header

Across the ocean, UPS and CVS announced they have completed the first U.S. deliveries of prescription medicines — one directly to a consumer’s home; the other to a retirement community. The drones launched from a CVS store in Cary, North Carolina, then hovered about 20 feet over the properties before slowly lowering the medicines to the ground.

CVS President Kevin Hourican says this demonstrates what’s possible for customers who can’t easily get to stores: “CVS is exploring many types of delivery options for urban, suburban and rural markets,” he adds. “We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities.”

According to McKinsey & Company, when it comes to rural areas, drones are surprisingly cost-competitive, at just 10% more than the price of typical delivery models. The firm predicts that rural drone deliveries could comprise 13% of anything-to-consumer deliveries by 2025.

Supply chain research for a better world

ASCM is committed to supporting academic institutions that are researching how emerging trends can advance supply chains and ultimately create a better world. One of our recently awarded grants enables professors at the University of Missouri – St. Louis to explore drone use in less developed countries, where lack of vaccines contributes to high death rates. The professors also are investigating how drones can successfully deliver vaccines to remote communities while overcoming challenges related to maintaining the cold chain during travel.

The ASCM Research Subcommittee is currently seeking grant proposals focused on emerging trends, processes, techniques and technologies that will have an impact on supply chains and value networks of the future. The deadline is January 31. We invite you to download the guidelines and submit your proposal here.

Dominating the CSCP

CSCP pic
At the beginning of the year, I decided to pursue the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation. In July, I sat for the exam and passed, which has led to my receiving countless questions about my journey. This article is intended to provide anyone considering earning this certification with all the lessons learned, tips and answers needed to be successful.

Preparation

There are two options for exam preparation: self-study or classroom courses. For me, self-study was the best method of learning and most cost effective. The self-study option includes three books, flashcards, online practice quizzes and exams, and access to the highly regarded APICS Dictionary.

APICS Premier Channel Partner, Australasian Supply Chain Institute, has a bundle deal! The total cost of all the online content and printed materials, week nightly two hour online sessions with a qualified APICS facilitator in Australia, an exam and an exam retake is $4,370 for ASCI PLUS members. The week nightly sessions commence in 23 September 2019. Don’t miss out!

Your own preparation method decision warrants more than just comparing prices. Honestly assess your levels of motivation and dedication to push yourself through 1,500 pages. The online classes will be your discipline! Be wise!

image001

The APICS CSCP Learning System

A connection of mine reached out to me on the ASCM discussion boards, asking if he could sneak through the exam without reading through the aforementioned material. My response: “There’s no need to sit for the exam without the APICS Learning System material. You failed.”

Honestly, unless you’re an industry titan, the chance of passing without the Learning System is razor thin.

The best way to utilize this system is to follow it sequentially. Assess yourself before you begin reading through the material by taking the pre-test. If you score above 30%, you’re doing better than I did. A low score should not discourage you, but motivate you!

Now that you know where you stand, read an entire module. Complete the end-of-section progress checks. After you’ve finished a module, return to the quizzes and take all of them. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to avoid memorizing answers. The exam is strictly based on comparison between terms. Use these quizzes to both understand which answer is correct and comprehend why others are incorrect.

Finally, take the post-test and score above an 80% to earn your congratulatory letter.

Flash cards

Write flash cards by hand or in a word-processing program. Memorizing hundreds of key words may zap the enthusiasm out of us all, but writing them even just once helps with retention. Treat this as another type of homework, and it will pay off at exam time.

How long will it take?

Everyone has different levels of experience and learning ability, but a good rule of thumb is your CSCP journey will be a minimum of three months. I began mine in March and tested in July. Along the way, I highly recommend at least touching the material daily. Putting it off for a week and rushing to catch up puts unnecessary stress on you and hinders your ability to learn.

Exam format

The exam has 150 questions. Of those, 130 are operational and 20 are pre-test (not counted). You will have 3 ½ hours to finish. There will be two answers that fit and two that are clearly incorrect. Do you know what the difference between third- and fourth-party logistics? Can you quickly state the triple bottom line? How does a make-to-stock manufacturing organization respond when demand forecasting predicts increased demand due to economic growth?

The exam will question your knowledge of minor variations between two terms (3PL/4PL), if you clearly understand what makes up a term (TBL), and if you understand how one key word is changed by a variable.

Scoring

Scores range from 200-350:

  • Fail – 200-299
  • Pass – 300-350

The questions all carry a hidden weight based on difficulty. The three modules require about a 70% or higher to pass.

Parting tips

Put in the time. Read the books at least once, preferably twice. Write down all of the flashcards. Take the quizzes slowly to gain comprehension. On test day, go slowly and flag questions you simply have no idea how to answer. I flagged a question during my exam and proceeded on. Roughly 30 questions later, something triggered that gave me the answer to the one that had stumped me!

Hope this is helpful to all of you aspiring CSCP designees!

By Michael Nichols, CSCP

Challenges and Opportunities for ASCI as a Professional Accreditation Body

Mailchimp Header

In its quest towards Professionalising Supply Chain Management, any organisation that attempts to develop a formal professional accreditation scheme in this industry is typically challenged by the fact that Supply Chain Managers are often not on the workforce radar. Supply chain management is still not sufficiently recognised as one of the key components of the execution of corporate strategy and there is still a huge under representation on the executive level.

Supply Chain Managers face unique challenges such as the absence of clearly defined educational pathways that would result in recognised credentials; incomplete or lack of appropriate job descriptions; limited opportunities for Continuous Professional Development; and sometimes, very indistinct career paths.

The industry to date, does not have a Professional Accreditation Body that can work with industry to address these challenges in Supply Chain Management. ASCI has now fully established itself as the Professional Accreditation Body for the Supply Chain Industry.

The opportunities 

ASCI has developed a set of standards and a professional framework that will enhance the quality of the Supply Chain workforce. It will focus entirely on enhancing public trust and confidence in Supply Chain Managers, enable compliance with regulatory or legal requirements across the Supply Chain and enhance the status of Supply Chain Management as a career path.

Through its Ethics Management Program, it will guide the behaviour of Practitioners in the Supply Chain domain, especially when it comes to morally or ethically ambiguous activities.

ASCI, in collaboration with industry, will establish and standardise roles (and the associated knowledge, skills, and abilities) and pathways to better align supply and demand of Supply Chain Professionals and Practitioners, increase awareness of career paths, and facilitate recruitment and retention by employers.

ASCI has developed a Professional Accreditation Scheme that offers its members Professional Recognition of Competence towards Professional and Practitioner Registration.

To become registered or to join a professionalisation committee, please contact the ASCI National Office today at professionalisation@asci.org.au or visit our website: https://www.asci.org.au/professionalising-supply-chain-management

ASCI-6

Dr Pieter Nagel is Head of Professionalisation at Australasian Supply Chain Institute

 

 

 

The Power of Partnerships: Why customer-centric alliances are the future for all businesses

Simon Arch

Guest blogger: Simon Arch, Alliances Director, JDA Software ANZ

It’s no secret that most successful businesses around the world have customers at the centre of everything they do. In fact research by Deloitte and Touche discovered customer-centric businesses were 60 percent more profitable compared to companies that weren’t focused on the customer.[1]But how can companies create genuine partnerships with other businesses which put the customer at the centre of everything and why is this critical for business growth?

In my role, I am responsible for developing an ecosystem of partners that together provide the best value and best possible customer outcome. Together with a carefully selected group of partners, we develop aligned go-to-market strategies to present to prospective customers to help their businesses succeed.

It sounds easy, right? Wrong! It’s a constant juggle of individual personalities, goals and emotions. I often describe my role as part marriage broker and part marriage counsellor (!) as I get caught up in working with egos, changing business priorities, shifting budget expectations and quality of delivery.

The ongoing challenge I face on a daily basis is educating prospective partners and customers that no single business can provide all that’s required to deliver a successful outcome. There is no ‘one size fits all’ anymore. The problems we face are getting more complex and the end customer’s expectations are increasing all the time.

Our goal is to help our clients to understand they will get better value by bringing together each and every supplier. We find that’s a significant challenge, to set the customer’s expectations that there’ll be multiple stakeholders involved from day one. This is often a big cultural shift – customers have always dealt with just one supplier, why would they need to work with three or four? Once they see the value of working with a combined team of specialist suppliers though, the fears disappear.

Other challenges we face are to find the appropriate partners for the specific customer we’re working with and having enough partners with the right skills. We invest significant time in finding the partners, developing and training them on our software and keeping up with the demand as we grow our business. We’re always scanning the market and keeping our ear to the ground to find new partners.

We recognise that if we can combine in-depth industry and consulting knowledge with the technical knowledge from us about our software, then we’ll have a partnership made in heaven where we are able to expedite the solution and the deployment for the customer.

We also have an ongoing assessment of all our business partners, we often discover partners which may have been great years ago, may have changed industries or capabilities and may not be the right fit anymore.

The main things to consider before partnering with another business are to determine what or who is a useful partner? Is it one that has industry knowledge, technical capability or customer base? Alignment with your company is critical. A hunger to win business and a passion for the industry are key things I look for, but they are difficult things to discover without exploring the partnership first. Another point to consider is commitment – commitment to work with you and vice versa. We’re ultimately looking for a match of skills, passion and culture.

My top four tips for businesses who are looking to expand their alliance network and create a successful customer-centric partnership approach are:

  1. Carefully understand your requirements. Consider is it a gap in your own skills or is it a gap in your existing partner network? Analyse this carefully at the beginning.
  2. Work out what their capability is like. Do they have enough capacity to grow with you? Don’t forget technical delivery capacity.
  3. When you do find partners, prioritise, make sure you engage on every different level in their business from executive level engagement to the sales team and the technical delivery teams.
  4. Pick and choose who you are going to approach (potential customers) very carefully as partners like to see successes. When partners see that the partnership is working they are much more likely to want to do more repeat business with you.

Remember, action and patience are key when it comes to business partnerships.  At some point there will be issues – even from your own team – so you’ll need to counsel the stakeholders and above all be very patient. But when customer-centric alliances work well they can mean the difference between a thriving growing business and one which is going nowhere fast.

Visit: https://jda.com

[1]https://www.superoffice.com/blog/how-to-create-a-customer-centric-strategy/?insvid=16a24ae7840993e7–1555393641677

Machine learning and artificial intelligence for retail supply chains

How retailers can incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence into their supply chain: A snapshot of the recent ASCI Networking Breakfast panel event

 

By Harsha Illindala, Vice President, Solutions Advisor – APAC at JDA Software

 

I was lucky enough to host a panel at a recent ASCI breakfast on new advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence and how they are helping retailers optimise their operations and supply chain. I was joined by Michelle Grujin, Managing Director, Retail Industry Lead ANZ at Accenture and Marcy Larsen, Industry Solution Executive, Retail and CPG at Microsoft.

IMG_2990

IMG_2989

While these technologies are becoming increasingly important, we first discussed some of the macro trends influencing retail customers today, what makes them different to customers from 10 or 20 years ago to frame why investing in these technologies is so important:

  1. Hyper-personalisation

 

Retailers are now expected to customise the customer experience to the segment of one. Retailers need to cluster and segment more narrowly across all retail formats.

  1. Premiumisation

There is a growing interest in premium food, clothes and other merchandise. There has been growth in health, vegan and specialised foods. Customers are also concerned with ethical sourcing and fair trade. They want to believe in the product.

  1. Convenience

Convenience is the price of admission: customers expect retailers to be convenient to deal with. They prioritise this, often over price.

  1. Mobility

The ability to shop online from a Smartphone means customers are more mobile than ever before and can purchase from anywhere.

  1. Urbanisation and population

There is a changing population mix with more customers living in urban areas. Customers will favour retailers who prioritise inclusion and diversity and demonstrate authenticity.

  1. Talent

We then went on to discuss how talent in retail is changing. According to the 2019 Retail C-Suite Viewpoint surveyconducted by JDA Software and Microsoft, talent is a top three issue with the C-suite in retail.

The workforce is varied with more part-timers and a workforce with time constraints. The gig economy is mobilising millennials and the retired workforce. Employees now have the ability to achieve genuine flexibility and hold down several different styles of job which fits in with their lifestyle and personal constraints.

For retailers the focus is now less on workforce scheduling and more about engagement with employees. There is also a huge competition for skills so retailers need to create a dynamic environment which values their skills.

Engaging employees with technology that is as advanced, if not more advanced, than what they are able to access at home is important. Employees, just like customers, expect retailers to demonstrate inclusiveness, diversity and authenticity.

  1. Provenance in supply chain

Customers care about the claims made by brands and retailers about products. Smart looking packaging and brand advertising strategies are important. Environmental and societal influences, morality and accountability are priorities for the customer.

  1. Data

The influence of data is significant. Customer trust is established when the right data is provided. When there is transparency of data between suppliers – shipping through to store – it creates a better customer experience.

  1. Influence of digital

Customers expect the physical experience to be on par with the digital experience. Technology is transforming the customer: 75% of a customer’s visits to a store are influenced by digital and 58% of sales are impacted by digital, according to the 2019 Retail C-Suite Viewpoint survey.

Digital has changed the customer journey; digital is now the ‘front of store’. The customer journey has evolved to loyalty – discovery – research – purchase – fulfillment.

We then went on to discuss which technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), is emerging to help retailers meet the needs of the customer in light of these macro trends.

The Tech

We then covered technology that is playing increasing important role in the supply chain for retailers and why companies should be investing in them:

Technology for personalisation

36% of the C-suite in retail expect to undertake pilots using AI in personalised product recommendations, 20% for localised pricing and 29% for personalised product assortments.

AI helps retailers meet customer expectations around product availability and fulfillment choices – in-store, pick-up and delivery. Customers expect instant gratification when it comes to fulfillment.

AI also provides a flowing, single view of inventory and allows for dynamic allocation and fulfillment, predictive replenishment and a shorter product life cycle.

Technology for provenance in supply chain

AI and ML provide real-time visibility. Traditional systems such as ERP centric reports and dashboards are too slow, alternatively AI provides real-time and direct visualisation of supply chain data with ML identifying and weeding out data discrepancies.

Blockchain is becoming an increasingly common buzzword and is something that could old the answer to many provenance related issues. With Blockchain providing a method to manage forms of exchange, entities in a supply chain can with increased confidence know where each asset has originated

Technology for the workforce

Technology is changing rapidly and affecting supply chain practices. There are several workplace changes that will become more important to how supply chain operates.

With more virtual and contingent workers, automation, increased connectivity through workplace social networks (e.g. instant messaging, communities) and more advanced communication tools (e.g. virtual meetings, webinars) will become increasingly important. Apps (e.g. personal organisers, goal setting, real-time feedback, team activities) will play a role, as will gamification (e.g. realistic training scenarios to stress test and develop supply chain strategies). Artificial Intelligence (e.g. advanced data mining) will help identify business trends and opportunities.

Challenges in adoption

We went on to discuss the major challenges facing retailers in adopting these technologies.

Some of the key observations included:

  • 55% of retailers don’t have single view of inventory
  • 78% of retailers don’t have real time view of inventory
  • 50% of retailers believe their technologies are lagging
  • Most retailers have CDTOs / CDOs and in-house AI teams, but tangible and scalable innovations have been far and few between
  • Many retailers have started off by trying to understand “what will my data show”, but need to transition to “what action needs to be taken” as a result of those insights

Is technology simplifying supply chain or adding to complexity?

We went on to question whether an increasingly complex supply chain is being simplified or further complicated by technology. We agreed that technology can minimise store effort in handling product and create flexibility in flow volumes and mechanisms.

We also discussed automation. There are increased and more affordable automation solutions in warehouses and in-store. Automation delivers productivity but also narrows variations. This means there is a greater need to manage the inventory flow to leverage the automation. Retailers need to manage coordination across inventory planning, transportation, yard, dock and warehouse operations.

A big thank you to the ASCI for inviting me along to host this excellent and insightful panel.

If you have questions about how AI and ML can improve your supply chain, you can contact me at Sriharsha.Illindala@jda.comor visit the JDA website.

ASCI as Professional Accreditation Body

Extending an invitation to all Industry Peak Bodies in the Supply Chain

 

ASCI has positioned itself as the Professional Accreditation Body for the supply chain industry. In this capacity, it has developed a Professional Accreditation Scheme, in line with the criteria set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which oversees the legislation for lawyers, accountants, etc.

Although ASCI has not yet obtained legislation for supply chain as a legislated profession, we are following the exact process in the expectation that we will one day be ready to seek formal legislation.

In doing so, the ASCI Professional Accreditation Scheme, in its current form, is the only one of its kind that is based on the PSA guidelines. To distinguish this from the offerings of other organisations, often also referred to as “Professional Bodies”, we need to understand the distinction between the various professional bodies in our industry. The term “Professional Body” is often used by Industry Peak Bodies in their reference to the fact that they serve the “profession”. They do indeed, but not as an accreditation body, rather an Industry Peak Body. They most often offer certification programs, rather than a professional accreditation scheme. Certification programs are not to be confused with a Professional Accreditation Scheme.

Here is the difference:

“Certification”, a formal process of assessing that an individual is qualified in terms of particular knowledge or skills. It requires the candidate to study a particular learning set and write an exam on this set of knowledge in order to obtain certification.

“Accreditation” which, as in the case of lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc provides independent recognition of achievements and maintenance of the exact standards required to join the community of professional supply chain professionals and practitioners.

Professionals and practitioners registered under the professional accreditation scheme, are recognised for their competence, ability, integrity, and service to the profession. It is a voluntary means of demonstrating professionalism and involves being held to account by your peers for your abilities and adherence to ethical standards.

It is in this context that ASCI has commenced discussions with several Industry Peak Bodies in the supply chain domain, with the objective to offer registration against the Professional Accreditation Scheme through these Industry Peak Bodies, to their members, making the scheme more accessible to the broader supply chain community. Peak Bodies that are interested in offering professional and practitioner registration to their members can do so by affiliation with ASCI.

If you represent a peak industry body then we want to hear from you. Contact Our National Office at professionalisation@asci.org.au to commence discussions. It is through our common passion for the sustainability of the supply chain community that we can collectively raise the bar of supply chain management in Australasia.

ASCI-6

Dr Pieter Nagel is Head of Professionalisation at ASCI. Contact him about collaboration or registration at professionalisation@asci.org.au