To CSCP or not to CSCP in your career?

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Andrew Hill CSCP 

 

Six Essential Steps to Building Trust in Remote Teams

Guest blog from Marie-Claire Ross, Trustologie

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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.

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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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data And AI Set To Transform Retail Supply Chains

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Guest Blog: Craig Sears-Black, Chief Executive of EV Cargo Technology

It once belonged in the realms of science fiction, but today artificial intelligence (AI) plays such an integral role in our daily lives that most of us don’t even notice it’s there, while all the time generating vast quantities of data.

In recent years AI systems have been developed to utilise this data in increasingly sophisticated ways, none more so than in the field of retail. As more of us shop online, so AI is used to transform our experience with personalisation, automation and increased efficiency.

But advanced technologies now also play a pivotal role in the operation of the modern retail supply chain, helping dictate how goods reach retailers. Although AI was identified as being a game-changer more than ten years ago, its limitations had not then been fully grasped and the industry wasn’t aware of the large amounts of quality data required for it to be effective. It’s only when industry-wide data can be combined that technologies such as machine learning and neural networks can be applied effectively.

However, after a huge amount of groundwork, the foundations have now been built to obtain the volume and quality of data required to support the development of AI in supply chains.

“Businesses have recognised the value of their data and its potential to solve the complexities of running a global logistics network,” says Craig Sears-Black, chief executive of EV Cargo Technology. “They have become considerably better at accessing data and now better understand how to incorporate AI into everyday work tasks to augment human decision-making.

“This next decade will be about harnessing AI and placing our trust in technology to make the correct decisions. This will evolve over the next decade, gradually moving from a recommendation that requires human sign-off, to limited automation if certain conditions are met. As the tech proves itself over time, it will take on more and more automated decisions.

EV Cargo Technology has been providing supply chain software solutions for more than 25 years and is used by many of today’s leading global and high street retailers.

“As an example, AI can use shipping data, combine it with predicted volumes, weather forecasts and emerging disruptive events and recommend that the shipment should be re-routed via an alternative port, saving significant transit time and costs,” explains Craig. “Initially, someone will review and approve this recommendation but eventually AI will make greater decisions on the retailer’s behalf.

“That extends to re-routing and re-prioritising shipments based on changing stock position or trends. If a retailer’s forecasting system says they’ll sell more stock, AI will be able to suggest and decide on changes to the transport mode and route, taking demand and costs fully into consideration.”

“Technology will also find greater applications within product sourcing. Considering information stored about factories, supplier reliability in terms of on-time and quality, cost price and time taken to market, AI can weigh all those elements and recommend the best supplier for that particular product.

“It will never fully replace the buyer but, for basic products with consistent sales, AI could monitor stock and sales and re-order automatically. Or with access to sales and inventory information, re-prioritise shipments of product to ensure optimum stock levels.”

Improving visibility, reducing friction, encouraging collaboration and promoting compliance are just some of the ways EV Cargo Technology has helped clients transform their supply chains. The benefits are both tangible and significant: increased sales through improved availability, an increase in profitability and reductions in inventory, logistics and overall operating costs.

“Technology is ramping up efficiencies in network planning and predictive demand, allowing retailers to become more proactive,” added Craig. “Advances in AI and analytics will enhance the ability of the technology to predict outcomes and mitigate potential impacts.”

So is full automation just around the corner? Not in the next ten years, according to Craig, who says that issues over trust in the technology and decision-making mean human input will remain, at least for now.

He adds: “Data is one of a company’s most valuable assets and there’s no doubt that AI-supported analytics is set to take a huge leap forward over the next ten years in helping unlock the true potential of that data – interpreting it and intuitively directing attention to where it is most needed.”

EV Cargo Technology works with retailers to monitor their supply chain networks and design, build, test, and deploy optimum supply chain management systems for each organisation’s individual needs. They  work to improve business processes through connecting the entire trading community, giving a platform to thrive by efficiently collaborating with external partners, and managing the complete supply chain with full transparency, efficiency and cost effectiveness

With over 25 years’ experience in delivering supply chain intelligence, EV Cargo Technology has a global client base spanning across America, Europe, South Africa, and Australasia. For more information, visit: www.evcargotech.com

 

 

 

Is Blockchain the Remedy to Health Care Logistics Issues?

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By ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies are putting blockchain to the test in order to track and trace the drugs they manufacture and ship. In fact, according to Healthcare Weekly, blockchain is “getting massive attention” in health care, with 40 percent of industry executives reporting that it is one of their top five priorities.

Blockchain, a decentralized network that shares information with participants in real time, has clear potential to transform and advance health care logistics, transportation and distribution. “The technology offers a potential solution to a number of challenges,” write J. Mark Waxman, Kyle Faget and Ben Daniels for Medical Economics. “The ability of blockchain to track and store data chronologically across a peer-to-peer network makes the technology particularly well suited to solve for the traceability requirements imposed by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act. In addition, blockchain is uniquely secure, which could reduce common issues in drug supply, such as drug counterfeiting.”

A recent Cointelegraph article shares how one company is working to achieve this pharmaceutical supply chain precision. Blockchain startup MediConnect offers a solution that will enable tracking and managing of prescription medication through the supply chain while preventing misuse.

Author Ana Alexandre writes that, earlier this year, the Ugandan government partnered with MediConnect to trace counterfeit drugs within the country. “The blockchain-based platform enables the recording of prescription medication, thus identifying counterfeit drugs and preventing their distribution in the pharmaceutical supply chain,” she says, adding that the potential of blockchain in health care is also recognized by the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Health and Prevention, which launched a blockchain system for recording and sharing health care data.

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Arm yourself with knowledge

One of the most interesting aspects of blockchain is that it requires no trust from users but delivers trustworthy transactional data. As a result, supply chains around the world are benefiting from a whole new level of transparency into the status and location of their goods.

As Ron Crabtree, CIRM, SCOR-P, explains: “The opportunities for logistics, transportation and distribution companies are truly endless, as the often painful process of making sure everything is done right throughout a value stream becomes much less stressful and error-prone. Indeed, many experts agree that blockchains are generating a less expensive, reliable way to know the status of a transaction.”

One way to ensure that you have the latest industry-leading skills and knowledge is by becoming Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD). This APICS designation will help you understand and maximize new supply chain technologies, trends and solutions. The CLTD program gives you everything you need to effectively demonstrate in-depth expertise of essential concepts in order to streamline operations, boost your organisation’s bottom line and set you apart from your peers.

According to APICS Asia Pacific facilitator Thomas Vandenbogaerde in an exclusive podcast interview with ASCI Lounge, how they compete and how they can keep their customers by being better in their distribution and wider supply chain.

Contact APICS Premier Channel Partner Australasian Supply Chain Institute for details on the CLTD certification today or visit our website or email enquiries@asci.org.au

 

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.

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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.

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

Indian regulations rain on Amazon and Walmart’s e-commerce parade

By ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

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Amazon and Walmart subsidiary Flipkart is scrambling to revamp its supply chains, vendor relationships and systems. New regulations from the world’s fastest growing economy have undermined these retailers’ business models and obstructed their sales in India’s burgeoning e-commerce sector.

Previously, foreign companies were forbidden from holding their own online inventory and shipping it directly to customers. Amazon had found a workaround in the form of local subsidiaries of firms in which it had holdings, which opponents insisted was violating the spirit of the rule. Largely due to such proxy sellers, Amazon and Walmart had controlled almost 80 percent of India’s e-commerce.

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But as of February 1, such goods are not permitted for sale by foreign companies. In addition, these firms are barred from entering into exclusive online sales agreements. A vendor’s inventory also will be considered under the control of an e-commerce marketplace if more than one-quarter of its sales are derived there.

The protectionist move follows ongoing complaints from domestic retailers over anticompetitive practices. Amazon and Walmart both requested a six-month postponement of the effective date but were denied.

“Thousands of products were pulled from Amazon.com Inc.’s India website Friday — the first direct impact from the country’s new e-commerce rules,” writes Corinne Abrams in the Wall Street Journal. The article goes on to explain that the restrictions are the latest effort by India to curb U.S. tech giants’ dominance in the country and “promote homegrown companies” as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a second term.

“Both Amazon and Walmart have made big bets in India, where the e-commerce market is estimated to balloon to $72 billion in 2022,” Abrams adds. “Amazon has pledged to invest $5 billion to expand in [India], while Walmart’s takeover of India’s Flipkart for $16 billion was its biggest acquisition ever.”

Global supply chain know-how

The operations of these e-commerce giants have been thrown into disarray. As these companies, and others, navigate such severe regulatory pressure, success will hinge upon the effectiveness, responsiveness and flexibility of their supply chains.

ASCM provides the resources you need to plot your own course through the ever-shifting global marketplace. The APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) program enables individuals to master the fundamentals of supply chain strategy, business model design, relationship-building, risk management and much more. In particular, the CSCP learning system includes a module centered around monetary, regulatory and trade considerations; negotiation and collaboration; and international standards and compliance. Begin your journey toward this world-class certification today.

The Australasian Supply Chain Institute (ASCI) is the Premier Channel Partner for APICS and offers joint memberships with ASCI for local and ASCM for global membership for both corporates and individuals. Contact us today at http://www.asci.org.au/membership or enquiries@asci.org.au.

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.

 

 

 

The $100 Billion Returns Question

Billion Dollar Return QuestionBy Karin Bursa, Executive Vice President, Logility

Now that the holiday season is behind us, retailers can sleep easy, right? Well, no. Seasons are now both shorter and more frequent which means you quickly move on to the next one. However, a large and rapidly growing issue has emerged: the cost of returns. Unwanted gifts, incorrect sizes, styles and fits that didn’t match expectations, the reasons are countless. To attract and retain customers, many retailers strive to make the return process as frictionless as possible. But at what cost? The ease of returning an online purchase has turned the bedroom into the retail fitting room. Consumers now purchase multiple variations of the same product to “try on” at home and then return the rest.

Following the 2017 holiday season, several industry pundits proclaimed retailers would lose about $90 billion (yes… billion!) in returned merchandise that could not be resold (Good news for FedEx and UPS: People just opened $90 billion in unwanted gifts). Recently, another report published claiming this number reached $107 billion for 2017 ($107 Billion Lost In Returns). Regardless of the final number, we are talking about a lot of money that simply should not be “thrown away to erode margins.”

Returns can be forecasted and much of that inventory can be placed back onto store shelves or made available through ecommerce, discount locations, etc. So, if retailers know the returns are going to happen, why are the losses so high? I sat down with retail industry veteran Jim Brown to learn more.

 

Karin: Are you surprised at the high cost of returns?

Jim: Not at all. When I was in the shoe industry, we experienced a higher-than-average rate of returns that could not be sold. Today, the consumer’s mindset has evolved and applied the same logic we saw in the shoe industry, try on a wide variety before you find the right one, to the rest of their purchasing habits. Consumers today are more comfortable ordering more and returning most of that order. It is too easy to add items to an online shopping basket knowing you have the option to return the merchandise with free shipping. And, since you used a credit card, you’ll never have to pay out-of-pocket.

 

Karin: Based on your experience, what happens to this merchandise?

Jim: Basic items typically do not make up the bulk of the returned merchandise. So, if the items are re-saleable, a lot of them will move into a markdown status by the time they make their way back to the store, or into the available warehouse inventory due to selling seasons. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as taking it from the initial customer and placing it back on the shelf. Often, there are many hands that will interact with the merchandise—tags may have been removed, packaging may be defective, etc. All of this takes time, resources and investment to re-create and ready the merchandise for resale. Time is money and each ‘touch’ depletes your margin.

 

Karin: Why are retailers not able to place the merchandise back in circulation?

Jim: Most retailers will try, or have a process that should accommodate getting the product back into the inventory. The reality is most retail supply chains are optimized to bulk move allocated or replenished goods to the stores/locations. Handling one item at a time is a very labour-intensive activity. Determining if the item is damaged, repairable, tagged, packaged appropriately, etc. all adds to this cost. If you consider the margin on a single item, the least costly option may be to not handle it all. Of course, this is dependent upon the cost and margin of the item, so you need policies in place that accommodate all types of merchandise sold. This is the same reason why reducing store-to-store transfers is so important for retailers.

 

Karin: Are certain industries more prone to this issue?

Jim: Definitely. Health and beauty is a good example because this industry is heavily regulated. Once a safety seal is broken, that item is off the market for resale. Ready-to-wear is another good example due to its specific sizing which is also prone to returns. Technology becomes obsolete quickly, and the packaging is almost impossible to return to its’ ‘factory fresh’ condition. This forces the majority of these returns to be sold at a markdown, contribute to that staggering number you mentioned earlier and result in ‘open box’ promotions and discounts.

 

Karin: What are some of the ways retailers mitigate this issue?

Jim: This has become increasingly more difficult. In the past, retailers could require return authorizations or a short return window. However, in today’s competitive environment where shoppers have more options, retailers are hesitant to put up any customer service barriers. The prevalence of social media means one bad experience can be amplified across a broad audience and impact future sales. If I know the return process will be a hassle, chances are I will shop elsewhere. The best way to mitigate returns is to get the transaction right with the customer at the point of purchase. By providing as much information about the item to them as possible, easy access to customer reviews, etc. will lessen the chance that an item will come back up front. Some retailers are experimenting with virtual dressing rooms and other innovative technology to help minimize the volume of returns.

 

The cost of returns is truly an astonishing figure; however, as Jim outlines retailers are just not set up to handle the one-off item returns in a cost-effective manner. There are ways to minimize the burden including getting the sale right from the start. Additionally, retailers need to forecast the returns as a part of their planning process and develop more cost-effective measures for handling the merchandise as it comes back. If you are able to better predict the amount of returned merchandise you are likely better equipped to collaborate with your suppliers and partners to mitigate the cost to you while still delighting your customers.

 

About the Author

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Karin Bursa, Executive Vice President, Logility

With more than 25 years of experience in the development, support and marketing of enterprise software solutions, Karin is able to provide The Voyager Blog several provoking perspectives including market-shaping events, end-user perspectives and technical reviews. She is a widely quoted source on the evolution of the supply chain, frequent author to many leading publications, and can be found speaking at many of the industry’s leading conferences.