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supply chain insights global summit

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Blockchain: The Great Paradigm Shift

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During the 2017 Supply Chain Insights “Imagine Supply Chain 2030 Global Summit” I found myself surprised and confused by a topic I felt I had a strong handle on. Having sponsored my own companies R&D efforts in BlockChain I thought I had a deep and clear understanding of how this technology would mature and become demanded by our client’s clients. I nearly fell over when Brian Tessier (Schneider Electric) began explaining their pilot to use BlockChains to manage the process of onboarding new business partners. I began mental flailing … “Why would you do that” … “Surely that’s the wrong tool…

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Impact of New Generation Robots

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I was stunned when I first met the collaborative Robot Sawyer at the Imagine 2030 Supply Chain Insights Summit in September this year.  All I could think was how many jobs will these guys take.  The list of features is awesome but for me the three pivotal features were: Sawyer doesn’t need to be programmed to do a task, you show it. Sawyer can safely operate alongside human workers, without light curtains or guard rails I was expecting Sawyer to cost $300K.  I was shocked to find that he starts at $29K Together with Sawyer’s big brother Baxter, these bad…

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Supply Chain Lessons from Camelback Mountain

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It was a hot afternoon in Scottsdale on the day after Labor Day with temperatures over 100o F when about a dozen of us assembled for a hike up on Camelback Mountain. The hike was intended to be a networking activity for attendees at this year’s Supply Chain Insights Summit.  We had arrived from near and far – some from as far away as Europe.   Before starting on the hike, our guides gave us three lessons:  First, the journey is itself the goal.  Reaching the summit will be nice but it is not our objective.  Our goal is to enjoy…

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Imagine (Sometimes it takes a Supply Chain Brain)

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Imagine.   Later today, Lora Cecere’s Global Summit kicks off in Phoenix.   This is the flag ship program for Supply Chain Insights (the analyst firm run by Lora Cecere) and it is absolutely a team effort, with lots of work by those who work for and with Lora.  But I purposefully called it Lora Cecere’s Global Summit, because it is Lora’s unending energy and passion around supply chain that makes this event unique among the growing number of supply chain events being held around the globe.  More importantly, it is her ability to challenge us to stop, even if for a…

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Supply Chain of 2025: Global with Strong Regional Characteristics

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Recently, I participated in a podcast with Lora Cecere where we discussed the following question: What would the supply chain of 2025 look like? Questions like this are always fun to consider. Of course, they would be easier to answer if one had a crystal ball. Below is where my mind went as we discussed this topic. One of the things I have found quite remarkable in the last couple of years is how quickly cutting edge products are becoming available through big parts of the developing world. It seems the information revolution and the internet age have ensured people…

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Steps 4 & 5 to Regain Manufacturing Prowess

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4. Construct and deploy sensible metrics The current manufacturing metrics of efficiency, keeping all machines busy all the time (utilization), and overhead absorption were developed after the stock market crash of 1929. Any manufacturing manager can tell you what products are really the most profitable. Rarely does the formal accounting system come up with the same answer. Sensible metrics must be deployed that encourage better integration of various components within the company. These metrics align resources, working capital, and activities to the company goal of being sustainably profitable. Sustainable profitability is far more important than short-term operational efficiency. 5. Learn…

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My Vision for Supply Chain 2020? Deep integration!

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I recently got interviewed as a blogger for the Global Summit. The question was how I imagine the Supply Chain in 2020. My first thought went to ‘deep integration’. What strikes me the most when I’m consulting or teaching companies is the lack of integration in today’s supply chains. If I look at retailers it is still common to have private label suppliers stuffed with inventory, central or regional DC’s stuffed with inventory and shops stuffed with inventories. We all demand high service levels from one step to the next. There seems to be a lack of trust, a lack…

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Steps 2 & 3 to Regain Manufacturing Prowess

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Develop and use “Thoughtware” Companies must invest and unleash the intellectual capital within their organizations. Too many companies are spending fortunes on hardware and software and getting little return on that investment. While technology continues to advance, there is still no substitute for thinking. Hardware and software are ineffective without the right “thoughtware.” Currently America’s educational system prepares students for more education rather than teaching them to think critically and adapt to a changing environment. The late Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, author of “The Goal,” frequently commented that the average manager would rather spend $5 million than spend 5 minutes thinking….

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Five Steps to Regain Manufacturing Prowess

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Supply chains reach around the world but in this first blog, since the upcoming conference is in my home town, I am going to focus on what is going on here at home.  Reading the news  so many proclaim that American manufacturing is gone, never to return. The numbers certainly are frightening. In just the last 10 years, America has lost more than 2 million manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate in manufacturing continues at double digits today.  This same situation is found in several countries around the world especially in Europe. Yet other signs point to a possible resurgence.  A…

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The World Is Changing

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Regardless of who you are, customers lie at the centre of your universe. We are living in world of people empowered by choice. This combined with an austere economic climate requires businesses to deliver higher service levels at a lower cost with less investment in inventory. So exactly why is this a seemingly impossible task? First we need to understand how businesses have evolved. In what we might call ‘the age of manufacturing’ – 1900 to 1960 – there were few variants to any manufactured item. Business was ‘product led’, forecasting was all but irrelevant and, quite simply, if a…

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