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Happy Meals, Smartphones and the Supply Chain

Posted 11-09-2010 at 02:25 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

From the ban on McDonald’s Happy Meals to smartphones evolving into a shopper’s best pricing tool, a lot of things are changing right in our own backyard. Regardless of where you are in the supply chain, the business environment is constantly changing as a result of technology, public policy, consumer preferences and economic health among others. That doesn’t even include risks that keep most of us up at night…hopefully not all night.

For example, San Francisco recently passed an ordinance that bans using toys to entice kids to buy meals (i.e. Happy Meals). If you’re like me, I can’t remember a time without Happy Meals. Not that I ate them every chance I had, but the term “Happy Meal” is arguably as American as apple pie. If you’re McDonald’s, this ordinance potentially puts a damper on future sales since other cities and locales will likely consider similar initiatives.

Those Happy Meal toys with the promotional tie-ins will likely find homes...
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Politics: A Supply Chain Risk We Take for Granted

Posted 10-20-2010 at 01:21 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Back in July, I wrote about rare earth minerals (REE) and their importance to the high-tech industry. From cell phones, laptops and almost any type of electronics you can imagine, REEs make them work. China controls the largest source of these materials in the world, and thus with control comes risk—risk to the demand base.

As we approach the November elections, I’m reminded of the ramifications of politics both domestically and abroad. In September, China stopped all shipments of REEs to Japan in retaliation for Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain. And earlier today, rumors swirled that REE shipments were also being cut to the U.S. and the European Union because of environmental concerns. It certainly highlights the fragility of any supply chain and the risks involved regardless of how much planning is involved. Because of China’s near monopoly of REE (the country holds 95% of the world’s reserves), countries such as Japan and the U.S. potentially...
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Taming the Animal Known as the Economy

Posted 10-08-2010 at 11:41 AM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The economy is a strange animal these days full of uncertainty and prone to dramatic mood swings. Ask any number of financial and industry experts, and you’re likely to hear a wide range of different perspectives (or guesses as I like to call them). For example, the retail area is full of cautious optimism with some retailers seeing growth as small as it may be, while others are still in a holding pattern. Retailers such as Macy’s and Best Buy reported positive quarters while others such as the Gap aren’t. The same mixed bag also applies to 3PLs who are trying to find a balance between inventory and consumer demand. Just last week, Armstrong & Associates estimated that the 3PL industry will see a 13.4% increase from last year (a gross revenue of $121 billion).

One thing that experts agree on is that businesses can’t remain on the sidelines indefinitely. While the financial numbers provide a potpourri of good and bad, they do show that the economy is stabilizing,...
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The Supply Chain’s Image Problem

Posted 10-01-2010 at 12:38 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

This past week I attended CSCMP’s annual conference in San Diego, one of the industry’s top events for everything and anything supply chain. One of the differences with this conference is its educational focus where the gathering is more about learning and exchanging ideas rather than selling the latest wares. A fair amount of visitors to the RedPrairie booth were college students intent on networking and hearing about the innovations in our world (robot pickers anyone?)

One particular grad student stands out (and not just because her thesis is on cloud computing in the supply chain). She asked a rather pointed question—“Why doesn’t the supply chain get much respect outside of the business world?” Jokingly I told her, the supply chain doesn’t get much respect from the business world either.

There’s certainly an ounce of truth to my response, although businesses today are more cognizant of the financial benefits of a strong supply chain and logistics...
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Today’s Big Economic Hurdle – An Unwillingness to Change

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

With the U.S. dealing with its own share of economic issues, it’s easy to forget that we’re not alone in this global economy. Other nations are dealing with the same uncertainty and forced to jump through similar hurdles. The supply chain is no different, and while the infrastructure here in the states could stand some improvements, countries in the midst of significant changes face major growing pains. One thing is for sure…while the resources may be available on paper, changing attitudes can often be a difficult and even insurmountable hurdle.

For example, India is a nation where growth can be severely limited by its infrastructure. According to a report by McKinsey & Co., India has $45 billion in losses annually because of inefficient logistics. That’s a staggering amount until you realize that those losses could more than double to $140 billion in the next decade. Right now, 57% of the country’s freight is done by roads, 36% by railways, 6% by waterways,...
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Renewable energy growth only goes as far as the supply chain takes it

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Renewable energy has been a topic many have discussed over the past few years, and here in California, it tends to be a highly visible issue especially during election years. Silicon Valley, once solely a tech haven, has gradually evolved and expanded into green technology. From harnessing the sun through solar cells to converting algae into fuel for vehicles, renewable energy is finally getting the acknowledgement it deserves.

With that said, the industry of renewable energy is facing a critical time that will either hinder or elevate it. Deloitte's Global Energy & Resources Group recently released a report on the top 10 issues and trends in renewable energy. Among them, the core issues focus on government regulation, sustainability and funding sources. Flexible regulations and financial incentives in the past have helped to nurture the industry. But with the current economy, those policies and incentives are on shaky ground. In addition, funding sources are in constant demand as startups and emerging companies seek the time, and human and technological resources to grow their green businesses.
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Not Familiar with REE? They Put Tech Supply Chain and Green Initiatives at Risk

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

For years now, the focus of environmentalists, businesses and consumers has been on oil and the development of alternative energy sources. But yet another risk to the supply chain is looming but to date has received little attention—rare earth minerals (REE).

REE are the materials—dysprosium, terbium and neodymium—that make most of our high-tech products from cell phones and computers to electric cars and solar panels work. The gist is that these compounds create and facilitate the processes and reactions so for instance, automobiles run and cell phones dial and answer. REE aren’t rare at all, and actually pretty abundant in nature. The problem comes from the mining process which is expensive and environmentally destructive. Like oil, the U.S. imports these materials from China, and they’ve begun to put up restrictions that may have detrimental effects on this country. For trivia fans, China is the world’s biggest supplier of key REE, accounting for more than 90 percent of global production. Not to overstate the point, but our green initiatives and technology progress depend on REE.
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Water: Essential for Life and...for Coffee

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The flow of information can be daunting for most of us. Wherever we go, our senses are flooded with visuals and texts. The advent of social media has helped to make the distribution even more widespread and in some cases transparent. But for all the complaints about information overload, nothing beats having the right information at the right time especially when it comes to daily supply chain operations.

The lack of visibility and information is a common problem for many warehouse and inventory managers within the four walls and beyond. But properly managed information can bring financial rewards for the quick thinking. For example, ARC Advisory posted about yesterday's water main break in Boston and the impact on Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts at Logan Airport. It goes without saying that running a coffee business without water is a logistical nightmare. For Starbucks, it meant no coffee and no customers, while Dunkin Donuts served all the customers it could all because of a little information. The crew at Dunkin combined some knowledge with a bit of ingenuity and managed to buy cases of water from the supermarket, while Starbucks, well, didn't.
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Going Green Only When It Doesn't Cost Us Too Much

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Many have gone shopping and come across environmentally friendly, or green, items. From natural fiber linens and bags to organically grown fruits and vegetables, these items tug at the green side of our conscience. Ironically, the green tag typically cost us more green, as in cash because they sell at a premium over regular, non-green designated items. When given the choice to spend more on green items, do you? And, be honest.

If you're like me, then you likely haven't, and who could blame you. The recession has impacted many aspects of our lives, namely our wallets. The same kind of thinking is true with 3PLs and their customers. While 3PL green initiatives are looked upon positively, customers aren't willing to pay for them, according to a new study "Third Party Logistics Sustainability Report".
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The SaaS-querade by On-premise Software Vendors

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Lately, many of you have seen the announcements by traditional on-premise companies touting their SaaS and PaaS products. Of course, those of us who work in the tech industry know much of this is marketing spin. What they're promoting as SaaS is really just re-packaged, non-multitenant enterprise offerings that will likely saddle customers with costly applications. For customers, educating yourself about what SaaS is not only makes you smarter but can significantly save you money.

ZDNet published an interesting online article that coins a new term for all of this: SaaS-querade. What do you need to know about true SaaS? Let's start with the obvious-any traditional on-premise enterprise software company that has suddenly turned to the SaaS side should be a red flag. Unless that company has acquired a SaaS company, built a SaaS development team, or more importantly has referenceable SaaS customers, you should be weary. What you likely have is enterprise software hiding in sheep's clothing.
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Factors Changing the SaaS Landscape

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The SaaS landscape is changing at the expense of on-premise software. That’s the finding at a recent InformationWeek conference focusing on the future of software. An interesting yet somewhat obvious point is that very few of the large enterprise software companies are really geared or willing to adopt a strategy to serve the SaaS market.

SaaS has matured gracefully as it gains more confidence among CIOs. Any IT investment these days must consider SaaS as a viable option for its inherent benefits, while “on premise” software is seen as old school or legacy. With the emergence of new product categories such as employee reviews management, SaaS fills the gap where the traditional software companies won’t even touch.
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Are you prepared for the recovery?

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Just yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that the recession was over. A few days earlier, government data showed inventory levels as U.S. wholesalers dropped to their lowest level in three years. The pace and speed of the economic recovery is anyone’s guess regardless of analyst predictions and economic data. But, combined with the decline in inventory levels, there should be some concern about whether your company is prepared to take advantage of the recovery.

It sounds strange to put it that way, but considering that so many companies slashed their stockpiles which had a domino effect on suppliers and manufacturers, it’s a reasonable point. The phrase “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” aptly describes the situation. A large number of plants were shut down with even more employees laid off over the past 12 months. Getting operations back in place and running again is no small task especially for smaller companies who more than likely will require more capital. With the financial community still in flux, securing capital is difficult, and therein lies the issue.
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Our fate lies in the supply chain

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Discussions about the supply chain outside our industry don’t often interest many people, but the reality is they are the backbone to a company’s survival. When you consider cash flow and capital, most of their assets are tied into their supply chain, and it’s a wonder so many don’t pay more attention to it. For the past 12 months, companies have seen customer demand fall, while demanding customers rise. Many have taken to a hack-and-slash approach to cutting volume and resources during the economic downturn, and the frightening thing is that the recovery could be just as jarring. Considering all the cuts, there are bound to be shortages in production and distribution which brings up inflation fears.

An article from LCP Consulting highlights several pillars for success which all have a common bond: collaboration. Whether it’s being agile or providing excellence in customer service, all of this relies on having accurate internal and external information through collaboration with customers and partners alike.
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Have we forgotten about the risks to the supply chain?

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Supply chain risk and its implications continues to be an issue that is constantly overlooked. Yet, all it would take is one of several scenarios to occur to bring the supply chain and the economy to a standstill. The problem is that people tend to have short memories or would rather sweep things under the rug.

An incident at a major U.S. port would create an unimaginable supply chain disaster that could shut down the flow of goods for an indefinite amount of time. Think about it…no goods moving in or out of a major port would have a domino effect on other ports both domestically and internationally, not to mention regionally where ports are located.
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Are you prepared for the road to recovery?

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The 2009 State of Logistics Report was released this week by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), and surprisingly, the report for 2008 wasn’t exactly brimming with good news. More than 3,000 trucking companies went out of business last year and industrial production fell almost 8%. With rising inventories due to lagging demand, warehousing costs shot up close to 10%.

If this shows us anything, it’s that businesses need to be even more vigilant about analyzing their supply chains for ways to make them more productive and efficient. From a more practical sense, just knowing which suppliers and carriers are still in business is essential.
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Collaboration is the new model for logistics excellence

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Darin Cooprider of Ryder wrote an interesting blog post on ARC Advisory’s site about how collaboration is the key to logistics excellence. Citing Darwinian theory, it really is the survival of the fittest. The supply chain can often be complex involving many different parties. And when the parties collaborate and work together, supply chain efficiencies can reduce costs for everyone.

He cites that example of how the traditional delivery model for soda to a convenience store can involve as many as 15 suppliers in addition to the staff at the store and the back-end marketing. The benefits of collaboration include:
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On-premise software losing its appeal

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The on-premise enterprise software sector continues to struggle and vendors that relied are million-dollar deals are floundering. The economy has made companies wary of signing on with vendors that cost them even more later on. At the heart of this is the maintenance agreements that are not only expensive, but time consuming when it comes to upgrades and support. The other big reason is the continued maturity of SaaS that is low-cost, easy to implement, and inexpensive to maintain—the complete opposite of on-premise enterprise software.

Jeff Moad of Managing Automation recently wrote about this on his The Edge Blog. Aptly titled “Where Did All the Software Deals Go?” the post goes to heart of why on-premise software is hard to justify for many companies now. While Jeff does say this explicitly, the recession is just the beginning of a long-lasting shift in how companies view and approach enterprise software. Investing in on-premise software doesn’t make much sense anymore.
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Food Service Industry Even More Vulnerable in a Down Economy

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The economic downturn has made the supplier network more susceptible than it ever has been with worries of suppliers shutting down or being acquired. The restaurant industry is high vulnerable to a supply chain disruption. Too often, however, restaurants do not have any contingency plans or backup suppliers. Collaboration and real-time information are essential and often that begins with an inventory management system because in a down economy, contingency plans become even more necessary.

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Can you forecast your cash flow?

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

According to IT consulting firm Hackett Group, 4 out of 5 companies are unable to forecast cash flow two to three months out and it doesn’t get any better with earnings and sales forecasts. In fact, most are still relying on spreadsheets rather than technology as their primary forecasting tool which doesn’t bode well in these times of shrinking margins, limited cash and credit, and falling revenues. Basically, most companies are flying blind in this tough economic climate.

Key Findings (based on a survey of 85 US and European companies with average revenue of over $12 billion)
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What is the new supply chain normal?

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

With all the economic volatility, it was bound to happen that those in the supply chain would begin pondering on what is considered normal these days. SC Digest wrote an interesting piece about our changing practices and views on the supply chain, where the old ways of thinking really don’t apply anymore. Even with all the change, four trends are emerging

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Defending SCM: Delivers More than You Think

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

In the current economy, companies are looking for scapegoats for why revenues are down or reasons for organization efficiencies. Technology is often that scapegoat, but SupplyChainBrain.com published an interesting opinion piece “Defending SCM Technology: It’s Not the Answer, but a Damn Good One” from AMR analyst Noha Tohamy showing why companies themselves are the culprits. Noha goes through a variety of SCM technologies and discusses the positive impact they’ve made to the bottom line.

A company’s problems usually extend beyond technology and involve organizational and process issues. So when technology doesn't solve those issues and it’s not supposed to, it gets blamed for the organizational shortcomings. The reality is that technology has generated billions of dollars in ROI, but companies need to be willing to adopt it and have realistic expectations.
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IT Still Unclear What Cloud Computing Is

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

UK retail publication Retail Technology Review conducted a small survey of IT pros on their understanding of cloud computing, and a fair share, 41% to be exact, have no idea what it is. Even of the 59% who claim to know what it is, 29% don’t even know if their organization uses it.

As I mentioned, the survey sample size was small, but it points to the lack of understanding and the need for education that remains. If IT people are still struggling with the concept, I can only imagine this being a bigger issue for everyone else.
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Optimism in the Logistics Air?

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

If you believe the latest tracking numbers, the recession may have bottomed out and is ever so slowly inching back up. Durable goods, GDP growth and consumer confidence are all up slightly, and the global trade falloff has seemingly halted. Of note is the Purchasing Managers Index which hit 42.8 percent in May, ahead of March’s 40.1 percent. A PMI reading of 50 or better represents economic growth, but the index has been trending down for the past 16 months. December’s PMI was at a low of 32.9 and has gone up gradually every month since then.

“Even though the PMI remains below 50, the ISM report showed growth in several key areas, including new orders, production, supplier deliveries, exports, and imports.”
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"Winners" Pull Away After the Recession

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Supply chain consulting firm Tompkins Associates recently published a report showing that many companies are too narrow-minded, and not planning for when the economy improves when it comes to the supply chain. He is predicting that comeback will spur consumer and investor confidence first in North America, followed by Asia, and then Europe.

He says however, that many companies are ill-prepared and in fact falling behind by not investing during the current downturn.
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The competition continues to invest in IT even if you aren't

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

A new survey from Armstrong Associates shows to no surprise that 3PLs are getting dragged down by the economic downturn with revenues down about 9% for the year. But, an interesting point is that 3PLs leaders continue to invest in IT technology proving the adage that while you sit and wait on WMS and TMS, your competitors are only getting stronger.

“The companies that continue to sink portions of their profits into IT, are going to prevail over those 'who ain’t got em,”' said Dick Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of Armstrong & Associates.
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Business Actions Now Can Determine Your Fate Tomorrow

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

An Accenture study from 2001 was republished showing how companies that built a competitive disadvantage during a downturn continue to pull away from the competition after the recession. It proves the importance of strategic planning and spending vs. a hunkering down approach, and how the actions of companies now can have an important and long lasting impact on their overall competitiveness and success moving forward.

What is common today is the knee-jerk reaction to significantly cut costs without taking a measured and strategic approach, and this wholeheartedly applies to your supply chain. If you think that waiting to buy a WMS can wait, then you’re already two steps behind the competition who not only has better visibility and collaboration with customers, but is winning new business.
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Lack of visibility can cost you big time

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The lack of inventory visibility and clarity can cost your company significant revenue. With fluctuations in demand due to economic conditions and disruptions, companies have been flying blind the past few years in what areas to cut or increase productivity and it has a domino effect. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, a case study is presented of what happens when contract manufacturers and OEMs all react to a down economy and it the impact on those further down in the value chain such as retailers.

The reaction is to reduce costs, but the problem is where to cut and how much. In the WSJ article, companies cut far too deeply resulting in lost opportunities to actually sell more products and generate more revenue. At the heart of this problem…lack of collaboration and visibility. What happened to companies such as Zoran, TSMC and Applied Materials is they cut too much and the impact was felt all the way to retailers such as Best Buy.
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Cargo Business Treading Water

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The New York Times recently published an article about the oversupply and overcapacity of cargo ships in this troubled global economy. Trade has undoubtedly suffered because of slumping consumer demand. While this creates an ideal situation for shippers in terms of falling prices, it doesn’t bode well for the cargo shipping business which has seen a number of shipping companies go under. It’s a trend that SmartTurn friend Bob Ferrari of The Ferrari Group (www.theferrarigroup.com/blog1/) sees as detrimental to its the long-term health, and rather a sad state of affairs that shows us we still have a ways to go before an economic recovery.

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Supply chain disasters can happen to anyone...and they have

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

SC Digest recently published a list of the worst supply chain disasters of all time, which really caught my attention here on my supply chain corner. Every day, many of us probably don’t even think twice when we go to a store and find something out of stock. What we don’t think about is how the process for making sure there are products on the shelves is either broken or somehow just screwed up. And, if it happens enough, that company won’t be in business too long.

The list includes companies such as Nike, Wal-Mart, Cisco, Mattel, and GM so you know business size matters very little. Improper management of the supply chain gets the best of every company, but the good ones address them. The ones who don’t are gradually damaging their reputation and financial well- being. And it’s obvious, that inventory visibility and collaboration would have prevented many of these supply chain debacles.
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Swine Flu: Another Worry for Shippers

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

The swine flu outbreak is a wakeup call for companies and their supply chain, and points to the escalating risks and irreparable damage to your business if you’re asleep at the wheel. At this very moment, the difference between having a WMS or at least some type of risk mitigation plan in place and not having one is success and failure. A recent article in Logistics Management highlights how vulnerable the supply chain is to disruption. Countries are beginning to ban certain shipments, and many facilities face the potential of a shutdown or quarantine if just a single employee comes down with symptoms.

Just a few years ago, it would’ve been difficult to implement a warehouse and inventory management system in place within 6 months. In these uncertain times, whether or not you like SaaS, you can one up and running in less than 30 days. The fact is that the majority of companies still don’t pay enough attention or have the visibility into their supply chains. That makes the supply chain as susceptible to swine flu as the human population.
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Investing in Technology May Lead to Success Now and Beyond

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

In a recent blog post, Bob Trebilcock of Modern Materials Handling discussed the findings of an IBM and Aldata Solution’s survey of where CIOs will invest their tech dollars. Two key findings point to the importance of supply chain software.

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SaaS on the CIO Shopping List

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

A survey published by Robert Half Technology lists SaaS among the top 10 technologies that CIOs are still buying. Specifically, SaaS is in the top 5 with 26% of the 1,400 CIOs surveyed because of lower costs and greater IT flexibility.

CIOs not only realize the cost savings from SaaS, but they're also aware of the money they can lose by not considering the on-demand approach.
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Collaboration: The Cornerstone for Supply Chains

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Retail Technology Review published an article “Supply Chains Hold the Future for Everyone” which further emphasizes the importance of collaboration as the critical success factor for today’s supply chain. As the sluggish economy continues to drag on, CEOs are under pressure to manage for cash, and the way to do that is to manage their supply chains. The problem is that supply chain thinking still has not fully penetrated most companies.

Five Key Principles for Supply Chain Success (collaboration is the foundation for each)
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Supply Chain Humor

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Our friends at Kinaxis published some funny supply chain jokes that I thought I'd pass along.

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3PL Market Suffering Depending on the Vertical

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Armstrong & Associates released results from a survey of 3PL executives that shows Q1 revenues down 6.7 percent for the $40 billion industry.

By industry vertical, it’s widespread with certain industries taking a bigger hit.
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On-demand WMS Benefits the SMB Market

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

DC Velocity published an article today on how SaaS will change the face of distribution and touts the cost and management benefits of this approach. ROI in the article reinforces how SaaS is positively impacting customers such as our own Argent Associates who is saving up to $15k per month because of the efficiencies they’re experiencing with SmartTurn. In addition, SaaS is beneficial from an implementation and a cost perspective to the small-to medium-sized market.

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Road Goes Through IT

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

David Blanchard of IndustryWeek recently published a story “The Road to Recovery Goes Through IT” that focuses on survey results from more than 300 IT leaders. Improving operational efficiency will be what gets companies through the recession. This may be stating the obvious, but competitive advantage through innovation is the top priority. The motto of “doing more with less” will continue to be the directive as more than one-third are now working with decreased budgets seeing a 17% decline from the previous year. Here are the main highlights

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Low Inventory Levels Can Cost You More Than You Know

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

Dan Gilmore from SC Digest hits home with his latest editorial showing how the low inventory strategy is failing businesses because consumers can-t buy what they want which means lost revenue. This alone highlights how ineffective inventory management can impact revenue, not to mention the consumer. I've posted it below.

Corporate Communications
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Annual/Physical Inventory Best Practices

Posted 09-20-2010 at 12:22 PM by Albert Fong (Al's Supply Chain Corner)

In the first chapter of our Best Practices series, we explored the many benefits of cycle counting. Chief among them is the elimination of an annual physical count of your inventory. While cycle counting is our preferred inventory counting process, many companies still conduct annual counts. Acknowledging that many companies still conduct annual counts, here is our look at the Best Practices for an annual physical inventory.

Anyone who has ever planned or participated in an inventory count knows what a frustrating, tedious and time-consuming activity it can be. The actual process of counting requires you to remove employees from their regular jobs for hours, if not, days in every inventory location. Depending on your warehouse operation, this could effect shutdowns in other parts of your business such as manufacturing. While the frustration of counting every item, and hunting for items and material that are nowhere to be found or, once found, unidentifiable, can be acute, the organizational value of stock accuracy is considerable.
Corporate Communications
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