Here we are in the New Year. So, what should the going forward picture be of the Supply Chain portfolio? Something old, something new, something from a service provider, something blue (figure 1). OK, enough of that.
In spite of the press, people are continuing to buy and implement solutions from APS to WMS, although at a slower rate. In figure 1, The 2002 Portfolio, we define planning to be more strategic: setting up of supply chains, strategic sourcing, etc.—basically designing chains, trade lanes, selecting outsource partners, etc.—optimizing the pipeline. These efforts have actually taken on more prominence since the push to outsourcing.
and more, though, there is a process blur between a more tactical planning exercise
(monthly weekly daily) and executional processes. From the planning view, since
firms produce and schedule production based on planning systems, this makes
sense. And from the so-called execution level, many of the platform players
are providing more algorithms to rapidly replan as conditions change.
(click chart to see larger image)
However, a new era of supply chain performance is beginning. Spending ten years in the asset optimization effort has gotten firms to leaner processes and faster cycle times. But we have to destroy time—it's still in the way!
We are moving to applications that get us to the power now! Real-time is real. So as far as planning and optimization goes, these solutions will not become obsolete. But by their very nature they rely on the past to function. Historical data drives their models. However, these systems will be enhanced by significantly improved and more timely, accurate information, provided by systems that deliver the NOW.
Big Trends for business going forward are about pure visualization of the customer, and finding ways to integrate the supply chain elements that fulfill that demand. If you think about this in the broadest sense, it spools out some important technology plays:
of the Now:
Technologies—I did not say integration technologies. This is about
higher order decisions making, that brings together cross functional decision
making, like Consensus Planning S&OP, ECO/EOLs etc., Balanced Score Carding
etc. (figure 2)
RFID is but one
on the network platform will be a key effort. Network providers are putting
more on the platform. And as firms become more comfortable with this approach,
they will utilize those added apps on these near real-time platforms. Lower
total cost of ownership and quick time to benefit make this a compelling
Systems—when should I make a move and corner the market on Kiwis?
How long/when will a part, product or system fail—this deviation from pattern,
or new pattern means something big is going to happen. These systems will
unbind time, enabling not only visibility of the current scenarios, but allowing
predictive views. They can allow us to create new strategies or mitigate risk1.
ChainLink will be rolling out Future Forward models on what users are doing
now, as well as where they are going to buy to solve.
2004 will be a Year of Investments
So, that's interesting, but the word was that the market is still not spending. That's true—on older models. It wants newer models—really!
fact is, we have gone some distance in SCM, but there are still big
problems to solve. You are planning a new fab, or opening in a new
market. These are huge plays, so companies still want to get Demand right. Investments
in supply cost a lot! End-users endeavor to try new ways to solve some of these
basic problems, even if it takes a sliver off, solving 10% of the problem. Iteratively,
smart companies keep at it and keep improving.
I recently read some advice in a magazine that told users to dust off their old ROI model' and use them. Balderdash! Studies have shown that we move through the technology adoption to legacy in 7-10 year cycles.
and ERP emerged in the '93 to '94 time frame. So, it's 10 years on. And the
business models that the software supports are radically different than 1993.
Oh, CIO, that last century idea of one application linking the enterprise cost
a lot of money, and it's still not implemented. SmallSmartFast organizations
fueled by outsourced relationships and enabled by network technologies have
quietly been becoming ubiquitous. These new business models present new problems,
but also give us a parallax view, if you will, of the old problems.
But let's give some credit to technology, here! It is a fact that it does make so many things possible! It is so pedestrian to be negative on tech. Leaders want solutions, not observers!
redefining of how we look at supply chain problems is going on, enabled by innovation.
Consistently, our research has shown that big companies have been building garages'
in the back, funding new efforts that are redefining and solving these new problems.
A whole lot of coding going on! That means COTS vendors did not solve that problem
for them. So, if you are one of those software vendors of yore, you need to
get your head out of the 2002 blues and start anticipating
what issues the customer is concerned with now. Revisionists
went the way of the Berlin Wall.
The Power of Now!
This article is
from Parallax View, ChainLink Research's online magazine, read by over 150,000
supply chain and IT professionals each month. Thought-provoking and actionable
articles from ChainLink's analysts, top industry executives, researchers, and
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more than two decades, Ann Grackin, Chief Executive Officer,
has been on the frontlines of the Supply Chain Management technology and eCommerce
frontier, leading global strategy and technology implementations in the high
technology, semiconductor, automotive, textile, and apparel industries.
Research is a bold new supply chain research organization dedicated
to helping executives improve business performance and competitiveness.