Category: Supply Chain Management

The Internet of Things is Trending in Supply Chain

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Internet of Things (IoT) is trending in supply chain circles. A buzz has started. According to a recent article on Kinaxis, IoT has nearly taken hold of every aspect of our lives. Can you believe there will be over 6 billion connected devices by next year? And that number is projected to increase to 20 billion by 2020. Watch out! A key question is whether we are ready for the stream of data coming from these devices and how we’ll handle it (and leverage it) in supply chain planning processes. For example, just think of the power of a simple Amazon…
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Technology – Should We Take It or Leave It?

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Technology is a hot topic. Artificial intelligence. Autonomous vehicles. 3D printers and additive manufacturing. Business intelligence. We can’t stop talking about it. Many times, these topics are somewhat like fads. Even though there are benefits, we can get carried away and not even pay attention to whether we are gaining value. Thus, we should take a step back and ask a few questions: 1. Do we need the technology or is it just cool? 2. What value does the technology provide? Does it yield a return on investment? What is that return on investment? 3. What is most valued by…
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Strategic Thinking & the Value of Changing Your Environment

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Last week, I went to Rhode Island to meet with my global strategy group. It is simply amazing how a change of scenery can achieve wonders when it comes to emptying the mind so that strategic thoughts can enter. I haven’t spent time in Providence and East Greenwich previously and both are starkly different from Southern CA. Providence is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., and home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (pictured below) whereas East Greenwich is hard to beat when it comes to charm and food. Do you get away to empty…
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Samsung Expanding Manufacturing in the U.S.

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Samsung announced that it is expanding manufacturing operations and its commitment to American consumers, engineers and innovators. They are putting money where their mouth is by investing $380 million with the plan to hire 1,000 workers for this new state-of-the-art facility that will manufacture appliances. This facility will take over manufacturing being done in Mexico. In this case, near-sourcing to customers in Mexico isn’t enough; they want to be even closer to customers, engineers and innovators! Manufacturing in the U.S. AND locating manufacturing to the U.S. is making sense! In Samsung’s case, there is a commitment to sourcing and collaborating closely with…
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Time or Money – Which Gets the Priority?

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In today’s Amazon-impacted world, we believe in instantaneous delivery. It has become an expectation. Even my mom who orders on Amazon by calling me believes a two-day delivery is a bit long. After all, she might not realize she needs something until the last minute. Thus, which is more important – time or money? Here are a few questions to ponder when thinking about time vs. money: 1. Do you expect rapid deliveries across the board? 2. Are you willing to spend extra money for speed? Are your customers? Do you know this answer or are you guessing? 3. How important is…
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Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade and Compelling Timeless Experiences

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Last week, my brothers and nephew were in town for a vacation around Southern CA. One of our stops was Disneyland, and my brother Brian purchased lunch tickets that enabled us to have good seats for Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. It has always been my favorite since my first trip to Disneyland on a family road trip from Chicago across country when I was quite young. See below…. how could it not be your favorite? Disney did a fabulous job of putting this together. They go the extra mile for the “little touches” that make the difference. In this…
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Amazon and Whole Foods

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Amazon hit the news big time with the purchase of Whole Foods. It even got my mom’s attention, and she asked the store manager if they would continue to exist. He assured her that they planned to stay. It just so happens that I spoke on the Amazon Effect at the Future Ports Annual Conference and at an IOT (internet of things)/ Supply Chain Data event almost immediately after the announcement. We had some fascinating discussions at the IOT event about Amazon and their strategy and impacts. Certainly this move will shake up traditional retail grocery stores! Are you thinking…
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Forecasting: How Far Should You Look into the Future?

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Whether setting strategy or designing a SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) process, one of the most important questions to consider in forecasting is how far into the future will you look? And why? As we think about whether the answer should be 1 month, 1 quarter or 1 year, check your thinking. When assessing the future it is important to think through the elements that may impact your forecast. 10 Questions to Ask When Forecasting and Designing SIOP 1. Do you have customer contracts in your business/ industry? If so, how far out do they go? 2. Regardless of the…
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Fully Autonomous Vehicles Will Be Here by 2020

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Autonomous vehicles seem to arise at every corner. Last week, I heard a presentation on autonomous vehicles by the executive VP of Hyundai, and earlier this week, I participated on a panel at Future Ports Annual Conference with a Caltrans researcher on autonomous vehicles. What is clear is that self-driving cars are going to occur. There is substantial testing, money and efforts going into the development of autonomous vehicles. Amazon, Uber, UPS….all the big names are investing. Certainly, this new technology will revolutionize the trucking and transportation industry. What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise? Start by not burying your…
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Mexican Chinelo Dancers & Family Tradition

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Last weekend, I attended the wedding of a client colleague and friend, and luckily I stayed just long enough to see the Chinelo dancers. I had no idea what a Chinelo dancer was prior to this wedding; however, they were a big hit! Chinelos is a traditional carnival dance in the Mexican state of Morelos. The Chinelo dancers dance to a brass band — in essence it is a colorful hip hop focused on the family. It is hard not to be cheerful with the family traditions, colorful costumes, big hats and powerful music of this dance. I understand they…
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