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Enterprises in the post millennium era have been severely challenged by a set of irreversible marketplace factors — including shrinking profit lifecycles, demand for personalized solutions, and the rise of the distributed network enterprise — that have transformed the global competitive environment into one with fundamentally more uncertainty and risk, but also one with great opportunity. These pressures have compelled companies to redefine winning business models, processes, and technologies and have catapulted the sales and operations planning process into the single most important tactical process to manage risk and profitability.

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 10:43
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Inventory has been and continues to be the lifeblood of supply chains. Properly managed, it drives revenue and efficiency for companies. But as the nature of supply chains changes, so must the policies used to manage inventory. Traditional inventory management practices are being made obsolete by increasing global supply chains and contract manufacturing, more dynamic product life cycles, and multi-channel distribution.

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 08:57
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In 2003 RFID seemed to have appeared from nowhere, and into the spot light as one of the hottest technologies around. Everyone from journalists, analysts, VC’s, technology companies and retail giants like Wal-Mart were making public statements, mandates, predications and investments, based on the promise that RFID was set to revolutionize the global supply chain on a scale not seen since the internet revolution in the 1990’s.

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 08:34
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RFID is not new. It has been an integral part of the modern life, especially in industrial settings for some time. For Example, RFID transmitters are built into access control badges, theft protection tags in retail stores and totes in manufacturing sites.
At the same time, Supply Chain visibility is a key contributor to increasing supplychain performance from both a financial and service-level perspective. Greater visibility as well as more accurate and timely information about supply-chain execution, allows for reduced safety stocks (thus optimizing cash to cash cycles and reducing inventory carrying costs) and increased on-time performance to customer commitments. The technology also plays a critical role in addressing shrinkage and grey-market control concerns.

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 07:58
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The Supply-Chain Operations Reference-model (SCOR) is the product of the Supply-Chain Council (SCC), an independent, not-for-profit, global corporation with membership open to all companies and organizations interested in applying and advancing the state-of-the-art in supply-chain management systems and practices.

The SCOR-model captures the Council’s consensus view of supply chain management. While much of the underlying content of the Model has been used by practitioners for many years, the SCOR-model provides a unique framework that links business process, metrics, best practices and technology features into a unified structure to support communication among supply chain partners and to improve the effectiveness of supply chain management and related supply chain improvement activities.

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 07:34
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The recession was a wake-up call for industrial manufacturers, with no more double-digit growth to hide the sins of complexity, long cycle times or high inventories. Throughout 2009, industrial manufacturers focused on freeing up cash. The leaders now emerging from the downturn have redesigned their supply chains to ensure sustainable performance. But will they be the demand-driven leaders of the future?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 08:53
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When it comes to best practice in operations management, few would dispute the value and credibility of sales and operations planning (S&OP).

The problem, however, is that while many believe they understand S&OP, they don’t always realise its full potential because they fail to grasp the true fundamentals of the process. That isn’t necessarily their fault; to some extent, S&OP has lost its way in recent years. Changes in the economy and the dynamics of the manufacturing supply chain, plus the actions and attitudes of manufacturers to those changes, have all had their part to play. And it is also true to say that some S&OP practitioners themselves, have contributed to the devaluation of S&OP as a management process.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 14:12
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In reaction to a race to ‘best practice’ -- as reflected in initiatives such as TQM, JIT, re-engineering, and ‘lean manufacturing’ -- Hayes and Pisano (1994) encouraged managers to re-focus on achieving strategic fit by configuring production systems ‘through a series of interrelated and internally consistent choices [that reflect] the priorities and trade-offs in its competitive situation and strategy’. This had to be grounded in ‘a collection of evolving capabilities … which provide the flexibility needed to embark in new directions’. This admonition fit well in the organizational theory, i.e., Lawrence and Lorsch (1967), and operations management literature, i.e., Skinner (1974), which had encouraged ‘contingent’, ‘focused’ organizational forms.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 14:00
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There are many paths that can lead an organization to determine that outsourcing is the right strategy for improving the long-term viability of its IT operations.

For some, it is primarily a cost decision. For others, cost is an important factor, but there are other pressing needs, such as dramatically improving day-to-day delivery or transforming the environment in response to changing business priorities. Depending on the organization’s unique circumstances, their IT sourcing strategy may encompass one or more delivery towers, include one or multiple providers, and require a short or a long transition period. Culturally, you may need to also consider how much control to retain.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 13:50
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Managing the demand chain, from manufacturers through wholesalers, distributors and retailers and onto consumers, is a daunting task.

The numbers of Stock Keeping Units, outlets, supply sources, seasons and product characteristics are huge, and the degree of complexity in the supply chain is challenging. Creating efficiency in the demand chain requires a combination of art and science.

We need sound, scientifically-based replenishment methodologies, which incorporate statistical and operations research techniques, to analyze the richness of contemporary databases and to deduce patterns, trends, variabilities and the dynamics of customer demands. Such scientific techniques enable us to balance the various costs—inventory, transportation, handling, warehousing and other direct and indirect labor—while simultaneously providing optimal services for customers.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 13:39
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