Friday, February 06, 2009

Command and Control: Driving Global Commerce Management Excellence, part 1

The global commerce landscape is markedly different than it was only 2 to 3 years ago. Available solutions provide global trade management, visibility, track and trace, compliance and landed cost either as a SaaS, hosted or traditional licensed model. Yet, companies still struggle to fully command and control their global commerce environment to drive the exceptional values promised.
The next wave of global commerce solutions will enable the shipper or logistics’ provider to drive exceptional competitive advantage by leveraging a true command and control capability over the organization’s extended global commerce network.
Command and control is a military phrase. While command and control often connotes a top-down hierarchy for decision-making and action to achieve a defined military objective, it’s more broadly understood to be the marshalling of resources for information collection, situational clarification, decision support and action.
In true global commerce management, command and control gives seamless integration to an organization’s resources to be able to view, orient, decide and act with timely and rapid organizational effectiveness. A command and control capability enables the streamlining and synchronization of the organization’s people, processes and technology -- with analytics and visibility in a highly developed collaborative environment. The results are an organization that is highly flexible and adaptable in a rapidly and ever-changing global environment.
Four fundamentals must converge for an organization to truly command and control its global business environment and achieve the values promised. Systems must:
1. capture and present the underlying information required by operations and management. This requires clean data that supports multiple user-defined views of an organization’s business in an on-demand, right-time environment.
2. provide standardized contextualization of information through analysis and visualization so that individuals responsible for task execution or decision-making can orient themselves quickly to the issues requiring resolution.
3, support on-demand collaboratiion with internal and external partners based on shared information that is contextualized across diverse partners.
4. streamline decision processes and enable timely, decisive action. Acting decisively requires the ability to collaborate with all affected partners so that full transparency and traceability exists on the final command and follow up actions.
Management of global supply networks requires three tightly integrated capabilities -– visualization, collaboration, and execution -- in order to support the four basic competencies of command and control: view, orient, decide and act. While each capability is important, the real promise in delivering optimal value from the global supply network happens when a company can execute comprehensive command and control over all participants, activities and costs across its entire global business environment.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Global supply chain visibility solutions - have they delivered?

A recent Aberdeen study reported that the greatest problem for executives in global supply chain management is still visibility. In the study 79% of the executives from large companies and 41% of executives from SME that responded ranked "Lack of critical supply chain visibility" as the overall most important issue. The second greatest problem was "Uncoordinated multi-tier supply chain processes" which garnered 56% and 37% respectively from the executives responding.

The results are rather telling given the emphasis and investment that has been made by organizations to insure that they have the critical visibility required to enable their global supply chains to operate efficiently.

Are the results really surprising? The answer is Yes and No.

Yes, because it is believed that if people have visibility into where an item is within the global supply chain they are able to make optimal supply and demand decisions based on the information.

No, because the visibility solutions provided are only stop-gap solutions that provide snapshots into where an item is in the supply chain, but provide
no, or very limited, visibility into the financial and compliance implications surrounding the item. With no integrated visibility into the physical, financial and compliance status of the item it is virtually impossible to have the critical view of the supply chain necessary to significantly improve supply chain performance.

Without context it is virtually impossible for individuals responsible for managing products across complex global supply chains to make decisions that are optimal for the organization. To get context the organization requires cross-functional execution, information and financial visibility and implication analysis.

Operations areas include internal functional areas such as sourcing, purchasing, international logistics, customs, inventory management, accounting and finance. Each functional area is affected by the activity within the supply chain. However, in most instances both the operational unit and the systems supporting it are not integrated and the information is often not easily reported in a meaningful way. This lack of integration is even more evident with external partners. The result is the lack of critical supply chain visibility.

Critical supply chain visibility is not just about the location of an item in the supply chain but it includes the ability to see virtually all aspects that affect the item. Critical supply chain visibility includes views into where an item is anywhere in the cash-to-cash cycle
and the views into all of financial and compliance issues that accompany the item.

It is undeniable that getting complete physical, financial and compliance visibility still does not exist in almost any organization, large or small. Which leads to the second finding of the study - uncoordinated multi-tier supply chain process. In order to deliver this level of capability and the benefits that come from it organizations must be able to capture the information at these levels, make it visible, and put that information into a comprehensive contextual picture. The two issues of visibility and coordinated processes across an organizations global supply chains are inextricably linked together. You cannot get multi-tier coordinated processes if operations is not linked to integrated and synchronized global supply chain information. This information must be visible at all levels of the supply chain and include the physical, financial, and compliance information.

Until that happens, the issue of global supply chain visibility and coordination of multi-tier issues will remain a very high ranking issue on executives minds because they will continue to lack the information required to support optimal demand and supply chain challenges.

What are your comments?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Surfs up or is it a Tsunami?

Globalization – a wave to ride or a tidal wave of massive destruction?

Globalization is changing traditional business practices and for many companies the changes are of tidal wave proportions. In North America many senior managers are having nightmares of their products are drowning in a flood of low-cost import competition. The company’s or its divisions’ survival is at stake and if the company does not learn to ride the wave it will be crushed by the sheer force of the wave and render its organization uncompetitive and obsolete.

In early December 2005 I attended a supply chain summit and met with many manufacturing divisions of Fortune 500 companies that are facing the threat of globalization and the commoditization of their products. Each in its own way was experiencing a tsunami like wave in their business brought on by the rapid influx of competitive products manufactured in low-cost countries. The question that was implied but not fully articulated by each of the companies was how to respond to a competitive situation that literally turned its business on its head and threatened its very existence.

How real is their concern? Do they have time to respond or will they be swamped and weighed down by events and washed away by the influx of inexpensive products manufactured in low cost countries? What are their options? Who will survive?

The answer to these questions lies in recent history. Industries have been moving to global sourcing for years. The North American apparel and textile manufacturing industry has all but vanished in a period of 10 years. The traditional big 3 North American auto manufacturers are floundering and the historical global leader – General Motors – will in all probability lose its number one status in 2006 and has acknowledged that in order to survive it cannot continue to defend that role against its more agile and adaptable Japanese competitors – Toyota, Honda and possibly Nissan. Big steel is being overwhelmed by high quality, low cost competition from Korea, China and Japan and depends on life support by its government. Ditto the apparel, textile, footwear, electronics, consumer packaged goods, etc. industries.

Scenario: A major North American manufacturer of barbecues, located outside of Toronto, Ontario has seen its ability to compete against low-cost imports from China greatly compromised. The company’s costs relative to the imports are roughly 40% greater and their quality advantage is no longer appreciated. The market is moving rapidly to low cost imported cast-iron aluminum barbecues from the traditional domestically produced, higher cost cast iron barbecues. To make matters worse, its traditional customers have now moved to directly sourcing and importing the barbecues from China further pressuring the manufacturer. It is committed to its committed workforce and instinctively wants to resist the move to low cost sourcing of finished barbecues. Its very survival is at stake.

Scenario: A major supplier to the automotive aftermarket located in Michigan recently sold approximately $1.0 billion of glass and paints manufactured in their North American facilities. Protected for years by high tariffs and counter-vailing duties the company was able to compete successfully against low-cost glass from China. Several years ago the dumping duties were removed and the company’s business model literally changed overnight. In order to survive the company quickly expanded its fledgling sourcing group to purchase the majority of its glass from low cost sourcing countries. The result of the tectonic shift was a complete change in its competitive environment. Its margins were quickly eroded; its quality advantage evaporated and its major competition was now import/distributors not glass manufacturers. The company recognizes that it is on steep learning and execution curve to catch up to its non-asset based import-distribution competition in order to survive. Time is of the essence for this division.

Scenario: In 2003 a leading U.S. manufacturer of home furniture located in North Carolina was manufacturing 80% of its products in the United States. By 2005 it had shifted its sourcing to low-cost producing countries and imported 80% of its product line. Although it benefited from lower costs it found that its margins had been eroded so that now it was marginally profitable. It recognizes that its business model and competitive position has changed but does not fully understand the drivers that will allow the company to return to the levels of profitability it previously experienced.

In each case the competitive environment apparently shifted in a matter of months. The competitive comfort that each company had as a manufacturer shifted dramatically and their new paradigm threatens the very existence of the organization. The new model strips their previous competitive advantage –design and manufacturing excellence – and positions them in a business environment where they have little core competency and equally deficient execution and management capability. These companies each recognize that they are in serious trouble and if they don’t respond to the new challenges that they face in global commerce execution they will go the way of the dinosaur.

Without exception each company that I met with (and there were 10) all had the same fundamental problems:
The ERP systems designed to support their manufacturing and financial business are grossly inadequate in supporting their global commerce requirements.
Their business processes are designed for manufacturing and not global sourcing/distribution.
The competency of the organization lacks the expertise and experience in the area of global sourcing, logistics and importing.
Costs visibility is immature and doesn’t provide the necessary granularity to understand the best procurement strategy or true cost of goods.
Lack of visibility into outsourced partners reduces the organization’s ability to control the supply chain and negatively impacts inventory levels.
They are making costly errors and don’t understand what is required to resolve them.

Each company is wrestling with the problems it faces and is working through their own challenges. Some are embracing the new paradigm while others resist. Some are looking strategically at globalization and others continued to respond tactically to the shifting environment.

The good news is that those companies that are moving strategically understand that their business model has switched from a four-wall centric view where manufacturing drove their strategic competitive advantage to a “four-corners of the world” approach where managing the global supply chain dominates the battle for strategic competitive advantage.

So what do companies have to do to execute an efficient global commerce strategy?

Firstly, it is critical that senior management understand the magnitude of the threat that globalization presents to their companies. Secondly, it is vital to create a sustainable strategy to respond to the threat and actively support the initiatives to develop the capabilities and infrastructure for the new paradigm. It is important to recognize that the new model is about designing lean, flexible global supply chain networks that include both domestic manufacturing and global sourcing and provide the organization the agility to move quickly in response to global conditions of supply.

Whatever the level of global competition companies are currently experiencing, creating lean global commerce organizations is critical for profitability in the new paradigm where margins are much thinner, supply chains much longer, more complex and highly risky, and mistakes much more costly and harder to correct. Finally, creating an organization that thrives on constant and accelerating change is vital because the organization is required to adapt to continuous monstrous tidal-changes in the business current as the tectonic plates underlying global commerce shift.

Globalization is a challenge and an opportunity. The options for companies that are experiencing sustainable global competition are to develop workable strategies and processes to survive and thrive or die. Being global is not an option for many companies. Developing a comprehensive global strategy is critical to remain viable.

Surf up or is it a Tsunami? In this case it all depends on how you respond to the opportunity that globalization provides.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Global Inventory Management – From Theory to Reality/Driving value from the global supply chain

With globalization and outsourcing of manufacturing capabilities to offshore producers it is time to look at the effect this is having on inventory across the global supply chains. The analysts, Gartner, Aberdeen, ARC and AMR who have looked at the issue of inventory in the supply chain have come to the conclusion that globalization is beginning to have a major negative impact on the amount of inventory in the supply pipeline.

Much has been written on the value proposition of managing inventory across the supply chain. In most instances the issue of inventory control is discussed in terms of domestic supply chains. This perspective is understandable because until recently most companies were not participating in global sourcing and therefore the need to understand supply chains from a global perspective was not of much interest. However, this view of inventory pre-supposes relatively short supply chains that are reasonably forgiving. The literature generally focuses on the ability of organizations to position their raw material and semi-finished products to meet their tight manufacturing or distribution environments.

Companies like the automobile manufacturers, computer manufacturers (Dell comes immediately to mind), and others have been able to lean their supply chain by working with their suppliers to have supplier inventory pods close to their facilities to meet their demanding manufacturing schedules. True, they collaborate with their suppliers, to a greater of lesser extent, and share demand information so that suppliers can adjust their production and distribution schedules. But the reality is OEMs have been able to “lean” their supply chains by pushing the inventory back onto their tier one, tier two and tertiary suppliers.

Research has shown that over the past 10 years the amount of inventory in the supply chain has declined very little. I am hearing from these same analysts that their research is beginning to show that with globalization and the outsourcing of manufacturing to off-shore companies the amount of inventory across the supply chain is beginning to swell and this is a hidden component that most domestic manufacturers are as yet unaware of and ill prepared to address.

There are 3 major strategic areas that a manufacturer must address if it truly wants to take advantage of globalization. Firstly, it must understand whether its business model is still fundamentally a manufacturing model or has shifted to that of a brand-marketing model. Secondly, it must recognize that if its model has changed the skills required of some key people in the company are fundamentally different from those that have been employed. Thirdly, it needs to understand that the way to manage outsourced manufacturers and the logistics providers requires extremely different tools than are currently being offered by their ERP suppliers.

Without understanding the impact in the change in the supply model because of globalization, companies will not begin to take the required action to address the opportunities that are promised. There are many solutions that are being offered that address elements of the global supply chain. Global Track and Trace, Global Customs Compliance, Total Landed Cost calculators, and the 3PL phenomenon are several that immediately come to mind that are designed to extend ERP systems and make them adaptable to the global sourcing environment.

While each of these solutions is of value by themselves, they are limited constrained in truly helping companies manage their global supply chains. Our experience shows that track and trace solutions that are currently supplied by software ASPs or 3PLs and focus on global shipments (purchase order and shipping information) are really limiting. In truth one of the areas that is most offered as a solution but is most controlled in the global supply chain is the shipping/logistics component. Carriers have very tight schedules and barring major disruptions due to congestion compounded by security issues goods that are prepared for shipment will most likely be laded and arrive at the port of receipt as planned.

The areas of the supply chain that are the most difficult to monitor and control are:
  • the performance of the suppliers in preparing products to meet shipping schedules
  • the tracking of raw materials, semi-finished parts and components, and packaging materials from primary and secondary global sources to suppliers
  • the ability to manage costs in a complex multi-level outsourced contract supply chain environment
  • the managing of compliance at multiple levels – country, supplier, service provider, product, customs, security, etc.

To create a complete global supply chain solution requires strong ERP functionality where owned manufacturing capability is a strong component and equally powerful global supply chain management functionality to manage the global outsourced contract manufacturing environment. Both systems must be integrated and synchronized and provide a global view of the entire supply chain. Without integrating full ERP and full global supply chain functionality into one seamless environment information will be maintained in disparate systems and provide limited actionable information.

ERP systems are fundamentally designed to manage within the four walls of the organization. In many instances large organizations have multiple ERP solutions or multiple instances of the ERP solution. The corporate information environment is far from homogeneous and getting a view of the entire organization is virtually impossible. ERP solutions are augmented with additional business intelligence systems that are intended to collect and normalize information and provide it in a manner that is actionable.

This business environment is now made more complex with globalization. A global supply environment requires different tools and skill-sets than are currently available within the organization. To build a complete environment to support direct manufacturing and outsourced supply chains requires a comprehensive strategic view of the entire supply demand environment. Companies that understand this will have a powerful advantage over their competitors.

Companies are going global but there are very few that understand what the real benefits are and fewer still have a plan of how to achieve them. Those companies that build the infrastructure to take advantage of global sourcing will have significant competitive advantage that delivers dramatic and continuous value across the entire organization.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Case for a Global Supply Chain approach for the Enterprise

Scenario 1: A large global 2000 company (it really doesn’t matter which industry) views itself primarily as a manufacturer. It has owned manufacturing facilities on several continents that manufacture most of the company’s products. It views its competitive advantage as being able to streamline its manufacturing facilities. However, because of competitive pressures for lower prices and the need for flexibility it has started to outsource some of its products to 3rd party contractors. It distributes its products in over 30 markets around the globe.

Scenario 2: A large global 2000 company views itself as a marketer of branded consumer goods product. It contracts out almost all its products to contract manufacturers that are located around the globe. It sees its competitive advantage in its research and design. Its brand is distributed in over 50 countries around the globe through a combination of owned distribution centers and direct sales forces and 3rd party logistics providers and independent sales channels.

These company profiles are caricatures of two business paradigms. They have defined themselves in old world business models that will shape the way they execute their business strategies. The company in scenario 2 reflects a more contemporary view of the world. By decoupling itself from its manufacturing component it has opted for flexibility over control. The company in scenario 1 is more representative of an industrial age company that focuses on manufacturing as its competitive advantage and sees control of its manufacturing environment more important than flexibility over its business model.

The traditional ERP systems (SAP, Oracle, QAD, Axapta) are more geared to the companies in scenario 1 than 2. However, when you are seen to be the only game in town you will still be the dominant player with the scenario 2 players.

There are many companies on the continuum from pure manufacturer to pure product/brand distributor. The companies in these 2 scenarios are simplistic in their nature. The reality is that there are no pure business models or best business models. What is important is that companies recognize that they play a role in the supply chain from the raw material to the end-consumer and managing their supply chains effectively and efficiently will provide real competitive advantage opportunities.

The Supply Chain Council definition of the supply chain applies to every company that exists, whether product or service centric. The SCC defines a company’s supply chain as everything from its supplier’s supplier to its customer’s customer. Indeed the product supply chain is a series of these company links, with each company of the chain managing “stuff” from its suppliers to its customers.

ERP systems inherently look at a company from within the four walls. Basically the ERP solutions are enterprise resource planning tools for each independent location with global accounting and financial capability, localized distribution management, and some inventory control tools. ERP systems primary orientation is to most effectively support the physical, human and financial resources within the manufacturing facility.

Supply chain focused companies are designed to look at how product moves to the customer from the supply side most efficiently and effectively. Supply chain focused companies strive to manage the flow of product from their suppliers (raw material, semi-finished, or finished goods) through their facilities (manufacturing plants or distribution centers) to meet the demand requirements of their customers.

ERP solutions weren’t developed and still don’t look a company from a holistic supply chain perspective and therefore fail to deliver a comprehensive global supply chain approach for companies to manage their business. While the major ERP solutions have significantly enhanced their customer and supplier focused capabilities there fundamental orientation and design has always been from that of a manufacturer.

Globalization has fundamentally changed the way the world functions. With globalization and the outsourcing of much manufacturing and many services, global companies must take a global supply view to excel. Success will not be defined by how well a company controls the flow of product into and within its four walls. Success will be determined by how well a company designs its supply chain to “flex” to the ever-changing competitive environment in which it exists.

Obviously no two companies are exactly alike. They have differing leadership styles, physical structures, goals and objectives, and values. However, what they all have in common is the need to buy products and services from suppliers, add value to them, and sell them to customers. This has not changed over time. However, as the world becomes more “globalized” the way companies construct and manage their supply chains to support their unique buy/sell environments will determine their competitive position.

I can hear the pragmatists screaming – What are the tangible benefits we will get from a global supply chain approach to our business? Show me the money! If I believe what you say what do I need to do to get a solution that supports my current and future plans as we continue to go global?

I can hear the realists screaming – I have a major investment in my ERP solution (we are talking $10’s of millions) and getting rid of it is not an option. What are my options if I want to transform my company into a global supply chain capable organization while still protecting my investment in my ERP solution?

In my next few blogs I will lay out:
1. the value proposition that almost every company can achieve by managing their organization with a powerful global supply chain orientation
2. the secret ingredients needed to build great global supply chain excellence
3. the reason that global supply chains are different and much more complex than domestic supply chain
4. the high level blue print as to what is needed to achieve best-in-class global supply chain excellence.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Is it time to look at organizations from a Supply Chain rather than a ERP perspective?

I have just returned from visiting several potential clients and I am still surprised how despite the discussions by consultants, analysts and the media about the need of companies to manage their business as an integrated enterprise demand/supply chain most still view their environment from a “within the four-walls” perspective.

While controlling activities within the four walls is essential, and indeed the foundation, for managing the company - purchasing, manufacturing, resource planning, sales, distribution and financial management are only several of the critical elements needed to insure success. I believe it can be argued that by focusing the vast majority of resources on these functions, organizations are ultimately short-changing themselves and indeed jeopardizing their competitive positions.

During my visits I met several companies that are just beginning or are in the midst of a major ERP implementation with the leading ERP vendor. These are large multi-billion dollar companies that are leaders in their industry. They are spending tens and hundreds of millions of dollars for the ERP software and the attendant implementation services. They are spending tens of millions more on their own resources required to support the implementation. More importantly for the next several years the companies ability to move forward with other IT initiatives is frozen so that they cannot even look at improving their externally facing environments.

These are not unique situations. This situation has been repeated time and time again and the results while meaningful have generally been less than expected.

This view is not meant to diminish the need for companies to strive to achieve excellence in their resource planning, manufacturing, distribution and finance capabilities. However, by focusing enormous amounts of both financial and human resources on ERP solutions instead of a comprehensive supply chain strategy companies limit their strategic options. This has never been truer than in our current globalized economies where outsourcing of manufacturing and logistics has become a competitive necessity for most companies.

I think that there is little room to argue that resource planning in support of manufacturing and distribution is essential. But I think that a greater argument can be made for a complete supply chain strategy of which resource planning and manufacturing play a more balance role in terms of insuring that the right product gets to market efficiently and effectively.

Several factors have dramatically altered the business landscape in the past 5 years. Firstly, globalization has created a powerful incentive for companies to look for raw materials, semi processed and finished goods from anywhere in the world that is price sensitive (and what products are not price sensitive today) and where the quality is acceptable. Secondly, outsourcing of many strategically critical activities, including manufacturing, have changed the way business must be managed. Most large and medium sized “manufacturers” are now hybrids of owned and contract manufacturing and logistics. Even in the “owned” manufacturing instance, companies have off-shore plants that require different planning, execution, monitoring and logistics tools to insure that products flow through the supply chain to meet the distribution requirements of the organization.

A complete supply chain view of the world requires that companies look at what their markets demand in the way of products and services and then create the appropriate infrastructure to insure that all activities required to support customer/consumer satisfaction is achieved while the company makes the required profit to sustain viability and adequate or superior returns for its stakeholders.

In my travels to clients and prospective clients issues that constantly come up are related to insuring that the right product is delivered to the right location at the right time and at the right price. The problems are more about resource execution than resource planning. Forecasting and planning is an essential part of the supply process and constant monitoring of the demand environment to drive better forecasts and planning is essential. Although forecasting has its own considerable challenges, companies must still manage their supply to meet the constantly changing demand environment regardless of the veracity of the forecast. From an execution perspective the ability to match supply with demand requires an inclusive view of where product sits across the entire supply chain. The ability to react, as changes in the velocity of demand occur, requires parallel changes in the supply of product to meet the “new” real demand requirements.

I believe that today’s conventional wisdom that ERP is the foundation on which information solutions must be built in order to insure integration of information is too narrow and therefore misplaced and outdated. The foundation for true success in either demand or product driven businesses is the ability to build and maintain highly integrated and adaptable supply/demand capabilities – supply chains that deliver the right product, to the right place, at the right time and price. One needs only look at those companies that have dramatically surpassed their competition in highly competitive businesses; Wal-Mart in retail, DELL in computers, UPS in 3rd party logistics, Zara in fashion retailing. While in highly diverse industries, each is highly customer focused and each has built the best supply chains in their business that allow them to dominate their competitors.

Is this a coincidence? I don’t believe so. I think that these companies are examples of organizations that understand that the entire supply chain must be the focus of their competitive strategy and they must excel across all functional areas within the supply chain. They realize that their ability to excel is only as good as their weakest capability.

Companies that have taken an ERP centric view of their business were initially focused more on execution within their four walls than on their entire supply chain. Today they are finding that this view has been too limiting and results often less than satisfactory. That is why the major ERP solutions providers; SAP and Oracle are scrambling to create supply chain capabilities as adjuncts of their suites. That is why I2, Manugistics, WebPlan and other supply chain solutions are seen as required enhancements to mid-tier ERP solutions.

However, by not having the supply chain as the fundamental strategy of their IT solution most companies have still not achieved the dramatic success that they hoped they would attain when they embarked on their huge investments in ERP.

Which brings me back to the feedback from my travels. Inevitably the issues I hear from virtually all members of a cross functional team is that their ability to control and execute across their supply chains is compromised because they don’t have visibility into points across the entire supply chain. With their current ERP and supply chain solutions they have achieved better control over what goes on within their immediate manufacturing facility and they have been able to optimize what inventory is required at the manufacturing facility or distribution center. They have achieved greater visibility and execution capability over their financial execution and visibility with their ERP solutions than the pre-ERP implementation state. However, most companies lack the ability to manage and gain visibility into inventory supply availability and execution at remote or 3rd party contract manufacturing facilities across their diverse supply chain networks.

The bottom line is that in order to truly optimize the value proposition for the organization inventory must be controlled and optimized across the entire global supply chain while meeting the demand requirements of the customer. Whether the organization model is fundamentally manufacturing or distribution the ability to minimize inventory while insuring maximum fulfillment across the global supply chain is critical to drive value.

Today’s ERP approach just doesn’t do it.

So what is required to achieve an optimal level of global commerce management?

The answer lies in building a highly flexible, adaptable supply chain environment that can respond quickly to demand requirements and minimize resource requirements in the process. It requires a fully integrated information environment that provides the organization with a 360-degree view of their environment. There is a blueprint for achieving this highly integrated, synchronized global supply chain environment at
Creating Value from Global Commerce Management.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Global Supply Chain Blog

I have created the Global Supply Chain blog. I created this blog because there is a need for a venue where professionals and practitioners (read operations, finance and IT) people can come and freely exchange ideas on Global Supply Chain issues.

People who are actively involved in Global Supply Chain management have always understood that their business is different from other aspects of the organization. The global supply chain is complex. It requires a cross-disciplinary approach to business. It involves planning and forecasting, purchasing, global logistics, compliance (regulatory, product, supplier, and service provider), inventory management, sales, customer service and finance. All of these areas are siloes of work within the four walls of the organization. All of them require information that is the fundamental responsibility of another department within the organization. More than almost any other area global supply chain control requires collaboration between more partners than any other area of the business.

Most people within North American business organizations don’t understand what managing the global supply chain requires. Senior executives are virtually clueless of the complexities and risks surrounding the global supply chain but are being driven to global practices because competitiveness demands it. They realize the potential benefits but don’t understand what is needed to achieve a “best-in-class” organization.

I am looking for people dedicated to this area who are willing to engage with me and other professionals, share their challenges and solutions, discuss goals and objectives and how they might be reached, provide metrics and benchmarks that they have found useful.

I am looking for participants who want to achieve excellence in managing their global supply chain,

My ideas may be of interest, they may prove mainstream or unconventional. Hopefully, they will create interest and dialogue.

I have sent this message with the link to the blog because I believe you are interested in this area and it may be an opportunity for you to share information with others and benefit from their knowledge and experiences. I have several articles posted that will give you a flavor of what will appear on these pages. Most importantly I am very interested in your feedback on topics that you would like to have discussed in the area of global supply chain management and control.

If you wish to be removed from my list please send me an email and I will do so immediately.

Kind Regards
Ned Blinick
Blinco Systems Inc./3rdwave