“What happens if you die and you have to go pee?” My four year old daughter asked me this question yesterday as she was going to the bathroom. I tried thinking of a quick, witty answer, but being witty with a four year old often gets me into trouble, so I just said, “I don’t know, maybe you just have to hold it until you find a bathroom.” I’m not sure either of us were satisfied with this answer, but we washed our hands and moved on.
In more relevant news…
- SAP Announces Best Ever Second Quarter Performance
- SAP Analytics Application Helps Reveal Full Profit Picture Behind B2B Operations
- RedPrairie Acquires Planora and Establishes “Center of Excellence” Focused on Advanced Analytics and Optimization Science
- Oracle Announces Oracle Commerce
- Oracle continues to add social media muscle with Involver deal (Reuters)
- Technicolor Expands Third Party Logistics (3PL) Services
- Ryder Offers Free Test Drive for Natural Gas Trucks
- Freight Shipments Unchanged in May from April
- Retail Container Imports Expected To Increase 1.6 Percent In July
- New Marine Shipping Container Report Helps Steer Exporters in Right Direction (USDA)
ERP is dead, long live ERP! And cloud, mobility, and analytics too! That’s one way to summarize SAP’s preliminary Q2FY12 results. Revenues reached €1,059 Million, a 26 percent increase from the same period last year (19 percent increase at constant currencies). These results included contributions from SAP’s SuccessFactors acquisition starting February 21, 2012 which were not included in the 2011 results. According to the press release:
All regions posted double-digit revenue gains. The company is on track with solid results in its core business and exceptional demand for its new categories. Cloud momentum continued, driven by synergies between SuccessFactors and SAP…SAP HANA and the database business had an outstanding quarter with significant deals in all regions. Key industries such as financial services and retail as well as continued expansion of sales through SAP partners contributed significantly to the company’s top-line.
Speaking of analytics, SAP also announced the availability of SAP® Net Margin Analysis, an application that uses “advanced analytics to capture cost-to-serve metrics — the indirect costs hidden in supply chains that service and support customers.” Meanwhile, RedPrarie announced the creation of a “Center of Optimization Excellence” in Montreal that will serve “as a technology lab devoted to advanced analytics and optimization science relative to supply chain, workforce and all-channel retail technologies.” The Center of Excellence was formed through RedPrairie’s acquisition of Planora Inc., “an organization founded by optimization research scientists Louis-Martin Rousseau Ph.D. and Alexandre Le Bouthillier Ph.D., and industry veteran Jean-Francois Gagné.”
Supply chains have become so complex, and we are creating so much data, that we need ever-more advanced optimization and analytics tools to make sense of it all. Or as I suggested in my 1-page logistics book, we can instead look to simplify our supply chain processes. Here’s what I wrote back in 2009:
Many companies invest in supply chain and logistics software to keep pace with their ever-more-complex supply chains. But here is another option that few companies pursue: make your supply chains less complex. Somewhere along the way, companies decided that it’s better to deal with complexity instead of getting rid of it, which is why so many supply chain process maps and IT systems look like a Rube Goldberg drawing. Little kids have a tendency to ask a lot of “why?” questions. And when you given them the answer, they ask “why?” again. And this goes on until you finally run out of answers (or patience). When it comes to product proliferation, promotions, and other actions that add complexity to supply chains, I think companies need to start asking a lot more “Why?” questions, and I’m willing to bet that in many cases it won’t take long for the answers to stop making sense.
Another week, another social media acquisition by an enterprise vendor. According to news reports, Oracle has bought social marketing firm Involver, which provides tools for developers to create advertising campaigns on social media networks such as Facebook. This is the third social media related acquisition for Oracle since May, following its acquisition of Vitrue and Collective Intellect. Again, while this deal is not directly related to supply chain and logistics, it’s another sign that enterprise software vendors are investing in social media apps and it’s only a question of time before social media capabilities start emerging in supply chain apps, either via acquisitions or organic development.
A few weeks ago, I highlighted how companies like Waste Management, Staples, AT&T, Mohawk Industries, and Sunny Delight are using natural gas vehicles in their operations. And I made the point that shippers, carriers, and private fleet owners should evaluate the possibility of using alternative fuel vehicles because they might be pleasantly surprised by what they learn. Well, Ryder is now offering businesses an opportunity to test drive alternative fuel trucks for free, and here is what one of its customers — David Hodge, Operations Manager for Airwolf Express Courier Service, a Ryder lease customer based in Rocklin, California — had to say about it:
“The Ryder Ride & Drive event was very informative,” he said. “We do feel the industry is steadily moving toward a natural gas solution, not only due to the environmental aspect, but also because of the added benefit that it is cheaper than diesel. The natural gas vehicles we test drove were fantastic rides and seemed to have plenty of power. A cleaner and cheaper fuel, provided from a domestic source, is what we like to call a win/win. We look forward to exploring this option further in our business soon.”
Good news if you’re an exporter of agricultural goods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is releasing a new report that identifies the availability of marine shipping containers at select locations around the country. As Arthur Neal, Transportation and Marketing deputy administrator, states in the press release: “Agricultural exporters, particularly those in the U.S. heartland, often face great difficulty in finding available marine shipping containers. This new report was developed to provide more information to help facilitate the exporting of agricultural products. The industry’s collaboration in this effort was vital to making this report a reality.” The new Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report provides a weekly snapshot of container availability (for five types of marine shipping containers) for westbound transpacific trade lanes at 18 intermodal locations around the country.
Finally, this week’s “Song of the Week” (something new I’m kicking off today) is “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon. Enjoy and have a great weekend!
(Note: Oracle, RedPrairie, Ryder, and SAP are ARC Clients and/or Logistics Viewpoints sponsors)