Archive for Guest Commentary

4 Ways Supply Chain Modeling Enhances Enterprise Resilience

Supply chain modeling is essential to substantiated resiliency analysis and to the planning of risk responses. A supply chain model is the digital representation of the structure, product flows and policies of a physical supply chain. It is created by transforming data into predetermined structures, so that such data templates can be used in conjunction with mathematical algorithms, to determine improved future state structures, product flows and policies. Here’s a look at four areas of risk that can businesses can address through modeling and analytics.

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Integrated Assortment Planning: A Vital Capability for Retailers

In today’s changing market dynamics, the retail business is getting more competitive by the day. Increasing competition by online marketplaces, along with evolving consumer expectations and shopping patterns are making the category management decisions more complex. As customers’ options increase, so do their expectations. Assortment planning decisions made by these teams need to be more dynamic and localized as manual analysis based on broad assumptions and averages do not suffice anymore. Here are the vital capabilities for surviving in the new world of retail.

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Navigating the Challenges of Cross-Border Trade

U.S. companies that conduct significant volumes of cross-border manufacturing and trade with Mexico have had to contend with a variety of challenges since 2019, including tariff threats, the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain and the subsequent challenges of restarting idled manufacturing, and the forthcoming implementation of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

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Why Supply Chain Complexity Isn’t a Bad Thing

When I started my career the term “supply chain” was just emerging. Most professionals I interacted with during my early days in this industry were still referring to “materials management” and “procurement” when they spoke of what we call “supply chain” today. We also had a role called a “master planner” who was typically an APICS certified genius who could schedule a factory, inbound supply schedule and procurement plan via grease board, or if very […]

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Cloud-Native WMS: Key Characteristics and Considerations

Consumer and enterprise software has gone through a significant evolution over the last five years. Consumers have reached a point where software as a service (SaaS) has become an imperceptible norm. One might assume designing a SaaS-based WMS is as simple as taking a legacy WMS, deploying it in a public cloud, wrapping it up with managed services, and re-branding the offering as SaaS WMS. But to truly understand the benefits of being a cloud-native WMS, we have to look a little deeper. There are four key considerations enterprises need to evaluate when selecting a cloud WMS solution.

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If You are a Distributor, Do You Look Like This?

As more of the economy comes back online, distribution-oriented companies find their business in one of the following situations: volumes are up but costs have risen faster or, volumes are down considerably, and they don’t appear to be coming back any time soon. In both cases, the objective is to right-size distribution operations to drive down costs and dramatically improve productivity. Now is the time for distribution companies to look hard at their current fleet strategies, tactics and use of technology to make a step change in operational performance. Here are two ways fleet operators can make a difference.

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Why Supply Chain Agility Needs to be the Next Normal

The rug has been pulled out from beneath us. Doing things the same way we’ve always done them will no longer serve us, so we can’t simply put it back in its place. In fact, the definition of pulling the rug out from underneath someone is that doing so causes their plans to fail, because they have little recourse or time to respond adequately. It’s a fitting metaphor for the world’s supply chains, which have […]

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Near Term Forecasting powered by AI

One thing that I find interesting in the AI movement is the creative use of data and algorithms to solve old problems in a new way or to solve new problems. My colleague, Vikram Srinivasan talked about one such new problem in a previous blog post:  AI is Changing Everything We Thought About Forecasting Demand. Vik discussed how AI is helping improve demand forecasting with additional data and new algorithms. Digging deeper, he mentioned an […]

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Voice Technology – The Bridge Between Today and Tomorrow’s Logistics Systems

When you think about future and modern technologies, or digitization in supply chain, what comes to mind? Robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), drones, self-driving trucks, and exoskeletons all carry a “futurey” feel—even if many of them are quickly becoming common. But, instead of these incredible new technologies, it might be a technology with over 30 years of history creating the bridge to the future of warehouse operations. Voice technology is commonly associated with picking. As hands-free, […]

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Transportation in the Time of a Pandemic

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-haul transportation industry has been tested daily. The biggest issue? Fluctuations in supply and demand. Spot loads quadrupled in the last month with outbound tender volumes at their highest since 2018. In April, freight volumes increased from 100,000 loads per weekday to 150,000 loads at its peak, loads remained consistently above 130,000 each day early in the month. Volumes have since cooled; however, volatility prevails as manufacturing […]

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