Early in the year, people are thinking through and beginning their plans for the year. At the same time, several surveys have come out alerting us to some harsh facts—from business performance to societal issues.
Supply chain is a robust field of highly educated people with global orientations. The global reach means that the supply chain immune system is sensitive to disruptions. So, that means that the critical assessment— diagnostic practices—from demand management, risk management etc. have to be in excellent health.
What is also interesting is that all these surveys point to a few high-lighted issues as key factors in success—technology mastery, collaboration with trading partners and more information both upstream and downstream across the partnership (sounds like the first and second, yes?). The GMA, for example, has found that their members have had a drop in forecast accuracy—that has gotta mean increased costs, more unsalable items and lost sales. It is time to revitalize your portfolio here, so we are issuing a series of reports on Supply Chain technology, with a modern up to date focus.
Increased energy costs will plague us still, and yet more outsourcing to Asia clogging the ports.
Ok, we got all that. So, we pledge to tackle these problems through the year.
In this issue we will be begin to further clarify the conversation around Relationships!
First, if collaboration is a key, it can’t be All About Me. So, we have an article and a webinar on this front. HP has the right culture and has been working with trading partners to make it work. So register for this webinar on collaboration.
Continuing with the 4th Dimension reflections on digital relationships, read The Interview with the LinkedIn founders. In another case study, Johnson and Johnson is taking a different approach with partners. It also dawned on us that if you can’t make relationships work inside the firm, it is hard to make them work outside the firm…Mars and Venus analogies still apply!
Technology is fun, though hard to implement, so we will continue the focus. We were in NYC at the NRF show, which is a great showcase for what’s cool and fun, so we had some fun with RFID here.
On a more sober note, we have to sit up and pay attention to all the talk about Pandemic, as sad as that is to contemplate. The impact to US, Canada and China during SARS was huge, though ironically the number of victims small. Subsequently, we are still living with post Tsunami and Katrina impacts predicted to reach a trillion or more is costs, in the final analysis. Think what a real disease might cost!
The issue is, is your supply chain ready for these risks? Many CEOs state— well, if it affects the whole market equally, then who cares. But the fact is, it won’t. First, consumer industries—grocers, healthcare industries have to serve the public; raw material providers (metals, energy), and many more industries, have to keep producing; and transportation providers will have to respond and carry the huge increased burden. Without the proper response from these industries, there will be huge cascading impacts on the world economy. The question is, then, what risk plans have they made? And what is the chain effect? During Katrina we saw well prepared organizations like CVS and Wal-Mart respond. Think there is a parallel here in their overall business performance? You bet. Being prepared for disaster is not an accident. So we will begin to probe this topic this year as well.
I hope you enjoy this issue as well as the many services available.
Aristotle comes to mind here:
“It is through knowledge that I gain understanding…and understanding lets me do by choice what others do by constraint of fear.”