Author Archives: Gloria Quintanilla
Declining letter volumes and parcel competition are serious challenges faced by postal companies. Having a competitive supply chain is key to thrive, and survive, in this environment. How can postal companies make headway? The answer lies on changing culture as much as it does on rethinking technology.
Change should start with culture and organizational alignment
Global e-commerce growth and converging technologies are pushing postal companies to diversify their revenues and increase operational efficiency quickly. To support this change, many postal operators are modernizing their technology stack and relying increasingly on advanced analytics. UPS, for instance, has managed to save up $50 million a year in fuel, vehicle maintenance and time by optimizing vehicle routes with a big data model. The company has also won several awards for providing consumers with more control over deliveries using digital products.
What are companies looking for in supply chain network design technologies? What works well, and what are the challenges? We commissioned Supply Chain Insights to conduct independent research about this topic and discussed the findings in a recent webinar. Today, we’re pleased to share a more extensive report on this topic. The report covers perceptions about supply chain network design (SCND) as a process and outlines the key benefits and barriers experienced by companies when using SCND technology. Let’s take a look at some of the key findings.
Reflections following the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference in London
Last month, our team had the pleasure to attend Gartner’s Supply Chain Executive Conference in London, a growing event that we’re always thrilled to participate in. This time, the event hosted 15% more visitors and took place at the Intercontinental O2 hotel. For us, it was a special occasion because we had the opportunity to give the event’s audience a preview of AIMMS SC Navigator – our new analytics solution for supply chain teams. It was also a great venue to re-connect with existing customers and meet Gartner analysts, who gave us valuable feedback on our product. The event’s theme was ACT – Aspire-Challenge-Transform in a disruptive world, a call to action to recognize the impact of disruptions and define a digital supply chain strategy to improve performance. Advanced analytics (machine learning, advanced algorithms, deep learning, neural networks) are at the core of these disruptions and a crucial enabler for digital transformation. Still, companies struggle to adopt advanced analytics for supply chain. Resources and data quality are the most common obstacles.
The first half of this year has flown by and for many of us, it’s time for a much needed vacation. We’ve put together a new reading (and watch) list for this summer to help you gather some refreshing ideas as you gear up to plan for 2018. The list includes the best of our blog and news items, our latest webinars and most recent case studies. It’s the perfect companion for an inspiring holiday break!
Best of our Blog:
- 3 compelling reasons to start using Prescriptive Analytics: AIMMS’ SVP, Gertjan de Lange, discusses 3 major reasons businesses are feeling more compelled to adopt Prescriptive Analytics, a form of advanced analytics that uses techniques like machine learning and mathematical modeling to help you improve decision making.
- AIMMS featured in IT Subway Map of European Supply Chain Software Providers: We’re proud to report that we’ve been featured in 5 different subway lines, or software categories, in this year’s IT Subway Map of European SC Software Providers. Looking for a software provider for Business Analytics, S&OP, Inventory Optimization, Production Planning & Scheduling or SC Network Design? Browse the map and you’ll find yourself in our stop!
- Supply Chain Network Optimization Technology is ripe for disruption: Network optimization software has become a big business that’s experienced exponential growth. There has been strong adoption of boxed solutions that are feature rich with many bells and whistles. Why hasn’t it become cheaper or easier to have an optimized network? Chris Gordon, AIMMS VP North America, discusses this on our blog.
- Why you don’t need perfect data to start implementing S&OP: To truly leverage S&OP to improve business performance and predictability, you need to embark on a change management process and you need the right technology to self-enable your team. Often, teams think they also need plenty of clean and accurate data to do it right. But starting small can pay off, as Boon Edam’s Aron Waas (Global SC Director) explains in our recent blog post.
- Companies in Asia Pacific eager to innovate with Supply Chain Optimization: The adoption of advanced analytics has moved at a much slower pace in Asia Pacific compared to Europe or North America. But the tide is turning, as Lei Wang, AIMMS VP Asia Pacific, explains in this blog post.
Choosing a supply chain software vendor can be a long and tedious process. You need to make sure the software has the right capabilities, that you have the right people on board to truly leverage it and that it will support and not hinder your processes. Supply Chain Media publishes a yearly IT Subway Map to help business leaders in their decision making process. We are pleased to announce that we’ve been featured once more in the report. This is the fourth time AIMMS is named in the IT Subway Map. This time, we have been allocated five different subway lines, or software categories.
Mapping European Supply Chain Software
The IT Software Map reflects the diversity of supply chain software types. Companies are allocated positions on the map based on the number of implementations and the share of revenue for each software type in Europe. The age and size of the company also plays a role in the selection process.
With the Subway Map, business leaders can navigate a wide array of vendors available in the market for the most sought after solution types. Supply Chain Media’s Martijn Lofvers explains: “The purpose of the IT Subway Map is to provide a wide overview of the supply chain software market in Europe. We know that users think in solutions, but we don’t want to put vendors in a box, as we recognize that some software types are very versatile. That’s why a single vendor can have multiple stops on the map.”
As we step into 2017, we took some time to reflect on the most popular posts on our Supply Chain blog last year. Trending topics included S&OP, Prescriptive Analytics, Supply Chain Optimization, Supply Chain Centers of Excellence and Supply Chain Analytics. What are you interested in learning about this year? Let us know in the comments and check out the curated list of our most well-read blog posts in 2016: Continue reading »
This month, we hosted a Data Visualization webinar with bestselling author Cole Nussbaumer Knafflic. Cole wrote the popular book “Storytelling with Data” and is also known for her blog. She’s worked at and with some of the most data-driven companies on the planet, including Google, Adobe, Genentech, JPMC, Target, and the World Bank. She also works with organizations and individuals to help them become more effective data storytellers through workshops. We had a chance to talk to her about some best practices for effective data visualization leading up to the webinar. In this short interview, she shares some of her trade secrets and a sneak preview of what you can find in her book.
- How do you define storytelling with data?
For me, storytelling with data is the communication step of the analytical process. Let’s consider the analytical process. Perhaps you start off with a question or hypothesis. Then you have to gather the data and clean the data. Next, you analyze the data. At that point, it’s easy to throw it into a graph and be done. But that graph is the only part of the whole process that your audience sees. So it deserves at least as much—perhaps more—attention compared to the other parts of the process, and yet is so often overlooked or given the least amount of time. To take that a step further, my view is that you should never simply show data. Rather, you should make data a pivotal point in an overarching story or narrative. This helps it make sense to your audience, makes it resonate and can help make it stick. This is storytelling with data.
Big data, analytics, BI…Everyone in business today has heard these terms at some point, and yet the path to analytics-driven business improvement remains somewhat elusive. We spoke with Keith B. Carter, Actionable Intelligence Expert and Decision Sciences Visiting Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore Business School and Affiliate Professor Business Analytics Center, to unravel some of the difficulties managers face while embracing an analytics culture and discuss some best practices for success.
Keith is a global supply chain operations leader with over 16 years of extensive global experience in the Cosmetics-Beauty, Government, and Financial Services industries. He has managed teams across continents – from the United States to Belgium and Singapore. Previously, he worked at Estée Lauder in a variety of global supply chain roles, and Accenture in financial services and government. His book. Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!, provides expert guidance to establish a culture of fact-based decision making and appropriate high-speed governance.
Precise means being exact, accurate and careful about details. The difference between good and great. As we discussed in our recent Supply Chain webinar, this is not an easy task if you have a lot of fluctuating demand and uncertainty in your production process. During the webinar, Paul Coombe (Supply Chain Director at Nampak Glass) shared his insights on making the best possible use of your production facilities and optimizing the way you respond to changes in demand. This is particularly difficult at Nampak, a business that aims to produce 350 tons of glass per day while managing different production processes for different bottle types and maintaining customer service at a profitable level. The interview below summarizes how Nampak tackled this challenge.
Papyrus, a leading European paper wholesaler, started using AIMMS in May 2014 to implement radical changes in its supply chain network and re-envision its forecasting, replenishment & supplier management workflow. The company’s supply chain supports more than 68,000 customers in 20 countries from warehouses and cross-dock platforms strategically located across Europe. Historically, every region was served by a warehouse that stocked an estimated amount of paper to meet local demand. Suppliers delivered to approximately every warehouse, with long lead times of four to five weeks. Due to high MOQs and fragmented demand spread out across a large number of warehouses, deliveries were infrequent. This was a high stock solution which the company could no longer afford due to a secular decline in the demand for paper and the global economic crisis. To overcome this challenge, the company would need to embark in a supply chain transformation journey to reduce cost and inventory while improving availability.