Category archives: analytics
KFC, a fast food favorite, made headlines last month for suffering a chicken shortage that brought 900 restaurants in the UK to a halt. Recently, the chain announced it was suffering from a gravy shortage as well. Not ideal for a chicken restaurant. No chicken and no gravy mean no customers. The whole debacle could have cost Yum! Brands Inc., KFC’s Parent company, up to £1m in losses per day. Not to mention a PR crisis that, despite a cheeky apology, will follow the company for years to come. What went wrong?
For three decades now I have been helping my clients with their Supply Chain questions….I have seen a lot of change along my journey. Some of my early projects included initiatives like helping large retailers transform from a pure paper-based operation inside their 4 walls to a first-generation Warehouse Management System (WMS). I also helped my clients with Sales & Operations Planning and with Distribution Network Design and Transportation Optimization Projects, to name just a few. In the past, all of these projects shared a few common traits including long, tedious and expensive implementations involving small armies of consultants. It would take a long time and a lot of money before businesses could see improvement. That is not the case any longer. Today, I am happy to say that I am still helping clients make better decisions. The big difference is AIMMS. Today, with our Agile approach and extremely cost-effective cloud native technology, my clients are using our software in a matter of days to improve their business.
The chemical industry is facing some powerful changes that are directly impacting revenues and margins. It’s also highly competitive. Everyone is trying to dominate their niche. This means chemical companies need to be adept at managing costs and profitability. But doing this ad hoc is too difficult. Having the right technology is key.
Spreadsheets and legacy tools are no longer enough
There’s a lot of flux in the chemical industry. Raw material prices fluctuate constantly. Selling prices vary depending on international markets and what’s happening in certain countries. That margin between selling prices and raw material prices needs to be carefully managed.
At the same time, the industry is consolidating and changing rapidly. As mergers and acquisitions increase, managing demand in large geographies becomes even more complex. Companies that spin off due to M&A activity need to find ways to manage their own destiny. Many chemical companies are using S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning) as a tool to tie up operational planning and activity with financial goals and strategy. Many are still using spreadsheets and legacy tools to support this process. These tools may provide a good starting point for S&OP, but do not always provide the sustainability or flexibility that companies require to be agile during times of rapid change.
In today’s business environment, you can’t remain competitive without mastering analytics. Still, most companies are “not very far” when it comes to implementing analytics and garnering benefits from data, as a recent survey from CSCMP suggests. In many cases, organizations haven’t succeeded in making the organizational changes required to become data-driven. Not enough managers are fluent in the language of analytics. Leveraging analytics at scale is hard. As the graph below shows, lack of talent, investment in hardware/software and siloed data are among the most common challenges.
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.
Sales & Operations planning has been around for 30 years. It was created initially by Oliver Wight and has become the standard procedure to improve business performance and predictability. Throughout the years, we’ve witnessed waves of interest in S&OP and its evolution IBP, which incorporates financial planning. In the past 2 years, we’ve seen the appeal of S&OP increase a lot more. But companies tend to struggle when it comes to finding the right technology to enable the process. In this blog post, I will delve into 5 issues companies typically experience with their S&OP software.
The whole purpose of S&OP is to discuss important questions today to prevent them from causing urgent issues 12 months from now. The business impact of this is profound. As Lora Cecere (Supply Chain Insights) explains, an effective S&OP process can result in a more controlled, aligned, agile, proactive and strategic supply chain. But to implement it effectively, companies first need to understand why S&OP is important for their business. Every company has different business drivers and different requirements. This makes S&OP implementation a difficult process, especially when it comes to finding the right tools.
Internet of Things (IOT), Cost-to-Serve, Segmentation and Supply Chain CoEs are unable to deliver promised business value without Prescriptive AnalyticsPosted on November 08, 2016 by Chris GordonLeave a reply
Gartner’s Hype Cycle for CSCOs is a valuable read for current and potential Supply Chain leaders. It brings together a long list of trends, enabling technologies, business frameworks and competencies that should be in your consideration set. The big theme of course, is the digitization of the supply chain and the implications it will have on business performance. What seems very clear is that if you’re not planning to jump aboard this train very quickly, you’re going to have what will appear to be a stone-age supply chain within 5-10 years.
As a Gartner recognized Prescriptive Analytics software company, we’re most interested in all things digital that have analytical flavor by nature. We see our clients deliver strong value from digital innovation, but only when organizations have the knowledge and technology to do things differently. This requires Prescriptive Analytics, a type of advanced analytics that results in a recommended ACTION.
In other words, for digital transformation to succeed, organizations need to be able to “take action” based on their data. Let’s take a look at some of the competencies mentioned in Gartner’s report so I can provide evidence to back up this outrageous statement.