My takeaways from Gartner’s Supply Chain Executive Conference 2016
Apps have come to define the way we work and live in many ways. We have cars with Apps, watches running Apps, TVs that operate with Apps…as the phrase goes “There’s an App for That.” There are Apps out there for just about anything, it’s hard to imagine a world without them. Why do we love Apps so much? We get the information we need upfront, they can be used anytime, anywhere, they help us connect, and they serve a specific purpose.
When it comes to Supply Chain Analytics, an “Apps approach” can have just as many benefits. Gartner’s Noha Tohamy offered a great presentation about this at their recent Supply Chain Executive Conference. But what exactly is a Supply Chain Analytics app? Noha defines it as “a solution developed in-house or by a service provider, targeted at a specific use case.” By taking an Apps approach, companies can build an app library with solutions. Think for instance of a Source Optimization app for your retail company – a custom solution that helps you understand how and when to source your supplies, foresee possible supplier issues and adapt your plans accordingly. Another example, this time in the oil industry, would be an oil blending app. Oil blending is not easy. Blending rules are always in development and are considered to be extremely proprietary. A custom Optimization or Prescriptive Analytics app can be adapted quickly as the rules change, it can empower people in your organization, be readily accessible for end users and help you create better blends.
It comes as no surprise that business and supply chain leaders are seeking new approaches to get ahead in the analytics age. Implementing an analytics strategy, and in particular implementing prescriptive analytics, can significantly improve revenues and drive down costs. How can you ensure that your team is prepared to embrace these new technologies and approaches? Experience shows us that technology is the easy part. Getting buy-in agreement and changing your company culture to embrace analytics is often more difficult. A Center of Excellence (COE) can help you start off with the right team structure, engage the right stakeholders and put you on the right path to implementation.
It’s no mystery that some of the world’s largest retail chains are struggling to survive. Walmart is closing a record number of stores (269) in the U.S. and abroad this year. Trusted names like Sears, J.C. Penney, and Gap have also lost their momentum. In Europe, V&D, a major Dutch department store, and Brantano, a large footwear retailer operating in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, have officially declared bankruptcy. Demand is sluggish and many have failed to adapt and streamline shopping experiences for today’s connected consumer. Still, even in the midst of this turmoil, retailers like Kroger and Zalando are thriving. What are these companies doing differently and what trends should retailers look out for? Let’s take a closer look.
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.
Through the Hype Cycle: Exploring the Many Applications of AIMMS Technology in Supply Chain Planning
As you may have heard, AIMMS was recently featured in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Planning (SCP). The Hype Cycle is a great resource for Supply Chain and IT leaders. It offers an overview of the enormous breadth of solutions for Supply Chain planning, giving you insight into the many fields where you can leverage technology to boost your company’s performance. It also helps you understand which technologies and applications have gone through their teething cycle, which ones are already mature, and ultimately, which one would be right for you. In the document, Gartner positions AIMMS as a key vendor in Prescriptive Analytics – a form of Advanced Analytics that can improve decision making in several areas of the supply chain, including logistics, planning, and manufacturing. But you can apply AIMMS to many other areas as well. I will explore some of those areas in this post.
2015 was a very exciting year for AIMMS. We welcomed many new customers, resulting in a 40% increase in revenue growth. We also grew as a team and have expanded to a new office in The Netherlands. I’m happy to say that 2016 looks even more promising! We are witnessing a growing interest in prescriptive analytics across a wide variety of industries. The use of AIMMS PRO specifically is increasing, as companies are realizing the huge benefits of providing their staff with decision support tools. In this blog post, I will share some exciting new use cases, a quick glimpse of our product and customer service goals, and a short update about AIMMS partnerships.
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.
Optimization is a form of advanced analytics that helps you solve complex decision problems, enabling you to make the best use of your business’ limited resources.* When applied to S&OP and IBP, modeling and optimization enable you to balance out scenarios and perform what-if analyses so you can analyze how these different scenarios will affect your inventory and/or cost. You can gradually enrich your planning process with financial figures, add basic analytics to it, and build your organization with scenario optimization embedded in the core business planning process.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Norm Jerome, a longtime AIMMS customer. It was great to learn about how AIMMS is used in the BP Petrochemical businesses and how it has been adopted by more and more end-users across the business. Here is a summary of that interview.
Hi Norm, Tell me a little about your background.
My formal training was in Chemical Engineering with emphasis on Process Control, and for the first 10 years of my career I worked as a Process Control Engineer, initially at Eastman Kodak, and then at Amoco. In the mid-90’s I moved over to Amoco Oil’s planning & scheduling department, and started working on refinery LP’s and scheduling systems. It was in that role that I first started working with AIMMS. At the end of the 90’s Amoco was acquired by BP, and around the same time I transferred over to what was now BP-Amoco’s Aromatics department within Petrochemicals, where I have been ever since.
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.