SC Finance & Revenue Management. — July, 2009

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Defending SCM Technology: It's Not the Answer, but a Damn Good One
I'm sick of people telling me that technology is not the answer to supply chain problems, or that supply chain management (SCM) technology has, in general, been a disappointment to those companies that have made major investments in them. What's more disturbing to me is that I feel like I too have been brainwashed to repeat the same mantra. I've noticed that, in recent years, I've become somewhat tentative in describing what I do for a living. I preface everything I say with caveats about the limited efficacy of supply chain technologies.

When I think of SCM technology, I typically classify it into three categories: foundational, operational, and planning.

The foundational category spans any tools that help build visibility and connectivity among trading partners. These technologies create data that can be later used either in operations or planning. B2B connectivity, EDI, RFID, and voice recognition are all examples of foundational SCM technologies. I would probably put supply chain performance management in this category as well, since it builds the foundation for measuring the health of the supply chain.

I can comfortably say that SCM technology has generated billions of dollars in return on investment across hundreds of projects....
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Slashing Inventory May Leave Companies Unprepared for Upturn
In the face of today's unprecedented credit crunch and volatile economic environment, companies must do everything they can to free up working capital. Optiant, the premier provider of inventory optimization solutions, finds that many leading-edge organizations can look within their supply chain operations to find working capital, even if lean initiatives have been put in place.

"If management mandates lowering operating costs, running leaner, streamlining operations, reducing workforces, and canceling projects, companies can still find cash within their supply chain operations," says Fred Lizza, CEO of Optiant, Inc.

According to a report by Deloitte Consulting, companies can squeeze working capital from their supply chain. Their recommendations include focusing on inventory reduction, cash-to-cash conversion cycles, and supply chain risk....
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BNSF Creates Two Free Tools for Comparing Intermodal With Highway
The BNSF Railway Co. has designed a pair of free tools, which allow shippers and carriers to compare the cost and transit times of intermodal and highway services. The railroad's Intermodal Transit Adviser provides comparative information on routes, cutoff and availability times, transit time and miles between origin and destination....
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Con-way Freight Offers Capped Pricing Model for Large LTL Loads
True LTL is the name of a new pricing option offered by Con-way Freight, the less-than-truckload carrier. The capped pricing model gives customers simplified truckload-style pricing for large LTL shipments. According to Con-way, the option is predictable and less expensive than truckload, while eliminating the uncertainty, complexity and waste of traditional LTL pricing models....
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Supreme Court to Decide if Sarbanes-Oxley Is Constitutional
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case, which could decide the fate of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley act. The court says it will preside over the case in which a U.S. advocacy group is claiming that the act and its Public Company Accounting Oversight Board are unconstitutional.
The case centers around an accounting firm from Nevada, which objected to the board....
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Who Owns the Risk Management Problem?
Many organizations have a difficult time achieving corporate alignment on supply chain risk issues because stakeholders in finance, supply chain and risk management operate in isolation from one another. Beth Enslow, senior vice president for supply chain risk management at Marsh, explains the dangers of this fragmented approach and describes how companies can use cross-functional teams to bring a unified and structured approach to understanding end-to-end supply chain risk....
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