After a spike more than a decade ago catalyzed by a buying spree of ERP, supply chain, web front ends and so on, one would think that a market like integration would be a no-grow or go-away market. But quite to the contrary, the tool suites, the delivery options, and sales of even traditional elements continue to grow. Why is this?
Lack of innovation over the past few decades around how organizations approach disposing of their returned, excess and obsolete inventory has resulted in billions of dollars lost and can no longer be left to inefficient, reactive or outdated methods.
When the Great Recession hit, an Irish dairy and nutritionals provider realized its manual method for managing transportation and delivery was woefully inadequate. The problem was solved when it automated routing and scheduling.
Small to mid-sized companies are better positioned than large corporations to take advantage of cloud-based solutions because they have not made big investments in enterprise systems, says Yogesh Pathak of Technoforte. The supply chain is one of many areas where cloud solutions promise to change the game, Pathak says.
Today's supply chains are so complex and change so rapidly that optimization efforts often are overtaken by events, says Mike Comstock of Grand Canal Solutions. Planning needs to become much more dynamic, with analytics adapted to make optimization a continuous process, he says.
Change management as it is traditionally applied is outdated. We know, for example, that 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. We also know that when people are truly invested in change it is 30 percent more likely to stick.
The goal for 3PLs always is to negotiate a win/win contract with existing and new customers, says Mike Bautch of Universal. He offers insights and examples on how to create win/win relationships that keep improving over the years.
John Reichert, director of supply chain execution solutions at Tecsys, discusses factors driving increased demand for 3PL services and describes the type of provider best positioned to leverage this growth environment.
Truckload marketplace Transfix is adding a new dimension to matching drivers with available loads, says CEO Drew McElroy. By making greater use of smartphones, McElroy says Transfix makes more efficient matches, which reduces empty miles and driver wait times.
The term "digital supply chain" describes the integration of advanced technology, big data, and analytics to better manage and execute the physical supply chain, says Frederick Hartung of Jabil. He explains how this is playing out today and what it means for the future.