This time of year, you might be of two minds. You’re excited about the upcoming year and the possibilities of new projects, job opportunities, and maybe an upcoming vacation to someplace warm. But you’ve also read articles aplenty about automation affecting supply chain jobs, some segments of the economy are still struggling, we’re always a black swan event away from disaster and, oh yeah, there’s a new president on the way with some very different ideas. Welcome to the new normal!
Don’t despair, for there are many positives ahead. The Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, cloud technology, and robotics have all made their way along Gartner’s Hype Cycle curve and are now in operation. 3D printing is growing and machine learning/AI is picking up steam, as are driverless vehicles, drones, and VR. Even the political front has bright possibilities, with Trump’s infrastructure plan, tax reductions, and possible repatriation of foreign profits having the potential to light a fire under the economy. Things are looking up, right? Well, yes and no.
Coal likely won’t be a major traffic/revenue for CSX anymore. Coal revenue losses, which have been mounting since 2011, are expected to total $2 billion by year’s end.
So, the Class I needed to develop a strategy to radically change the structure and operation of the coal-dominant railroad for the long term. Enter the “CSX of Tomorrow.” Formally launched in late April and expected to take several years to implement, the strategy calls for realigning the network to de-emphasize coal traffic and optimize the volume-growth potential of the more promising intermodal sector and solid merchandise segment; deploying more high-tech equipment and information systems; pursuing service excellence; and developing a workforce of the future.
The idea— and hope — behind the CSX of Tomorrow (CoT): help spur volume growth and increase profitability in the intermodal and merchandise franchises, and yet preserve the business value of coal as it becomes a smaller part of the company’s portfolio.
The Class I aims to develop a Team of Tomorrow (ToT), or a more diverse, versatile and highly skilled workforce. CSXers believe such a team can up the ante on working collaboratively, making decisions quickly, embracing new technologies and finding ways to boost productivity.
Today I spent on a project from 2013: Supply Chain Control Towers
Far greater minds than mine have defined Supply Chain Control Towers? There are many definitions but Capgemini offers a good, broad definition that many would agree with: “A supply chain control tower is a central hub with the required technology, organization, and processes to capture and use supply chain data to provide enhanced visibility for short and long term decision making that is aligned with strategic objectives.”
Yes, I wrote about Supply Chain Control Towers and Transportation Control Towers
First thing today I get a message from India. Company wants to know more about Supply Chain Control Towers. Then I read mail (uuuggghhh). Get a blog from Lora Cecere, The Supply Chain Shaman.. She knows more about Supply Chains than I ever will. But she is allied with ALL the vendors in the industry. I trust them as far as I can throw them.
But she has a great idea: A Netword of Networks
I simplify that to “THE CLOUD”
Back the Control Towers. She and I agree on a lot. Difference simply is I want EDI to be the main communications tool (other than voice-to-voice). She wants to also introduce many existing communications tools from her great vendor community. I feel EDI is proven and can communicate ANYTHING. She wants to introduce things like HADOOP, SPARK, BLOCK CHAIN to the process. ADOBE may be her great friend. All I know about them is their opening remark if I contact them. “What is your credit card number?” Still confident in the international banking system to think BLOCKCHAIN is a lot of B..S We use BNP Paribas and know it’s capabilities.
I am sure Lora and I will work out our differences. So confident that I have signed up for her Webinar in January.
This is a guest blog from my boss, Ken Kinlock. He is “The Man” about Control Towers
Quality data is the fuel for any business software. In international trade and logistics, where critical data comes from partners scattered across the globe, the challenge of obtaining quality data is even greater.
The traditional approach for connecting to a myriad of partners to receive and send data is costly, time consuming and error-prone. It is the primary reason companies don’t have global view, or a control tower for managing the full end-to-end global supply chain.
Fortunately, there is a new model for delivering data to your solutions that makes what used to be impossible possible, while decreasing costs at the same time.
Modern cloud-based information platforms designed specifically for global supply chains take advantage of powerful network effects that lower costs by spreading them across a large community of users.
Let’s have some fun with math. What EDI translator does your company use? For that matter, what ERP, 3PL, or other service is on your short list? Next, how many trading partners do you have? And finally, what EDI, ERP, and other electronic systems do they use? It doesn’t really matter whether you have the answers to these questions. What you would get even if you use the smallest estimates available is a very large number of permutations. How is it possible then to maintain compatibility and also keep up with the accelerated pace of today’s supply chain?
Fortunately translating one trading partner’s EDI transactions into the formats your company uses is controllable. That’s not to say it’s simple and doesn’t require constant attention, but the tools have been honed to the point that daily operations move ahead without too much problem. But the processes still need handholding and manual intervention to assure every document processes correctly.
Get the “5 Best Practices for Integration Planning” Whitepaper for free
Read more: http://ec-bp.com/index.php/articles/editors-blog/11799-have-you-connected-the-dots-yet#ixzz4QKzGlGoh
It’s hard to believe that the Holiday season is near – or that for those participating in retail, the season is already well underway. Is it too late to think about making this season better? If you haven’t already made the infrastructure and system changes you’ve been contemplating this year then the answer is likely to be Yes! But there may still be a few things you can do at this late date.
Be Mobile Ready
Get Your Visibility Nailed
Get Ready To Be The Best
Read more: http://ec-bp.com/index.php/articles/editors-blog/11789-supply-chain-mayhem-avoid-it#ixzz4PnQvO3X2
The benefits of automating orders, invoices, and ASNs between your company and its customers are well known. Integrated documents are faster, less prone to error, and improve workflow among your people and systems. At this point, it would be rare to find a major retailer or manufacturer who isn’t using electronic documents to run their businesses. Not so rare, though, are small and medium sized businesses (SMB) still pushing paper. It’s about time for SMBs to make their move, isn’t it?
A few years back, automating electronic documents for a ‘newbie’ was a long and expensive proposition. You needed to buy equipment and software, plus you had to train an employee (or hire one) to establish and maintain connections. That was just to get up and running. Integrating documents into and out of your existing systems, ERP, WMS, CRM, and so on, was something with which the IT staff had to be involved. Then, once up and running, somebody had to monitor the operation and handle exceptions. You know what? Those days are over. Options abound, mostly due to the growth and proven effectiveness of cloud-based technology.
When you look at it, the return on investment in the ‘old days’ maybe wasn’t there. You may have had a major partner, a hub, try to force the issue, but you’d been successful in leveraging your relationship to postpone your deadlines time after time. However, the clock was ticking and eventually your time will expire.
Read more: http://ec-bp.com/index.php/articles/industry-updates/11772-it-s-integration-time#ixzz4OvDcojYX
When is a commodity not a commodity? When each individual item is made to order. Not just made for the P.O. but to the specifics of the customer’s requests. With traditional supply chain practices it’s easy enough to get the order right for the specified number of items in the package. But when that package count is 1, there is literally no margin for error.
And when the delivery is made through any of a variety of channels the process of making custom products can explode into seemingly unmanageable permutations. This isn’t conjecture. The custom-made model is fast approaching as technology accelerates and provides more options and more automation.
We’re already seeing customization of household items like rugs made to match colors and patterns supplied by the customer. These can be purchased at physical stores that manufacture in the back room, or ordered online and produced either at the store or some remote facility. In some cases orders can be shipped the next day.
Chinese state-run express rail delivery service China Railway Express says its now able to serve all the cities across China which are directly connected to the high-speed rail system.
China Railway Express director Huang Jian says they are now able to provide three-tiered delivery services to 505 cities across China.
“For economical services we are able to deliver goods within 72 hours, charging 10 yuan for the first kilogram. Prices for delivery within two days start at 17 yuan for the first kilogram. For the same-day delivery, the price starts at 130 yuan.” (One Dollar is 6.8 Yuan)
China Railway Express began in 2014, and serviced around 100 cities at that time.
The company is a subsidiary of the China Railway Corporation, which is the former Ministry of Railways.
China is home to the world’s longest high-speed train system, with tracks covering over 20-thousand kilometers.
It wasn’t long ago that Apple was lauded for it’s finesse in managing its supply chain. Getting its bazillions of iPhones from China to the US and everywhere else required some groundbreaking advances and a lot of tight controls. Those lessons have gone mainstream as the world took notice and of the company’s strategies and success. And partly because of that expansion, the supply chain now extends to areas as unexpected as social media.
Some of these areas make perfect sense in light of new technologies. An article in Forbes Business lists several areas. Here are the ones that I think are already making a difference.