Category Archives: Supply Chain

Big Player in EDI Industry Visits Nice, France and talks to Penney

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Recently we had the opportunity to talk with one of the “near great” visitors to Nice: Todd Gould, President of Loren Data. His company is the leading Electronic Commerce Communications Provider (ECCP) firm in the EDI industry. An ECCP is a neat way of handling all your EDI communications in a centralized and efficient manner. An ECCP replaces a VAN for you; but if your trading partner utilizes a VAN, an ECCP still interfaces with your partner through his VAN. An ECCP is far less labor-intensive for you than either AS2 or MFT (Managed File Transfer).

We met at a beach-front cafe right next to his hotel, the famous “Palais Méditerranée”. While Jen, his wife, went off to explore the “Monday Market” at Cours Saleya in the Vieux Nice, Todd kicked off our discussion with the statement: “Interconnects are what make a network a VAN”. We thought about it for a couple of seconds and quickly agreed with him. He is so very correct. If a network cannot (or will not) interconnect with all the trading partners, then it surely has no value added.

Companies (GXS specifically) are sabotaging the VAN Network by refusing to interconnect with other networks. Is this company trying to “corner” the VAN market or kill the VAN and replace with their own proprietary network? They already “ate up” (politely: mergers) some of their competitors. Bet they want to end up as the only way for a company to reach ALL their trading partners.

But Todd’s little company is going after them in the US Federal Court system. Sounds like they are really scared of him too.

The truth of the matter is that the growth of EDI is “sort of flat”. The big companies already have their trading partners ramped in, and the smaller companies do not have the “clout” to do the same with their even smaller partners.

We understand that a leading Supply Chain/Electronic Commerce online magazine will be addressing a new approach to increasing the number of new EDI implementations: “Hubs and Spokes, Spokes and Hubs”.

Much of the EDI community sticks with a VAN because it is an outsourced operation and because many of us hold to the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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Are CIO’s a Dying Breed?

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We have previously covered a lot about the Chief Information Officer (CIO): The CIO‘s qualifications, the CIO‘s relationship to the supply chain, and the CIO‘s relationship to EDI. But the biggie is now how the Cloud will impact the CIO. Does the CIO go away or does the CIOget stronger?

Do you really need a CIO? According to a report from Getronics cited on Forbes.com, 17 percent of corporate financial leaders believe the chief information officer position will disappear by 2017.

It is all because of the Cloud changing how companies handle technology.

CIO‘s who do not value the Cloud in today’s current IT environment are putting an expiration date on their usefulness in the enterprise,” the article says. “The role of the CIO is not disappearing into the Cloud; instead, it is becoming more strategic because of it.”

C-Level For Supply Chain Management?

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C-level is used to describe high-ranking executive titles within an organization. C, in this context, stands for Chief.  We have a CIO (Chief Information Officer), a CTO (Chief Technology Officer), a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), a CFO (Chief Financial Officer),  a CCO (Chief Compliance Officer), a CFO (Chief Knowledge Officer), a CSO (Chief Security Officer) , a COO (Chief Operating Officer) and, of course, a CEO. What is the head of Supply Chain Management going to be called? More importantly, is SCM a “C-Level” or is SCM a “corporate utility”?

The “Chief Supply Chain Officer” (CSCO) needs to be involved in developing the business strategy rather than just somebody else’s strategy.

Putting Your Supply Chain In The Cloud

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If your business is up and running, you probably already have an IT infrastructure, and want to continuously improve that infrastructure. The Cloud could be your answer. Now that the Cloudis here, mainstream IT is figuring out how to best make use of it.

What does the Cloud do for Supply Chain management?  Supply Chain is, by nature, inter-company, so you already the Internet to manage your partnerships. Supply Chain Management must look at the Cloud for communication between businesses. Most business software is only designed to work within single companies, not between companies. Here is my list of things to think about when starting to move your supply chain to the cloud:

Considering SCM Software

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Just what is software for Supply Chain Management? To answer that, first let’s see what makes up SCM. Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the combination of art and science that goes into improving the way your company finds the raw components it needs to make a product or service and deliver it to customers.

SCM consists of: (1) Planning – company strategy and metrics; (2) Source – suppliers of goods and services; (3) Make – the manufacturing step; (4) Deliver – logistics; and (5) Return – customer support plus excess/defective products.

Read more: http://ec-bp.com/index.php/advisors/ec-bps-bloggers/595-considering-scm-software?hitcount=0#ixzz1x0WLPC00

Drop-Ship – The Ultimate

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Imagine the bicycle delivery person in the picture pedaling through a “pedestrian zone”. His first stop is a small T-Shirt store. He brings their package inside and gets a signature on his hand-held device. Next, he delivers a smaller package to a teenager in a nearby apartment. Again he gets a signature. You have just seen the tail end of a World-wide “drop ship” scenario that is highly dependent upon COLLABORATION.

Let’s walk back up the supply chain and see what we find. Our first observation is that all the  interfaces are electronic. It goes from BECYCLE, the company making the actual delivery;  through DHL Logistics, to a virtual manufacturer, then on to his manufacturing partners, 3pl logistics providers and suppliers. Even the teenager ordered his shirt from the manufacturer’s  on-line store and the T-Shirt store ordered from the same company’s B2B WebSite.

Required Attire for a Remote Workforce

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Ever wonder how your telecommuting colleagues really live? Turns out, many of them actually do work in their pajamas. They also tend to love their work-life balance – to the point where they’d take a pay cut to maintain the status quo. This is a “must read” for both remote workers and for their office-bound managers.

Remote workers fall into one or more of these classifications:

  1. Road Warrior (slang) a person who travels extensively on business.
  2. Telecommuter is a term used for corporate employees who work from home offices for at least part of their normal working time, using computers and other telecommunications equipment. They are usually considered as a separate category of worker from owners of home based businesses, consultants or other self-employed entrepreneurs who operate from home.
  3. Home worker who is not necessarily a corporate employee. Could be a consultant or other independent.

We concentrated on the have our own survey results from LinkedIn. Some of our questions are similar to those asked on surveys by CIO Insight and Staples, but some are different. We used several LinkedIn Groups involved with EDI,  Supply Chain, IT related and a “neutral” Group (university alumni). The questions (polls) we asked were:

Partnering With Suppliers, Vendors and Customers

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In Lean Supply Chain Management and in Virtual Supply Chain Management discussions there are many references to “partnering”. Partnership means much more than just: purchasing parts from a supplier; contracting for services from a vendor; or selling products to a customer. In a partnership, both of you are “teaming” to help each other succeed.

It is not usually a formal partnership in the legal sense, but instead is an ad hoc  “virtual partnership.” Many times this is referred to as ”collaboration.” It is all about sending new customers or other beneficial resources, like cost savings, to your partner; and receiving benefits in return.

What is a Social Supply Chain?

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Social supply chain is using “social media technology” all across the entire supply chain : from supplier’s suppliers to customer’s customers. It means integration of social media technologies (collaboration, sharing) to connect and encompass the participants across the whole supply chain.

The customer-facing side of companies is getting busier. Customers use social media to connect with their peers from a marketing standpoint to promote and advertise their services and capabilities. Social media is now particularly important  in customer service environments. Consumers are able to communicate with customer service departments through Twitter and Facebook.

In the supply chain, companies have begun using social media to work with suppliers, vendors and customers. As an example, they can have discussions on issues and arrive at a concensus.

ec-bp

ec-bp

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ec-bp was established in 2005 as the advocate for lowering the barriers to the adoption of EDI, and our email newsletter has been published every month since that time. Our focus has expanded beyond EDI to encompas the full gamut of supply chain practices and technologies. In addition, our readership  has grown to become the largest of any similarly focused publication, and has expanded to include more than 90,000 professionals involved in nearly every aspect of the supply chain.

Today’s supply chain is more than simple transport of EDI documents. The complexity of maintaining compliance with trading partners, managing the ever increasing amount of data, and analyzing that data to drive constant improvement in processes and service take supply chain professionals far beyond the basics of mapping EDI documents.