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Addressing the Gap

August 05, 2015

Addressing the Gap

Why is there such a distinct gap between what is possible for a supply chain in this digital age and what we often experience in our day-to-day office lives as supply chain leaders?

In our modern age of digital printing, social media, collaborative economies, fully automated systems, voice automation, and robotics- forward thinking digital marketers and innovators project an image that stands in stark contrast to the reality that supply chain professionals encounter on a day-to-day basis.  The attractive technologies that are so often featured in scientific and business magazines seem to be increasingly distant from the actual operations of businesses. As increasingly lofty technologies and digital business practices are featured, supply chain leaders find greater frustration with making even their current systems function properly. For many it becomes a paradox- how can we reach these lofty visions while unable to capitalize on current systems? Why does this gap exist between envisioned and reality and how should it be addressed?

In an article published by SupplyChain 24/7[1], Lora Cecere, CEO of Supply Chain Insights offers the following categories of recommendation:

1)      “Brainstorm the Future Cross-Functionally”- Focus on how the supply chain can be the engine of growth through the use of concepts from the collaborative economy, test-and-learn strategies, or e-commerce. Think through what the future of the channel means to your supply chain.

2)      “Fund new Forms of Analytics”- Manufacturers are behind other sectors like insurance and banking. There are many reasons- lack of clear analytics strategy, belief that it is an add-on from an ERP vendor, and lack of funding. Yet this funding can make a significant impact and give invaluable insight.

3)      “Imagine What the Supply Chain Can Be”- Free yourself from today’s paradigms. Various webinars and conferences are aimed at breaking current paradigms and finding cross-functional solutions. Yet such collaboration and innovation can be done on smaller scales to find similar improvements. It does, however, require concentrated discussion and effort.

4)      “Build Organizational Muscle”- Recent research studies show that we are losing the battle on talent development. More and more companies are rating themselves lower on their ability to hire and train supply chain talent.[2]

These four recommendations will help overcome the gap that too often exists between envisioned supply chains and the day-to-day frustrated systems that we encounter. For more information on tools that can facilitate such innovation and collaboration, visit our home page at: https://www.mazree.com/.

 

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Knowledge Management for Managing Supplier Relationships

July 31, 2015

Knowledge Management for Managing Supplier Relationships

Did all of the history and knowledge of a supplier leave your company with your ex-employee? It shouldn’t be that way.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) has become a key focus and expenditure for developed supply chains. According to market research, users find an average of 23% additional value from utilizing an established supplier relationship management process[1]. Many companies struggle to maintain and manage supplier relationships and consequentially opt to spend millions on software and management tools. Due to the cost of maintaining such software, licenses, and management; companies often either search in vain for cheaper alternatives or abandon such services altogether and lose valuable relationships and data whenever employees transfer. With millennials staying at a job for an average of only 4 years[2], this problem will undoubtedly only intensify over the coming years.  

Yet Mazree provides a unique, easy to use, and highly functional solution to supplier relationship management. At a cost of $25 a month, Mazree’s platform is both affordable and innovative. Centralize your notes and interactions for all your suppliers in one place and have those notes instantly visible to the rest of your team using Mazree’s company notes. Don’t let the invaluable history and knowledge of your key suppliers walk out the door.

To learn more about Mazree’s supplier relationship management tools, bid calendar, collaboration rooms, and other features visit our home page at:

https://www.mazree.com/

 

 

 

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Reverse Logistics: Untapped Efficiencies

July 21, 2015

The movement of products invariably results in unintended consequences that take the form of damaged goods, waste materials, unsold items, and returned items. The opportunity to improve overall cost efficiencies has pushed companies to begin looking at the flip side of logistics, or reverse logistics, as the “new frontier” in the continuous improvement of supply chain performance.

Reverse logistics is widely considered a difficult issue to confront, and as a result remains one of the largest untapped areas for innovation within any given supply chain. Reverse logistics involves finding creative solutions to managing and utilizing waste. Creative companies are finding new ways to capitalize on what others see only as waste and inconvenience.

The diagram[1] associated with this blog, presented by SupplyChain 24/7, outlines some of the basic practices and flows involved in the reverse logistics pipeline.

Although the final steps of returning to stock, repairing and reshipping, and liquidating in secondary markets have been widely utilized for decades, using spare parts and recycling are still undergoing intensive innovation. Materials formerly seen as useless, wasteful, or hazardous can often be reutilized in meaningful and profitable ways. Many companies turn to companies like Genco ATC as a means of third party reverse logistics. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Yet all too often our paradigm is too fixed to recognize such opportunities. Whatever your product, analyzing your reverse logistics pipeline and researching the alternatives available will reveal untapped areas for savings and innovation.

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