APICS is the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management.
Think Supply Chain

-*-Think Supply Chain

Leading the supply chain conversation

 

Join the supply chain conversation with Sharon Rice, executive director of the APICS Educational and Research (E&R) Foundation. Explore topics including the role of supply chain planning in corporate success, how sustainability and corporate social responsibility enable the bottom line, global supply chain risk management, and more. Comments are welcome. 

    Connecting Your Supply Chain via Social Media

    by Sharon Rice, APICS E&R Foundation Executive Director | Apr 04, 2014

    There is no doubt social media is changing the way we personally and professionally relate to the world and to supply chain and operations management. In the last eight months, APICS hosted two world cafés exploring the impact of social media on supply chain management. We are learning that companies use social media to

    • support product development through the co-creation of products
    • better forecast and monitor
    • distribute business processes
    • derive customer insights
    • disseminate marketing communications
    • generate and foster sales leads
    • provide customer care via social technologies
    • improve intra- or inter-organizational collaboration and communication
    • match talent to tasks
    • improve productivity by creating one to many relationships.

    Advancing Supply Chain Management via the APICS Foundation

    Social media establishes new rules for relationships. And while it can bring us closer to our customers by facilitating more frequent interactions on specific topics, it cannot replace personal communication. That’s why I’m reaching out to you.

    The APICS Foundation is dedicated to advancing supply chain and operations management through research and education. You are all the foundation’s customers, and through direct involvement, you have the opportunity to become leaders as well. If you are interested in contributing to the foundation, there are a number of ways to participate and lead. Visit apicsfoundation.org for more information.


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    The Total Scope of Supply Chain Management

    by Sharon Rice, APICS E&R Foundation Executive Director | Apr 04, 2014

    Defining the total scope of supply chain management—as an association professional, advocating for supply chain professionals—is one of my biggest challenges.

    @ Supply Chain Management is an excellent blog run by Chris Jacob, a senior consultant for IBM. I am a little behind on my reading, so only today did I come across his post from February 11 in which he reproduced a graphical history of logistics and supply chain management originally published by SCM-Operations.com. It is a really interesting and valuable chart; however, it fails to present supply chain management as a holistic discipline that is more than the sum of its parts.

    We do not share a common definition of supply chain management across the industry. Just take a look at the various professional associations to which you belong. Procurement organizations and logistics associations alike claim supply chain management as their expertise. And to be fair, APICS, which defines supply chain management from end to end, has its roots in planning and production. Even so, the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional designation uses the SCOR model to validate candidates' knowledge and skills from planning through returning.

    Defining supply chain management

    The APICS Dictionary, 13th edition, defines supply chain management as “the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand, and measuring performance globally.” This definition of supply chain management first appeared in the 9th edition of the APICS Dictionary in 1998. As we are in the midst of producing the 14th edition of this reference, it is a good time to ask: Is this an accurate definition of supply chain management? Does it adequately capture the scope of supply chain management today?


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    Supply Chain Workforce Development in India

    by Sharon Rice, APICS E&R Foundation Executive Director | Apr 04, 2014

    I have returned from a truly extraordinary trip to Mumbai for the APICS Asia Supply Chain & Operations Management 2013 conference. We are really pleased with the outcomes. It was a 360-degree educational experience and the participants, speakers, and APICS staff all learned so much.

    What continues to resonate with me is the participants’ desire to acquire more practical knowledge. During the opening panel on workforce development, we learned that internships are not nearly as available in India as they are in other parts of the world. As a result, students do not have the same opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations. Bhaskar Majee, director of sales planning and operations for Philips, shared that his internship experience in India was absolutely critical to his early success. But when Abe Eshkenazi asked the audience who had participated in an internship program, only two hands raised.

    Practical Supply Chain Knowledge Is Key

    Internships improve the employability of students post-graduation. But equally important to professional development is the opportunity to learn about different areas of the business once individuals are on the job. Antonio Galvao, vice president of supply chain for Diversey, now part of Sealed Air, talked about how valuable his 18-month rotation in sales and marketing was for him. Although he learned he was better suited to supply chain management, he gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the work of his marketing colleagues. These types of rotation opportunities strengthen individual performance and the contributions people make to the business.

    Dan Castle, vice president, Tata Sons, Tata Quality Management Services, talked about how opportunity is a door that can be opened from either side. Managers need to actively seek opportunities for their staff, but staff need to take more initiative in asking to be given opportunities as well. Professional development of the Indian workforce must start as a partnership between companies and their employees, both taking responsibility for continual learning.

    As we continue to discern how best APICS can contribute to the advancement of the workforce in India, I am convinced we will also gain the insight we need to continue to advance the supply chain and operations management workforce across the globe, including in the United States. That is the wonderful thing about education: it is never a zero-sum game.


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    APICS CPIM and Global Workforce Development

    by Sharon Rice, APICS E&R Foundation Executive Director | Apr 04, 2014

    When you read this post, I will be on my way to Mumbai, India for the 3rd annual APICS Asia Supply Chain & Operations Conference, April 4– 5. Traveling and working in India is a privilege that comes with my job. It also comes with much responsibility for APICS.

    As Western nation workforces continue to age, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) stand out based on their potential to fill labor gaps. BRICS represent 45 percent of the world’s workforce. But, in the case of India, access to and outcomes of education remain a serious problem. Gaps and shortages in skills, especially related to manufacturing, are impacting growth. When I travel to India and hear stories, I am reminded of the important role professional education can play in filling the gaps. There are many APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designees who credit obtaining the credential as being a pivotal career turning point. Many of these individuals do not have degrees, but the CPIM validates their operations management knowledge.

    A little more than 40 years ago, the United Negro College Fund in the United States ran a campaign under the slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” It was a very impactful message. Also, it reminds me, even today, of what a great responsibility it is to be involved in workforce development. It is not only about meeting the needs of corporations and spurring economic growth. It is about providing opportunities for individuals to improve their lives through productive and rewarding employment.

    APICS in India

    APICS also has unfilled potential in countries such as India. We have a contribution to make. This is why APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi is so passionate about workforce development. During the opening session for the Asia Supply Chain & Operations Conference, Abe will share his thoughts and aspirations about the role APICS can play as a partner in India. He will lead a discussion with panelists and participants on how we can all work together to make a difference. Abe and I both hope to gain insights into how APICS and the APICS Educational & Research Foundation can make a positive contribution to workforce development in India.

    What role do you think APICS can and should play in workforce development around the world? How can APICS be more impactful?


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    Is Innovation Your Next Game-Changer?

    by Sharon Rice, APICS E&R Foundation Executive Director | Apr 04, 2014

    The bold headline on the P&G site reads “Connect+Develop.” If you haven’t been there, you need to go. The site is designed to attract partners with whom P&G can collaborate to deliver innovative solutions to the marketplace. It is an interesting approach to attracting partners: “Got a great idea to help better meet people’s needs? Come to us first!” According to the site, the thought process is simple: “Times have changed, and the world is more connected. In the areas in which we do business, there are millions of scientists, engineers, and other companies globally. Why not collaborate with them?”

    P&G recognizes that the way we do business today is vastly different than it used to be. Innovation used to happen within a company. Now, firms are working together to innovate across supply chains. A particularly interesting story on the site explains how the Tide Pods were developed.

    Tide Pods are individually packaged units of laundry detergent. They are genius, if you, like me, have a tendency to put too much soap in your high efficiency washer (resulting in epic overflow). You just toss the Tide Pod into the washer, the coating dissolves, and the detergent is dispensed. Others must agree because, according to P&G “Tide Pods is on track to becoming a $500 million dollar brand in its first year … while still only available in one market.”

    P&G collaborated with a long-term supplier, MonSol in Indiana, to design and develop the pods. While they had worked on similar projects in the past, producing this product was more challenging because, “three different cleaning solutions are encased in separate chambers in each pac, all of which need to remain separate until fully immersed in water. Additionally, the film surrounding the cleaning solutions had to be designed to dissolve in a range of water temperatures, from hot to cold.”

    P&G and MonSol each have special competencies that they bring to the table when working together. Each organization trusts the other based on its unique competencies and the relationship they have built over the years. Taking the attitude that they were one team, P&G and MonSol professionals worked together until they got it right. So right, in fact, that P&G recognized MonSol with its 2012 C+D Partner of the Year award.

    Trust and collaboration are important not only to fostering innovation, but to creating high-performing supply chains. Yet many firms continue to struggle with the creation of trust-based relationships. So I wonder, what gets in the way?


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