Supply Chain

10 Supply Chain Resolutions in 2019

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As we turn to a new year, I am more excited than ever to be in supply chain. While customer expectations of “anytime, anywhere, my way” are putting enormous pressure on you, your suppliers and your partner ecosystems, it is also giving our profession the opportunity to step up and become stewards of our brands and ensure amazing experiences for our clients.

Stewardship will not be an easy task. It will require resolve. You will need to think differently about how you tackle key challenges – from talent acquisition and management, to capturing and analyzing mountains of disparate data to implementing new innovations with AI and blockchain technology.

With those challenges in mind, we asked ten supply chain experts and thought leaders to share their professional resolutions for 2019. Here’s what they had to say.

1. “Resolve to explore digital ‘multipliers’ to solve talent and labor needs.” – Ted Stank, Ph.D., UT Knoxville.

One suggestion is to find ways to utilize digital assistants to multiply productivity and enable activities to flex to scale without the need for adding excessive head count. Managers should begin now to assess the levels of routinized activities that their teams perform on a daily basis and seek to free them up using the assistance of digital tools.

The opportunities are there if you look for them and the ROI will surprise (maybe shock) you in a positive way!

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2. “Focus on the customer, not the costs.” – Sean Culey, author of Transition Point

Go beyond thinking of the supply chain as simply a necessary evil to be managed – a collector of costs and complexity – and instead realise that it is a strategic generator of business and customer value.  […] For those with the courage to think and act differently, to talk of customer value, and not just myopically focus on cost, lies the potential to transform the performance of the whole business.

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3. “Innovate and collaborate!” – Shari Diaz, Innovation, Strategy & Operations, Watson Supply Chain

My resolution for supply chain professionals to keep in 2019: Innovate! …and collaborate! For those that know me, my video will be no surprise.

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4. “Reach out to universities to explore new analytics solutions to common problems.” – Rob Handfield, Ph.D., NC State

Industry really needs to partner with universities […] Students can see the bigger picture, they can kick around solutions to problems, are out of the box thinkers. By partnering with university you’re also helping to develop your talent.

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5. “Lead with purpose. Buy with purpose. Design your supply chain for zero waste.” – Sheri Hinish, the Supply Chain Queen

[Understand] the handshake you’re making with trading partners in upstream sourcing and procurement of harvesting and acquisition of raw materials. And delivering the promise you made to customers that they’re buying safe, reliable, ethical products.

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6. “Make time for learning – and teaching!” – Adrian Gonzalez, Adelante SCM and Talking Logistics

“When you stop learning, you stop leading.” This is especially true for supply chain management. New technologies, business models, competitors, legislation, economic issues and so on, are constantly emerging…

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7. “Capitalize on AI and blockchain to enable a frictionless supply chain — effectively.”  – Watson Supply Chain

Take time to educate yourself on how to maximize your investments by applying new technologies. Attend an event like Think Exchange where you can network with peers, engage with product experts, and discover how purpose-built AI and blockchain can help you make smarter decisions and create better customer experiences.

8. “Energy, equality and ethics…with a sprinkling of AI.” – Tania Seary, Procurious

Energy, Equality & Ethics…with a sprinkling of AI…those are my 2019 Supply Chain Resolutions. Hear me talk about them in this video from Piccadilly Circus, London.

9. “Get your supply chain ready – it’s not going to get any easier.” – Chris Hayes, Watson Supply Chain

With growing customer expectations and more complex supply chains, companies should ensure they are exploring new technologies to give them the edge they need to succeed. The key to applying these new technologies: bite small, chew fast.

10. “Lead an engaged & inclusive organization that will drive innovation.” – Ron Castro, Chief Supply Chain Officer, IBM

My supply chain resolution for 2019 is to lead an engaged and inclusive organization that will drive innovation — and accelerate our bold transformation to the #1 Cognitive Supply Chain. Leverage new technologies (like AI & blockchain) to dramatically increase value.

The technology is available today to leap frog supply chain capabilities. 2019 is OUR time – as a supply chain community – to ensure new capabilities are embedded into all our processes and management systems driving higher value to our enterprise and clients. No better place than the supply chain to leverage the explosion of data. We can gather incredible insights and turn those into real-time ACTION… 2019 is the year to make it happen!

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As we close the book on 2018 and prepare to kick the new year into high gear, reinvent the way your business delivers on the brand promise. Start by joining your peers at Think Exchange 2019 and see how you can transform your operations and supply chain to deliver experiences that are personalized and flawless, from first touch to final delivery.

Vice President Strategy and Offering Management, Supply Chain Solutions, IBM Watson Customer Engagement

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