IBM recently came out with its annual "Next Five in Five" report highlighting five innovation predictions for the next five years. One article that picked up the story pointed out:
IBM, the world's largest provider of computer services, is one of the few big corporations investing in long-range research projects and invested $5.8 billion in research and development last year, accounting for 6.1% of revenue, according to the company's financials.
This investment in research helps benefit our supply chain clients. For example, IBM recently came out with a new study and white paper, "New Rules for a New Decade: A Vision for Smarter Supply Chain Management." SupplyChainDigest picked up the story and provides a nice summary in addition to the IBM material. The study found that supply chain visionaries have significantly better financial returns by more quickly predicting demand and optimizing and analyzing their supply chain to take advantage of this in closer to real-time. The chart below summarizes the key capabilities of different types of supply chain organization. Of course, there are significant advantages to getting your supply chain to the "Planners" level.
This blog has discussed some of the key supply chain capabilities pointed out by this study. For example, we've highlighted the importance of network distribution planning, enterprise S&OP, using business intelligence and analytics, optimizing inventory, optimizing cost and the global network-- highlighted by examples at MillerCoors and Armstrong.
Inbound Logistics covered another study from one of IBM's recent acquisitions, Sterling Commerce-- who adds TMS, WMS, Yard Management, and Supply Chain Visibility to IBM's portfolio. Inbound Logistics interviewed Richard Douglas from Sterling at the annual CSCMP conference in San Diego. Here is a small excerpt from interview, discussing the importance of dealing with volatility and sourcing decisions:
It is increasingly important to have the analytics that enable better decision-making, says Douglass. But an area where supply chain managers need to improve is scenario planning— assessing different alternatives based on risks.
“It’s like having different playbooks with different response profiles for different contingencies,” Douglass explains.
Overall, IBM is investing heavily in supply chain thought leadership to help our clients run better supply chains.