4 x100 word response to discussion questions
1. Focusing on Financial Impact and Innovation
In our text this week the author asks the question, “What is the principle objective of any supply chain?” (Poirier, 2010). How nice that in the next sentence he gives us the answer, “The end goal of any supply chain must be to improve profits.” (Poirier, 2010).
At the distribution center I work at, we are testing out a couple of new supply chain innovations. The stated goal of these pilot programs is to streamline the movement of product through the distribution center and ultimately save money. The second program aims to free up pick slots in the order filling areas of the distribution center so that we can move a greater diversity of product through the center. This in theory will allow us to stock a greater diversity of product at the stores, meet customer demands for greater variety, and increase profitability. We are the largest of Walmart’s none automated distribution centers and are often used to test new programs.
I have learned several things during this process. First, change is painful. New programs, new systems, and new methods do not always start out efficient. There are often challenges in implementation. People are often very negative when it comes to change. I have been particularly surprised at how much employees and entry level salaried managers belly ache and complain about change. Walmart is not going to abandon innovation because it is difficult.
Second, change takes time. One of the programs we are piloting is a new inventory movement program. I cannot find anything on the internet about it so I cannot get into a lot of detail, but it is cutting edge. We have been using the program on and off over the last nine months. The first month was painful, with system crashes, error messages, and gigantic lags in the system. It was a model of inefficiency. It is still not ready for prime time, but it is improving ever month. I can see now how it will save time and increase profitability when it is ready to roll out. Nine months ago I was wondering if we used the same programmers that designed the Obamacare website.
The last nine months have been a giant money pit for Walmart at our site, but the long range goal is a more efficient flow of product through the supply chain and a greater variety of product at the store. Both of these goals add up to increased profitability for Walmart.
It takes dedicated logistics managers to push innovation.
Poirier, Charles C. & Quinn, Francis J. & Swink, Morgan L. (2010). Diagnosing greatness: ten traits of the best supply chains. [Books24x7 version] Available from http://common.books24x7.com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/toc.aspx?bookid=37806
2. This week I choose to discuss Process Management, since we are all in the management degree path. Process management is defined as the ensemble of activities of planning and monitoring the performance of a process. The term usually refers to the management of business processes and manufacturing processes. Business process management (BPM) and business process reengineering are interrelated, but not identical. Or Administrative activities aimed at (1) defining a process, (2) establishing responsibilities, (3) evaluating process performance, and (4) identifying opportunities for improvement Business Dictionary) Knowing what the meaning of Process Management what or how can we relate that to what we know today? Without good management or good processes layout out failure is bound to occur at some point during the supply chain movement. You can't have one without the other. For instance take the below diagram, its shows how the process should flow. But, without the correct management intervening the process can lead astray and fail to meet the end users experience. As you look at the diagram below you can see where the management is located at the beginning and end of the process. This is not by accident, they are there to make sure the supply chain process flows smoothly and correct and kinks in the supply chain.
One of the emerging concepts in the transportation and logistics field is renewed focus on optimization tools for routes & network and assets. The need for predictability in a network driven by short-term forecasting and constrained by network reliability and capacity issues is emerging as a key focus area of logistics service providers (Rajan, 2010).
Some emerging trends in this area include:
- Empty asset optimization and simulation for liner and logistics companies
- Network Optimization and Simulation
- Predictive analytics based on booking demand data/booking velocity
- Mobile Asset Management to enable real time re-routing/milk run scenario
- By using a network of sensory technologies and tying this information with booking and route data.
In the future by optimizing tools for routes, networks and assets, the transportation and logistics field would have a better understanding on what route to travel, and will have a backup plan if they had to reroute that plan (Rajan, 2010).
Another emerging concept is the Cloud Computing. Because cloud computing has started to come across in so many industries, logistics companies are beginning to evaluate its potential and capitalize on the benefits it offers. With regards to whether there is a case for cloud computing, logistics leaders have to take into account the rapidly-evolving market scenarios driven by trade imbalances, capacity constraints, regulatory compliance, emerging integrators and new markets. Cloud computing is defined as the shared software and information that users access via the web—the trend permeated most software sectors as users demand faster implementation times, lower upfront investments, and less resource-intensive ways to get the programs that they need to run their businesses (McCrea, 2012).
Some target areas include:
- Campaigns and Promotions
- Carrier Bookings and Rate Enquiry
- Inventory Pool Management
- Capacity Procurement
- HR and Payroll
One of the issues that have cropped up in the recent past is the greenness in transportation and logistics since more people are becoming more concerned of their environment. Greenness in transportation and logistics involves carrying out transportation and logistics operations with minimal or no environmental damage. According to Pazirandeh and Jafari (2013), cloud computing involves handling the supply chain management practices and strategies to reduce environmental and energy footprint of freight distribution by focusing on material handling, waste management, packaging, and transport operations. Since logistics are the heart of the operations management of the modern transport services, there is the possibility that such operations can potentially harm the environment. In the recent past, greenness has become the code word for most operations and transportation and logistics is not left out since they also contribute to environmental damage (Pazirandeh & Jafari, 2013). The importance of observing greenness in transportation and logistics is that it helps improve environmental sensitivity and to reduce the effects of global warming. In the near future, greenness will impact the TLM field in that the amount of environmental damage that comes from such operations will be greatly reduced.
Cloud computing, is another emerging trend in the transportation and logistics department as it enhances the success of such operations (Bowers, 2011). It is the process that involves sharing of computer resources and servers in storage and other applications rather than having the local servers. In the recent past, the logistic companies are beginning to capitalize on the potential benefits of cloud computing in order to cater for the needs of the rapidly evolving markets. Currently, cloud computing has enhance efficiency in the TLM and enhance data storage, improve the speed of operations, and improve the ease of doing business (Purcell, 2014). In the future, cloud computing will reduce the overall costs of transportation and logistics management due to its ability to improve operational efficiency.
|Due By (Pacific Time)||05/17/2015 04:00 pm|
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