I apologize to the faithful followers I have (assuming you haven’t given up on me and are not actually reading this apology) but it seems my blog writing dried up much like the relentless Texas summer heat scorched the once flooded earth.
In reviewing my previous thoughts, I was struck by the reality of the extreme differences I alluded to back in early June. Albeit a natural occurrence, the flood waters of spring slowly receded and left ball fields and boat docks in dire need of repair and in some cases reconstruction. While at the same time, the complete lack of resupply (we had only a single rain event at our house this summer) left residential and commercial lots literally “high and dry”.
This stark example of the extremes we encounter, many times in an uncontrollable environment, is a clear representation of the need for robust infrastructure design and dynamic supporting processes. Extreme cases (over supply, peak demand, supply disruptions, loss of demand / unmet expectations) highlight the value of powerful analytics.
When extreme conditions prevail; analysts, data scientists and engineers alike seek to provide operations and business leaders meaningful analytical results supporting optimal decisions. Strategically aligned, detailed and applicable results drive execution to achieve the best possible performance in difficult conditions.
This brings us to the here and now and my personal fall kick-off at the Tompkins Supply Chain Leadership Forum in San Antonio. As always, founder and Chief Executive of Tompkins International, Dr. James Tompkins, impressed attendees with his intelligent perspective and relevant insights to the science of supply chain.
Dr. Tompkins’ keynote presentation was rich and extensive, packed with a wealth of thought provoking ideas. In the interest of brevity here and to save some content for future posts, I will focus on the first of a few impactful topics.
In keeping with a common theme in Wayne’s wORld, I want to quickly mention the ongoing technical innovation we experience every day. The engineering and scientific communities continually evolve the tools of our trade to provide ever more valuable and actionable analytical results.
Dr. Tompkins describes this evolution best in the progression in analytics from descriptive to predictive to prescriptive. The business parallel is the planning progression from Strategic to Tactical to Operational. In fact, the analytical progression applies to each level of the planning progression.
Preparing the business infrastructure and process model to thrive in all business conditions is the paramount goal of supply chain professionals the world over. With so much data available today, more than ever, analytical tools have to be scalable and flexible.
Descriptive and predictive insight should be core to solution results with prescriptive decision support provided as the product of robust scenario generation and a broad range of design alternatives.
Designing for an aligned supply chain strategy is a basic function providing the foundation for advanced planning analytics and executing a best in class operational plan every day … no matter the difficulty presented by the current season.
Logistics are part of supply chains. The purpose of a supply chain is to do one thing – enable a company to grow. However, focusing only on transportation will reduce costs but invariably will cause issues in other areas.