I had the opportunity in late August to spend some time with Tompkins International and their consortium members at a leadership forum in Nashville. The event coincided with my birthday so I was super motivated to learn and share with other Supply Chain professionals.
The forum is very well put together with 15 facilitated sessions designed to introduce relevant topics and motivate open discussion and debate. This approach allowed a wide representation of service providers, consultants, software and industry leaders to express their views and highly informed positions.
I, of course, followed the optimization and technology track and was impressed with the depth of thought and research leaders are committing to defining and approaching omni-channel fulfillment. More than ever, the role and value contribution of every link and node in the multi-echelon value network are critical to making good strategic, tactical and operational decisions.
The session committed to advances in Cloud applications and the maturing Software as a Service business model provided a broad perspective on getting the most from technology investments. From labor planning, to inbound order management and transportation management, demonstrated success cases have proven the business value of affordable and scalable solutions.
Transportation services were discussed in great detail including improved service performance with Intermodal Rail, the balanced use of private and dedicated fleets and determining the highest value solution across multiple modes in a capacity constrained market. There is also new focus on final delivery solutions as consumer expectations (Voice of the Customer) are driving innovation.
My key take-away was the significant potential for planning solutions to increase visibility and ensure the best plans are executed in an environment of ever-increasing complexity and raised expectations of service performance. Immediate and long-term value is available in a properly designed and executed supply chain strategy.