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Insight Hour Recap: From Omnichannel to Project Zebra

By aim10x|

In case you missed our kickoff week of aim10x Insight Hour sessions, here is a synopsis of each session to keep you up to date:

Managing the Electrical Transition in Automotive 

As the automotive industry transitions from combustion vehicles towards electric vehicles, both OEMs and suppliers will face new dynamics, regulations, challenges, and opportunities. Each of these factors will impact the short and long-term planning and likely require a more agile and dynamic S&OP process.

The industry is likely moving towards a pure electrical architecture in the future, but the daily planning challenges won’t likely become easier for OEMs and suppliers alike. “This doesn’t happen overnight, so that means there is a new discussion around vertical integration,” says Rupert Degas, aim10x Executive Council member and former CIO at e.GO Mobile.

Level-up digital planning processes. Integrated business planning can give automakers a competitive advantage through E2E visibility, the ability to run “what if” scenarios, and gap closure workflows to proactively mitigate supply chain disruptions. Control tower capabilities allow visibility into potential supply chain issues and replanning options for real-time response to disruptions.

 

Fulfillment Planning in an Omnichannel World

The retail industry is transforming and key dynamics, such as changing customer expectations and buying behaviors, are forcing retailers to adapt their planning processes to keep up. In addition, many retailers are also transitioning to omnichannel approaches and confronting market disruptions that may require significant transformation to their supply chain. “Because of the changing consumer preferences and changing ways in which they buy,” says o9’s Vikram Murthi. “So what retailers are doing is responding to those changes by giving the customer a better experience.”

Holistic planning is a must. As omnichannel strategy becomes more prevalent among retailers, many are also dealing with the challenges of designing a fulfillment network that seamlessly incorporates product flows, product availability, and return options while also accounting for supply chain disruptions. Retailers need to think and plan holistically to gain greater visibility into how a customer is ordering and inventory levels at DCs and local stores to create a seamless fulfillment experience for the customer.

“We know that forecasts can be wrong; we absolutely know that. But if you can reduce the amount that it’s wrong, it’s worth it because it affects what you’re going to buy and where you’re going to place it,” says Vikram. “We have to put effort into improving the forecast and bringing every bit of market knowledge to do a forecast at the most granular level as close to the consumer that we can.”

 

Competences for the Future of Supply Chain and Procurement

What are the ideal competencies of a future supply chain leader? Empathy, analytical and problem-solving abilities, and emotional intelligence to name a few. There are many supply chain topics that are top-of-mind: crisis management, demand planning, digitization in procuretech. But where do people fit in? It’s today’s supply chain leaders that will drive change and make vital moves in exciting new directions.  

People have the power. The demands of the supply chain leaders are high with state-of-the-art technology there to ready the storms. However, it is the people making the big decisions and delivering the goods.

“I get the feeling that there simply isn’t enough conversation around the people,” says Rohit Sathe, Chief Procurement Officer Sunrise Medical. “It’s the people who innovate, it’s the people who implement, it’s the people who bring ideas to life. People solve crises and drive change. As a community, we are not spending enough time appreciating the importance of developing the ideal competencies amongst the people and culture of the procurement and supply chain community.” 

 

Project Zebra – Outside-in Processes for Supply Chain Management 

Lora Cecere started Project Zebra in October 2020 due to her frustration at the shape of the supply chain industry. As an industry analyst, Lora wrote extensively on the value of outside-in processes yet continually saw  investment pumped towards inside-out technologies. People kept talking about demand-driven, customer-centric supply chains with no action being taken; functional always won. This quandary was the catalyst for change. Project Zebra now is building open source, outside-in processes for supply chain planning, challenging supply chain leaders to change their stripes.

The important process of unlearning. New technologies and analytics offer the promise of great progress. However, many don’t know how to utilise their potential or how to redefine their processes and data flows in order to be outside-in. The genesis of Project Zebra came from supply chain leaders eagerness to confront the challenges to be outside-in and a redefining of their IT architectures. As with all ambitious projects of change management, it requires us to rethink and transform the grey matter between our ears. This is the process of unlearning: to break from the traditional and embrace the ground-breaking tools and technologies, out of reach in the past but at our fingertips today. 

“The goal is to learn, but more importantly, to unlearn,” says Lora Cecere.“Building better is essential. As we look at what’s happening with the pandemic, in corporate social responsibility, in global supply chains, building better isn’t just layering analytics on top of today’s architectures, it’s a fundamental shift to being outside-in.” 

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