By Ann Grackin

Earlier this year, we brought to you some new SCM portfolio maps. A few key points we made about integration and integrative solutions would be useful to review, since as the year gets rolling, the market buying is bearing out some of the points we made. Also, I thought I would show you these portfolio maps again in the context of the theme of this issue.

More and more, there is a process blur between a more tactical planning exercise (monthly weekly daily) and executional processes. This occurs to a great degree due to virtual business models, changes to product offerings that reduces the richness of product offerings, and better planning systems that have narrowed the focus to near-term issues

A few years ago we had to take the hill, without cover. For many businesses, post MRP or APS runs, your business was exposed, so if you had no allocatable ATP, you crossed your fingers and expedited.

Power of Now!

We are moving to applications that get us to the power of now! Real-time is real. RFID will help enable the final arrival of accurate data across the total value chain. See the white paper on the RFID in this issue. We discuss RFID and network systems extensively in this report.

One big question arises, though, is what to do with all that data? Applications that require information from the many organizations or trading partners can now be successfully implemented, like Collaboration, Consensus, Risk Management solutions, global trade management, collaborative merchandizing, promotional planning, etc.

These are integrative problems requiring the end-to-end visibility, integration and rich new algorithms that deal with these richer models.

Figure 1

More Algorithms?!!#!!

We have gone some distance in SCM, but there are still big problems to solve. You are planning a new fab, or opening in a new market. These are huge plays—big risks—so companies need to think in a more structured way about these. And, investments in supply (or not having supply for an upside) costs a lot!

Portfolio Changes

APS and ERP emerged in the ’93 to ’94 time frame. So, it’s 10 years on. And the business models that the software supports are radically different than 1993. Oh, CIO, that last century idea of one application linking the enterprise cost a lot of money, and it’s still not implemented. SmallSmartFast organizations fueled by outsourced relationships and enabled by network technologies have been quietly becoming ubiquitous. These new business models also present some new problems, but also opportunities to solve some of the old.

Future Forward

Some redefining of how we look at supply chain problems is going on, enabled by innovation. Consistently, our research has shown that big companies have been building ‘garages’ in the back, funding new efforts that are redefining and solving these new problems. A whole lot of coding going on! GM and HP for example, who have authored articles in this month’s Parallax View about what has come out of their garage, or the Agilent Case study, fueled by a new software company, are examples of some fresh thinking, reflecting collaborative processes with suppliers, and cross organization colleagues.

There is much innovation occurring in Supply Chain applications. It is great to see new concepts take hold and move beyond early adoption to their rightful place on Main Street!





©2004 ChainLink Research, Inc.