Every day, supply chain leaders in all industries are engaging in transformative efforts designed to bring about real change. Whether seeking cost reductions, efficiency improvements, supplier consolidation or any other number of goals, supply chain leaders are always on the lookout for anything and everything that can ease the burden of moving items from point A to point B. 

The marketplace is cluttered with new solutions. It can be difficult to pinpoint the best investment areas, but here are a few examples of some of the transformative solutions that are making the rounds. 

Read more: Solutions

Direct store delivery (DSD) is an ongoing area of focus for many retail organizations. Recently, SAP and Mondelez International made some announcements that will have an impact on the world of DSD.

New Tools

For SAP, the company announced a new mobile solution to simplify DSD. Developed to address the issues currently hampering DSD performance, the SAP Direct Store Delivery mobile solution helps consumer products companies solve the challenges of lack of access to real-time data, limited role and process optimization, and poor route planning. Companies using the DSD mobile solution can materially boost top- and bottom-line performance by reducing costs and increasing revenues.

Read more: Retail

According to the results of a new JDA study, manufacturers and retailers recognize that their global supply chains have become incredibly complex – but most are still relying on outdated tools and ineffective processes to manage the complicated end-to-end value chain.  

There is keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities by those surveyed however, and while the gap between where they are today and where they need to be in the future to meet their customers’ expectations and thrive in highly competitive environments remains large most companies are exploring advanced techniques such as segmentation this year.  

These findings, and others, are highlighted in the JDA Vision 2015 Supply Chain Market Study, a new report prepared for JDA Software Group, Inc. by Talant. This study is based on a global survey of 255 executives across 17 countries, representing a wide range of retailers and manufacturers.

Read more: Manufacturing & Distribution

Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) recently interviewed provider and supplier customers to explore their vision for the “Future Healthcare Supply Chain.” As the healthcare industry continues to change, organizations are seeking new ways to remove waste, cut costs and improve patient care. 

GHX spoke with a select group of customers, from large- and mid-sized hospitals to some of the biggest suppliers in the world, for their perspectives on how the supply chain will help usher in healthcare transformation and its role in the coming two decades. Based on those interviews, eight key trends emerged that illustrate the strategic role the healthcare supply chain of the future will play in delivering value and insight to all areas of the organization.

Read more: HealthCare

According to the recent study “Supply Chain Sustainability Revealed: A Country Comparison,” by CDP and Accenture, climate change is becoming an increasing concern for many. As issues around climate, regulations and consumer attitudes evolve, they are influencing supply chains by exposing them to increasing risk levels.

The report looked at 66 corporations with $1.3 trillion in procurement spend, asking their suppliers to provide information on how they are looking at opportunities and challenges related to climate and water risks. The survey ultimately had data from nearly 3,400 companies worldwide, up from fewer than 2,900 in 2013.

CDP and Accenture were able to analyze the data at the national level. This allowed the two firms to assess relative climate risks faced by supply chains in 11 key markets. 

Read more: Energy & Infrastructure

Operating in the automotive industry has always been challenging. Long and complex supply chains, unpredictable demand patterns and changing regulations – not to mention planning-to-production processes that can take up to five years – have caused headaches for car manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for a number of years.

The recession of 2008 and 2009 and its impact made things even harder. Collapsing demand and other associated factors squeezed the car industry and hit suppliers hard. Prior to 2008, it was important for suppliers to be able to respond to unplanned or short-notice demand from OEMs, as the balance of power usually lay with the manufacturers. 

Read more: Management

Yet the legacy ERP systems in place at many telecom equipment manufacturers and distributors present an obstacle to flexibility. Outdated software is notoriously difficult to customize, requiring teams of developers weeks if not months to implement a business process change. Flexibility is further hindered by disparate applications, so that modifying one system can unleash disruptions across others.

Vertical Communications, a provider of unified communications and IP telephony solutions and services to businesses across North America and Europe, has broken the chains of its legacy ERP environment to drive new efficiency across end-to-end supply chain processes, from sourcing components and managing contract manufacturers to customer fulfillment and support.

Read more: Industry Focus

For supply chain leaders, the future has arrived – a digitalized landscape that is redefining the role of supply chain in organizations around the world. With a forward-looking focus on emerging business opportunities, new strategic models and the latest supply chain technology, Gartner’s research-driven 2015 agenda is structured to address every supply chain management priority, role and maturity level – offering objective advice and actionable steps for next-generation supply chain strategy, planning, segmentation, performance management, analytics and more. 

This year’s conference theme, “The Art of Supply Chain: Creative Solutions for the Next Generation,” will explore the new meaning of supply chain excellence in the digital age – empowering leaders to push past traditional boundaries, drive innovation, and uncover new sources of value for the enterprise. Supply chain leaders must merge the “science” of supply chain technologies with the “art” of processes, talent and metrics.

Read more: Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2015

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