analyticsBusiness owners have been using analytics to analyze their business data for many years. The real question is, what do we do with that data? Up until recently, there really hasn't been much guidance when it comes to interpreting and utilizing that data to meet your business needs. However, in today's highly competitive supply chain it is more important than ever to know how to utilize those analytics to solve problems in your supply chain. Think about it: If you can't use that analytical data to solve real world problems for your business, what is the point of the analytics in the first place?

ControlTowerA new term is appearing in the supply chain arena: "Supply Chain Control Tower". Just as an airport control tower coordinates airplanes landing and taking off, a Supply Chain Control Tower coordinates inbound and outbound distribution flows. Sure sounds more professional than a "dashboard".

classroomEDI a lost art, high turnover, nobody still understands it and needs training, requirements change. companies don’t invest in training anymore. Training is even more important now.

thumb green-recycling-iconI’ve become increasingly interested in supply chain sustainability over the past few months. There’s plenty of activity in that arena and it’s not likely to calm down soon. Sustainability is both good for the environment and great for business, and that’s a powerful combination.

supplier shareIn order for suppliers to be of value to their retailers, they must figure out how to manage customer relationships. Many suppliers have copped a victim mentality over the years and it comes as little surprise that retailers don’t want to deal with that attitude any longer. With products ranging in the hundreds or hundreds of thousands, retailers have come to expect more value add from their suppliers. They need to know which products are performing, underperforming -- or are so hot they can’t stock them fast enough.

Agile-MarketingEvery year seems to have "buzzwords".  Starting out a new year, I am predicting the buzzword for 2013 in the Supply Chain world will be "AGILE". The only serious challenger is "LEAN".

Reverse-the-trendEveryone is suggesting what the trends in Supply Chain Management (SCM) are for 2013. Most of the writers agree on a “core” of important trends (sort of like the  “motherhood and apple pie” thing. Then there are even some new ones that pop up too. I am going to bring out as many as I find. Where they are not as common, I will provide a link to more information. Read on and tell me if you agree or disagree.

shared dataThe good news is there’s more and more product data available for suppliers and retailers. The not-so-good news is that sharing that data has become overwhelming as economic conditions continue to be a challenge and industry growth is changing the way data sharing continues to grow.

robot drivingI’ve covered supply chain and third-party logistics (3PL) automation technologies for years. There’s been a variety of “cool” solutions, many of them featuring robots, RFID, sensors and the like. But many of these solutions labor in the shadows of mainstream logistics operations, and some aren’t even that lucky. RFID – arguably thanks to the Wal-Mart mandate in the early 2000s – has perhaps made the most inroads. But there’s another automated logistics solution that’s getting some attention, and it comes in the form of little orange bots.

explosive innovationKeeping up with payment system news, even that part of it restricted to North America, is more than a full-time job. So much has happened recently, though, that it's time for a survey of recent highlights: