@ Supply Chain Management

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Oh, the emails you’ll get…

This is one blog post that you’ve got to read… by Joel Spolsky.
Joel writes about an email he recently received,

A management consultant at Bain wrote me a nice email, that included the following sentence:

“Our team is conducting a benchmarking effort to gather an outside-in view on development performance metrics and best practice approaches to issues of process and organization from companies involved in a variety of software development (and systems integration).”

And notes Joel wryly,

I didn’t understand a thing he wrote. The email contained a lot of words (“benchmarking,” “outside in,” “performance metrics,” “best practice,” “process and organization”) each of which set off a loud buzzing alarm-like sound in my head. The noise from the buzzing was so loud and so distracting that I found myself completely unable to parse the email.

And all I can say is : Bwahahahhahah!!
Don’t forget to read the productivity shell game whether it is true or not.

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Using Prediction Markets for Collaboration

Prediction Markets Blog talks about Using Prediction Markets for Collaboration the use of collaborative tools and lists a few applications of such technology.
The post lists three particular directions for collaborative products namely:
New Lines of Communication

Prediction markets have the ability to open up new lines of communication within the organization. In a lot of companies, especially large ones, the executives don’t get to hear what the “normal” employees on the ground are thinking because the two groups are insulated by multiple layers of management hierarchy.

This is precisely what is called “Going to the Gemba” in Lean thinking and that’s really what this sort of collaboration technology opens up. However, there is more than merely creating a common place/market where people can interact but actually going down to the floor and physically interacting with people is the way to go. Perhaps, collaboration takes us part of the way there but I don’t think that it can or should be a substitute for taking the time and effort of going to the gemba.
Collaborative Brainstorming

GE and many other firms utilize markets because they are trying to figure out how to devote their time and resources to the best ideas. By allowing individual traders to create new “stocks” in the market, many more ideas are brought to the table than if the process were to remain centralized.

I think this is a great idea and a space that could use more advertising as well.
Collaboration within the Supply Chain

One of the most compelling aspects of prediction markets is that they don’t have to be limited to just the employees. Since the market itself is web-based, you can cast a wide net of participation that includes vendors, retailers, and others along the supply chain. If you are a manufacturer of DVD players and are interested in forecasting what the consumer demand is going to be in two years, wouldn’t it be wise to allow your wholesale partners to weigh-in with their unique perspective on the situation? What more effective way to coordinate actions like this than with a prediction market?

There has been talk for ages about Supply Chain collaboration but the talk has not been followed by the walk, at least not as much as it should be. But things are changing now, slowly but changing. The arrival of new technology such as the one highlighted above might give it a boost and for good reasons. RFID is also entering this fray in a big way and will provide the data component of what is collaborated upon.

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About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

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