@ Supply Chain Management


The Sustainability Blog Carnival – Invitation

As the new year approaches, Michael Lamoureux of Sourcing Innovation has put forth invitations for 2008’s first blog carnival – Sustainability. He writes in his invitation:

Ask any executive for their top three concerns, and I’m sure that either Sustainability, Social Corporate Responsibility, Green, Carbon FootPrint, or the Environment is likely to escape their lips. That’s why the first cross-blog series of 2008, starting on January 21, will be Sustainability.

So I’ve got to get going on that because I am sure that in a sea of sustainable orchestration, I’m going to be the out of rhythm and out of tune cymbalist – you know the kind whose jarring performance turns heads. Inappropriately, inopportune… The question really is (to continue the metaphor) – what is the rhythm at stake?

Meanwhile, I will invite my readers also for contributions which you may instruct to be posted at this site or I will forward it to Michael’s site. Draw deep my readers, drink well!

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Do not buy a Dell?

Do not buy a Dell! So says, Ernesto DiGiambattista at his site in an article that he pens. If you remember (or worse – had a Dell battery fire up on you – pun intended), Dell has caught quite a bit of flak in recent years – the golden boy of supply chain management has had its share of snafus – some of them captured on YouTube too. No longer do I have to only imagine what this era of populist digital journalism has in for us:

As you can see, the sort of publicity that the internet age creates, distributes and recycles at light speed cannot but produce severe shocks in any organization (Dell is but one organization that has been taken to the woodshed). However, Ernesto’s experience with Dell was not as smooth as it could have been:

In conclusion: Dell may have policies and procedures within their organizations but no one knows what they are!!!!! I was told by Dell Financial Services to call Dell Customer Service to call Dell Financial Services. This was the worst experience in my life in buying any product!

And neither was mine – I had a problem with my laptop keyboard (which just typed a few random letters on its own here and there – a runaway keyboard, so to speak). So I called Dell and asked them to replace it. 1 week later, my keyboard has proven itself in creating unexpected conversations and gibberish code but no replacement. I called Dell again and reminded them that my keyboard was communicating to the chat specialist at a furious pace and not I (Empirical evidence?) but managed to call them and speak to them too.

One week later, no keyboard. So, I called them again – as you can already imagine that my faith in my keyboard being an agent of transcribing faithfully my intent, thoughts and emotions to Dell personnel had waned considerably. Not my voice though – which was on the order a hundred times more exasperated as my right index finger in diligently pressing the delete key whenever my keyboard went into a digital exaration. The end result is that I got Dell to expedite another keyboard to me which arrived 2 days later. Lo and behold! – the first keyboard wound up at my company’s headquarters (despite my repeated instructions to the customer service personnel asking them to send it to my home office) and then was rerouted to me, arriving the following week.

So I can understand it full well when someone says that Dell’s customer service is beating to a different tune – I distinctly remember the erstwhile Dell ads about the clueless interns who toured various Dell stations. Perhaps, the clueless interns became fulltime employees?

The more interesting story about Dell is the return of Michael Dell to the helm, how another poster child for supply chain effectiveness and the pull model of meeting customer demand is now talking (and doing already?) about retailing through Walmart – a hybrid push-pull model? That’s a rather long article that I’ve begun working on and I hope to have that up soon enough.

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The Top 10 Supply Chain Technologies and Strategies for 2007

Earlier this year, Dan Gilmore of SC Digest posted this list of The Top 10 Supply Chain Technologies and Strategies for 2007 and I thought it’s a good time of the year to look back on this list and see what happened:

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I want to alert you to an upcoming webcast – What’s the Bottom Line? Connecting Your Supply Chain to Financial Results (The webcast will be on Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 and I’m sure that it will be available for replay – I hope!) The presenters are DK Singh (Conagra), Dr. Stephen Timme (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Fred Haubold (SAS). And the webcast is about:

explores a proven three-step methodology for improving your financial performance through better managed supply chain business processes like forecasting, procurement, quality,service and call centers.

And the three-step methodology takes the shape:

    • Step 1: Establish benchmarks for key SCM-related financial metrics and the value of gaps calculated. The values of the gaps are an effective means to identify areas of opportunities and communicate the need for change.
    • Step 2: Link gaps in financial metrics to SCM-related business processes, activities and tasks, and key performance indicators. This provides a better understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships between SCM and financial performance.
    • Step 3: Use the information provided in steps 1 and 2 as the foundation for exploring and prioritizing SCM initiatives like improved forecasting, procurement and service.

And the presenters promise to use a case study to walk us through it.

Pencil it in! Should be fun.

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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.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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December 2007