In an MIT briefing on The Impact of COVID-19 on Business and Supply Chain last week, professor Yossi Sheffi recommended that one of the actions companies should start taking right now is “plan for the recovery.” I agree with the need to start thinking longer-term now, but is it really as simple as recovery? Someday, hopefully soon, the crisis will be “over” and the world will return to normal?Read Now >
Black Swan events are by their nature, impossible to predict, and thus horribly difficult and expensive to defend against. To credibly prepare against every possible scenario, you would need to take a very wide range of precautions. Unfortunately, these “rare occurrences” also seem to be happening with greater frequency, and their impacts much more far-reaching. When you consider how connected and vast our global supply chains are, relatively small, unpredicted events can have significantly exaggerated impacts on activities downstream.
Consider the current worldwide crisis caused by the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. Severe interruptions in manufacturing and logistics are coupled with travel disruptions and wildly divergent consumer behaviors. It’s a double whammy, where product availability is unknown in terms of timing and volume, and demand behaviors are constantly changing as the situation evolves.Read Now >
Retail supply chains catching up to Amazon
Competition to make and distribute consumer goods is at an all time high. Despite cries of a retail apocalypse, retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Target are all outperforming Amazon in the stock market this year. By competing with Amazon on convenience and leveraging the competitive advantage of their physical presence and human touch, these organizations are reinventing the importance of physical retail as we prepare to enter 2020.Read Now >
A couple weeks ago, Tile CEO and Alloy Board Member CJ Prober led an Alloy Executive Roundtable discussion on managing supply and demand in today’s retail landscape. We were honored to have him join us and share his perspective on modern obstacles and innovative solutions for manufacturers.Read Now >
Alloy recently had the pleasure of joining the Slalom Digital Innovation in Supply Chain Summit, January 23-24 in Seattle. The brainchild of Harshad Kanvinde at Slalom Consulting and Neil Ackerman at Johnson & Johnson, the roundtable was an intimate gathering of supply chain leaders that offered great opportunities to meet and learn about what’s top of mind for enterprises like Procter & Gamble, Mars, The Pokemon Company, and The Coca-Cola Company.Read Now >
There are many explanations companies routinely give when inventory management issues arise, whether it's too much unsold inventory or too many empty shelves
"The market is unpredictable."
"It's impossible to accurately forecast everything."
It's not that these explanations are inaccurate. In fact, they're pretty much universally true. What's puzzling is that, despite these realities, brand manufacturers still pour all their energy into rigorous planning and forecasting, and yet take a more frenzied approach to responding when performance deviates from forecast. In other words, they lose the discipline they need for a fast, coordinated response in the face of changing demand.