Spring 2010 Supply Chain Executive Forum -- Rethinking Supply Chains

May 24, 2010

"Rethinking and Rebuilding Supply Chains" was the overall theme of the Spring 2010 meeting of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain Executive Forum (SCEF), which was held April 21 - 22, 2010, at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Global Learning Center in Atlanta.

The two-day biannual forum began with a joint meeting between the SCEF and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' (CSCMP) Atlanta Roundtable. John Langley, professor of supply chain management at Georgia Tech and faculty director of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain Executive Forum, joined Ben Cubitt of RockTenn and president of the Atlanta CSCMP in giving the Forum's opening remarks. The remainder of the day was divided between keynote presentations and a panel session focused on the theme of "Supply Chain Innovation."

Robert Martichenko, CEO of LeanCor, provided the Forum's first keynote address, speaking about building discipline for innovation in the lean supply chain. Among the points he made in his presentation, Martichenko said that lean leaders lead from principles. "From principles," he said, "they ask questions, make observations, reflect, challenge thinking, teach, coach, and aid in the development of tools and processes to create value, solve problems, and grow people."

Principles of the lean supply chain, according to Martichecko, include making customer consumption visible, reducing lead times, using pull systems, creating velocity and reducing variation, collaborating and focusing on process discipline, and measuring and managing Total Cost of Fulfillment.

Two other presentations included technology-based presentations made by Scott Blatnica, director of Spend Management at Ariba, and Eddie Capel, EVP with Manhattan Associates.

Brian Hancock, VP - Supply Chain with Whirlpool Corporation, gave the closing keynote presentation to the joint SCEF-CSCMP session. In this presentation, "Supply Chain Innovation: Transforming Your Supply Chain," Hancock discussed the challenges faced in managing supply chain activities at Whirlpool, catalysts for improvement, and the overall commitment of Whirlpool to sustainability. His concluding comments suggested that the traditional "functional" views limit the "end-to-end" performance of supply chains and that "leadership takes an end-to-end orientation emphasizing demand-pull, synchronization and lean operations."

On the second day, when the theme of the SCEF-only sessions evolved to "Rethinking and Rebuilding Supply Chains," Langley asked participants to consider the following key questions:
*What is supply chain innovation and what can companies do to become more involved in supply chain innovation?
*How does one "re-think' supply chains, and what are the roles of transportation and technology in rethinking supply chains?
*What are some good customer-related examples of how to rethink and rebuild supply chains?
*How can we transform supply chains through shared services?
*What are the roles that can be played by technology providers in rethinking and rebuilding supply chains?
*How cans supply chains become more demand-driver?
*What can supply chain executives do to live more positively in the supply chain?

The meeting then proceeded with keynote and major presentations. Jim Kellso, senior supply chain master with Intel, gave the day's first keynote address. In a presentation titled "Innovation and Operational Excellence in the Supply Chain," Kellso presented details regarding Intel's "Just Say Yes" initiative. The four pillars of this initiative are improved responsiveness, forecast accuracy, inventory reduction, and better delivery performance. Intel's recent expansion of this initiative included transitioning to standard metrics, employing VMI innovatively (with an equivalent focus on non-VMI customers), reducing order (backlog) horizons, enhancing demand processes, and simplifying the planning process. As a result of these initiatives, Intel's Customer Delight Scores went up by 17 percent between 2006 and 2008, and its Supply Chain Delight Score improved by 40 percent. Summarizing what this means, Kellso explained that Intel has improved CPU responsiveness by 300 percent in two years while reducing inventory; that "Just Say Yes" has resulted in significant and tangible business benefits; and that the scope of the innovations has covered people/culture, process, metrics, and tools.

Chris Gaffney, president of Coca-Cola Supply, presented the afternoon keynote, which was divided into two parts: "The Journey to Demand Driven" and "Living Positively in the Supply Chain." A demand-driven supply chain, according to Gaffney, is a customer-centric supply chain. "By adapting to make what we sell, rather than sell what we make," Gaffney explained, "supply chains can finally realize the goal of having their products arrive on the doorsteps of retailers and customers at exactly the right time and in exactly the right volume." Continuing, Gaffney said that in a demand driven system, consumer demand triggers all activities in the value chain with clearly defined connection points to eliminate waste, reduce variation, and compress lead time.

In the second part of his presentation, on a more personal note, Gaffney addressed issues of leadership, citing individuals and works that have helped shape him not just in business, but in all domains of his life - work, home, community, and self. In concluding his remarks, Gaffney listed three ways to be a good supply chain citizen in the community:
*Give back to education to grow the next generation of supply chain professionals.
*Give back to industry to support the advancement of supply chain management.
*Advocate with elected officials for efficiency and infrastructure.

Major presentation sessions punctuated the two keynote addresses. George Abernathy, executive vice president and chief operating officer with Transplace, and Richard Douglass, global industry executive for Manufacturing and Logistics at Sterling Commerce, provided insightful presentations and then participated in a panel session focusing on "Strategic Rethinking of Supply Chains." Charlie Chesnutt, senior vice president of Technology and Process Improvement for Genuine Parts Corporation, and Jeff Cashman, senior vice president with Manhattan Associates, participated in a technology client-provider session focused on "Transforming Supply Chains through Shared Services."

The Supply Chain Executive Forum experienced a great turnout of members for the Spring 2010 meeting and is looking forward to the Fall 2010 meeting scheduled for October 6-7, 2010. Click here http://www.scl.gatech.edu/professional-education/scef/ for more information about SCEF.

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Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Contact Barbara Christopher
404.385.3102