Daily Archives: September 26, 2011

Your Transportation Costs Are About To Go Way Up!

Mary C. Holcomb of The University of Tennessee and Karl B. Manrodt of Georgia Southern University, in partnership with Con-way Inc., Ernst & Young, and Logistics Mangaement, just released their Annual Study of Logistics and Transporation (The Masters of Logistics Report), and the findings, summarized in this recent article on Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Navigating transportation’s Bermuda Triangle that had some scary findings. Namely that, in the average supply chain, there is:

  • a lack of planning for the impact of rising fuel prices,
  • a rigid network that is incapable of flexing when uncertainty occurs, and
  • a myopic internal focus that limits the enterprises’ ability to achive the desired performance results.

Furthermore, the most mature actions being undertaken by study respondents are

  • use of core carriers
    which doesn’t deal with the fact that they will tack on fuel surcharges when prices get high enough
  • use of dedicated transportation
    which generally only helps with core routes
  • carrier tracking
    which keeps on top of rates but does nothing to mitigate or control rates
  • load planning
    which increases fill rate and minimizes shipments, but doesn’t necessarily optimize the network
  • shipment consolidation
    which helps, but only if done in conjuction with S&OP planning because, otherwise, there’s a chance that this could increase the probability of costly stock-outs

And none of these are optimal. As the authors indicate, logistics managers need to be looking at route planning in conjuction with network optimization and redesign with respect to overall supply chain needs. This is the only way to adequately mitigate the risk of (rapidly) rising freight prices in the years to come. And any company that keeps doing the same-old, same-old, which is the majority of companies by the looks of things, is in for a rapid rate increase as soon as the (global) economy bounces back.

High Definition Adoption Measurement Part I

Today’s guest post is from John Shaw (Senior Director, Adoption Services) of BravoSolution, a leading provider of spend analysis, (e-)sourcing, supplier performance management (SPM) and healthcare sourcing solutions and a sponsor of Sourcing Innovation (SI). It is the first of an eight (8) part series, which, when complete, will form a white-paper that BravoSolution will be releasing to the general populace next Wednesday. However, since SI is focussed on delivering educational, innovational, and inquisitive content on a regular basis, BravoSolution has been kind enough to give SI readers a first-look.

So you are a seasoned leader in the rapidly maturing field of strategic sourcing and your leadership team continually challenges you to maximize the value of your team to the organization. You are, of course, resource constrained. Before you lay an open field of opportunities, yet you hold in your hands a limited amount of time, money and people.

And so the work begins! You prioritize the opportunities, build a budget and set about bringing the right mix of people, process and tools forward. As a part of this planning, you invest in giving your people the right set of tools and processes for the job. In the field of Strategic Sourcing this usually means the implementation of solutions to support activities like spend analysis, sourcing execution and contract implementation.

Unfortunately, rolling a spend analysis or e-sourcing tool out across a global organization isn’t anything like building the “Field of Dreams“. Just because you’ve built and shared the solution doesn’t mean the team will use it AND use it correctly. Just as a Sourcing Professional needs the right tools in their toolkit, the leadership team needs a set of tools designed to help their people succeed with the solution and tools they have provided. They need an “adoption toolkit” to make sure the solutions and tools are adopted as standard operating procedure.

The Adoption Toolkit

The most successful adoption programs start at the very beginning of the solution implementation project and are institutionalized into the ongoing operations of a business. In practice, most solution implementations are heavily front-loaded. For a period leading up to the “Go-Live”, organizations invest heavily in solution configuration, communications, training, documentation and process consulting. When the solution goes live, the broader team celebrates, claps each other on the back and leaves the solution’s ultimate success to the solution owner and their super users. We’ll call these individuals left in charge of the solution the Adoption Team.

There are a number of critical tools that should be available to the Adoption Team, but the most important by far are the tools by which they will measure the ongoing adoption of the solution by the organization. Measuring adoption progress against a solution’s business case is the single most important element in understanding where to direct the time and energies of the Adoption Team. Without high quality adoption measurement, an Adoption Team is analogous to a ship at sea without a navigation system; the best and most experienced captains may find their way, but the majority will be left drifting without direction or focus.

Part II will define High Definition Adoption Management (HDAM) and describe it in the context of e-sourcing, a commonly complex adoption challenge.