Santa's Supply Chain Christmas Landscape

The Secret of Santa’s Supply Chain

Each holiday season we see supply chains battling it out to be number one. We’re constantly exposed to top supply chain lists sprinkled over the Internet. However, analysts for these lists always seem to forget one very prestigious supply chain, the SCSC. That’s right! The Santa Claus Supply Chain. There’s no doubt the big guy up north runs quite possibly the most efficient system. But the real question is how does Jolly Old St. Nick’s supply chain work? Logistically speaking, he has 7.4 billion stops to make in just one night. And we’re talking direct door to chimney delivery. The time zone differences play in his favor of course, but with the number of children to see, how does Santa maintain his perfect delivery record?

So, this holiday season let’s analyze how Santa does it and see how we can strive to model our supply chain more like the North Pole.

Big Belly, Bigger Data Sets

Santa has 7.4 billion children placing their “orders” during the holiday season. They come by mail or email; kids tweet @SantaClaus to tell him their Christmas wishes. These of course get translated to written orders for his record keeping. Then there’s the orders he takes face-to-face as children from all over come to visit Santa in his village and sit on his knee.

From Elf to Shelf

Upon receiving Christmas orders, Santa needs to distribute the data to his entire distribution center and supply chain so the elves can get to work. To maintain the North Pole efficiency, it is important to have helpful scan and pack processes established because no two orders are the same. Santa doesn’t deliver master pallets, his elves custom pack and wrap each child’s wish to be delivered under their tree on Christmas Eve.

Using a scan and pack process, Santa’s supply chain can custom pack orders and create the personal shipping label. This allows Santa’s elves to keep up with supply and demand as they make product quantities according to the incoming orders. However, this also requires constant data analysis and updating records, which can best be done by an automated software.

The Logistics of Distribution

Santa has to cover 317 million miles in just 32 hours. That means roughly 75 million homes to visit and cookies to eat, meaning Santa faces unprecedented logistical challenges. But he still manages to get around the world and back home in one day. How is this possible? Leveraging time zones is a helping factor, but also fortunately Santa employs highly engaged workers who have extreme attention to details. Following processes and polices for the biggest made-to-order, demand-driven supply chain ensures success. Did we mention he also was the first to run a supply chain “in the cloud?”

The Internet of Santa?

It’s finally here. The big night: Christmas Eve! So how does Santa’s data-analyst (most likely Mrs. Claus) ensure he keeps to the schedule and has another successful Christmas Eve? At the North Pole headquarters, monitors of all types are set-up to execute a smooth operation. Weather monitors are used to keep an eye on those dreadful blizzards, weight sensors double check the sleigh isn’t overloaded and off-balanced, and labor monitors check that the eight tiny reindeer aren’t being over-worked seeing as they’re caring roughly 8 billion pounds on their backs. And of course with partnership with North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) GPS tracking is possible to inform parents when their kids need to go to bed before the big guy in red shows up. Impressive!

Santa's Supply Chain Bag

So then, how can we model businesses to be like Santa’s supply chain?

The first question is how do we obtain the magical efficiency Santa has? Is there something down here that can run an operation as smoothly as the elves run the North Pole?

There is certainly something that can speed up packing and shipping processes. Scan and pack routines act like those little extra hands, expediting order fulfillment by eliminating the task of manually entering orders. Having a keyboard wedge or wireless scanner by your side is a trusted partner throughout the holiday season – and what’s better, they don’t need all those cocoa breaks! These scanners allow for various forms of packing orders, whether they be master pallets scanned and ready to go, or custom orders that get scanned into a box updating the database the entire time. These mighty scanners act as the hands of seven elves; packing, scanning and shipping orders without the need to run around a warehouse, scouting out toys.

Tools that provide automation and progress monitoring can be the key to success this time of year. With products literally about to fly off the shelf next week, retailers are going to be ordering merchandise three times as much compared to any other month. And since the season is all about giving, why not give your clients the best order turnaround time imaginable free of errors and delays.

The holiday season means stores putting in high-quantity orders for two solid months; making sure they have enough supplies for any last minute holiday wishes. This means constant high-traffic of incoming data and having an automated B2B shipping software can do Christmas wonders for any supply chain.

Spooky Reality of Suspicious Order Monitoring

The Spooky Reality of Suspicious Order Monitoring

Have you ever taken the time to look at the reasons behind suspicious order monitoring? The concept of SOM was introduced by the Drug Enforcement Administration with regard to the opioid crisis spreading across the U.S.A. The DEA does not target users, but instead focuses on the supply: cartels and rogue individuals that divert products. Suspicious order monitoring is designed to help pharmaceutical manufacturers comply with these regulations to protect both their business and patients. Even with these protections in place though, opioids are still roaming across the states, forcing the DEA to open investigations on manufacturers.

Back in 2015, 200 Floridian primary care physicians admit to prescribing medications for unsuitable conditions and overlooked non-addictive prescriptions that have been shown to be more effective. Taking extreme measures to catch illegitimate suppliers and manufacturers, the DEA has found every region east of the Mississippi has drug dealers and users spanning across it. Many manufacturers have been fined, some upwards of $35 million for filling what are known to be orders of interest.

From the business world, not adhering to these regulations is seen as malpractice and result in large fines. But, looking on a broader level, these malpractices are impacting the everyday lives of Americans. Teenagers pack into vans, travel across state lines to access these pain management clinics in Florida; leaving with around 500 to 600 pills each. But this isn’t the only instance of “loosely regulated clinics” handing out prescriptions.  Seventeen thousand pills were sent via mail to a small town in West Virginia from a man in Hillsborough County, Florida. A major reason pill mills have proliferated Florida is because, unlike other states, there wasn’t a system for monitoring prescriptions. Law enforcement believed having a monitoring system would have prevented “doctor shopping” and the widespread of oxycodone.

How the Increase in DEA Presence Decreased Opioids

The DEA’s response to the opioid crisis was implementing strict regulations for pharmaceutical manufacturers with dire consequences if not followed. Their only goal is to protect the American public by preventing diversion of controlled substances. The “Know Your Customer” policy was created by the DEA for manufacturers to understand where their distributors take supplies. If manufacturers had known prescription drugs were headed to these pill mills in Florida, they could have stopped supplying them, avoided the outrageous fines and, ultimately, saved people from a lifetime of addiction.

Since the rise of the opioid epidemic, the DEA has been fighting tirelessly to end the diversion of opioids while ensuring they remain available to those with a genuine medical, scientific and industrial need. The administration’s increased ability to interfere with the diversion of controlled substances encourages vigilance from drug manufacturers, and opens the door for better communication between the DEA and individual states. In the past year alone, several significant settlements and court decisions have resulted from this new requirement.

Enhancing the role of the DEA boosts the protection they provide for the public. In order to get prescription drugs off the street, they needed the OK to step in and take action. Since then, the DEA was forced to shut down more than 250 “pill mills” in Florida,

Since implementing new regulations and compliance guidelines, the DEA has also launched a semi-annual event to collect unused and unwanted prescriptions. The main goal: to get these addictive drugs off the streets. The National Take Back Day occurs twice a year  and the DEA partners with almost 6,000 locations nationally to collect excess prescription drugs. The DEA hosted 15 Take Back Days since the fall of 2010, and collected and destroyed 4,982 tons of unused, unwanted and expired drugs. Drugs that could have easily been left in a medicine cabinet for a friend or family member to discover.

The Bottom Line:

The Drug Enforcement Administration is not out looking to fine businesses. They are fulfilling their mission focused on protecting the American public. These recent developments point to enhanced DEA expectations for compliance and escalated penalties for noncompliance throughout the prescription opioid distribution chain. The DEA is looking for consistency in reports, especially in those taking a “know-it-when-you-see-it approach” that is difficult to systematize. The lack of sufficient data and incomplete information from customers can make it difficult to decide whether or not to fill prescription orders.

Working with a trusted SOM developer takes the guess work out order fulfillment and can help align your business with the goals of the DEA; allowing for more trust as well from the administration. SOM is the safe step for the pharmaceutical industry. Defensive algorithms work around the clock checking orders so it doesn’t have to be a manual task. They are more reliable than humans and keep supply lines free of delays if an order is flagged as suspicious.

DEA regulations can be confusing to link together. Contact us today to see just how SOMLink ties your supply chain to the DEA.

Sources:
https://www.nij.gov/topics/drugs/markets/Pages/florida-legislation-helps-reduce-the-number-of-pill-mills.aspx
file:///C:/Users/ESL-Marketing/Documents/suspicious_order_monitoring-part1.pdf
Sears Holdings Fighting Bankruptcy

Sears Holdings Trying To Restructure To Avoid Bankruptcy

It’s no surprise to hear Sears Holdings is doing everything in their power to avoid going under. Recently they’ve closed low-performing stores, and invested more time and money into higher-achieving establishments as a reactive measure. However the CEO Eddie Lampert is making the biggest push yet to restructure the company to avoid going bankrupt. Lampert has been trimming costs to keep debt at bay and the company afloat. If Sears Holdings fails to cut costs, they will be starring at a $134 million payment on Oct. 15.  Lampert has been working close with ESL Investments – their hedge fund – to work restructure liabilities. If this works, the board could sell off $1.75 billion in assets and remain only $1.24 billion in debt. This would reduce their debt by almost 80 percent. That and on top of selling $1.5 billion worth of property for former retail locations, to generate liquidity to pay off more debt.

A significant restructuring tactic is Sears selling the Kenmore appliance brand and Craftsman. But will this be enough to lower debt, keep customers happy and allow Sears to climb out of their debt? This may be a way just to delay the inevitable, however per our last posting – E-commerce Comes Back To Help Brick And Mortar – there are lessons to learn from the e-commerce leaders. If Sears Holdings adopts the instant gratification model and creates hassle-free experiences online shopping involves, they could potentially see an increase in traffic.

It is unclear whether Sears’s debtholders will continue to support these efforts, or if they will recommend the company close its doors.

Read the full CNBC article here.

e-commerce trends influencing brick and mortar stores

E-commerce Comes Back To Help Brick & Mortar

We know lately the trend of more retail giants closing their doors has been splashed across every news outlet , but now some brick and mortar stores are learning from these e-commerce trends.

Experts predicted online shopping, led mainly by Amazon, would one day eliminate brick and mortar stores and conquer all of retail. The rate of store closings set a record in 2017 with no type of store excluded. Havoc stretched from Madison Avenue boutiques to shopping malls across the country, making retailers jointly struggle. At this time in 2017 nearly 5,700 stores had closed their doors for good in the United States, according to retail analyst firm Coresight Research. This year only 4,480 stores have closed.

But Then Something Changed For Brick And Mortar Stores.

One thing breathing life into vacant malls are stores learning to capture the ease and instant gratification online shopping provides. Online shopping is a platform for customers to shop while in the comfort of their own home; something major retailers are starting to adopt and it’s working! The retail giant, Target has adopted a new practice where customers order what they need through the app, drive to their store and a team member meets them in the parking lot with their order. No getting out of the car and no waiting in line at the register. Since the launch of this program, Target saw more traffic online and in store than they expected to. Growing at its fastest pace in a decade.

Walmart has introduced “personal shoppers” to its mix of employees to select and package groceries for curbside pickup. It’s the same process as ordering online, with a little personal touch.

The retailers evolving their shopping programs recognize that Amazon has forever changed consumer behavior. Many successful stores are now a cross between a drive-through and hotel concierge; trying to keep customers satisfied and, in turn, loyal.

The main reason for the slower pace of store closings is due to unprofitable stores having already been shut down. Still, big retailers like JCPenny and Sears, despite closing failing stores and sprucing up the remaining ones, are still struggling. Therefore, the other reason is stronger players are benefiting from other stores’ failures. Target, for example, saw a huge leap in toy sales as Toys “R” Us entered their final days of their liquidation sale.

Information obtained from: nytimes.com

So What Does All This Mean For Retailers’ Supply Chains?

E-commerce has halted many B2B supply chains from growing since its boom. However, with these new shopper programs being introduced, supply chains will pick up. With the economy bouncing back and consumers having more to spend, products will be moving quicker; especially if shopping is “hassle-free.” Retailers are now taking a store-centric, omni-channel approach, connecting every dot imaginable in their consumer buying process. Big players are investing in robust digital models of the entire store footprint, giving employees digital merchandising tools, and using automation to enable visual merchandising and easily create store specific plans. A deep analysis of store models allows managers to optimize product placement and  This enables employees to track merchandise currently in store, en-route to store, or allowing them to order stock on the spot for customers. Therefore, saving customers time in the store, or from having to order merchandise after the fact.

Target even plans on opening new, smaller stores near college campuses with products specified for the area’s demographic. Instead of shoppers meandering through cavernous buildings, the retail giant will stock stores with targeted products that have a definitive vibe. This shortens shoppers time in the store and places what they want out in the open. Talk about a new meaning for “Target.”

How Does Automated Software Help Supply Chains?

An automated software solution integrated into a supply chain allows for greater visibility of orders. It connects the manufacturer/supplier, distributor and retailer throughout a package’s entire journey, keeping everyone in the loop and alerting retailers where merchandise is. Whether it be in stock or en-route.

Here are five main features an automated software needs to keep up with the e-commerce trend:

  1. Reporting Features

    Having accurate reports for purchases will make order fulfillment and store floor planning a smooth operation. Our software produces bill of lading, VICs bill of lading, carton contents and branded packing lists, making client recognition immediate. These reports are sent to retailers alerting them of every detail and quantity on their order. It makes it easier to track the progress and location of the order, and for employees to know when shipments will be in. Digitally connecting orders to stores using supply chain technology.

  2. Advanced Shipping Notice Kits

    Trading partners have specific requirements for the advanced shipping notices they receive. Having a software that already has the information installed on it will make switching back and forth between partners hassle-free. We have more than 190 different ASN kits for retailers and automakers programmed into ComplyLink. These ASN kits cut time and accurately inform clients on their orders.

  3. Integration

    Supply chains already have processes and procedures established, so it’s important for automated software to integrate into the existing system. Our software has integration features that’ll connect to EDI and ERP order management tools. ComplyLink installs on suppliers’ server or workstation and electronically talks with accounting to confirm, pack and ship orders, and then verify they’re on the truck to be shipped before marking it complete.

  4. Order Verification Processes

    ComplyLink has various scanning and packing routines that support and expedite order fulfillment. These routines eliminate the need to manual enter order data in warehouse and distributors’ databases. With these processes, there is a 20 to 40 percent decrease in translation errors because it eliminates human error possibilities. There is also a 28 percent decrease in order costs because we provide tools for automatic data entry instead of having to manually type orders in. Automated processes streamline redundant, tedious tasks with the highest risk for mistakes.

  5. Customization

    The most important feature an automated software can have is the ability to be customized. Having a software that doesn’t require dramatic shifts in manufacturing procedures can alleviate pressure and uncertainty in the transition. ComplyLink ensures an easy adaptability period without missing a beat (or an order in this case) because we work with our clients to install it according to their needs.

The Key Takeaway:

E-commerce hasn’t fully claimed the retail world – and it may never get there. Warehouse managers and retailers working in conjunction with digital trends is the link brick and mortar stores need. Playing to their strengths and optimizing shipping and order-processing cycles via an automated software. Retailers can restock stores, optimize their layout and keep suppliers busy by providing material releases week by week, or with an overall product forecast. Notes like these are housed in a software like ComplyLink and keeps records for orders updated. Retailers and suppliers integrating electronic communication tools like 830s and 862s between each other pave the trail for success.

 

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Here We Go Again – Sears Holdings Closing More Stores

The trend continues – Sears Holdings announced that they will close 46 more stores by November. Of those stores, 33 are Sears and 13 are Kmart. This announcement follows the news in June that the company was already planning on liquidating almost 100 other stores. Liquidation sales for these stores will begin the week of Aug. 27.

The company stated they will continue to evaluate their network of stores and make further adjustments as needed. Sears has been continually trimming its real estate footprint as sales dwindle and shoppers turn more to online shopping opportunities. Their stock has dropped 85 percent the last year and they are in the midst of evaluating a bid from Lampert’s to buy the Kenmore appliance brand for $400 million. That’s more than triple the price of Sears current market cap.

Read more on Sears Holdings and get a full list of the stores closing here.

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Pharmaceutical Ethics – Where Modern Day Practices Stand

Lately, when looking at pharmaceutical ethics, many organizations focus on quantity and not quality of orders. Attempting to fill as many as possible in the spirit of competition; which leads to companies mismanaging orders and wrong orders being filled. An article in the latest Pharmaceutical Technology magazine provoked the question: Whose responsibility is it to regulate the quality and legitimacy of drug orders?

This question has 15 different responses: is it the DEA, pharmaceutical manufacturing manager, supply chain laborers, or the end customer? The unknown is troubling to the pharmaceutical industry. There is no role of agreement when it comes to regualtions. So, how will the DEA’s code of federal regulations be followed by drug manufacturers? When companies encounter an issue with an order, they mainly work to solve the individual citation, but fail to look at the what’s potentially causing it. Allowing the chance for it to happen again. The most effective solution for quality assurance and compliance strategies begins with robust internal procedures. And that could be as simple as dedicating part of the manufacturing and distributing process to monitoring activity of their customers.

“People complain that quality costs money, but if they really want to see how expensive things can be, they should try a consent decree.” – Chris Moreton, FinnBrit Consulting

The Problem:

With the opioid epidemic growing exponentially, the DEA instituted a federal regulation that all manufacturers and distributors must check their client has the agency’s authorization to possess controlled substances. This mandate opens a need for supply chain monitoring personnel, as a result, requires minor adjustments throughout supply chain procedures. Processes and procedures are not carved into stone, and need to be continually adapted to industrial needs and requirements. A combination of strong personnel training, keeping tools and equipment updated, having a strong quality unit, and developing a quality company culture at all levels allow for a smooth adoption of change. Similarly, there should be on-the-job training and oversight on a continual basis to reduce companies’ risk.

Consequently, one of the biggest difficulties in maintaining good manufacturing practices is complacency. “Once a process or procedure is established and functional, there does not seem to be the impetus to update and revise it,” says Susan Schniepp, executive vice president of Post-Approval Pharmaceuticals. General practices that have been in place at a company for a good length of time are hard to revise. One option companies use to update their GMPs is establishing a policy that ties failure to follow procedures with an internal audit and detect improper performance. A better option to explore is upgrading company tools and equipment, especially computer-driven programs, to monitor manufacturing practices. New technologies and new product types may necessitate an update to procedures.

Where The Responsibility Lies:

The DEA planted regulations on all prescription drug manufacturers and distributors. It doesn’t verify incoming orders, rather the agency investigates orders that come across as suspicious. It has tasked the manufacturers and distributors with complying with the regulations, or face several large fines for supplying illegitimate customers. Repeat mistakes, often caused by tunnel vision, stem from a lack of monitoring orders and from “know your customer” protocols. Today, a pharmaceutical supply chain has to be in constant communication with every department. Applying vertical and horizontal communication principles passes information from the DEA, to company administrators, on down through the company. Through fostering communication between employees on several levels helps ensure the supply chain is a smooth operation.

Developing and Maintaining New Procedures:

Change is inevitable, especially when the industry is facing unheard of fines on the horizon of an epidemic. One way to incorporate new policies and procedures is to involve all parties in the process of developing them. What new protocols need followed when fulfilling orders? One way to combat an overwhelming change is to seek the help of professionals because the concept of suspicious order monitoring is new for companies and the fine print in the regulations can be intimidating. The first step is having a solid understanding of where your current order-manufacturing process is at. Having the knowledge of your employees’ abilities is crucial before incorporating new software because it informs management of the best way to introduce and train staff on suspicious order monitoring software.

At e-SupplyLink, we are those professionals your company requires. We work with DEA agents to ensure our suspicious order monitoring software complies with the federal regulations for controlled substances. Which means less work for your company. SOMLink has been on the market for eight years and continues to be a leader in suspicious order monitoring. To keep procedural alterations to a minimum, we integrate our software into existing EDI translators and ERP management systems.

 

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Blame It All On Our Roots

A moment of impact – never realized at the time, but these moments have a way of defining the future. In the late 1800s to early 1900s the thought of revolutionizing manufacturing and shipping processes was obscure. The industrial revolution brought cars made in one-sixth of the time it used to take initiating a moment of impact. Manufacturing processes have since continued to be optimized and supply chain innovation has come a long way since its development in the 1980s.

The First Moving Assembly Line is Introduced in 1913

So what moment of impact links the revolution of the manufacturing process ultimately to the supply chain? The founder of a major automobile manufacturing company back in 1913 may be who we tip our hat to. Henry Ford may have not invented the first automobile, but he certainly is credited for revolutionizing the manufacturing process still used today. The moving assembly line, which was influenced by Model N workers who would arrange all the parts on the ground onto skids and drag them down the line, reduced car manufacturing from more than 12 hours down to two and a half hours. Ford broke the Model T’s assembly into 84 discrete steps and trained his workers in just one area of assembly.

Never has a thought like the assembly line been formed, but Ford credits the continuous-flow production used in flour mills, breweries, canneries and industrial bakers. And in 1914, almost one year after implementing the assembly line, Ford added a mechanized belt that chugged along at a speed of six feet per minute.

The moving assembly line was deemed an innovation that changed the world. It reduced the cost, time and manpower needed to produce cars, and it dropped the model T significantly from $850 to $300. For the first time quality vehicles were available to the masses and on June 4, 1924, the ten-millionth Model T automobile was created. Ford’s approach spread to other automakers, manufacturers of phonographs, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and other consumer goods. More innovations like just-in-time inventory and time quality management helped make today’s automotive manufacturers the model of efficiency. How? Repeatable, standardized processes that are universal to any make, or model of the automobile.

“The assembly line became the characteristic American mode of production.” – Bob Casey, former curator of transportation at The Henry Ford.

Warehouse Management Systems are Implemented Across the Country in the 1950s

The 1940s and 1950s brought the challenge of improving very labor-intensive processes of material management. The need to continue to innovate the manufacturing and distribution processes was prominent. The goal was to use racking, and better warehouse design and management. By the 1960s, the trend of time-dependent freight transportation to truck rather than railway evolved for higher efficiency. The 1960s also brought the end to an era with regards to computers. Prior to then, virtually all transactions and record keeping were done manually.

The computerization of this data broke ground to marvelous innovations in logistics planning, from randomized storage in warehouses to optimization of inventory and truck routing. The late 1970s to early 1980s created many different types of material handling research centers that focused on a different aspect of what this new technology made possible.

The 1980s sparked a boom for logistics. Personal computers provided better access to planners and a new graphical environment for planning like spreadsheets and map-based interfaces. Logistics management had begun to get tremendous recognition from the industry for being expensive, very important and very complex. Executives became aware of logistics when they heard it could improve their bottom line, but only if they were willing to invest.

Supply Chain Innovation

The concept of the supply change earned global recognition in the 1990s. The focus of globalization emphasized the need for logistic strategies to deal with complex networks. Strategies including multiple entries spanning from multiple countries with diverse control. The 90s brought life to Enterprise Resource Planning systems or ERP, a spin-off from material requirements planning systems. ERP systems integrated better with the multiple databases that existed, and was a tremendous improvement in data availability and accuracy.

Where Are We Now?

One hundred and five years after the biggest revelation that changed manufacturing, the supply chain is still improving. Systems are becoming more integrated with software. Processes are becoming more integrated with people. The growing demand from consumers has forced companies to adapt their shipping strategies, lest they shut their doors permanently. The end goal is getting goods out to customers as swiftly as possible to keep them satisfied. Henry Ford acknowledged that need in the early 1900s and his method is still being used to this day. Granted its changed quite a bit to having robots perform much of the work, but that’s the impact of innovation. Same thing goes for supply chain innovation.

The growth from manual order entry to computerization of data changed the face of supply chains. Systems for B2B shipping have become more efficient allowing for faster transaction rates for manufacturers and distributors. We have the ability to now pick certain products to pack instead of having to ship entire pallets of one single product. Having a database that automatically updates and prints accurate GS1-128/B–10 PDF417 labels detailing every item in the container allows your business to stay ahead of the competition. Our software allows you to scan to pack, scan to print and scan to verify. ComplyLink puts all the required information on one label for fast and convenient order management.

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5 Ways Digitization Transformed the Supply Chain

Digitization has proved to benefit the efficiency and productivity of the supply chain. The point of digitizing is to revamp supply chain management and to streamline repetitive tasks. A 2017 study from McKinsey found the average supply chain has a digitization level of 43 percent and only 2 percent of executives said that the supply chain is the focus of their digital strategies. Seizing an opportunity to digitize the supply chain has surprisingly been a challenge for a lot of companies. Embracing new technology also means revamping operational practices – which could even mean building a whole new management strategy.

The best way to digitize is to integrate advanced, leading-technology and revamp operations. Management usually understands the measures to the transformation approach – establishing a vision for the future supply chain, assessing the current state and envisioning the future path to take.

We’ve analyzed five different ways that digitization influenced the innovation of the supply chain.

  1. Supporting major operations like warehouse management.

    It was clear there was a need for innovating warehouse management. Tasks were becoming too tedious and were at risk for being mismanaged. Digital technology provides tansformative capabilities for inventory management. Linking cross-functional data like inventory, shipments, and schedules from internal and external sources, forecasting demand and performance. This is a way for planning to become more precise, and problems can be anticipated and prevented. A supply chain digital-transformation, then, is about establishing how applications can improve cost, agility and inventory levels to drive operational excellence. Our ComplyLink software is an automated database that tracks and traces every order that comes through an order management system – helping to manage inventory levels. Scanning routines like scan/pack, scan/print and scan/verify with ComplyLink automatically updates the database with shipping data. As a result, it eliminates the need for manual entry of order data making warehouse management more efficient and accurate.

  2. Digital transformation employs analytics, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technology to collect and process information automatically.

    Before digital technology, orders were processed by hand; getting passed along, person to person. Each time facing error-prone updates causing incorrect or delayed orders. Files were easily lost and entering data was a painstaking task. Our suspicious order monitoring software, SOMLink, is designed with a repository to store critical information pertaining to each customer. Each time an order is processed we compare it to past orders in regards to frequency, size and pattern. This allows companies to quickly identify and be alerted about orders of interest. Instead of delegating a single person to manually keep track of records for orders of interest and report then to the DEA, we created a solution to automatically process and store that information. SOMLink automatically captures orders of interest before they are fully processed and directly reports them to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Significantly reducing the risk for businesses.

  3. New technology can integrate better methods for collaboration.

    The key to supply chain success isn’t just a matter of buying and installing software. It’s about utilizing this software to reach the highest level of collaboration because it allows for an end-to-end perspective and update of the supply chain. This supports the overall mission of changing the ways employees and teams share/gather information. It also seeks out problems and opportunities for improvement, reaches decisions and carries out actions. The newest digital technologies can move a company forward with better methods of collaboration and prevent them from returning to their old ones. For that reason, both of our solutions have a multi-user interface feature that encourages collaboration among team members. It’s a key value for us to ensure our solutions make businesses more efficient and operations a lot smoother.

  4. Digitization can provide better end-to-end customer engagement.

    When supply chains utilize digital technology it allows the process to be undeniably transparent. The technology gives mangers more control with the orders and having a system that automates everything provides customers with detailed updates about their shipments. These updates include routing information, quantity of contents, and the date they’ll be shipped and delivered, also known as an advanced shipping notice. ComplyLink has a transportation management feature where suppliers and their customers can electronically exchange information from purchase orders to shipment authorizations. We make it easy to keep your customer “in the loop” so communication is not lost, and shipments are expected. The TMS feature also sends detailed advanced shipping notices to customers allowing them to prepare ahead of time for orders.

  5. Digital technologies provide deeper, more insightful assessments on supply chain performance.

    Integrating supply chain processes with ERP systems sets up data streams from sources within its organization. Incoming data is fed into the same processing engine where it can be connected to show how activities and decisions in one area of the supply chain affect other operations.  Linking related data sets can uncover systemic issues including: mismatched lead times and past-due purchased orders that hinder future key performance indicators of future demand for extended suppliers.  The consequences of not linking related data sets leads to customer order delays. This ties closely with that end-to-end perspective necessary for supply chain success.  Supply chains quickly have a domino effect if technology is not employed. One area of the supply chain isn’t fully up to speed and another area is waiting on them, it prevents high levels of work getting done. This feature ensures efficiency and create high-end productivity among the team.

 

 

Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/digital-transformation-raising-supply-chain-performance-to-new-levels
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What Defines A Leader?

Daniel Goleman, an internationally known psychologist, interviewed with Forbes Magazine reporter Dan Schwabel on what makes an effective and impactful leader. Goleman talks about the types of leadership characteristics that are the most important in the business world and what the real definition of a leader is. All of this can be read more in depth in his book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.

We took Goleman’s leadership characteristics and applied them to supply chain management. In an ever-changing industry, how can we build the best leaders in the business to create an overall efficient system? A system that harnesses different levels of talent in different ways to keep the supply chain moving forward.

  1. Studies conducted have proven the top 10 percent of executives display superior competencies in emotional intelligence, rather than just in purely cognitive thinking. Capabilities like self-confidence and initiative, bouncing back from setbacks and staying cool under stress, are essential when it comes to leadership in this industry.

    While working in the ever-busy supply chain industry and managing every piece of it, stress is inevitable. It’s how our leaders manage themselves that will impact how others react in any given situation. Through understanding emotional intelligence and how it works, supply chain leaders can inspire others’ reactions and behaviors to given situations. Emotional intelligence skills convert to diffusing conflicts, improving relationships and improving communication in the workplace. If above all else, we put an enormous emphasis on communication in the supply chain. So many moving parts and systems involved, leaders on staff must have top-level communication skills, lest the supply chain fails.

  2. Goleman makes the distinction between leaders who are smart and leaders who are wise. Smart leaders are good at things like running a business and getting quarterly results. Wise leaders have a larger sense of the social and environmental systems we operate within, as well as an expanded view of stakeholders.

    The ability to visualize an end-to-end perspective of your supply chain is a must have skill in all leaders. Having a feel for how your market is running and if more or less supplies needs to be made is critical. A smart leader creates short-term goals and sticks to them. This gets the team through the day-to-day, but what about the overarching goal? A wise leader forms a long-term vision and goal for the company, and applies that to every single short-term goal. How do our strategy, talent, processes and technology goals rank to the long-term goal? Can our leaders manage several employees’ needs, oversee the stream of orders, and keep track of equipment and supplies? A supply chain leader tunes into their market by acknowledging busy seasons and products in high demand, and starts preparing his/her team in advanced so they don’t get defeated.

  3. A leader is a passionate worker and shares that passion with co-workers. A person who is not finding passion in their work right now might consider how to make a portion of their job “good work,” or how to enlarge that portion over the course of their career.

    It is important for a leader to inspire and influence team members to do their job. Some employees are there because they have a knack for logistics, efficiency and order management. These are the people who spend time looking for the flaws in their processes and suggest new ways to conduct business. For those who are there simply for a paycheck, leaders must work to make them feel like an integral part of the supply chain. It’s cliché to say “we’re all in this together,” and “teamwork makes the dreamwork,” however helping them find something new, or different about their job each day/week/month/year can instill a passion in them and have them strive for excellence.

  4. Leaders have triple focus. The inner focus, or core, is centered on their own feelings, values and intuitions, and to manage themselves well. The next focus is on others and how well leaders can read people, which is key in managing relationships. An outer focus lets the leader understand the larger forces and systems that they must navigate. As well as determine the best strategy going forward.

    In today’s world, focus isn’t so mainstream because we live where there are thousands of distractions. A person who has the skillset to isolate their focus internally and externally is a person destined for leadership. For any supply chain leader, they must first understand how they learn, understand and operate the technology and systems, then continue to build on that before leading others. The next level of focus – the one that centers on reading others – allows leaders to quickly figure out how to coach each employee individually. What is their learning technique? What do they respond to as far as your teaching style? It is highly important leaders grasp each persons’ learning style, especially when teaching them about the technology used to pack, pick and ship orders to ensure efficiency and accuracy.

  5. Everyone with a sphere of influence is a leader, whether they have the explicit job description or not.

    Job title is irrelevant when it comes to leadership. A manger can be a manger, but still not a leader. A leader effects change and motivates team members to do a good job. Others look to them for inspiration and mentorship. This is where having a variety of talent on the team leads to success. Peer-to-peer interaction should be encouraged in your supply chain. New ideas can come from anyone and sometimes the best ideas come from those who are on the frontline of the supply chain each day. Innovation should be encouraged from your leaders to continually shape the path of success.

Leaders can come from anywhere within the organization. From line workers to top executives. The important thing to take away here is watch your workers. Watch how they interact with one another, how or who they look to each other for guidance. In an industry that is constantly adapting to new technology and consumer demands, too many leaders just can’t be possible.

 

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2014/03/18/daniel-goleman-the-truth-about-what-makes-a-great-leader/#70e0f6e33671

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National Take Back Day 2018

The next National Take Back Day is Oct. 27, 2018!

June is National Safety Month, but we’re not talking big machinery safety. We’re talking about the safety of our health. Twice a year the Drug Enforcement Administration sponsors National Take Back Day. They partner with law enforcement and various pharmacies within communities to provide ways for patients to dispose of unused, unwanted and expired prescriptions. The purpose behind this day is to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of drugs, opposed to tossing them in the trash. The day also serves as a way of educating the public about the potential for drug abuse. Your medicine may be helpful for you, but remember it’s most likely harmful to someone else.

What if I can’t make it to a registerd facility to dispose my prescriptions?

While it is preferred prescriptions be taken back to registered officials, there are ways to dispose of them at the house. Most prescriptions come with specific directions on how to get rid of them when they are no longer needed. Be sure to always check the patient information booklet attached to your prescriptions packaging. Some medicines can be especially harmful to others, in which case they have instructions to immediately flush them down a sink or toilet. This fully eliminates the potential risk of someone reaching into the garbage and taking them.

Another common household way to dispose of your prescriptions is by throwing them in the trash. Now it’s not as simple as it

seems. There’s definitely extra steps involved to ensure the safety of everyone in the house. If you opt to throw medicine away, follow these steps provided by the FDA:

  1. Remove the drugs from their original container and mix them with something that is unappealing such as coffee grounds, cat litter, or dirt. This makes the medicine undesirable to children and pets, and unrecognizable to someone who may go through the trash.

    Photo courtesy of the FDA; www.fda.gov

  2. Put the mixture in a seal-able container to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
  3. Throw the container in the garbage.
  4. Take the original prescription bottle and with a permanent marker scratch out all personal information. Doing so protects your identity and privacy. You may also peel the label off and shred it.

Should you have any questions about your medicine always contact your health provider or pharmacist.

Environmental Concerns Addressed

 

Keeping these drugs out of our water supply is crucial as well for preventing drug addictions. That is why it is important only drugs with instructions to be flushed or poured down the drain. Other prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs should be taken to take-back-programs or mixed with other trash in a seal-able container. While we’re trying to keep medicine out of the wrong hands, we also need to strive to keep it out of our water supply.

As we continue to combat the opioid epidemic, helpful tips like these, or even days dedicated to collecting loose and unwanted drugs benefit everybody.

Any further questions, or for more background information and regulations visit the DEA’s website here.

 

Sources:
https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm#steps