Zen and the Art of Supply Chain Management


Progress doesn’t lie, and more than ever, society, industry, individual companies, and at heart even consumers and shoppers, are experiencing clear benefits from improved collaboration within the logistics of supply chain management systems. With adjust-ment and improvements in our five specialized areas of planning, development, man-ufacturing, logistics and returns, supply chains are doing better than ever, and so we want to keep our successes coming. But what can we do to prepare for the future?

To better serve the needs of existing and future consumers, the forces and trends for supply chain management point to a combination of variables. The main external fac-tors shaping our industry for the next ten years are largely beyond our control, but must absolutely be considered in order to be best prepared for the inevitable curve balls that are part of the joys and sorrows of SCM. Here are some of the main outside factors to watch for in the the years ahead.

Radio Frequency Identification and other forms of wireless data transfer mean that keeping an eye on how this effects commerce collaboration will be elemental in forg-ing future success. Moore’s Law and the continued “information blow-up” continues to be mostly accurate, in that technology’s progress is reaching speeds never before seen, along with consumers and shoppers keeping pace on their various gadgets and networks.

With great power comes great responsibility, as they say, and as change moves faster and faster, expect new rules and new adherences to be a part of the regulations by lo-cal, national and international government and other bodies at various levels of sup-ply chain system management. For instance, a big part of the new integrated seamless infrastructure will involve changes in labour laws to permit infrastructure to be run at full steam but with less wear and tear on the environment, part of the growing fo-cus on corporate social responsibility. If you are aware of these laws and regulatory changes, you will be able to follow suit and stay current.

Africa, Brazil, China, India, Korea and Russia are the rising markets, all expected to take giant strides in growth in the coming years. The middle class is rapidly expanding in these countries and regions. Transformation and reorganization of local and global resourcing will bring new economic balance, but there is also the potential for protec-tionist country policies. Finally, the fight for natural resources and the trend of sustainability is a huge con-sideration for international supply chain management that cannot be ignored. Staying in the loop and making efforts to operate in an ecologically responsible manner is paramount to future survival. Meeting the challenges set in place by political initia-tives to come up with sustainable solutions by 2020 will make you a leader in the field.

Prioritizing these trends and taking steps toward collaborative action to find out what value means to the customers of tomorrow will help you today. Adapt with coming changes and your supply chain management operations will soar with success.

Charlie Alsmiller

Throughout his career, Charlie Alsmiller has focused on customer problems in difficult industries such as Energy and Telecommunications. Prior to starting Appterra in 2005, Alsmiller was VP of Global Operations for Allegro Development, a leading provider of software for the energy sector. He has also served as president of OmniSpace Technologies, a leading SaaS provider that he founded in 1999. He spent over 10 years in the consulting world with Price Waterhouse and Deloitte Consulting, where he participated in a wide variety of projects for very high profile clients. Mr. Alsmiller holds a BBA from Baylor University in Management and Information Systems and a MBA from the University of Dallas in International Business. Specialties: Technology ventures, Enterprise Software, Contract Negotiation, International Operations, Private Equity, Product Management, Strategic Alliances, Software Implementation, Software Development

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