CSCMP & SCEF Join Forces for Spring*2008 Forum

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The Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute (SCL) hosted the spring 2008 Supply Chain Executive Forum (SCEF) on April 23rd and 24th at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. The SCEF, an exclusive biannual meeting of thought leadership across the supply chain, is an evolving and transformative group that works through collaboration to provide insight into important issues of the day, make positive, more efficient changes within the industry and to stay in touch with current trends. It also provides an opportunity to network in a meaningful way with peers in supply chain management.

This year brought a new twist to the gathering. In true collaborative form, Dr. John Langley, Director of Supply Chain Executive Programs and SCL Professor of Supply Chain Management, orchestrated a joint meeting of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Atlanta Roundtable and the SCEF for the first time, bringing together two of the best organizations in their class.

The CSCMP meeting was held on day one and focused on the theme of "Global Supply Chain Challenges.* The meeting was kicked off with a presentation by John Mariotti, President and CEO of The Enterprise Group, and former President of Rubbermaid Office Products Group and of Huffy Bicycles, who discussed his latest book, The Complexity Crisis: Why Too Many Products, Markets, and Customers Are Crippling Your Company * And What To Do About It. John challenged the group to "declare war on complexity,* and pointed out that companies all over the world are struggling with this crisis but don't realize that it is a crisis of their own making. In fact, he suggested that while complexity sometimes starts "innocently,* it grows "insidiously.* To combat complexity, he suggested that industry leaders take the time to define complexity in their organizations, measure it, communicate it to raise awareness, personalize it, fix it, and control it. According to John Mariotti, this clarity of focus will reap huge savings for any company.

Raj Penkar, Vice President of Global Solutions at UPS Supply Chain Solutions, provided insight into the criticality of information and supply chain flexibility in complex environments. Penkar discussed how flexibility should be designed into the supply chain right from the beginning. Knowing your products and your market's characteristics well and having a plan of action on how to respond to unforeseen disruptions, like natural and man made disasters, is crucial to success.

Dr. Donald Bowersox, a CSCMP founder and Dean Emeritus at Michigan State University, discussed his new book, Start Pulling Your Chain! Leading Responsive Supply Chain Transformation. Focusing on the topic of transformation, "the process of driving fundamental and sustainable change,* he shared his thoughts on how and why we operate supply chains within businesses today and the paradigm shift needed to compete in the disruptive Information Age going forward. He also discussed what a responsive supply chain business model might look like and how it might perform within a company and between supply chair partners. In terms of advice to the CSCMP and SCEF attendees, he identified four essential steps in the transformation process: awareness; ratcheting; catapulting; and endurance. Also, recommended how supply chain professionals may wish to allocate their time across a successful career to the objectives of leadership, managership, and followership, respectively, and how the EERS (effectiveness, efficiency, relevancy, and sustainability) Value Performance Model may be used to measure success with supply chain transformation.

The afternoon presentations concluded with a panel discussion including moderator Mike Sullivan, Booz Allen Hamilton; Jim Lane, Senior Director of Operations at Carter, Inc.; Lloyd Rich, Director of Import/Export Logistics & Compliance at Georgia Pacific; and Rob Haddock, Director of Supply Planning at Coca-Cola North America, discussing the key challenges, trends, and opportunities in their companies.

The next day the SCEF jumped into full swing focusing on the theme of "Demand-Driven Supply Chains: How Do We Get From Here to There?* Before introducing the slate of speakers for the day, Dr. Langley posed seven key questions and issues that the group discussed throughout the Forum. They were:

* What are the benefits of "demand-driven* supply chains?
* What is needed for an organization to move toward "demand-driven* supply chain management (SCM)?
* What role does technology play in structuring and operating "demand-driven* supply chains?
* What is the role of the retailer in achieving the objectives of demand-driven SCM?
* How can supply chain organizations effectively work together to achieve the objectives of "demand-driven* SCM?
* What can logistics facilitators, such as transporters and 3PLs do to help with "demand-driven* SCM?
* Where does "demand-driven* SCm reside in the "life-cycle* of supply chain management?

The first presentation for the day was a special, interactive, "no-holds barred* conversation with Dr. Donald Bowersox, founding father of the supply chain profession. Bowersox's conversation was moderated by Dr. John Langley and Gene Tyndall, Tompkins Associates. Bowersox picked up from his discussion yesterday and shared his thoughts on how you can lead responsive supply chain transformation within your company. He discussed how the supply chain profession has moved to the executive suite and how to continue to move this profession to an even higher level. He cautioned the group to be aware, "change is happening and some won't be ready.* He stated that to stay on top of your game you should focus on education, functional excellence, and collaboration between industry and academic programs. He also challenged the group to take a hard look at their companies to see if they are being efficient, but doing the wrong things. Last, Dr. Bowersox stressed the need for "industry-academic partnerships* to help make progress and achieve the objectives of supply chain transformation.

Keynote speaker, Pat Sinnott, SVP Supply Chain with Canadian Tire Corporation (CTR), provided perspectives on the Canadian Tire Corporation's focus on demand-driven supply chains which are driven from the front by customer demand. Instead of products being pushed to market, they are pulled to market by customers. Canadian Tire is Canada's leading retailer, and an innovator in terms of supply chain improvement and supply chain transformation. Essentially, and since all Canadian Tire retail stores are "franchise* stores, CTR ships only what is ordered by each individual store, and manages a "demand-driven* fulfillment process that spans a 26 to 39 week business horizon. Interesting topics addressed by Mr. Sinnott included managing staffing requirements in a demand-driven supply chain environment, using both east- and west-coast ports to balance nation-wide movement of products to support the store operations, and key success factors in CTR's demand-driven environment.

Eric Peters, CEO of TrueDemand, Inc., discussed challenges in the new demand-driven environment and how things can go wrong for a product at the shelf. Peters noted that empty shelves and misplaced promotions are some of the areas of concern for lost sales, and that the replenishment process is a manual process lacking a technology solution and results in inaccurate store inventories and inaccurate predictions of demand. He suggested forecasting on the store/item level will increase accuracy and will help with better store replenishment decision by optimizing replenishment parameters, better estimation of lost sales during OOS, and better estimation of DC orders and timing. Peters discussed TrueDemand's software-as-a-service (SAAS) suite and how it enables retail account teams, sales executives and in-store merchandising teams to use an ordinary web browser or handheld device to predict and prevent the most common root causes for suppressed sales at the shelf.

Andrew White, Vice President ERP and SCM Research, discussed issues relating to demand-driven supply chains from the perspective of the technology provider. His presentation, titled "Preparing for the Post-Lean Supply Chain Era,* focused on three objectives: how is the business mission of SCM changing; how can IT support the changing role of SCM in the business; and how is the IT market evolving, and responding to these changes. In so doing, Andrew highlighted "six precepts IT managers must know to champion SCM,* and discussed how to align supply chain capabilities with overall business strategies * with a suggested priority on agile process orchestration across the supply chain. Among his parting elements of advice to the audience, Andrew suggested not to bet on a single SCM strategy, but to plan for a diversity of requirements.

Greg Andrews, Managing Director, EMIL, discussed the H. Milton Stewart's School of Industrial and Systems Engineering's Executive Masters in International Logistics (EMIL). EMIL, an international eighteen-month logistics and supply chain program, is designed to keep key employees on-the-job while teaching them practical techniques in business management, supply chain strategy, international logistics, and e-commerce.

The meeting concluded with a stimulating panel discussion comprised of SCEF members Eddie Capel, Manhattan Associates; Tom Jones, Ryder; Pat Sinnot, Canadian Tire; and Dr. Chris Norek from Chain Connectors, who moderated the session. They discussed key issues relating to demand-driven supply chains and how they relate to their companies.

The next meeting of the Supply Chain Executive Forum is scheduled for October 22-23, 2008. For more information on how to become a member and participate in the Supply Chain Executive Forum, please call the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute at 404-894-2343, or visit


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Created: 05/20/2008
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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