I had the pleasure of exhibiting at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference recently. Held in central London, the venue had a magnificent view of one of England’s icons, Big Ben. Another of England’s icons, Sir Clive Woodward, was a keynote speaker.
Woodward is famous for guiding the England rugby team to World Cup victory in 2003. One of the concepts he highlighted in his speech was T-CUP (Thinking Correctly Under Pressure), a phrase he famously coined that stresses the importance of contingency planning in order to prepare players to the nth degree, so that they can maintain their focus no matter what the distractions.
Not surprisingly, the idea of T-CUP is relevant in supply chain management (SCM). Companies themselves are demanding more from their supply chains and are seeing SCM systems as vital sources of information for data analysis. As a result of these increased expectations, SCM is changing quickly and its systems need to stay focused on the prize, something that was very apparent in London. Two trends I heard a lot about at the conference that illustrate this are:
- Bimodal supply chain. Of the speakers from the world of supply chain, many brought up Bimodal IT, defined by Gartner as “the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility.” Many had ‘Marathon Runner’ SCMs that had successfully run for many years, but they now needed to ‘Sprint’ with their supply chain data to achieve better data analytics and to fully benefit from an enhanced digital way of life.
- Augmented supply chain data. SCM is now far more than just exchanging EDI documents between trading partners. Not only can (and should) a supply chain include data from other internal systems, but also data from news feeds, meteorological data, and even the Internet of Things (IoT). The Thomson Reuters booth had a great example of how all this data can be brought together for insight into risk and predictive analysis.
Only by getting the ‘right data at the right time’ can your analysts think (and work) correctly under the competitive and demanding pressures of today’s data-centric supply chains. Put another way, it is preparing your systems to the nth degree, so that they can maintain their focus no matter what the distractions of poor data may be out there.
A great group of Liaison colleagues in London! From left to right: Robert Cooper, Ville Parkkinen, Amit Shrimali, and Berivan Gök.