Managing director of Supply Chain Management at Accenture, Mark Pearson, completes a four installment series for Logistics Management magazine on the topic of Dynamic Operations. We highly recommend reading the series. Defined as, “global supply chains imbued with the ability to alter the function and focus of key processes like manufacturing, transportation, distribution”; dynamic operations rely on innovative processes and technology to attain the visibility and agility required to ride the waves of market volatility (as opposed to being capsized by them). Parts 1, 2 and 3 focused respectively on:
“Insight to Action: sensing, capturing, and analyzing external and internal data and turning it into usable business intelligence.
Adaptable Structure: creating products, processes, and systems that are easily modified in response to changing conditions.
Flexible Innovation: making design and development processes less rigid by reducing changeover times, increasing interchangeability, and designing products that embrace multi-channel networks and technology.”
The final installment focuses on agile execution and very neatly articulates the business case for implementing a TMS/optimizer combination. Yes, a TMS suite delivers the insight to support actionable, data-driven decision making. “SaaS” or “web-based” TMS platforms in particular provide the adaptable structure and enable the flexible innovation Pearson refers to. However, the final piece of the puzzle – agile execution – cannot be fully realized by software alone. True, the insight, adaptability and innovation afforded by this software is a prerequisite for agile execution, making real-time supply chain adjustments, cross-functional collaboration and increased efficiency possible. However, achieving true agility requires a high level of flexibility among the user groups who’d be most impacted by the implementation of transportation management software and optimization tools. Moreover, a strong and dedicated provider, with experience in reengineering the appropriate business processes and the change management strategies to ensure user adoption are also critical to achieving a true, agile environment.
Dynamic operations is a concept that is being propelled by the ever-increasing significance of supply chains in the global economy. It is both a catalyst and a product of the nexus of global trade and internet technology. Organizations focusing on dynamic operations as a goal will surely outperform those that fail to do so.