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Supply chain 2013: best of the best

by Kevin O'Marah

On a sunny winter morning in London just before Christmas, I am reflecting on the fact that 2013 has been a fast, fun and fantastic year for us at SCM World. Looking back 12 months, I wouldn’t have dared hope for so much high-quality insight and innovation coming from our growing community. But here we are, closing out the year and I feel equally grateful for what I’ve learned personally and hopeful for what we as a community can learn in 2014.

In the spirit of recognising those who’ve done so much to elevate the strategic role of supply chain in business around the world, I’d like to call out some of the very best of what we saw in 2013.

Best live webinar – John Kern and Jie Xue, Cisco

SCM World’s content library comprises hundreds of “assets” – our term for specific knowledge that is available to our members. Among these assets are live webinars, in which senior practitioners describe projects they’ve worked on, issues they’ve faced and results they’ve achieved. This particular webinar, which was broadcast in July, explains how Cisco links supply chain and product innovation. It was our most viewed live webinar of the year by some distance.

Best on-demand webinar – Richard Markoff, L’Oréal

In addition to the monthly live webinars, we also pre-record presentations that are available to SCM World members at any time. Richard Markoff’s explanation of L’Oréal’s supply chain transformation and segmentation strategy was the most heavily downloaded and viewed of all the on-demand webinars in our library this year.

Best event presentation – Hans Van Alebeek, Nike

SCM World events, including the Leaders Forum in Gleneagles, Scotland, SCM World Live in Miami, and smaller events targeting S&OP, collaboration and service supply chains, feature superb senior executive presentations on strategy and tactics. Hans Van Alebeek’s session on supply chain agility detailed Nike’s management of the highly unpredictable, but massively valuable, NFL apparel business. He nailed the sizzle, but somehow managed also to cover the details deeply enough to deliver the steak.

Vendor of the year – Llamasoft

Among the most successful research projects conducted this year was our study of manufacturing footprint designs. The recommendations included the use of supply network modelling to simulate the complex trade-offs involved in making big investment decisions on plant capacity. In parallel, we saw lots of interest in supply chain risk management and increasingly also logistics network redesign. The one common thread, regardless of industry, seemed to be Llamasoft. It’s a small company, but apparently getting bigger fast.

Special leadership awards – John Church, General Mills, and Beth Ford, Land O’ Lakes

John Church and Beth Ford are both members of our Executive Advisory Board, and as such have dedicated a lot of time to guiding our work. Beyond this, however, each stepped up with beyond-the-call-of-duty contributions in 2013.

John helped to conceive and then hosted at General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis a great session on collaboration that offered the 30 or so attendees a chance to dig deeply into the critical but difficult problem of how to create and harvest shared value between companies. It was the highest rated event we have ever held.

Beth sparked a conversation on women in supply chain that has been a lightning rod all year long. With her support (and the help of many other members of the community), we have driven a dialogue around the touchy, but obviously important, question of how to foster the recruitment, development and retention of women executives in the supply chain. The topic has been such a hit that we have dedicated an entire one-day conference to it next February.

A special word of thanks to… our Executive Advisory Board

This group of 15 extremely busy, powerful people managed to commit not only the time needed to give us vital direction in our research and content strategies, but also had the foresight essential to see beyond the horizon. I like to believe that SCM World is uniquely able to look into the future and crystallise the essential questions that will define supply chain for the next generation. This would not be possible without our Executive Advisory Board.

It’s been a great 12 months. Here’s to an equally successful 2014.

See you in January.

Please contact me directly with any comments, questions or suggestions. I welcome your feedback.

Kevin O’Marah
Chief Content Officer
SCM World

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