When is the right time to seek a new IT solution for your business? How does UPS reduce travel time for their drivers? And what can Amazon learn from Rakuten?
At the Singapore stop of the Quintiq World Tour this year, our panel of industry influencers delved into these topics and more. Read on for the highlights:
How do you know that your planning software is no longer enough and you should look for something more?
Captain Vivek Sood (Managing Director, Global Supply Chain Group): 10 years ago, I would’ve said, “Wait till your plans are so rigid, that people start to work around the plans.” That might happen on the first day, or two years later. But today I say, “Why wait?” We have an enormous database of knowledge accumulated over the past 10 years or so. There’s no need to wait.
Suhas Bhise (Head of PPC, Logistics and Sourcing, Arvind Limited): At Arvind, we began looking for a new solution because there was a limitation to how much our existing planning system could meet our requirements. At the same time, our business was growing tremendously well every year, which meant a significant increase in the volume of production. Our planners had a lot more to deal with, and we realized we had to move beyond spreadsheet planning.
Charlie Macdonald (Industry Executive for Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics, Telstra): We’re on this journey of transformation towards customer centricity. For three years, we’ve been using the Net Promoter Score to measure customer satisfaction. Our remuneration packages – including the CEO’s – were tied to the NPS. For two years, we didn’t get bonuses because we didn’t adhere to our customer service standards. We responded by implementing a lot of changes, and you know what, this year we got paid. But now, based on customer feedback, we’re told that we have a huge problem with our internal processes and systems. For example, our employee is trying to help a customer on the line but things aren’t going anywhere. The employee says, “I really want to help you but the system won’t let me.” We have to address this and change our underlying system, to free our staff to serve customers better.
What are some practices in Asia that could be adopted by the rest of the world, and vice versa?
Kris Kosmala (Vice President APAC, Quintiq): I’d like to share the Rakuten story. Rakuten wanted to be like Amazon but realized there was better money to be made through outsourcing of supply chain. As their trucks go around making last-mile deliveries to their customers, they’d check if their pick-up points contained any other goods that require transportation as well. It’s a combination of supply and demand. This is something Amazon doesn’t do, but I can see this practice making its way to the US.
Dr Mahender Singh (Founding CEO & Rector, Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation): The simplest thing UPS does is: No left turns for truck routes, only right turns. Because in the US, making a left turn means waiting for a crossing as there’s a traffic light. Simple things like this can become very meaningful.
Charlie: This might not be a new idea but it’s a great one to mention. Freight Exchange is a software platform for excess freight capacity. It creates a two-sided marketplace for those in the freight transport industries. If you’re an interstate line haul driver going from Melbourne to Brisbane and you’ve got available freight, you publicize that on Freight Exchange. If you’re a sender and you need something picked up, you log on too. This software platform connects spare capacity to demand. We have significant imbalance of freight and lots of empty legs because of the dispersed population. If we can have better asset utilization, it’ll be good for everybody.
Vivek: Amazon is looking into predictive shipping. No doubt that it’s the next step in e-commerce. Behind the scenes, they’re already conducting robust behavioral scoring that’s based on customer buying patterns. They will also start shipping in closer proximity, so you might see Amazon buying UPS stores in the future.
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