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Tools & technology

BUSINESS SOFTWARE Coping with unpredictability

The number of ‘impossible to predict’ supply chain sce- narios ranges from ‘anticipating consumer behaviour in an online economy’ and ‘understanding the impact of social media on trade’ to ‘reacting to natural disasters that influence the availability and transportation of goods’. So far, most supply chains have not been designed to cope with that kind of unpredictability – which is why Manhattan Associates, supply- chain software provider, is introducing its so-called ‘Platform Thin- king’ approach.

At the heart of this new approach is Manhattan’s Supply Chain Process Platform, which makes use of information from the entire range of supply chain solutions within the Manhattan Scope portfolio. It is intended to encourage companies to think about the supply chain as a cohesive whole rather than as separate solutions each designed for a specific purpose within the business processes.

In a press release, Pieter Van den Broecke, Managing Direc- TRAINING In-house game for supply chain management

Perhaps there is a lack of internal colla- boration, or the Key Performance Indica- tors (KPIs) are not aligned with the corpo- rate strategy. Maybe everyone is focused solely on their own targets, the strategy is not being translated into effective acti- ons, or trade-offs are not being properly thought through. If one or more of these scenarios sound familiar, help is now at hand thanks to Involvation in the form of its in-house training course or ‘serious game’: The Fresh Connection.

The Fresh Connection programme, in which participants are tasked with managing a fictitious juice-manufactu- rer’s supply chain, is designed for any general or functional managers who are involved in supply chain management, either directly or indirectly. The game presents the participants with a number of tasks, allows them to make decisions, follow the developments in the supply

chain and create their own KPI dash- board. They gain tremendously rapid insights into the consequences of all their decisions. The Fresh Connection highlights many important lessons, such as that collabo- ration, both internally and throughout the chain, is the key to success, and that it is essential to remain constantly alert to any changes in the environment. “The Fresh Connection offers a wealth of valuable experiences to companies who take part as a team,” says Alfons Willemsen from Involvation. “It enables participants to experiment in a safe envi-

ronment, for example, and gain a deeper knowledge and understanding. Not only that, but the overall learning effect is much greater since the effects of partici- pants’ decisions become apparent much sooner than in reality.” The Fresh Connection has already been used for supply chain management, Sales & Operations Planning and leader- ship development courses within several companies, including Canon, DuPont, LambWeston, Mars, McDonalds, Phi- lips, Philip Morris and L’Oreal. “Invol- vation is receiving a growing number of requests to provide some form of in-company training,” says Willemsen. “Formats can vary from half-day sessions to complete, global supply chain acade- mies which encompass the entire range of Involvation supply chain training opportunities.”

tor of Central Europe at Manhattan Associates, says: “Every sin- gle action, from order management and distribution right up to returns management, influences the performance of the supply chain as a whole. Our platform has been designed to extract infor- mation from all of the integrated solutions, to apply these to the network and hence to improve a company’s flexibility and its abi- lity to react.”



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