Monday, March 21, 2011

IT is Everybody’s Business

imageIn May 2003, Harvard Business Review printed “IT Doesn’t Matter” by Nicholas G. Carr. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. IT matters. A lot. And will continue to matter for the foreseeable future. Carr’s comparison of IT with infrastructure from the industrial age just does not cut it, it never did.
Of course, the time has provided all the evidence:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Channels, Old Problems

Multi-channel retailing is all the buzz, but familiar problems lurk. There is hardly a retailer who does not operate an online channel, some operate several. To that, the new emerging mobile channels as well as the social media-based sales channels (remember, Delta just enabled their Facebook channel so you can buy Delta tickets without ever leaving Facebook, check out for yourself at: and of course the old mail catalogs. You get the picture.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Compete to Win: Align Your Process and Technology to Your Business

It is logical: to get the best of your investments in technology, align them with the business processes they are enabling, and align those business processes with the business strategy. Common sense, may be, but it is easier said than done.
A new study from RSR points out the common misalignment between business & technology groups, but also offers some pointers to solve the issue. In a report titled, “Pandora's Box? The Impact of New Technologies on Retail IT”, RSR identifies the following.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Innovation at P&G: Advantage through Process Focus

P&G’s ex-CEO, Lafley, believes that “The heart of a company’s business model should be game-changing innovation”. With that belief, Lafley started to build a sustainable culture of innovation at P&G and establish innovation as a process that was superior to its competition. A process that is scalable, repeatable, sustainable, and hence superior to its competitors. The result: P&G’s continuous success as a profitable and growing business. This is the gist of an article on “P&G’s Innovation Culture” by strategy+business magazine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Understanding Advantage

imageIn several of my articles on supply chain strategy, I have emphasized that capabilities are the origin of all competitive advantages. So what must a capability deliver to create such competitive advantage and contribute towards achieving the goals of the business strategy?
In simple terms, a firm will have a competitive advantage, if its products are superior or if it provides superior customer service and so on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Supply Chain Innovations Add to GDP Growth

While this article from McKinsey is about the relationship between productivity and jobs growth, one of the graphics caught my attention. See below the exhibit from the referenced article which is available at:
McKinsey believes that the biggest potential growth in GDP, to the tune of 1.2%, can come from “Next-wave innovation – e.g. enhanced supply chain integration, cloud computing”. While innovation would have been an expected GDP driver, as always in the US economy, the special mention of supply chains within the context was somewhat unexpected. This makes two things explicit: Innovation can come from anywhere including things as mundane as supply chains, and the potential of such supply chain innovations towards contributing to the GDP.
What could these supply chain innovations look like? RFID, geo-location based services, optimization across processes conventionally planned in silos, integrated process control systems capable of detecting & isolating exceptions, automated exception resolution and escalation, supply chain modeling real-world using probabilistic modeling capabilities, real-time visibility into supply chain process data & statuses, and so on. In fact, what most companies have achieved in managing their supply chains just happens to be just a good start – there is still a lot of runway left to cover and costs to cut while doing so! Happy GDP growth.
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© Vivek Sehgal, 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Want to know more about supply chain processes? How they work and what they afford? Check out my books on Supply Chain Management at Amazon.