Management

What’s a Bimodal Supply Chain Strategy Anyway?

What’s a Bimodal Supply Chain Strategy Anyway?

              If the latest hype is to be believed, a bimodal supply chain strategy will be the only way (for larger companies especially) to secure supply chain success in the future. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen. What it is apparent is that entrenchment in the conventional principles of linear supply chains just won’t do anymore. The supply chain environment has too many new challenges, driven by dramatic changes set in place by globalism, digital commerce, and increased consumer/buyer empowerment. So just in case, the bimodal concept proves worthy of the hype, it will at least pay to understand what it’s all about. The objective of this post therefore, is to clarify the meaning (in a nutshell) behind what may become the supply chain buzzword of 2017.   A Brief Explanation of the Bimodal Supply Chain The bimodal supply chain concept has nothing to do with shipping by air, sea, road or rail, although you could certainly be forgiven for thinking so—until you know better. In fact, bimodal supply chain strategy involves the simultaneous, side-by-side management of two distinct modes of operation, appropriately known as Mode 1 and Mode 2:   Mode 1: This is your traditional supply chain operation, based on efficiency, value-addition, and waste reduction, and eminently suited to what we now know as the old world of predictable demand. Let’s face it, even demand fluctuations used to be predictable compared to the current environment of volatility.   Mode 2: This is perceived as the new supply chain prerogative—a need to be flexible, agile, to take big, bold risks and experiment to find ways of adapting to rapid shifts in market forces (think natural disaster, economic upheaval, and political issues).   Two Into One Must Go If it helps, you can think of the two modes in a bimodal supply chain as being analog (Mode 1) and digital (Mode 2), but really the difference is more than merely technological. It’s also about the way your company promotes supply chain thinking, and as such, needs operational management teams comprised of both convergent and divergent thinkers.   Another way to visualise the concept is to consider Mode 1 as being traditional, while Mode 2 is exploratory.   If this sounds like a surefire way to promote, rather than discourage the silo mentality that so often pervades supply chain organisations,...

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6 Tips for Employee Theft Prevention in Your Distribution Centre

6 Tips for Employee Theft Prevention in Your Distribution Centre

With maybe hundreds of thousands of saleable products and materials in storage, distribution centres are tempting targets for theft by internal and external perpetrators. Effective prevention means guarding against theft by both external and internal perpetrators. However it’s the threat from within your warehouse walls which probably needs the most attention.   Employee Theft Prevention: Tackling the Threat Within It’s a sad fact that the risk of theft by employees is greater than that posed by external parties. Unless your perimeter security is very poor, your storage facilities are much more likely to lose inventory through the misdeeds of staff than as a result of a break-in. Of course DC theft prevention plans also need to consider the risk of theft by visiting drivers and employees of other companies who enter your premises in the course of their work. If you’re looking for some ways to improve theft prevention in your distribution centre, the following six tips will help you keep internal or external employees from helping themselves to inventory: Implement manned checkpoints at site entrances: All vehicles leaving your distribution centre should be inspected before being allowed to exit the site. In a smaller site, where security checkpoints are not practical, have a manager or supervisor regularly stop exiting vehicles at random, to carry out inspections. Separate receiving and shipping Docks: If possible, try to have a physical barrier between receiving and shipping areas. If you can’t physically separate the two areas, you should at least keep some distance between them; unless of course you are operating a cross-docking operation. In most warehouse scenarios, you want to make it difficult for goods to come off an inbound truck and disappear straight onto an outbound one. Keep stored inventory away from loading/unloading docks: Maintain a clear distance of at least ten feet between your cargo doors and any pick faces or inventory storage areas. The only goods that should be near to your shipping and receiving doors are those which are part of inbound or outbound orders. Locate warehouse manager’s office for maximum visibility: An elevated office within the warehouse will provide your warehouse managers with a broad field of view across the floor. This will help with theft prevention in your distribution centre, not only because of the improved visibility for managers, but also because employees know they might be under observation at any time. Keep private vehicles...

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Mindset Challenges for Supply Chain Executives

Paul Blackburn explains to Rob O’Byrne some of the common mindset challenges for Senior Executives.   Paul recently ran a session for members at Supply Chain Leaders Academy. You can find details of Paul’s Public Programs...

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