sc digest
January 17, 2013 - Supply Chain Newsletter

This Week in SCDigest

bullet Trip Report: NRF 2013
bullet SC Digest On-Target e-Magazine
bullet Supply Chain Graphic of the Week and Supply Chain by the Numbers bullet Holste's Blog/Distribution Digest
bullet Cartoon Caption Contest Continues This Week! bullet Trivia
bullet Supply Chain By Design/ New Expert Column bullet Feedback


Lean Freight Performance Via Timely Freight Post-Audits, Green Benefits,
Retail Supply Chain Special Reports and more

  first thought


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week:

Economic Impact of Poor Infrastructure

Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of January 17, 2013:

  • Is US Slipping Even in Advanced Manufacturing?
  • UPS-TNT Deal Explodes
  • Sony Keeps the DVDs Moving
  • We are Barely Covered with US Made Apparel



January 8, 2012 Contest

See The Full-Sized Cartoon and Send In Your Entry Today!


Secure, Compliant Collaboration in the Cloud

In the form of a Q&A with expert IDC analysts, this white paper explores what tools and technologies are being adopted to facilitate Extended Enterprise Collaboration (such as cloud-based solutions) - as well as strategies for empowering business users while still holding sensitive information secure.

Holste's Blog: Strategic Planning - The Key to Improving Performance


Cross Enterprise Supply Chain Collaboration and Visibility


Research Questions: What progress have companies made connecting with supply chain partners? What levels of visibility are being achieved with 3PLs and contract manufacturers?

Please help by taking this quick 7 minute survey. All respondents will receive a summary of the data in the near future.

Weekly On-Target Newsletter:
January 17, 2012 Edition
Cost of Poor Infrastructure; WMS Blended Rates; US Manufacturing Slipping and more



Top Five Models You

Should Build in 2013

By Dr. Michael Watson

A New Year’s Resolution - Keep Bending that Cost Curve

By Scott Deutsch
Director, Global Marketing
Vocollect, a Business Unit of Intermec


About what percent of Walmart's US total procurement comes from US sources?
Answer Found at the Bottom of the Page

Trip Report: NRF 2013

I am fairly fresh back from New York City and the Javits convention center for the National Retail Federation's "Big Show" for 2013. It was an interesting couple of days.

Thousands of you have watched our Day 1 and Day 2 video reviews. I hope by early next week that we will have the longer videos broken down into shorter segments so you can just look at something that is of specific interest to you. Look for that in our On-Target newsletter.


"I have been told the lower level will be expanded even further in 2014. Why care about all this? Because it shows the level of interest in retail-related technology right now."


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Feedback here

This is the third consecutive year I have attended NRF after a fairly long absence, and you might reasonably ask why Supply Chain Digest is reporting again on this retail-focused show. Three reasons: (1) I try to emphasize supply chain related themes and new technology solutions; (2) Many of the trends in-store in the end have an impact on the consumer goods supply chain one way or another; (3) As long as I am looking at the first two, I might as well report on some of the many just plain interesting things that might be worth noting for us as shoppers - or even trigger parallel ideas for the supply chain.

That said, here we go. NRF told me they thought the week would end with attendance at about 28,500, up a bit from last year. I will tell you to me the show felt packed - busy from early until late, at least on Monday and Tuesday when I was there. In fact, for the first time this year, they kept the show floor open from 9 am until 6:30 pm, versus the usual close at 5, responding to demand from exhibitors for more floor time. Let me tell you, that is a long day, but while attendance faded a bit towards the end, it was strong enough to support that decision - probably fueled by attendees who came in Monday morning and maybe didn't get to the show floor until noon or something.

Also for the first time, another pretty large area of display space was opened down a level from the main show floor, driven of course by more demand for booths than the existing area could support. Often, these secondary areas see poor foot traffic, and I was wondering if that would be the case here too, using myself as a case study, as I stuck just to the main level on Monday. But Tuesday proved me wrong, as the lower level was quite busy, probably buoyed by putting one of the seminar areas at the back of that hall.

I have been told the lower level will be expanded even further in 2014. Why care about all this? Because it shows the level of interest in retail-related technology right now.

Which is a nice transition into what I view as the three key themes of this year's show, clearly driving much of that retail interest. Those are:

1. Multi-Channel Commerce: There is simply tremendous pressure for retailers to get really good at this, and as I have mentioned before what is in a sense different than most operational challenges is that this is primarily in fact a technology problem. There are many things some retailers would like to do (e.g., order on-line, pick-up in store) that they can't do yet simply because their existing systems won't support it. On a bus ride back to the hotel, a technology manager from LL Bean agreed with me on this.

Actually, the current in vogue term seems to be "omni-channel," and in fact I ran into a guy from Macy's with the title "Director, OmniChannel." Here, there and everywhere were booths with tools of all sorts to support omni-channel capabilities. It seemed like that is why a lot of attendees came. What is cool about omni-channel is that it really ties at the hip merchandising and the supply chain (fulfillment).

2. Advanced Analytics: This was last year's top theme, still prominent this week, but down a notch. There are just some really smart applications out there now for taking lots of information (Big Data) and/or data from multiple sources and turning it into insight/decision-support and increasingly automated processing based on that analysis. It is being used for new approaches to forecasting, as just one of many examples.

Much of it is cool and a megatrend, I believe, but I had two separate conversations with retailers who worried their organizations just were not ready to really embrace leveraging this much data, even if the analytics are meant to simplify that for you. But it is coming nevertheless, and will change supply chains and more.

3. Everything in the Cloud: Most everyone was pitching some sort of cloud platform, at times even contorting themselves to get a cloud message out there. This is just where this is all headed, at high speed.

Past those three main themes, some quick news: Bill Simon, head of Walmart Americas, said in a keynote presentation that Walmart is committing to increasing sourcing from US manufacturers by $50 billion over 10 years. It is assumed this means ramping up to an average of $5 billion more per year. That would represent just about 2% of Walmart's total US procurement, but interestingly Simon said a lot of the focus will be in sectors such as apparel, furniture and appliances that have been decimated domestically due to offshoring.

Ken Bonning, head of logistics and IT for Kohl's, won a Silver plaque award for what appears to be general service to NRF and the retail industry. I liked this quote from Bonning: "excellence in execution will almost always trump a clever strategy."

I do not have much space left, but here are some of the most interesting products/solutions I saw over two days. More detail in the full videos, which again will be broken out early next week.

TXT Maple Lake: Supply chain planning company for retail and consumer goods. European TXT recently acquired Canadian Maple Lake. Nice looking product, and a planning option many (including me) may not be aware of. Counts Levi's, Tesco, Louis Vuitton among 300+ customers.

Wincor Nixdorf: Has fully commercialized its "360" bar code scan tunnel system for grocery checkout (we just saw a prototype in 2012). Moves items on high speed on a belt through a scanner array, with downstream bagging areas and payment system. Company says it has three Euro customers, and much interest in US. The system used at NRF is being shipped directly to a major US grocery chain's test lab. Key point is that if this works, it would reduce interest in item-level RFID in consumer packaged goods to speed check out.

Newland: With recent mergers leaving US RF/wireless terminal market as a near duopoly between Motorola Solutions and Honeywell, here comes a Chinese based provider trying to enter US market after apparent success in Asia, Australia, and some Europe. New US offices focused on building distribution channels. Not surprisingly, Newland says devices are lower prices than leaders. We will follow this up.

Manhattan Associates: Interesting new Store Commerce Activation product is a sort of hybrid between a "light" warehouse management system for in-store inventory tracking and a centralized application to enable ecommerce fulfillment from any store/inventory location in the network. Well thought through, based in part on input from a major specialty apparel chain.

3VR: A "video analytics" provider that introduced solution that can use existing store security video systems to determine number, gender and age range of store customers, as well as other information such as conversion rates. Cool on its own, execs there said the technology is also being used in supply chain, such as analyzing conveyor flow and bottlenecks and "heat mapping" picking areas in a DC.

BlueRidge and LogFire: Pure cloud-based DC/store replenishment solution and warehouse management provider, respectively. Former makes strong case why cloud offers better total value prop for planning applications (faster processing), while the latter is part of clear trend of WMS finally moving to the cloud.

JDA Software: Says it is really working to integrate RedPrairie's fulfillment capabilities with its multi-channel commerce solutions after their merger. Wayne Usie adds multi-channel is forcing retailers to get more aggressive about integrating planning and execution.

All I have room for here. More video summaries from ProMat next week. Hope to see you there.

Any reaction to Gilmore's NRF trip report? What did you see as interesting solutions there? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button (email) or section below.


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In the Cloud and Behind the Firewall: Choosing an EDI Integration Solution that Grows with Your Organization

Learn the Benefits of the Scalable Solution, and How to Find the One Best Suited to Your Needs

Featuring Mike Neadeau, VP Business Development, DiCentral and Ann Grackin, CEO, ChainLink Research

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On Demand Videocast :

Introduction to Automated Procurement

Changing the TMS Game with Advanced Carrier Sourcing

Featuring Aditya Desai, Product Management, B2B Commerce Supply Chain Applications, IBM and Jeff Robbins, Product Management, Sourcing, IBM

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Closing the Gaps in S&OP

This survey aims to understand the level and degree of such S&OP gaps today. By completing the survey, you will be providing invaluable insights which will help the entire supply chain and business communities to understand the current status of and future opportunities for S&OP.

All respondents will receive a copy of the research results to see how they stand versus their peers in this important management practice.


This week, just a few snippets of the Feedback we received on SCDigest Editor Dan Gilmore's "Twas the Night Before a Supply Chain Christmas." Most were just of the "thanks, I really enjoyed it" kind, but here is a brief selection.

Feedback of Twas the Night Before a Supply Chain Christmas


Superb job! Merry Christmas, my friend!

Rich Sherman
Gold & Domas Research


I am just back from Christmas vacation and in regards to the poem, either Dan drank too much egg nog or slipped on some ice and hit his head... OR MAYBE BOTH? Just kidding! I appreciate Dan's efforts.

Dwight Boehm, P.Log
Manager, Communications and Training Development
Canadian Freightways


Very nice poem, Dan! But how did the verse on TMS end up on the cutting room floor???

Gregg Lanyard
Sr. Principal Product Strategy


(Lanyard is involved in product management for Oracle's TMS solution.)


Ho, ho, ho!

That was really funny. I am amazed at how Dan pulls something off like this each year. Best is the one where he was the supply chain Scrooge.

Keep them coming!

Alex Ross

Urbana, OH


Witty. Just very witty.

How Dan can be so analytic most of the time and then be creative and funny at another time is amazing.

Caitlyn Parks

Denver, CO



Q: About what percent of Walmart's US total procurement comes from US sources?

A: Maybe surprisingly, about two-thirds, in large part because of the huge growth in its grocery business, with most consumer packaged goods still made in the US.

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