Search By Topic The Green Supply Chain Distribution Digest
Supply Chain Digest Logo

  First Thoughts

    Dan Gilmore


    Supply Chain Digest

Dec. 2, 2022

A Supply Chain Christmas List 2022

New Supply Chain Wishes for Santa Claus

As we head rapidly into the Holiday season, I will note that every few years about this time I offer my supply chain Christmas list for Santa’s consideration, and am doing so here again in 2022.

Let’s start with my wish that the war in Ukraine ends very soon, though I am not hopeful Santa can come through on this one. The human tragedy of those poor Ukrainians facing a brutal winter of freezing temperatures, no lights, food scarcity and more is hard to process, as Scrooge Putin targets such civilian infrastructure.

Gilmore Says....

I have written on this before, but I would like to see a little more clarity on what “supply chain digitization” really means, even as it is currently much in vogue.

What do you say?

Click here to send us your comments

There are supply chain implications too, including high energy food and costs that are a factor in global inflation – while who knows what a desperate Putin might do. May we find a path to peace.

I wish we had more supply chain thought leadership. Who are our thought leaders today anyway? A few come to mind: my friend David Simchi-Levi and Yossi Sheffi of MIT. I will add Thomas Choi of Arizona State, who consistent produces interesting content. Others may come to your mind.

Gartner certainly produces a lot of content, but that’s a little different.

I have said this before, but in these challenging supply chain times we need more thought leadership from our top consulting firms. We get some for sure, but is there a consultant name that comes mind today? Probably not. George Stalk, now partly retired from Boston Consulting, is one exception worth mentioning.

This may be a bit of an odd one, but I wish RFID would finally gain some critical mass. Odd in at least the fact that I was a major skeptic for few years in the face of the massive initial RFID hype, tied in large part to the (in)famous Walmart RFID mandate. The announcement of that mandate will see its 20th anniversary in 2023. Time flies, doesn’t it.

Yes, a few retailers (Target, Macy’s, Walmart) are very invested item-level RFID – but it’s not enough. RFID is simply not widely used in most supply chains. That’s two decades of modest progress at best.

But you know in many applications RFID just really is better than bar code, and some day will largely win out, bringing greater efficiency and accuracy of many supply chain processes.

I am wishing it really starts to happen in a few years – and we don’t see more decades of market underperformance.

I have written on this before, but I would like to see a little more clarity on what “supply chain digitization” really means, even as it is currently much in vogue.

From what I have seen over a number of years, digitization is generally defined in relationship to adoption of a wide array of individual technologies: 3D printing, advanced analytics, digital twins, drones, robots, RFID, sensors, etc.

These can all be useful tools, but there has to be some more meat behind what digitization is all about, doesn’t there?

I actually have some thoughts on this I will share in 2023 – and know someone else who has his own thoughts on this topic.

I would also like Santa to clue me in as to whether “Lean” approaches can work in distribution. I’ve seen a handful examples over many years (as with a few employing “Theory of Constraints” principles), but usually in isolated processes, not at all in a broad sense.

My thinking is that the answer is no, Lean does not really apply in distribution centers – but I would be happy to have Santa prove me wrong.

Finally I do really ask that companies bring production back to US soil. Thus far, despite some anecdotal successes, the numbers simply show very little “reshoring.”

But the country would in total benefit enormously if it were to happen, I believe. To be clear, these would involve new age, heavily automated factories that individually offer a fraction of the jobs per level of output versus yesteryear.

However, in aggregate, the number of direct factory jobs could be substantial, but to me more importantly, research has shown that where a product is made is eventually where product engineering and innovation research and development take place – and we have been bleeding this intellectual property and competitive advantage to China for three decade.

We need to keep it here.

With that Santa, I think I will end my Christmas list for this year. There’s actually a few more in my head, but I don’t want to look like a greedy kid and wind up with just a lump of supply chain coal instead.

What do you think of my supply chain Christmas list? What’s on yours? Let me know.

Any reaction to this these thoughts on Gilmore's Xmas list? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

Your Comments/Feedback




Follow Us

Supply Chain Digest news is available via RSS
RSS facebook twitter youtube
bloglines my yahoo
news gator


Subscribe to our insightful weekly newsletter. Get immediate access to premium contents. Its's easy and free
Enter your email below to subscribe:
Join the thousands of supply chain, logistics, technology and marketing professionals who rely on Supply Chain Digest for the best in insight, news, tools, opinion, education and solution.
Home | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact Us | Sitemap | Privacy Policy
© Supply Chain Digest 2006-2023 - All rights reserved