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  First Thoughts

    Dan Gilmore


    Supply Chain Digest


Sept. 22, 2023

It's been 20 Years of SCDigest

Dan Gilmore Looks Back at Two Decades of Ground Breaking Supply Chain Publication


It was on September 25, 2003 that the first SCDigest electronic newsletter was delivered, meaning next week marks our 20th anniversary. It's hard to believe.

That first newsletter also featured my inaugural "First Thoughts" column that really built the brand. There is still, if I may say so, nothing else quite like it in the supply chain media.

Gilmore Says....

SCDigest really changed the supply chain media industry as the first all-digital publication, and using a style that uniquely positioned us between the traditional trade press and the analyst community.

What do you say?

Click here to send us your comments

Other than four off weeks we allow ourselves annually around major holidays, I believe in 20 years we have only missed a single week.

So at 48 newsletters and First Thoughts columns per year for 20 years, that math tells me we've had about 960 of each over two decades. I believe it actually is 959 newsletters (missing that one week), while I have used guest First Thoughts columnists maybe a dozen times.

Now back to that first edition. The topic of my column was "The Sorry State of ASNs." In the newsletter format we used back then (see image below), I was able to cover that still interesting topic in a mere 300 words. Now, I take more like 1000 words to get the column done. Maybe I should reconsider my model.

Regardless that first column is short enough that I can include it right here:

The Sorry State of ASNs

When the whole Quick Response initiative for consumer goods and retail was getting established in the early 1990's, (UCC-128 carton/pallet labeling, 856 advance ship notices), the majority of those in the industry, both vendors and end users, would have guessed that within just a few years virtually every logistics flow would have been based on ASN visibility and receiving.

Well, there certainly has been a lot done (a lot of progress?) in the retail chain and by many companies in other industries, but I am still amazed, as we approach 2004, at the number of companies, including major corporations, that aren't getting ASN's even from their own plants into DCs, let alone from outside suppliers.

Wow. I met with the CIO of a large restaurant chain recently, who in a discussion of some new web based tools that could make it relatively easy for suppliers to start generating ASNs for them, reacted something like "We wouldn't want to place an additional burden on our vendors."

I kind of thought it was more like supply chain integration, which, by the way, saves you about 40% in receiving time and improves inventory management.

So what's the deal? Ok, traditional EDI is expensive and harder than it should be, but today there are lots of alternatives. It just isn't that hard to get ASN's intra-network - the barriers to doing so seem to be more political/cultural than IT or investment related - the payback for the investment is huge. OK, so there is a cost to manufacturing, and a benefit to distribution, but isn't this what supply chain management is all about - horizontal process integration, looking holistically at lowest total costs? The web should make getting ASNs intra-company and from suppliers a lot easier. So why aren't we further along?

The funny thing is, I am not sure how much ASN progress has really been made in the 20 years since. I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

First SCDigest Digital Newsletter in 2003





SCDigest really changed the supply chain media industry as the first all-digital publication, and using a style that uniquely positioned us between the traditional trade press and the analyst community.

We were doing lots of webinars and then videocasts before most of the other media had any idea.


I gained a level of fame from my written and video "trip reports" from major supply chain conferences and events, publishing one just last week on the 2023 Parcel Forum, with another scheduled of course for CSCMP Edge in a couple of weeks.


We have some major plans for 2024.

It's been a wild ride. Thanks to all of you for being part of it.

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