Today, we are talking about what the rest of the world is talking about—the Suez Canal. Attempted relief efforts are underway, and some minor progress has been made as the Ever Given remains a blockade for the Sues Canal. This is leaving other ships awaiting clearance the option of waiting for the vessel to be freed from its landlocked position or attempt the long journey around Africa. It is estimated that the situation is costing the global economy millions of dollars each day as over 10% of maritime trade travels through the Suez Canal.
Whether you are a consumer or a business professional trying to receive goods, you are most likely going to feel some sort of impact from this situation. Oil is going to be one of the obvious impacts as a lot of oil shipments pass through the waterway. As 2020 has taught us, contingency plans need to be in place. In the instance of the Suez Canal, there was a serious lack of contingency planning in place. Similar to the pandemic, it is unlikely that one of the world’s largest ships would shutdown movement through the Suez Canal, but as we are witnessing, it has happened and there should have been a plan in place.
This leads to the question—how does one put a contingency plan in place in the event one of the largest shipping lanes in the world is shut down? This is something companies globally utilizing this method of transportation need to be thinking about. We are in a state of compounding issues that would have been seen as unusual or even impossible on their own. No one would have thought a pandemic would have happened, but it did. The world is still dealing with the repercussions of the pandemic through increased demand for goods, strained supply networks, and overburdened transportation channels. We are looking at tight transportation outlets as is and then a blocked Suez Canal exacerbates the stress. No plan any company had prepared would have immediately shifted the situation, or have been able to avoid some of the short-term consequences, but companies with strong emergency plans and nimble supply chains are likely to rebound much faster.
One aspect of COVID-19 that companies are beginning to tackle is demand planning and forecasting. Whether a company’s demand fell out entirely for a couple months or a company was selling more than ever, we are seeing inconsistent demand patterns year-over-year due to the impacts of COVID-19. From this arises a very critical question, how do companies account for the heavy variation in demand when looking into their forecasting methodology?
First and foremost, we know how important customer input can be to the demand planning process, but this is going to take center-stage as businesses begin to see COVID-19 numbers decline and the world return to a somewhat normal state. Customer insight will be absolutely paramount in the demand planning process as we do not necessarily know whether these very low or very high data points will continue into the future. Most likely, they will not, which means statistical forecasting models are going to be over and understated depending on the circumstances. Having the customer collaboratively work with sales and demand planning teams will greatly reduce the risks of inaccurate forecasting under normal circumstances, but will be even more useful as demand planners look for guidance to curb future variation in demand.
The next part of this is history manipulation. I know, history manipulation or data manipulation never sounds like a good thing, but we very well may need to consider looking at the data and trying to reconcile the history to reflect what may have happened without the global pandemic. There are clear risks here. Perhaps a customer wants and needs have permanently changed as a direct result on the pandemic and adjusting your history to try to improve models will cause an even greater error versus actual sales. There can also be a loss of information as turnover in the company would result in a loss of knowledge if meticulous notes were not taken to depict what actions were taken to adjust in the need to revert back to the actual figures
***Here we can see an example of how COVID-19 impacted variation in demand. The pre-pandemic sales average hovered right around 14,600 units. During the pandemic, the monthly average shifted to roughly 3,800 units.
I personally believe that the most likely outcome will be a shift in the consensus process. Forecasts may be simply a baseline number for the coming months where market intelligence from the field will play a more significant role in moving the forecasts up or down. While adjusting history is an option, no one knows the aftermath of the pandemic and what exactly it will do to demand along with the continuing supply chain challenges companies are facing. By using true historical values to provide the baseline forecasts, supply chain managers and planners will need to be in constant communication with the sales teams on deviations from the plan. This will lead to an overall reduction in silos as these groups work more collaboratively. It should also be noted that there may still be some true variability in demand for the coming months for a number of reasons. Among those reasons, companies or customers trying to “catch up” from their ongoing supply chain challenges and secure stable supply from their upstream supply chain.
How about you? What are you discussing with your teams in how to approach the wide variability in demand you are seeing?
Over the last year, the globe has seen tremendous swings in supply and demand stemming from the effects of the pandemic. We saw manufacturers shut their doors for anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months depending on the circumstances. This was an obvious reaction to COVID-19 and what had been determined as the likely trajectory of business during the onset of the pandemic. We also experienced shortages on a number of household goods such toilet paper and cleaning supplies. The shortages did not stop there. We have continued to see shortages off and on throughout the pandemic, notably in home gym equipment, electronics, and raw materials for manufacturing. What we are experiencing is the bullwhip effect — something that many of us in the supply chain world are all too familiar with, but consumers are now seeing firsthand.
Sharp drops in demand have led to manufacturers and retailers taking action, that was thought to be appropriate in order to safeguard their bottom line, by reducing inventories and cutting manufacturing where possible. Companies then began to drain their inventories as consumer demand started to grow, but manufacturing was far behind this uptick in demand. The global era of supply chain has led to sourcing decisions with suppliers scattered across the globe. This means that the ability of manufacturers to react to demand swings (especially all at once) is quite limited. If we consider the main links of the supply chain to be plan, source, make, deliver, and return, we can see there is a breakdown in the planning of what might happen, the forecast, and what is actually happening, the demand. Since the plan was incorrect, this will lead to inaccurate sourcing decisions adding to the delays.
The changes in the downstream (closer to the end-user) supply chain cause greater and more volatile swings in the upstream (earlier in the supply chain) supply chain as demonstrated below:
This shows how the suppliers may be impacted by small changes in the downstream supply chain. Changes in customer preferences or demand can cause bigger shifts in manufacturing which then lead to the greatest shifts at the very beginning of the supply chain. The beginning of the supply chain will get hit with the absolute greatest shifts and usually the least amount of time to react. In our current state of sourcing from international suppliers, combined with the continued shipping and port delays, this bullwhip effect is leading to great challenges of keeping up with consumer demand. This has resulted in business and manufacturing continuing to struggle with the increasing demand that was unforeseen at the beginning of the pandemic.
Understanding the impacts of changes to the supply chain on both the organization and the stakeholder’s standpoint is a crucial portion of the planning stage for any project. While it may seem that a small forecasting model adjustment or different warehousing layout change might appear to have minimal impact throughout the organization, that is most likely not that case. We often have tendencies to focus only on how a change will affect the immediate group and occasionally some of the secondary groups. For example, changing the warehouse layout may have a long-term improvement on pick efficiency, but will there be short-term setbacks of employees learning the new system? If this is the case, perhaps a secondary impact will be a delay in how long trucks are waiting to be loading. That is possible, but what a lot of groups forget to think about is who else that delay could impact. There is potential for that one change to then impact the end customer deliverable and then the sales team having to explain why a shipment was late. Many of these “issues” could become opportunities if a “heads-up” to the sales team about the change and explanation of the long-term benefits of the project were given. This can then better prepare them to deal with the bumps and bruises of a new process, as well as help them pass that information to their customers if needed. These are just some of the reasons why ensuring strong stakeholder communication within supply chains is so important.
Stakeholder communication plans should be part of every project’s initial focus. This is an opportunity to not only communicate better with external groups, but also brainstorm solutions and help teach other groups about the current state process and why it needs addressed. As supply chain professionals, we are uniquely situated to understand the end-to-end process of getting a product to the customer’s door. It is a responsibility of the supply chain to help educate other areas of the business and help identify key areas for improvement. The supply chain is able to make a great deal of change that can ripple through the organization for increasing benefits. I have personally seen small changes within the planning process greatly reduce waste—stabilize production, reduce inventories, and increase customer on-time in-full delivery (OTIF).
One key to success for these business developments is to foster strong communication within groups of professionals regardless of their familiarity with one another. This is a great opportunity for the team to demonstrate leadership by example and involve all the players that may not always be involved with a chance to weigh-in on the matter. This can help build stronger teamwork and new innovation within a company as well as improve the overall sense of communication throughout the organization. As far as externally, there is a really great opportunity to work closely with suppliers or customers to determine if there are common issues or creative solutions to problems that would benefit both parties.
Highlighted in our Friday quote last week, we wanted to demonstrate how impacts from the pandemic continue to lead to supply chain challenges. Notably this week, ocean carriers are canceling sea voyages as a result of port congestion. The port congestion is mostly a result of companies ramping back up from COVID-19 shutdowns. This has led to an overall increase in the number of shipments. Further exacerbating the issue, port employees have been contracted the virus and precautions due to the pandemic are slowing the movement of goods and shipments. The result—ships are having to wait a couple additional weeks before docking and unloading.
The situation results in two major questions. First, will we see a major shift in the transportation industry and how companies begin to transport material? The second question is how will companies approach their strategic sourcing activities? We know a lot of companies are sourcing materials abroad due to the cost difference from locally sourced products, but companies now need to determine if the cost savings are worth the risk of materials being across the globe. One alternative solution is building certain requirements into the bid processes and future contracts. These requirements could require certain criteria be met to ensure stable production. An option could be requiring particular levels of safety stock be maintained domestically to account for large supply disruptions. Another key will be the focus on secondary sources for material. Are companies approaching sourcing in a strategic way by having all possible supply lines in one geographic location with long lead times? Supply chains are going to need to evolve even further to accommodate these supply disruptions that are looking to be far from over. It seems what we will see is not only an increased focus on how to get materials from a transportation perspective, but also how companies approach their overall sourcing initiatives to shield themselves from further potential risk.
What types of evolution do you see happening in your supply chain. Are sourcing changes happening within your organizations? What other related supply chain challenges is your organization experiencing?
The pandemic has been a stark reminder of the struggles we encounter as we navigate balancing work life and personal life. The work-from-home environment has demonstrated that we can all feel very isolated. Whether you are working from home or not, it seems that everyone is working harder and more than ever before. This can be trying when it comes to making up for lost time/production during the initial COVID-19 shutdowns or struggling to manage the global logistics shortages. One big issue that most of us are facing is how to balance personal life when work life is only a computer on the counter away.
I know this is something I have personally struggled with off and on during the pandemic. There are some weeks when it is easy—log on at 7:00AM every morning and offline by 4:30-5:00PM every evening. But there are weeks that are much more difficult, where our team is working sixteen or seventeen hours a day. As supply chain professionals, we are always dealing with issues to provide our customers the absolute best service, but we also need to remember to take care of ourselves.
Now I certainly have not found the perfect balance myself and as I mentioned, it is a fluid issue depending on the week, but I have found some techniques to help manage this a little more. The first one is probably the most obvious—but unplug, literally. Make sure you turn the computer off and move it out of sight. This will help you be able to focus and enjoy times with your loved ones or give you that much needed mental break while you watch The Office, episode “Stress Relief” for the 12th time. We all need that mental break from work that is tough to find that when you are sitting two steps away from your office.
The next thing is a big one for me—get moving! I don’t want to sound like those Play60 commercials we all used to see on Nickelodeon, but this is incredibly important. We all go through ebbs and flows of varying degrees of exercise, but I would urge everyone to try to get ten to fifteen minutes of movement a few times a day. For me, this time is usually lunch where I take the dog out and go for a walk—leaving my work phone on the kitchen counter.
This brings us to our final point. TAKE A LUNCH BREAK! You earned it! Similar to everything else above, taking a lunch break can be difficult when working from home, but it is critical that you give yourself thirty minutes to recharge your batteries both mentally and physically. Too often, I find myself with a fork in one hand and my mouse in the other sifting through work emails. This practice does not allow me a chance to recharge. I have started to move my work computer somewhere else while I eat lunch to give myself that time. A fifteen-minute walk and a fifteen-minute lunch break can be more effective than you would imagine!
We want to know what you are doing to help balance work life with your personal life! Please let us know in the comments below to help us and others improve on the balance!
For most of us, organizational contingency planning is a lofty concept. More often than not, we have limited input in what happens when catastrophe strikes. In the rare event we do, our actions are limited to specific functions. Procurement might change the sourcing of materials or dictate the ordering patterns to add safety stocks. Production may increase their throughput to buffer the finished good demand for the customers. Other functions in the company may determine that inventory should be reduced. As you can see, these actions are often knee-jerk reactions and can quickly expose the dangers of silos in contingency planning.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is a prime example of companies implementing supply chain controls in order to offset the effects of the event. Across the board, every company had to take some sort of approach in an attempt to offset what was happening across the globe—shutdowns, shifting production to medical equipment, etc. Most companies; however, did not truly have contingency plans in place for a pandemic and were scrambling to forge a path forward. This highlights the importance of true and real contingency planning. Furthermore, many of the companies that had contingency plans in place either created or executed their plans in silos. This lack of communication or common goal led to a chaotic environment for employees, suppliers, customer service, and more.
This brings me to my ultimate question, “How will the contingency planning of the future look?” Will companies recognize the mistakes of the past for being ill-prepared for any possible disaster? Will companies recognize the dangers of silos in contingency planning and work to break down those barriers? Moving forward, I would expect not only to see a higher level of dedication in contingency planning, but also a more thorough approach to establishing plans with inputs from all functions and all levels. What do you think we will see as far as contingency planning moving forward?
All our lives, we are taught that failure is negative. From getting a bad grade in school to a flaw in designing a report for management, we are instructed that failure is not an option. Saying that failure is not an option has consequences, though. This idea that an employee cannot fail leads to many employees fearing taking risks—risks that would, if successful, greatly benefit the team or company. It is up to managers and more importantly, leaders, to show trust in their employees.
Managers and leaders are very different, although they are commonly considered to take on the same role. Managers can be leaders, but simply having the management title does not automatically make someone a leader. Being a leader requires more than being a manager. A manager, without being a leader, is usually going to be results driven, focused on success, and lacking the ability to inspire. This type of character typically falls into the trap of the “failure is not an option” notion.
Leaders are more inspirational and do not fear failure in the same way. Trust is the cornerstone of leadership. Being able to allow employees to try and fail is welcomed in the mindset of leaders. If an employee fails, then a leader can help that employee, or team member, become more successful through a learning experience. A leader also can help team members understand the significance of important objectives rather than just command results. This is a good opportunity for leaders to demonstrate creative and innovative solutions. A good leader will also be passionate and committed to his or her role as well as the team. Finally, leaders need to show a degree of empathy and ensure they are relatable to his or her team. A strong leader will encourage a team to do their best and entrust them whether they fail or succeed. This will help the team overcome the “no failure” mentality.
How do you view failure? Are you a leader… or simply a manager?
In our last post, we discussed interview tips that focused mainly on helping candidates interviewing for open positions. Today, we want to discuss interviewing from an employer’s perspective—more specifically, interviewing strong candidates with increased nerves. For the most part, candidates going into an interview are going to have some degree of nervousness (unless you are speaking with someone who relishes in the opportunity to present him or herself). It can be difficult to navigate the interview when someone is outwardly nervous. This can also be somewhat frustrating considering the individual is clearly qualified for the position based on the resume.
When dealing with nervous candidates, it is important to ensure that you are considering how you are appearing in the interview. It is vital to convey calmness to the candidate while being cognizant of your own body language. Keep your body language relaxed. Your calm demeanor will help relax the candidate. Don’t forget to smile!
An interviewer can also set a calming tone in the interview by engaging in some small talk prior to or during the interview in order to spread out questions. Sometimes, the worst thing for a nervous candidate can be an interrogation type interview with a constant line of questioning. A dialog is much more helpful in relaxing the candidate and tends to be more effective in getting to know the candidate personally and professionally.
Nervousness is not an indicator that a candidate is the wrong fit for the job. As an interviewer you have to be careful when taking nerves as a reason to dismiss a candidate. There are plenty of incredible candidates who, unfortunately, are passed over for positions because of their nerves in an interview. A lot of the time, they are actually the best candidate for the job. Be sure not to miss your next great hire for this reason—interviewing is very stressful!
Let’s face it—interviewing is hard and stressful for everyone! Whether you love to interview or absolutely dread the idea of presenting your skills and experience to an employer, there is going to be some degree of stress. The team at Supply Chain Tomorrow came up with some thoughts and tips that might ease the taxing process of interviewing. With that, let’s discuss how to ace an interview!
With these simple tips and tricks, you are on your way to ace your next interview!
Whether you are actively working or not during this pandemic, we have all been greatly affected one way or another. One of the ways we all seem to be affected is through communication. For some of us, the changes stop with the inception of “Zoom” dates with friends as you are still returning to the office every day. Others are faced with working exclusively from home and hosting meetings via video chat. No matter your situation, we must all embrace cohesive communication during the pandemic.
It seems that some organizations are handling this quite well and demonstrating their ability to adapt quickly. However, eight months into the pandemic and some organizations are still struggling to find their feet as they navigate the new way of doing business. It is absolutely crucial for organizations to maintain a high level of organization during this time. While a great deal of employees are enjoying flexible work schedules and their new work from home environment, there are a number of employees that feel disconnected. Managers are needing to ensure they are frequently reaching out to their teams, not only through emails, but team meetings and individual calls. Managers need to have a “pulse check” for their employees to establish that everyone is doing okay, and we are continuing to operate as a team.
Furthermore, management of change needs to be at the forefront of every organizations’ communication strategy. Nothing is making employees feel more disjointed than hearing there has been a big change from someone else on the team and knowing the change directly affects their day-to-day work. This does not only hold true from process changes, but also personnel change. Being remote can cause some confusion about who to go to if someone leaves the organization, so there needs to be clearly communicated guidance on who the correct resource is during some form of turnover. Employees are proving every single day that the work from home lifestyle is possible, but it is up to leadership to ensure everyone has the tools and knowledge to succeed for the long-term! How is your team embracing cohesive communication during the pandemic?
When discussing management, it is important for culture to reflect improvement when issues arise. That concept starts with management, which is why we believe there is a powerful dynamic between management and culture. We teased this thought with our Friday quote a couple weeks ago from Isao Yoshino, which read; “Managers need to create a culture where people are not afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. We can learn many things from the mistakes we make.” A great deal of this idea goes beyond someone making the mistake and finding the root cause of the issue. Typically, we can find that many mistakes are avoidable if the process were error-proofed--poka yoke in Japanese. This means putting devices into a process to prevent the possibility of error. Not literal devices in all cases, but some do actually require a physical device to prevent errors. An example of this would be standardizing a daily report and automating it rather than having an employee copy-paste different data sources. This is a simplistic example, but something that companies are exposed to as the copy-paste style of updating a report is very error-prone.
Powerful Processes For Culture ChangeError-proofing is not an easy task. However, it is usually relatively easy to find an issue in a process because something has gone wrong! Once something has gone wrong, the root cause and corrective action (RCCA) process typically begins (unless you are working through a more proactive improvement process).
Two common methods of root causes analysis are Fishbone diagrams and “The 5 Whys.” A fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram is designed for managers to work to brainstorm reasons why something went wrong. Essentially, this is a cause and effect style activity. Once all the potential reasons for an issue are laid out, you can begin to work through how to improve upon them.
The idea behind The 5 Whys is to ask “why” five times and you will get to the root of the problem—pretty simplistic, but highly effective. After you get to the true root cause, you can work to implement countermeasures to prevent the problem from happening again.
Additional Dynamic Management TacticsOther methods of root cause and problem solving include Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and the DMAIC cycle. FMEA is very in-depth and involves forming a cross-functional team. You then identify the scope and possible failures, causes, and consequences. Each failure should have root causes associated with it. Also, you must identify the controls in place for each failure causation. For each consequence/effect, rate the severity from 1-10. Do the same for each cause and the occurrence rate. Evaluate the detection rating for each control on a scale of 1-10 as well. When you multiply the severity, occurrence, and detection, you get the risk priority number (RPN). This ranks all the issues on a numeric scale and should be addressed from greatest to smallest. Each action to resolve these should have a target completion date.
The DMAIC cycle stands for design, measure, analyze, improve, and control. You define the problem, measure the problem in whichever way makes the most sense, identify the cause, improve by implementing an action to address the root cause, and control by ensuring the improvement is working. It is usually seen as a cycle since the process would address one problem at a time. This is one of those activities where the entire issue does not get resolved in one DMAIC in most instances, but the group usually tackles a small piece of the problem at a time.
These are only a few of the ways that managers can work to improve and learn from mistakes. One of the most important keys to management is ensuring that the culture of a team or organization is understanding of mistakes and willing addresses how to fix them from happening again. A good manager will take note of issues and help employees or coworkers navigate these problems. What other powerful dynamics between management and culture do you believe exist? Comment below!
Something struck me the other day as I was shopping at the grocery store—how am I able to get all of this fresh produce throughout the year? The availability of international fruit is a fascinating and truly an impressive feat that is only possible due to globalized supply chains! We are getting to the point in civilization where we take for granted the ability to achieve tasks such as this and it only struck me because of COVID-19. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we are seeing the transportation industry become extremely congested as most industries try to rebuild their pre-COVID-19 inventory levels.
Let’s take a dive into what goes into the supply chain of obtaining mangoes in the United States. While some mangoes are now grown closer to the U.S., over half of the world’s supply of mangoes are produced in India and China. This is where our supply chain begins—the farmers of mangoes. Once grown, mangoes will either go into storage or move to a processing facility. From this point, there are a couple of options where the mangoes can move: wholesalers, retailers, or export distributors. It is through one of these three avenues that the mangoes make their way to the United States. Each of these avenues require supply chain basics such as proper warehousing and controlled transportation. Now our beloved mangoes are on their way across the ocean to the United States where they are further distributed to local retailers and eventually land in the hands of consumers.
I mentioned above that most of the mangoes produced worldwide come from Asia, so without these globalized supply chains, it is unlikely that the countries closer to the U.S. would be able to sustain domestic consumer mango consumption. So next time you bite into a delicious piece of fruit from somewhere abroad or even something out of season, you can thank supply chains and recall how fascinating the availability of fruit really is!
COVID-19 has had many impacts on the business world. We saw offices began to close and inventory levels of many products quickly deplete. Is there a connection between office space and inventory? I believe there could be.
Many in the supply chain industry are familiar with terms like Just-In-Time and Cross Docking. For those of you not familiar with with the terms I offer the following definitions:
The combination of these two concepts, among others, create an efficient supply chain where inventory levels can significantly decrease as product is only moving from Point A to Point B, whether it be physical location or manufacturing line location, as it is needed. These concepts have increased in popularity in the past 5-10 years as it reduces operating costs and tangible liabilities. If you are reading between the lines, these concepts significantly reduce the need for warehousing.
When COVID-19 took over the country, and the world, business as we knew it began to change significantly. Offices shuttered, manufacturing plants went quiet, and store shelves began to empty. When tuning into any news network we heard terms like “supply shortage”, “expedited manufacturing”, and “Defense Production Act”. Now nobody could have ever anticipated the needs for masks, gowns, face shields, hospital beds, or ventilators. Moreover, as Americans began to shelter in place and work from home, nobody could have anticipated the increased needs for desks, printers, laptops, outdoor furniture, and household appliances. The supply chain across almost every industry became strained, stretched, and in some cases failed.
Could this have been prevented? Not entirely. Could it have been better than it was? Absolutely.
It makes complete sense for companies to keep inventories low. Unsold goods are expensive to hold onto. However, what happens when there is a surge in demand? What happens when manufacturing slows down or halts? The little inventory a company does have, disappears fast and the company begins to miss out on future sales opportunities.
I am not suggesting that all companies need to increase inventory levels and warehouse products in preparation for the next pandemic. However, I am suggesting that organizations should begin to consider increasing inventory and safety stock levels to bridge the gap between unexpected surges coupled with unexpected supply chain delays.
Afraid of the hit to the balance sheet? Let’s remember what else COVID-19 taught us… the ability to work from home is a productive option for many organizations. Depending on whether an organization desires to go all work from home or institute a hybrid model, the operating costs of maintaining office space can be reduced in many organizations. Say your organization used to house 1,000 employees 5 days a week pre-pandemic, there may be an opportunity to only bring in 500 employees 2 days a week and the other 500 on alternate days. Coupling this concept with shared work space, an organization’s office budget can essentially be cut in half. The operating expense savings can then translate into covering increased inventory and warehousing costs. There is opportunity for a basic net equal effect to the balance sheet.
As you have read, I believe there is a connection between office space and inventory as we head into the future. Now this concept will not work for every organization, but as we continue to learn from COVID-19, companies need to continue to adapt. Supply chains are essential to our livelihood and strains on the supply chain are equivalent to strains on our lives. It’s time to reconsider the long term strategy of organizations so everyone is better prepared for what might come tomorrow.
Banton, C. (2020, February 4). Understanding Just-in-Time (JIT) Inventory Systems. Retrieved September 13, 2020, from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/j/jit.asp
Hinz, P. (2011, December). What is Cross-docking – Understanding the concept & definition. Retrieved September 13, 2020, from https://www.adaptalift.com.au/blog/2011-12-23-what-is-cross-docking-understanding-the-concept-definition
Quarantine. Facemasks. Hand sanitizer. Work from home. Solitude.
What do these words have in common? Well a year ago, you might have answered this and said “absolutely nothing”. We all know that today, these words are the theme of our lives.
The year 2020 has been a unique time for all of us. Unfortunately, a large subset of Americans have lost their jobs, whether it be to lay-offs or furloughs. As I watched friends and loved ones deal with these struggles, I felt helpless. How can I support those in need? I’m not a front line worker, I’m not a public servant, and I’m not at all in the medical industry. Can I do anything at all?
Fortunately for me, Nick was in the same position of struggling to help those around us. Being business minded, one chart stuck out to both of us…
Does this chart look familiar? It’s the U.S. unemployment chart for the past 12 months. COVID-19 shocked the world in April 2020. This left a hole in many lives. With this chart in mind, Nick and I wanted to create an environment for job-seekers to gain their livelihoods back.
Introduce, Supply Chain Tomorrow, an online job board specific to the Supply Chain Management industry. Supply Chain Tomorrow’s mission has been clear from the start; to connect people with organizations within the Supply Chain Management industry by offering the technology, information, and resources required to do so.
We are all familiar with online job boards. Hundreds exist from very niche websites, to broad job boards that cover every job under the sun. Supply Chain Tomorrow sits right in the middle. While Supply Chain Management is a specific industry, it’s breadth of offerings is large.
Supply Chain Management is more than just trucks driving goods around the country, it’s the complete process flow of goods and services from raw materials to end user products. This includes everything from raw material management, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, and everything in between.
Think about that for a moment…all of the different facets to Supply Chain Management include every touch point and support function to make and deliver a product to your door. How many people do you think were involved in getting your couch into your living room, the mattress on your bed, or the phone in your hand? Now look back at the unemployment chart…millions of these touch labor and support function individuals are out of work, meaning you and I cannot get the products we would like, when we would like them.
Fortunately, since April of 2020, the jobs have been slowly coming back, meaning organizations are hiring again. The question then becomes, where does one find these job openings?
The answer to this question is the exact reason we created Supply Chain Tomorrow. We created an environment specific to this vital industry to allow organizations the platform to post jobs to a captive audience of job seekers who possess the desirable qualifications to make the Supply Chain Management industry flourish once again.
During these trying times, I encourage job seekers and internship hunters to create an account and post their resume. Hiring organizations, contact us directly to learn how we can help you post your open positions as they come to light.
Together, we can help bring the American workforce back better than ever!
There is no doubt that the craft brewing industry has erupted over the years, but there are many sustainability and supply chain challenges to overcome in this industry. Whether trying to reduce waste or working to improve efficiencies, the brewing industry has innovated some creative solutions to improve their impact on the world. What are some of the challenges and solutions in the industry? Let’s take a look!
Besides all of these incredible things happening at breweries, breweries are also implementing tremendous amounts of solar panels, installing charging station for electric vehicles, and encouraging their employees to bike when they can. Many breweries are taking advantage of having local farmers nearby and purchase crops from them, have fields of their own, and plant drought-resistant plants in dry areas. Breweries are also encouraging their employees to use vacation time to volunteer in order to help their surrounding communities. Now you might be wondering, “Where is the supply chain impact?” Supply chain is sustainability in a lot of cases and brewing is a great example of how. Whether it is the supply and disposal of water or the sourcing of hops and grains, sustainable brewing is all around us! Where are you seeing it and how do you see sustainability growing in this industry?
“2018 Sustainability Report.” New Belgium Brewing, 2018, www.newbelgium.com/globalassets/sustainability/force-for-good-digital-report.pdf.
“About Us.” Anderson Valley Brewing Company, 2020, avbc.com/about/.
“Chico Sustainability Map.” Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 10 Mar. 2020, sierranevada.com/map/chico-sustainability-map/.
Olajire, Abass A. “The Brewing Industry and Environmental Challenges.” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 256, 2020, pp. 1–20., doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.03.003.
“Sustainability.” Allagash Brewing Company, 2020, www.allagash.com/about/sustainability/.
“Sustainability.” Brooklyn Brewery, 2020, brooklynbrewery.com/sustainability/.