Deconstructing the supply chain

22 Jun Deconstructing the supply chain

From the interview with Celtech’s  MD Darragh Fanning with The Sunday Business Post on ‘Deconstructing the Supply Chain’

Total visibility…

“Let’s deconstruct the supply chain,” said Darragh Fanning, managing director of Celtech.

According to Fanning, this isn’t just verbiage or disruption for disruption’s sake.

Instead, he said, the objective is to make the supply chain work by understanding it fully and only then applying technological solutions in furtherance of business objectives.

“We need to ask where technology applies. Then, after that, there’s build and there’s deployment. The whole time, though, the objective is to get the product to the customer.”

New technology in the supply chain must be driven by this simple objective, he said, but that doesn’t mean the process itself is necessarily simple. However, once a supply chain has been analysed, business can put themselves in the position of being able to deliver the right product at the right time.

Central to this is visibility: visibility of everything that is going on in a product supply chain, where it comes from, where it was and where it is now.

“The key fundamentals are immediacy of information and accuracy of information. Transparency gives self-service to that supply chain, and self-service is the next phase for many businesses. Once you have that you can confidently start to automate,” Fanning added.

Automation also has a role to play in data capture along the supply chain. This does not mean removing humans from the process, however. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the demands for people to provide more data are increasing; automation, though, can aid this other-wise error prone business.

“Data accuracy is essential, but how do you get data accuracy? You get humans giving more data now, and then on the automated side you try to get machines to capture as much as possible,” said Fanning. He added that forecasting was only possible with accurate data.

“Habit ordering is not forecasting. You do need to capture some things that humans notice: a festival going on, or weather conditions, but the question is how do we capture as much data as accurately as we possibly can?”

Even small enterprises can benefit from the kind of visibility Fanning promotes. He said that getting sales data back on a nightly, or even hourly basis, was no longer adequate.

“It’s the power of now.” Celtech’s ab-initio software, however, is driving major cost savings in large retail by offering full end-to-end visibility on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis.

“One of our customers does a few hundred million pounds in turnover; it’s a food retailer. The key thing for them is to reduce the wastage and reduce the stock holding. Well, we turned on forecasting and in the last twelve months, like for like, without stock management system their stock investment was down by eight per cent.

“People say: ‘Okay, that’s easy, but you have empty shelves.’ Well, in fact, sales are up, like-for-like per cent, and the margin is up by 12 per cent,” he said.

“This is the power of ab-initio”.