Canadian Innovation Gets Boost from Supply Chain Partnerships

Canadian manufacturers looking to stay competitive will need to focus on cost and risk mitigation, according to a recent survey from KPMG LLP. The report says that they should find new ways to compete with their global counterparts when faced with the reality of a strong Canadian dollar and lower cost jurisdictions.

Cost is a key factor in addressing supply chains, according to one executive. He also stated that they are looking at their entire supply chains to establish partnerships and generate efficiencies. Canadian companies should enlist multiple strategies to remain competitive, including a focus on innovation and product development.

The survey conducted among executives in Canadian manufacturing showed a number of differences between how Canadian manufacturers and their global counterparts approach their supply chains. In fact, 60 percent of Canadian executives shared that they have been forced to develop new business models to reduce supply chain risk. Only 43 percent of global manufacturers have reported the same.

The survey also found that global manufacturers are prepared to accept and manage more risk to achieve lower costs, improve efficiencies, and access innovation. Canadian manufacturers prefer to avoid high-risk jurisdictions that would provide competitive opportunities.

Canadian businesses have traditionally been very conservative and more risk averse. However, if they want to succeed with increased globalization and a strong Canadian dollar, manufacturers should develop strategies to drive innovation at home and through collaborative partnerships with supply chains abroad.

Logistics are largely fulfilled by Canadian manufacturers at home and in the United States, while global manufacturers look to new low-cost districts such as China and India. To help spur growth in Canadian manufacturing, drastic changes may have to be made.

Rapid Ratings Turns to Supply Chain Risk Management Expert

Rapid Ratings is making some internal changes as part of its strategy to improve its supply chain offerings. The company has added Rose Kelly-Falls, a respected supply chain risk management expert, to expand its supply chain risk management services to corporations and financial institutions.

Rapid Ratings is also expanding its operations, opening a new office in Indianapolis at the Purdue Research Park of Indianapolis. Supply chain professionals throughout the financial services industry rely on Rapid Ratings to assist in monitoring the risks of public and private companies with which they are doing business.

James H. Gellert, chairman and CEO of Rapid Ratings believes the company will benefit significantly from the addition of Kelly-Falls as she offers extensive knowledge regarding the implementation of best practices for mitigating risks within the supply chain. As a former Rapid Ratings user, Kelly-Falls brings valuable insight for clients seeking to better understand and mitigate the risks involved with their overall supply chain.

Gellert also highlighted that the company has a strong client base in the Midwest and the expansion to the Indianapolis market will continue to support the company’s strategy for growth. In addition, the location of the Purdue Research Park offers an extensive network for potential collaborations and partnerships.

Rapid Ratings operates as an independent ratings, research and analytics firm focused on managing risk for companies worried about the health of their supply chains. With superior analysis generated with unbiased, forward-looking tools, companies can make comprehensive decisions to move the focus of the company in a positive direction. The company’s proprietary ratings have been proven effective and are in use by Fortune 1000 companies for complete supply chain management.

JDA Reshapes Supply Chain Management

There has been considerable interest growing in the cloud computing space as companies throughout the global marketplace are discovering the benefits of software deployed as a service. The economic downturn certainly helped to spark interest, but the benefits delivered in the cloud go beyond mere cost savings.

For manufacturers, new challenges are emerging everyday and those players who once had the luxury of lengthy implementations are now facing tighter budget restrictions and intense pressure from customers to speed delivery. As a result, supply chain management solutions that deliver faster time-to-value and a lower total cost of ownership are in high demand.

Manufacturers seeking to streamline the entire supply chain often access physical computing resources and connections through the Internet. Partners in the supply chain often share information through these methods in order to keep processes running smoothly and waste minimized.

As the focus has moved to the cloud, however, mission-critical business applications are increasingly being access through Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. Companies of all sizes are leveraging the power of moving these applications to the cloud, enjoying the benefits to the bottom line as a result of the impact on the supply chain.

By moving application portfolios into the cloud, manufacturers can enable all members in the supply chain real-time access to information that can impact the supply chain. In other words, any problem along the supply chain can be communicated to all members, as well as constant updates and expected resolutions. This helps to keep the problems confined to one area as other supply chain members can make the necessary adjustments when problems occur.

JDA Software is helping to reshape supply chain management by offering robust solutions that perform in the cloud. This approach not only ensures all members of the supply chain are perfectly aligned; it also extends additional capabilities to these members, without significant costs.

Brightpoint Expands Optimizes U.S. Supply Chain Network

Supply chain solutions provider for the wireless industry, Brightpoint Inc., has announced the addition of three new Centers of Excellence in the United States. Metropolitan Indianapolis, Indiana serves as home to two of the centers, with the third located in Reno, Nevada.

The opening of these centers was possible with the purchase of a 533,000 square foot facility in the AllPoints Midwest business park in Plainfield, Indiana, and another 200,000 square foot facility, to support the expanding reverse logistics services offering provided by Brightpoint. The 264,000 square foot facility in Reno, Nevada is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2011.

Brightpoint expects that the addition of these Centers of Excellence will enable the company to increase its existing operational footprint in the U.S. market. The investment in these facilities was driven by the company’s planned growth and the anticipated need for increased capacity to respond to the demands of customers.

With these facilities and the recently purchased properties in Tennessee and Texas, Brightpoint can now offer more than 2 million square feet of supply chain logistics and distribution services facilities within the United States. This space should enable Brightpoint to meet the forecasted demand and expand its portfolio of offerings.

The company also aims to improve operating efficiencies by eliminating capacity constraints and the risk of business interruption with geographically diverse locations. Brightpoint’s plans for an optimal supply chain network to deliver freight management services will build on this strategy.

J. Mark Howell, President Brightpoint Americas shared in a company statement that the addition of these facilities will provide the necessary infrastructure to support the company’s increasingly sophisticated services offerings. Howell believes the company will be better positioned to deliver value to customers and investors with its extended real estate investments and current business model.

Gartner Names Oracle a Leader in Supply Chain Planning

In Gartner, Inc’s., “Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning (SCP) for Process Automation, 2010”, it was reported that Oracle is seen as the new market leader. The annual reports issued by Gartner position vendors in a particular quadrant based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute that vision.

Oracle Applications caters to over 65,000 global customers. These customers depend on Oracle’s integrated enterprise applications to achieve high performance. A secure path is provided for customers to benefit from the most up-to-date technological advances that help improve the customer software experience, as well as business performance. Oracle is committed to its customers through continuous investments and innovations in application offerings.

Oracle’s vice president shared in a statement that the company is committed to delivering industry leading Value Chain Planning solutions for all ERP users. They also believe their position in Gartner’s report is further recognition that their sustained and focused investment strategy is very crucial in delivering the results their customers require.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a representation of marketplace during a specific period of time. It illustrates Gartner’s analysis of how each vendor measure against certain criteria for their marketplace. The Magic Quadrant is aimed toward being solely a research tool and is not intended to be a guide to action.

Gartner’s representatives shared in a statement that the leaders they outline all articulate a strong vision for the ongoing support of process automation requirement and continue to display how they would support a user with the need to select pieces of process innovation as they become more prevalent over time.