Dashboards

Dashboards are crucial tools for companies who are willing to efficiently keep track of their performance and to ensure that they are taking informed decisions. In fact, they allow organizations to follow their key performance indicators and to identify problems as soon as they appear in order to apply the necessary corrective measures. This enables companies to be proactive and to mitigate the negative effects of the problems that arise. For example, because of data visualization, a company could observe a decrease in the sales of a specific product. They could then enable the thinking process aimed at understanding the causes of this phenomenon and at brainstorming what actions could be put in place to resolve the problem and increase the sales again.

Dashboards can be used to illustrate very specific data in certain departments of a company, but they also allow a global insight of an organization’s performance. Company leaders can consult these dashboards when making their executive decisions that will affect the current or future state of the company. After all, it is not certain that a decision made without consulting the organizational data will be beneficial. It could be positive, but it is like taking a blind decision.

Benefits of dashboards

There are numerous benefits to using dashboards since they enable companies to perform well in all their fields of activity. The major advantages of the tool are presented below.

Customizable

Dashboards are customizable and adaptable to each organization and their departments’ specific needs, which can differ greatly from one to another. The key data to display and the visualization mode can be very different depending on what is most adapted to the specific needs. It is perfectly normal for all dashboards to be completely different, even within the same company. For example, the dashboard used by the production team will certainly differ from the demand planning team’s dashboard since their key performance indicators vary. The production department would want to visualize data such as production rate, quality standards, production volume, etc. whereas the demand planning department would see value in displaying the sales trends, the historical data, the inventory levels, etc.

Minimize data manipulation

Most companies require a frequent creation of different reports in the majority of their departments. This often requires manual data manipulation to adapt the appropriate layout needed to present the data visually, which requires a lot of precious time. Dashboard creation tools such as “PowerBI” enable reports to be generated automatically, thus meaning that recurrent data manipulation is not necessary. Employees can therefore spend more time on activities that bring added value to the organization.

Easy to use and to understand

The variety and the volume of data present in a company can be overwhelming. A dashboard therefore allows data to be well organized to represent the data in the best way possible. The goal is to identify the information that must be displayed in the dashboard and to illustrate it in a concise manner. It is also very easy to use the tool and to draw relevant conclusions when they are well constructed. Different users can also apply different filters to visualize only the data that is pertinent to them.

Allow the follow-up of key performance indicators

Dashboards greatly increase the visibility of a company on its performance in all of its fields of activity and ease decision-making. In fact, in absence of a dashboard, some important measures could be left out of an analysis and therefore not considered. This could result in the wrong decisions being made by employees or business leaders who could have long-term consequences on the organizations. When dashboards are created, they are thought through by experts who identify the key performance indicators that should be followed to ensure the success of the company. In addition, experts also determine the best way to illustrate the data so that it is representative of the reality and so that it provides insight.

Key performance indicators that are followed on a regular basis enable companies to adapt to their current situations and to be more agile. Each department should have their own measures that support them in decision-making and in the identification of problems. Appropriate actions can therefore be made quickly in order to increase the success of the key performance indicators, thus increasing the success of the company or the department.

For example, the procurement team could use a dashboard to flag when certain orders must be placed for certain parts and in what quantity. Their dashboard should contain different aspects such as the current inventory level, the production forecast, the delivery delays, the delivery costs according to volume and much more. The data presented in the tool thus allow employees to make informed decisions that minimize storage and transport costs and that avoid back orders.

On another note, business leaders can use dashboards to target problems and opportunities easily. For example, they can identify what products are most popular and can use some of their characteristics to design new products that will also be appreciated by customers. This is done in the goal of increasing sales and profits. On the contrary, they can also target what products are performing poorly and decide to modify or to discontinue them. These are only two of the numerous examples of how dashboards can be used in a company.

Shareable

Data sharing and communication is crucial for the success of a business. It is therefore important that all the people involved have access to the dashboards in “real-time”. This is in fact one of the major advantages of the tool: they can be consulted by many different people simultaneously and they greatly ease data sharing. Dashboards can also be visited from web services, from a cellphone, a tablet, a computer, etc. This therefore minimizes excessive communications between people on other platforms such as e-mail.

Conseil 2.0’s Expertise

The consultants working at Conseil 2.0 have a lot of experience with dashboard creation and will certainly be qualified to help you elaborate a solution that best suits your needs. Power BI is one of the most popular tools used to create dashboards on the market, but many other options such as Domo, Dundas BI, Toucan etc. also exist. No matter what tool you wish to use, Conseil 2.0 can certainly help you. Choosing them as a partner will enable you to :

Target your needs

The first step in all projects with a business is to understand its needs in order to create a final solution that will meet those specific needs. Conseil 2.0 listens to their clients attentively in order to understand their reality, which varies greatly from one organization to another. Having worked with many clients in the past, the business has a good knowledge of the best practices to apply in a company to optimize results.

Target key performance indicators

The specific needs of each organization determine what key performance indicators should be used in dashboards. Conseil 2.0 will be able to accompany you well by analyzing your processes and by making recommendations regarding what data should be illustrated in your reports, as well as how to illustrate them. The relationship between Conseil 2.0 and its clients is based on collaboration, allowing them to maximize the performance and the relevancy of dashboards created.

Construct the dashboards

Conseil 2.0’s consultants will be able to help you construct dashboards that are adapted to your needs based on the analyses and recommendations made prior. The dashboards will allow you to quickly visualize the data that is most important to the success of your business.

Update existing dashboards

Some organizations already have dashboards, but they are not always up to date or maintained for different reasons. For example, the employee that created the dashboard could have left the company, the dashboards could have been created externally, the company could lack the resources needed to keep them updated, etc. Conseil 2.0 can therefore take these existing dashboards, update them, and adapt them to your current needs.

Finally, data visualization has numerous benefits for a company since it allows it to follow their key performance indicators quickly and easily. Business leaders can therefore have insight on the health of their organization in only a couple “clicks”. Do not hesitate to contact us if data visualization and dashboard creation interests you.

Due to the quantity of back orders in many sectors, consumer habits have significatively changed. Unavailability of certain products pushed consumers to buy alternative products and brands, which enabled them to discover other available options. The question is will they continue to buy these products and brands in the future, or will they go back to their old habits?

Consumer behavior will certainly be very different according to the sales sector, especially when considering the important price increases that affect buying trends. For example, for the food and beverages industry, buying habits might remain mainly unchanged, whereas the purchase of clothing, and sporting goods, etc. might evolve very quickly according to the needs and financial situation of each family. It is therefore extremely important for retail companies to monitor any changes in their clients’ purchasing habits, in order to react very quickly, in a way that will be beneficial to companies.

Digitalizing Purchasing Processes

These past years have propelled us towards a fast acceleration in online sales, thus adding an important challenge to companies that were not prepared for this phenomenon. Digitalizing purchasing processes represents an advantage for all companies, it simplifies tracking of their clients’ purchases. Diligent monitoring of their website activity can help them understand the evolution of the demand, thus enabling them to place the necessary orders with their suppliers in order to meet their demand.

One thing is for certain, it is never too late to review tools and processes. Companies need to have the right tools and efficient processes in place to meet their specific needs. This is important in order to manage and plan demand accordingly and place orders months in advance, as requested by many suppliers. Several tools using artificial intelligence and machine learning are available on the market and are gaining in performance and popularity. Companies that are willing to improve their demand planning and maximize their profitability might have an interest in them. In addition, a study conducted by Gartner demonstrated that machine learning is most used for demand planning, in the whole supply chain.

Reviewing Processes for Better Agility

Changes, disruptions, challenges, and unexpected events have occurred in all organizations since 2020, increasing the need to perform complete efficiency audits of all processes. In fact, what we are realizing is that many companies are not ready to adapt to the new reality they are facing.  Process improvements can allow companies to target the best tools suited for them, in order to be as efficient as possible. The goal is to increase the organizations’ agility and proactivity to exceed their clients’ needs, a target that all retail companies should thrive to achieve in 2022. In fact, according to Gartner, 96% of retail companies plan to invest to make their supply chain more agile in 2022, while 90% want them to become more resilient. Counter to what many organizations might imagine, a return to your old « pre-pandemic » habits is neither realistic, nor desirable. What better time to bring your company back on the right track?

C2.0 analyzes and implements tangible solutions that have an impact on the entire supply chain. We support you in sourcing, organizing public and private tenders, selecting and managing suppliers, improving your Procure to Pay (P2P) process, optimizing your strategic purchasing, inventory, and implementing purchasing policies and procedures.

The business world is always evolving. For instance, we can think about e-mails taking over the fax machine, or about online shopping (e-commerce) taking away sales from brick-and-mortar businesses. All these changes in the business environment affect companies in various ways. In this article, we will dive deeper into business processes. What exactly is it? Why is it important to understand them and review them from time to time?

A simple definition

In its 2015 update of the ISO 9000 norm, the international organization defines a process as a set of activities correlated, or interacting with each other, using inputs to produce a desire result. In other words, a business performs a set of activities, using various inputs (resources, data, etc.) to create an output. One can understand that for an activity to be considered efficient, said activity needs to be reaching the final desired output while requiring the least number of manual interactions to do so. Basically, do more with less. Otherwise, it is nothing less than a waste of resources, money and time.

“Basically, do more with less”

What brings companies to review their processes

There are several reasons why companies review their processes. The first type of reasons is from an internal perspective. On one hand, it can be due to the rapid growth of the company. Indeed, growing rapidly can force businesses to review their processes in order to standardize their working method, for numerous factors. For example, it is common for a company to face some challenges following a certain point in their growth. Due to his success, the company simply does not have the capacity necessary to fulfill the demand level. In this case, automating some processes may prove to be a must, if not essential. Some examples of processes include ordering, accounting, billing, etc. On the other hand, reviewing processes can be an exercise performed on a periodic basis by a business to identify and take care of less efficient processes. That way, we aim to increase the competitiveness of the company compared to the competition.

Also, there are other reasons, this time from an external perspective, that force businesses to review their processes. It can come from various sources. In the current situation, we can easily think about the Covid-19. Indeed, the pandemic forced many restaurants to review their operations. For example, online orders replaced the dining experience. Moreover, recently, the talent shortage is giving a hard time to companies. Again, to address this shortage of workers, some industries have had to revise and automate their processes in order to be able to meet demand, simply not having the required capacity in terms of staff to cope with this level of demand.

A simplified example to better understand the scope of review processing

To better understand the issue, let’s take the fictional case of Andrew, CEO of an outdoor store chain counting a dozen stores in the province of Quebec. Before the pandemic, in 2019, Andrew operated as follow to ensure that articles were available in its stores:

However, due to the lockdowns and the reluctance of his customers more at risk of catching the virus to set foot in his stores, André had to adapt and start selling his products online. Thus, since then, its process flow of goods in inventory is as follows:

Looking at the inventory management process, we can see that it changes completely. Indeed, before, the operational activities were focused on a centralized warehouse shipping products to stores based on their inventory level and needs. When an item was going to be out of stock, a request was sent to the centralized warehouse and a truck was responsible to deliver those items at the store needing them to replenish the shelves.

In the case of the e-commerce, there is only a distribution center responsible to keep the products in inventory as well as fulfill the client’s orders. Thus, the products are not delivered to the different stores, but directly at the client’s desired address. Observation: the last-mile delivery is completely changed. Instead of delivering at the different stores, we need to be able to provide a delivery service to all the area we are deserving. And we have not mentioned a word about reverse logistics…

Therefore, after review of the inventory and logistic processes, where a diagnosis of the current situation was done prior, we can offer some solutions. In this case, the implementation of a warehouse management system (WMS) and/or a transportation management system (TMS) could prove to be a good initiative, cost reduction wise. Indeed, these systems would reduce inventory losses and provide the best routes for last-mile delivery.

”These systems would reduce inventory losses and provide the best routes for last-mile delivery.”

Conseil 2.0, a great ally!

In short, business processes need to be reviewed and updated due to the changing environment of the business world. This can be due to internal or external factors, such as the rapid growth of a company or the labour shortage. Review processes can be complex, and it is better to be well accompanied by a team of expert to carry out a project of this kind. This is where all the know-how of Conseil 2.0 comes in handy. We have completed dozens of process review projects. For any additional information, feel free to get in touch with us!

The on-going disruptions currently being felt throughout the global supply chain are prompting more and more companies to speed up their digital transition. In response, Talsom has decided to strategically invest in a company of supply chain experts called Conseil 2.0, to better assist its clients in their transformation. 

In an open letter published on the day of UNGA’s General Debate in New York, IATA, the International Air Transport Association, whose member airlines account for 82% of global air traffic, ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping, whose members account for 80% of the world merchant shipping fleet, IRU, the International Road Transport Union and ITF, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, warned that “supply chains have been severely impacted” as a result of restrictions imposed on global logistics. This concern is shared and noted by a large majority of business leaders, for whom supply chain disruptions are now the third biggest obstacle to business growth. 

Corporate profits are coming under pressure, and this is prompting companies to think about downsizing their entire supply chain and focus more on local suppliers, thereby addressing some of the uncertainty caused by trade wars, labour and regulatory issues, transportation costs and infrastructure resilience in remote countries. Companies that want to decentralize and become more agile should be using predictive rather than historical data, and increasingly make use of AI to leverage large data sets. 

Furthermore, climate change issues support this need to approach supply chains differently. Indeed, it is important to understand that the eight largest global supply chains – food, construction, fashion, electronics, consumer products, automotive, professional services and freight transportation – account for more than 50% of GHG emissions. Companies must move quickly to make their business models more efficient and sustainable and integrate digital technologies that will enable them to better understand their vulnerability and potential losses if they do nothing. Therefore investing in Conseil 2.0, a company that specializes in optimizing supply chains, is a strategic move for Talsom as it enables us to offer our clients increasingly relevant support. 

Another advantage of this partnership between Conseil 2.0 and Talsom is that it represents a natural outcome of two firms that have already been working together for some time on several common clients. A synergy that values the expertise around the supply chain, including the positioning of inventories in a network, distribution networks and transportation, all within a more global approach of digital transformation. According to a Leger survey commissioned by Talsom, there is still room for companies to further leverage digital technology, as 40% of them feel they are not making optimal use of technology in their operations, with that percentage climbing to 44% in terms of production. Aligning technology with their strategy or business model is a barrier for 53% of businesses, and even the main barrier for 24% of them. And yet, being able to simulate supply chain performance, to identify those customers and consumers likely to be affected by disruptions, would enable them to align their order fulfillment strategies with their customers’ actual needs, while significantly reduce GHG emissions.  

If you are interested in learning more about this service, contact us.

In the article about Logistics Network Modelling, we went through why and how to create a baseline. One of the most important points was to reflect as much as possible the current state of the network in order to improve it.

But first of all, what are you trying to optimize? The goal is usually to reduce the costs and/or improve the service level, but what levers can you activate? Do you want to modify your current footprint? Upgrade your fleet? Evaluate different transport modes? Review your inventory policies? All of the above?

Network optimization can happen at various levels. The Supply Chain Guru software (presented in the previous article on network modelling) is a powerful tool to do so. It allows the user to work on 3 topics, simultaneously or separately: Network, Production, and Inventory.

Network Optimization

By network optimization, we understand the optimization of nodes and flows. This means we will be able to modify:

  • The size and location of warehouses or production facilities
  • Fleet capacity, transport modes and flow consolidation

At C2.0, optimal location of warehouses is usually the first step for every network optimization project. This step is known as “Greenfield” analysis.

Greenfield Analysis

A Greenfield analysis aims at defining the ideal location for your distribution centres, by identifying the centres of gravity of your network.

We start from scratch, excluding the current nodes. By keeping other parameters such as customer orders and transport modes, Supply Chain Guru computes the ideal location of your warehouses. We can therefore overlay the result of the Greenfield analysis with your current network and validate if the warehouses are located at the same places or not.

In other words, the Greenfield analysis allows us to compare your current network versus an ideal situation. To compute centres of gravity, Supply Chain Guru minimizes the weighted average distance to customers (i.e., minimizes transportation costs).

We can take it even further. It is possible to keep the actual number of warehouses and see what the ideal locations would be for new warehouses. Let’s take the following example :

Company XYZ has clients all across Canada (in blue), a manufacturing centre (in red) and three warehouses (in green). The manufacturing centre does not act as a distribution centre in this model.

Distribution sites and customers_Canada
Node locations
Mapping of flows

Let’s now assume that you decide to add two new distribution centres… You just need to specify that to Supply Chain Guru and run the Greenfield analysis. Supply Chain Guru will find the two ideal locations for your next warehouses, based on customer orders and existing locations (distances are calculated using the longitude and latitude).

Network footprint with two additional warehouses
New mapping of flows

Now that we have two new locations, what do we do with this information?

First of all, check that these two new locations make sense. Are the warehouses in an accessible area? Will there be enough qualified labour in the vicinity?

Once validated, you can add these two warehouses to your network, give them an inventory policy, maximum capacity, fixed and variable costs, etc. and run a new scenario to understand the full picture of your new network.

Warehouse location based on service level

We saw that with the Greenfield analysis we can minimize the weighted average distance between warehouses and customers.

Another approach would be to minimize the locations that would ensure a maximum service level within a certain range.

Let’s assume that a truck can go for 700 km in a day. You wish to find the ideal locations for your warehouse that maximizes the number of clients in a day.

This constraint can be modelled in Supply Chain Guru.

In this case, the weighted average distance is not optimized and will be higher than compared to a Greenfield analysis. However, you will ensure that your clients will benefit from a service level in accordance with your company standards.

Centre de gravité minimisée, Floride, USA, gestion des flux
Minimum weighted average distance due to a very high volume in south Florida. Clients upstate will not all be served within one day.
warehouse in a more central location
By locating the warehouse in a more central location (geographically), all clients will be served within a day

In the end, it is all about defining your key success factors to come to decide on the best solution. C2.0 is by your side during this step, as we understand it is as important as the modelling stage.

Flow optimization

Flow optimization is the second step when looking at improving your current network.

Here, we will consider that the nodes are defined in advance and cannot be modified. This is usually the case when one uses ports or airport infrastructure on which we usually have very limited control or simply when you cannot or do not to modify the current locations of your warehouses.

Starting from the baseline, we will consider several improvements to bring to the model. It can be done in various ways, including:

  • Deleting historical constraints
  • Considering new flows
  • Adding new transport modes

Deleting historical constraints

Historical constraints are defined in the baseline (see the article how to model your logistics network) to reflect reality.

A common situation is when you delete historical flows from warehouses to customers, either to let the system decide on the best flows to achieve or because a new warehouse, closer to customers, was recently made available.

For example, a distribution centre in Germany ships electronic devices to malls in Portugal. This company has been working like this for years but recently acquired a new facility in Spain.

With the baseline, the model can only use the flow Germany – Portugal. This flow will have to be deleted as you would like to let the model use the Germany – Spain and Spain – Portuguese corridors (using for instance FTL shipments from Germany to Spain and LTL shipments from Spain to Portugal).

Considering New Flows

In the optimization module, you can indicate that you want to create additional flows (which is also what we should do in the previous example). It is not about forcing the software to use a specific lane, but rather let him decide if it is beneficial to use one that was not available before.

If the lanes bring savings and meet the target, then they will be used. If not, then we will see quickly in the outputs that no volume goes through them.

New Flows Example

Let’s take the example of two subsidiaries of a company, one based in England and the other one in France. The two companies export goods to the American market, respectively from the ports of Southampton and Le Havre. We could look at the possibility of consolidating these two flows between the two ports. Are the rates, volumes and destinations different? Based on these elements, the software will propose its optimal solution. It is then up to us to validate if it is worth implementing it or not.

Production Optimization

Although Supply Chian Guru is not software dedicated to production, it can still model some parameters that you would like to consider.

Adding production aspect increases greatly the model complexity. Thus, the first is to determine whether you want to add it to your network model or not.

If your primary objective is the distribution of goods from your warehouses to your clients, then it not necessary to include production.

However, if warehouse selection and outbound flows depend on an optimized production between the different manufacturing centres, then yes, you should consider it.

Représentation graphique, usine, entrepôt, client, flux logistique

How to know which manufacturing centre should produce which product based on:

  • Fixed and variable costs
  • Warehouse storage capacity
  • Customer orders

You must gather these data sets to model your production capacities. The level of detail to go into must be defined in advance. C2.0 acts as a partner to support you during this phase. Together, we look at your production and answer various questions such as

  • How many products should we consider?
  • At which product level, should we stop?
  • Which level of the Bill of Material is the correct one to model?
  • Should we model production work centres?
  • Which costs are fixed or variable?

The optimization will then depend on various factors on which you can influence. For example, increasing the number of shifts within the factory, work centre automation, etc. These factors are taken into account through various scenarios in Supply Chain Guru. The results of the analysis are expressed in terms of fixed and variable costs as well as capacity. It is up to us to compare these different scenarios and select the most profitable one.

Inventory optimization

Logistics network optimization can be achieved by modifying different parameters. A tool such as Supply Chain Guru allows you to act at various levels of granularity, from adding facilities and flows to truck speed, fuel surcharges, taxes or even greenhouse gas emissions.

In any case, each optimization scenario must be analyzed to understand the impacts in terms of costs for your company. Supply Chian Guru allows you to visualize the results at various levels in accordance with what has been modelled.

  • Total costs
  • Expected benefits
  • Transport, production, and inventory costs

But it is up to us, supply chain professionals, to analyze the results and pick the best scenario for our company.

To accomplish this, C2.0 acts as your partner and together we build the key success factors to define your future network. Discussions between all the stakeholders of the network are paramount for optimization projects, and it is through an efficient teamwork that we will meet your targets.

Conclusion

Logistics network optimization can be achieved by modifying different parameters. A tool such as Supply Chain Guru allows you to act at various levels of granularity, from adding facilities and flows to truck speed, fuel surcharges, taxes or even greenhouse gas emissions.

In any case, each optimization scenario must be analyzed to understand the impacts in terms of costs for your company. Supply Chian Guru allows you to visualize the results at various levels in accordance with what has been modelled.

  • Total costs
  • Expected benefits
  • Transport, production, and inventory costs

But it is up to us, supply chain professionals, to analyze the results and pick the best scenario for our company.

To accomplish this, C2.0 acts as your partner and together we build the key success factors to define your future network. Discussions between all the stakeholders of the network are paramount for optimization projects, and it is through an efficient teamwork that we will meet your targets.

C2.0 is an official partner of Coupa. Do not hesitate to reach out to us if you wish to learn more about Supply Chain Guru or for any project about network optimization, we will gladly accompany you in your upcoming challenges.

Have you ever tried to reduce the costs of your logistics network? Have you ever wondered if it’s optimal? Are the nodes of your network in the right places?

Often not associated with the core business of the company, logistics and distribution aspects are frequently put on the back burner and end up being a significant cost source.

Logistics is a substantial lever for improving a company’s competitiveness. Several options are possible, such as inventory management, warehouse automation, and, what interests us in this article, optimizing the logistics network.

Companies sometimes have dozens of warehouses, hundreds of customers, and thousands of products. What’s the best combination? How do you find the optimal network that minimizes logistics network costs? The human brain can’t answer such a complex question, so specific software needs to be employed. In this article, Conseil 2.0 presents its methodology to address these challenges. It is based on both industry expertise and the use of network modeling software, Supply Chain Guru.

Supply Chain Baseline_Supply Chain Guru de Llamasoft

Supply Chain Guru (SCG) is a tool that enables the modeling of the logistics network and provides optimizations to find the best model for your business. We will present the main features offered by SCG in two parts:

  1. Modeling the reference network, or baseline
  2. Network optimization

Modeling the baseline: a crucial step for any network optimization project

The more advanced a project is, the more costly modifications become. The same applies in our case. It is essential to model the baseline before proceeding to the next steps. Otherwise, the results of future optimizations will not be usable.

Baseline: Why and When to Build It?

Why

There are three main reasons why it is imperative to build a baseline before any network optimization project. The baseline aims to:

1.Verify that the model is consistent with the company’s data:
– Are the flows correctly represented?
– Are the modeled costs consistent with the financial data?

2. Serve as a starting point for future modeling.

3. Act as a reference point for comparing proposed scenarios:
– How do my transportation costs and warehouse costs evolve?
– How does my service level evolve?

When

A properly defined baseline ensures that we are moving in the right direction. It should be built:

– After the collection and validation of data
– Before constructing future scenarios

The collection and validation of input data is a fundamental step, though often overlooked. There is a common tendency to assume that our data is immediately available and usable. However, as we will see later, it is usually not enough to simply extract data from the ERP, gather a few Excel files, and load them into the software.

Depending on the complexity of the network, it generally takes between 3 to 5 weeks to collect the data, and another 3 to 5 weeks to build the model. Attempting to shorten this time may lead to higher costs during future optimizations.

Timeline du baseline_Supply Chain Guru de Llamasoft

Dats collection

The data required for building a baseline can be categorized into several groups, depending on the complexity of the optimization project. Generally, the data to be collected includes:

1. Products:
– Typology
– Weight
– Volume
– Price
– Other relevant attributes

2. Sites:
– Locations of customers
– Distribution centers
– Production sites
– Size and capacity of these sites

3. Financial Data:
– Operating costs of distribution centers
– Transportation costs
– Customer orders
– Other financial metrics

4. Inventories:
– ABC classification
– Inventory levels
– Safety stock levels

Depending on the project and the desired complexity, additional data may be collected, such as:

– Type of fleet
– Availability by distribution center
– Other pertinent details

Fundamental Steps in Data Collection

For each project, Conseil 2.0 adheres to four fundamental steps during data collection:

1. Identification:
– Determine what data is necessary for the project.
– Identify sources for each type of data.

2. Extraction:
– Gather data from ERP systems, Excel files, and other sources.
– Ensure data extraction methods are consistent and thorough.

3. Validation:
– Verify the accuracy and completeness of the collected data.
– Cross-reference data with financial reports and operational records.

4. Consolidation:
– Compile and organize data into a coherent structure.
– Ensure data is ready for modeling and analysis.

By following these steps, Conseil 2.0 ensures that the data collection process is robust and reliable, providing a solid foundation for effective network optimization.

1. Verify that all required data has been provided

The amount of data is often substantial, and it’s easy to overlook some. It’s recommended to regularly track the status of data collection.

2. Ensure the integrity of the data

Before modeling the baseline, it’s imperative to analyze the data to assess its usability. Due to various reasons such as different IT systems, specific local requirements, etc., data from different sites may have different nomenclatures and formats, lack coherence, contain erroneous information, and some data may also be missing.

3. Clean the data

Based on the analysis that has been conducted, one can then decide to add data, exclude some (carefully anticipating the impacts), or make assumptions to address shortcomings (which must be documented).

Here are some common issues encountered during data analysis and cleaning:

– Duplicate data
– Inconsistent nomenclature
– Variations in information granularity across different sites
– Multiple and inconsistent sources of information
– Mixing of inter-warehouse transactions and customer orders

4. Validate the data with stakeholders

The stakeholders who will validate the project should be involved from the outset to avoid surprises. Do they recognize their data? Are they in agreement with the assumptions that may have been made?

Phase du Baseline_Supply Chain Guru de LLamasoft

It can’t be emphasized enough. Data collection is as lengthy as it is crucial for the rest of the project. Neglecting it jeopardizes all future analyses.

Documenting the constraints

SCG operates on the principle of moving towards an optimal model. Constraints are used to reflect reality, such as business decisions, preferences to work with a specific supplier, fleet limitations, driver hours per day, etc. Constraints can, among other things:

– Be based on min/max values
– Involve volume or weight capacities, costs, time periods, or flows

SCG utilizes constraint tables so that the user can input them (flows, inventory, production, sites).

Building the baseline

Building the baseline begins by creating a new database where all collected data (from ERP, WMS, reports, etc.) is consolidated. These data, primarily historical orders, transportation, production or procurement records, and product characteristics, enable the filling of the six required elements to model the network:

– Products
– Sites
– Demand
– Policies for:
– Transportation
– Procurement
– Inventory

Note that inventory and procurement rules can be omitted if only modeling distribution center-to-customer transportation, for example. Similarly, if production is a key element of your network, it’s also possible to model production policies.

Model validation

It’s crucial to choose the right performance indicators, which should be done simultaneously with data collection. It’s necessary to verify the results of the baseline to ensure its compliance with reality. For example, if we know that warehouse XYZ delivered 97,000 tons of goods during the fiscal year, but the model indicates 98,000 tons.

Is this discrepancy acceptable?
What is our tolerance threshold?
How does this discrepancy compare to the tonnage of other warehouses, such as ABC and JKL? Is it negligible?
What effort is required to refine the model?

The model will never be 100% accurate. The question to answer is at what point can we consider the model satisfactory? This question depends on each project and must be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

During model validation, Conseil 2.0 collaborates with the client team to ensure satisfaction on both sides and achieve the first major milestone of the project.

The road to optimization and simulation

Now that we have built the baseline and the stakeholders have validated it, we can proceed to optimize the baseline and run scenarios, such as adding or removing warehouses, implementing cross-docking, consolidating flows, etc.

If the baseline is correctly established, these scenarios are relatively simple to model. Teams can then spend more time analyzing the results and thus maximize the time spent on value-added tasks.

Conseil 2.0 is an official partner of Coupa, the publisher of Supply Chain Guru. Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about our methodology or for any project related to optimizing your network. We would be delighted to assist you with your challenges.

Have you ever wondered about the relevance of a software such as a TMS (Transport Management System) in your company? Indeed, these various software allow you to optimize your delivery routes and thus minimize driving time or distance traveled while taking into account your physical and time constraints. Here are 6 questions to answer to determine if you need a TMS.

1. Are you currently able to identify the impacts of adding express orders to your daily deliveries?

What may seem like a minor impact may be a “domino effect” on all your remaining deliveries for the day. It is possible to see an overview of these impacts in some TMS solutions and make a more informed decision about adding express orders to daily deliveries. This type of observation is very important to take into consideration when building routes. Indeed, it is sometimes more beneficial for a company to ship the express order the next day, rather than forcing a shipment into one of your ready-to-go trucks.

Verizon Preview Optimized route
Credit : Verizon Connect

2. Are you currently able to track your vehicles?

TMS software solution offer the possibility to track the route of vehicles. In case of a problem, this tool allows you to easily detect the location of your truck. Finally, you can even study the routes taken by your drivers to determine if they really took the shortest routes for their travel.

Real Time Dispatch & Tracking

Real time dispatch and tracking descartes preview
Credit : Descartes System Group

Detailed route progress review

Detailed route progress review descartes
Credit : Descartes System Group

3. Are your trucks currently running at full capacity?

Sending trucks at 75% or even 50% of their capacity is a considerable loss for your company. In fact, it is preferable, as much as possible, to use as few trucks as possible to make your shipments. This allows for a much better return on vehicle costs, as well as indirect gains by reducing the number of employees required for the task. In the case where the volume of demand is lower, we recommend assigning drivers to related tasks and making deliveries only when demand is higher.

C2.0 can do a preliminary study to identify the average capacity of your trucks when they leave for your customers. This allows you to evaluate your efficiency in terms of deliveries and to determine the threshold in order to identify the potential gains in productivity if the ratio is increased.

4. How do you currently build your delivery routes

It is interesting to have a team dedicated to the current road creation process. However, this workload converted into hours can be enormous and is not always the most optimal way to build delivery routes. We recommend that you compare your operating time costs versus the acquisition of a TMS, as you may be surprised at the return on investment of such a purchase. Furthermore, there are accessible solutions on the market that meet the needs of all sizes of businesses.

Manual Planning & Optimized Planning Preview Descartes
Crédit : Descartes System Group

5. What is the average delivery cost per order?

The average delivery cost per order is an important performance indicator for your distribution department. Indeed, a low average cost means that your trucks and routes are optimized. This allows you to gain a better profit margin on sales and to be more aggressive in the market by offering lower prices.

Thanks to the preliminary study discussed in the previous point, it is also possible to determine your current average delivery cost. This metric is based on your operating costs and the capacity used by your trucks. Once these values are defined, it is easy to estimate the potential gains from an optimization of your trucks.

6. What is the satisfaction rate of your customers (internal and external) with your deliveries

The TMS software solution is not really a tool to manage customer satisfaction, but there are modules, specific to certain solutions, which can considerably improve customer satisfaction. Indeed, this module allows to have an automatic communication to the customers. It is therefore possible for the software to send a text message or an email (based on the GPS information of the truck) announcing the arrival of the goods. In addition, if something unexpected happens on the road and the truck is likely to arrive outside the time slots planned for the customer, it is possible to notify the customer automatically.

Key takeaways

Here are three important things to keep in mind if you are considering implementing a TMS system in your company.

At C2.0, we have helped several companies structure their transportation and distribution operations. We are there to support the client at all levels of the TMS integration process. From the identification of solutions relevant to their needs, to the integration of the system into the company. Our expertise extends to several solutions such as:

Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your needs!

C2.0 solidifies its partnership with Coupa to penetrate the Quebec market

C2.0, a supply chain advisory firm, is proud to officially announce today the signing of a System Integrator (SI) partner agreement with Coupa Software, regarding their supply chain digitization offer, more specifically their Procure-toPay (P2P) platform for the Quebec market.

C2.0 is familiar with Coupa and has been collaborating with them for the past six years. In fact, several of the firm’s consultants are certified and can assist clients with the integration of the platform.

« We are proud of this partner who is a leader in his field according to Gartner. Coupa integrates perfectly with the company's philosophy and their platforms and provides an efficient system for the supply and transport of customers. »

C2.0 is a supply chain advisory firm specializing in procurement, transportation and related systems. The firm has several experienced consultants specializing in several areas of the supply chain.

What’s more, this new integrator agreement between Conseil 2.0 and Coupa allows Coupa to broaden its visibility among Quebec companies and to promote its added value. Indeed, Coupa allows companies around the world to have the visibility and control they need to manage all their business expenses in one place. This solution is possible thanks to their Procure-to-Pay (fully Cloud) platform.

« We are excited to welcome Conseil 2.0 into the Coupa Partner Program, and together work to deliver real customer value to even more customers in Canada. »

To learn more about how Coupa can help you spend smarter, visit their website.

North America is known for its free trade. This is why when we face disruptions in levels such as political, economic, social, and many others, supply chains are heavily impacted.

Of course, when these events take place, as a business, it is difficult to escape these disruptions. However, it is possible to limit the consequences, and be well prepared. Here are a few tips to follow to ensure a smooth continuation of your supply chain.

1. Monitor variations related to the cost of raw materials

There are different methods and technological tools that offer predictive solutions. These work based on the company’s procurement history or using modern technological concepts, to assess risks regarding raw material costs. These methods or tools allow you to have more visibility on the range of variations of this parameter and subsequently help make decisions very early in the procurement process to manage this variability.

2. Avoid sourcing products from single-source suppliers.

Sourcing your products or raw materials from a single supplier is very risky, as you may encounter inventory problems if they run out of stock. This will cause production or customer satisfaction difficulties, and thus have consequences on your entire supply chain. Therefore it is important to buy from several suppliers. This allows you to have the necessary resources to meet your needs and those of your customers, and, to have access to a competitive market that will work in your favor.

There are intelligent sourcing platforms that allow buyers to find many similar suppliers for a product through machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This technology allows you to be aware of the different companies that can supply you and thus limit your risk. As a company, we use  Tealbook platform to help our customers not only access to this type of information, but also to consolidate and cleanse their supplier’s databases, i.e., remove duplicates and distinguish between parent and subsidiary companies.

3. Anticipate variations in delivery times

Variability in delivery times is a problem in any supply chain. This problem is due to various factors such as variations in customer demands, transportation delays, customs problems in case of international shipments, unforeseen events such as weather, etc. Therefore, as with cost variations, there are effective tools and systems available that can perform predictive analysis of delivery times, based on available data, and thus try to limit the impact of variability. In order to limit this disruption, you can also favor your procurement from nearby suppliers or also mitigate the risk of delivery delays by sharing it with suppliers. In other words, you can continuously share your production or demand forecasts with suppliers so that you don’t place orders at the last minute.

4. Establish quality controls

Implementing quality control practices and performing these controls frequently within a company allow eliminating non-compliant products. Therefore, making sure that you purchase from suppliers who perform these controls allows you to have compliant products according to your needs. Indeed, it happens that you need to get your supplies quickly and/or that you want to pay low prices for a certain need. If this is the case, you have to be careful with the different suppliers you deal with, because a lower price does not always mean that the products are of quality and in conformity.  So, take the time to properly qualify your suppliers to avoid potential problems and ensure the quality of your products.

5. Conduct a supplier's audit

Performing a supplier’s audit consists of an internal analysis of our suppliers, but also an external analysis of the different suppliers available on the market. Indeed, it is important to choose your supplier well, because it is an important actor in the supply chain of a company. Having a reliable supplier, allows you to have the right raw material, good products, to be delivered on time and with optimal costs. Therefore, when choosing a supplier, it is important to make sure that they offer good service and that they respect quality standards and contracts. There are several smart tools that provide information on suppliers’ qualifications, such as system quality management certificates, such as ISO 9000/9001, as well as information on corruption perception indices in their locations. As a result, buyers have the data they need to select their suppliers.

6. Sourcing from local sources

In order to anticipate the consequences of disruptions in its supply chain, it is important to source from local sources, such as local suppliers.  In this way, you minimize the risk of supply problems and ensure customer satisfaction.

 

7. Increase safety stocks

In the event of a disruption in the supply chain, your inventory will definitely be impacted. Indeed, you will have difficulty to supply yourself and ultimately you will be faced with a stock shortage. The solution to counter this disruption is to increase your safety stocks while following a good inventory management. Indeed, this method will allow you to have the right quantity of raw materials to produce and the right quantity of products for sale. In this way, you will be able to meet the needs of your customers and ensure their satisfaction.

Last week, all the media ofthe world were polarized on the American elections, but in the Supply Chain world the shocking news was the announcement of COUPA SOFTWARE acquiring LLamasoft (Supply Chain Guru, Optimiza, llama.ai, etc.). Conseil 2.0 is an official partner with these two companies and we are very proud to see these industry leaders join forces to offer connected solutions that meet multiple supply chain needs.

If the current year has shown us anything, it is the fact that for many companies the weaknesses in their supply chain’s structure can quickly make them collapse in the event of an unforeseen shock. This article aims to introduce you to the Supply Chain Guru (SCG) tools. This software offers modeling, optimization, and simulation solution that can help build a stronger foundation for the supply chain and help study the impact of shocks before they happen.

Modeling tool

The first opportunity that SCG offers is the possibility of modeling your network. You want to map your supply chain with products movements? You want to understand the breakdown of your different operating costs? The modeling tools allows you, with your internal data, to better understand your current business process. Like the proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words”, SCG offers several visuals to help you understand your data, and potentially identifies issues that will help taking decisions that are much more informed.

Optimization tool

The second opportunity that the SCG offers a “Machine Learning” module integrated directly into the software. Once the modeling of your network is created, it is possible to create a mirror image, and make the current model compete with the optimized one. It will help visualize the potential improvements of your network and its financial impact. The optimization of your supply chain will be based on metrics like product flow, service costs, production costs, transport cost, etc

Simulation tool

The third opportunity that SCG offers is a simulation tool. For any improvement project that you want to do in the supply chain, it is recommended to use the simulation before launching it. This step can help reveal issues that were not initially identified or even the infeasibility of the project. Like in the optimization tools, the SCG simulation tool create a mirror image of the initial model, on which it is possible to apply different constrain. For example:

  • Impact of demand increasing by X% in the current network
  • Closure / Opening of X distribution centers around the world
  • Increase / decrease in vehicle fleet

This solution can make your business save a tremendous amount of time and money if the project was initially poorly defined.

One of the strengths of SCG is that it is possible to use these 3 modules together. When using the software for Optimization or Simulation, it will be important to use the Modeling module to identify a “Baseline” as a comparison tool. This part of the work is crucial to the success of the project because all the studies will be made from this initial model. It is therefore important to put a lot of time and emphasis on validating the data that will be used as a baseline. Once this referent has been modeled and approved by the stakeholders, you only have to define the constraints to be simulated in the different scenarios, and run the software according to them.

One of the possible avenues of the simulation, which was not widely exploited before and which is expected to become more and more widespread, is the simulation of the impacts of natural disasters and climate changes on supply chains everywhere across the world.

• What happens if overnight we must close our borders?
• What are the impacts if we can no longer produce for 2 months?
• What is the impact if one of our raw materials becomes increasingly rare and its price rises exponentially?

With the SCG simulation tools, it is possible to evaluate these scenarios to be ready in the event of a possible outcome, like the one we are currently experiencing. This proactivity could pay off hugely for your business.

If you would like to learn more about the Supply Chain Guru software, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to help you. At Conseil 2.0 we offer several tailor-made services to meet your needs.

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