Stuart William was in one of my former MBA classes at NC State in 2008, and graduated into one of the worst economies ever in May of 2009. Upon graduation, there simply weren’t any jobs available at all! During that period, he networked with as many people as possible, including a fundraising arm at Wake Tech. He met a colleague who worked at Carquest, and after several interviews, took a job there. He started in supply planning, overseeing over $100M of spend in batteries and other categories. He then went into global imports for the central purchasing group in Raleigh. He became a director at that point, working with sales planning, inventory planning, and financial planning, and pulling together the Sales and Operations Planning team, as well as introducing new products and eliminating obsolescence. This was a lot of planning, a lot of analytics, and a lot of work.

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I had the opportunity to hear George Moakley, formerly the Enterprise Architect and Strategic Planner at Intel, who is now one of the founders of the new Intelligence at the Edge for Supply Chain Lab at Arizona State University. George spoke to a group of executives at the CAPS Roundtable at IBM in RTP recently, and shared some of his ideas about what’s in store for the future of the IoT.

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Contingent Workforce is a Major Focus for Procurement

By Robert Handfield, Oct 11, 2016

The number of workers who are “contingent” is growing rapidly. Brian Hoffmeyer from IQ Navigator, a procure to pay solution, spoke today at IBM’s Empower event on this trend, and the implications for procurement. I had the opportunity to sit in on this presentation and get some takeaways.

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Data integrity is a real problem in the operating room

By Robert Handfield, Aug 23, 2016

A recent visit to a mid-sized hospital in the Northeast United States provided a number of important insights into how great a problem material handling data integrity is in the daily life of those people who work in operating rooms across the country. The nurses, buyers, surgical techs, operating room specialists, and physicians who work on the front lines of hospitals, are having to deal with massive forces of friction that are reducing their ability to provide top tier patient care.

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Humans tend to rely on available information while completing complex tasks. But what happens when information is presented by human and automated sources? And what happens if those information sources conflict?

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Transparency is the new Sustainability

By Robert Handfield, Feb 23, 2016

Sustainability is less about multi-tier audits – it is more about knowing who you are buying from, and the implications of your behavior when you choose to purchase a product or service from someone.

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I have been interviewing a number of Chief Procurement Officers on the subject of procurement analytics and predictive analytics. An issue that frequently comes up is the debate over spend analytics and contract management systems. For organizations in the early stages of procurement transformation, which ones are more critical. And how important are systems to driving change?

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Rethinking Supply Chain Risk

By Robert Handfield, Sep 02, 2015

Supply chain risk management brings up a whole host of issues – and as one executive pointed out, is rather a sophisticated concept. Many companies have Enterprise Risk models that they use in their organization that is typically a common format that can be used across different functions to refer to risk. But when such frameworks are translated into supply chain terms, several problems arise, as the typical concepts of risk probability versus impact are not always easily transferable.

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Many people are talking about Key Performance Indicators, Metrics, Analytics, and other indicators of performance. The importance of selecting the right metrics or “measures” as I prefer to call them, is critical as we all know that metrics drive behaviors. Rather then selecting a plethora of meaningless metrics, it is always better to focus on a critical few, and select them wisely. Here are a few guidelines I’ve encountered over the years that might help people think more about selecting and establishing metrics for your supply chain.

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In an Omni-Channel environment, the customer doesn’t care which division owns the inventory – they just want the product whenever and wherever they desire. Retailers have established a single view of the customer, but are still operating largely in functional silos.

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