Category Archives: Supply Chain Management

Is Procurement Any Different To Supply Chain Management? (Part 3 of 3)


In the last blog, I promised my perspective on supply chain management and procurement in the light of the wisdom shared by so many “cyber friends” to illuminate personal experiences of participating in challenging projects with industry leaders of all sizes.

Procurement vsx Supply Chain Management 3

Let me begin by stating that in my opinion, the term product can be interchanged with that of service without compromise although both will obviously manifest in distinctly different supply chains.

I like definitions as I think they bring shared clarity although I recognise that depth of understanding takes time which is why the songs of Leonard Cohen invariably improve with listening. The Supply Chain Operations Reference model (SCOR) has a fine pedigree and is based on five distinct management processes: Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, and Return.

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Is Procurement Any Different To Supply Chain Management? (Part 2 of 3)

Is Procurement Any Different To Supply Chain Management?

Last week, I promised to share with you the synthesis of my take-aways from this discussion. What strikes me is that supply chain management of which procurement is a vital component is practiced with enthusiasm and skill by professionals all over the world. And, it is not just the multinational corporations that strive to optimise customer satisfaction in a net value manner. Every company, irrespective of size, global footprint and industry, pays particular attention to its supply chain. Successful companies recognize the key competitive importance of supply chain management.



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Is Procurement Any Different To Supply Chain Management? (Part 1 of 3)

Procurement vs Supply Chain Management

I’m not sure what W.B. Yeats might say about the advent of social media and if indeed “a terrible beauty is born” but I would say that something has “changed utterly”. Today, I share with you over one social medium the results of another. Over the last weeks, I have solicited the help of an international group of LinkedIn procurement professionals to help clarify real world differences between procurement and supply chain management. The 110 contributions (and counting) have been fantastic in so far as they all added value and over time turned my initial premise inside out and back again in a genuinely helpful way.

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Can Samsung Learn From Apple’s Supply Chain?

Can Samsung Learn From Apple’s Supply Chain?

Leading computer and smartphone manufacturer Apple has topped Gartner’s global supply chain ranking table for the fifth consecutive year. The report accompanying the release of the rankings was impressive – a 20.2% return on assets coupled with a 51.5% growth in revenue on the previous year gave Apple an unassailable lead.

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Celtrino in the Sunday Business Post – Increasing Supply Chain Efficiency and Reducing Cost

Take a look at our recent appearance in the Sunday Business Post.

Read about our philosophy, our newly launched e-Billing service called Celtrino Express and also about PEPPOL, the EU e-Invoicing initiative and our participation in the Irish pilot.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop us a comment, tweet or e-mail and we’ll be sure to get back to you.

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Who Can Benefit from Celtrino Express? An Interview with John Behan

Celtrino Express provides a document transaction platform for moving information between supply chain partners securely and with a full audit trail history to provide transparent reporting of processing progress. John Behan, Director at Celtrino, explains more about the potential applications of Celtrino Express.

John Behan, Director at Celtrino, explains the key benefits of Celtrino Express e-Billing Service

John Behan, Director at Celtrino

Transferring documents electronically between businesses has always been a trade-off between simplicity with error, such as when using email, or extremely complex to prevent these errors, such as traditional EDI. Neither of these approaches is ideal as online businesses move towards a more social model,” said Behan, which is why Celtrino Express has been specifically designed to be simple and intuitive to use whilst providing a secure mechanism for transparent audit trail creation and workload reduction.”

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Report Calls on Multinationals to Reduce Carbon Emissions

A new report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in conjunction with Accenture has called on multinational companies to further reduce their emissions throughout their entire supply chain. The CDP analysed 49 global companies and 1800 of their suppliers to ascertain just how well they were doing in meeting their emissions reduction targets.

The survey included household names like L’Oréal, Philips and Walmart and found that 43% of them had managed to make annual reductions in their own emissions. Somewhat less impressive was the 28% of their suppliers having achieved any kind of year-on-year reduction.

Carbon emission reduction by implementing integrated supply chain solutions

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Extending the Supply Chain Management System

A recent change in California law now requires all businesses trading within the state with revenues in excess of $100 million to make their supply chain transparent, for easier verification that they are also complying with anti-human trafficking legislation. Businesses with lower turnovers are also required to make information about their staffing compliance to their customers who do breach the $100 million mark.

HandscuffKnown as the Transparency in Supply Chains Act, this new law is designed to reduce the use of illegal immigrants and slave labour within California and to help businesses identify points in their own supply chains where there may be an issue. As a result, companies are considering how to capture and store this information effectively.

To stay compliant, many companies have begun recording vendor reputation, employee hours and human-resources records in the supply chain management systems, and then making the information available to their supply chain partners. By sharing the information sensitively, businesses up and down the supply chain can see that their partners are not only compliant, but can prove it to the relevant authorities when necessary.

As Boeing found with their supplier portal, sharing information with suppliers and customers within the supply chain, significant efficiencies could be created beyond simply proving legislative compliance. The Transparency in Supply Chains Act has only been in force since January 1st and supporting systems and business processes are still maturing but eventually Californian companies will begin to recognise other benefits available through a more collaborative supply chain.

Information and resource sharing often helps to create a more efficient supply chain, but the politics and costs involved lead many such projects to fail before they even start. By forcing this change on companies, California’s new law will kick-start the collaborative process, which may well lead to further cooperation between affected companies, changing their future prospects.

Business Processes Part 3 – Actions Post Implementation

Once the business case has been made for the introduction of processes and relevant systems have been identified for automation, the final stage is to implement the processes themselves. Whether the processes are for a small business, or a multinational corporation, the post implementation guidelines remain roughly the same:

Business Processes

  • Let the process grow and adapt. Process outlines which remain too rigid cannot scale as business needs change. By all means formalise the process, but allow the opportunity for future organic change and enhancements.
  • Involve others in process creation and implementation creating a shared ownership and common vision for improvement. Doing this will also overcome many of the political barriers which could otherwise prevent process realisation.
  • Maintain a culture of continual improvement. There is always room for the creation of new processes or the refinement of existing ones. Incremental changes will keep processes relevant to business needs and prevent them from becoming a hindrance in future.

Any process, internal or external, can help a business increase its levels of efficiency, but attempting a one-time, big-bang implementation is unlikely to have the permanent benefits desired. Processes need to be frequently revisited to allow for the identification of smaller improvements which will keep the process relevant. Changes in business model, customer demands or supplier will all necessitate changes to business processes – inflexible and infrequent analysis of processes will preclude this.

The responsibility for implementation of processes generally lies with management, but ultimately, all staff should be encouraged to participate in a continual process improvement.

Processes can exist as part of a supply chain management system, or as an internal operating procedure.  The scope is virtually limitless. Clearly, where computerised automation is required, a suitable platform will need to be sourced which provides the necessary framework in addition to flexibility for future refinements. Why not give Celtrino a call to discuss the Smart Admin platform and how it could help with your business process implementation projects?


Business Processes Part 2 – What can be made into a process?

We saw in the first instalment of this three part overview of business processes that implementation of processes carries a number of benefits based around creating efficiencies through de-duplication of effort. Having established the ‘why’, we can now shift the focus to the ‘what’.

Business Processes Typically, anything that is done more than once in any workflow becomes a candidate for conversion into a process. Look carefully at each sector of your business and identify where particular actions are repeated, taking in the smaller details as well as the larger picture; when designing processes there is nothing wrong with starting small. From the way in which a component is fabricated, down to the transfer of incoming mail onto a computerised accounts system, each department of any business has areas where efficiencies could be created by automating repetitive tasks.

Traditionally, processes are broken into two categories, Top/Down processes that address high level tasks, and Bottom/Up that automate lower level issues. Top/Down processes are created to be more general, providing a flexible guideline for completing a larger task, essentially directing the way in which a task is to be completed without specifying the exact steps to be taken. Acting almost like goals, Top/Down processes help define the ‘big picture’ and the steps required to make the final goal.

A Bottom/Up process however is far more prescriptive, acting like a recipe for the specific steps required to complete a smaller task. Typically, Bottom/Up processes, by their very design, are less flexible than their Top/Down counterparts, although it is possible to create some room for minor adjustments. Bottom/Up processes define the smaller steps required to maintain the Top/Down overview and goals.

Once potential processes have been identified, they should be implemented as soon as possible to reap the benefits immediately.

In the final part of this series we will examine the nature of ongoing process improvement.