May 17, 2020

Oracle tells of the future of distribution

Supply Chain Digital
Oracle Supply Chain
Supply Chain Mana
Freddie Pierce
4 min
Maha Muzumdar is the wisest but for Socrates
Guest contributor: Maha Muzumdar Thomas Friedman, famed New York Times journalist and author of The World is Flat, describes todays global business env...

Guest contributor: Maha Muzumdar

Thomas Friedman, famed New York Times journalist and author of The World is Flat, describes today’s global business environment as “… an era of mounting complexity with more people, systems and products entwined in a bewildering web of global networks.” Friedman’s ground-breaking description of globalization helped millions understand the trends and changes that the global corporation has been working to adapt to for years. The trends that rode the wave of globalization have had a particularly strong impact on global supply chain management today and will continue in the future.

In the years ahead, manufacturers will face new and more complex challenges in order to make effective product-related decisions, grow revenues and protect profits. Transportation infrastructures will be more gridlocked; fuel prices will remain volatile; customers will expect faster delivery and efficient service; mobile commerce will explode; global trade activity will grow; there will be more sources of financial and operational risk; and sustainability initiatives will have greater influence on supply chain networks. These are all factors that further complicate the supply chain and challenge the traditional ways and tools used for manufacturers to make decisions.

The only certainty about the future of supply chain management is that change is inevitable, so organizations must be flexible and prepared to adapt quickly to support three tenets of business success: innovation, profitable growth, and productivity.



·         Apple supply chain under fire from protest

·         Homeland Security announces supply chain crisis plan

Click here to read this story and more in the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital


Construct Your Supply Chain to Drive Innovation, Profitable Growth & Productivity

First, successful manufacturers will make smarter decisions faster by using innovation to transform their products and processes. Innovation can be facilitated by close collaboration with customers, suppliers, and partners. With a collaborative and information-driven value chain, manufacturers can optimize processes and proactively address customer issues. Manufacturers can also uncover innovative programs and strategies across their logistics and transportation management ecosystem with advanced analytics and planning tools. And with the exponential rise of data, the process of mining information in the supply chain will shift from time-intensive and hit-and-miss to fast and consistent discovery.

To support profitable growth amid uncertainty, manufacturers must first gain crystal clear visibility into their current resources and uncover insights into future demands.

Automating and optimizing supply chain performance can be facilitated by implementing a flexible, adaptable, and scalable IT system that enhances demand-driven forecasting capabilities and inventory planning, while enabling efficient order capture and fulfillment. Doing so will enable the collection, organization and extraction of insight from extraordinary amounts of volatile, fast moving data that would be impossible to understand from traditional manual processes. 

With the correct technology, manufacturers can incorporate real-time visibility into manufacturing and supplier capacity to improve service levels, inventory turns and sourcing decisions. They can also look to improve analytic capabilities to optimize supply chain operation and inventory levels, as well as be able to respond rapidly to unexpected supply chain disruptions with event driven rapid planning. In order to provide higher-quality customer experience, is it critical for manufacturers to integrate quoting, configuration, order capture, and fulfillment processes across multiple channels.

Finally, to increase productivity, facilities need greater insight into work-in-process, cycle times, productivity and equipment utilization across the shop floor and through the extended supply chain. For example, manufacturing intelligence tools — a combination of plant floor connectivity, aggregation and analytic tools, and role-based dashboards — improve production efficiency in a number of ways. Such tools support faster detection and correction of manufacturing bottlenecks and quality problems. Simultaneously, they help identify best practices that could be shared across other lines and plants. 

In certain instances, these tools provide additional opportunities for better allocation of manufacturing resources and multi-plant load balancing. In all, manufacturers should view the supply chain as a synchronized system, not a fragmented collection of processes, functional groups and IT applications.

Globalization will continue to present unforeseeable logistics and distribution challenges. By rethinking the approach to innovation, growth and productivity, successful organizations will be more nimble and responsive to customer demands. 

Click here to download Supply Chain Digital’s iPad app!

Share article

Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

Share article