Oct 15, 2020

Asendia USA: developing a key partnership with Adore Me

Asendia
Supply Chain
Digital Transformation
covid-19
Sean Galea-Pace
4 min
Asendia USA: developing a key partnership with Adore Me
Supply Chain Digital takes a closer look into Asendia's services and examines its partnership with Adore Me...

Asendia USA is the US arm of Asendia, one of the world’s leading parcel and mail shipping providers.

Founded in 2012 as part of a joint venture with La Poste and Swiss Post, Asendia specializes in international shipping of packages, business mail, direct marketing materials, and publications. Asendia offers high quality B2C global delivery solutions for its customers. The organization is present in 17 countries across Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the US and provides a diverse range of ecommerce and mail solutions to empower businesses to grow across borders.

Gary Shunk is Asendia USA’s Senior VP of Marketing, Pricing and Partnerships, with additional responsibilities in Sales and Key Accounts/Customer Care Management. “My experience in the logistics sector goes back 39 years,” he says. “I started out in sales and then went into management with FedEx back in the 1980’s. It was at FedEx that I benefited from solid sales management and leadership training. I left FedEx in 1989 to become an entrepreneur and have since contributed to the growth and development of the organization we are today.”

With such extensive experience, Shunk has observed the transformation of e-commerce first-hand. “Global eCommerce has become a fantastic opportunity for growth, but can be challenging in the world we live in today,” he says. “The customs, security changes, and guidelines for shipping internationally require the ability to adapt to constant changes. Flexibility with choices, while ensuring security and customs compliance, is how we help companies achieve their goals. Parcel shipping is 60% of our business. Asendia’s strategy had to change in order for us to succeed, and that is what we did. Transporting sold products versus mail or printed matter is much different in many ways – and, as everyone now knows, speed and visibility are critical to the customer experience. Transportation companies have had to improve and expand their scope and coverage. Asendia is doing just that through expansion of facilities, acquisitions, improved automation, increased tracking capabilities, and above all employee safety. The e-commerce industry demands reliability and ease of use, and our strategy is to ensure we continue to provide both as one of the top players in the industry.”

Having established a key, strategic relationship with Adore Me, Shunk believes that collaboration has been influential. “Adore Me began with a strict interest in the US market, but quickly saw the opportunity to grow their subscription model business into other English-speaking countries,” he says. “Because of the trust we have built in each other’s people, systems, and capabilities, we are successful at working together and finding creative ways to adjust services. This flexibility allows us to find cost-effective solutions that meet the expectations of both organizations.” Shunk understands the importance of an individual approach and believes it is vital to create custom solutions for each customer. “We understand that one size does not fit all, so we make a point to work with each customer to create a customized solution that suits their business plan,” he says. “Some may want the most economical method for international distribution because their product value is low, and high international shipping costs on low-value orders can deter consumers from shopping outside their home country. Others want speed, and cost is not as critical. Almost all retailers want to be able to have the tracking visibility their consumers expect and the data that supports the performance.”

With COVID-19 disrupting organizations globally, Shunk affirms that employee safety has become critical. “We’re very fortunate to have the operations managers and operation workers that we have because they’ve gone above and beyond,” he says. “The pandemic has brought people closer together as a team. Communication has been positive and we’ve worked extremely hard. All six of our operating facilities have been able to stay open, but it has changed the way we manage our employees and how we remotely manage the company.”

With the future in mind, Shunk has a clear idea of what he expects the next few years at Asendia USA to look like. “As the ecommerce industry continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing needs of consumers, Asendia looks forward to continuing along on this journey with our customers to help them evolve with the changes and enjoy long-term growth and success with both domestic and international sales.”

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Jun 11, 2021

NTT DATA Services, Remodelling Supply Chains for Resilience

NTTDATA
supplychain
Supplychainriskmanagement
Procurement
6 min
Joey Dean, Managing Director of healthcare consulting at NTT DATA Services, shares remodelling strategies for more resilient supply chains

Joey Dean, the man with the coolest name ever and Managing Director in the healthcare consulting practice for NTT DATA and is focused on delivering workplace transformation and enabling the future workforce for healthcare providers. Dean also leads client innovation programs to enhance service delivery and business outcomes for clients.

The pandemic has shifted priorities and created opportunities to do things differently, and companies are now looking to build more resilient supply chains, none needed more urgently than those within the healthcare system. Dean shares with us how he feels they can get there.

A Multi-Vendor Sourcing Approach

“Healthcare systems cannot afford delays in the supply chain when there are lives at stake. Healthcare procurement teams are looking at multi-vendor sourcing strategies, stockpiling more inventory, and ways to use data and AI to have a predictive view into the future and drive greater efficiency.

“The priority should be to shore up procurement channels and re-evaluate inventory management norms, i.e. stockpiling for assurance. Health systems should take the opportunity to renegotiate with their current vendors and broaden the supplier channel. Through those efforts, work with suppliers that have greater geographic diversity and transparency around manufacturing data, process, and continuity plans,” says Dean.

But here ensues the never-ending battle of domestic vs global supply chains. As I see it, domestic sourcing limits the high-risk exposure related to offshore sourcing— Canada’s issue with importing the vaccine is a good example of that. So, of course, I had to ask, for lifesaving products, is building domestic capabilities an option that is being considered?

“Domestic supply chains are sparse or have a high dependence on overseas centres for parts and raw materials. There are measures being discussed from a legislative perspective to drive more domestic sourcing, and there will need to be a concerted effort by Western countries through a mix of investments and financial incentives,” Dean explains.

Wielding Big Tech for Better Outcomes

So, that’s a long way off. In the meantime, leveraging technology is another way to mitigate the risks that lie within global supply chains while decreasing costs and improving quality. Dean expands on the potential of blockchain and AI in the industry

“Blockchain is particularly interesting in creating more transparency and visibility across all supply chain activities. Organisations can create a decentralised record of all transactions to track assets from production to delivery or use by end-user. This increased supply chain transparency provides more visibility to both buyers and suppliers to resolve disputes and build more trusting relationships. Another benefit is that the validation of data is more efficient to prioritise time on the delivery of goods and services to reduce cost and improve quality. 

“Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) is another area where there’s incredible value in processing massive amounts of data to aggregate and normalise the data to produce proactive recommendations on actions to improve the speed and cost-efficiency of the supply chain.”

Evolving Procurement Models 

From asking more of suppliers to beefing up stocks, Dean believes procurement models should be remodelled to favour resilience, mitigate risk and ensure the needs of the customer are kept in view. 

“The bottom line is that healthcare systems are expecting more from their suppliers. While transactional approaches focused solely on price and transactions have been the norm, collaborative relationships, where the buyer and supplier establish mutual objectives and outcomes, drives a trusting and transparent relationship. Healthcare systems are also looking to multi-vendor strategies to mitigate risk, so it is imperative for suppliers to stand out and embrace evolving procurement models.

“Healthcare systems are looking at partners that can establish domestic centres for supplies to mitigate the risks of having ‘all of their eggs’ in overseas locations. Suppliers should look to perform a strategic evaluation review that includes a distribution network analysis and distribution footprint review to understand cost, service, flexibility, and risks. Included in that strategy should be a “voice of the customer” assessment to understand current pain points and needs of customers.”

“Healthcare supply chain leaders are re-evaluating the Just In Time (JIT) model with supplies delivered on a regular basis. The approach does not require an investment in infrastructure but leaves organisations open to risk of disruption. Having domestic centres and warehousing from suppliers gives healthcare systems the ability to have inventory on hand without having to invest in their own infrastructure. Also, in the spirit of transparency, having predictive views into inventory levels can help enable better decision making from both sides.”

But, again, I had to ask, what about the risks and associated costs that come with higher inventory levels, such as expired product if there isn’t fast enough turnover, tying up cash flow, warehousing and inventory management costs?

“In the current supply chain environment, it is advisable for buyers to carry an in-house inventory on a just-in-time basis, while suppliers take a just-in-case approach, preserving capacity for surges, retaining safety stock, and building rapid replenishment channels for restock. But the risk of expired product is very real. This could be curbed with better data intelligence and improved technology that could forecast surges and predictively automate future supply needs. In this way, ordering would be more data-driven and rationalised to align with anticipated surges. Further adoption of data and intelligence and will be crucial for modernised buying in the new normal.

The Challenges

These are tough tasks, so I asked Dean to speak to some of the challenges. Luckily, he’s a patient guy with a lot to say.

On managing stakeholders and ensuring alignment on priorities and objectives, Dean says, “In order for managing stakeholders to stay aligned on priorities, they’ll need more transparency and collaborative win-win business relationships in which both healthcare systems and medical device manufacturers are equally committed to each other’s success. On the healthcare side, they need to understand where parts and products are manufactured to perform more predictive data and analytics for forecasting and planning efforts. And the manufacturers should offer more data transparency which will result in better planning and forecasting to navigate the ebbs and flows and enable better decision-making by healthcare systems.

Due to the sensitive nature of the information being requested, the effort to increase visibility is typically met with a lot of reluctance and push back. Dean essentially puts the onus back on suppliers to get with the times. “Traditionally, the relationships between buyers and suppliers are transactional, based only on the transaction between the two parties: what is the supplier providing, at what cost, and for what length of time. The relationship begins and ends there. The tide is shifting, and buyers expect more from their suppliers, especially given what the pandemic exposed around the fragility of the supply chain. The suppliers that get ahead of this will not only reap the benefits of improved relationships, but they will be able to take action on insights derived from greater visibility to manage risks more effectively.”

He offers a final tip. “A first step in enabling a supply chain data exchange is to make sure partners and buyers are aware of the conditions throughout the supply chain based on real-time data to enable predictive views into delays and disruptions. With well understand data sets, both parties can respond more effectively and work together when disruptions occur.”

As for where supply chain is heading, Dean says, “Moving forward, we’ll continue to see a shift toward Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics to optimise the supply chain. The pandemic, as it has done in many other industries, will accelerate the move to digital, with the benefits of improving efficiency, visibility, and error rate. AI can consume enormous amounts of data to drive real-time pattern detection and mitigate risk from global disruptive events.”

 

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