Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsHello, learners. Welcome to the Week 2 round-up video. I'm Deniz, the mentor for this week. We have Professor Janet Godsell, the lead educator of this course. Hello, Janet. Hello, Deniz, how are you? Thank you. So this week in the course, we looked particularly at the planning process in supply chains. Learners have posted lots of good questions and comments. And I would like to start with block 2, planning fundamentals. In this block, a lot of learners have commented about the strategic, tactical, and operational planning processes. They have provided examples, both from their daily lives and their professional lives.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 secondsIn addition to supply chain planning, we have seen planning examples from carriers, weekly meals, fitness, healthy eating, fish hunting, and even how to play a saxophone. What are your thoughts about this? I have to say, I was pretty blown away by just the diverse nature of the comments around that question. And I have to say, it opened my eyes, really, to just how well this strategic, tactical, and operational model works, both within our day-to-day lives, but also within our professional lives. I particularly liked an example too about how someone used it to manage their Cub Scouting activities. What I would say and one of the interesting questions or themes that seemed to develop was actually around who does the activities.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 secondsI think, in our personal lives, we can do the strategic, the tactical and the operational ourselves. But it would appear that, in our business lives, some of the questions that people were asking was, you know, do you have to be the executive team to do the strategic stuff? And is it middle management that do the tactical stuff and lower management that do the operational stuff, or should one person do it all? And there was some interesting debate about that. I don't think there's one right answer. So we obviously have some people on the course that work in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 secondsAnd within an SME, I think it's very likely that it is the same person that actually takes control of the strategic, the tactical, and operational decisions. If you work in a large organisation, you know, something like a global, multinational enterprise, then the chances are, it will be the more senior management team that are developing the strategic plans for the business. But what's absolutely critical is that, then, through the planning hierarchy, they make sure that, as that strategic plan is cascaded down normally through functional plans, and then down through... we mentioned integrated business processing, and then down through some of the more tactical and operational levels of planning, that we stay aligned to the corporate objectives.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 secondsAnd so that's a different form of strategic alignment in terms of the deployment of strategy. And I think, in those really, really big companies, we do, unfortunately, have these divides of level of planning and level of seniority. OK. And in this block, learners have also been really interested about the challenges that Uber could face in the rural areas. Also, some learners have expressed their concerns whether Uber is really good at balancing supply and demand. What do you think about this issue? Yeah. I mean, I have to start by saying... and I think one learner did point out, that they're not sure about the Uber business model full stop. And I can fully appreciate that viewpoint.

Skip to 3 minutes and 41 secondsBut just taking it as a case in point, the reason why I raised this is, I'd recently had an Uber experience in London, and it worked really, really efficiently. But I live in a rural location. And just what I was thinking, you know, are you ever likely to see Uber where I live? And one particular learner gave a very comprehensive view on why this could be problematic. Because essentially, you have issues of more intermittent demands. And therefore, it makes it more difficult to meet that demand and to provide the right level of supply.

Skip to 4 minutes and 15 secondsSo for instance, in a rural area, if many drivers were to sign up to want to be an Uber driver, they may not get enough work for it to be financially viable for them. However, I think it was one of our learners from Africa raised a really, really good point that, actually, an Uber-type service could actually be a lifesaver for certain communities, and that maybe what we need to do is to think a little bit more broadly, and think about not just dedicating an Uber-type service to moving people. But perhaps they could also be used to move goods, to move services, and other really, really important pieces of equipment, even medicines and things to actually support different communities.

Skip to 4 minutes and 57 secondsSo maybe if we were to actually look at the scope of what the service could offer and extend the scope, then in that way, maybe Uber could become more financially viable in more rural areas. And not just potentially in developed countries, but actually really be a game changer in some of the developing countries. Yes. Finally, in this block, I would say the discussion about what is the primary objective of a publicly listed company was quite interesting. A majority of the learners have answered this question as, to optimise the trade-off between the shareholder and customer value. It was a tricky question, though. What would you like to say about this? So this is a question that I love.

Skip to 5 minutes and 39 secondsInterestingly, back in 2007, coming out of a research project, we actually published a guide as to how you could improve the strategic alignment of your business by balancing customer and shareholder value. So back in 2007, I'd have along with all those people that thought the answer was C, and it was about the trade-off. And then I actually was doing a lot of work with a large multinational organisation. And it became pretty apparent that, if you are particularly a stock-listed company, then your primary objective is to meet shareholder return.

Skip to 6 minutes and 13 secondsHowever, and this is where you could argue my question's a little bit of a trick question, because I could argue that the way that you're going to do that is to understand customer value and deliver it at lowest possible supply chain cost, which is sort of a paraphrased version of C. So the answer is A, unfortunately. I think there was a bit of discussion around the unfortunate nature of that. Because what that means is, a lot of organisations are taking a very, very short term view, which isn't ideal. But that is the reality for businesses that are listed. But the way to do this is to look at customer value and deliver it at the lowest supply chain cost.

Skip to 6 minutes and 54 secondsThank you. And then we come to block 3, which is planning for different types of demands. There has been an intense discussion about additional supply chains, and also late ordering, and the challenges they present as well. How should companies cope with these challenges, do you think? For instance, dynamics pricing would work for shaping the demand and preventing disruptions. What do you think? Yeah. Again, we had some really excellent discussions. And there was also some quite nice discussion around the humanitarian logistic supply chain too, and the construction supply chain. And I think it was quite nice to see how people could recognise that these were very different types of supply chains, and that there was very different challenges around them.

Skip to 7 minutes and 37 secondsI mean, Christmas is an example of a seasonal supply chain or an event-driven supply chain. And people around the world will experience different types of events. I wonder whether or not we are preaching to the converted with our cause, because judging by the comments, people were fairly open-minded to ideas around demand shaping, not running these events in the first place if they weren't value-adding for the business. And generally, things that would actually look better at how we could balance demand and supply and actually be able to deliver things at lowest supply chain cost.

Skip to 8 minutes and 14 secondsThey did raise some of the issues though, of cause, the decisions to run these events are made by our marketing colleagues who don't always take the supply chain into account. And I suppose this is where, I suppose, part of the reason for putting these examples forward is to raise the really strategic nature of supply chains, and not just the supply chain of the business model or the business decisions. And for instance, if you are going to make a decision to, as we've seen in the UK, start to hold Black Friday events, that will have a knock-on effect on your supply chain.

Skip to 8 minutes and 49 secondsAnd you need to think about how do you set up the promotional mechanism in a way that your supply chain can actually respond to. So for instance, we've seen some companies now, they won't partake in Black Friday. Others, they've sort of created a whole week to try to smooth demand out. Others may run the events on Black Friday, but offer deliveries that stretch out over a much longer period of time. So I think there is no right answer. But I think, if you read the discussion, there is all viewpoints equally and quite eloquently put forward. In terms of dynamic pricing, it works well in the air industry, so it would be quite interesting.

Skip to 9 minutes and 36 secondsI think we need to change, perhaps, the way that we display prices on shelf or online. Maybe online affords a better opportunity than on shelf. But maybe dynamic pricing is the way to go forward. Because say, for instance, with an event like Mother's Day, you could reward the people that ordered their flowers well in advance. If you're getting a bit close to the event, then the price goes up, but if you're left with flowers and it's literally minutes before Mother's Day is due to start, then you could grab yourself a bargain. But you can then make your choice, can't you? That's right. Finally, in the fourth block, which is data-driven supply chains.

Skip to 10 minutes and 15 secondsLearners have mentioned the importance of cloud technologies and supply chain analytics. Probably, we will see more companies using these in their supply chain management in the near future. How do you see the role of cloud technologies in supply chain management, first of all? OK. So there are some good comments about this cloud aspect, and I just want to clarify that cloud technologies and supply chain analytics are two slightly separate dimensions, or IT solutions. So cloud technology is really about where do we host our software. So traditionally, enterprise resource planning or ERP software was hosted within the company. This meant it tended to be quite expensive. It also took time to implement.

Skip to 11 minutes and 3 secondsOnce you'd implement it, it was very, very difficult to change. What a cloud-based solution offers is that it's not hosted within the individual company. It's hosted somewhere else virtually. And you essentially, rather than owning the software yourself, you have access to it. So you use the software as a service. And quite often, you therefore don't have to go through the same rigours of implementation. You can pay per use. And when the software's updated, you get the benefits straight away of the updates. In terms of analytic solutions, they can sit on top of either a cloud-based ERP solution or a company-hosted ERP solution.

Skip to 11 minutes and 47 secondsBut equally, the analytic solution could either be one that's bespoke and based within your company, or it could be hosted by an analytics company that hosts it in the cloud, and you'd just pay for it as a service. Regarding this topic, secondly, what are the desired skills a supply chain analyst should have? Yeah. There was some lovely debate about the supply chain analyst. I'd particularly like to begin with the difference that people drew between a supply chain analyst and a financial analyst. In particular that they felt that, in order to really be a good supply chain analyst, you needed that very end-to-end view of the business.

Skip to 12 minutes and 27 secondsYou needed to be able to understand how the business operated at a strategic level. And they saw that as a distinguishing feature between the two. The other lovely part of it was, I think people were in quite strong agreement around the technical aspects that you'd need for the job, but in addition saw that there are some quite important other skills that are required to be a successful analyst. And these could be summarised, I think, by the five Cs - creativity, curiosity, good communication skills, orientation towards continuous learning, and a good ability to do critical thinking. And I just thought that was a lovely way of actually thinking about the data analyst role.

Skip to 13 minutes and 12 secondsSomeone else also described it as somebody that was happy to play and experiment with data in a relaxed way, which I just think to me conjures up a picture of a really nice role. Not necessarily for everybody, but it is someone who has that sort of natural affinity with numbers, and is happy to play with them. I think their analogy was a bit like doing a crossword. OK. Thank you very much for your comments. That's all for Week 2. I hope the learners have also enjoyed the course as we did. Yeah. So, thanks everyone for their contributions for week two. It's been a good week, and I look forward to welcoming you to Week 3. Thank you Thank you, Janet.

Week 2 summary

Please return here at the start of Week 3 for the round-up video for Week 2.

Week 2 focused on the topic of the ‘global orchestra’’. Before immersing yourself in the domain of ‘shop til you drop’, take some time to consolidate your learning from last week by watching the summary video above.

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This video is from the free online course:

Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You

The University of Warwick