Robert J. De Vos, senior vice president, business development, GENCO (www.genco.com), summarizes his vision as "complete technological order fulfillment within an optimized network." His requirements include electronic connectivity across the shippers' enterprise technology with sophisticated transportation/warehousing management systems. De Vos has spent over 25 years working with transportation and logistics firms to reach this vision, providing them savings in transportation and inventory expense through complete supply chain logistics solutions.
Lorcan Sheehan, senior vice president of marketing at ModusLink Corp. (www.moduslink.com), sees companies exploring a variety of "green" options to support their 21st century supply chains, including taking innovative approaches to rationalizing their reverse logistics. Rather than sending short-lifecycle products back offshore for repairs, for example, innovators are creating in-region testing and repair capabilities. He also sees other companies considering near- or "on-shore" facilities for configuration or final assembly of some products, effecting a reduction in those products' carbon footprint.
Jeff Potts, vice president, business development, and co-founder of LeanLogistics (www.leanlogistics.com), says the 21st century supply chain is going to be all about connected supply chains and networks, especially with the advent of SaaS. However, he adds that the technology employed must enable companies to proactively manage supply chains in a real-time fashion, and allow individuals to understand the impact of their decisions on supply chain performance. To this end Potts has created the "Path to Value" for clients, using their own data to benchmark against that are best-in-class in a given business process area.
Lisa McDonald, founder and president, MDSi (www.mdsiinc.com), is promoting the "4 R's" of the green supply chain: redeploy, repair, resell and recycle. By properly handling and managing existing technology assets instead of buying new, she points out, companies not only save significant amounts of money directly attributable to the bottom line, they decrease the amount of hazardous materials introduced into our already overloaded landfills.
Greg Humes, president of NLM (www.nlmi.com), is a firm believer that an integrated, collaborative, adaptive approach to supply chain management is the key to a successful 21st century supply chain. Practicing what he preaches, Humes led the integration of four individual companies (Artisan Associates, Artisan Container Services, National Logistics Management and NLM Supply Chain Solutions) into the unified enterprise known today as NLM, transforming a group of separate successful entities into a streamlined, single-source operation.
Tom Anderson, senior vice president, operations and finance, GENCO (www.genco.com), envisions 21st century supply chain companies receiving individualized solutions, beginning with their own data and understanding the current processes they have in place. This assessment of the current state of the network can lead to cost savings and service enhancements, as well as a clear vision for the company of its own supply chain. Another important component is the use of technology for information visibility, fast implementations and a quicker ROI.
Scott Taylor, CEO of NLM (www.nlmi.com), was the first to pioneer a Web-based approach to logistics management, where carriers can bid quickly on shipments online and customers can obtain full visibility of their orders. His vision for a 21st century supply chain not only includes technology, but emphasizes it as integral and necessary for a successful 21st century economy. He recently launched Interactive Capacity Gateway (ICG), an independent software company focused entirely on technology for logistics management.
Eric Allais, president and CEO of PathGuide Technologies (www.pathguide.com), believes a 21st century supply chain should be efficient and predictable. He has focused squarely on warehouse automation with the goal of helping customers fulfill products within the supply chain with greater accuracy, efficiency and speed. And the results of one customer tell the story of Allais' vision: order accuracy consistently running at nearly 100 percent, inventory management accuracy running at 99.9 percent and inventory reduced by more than two-thirds, among other accomplishments.