Conference Preview: Aligning the Supply Chain for Innovation, Collaboration and Leadership

At CSCO Summit 2010 virtual conference, supply chain leaders to share best practices around critical factors driving strategic supply chain and operational performance

By Editorial Staff

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The global economy is tilting back upward following the deepest financial crisis in more than half a century, and companies are beginning to orient themselves toward managing growth. As chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) survey the landscape, their primary concerns will center on how best to support that growth. But with the economic backdrop transformed over the past two years, many CSCOs are likely wondering how they must alter their strategies and approaches to meet the demands of the "New Normal."

The upcoming CSCO Summit 2010 virtual conference will offer an opportunity for supply chain chiefs to hear strategies for success in the post-recessionary environment. Free to attend, the Web-based "virtual summit" is slated for June 15-16 and is open for complimentary registration to senior executives with responsibility for supply chain, procurement and operations. The summit is being organized by SCM World, which held the recent SCM World Live 2010 virtual conference earlier this year (see preview and wrap-up articles on this earlier conference on SDCExec.com). Supply & Demand Chain Executive is a media partner of the summit with SCM World.

With the role of the chief supply chain officer developing rapidly, and more and more organizations convinced of the value of making supply chain management a board-level position, the summit will examine and develop the key elements of the CSCO role, and how it interacts with other C-suite executives, particularly chief procurement and information officers (CPOs and CIOs). The full agenda is available online at www.cscosummit.raptureworld.co.uk/agenda.

The CSCO's Strategic Agenda

Kicking off the summit, Didier Chenneveau, executive vice president and CSCO at LG Electronics, will join well-known industry analyst Nari Viswanathan to unveil the results of the "2010 Chief Supply Chain Officer Report," a detailed look at the key pressures, actions and capabilities that CSCOs are focusing on in 2010. The report will be based on a survey of senior supply chain executives currently being conducted by Viswanathan, who is vice president and principal analyst with the Supply Chain Management Practice at Aberdeen Group. Executives who take the survey, which can be accessed at www.aberdeen.com/survey/CSCO2010/, will receive a complimentary copy of the report.

Viswanathan says that as the supply chain becomes increasingly recognized as a source of real business value and competitive advantage, many organizations have elevated the role of supply chain leader to the C-suite. This trend has empowered supply chain executives, but it also has put pressure on CSCOs to bring greater strategic value to the table. As a result, supply chain leaders are focusing on such areas as Integrated Business Planning to ensure that the supply chain not only is fully aligned behind the goals of the business but also is supporting the CEO and CFO in driving consistent shareholder value. "Financial processes must be integrated with supply chain processes, and chief supply chain officers can no longer afford to be tactical or to be solely cost-focused," Viswanathan says.

The survey and subsequent report, he added, will highlight the pressures that are driving this trend across key industries, as well as the strategies that best-in-class companies are employing to enable their supply chain strategies. "The Chief Supply Chain Officer's Technology Roadmap," included as part of this report, will put the spotlight on the key technology enablers that best-in-class companies are focusing on and why, as well as establish the roadmap approach that the companies have identified for selecting supply chain solutions. Separate sections of the report also will highlight the key pressures, actions and capabilities that CSCOs in consumer industries and in discrete industries are focusing on in 2010.

"We're extremely excited about the inaugural SCM World 'Chief Supply Chain Officer's Strategic Agenda Report,'" says Oliver Sloane, CEO of SCM World. "The rise of the chief supply chain officer within global organizations has been significant over the last 12 months, and this report will capture their key strategic issues and challenges, as well as provide detailed analysis of what separates the leaders from the laggards."

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From Supply Chain to Value Network

Featured speakers at the CSCO Summit also include Angel Mendez, senior vice president for customer value chain management at Cisco Systems, joined by John Sicard, executive vice president for marketing, development and service operations at solution provider Kinaxis. Their session, "From Supply Chain to Value Network: Enabling a New Degree of Business Agility," addresses the lessons learned throughout the course of Cisco's supply chain transformation.

Cisco is recognized as a global supply chain leader and has been among the most innovative organizations in leveraging its supply chain as a competitive advantage. In response to rapidly shifting business demands, Cisco's emphasis has been to fully integrate previously siloed back-to-front end operations into a single global operations group that covers the extended value network, from downstream suppliers through to upstream customers. Mendez leads this organization, which has been responsible for enabling a high-velocity, agile and responsive enterprise that meets rapidly shifting customer demands while delivering bottom line performance.

"Leading companies are focusing on cross-boundary collaboration with their trading partners," says Sicard, whose company provides an on-demand offering for integrated supply and demand planning, monitoring and collaborative response capabilities. "They don't look at managing their supply chains as something that happens in a black box." Sicard adds that a key message of the presentation will be that supply chain executives do have opportunities to take advantage of an extended community of partners, and that the different, disparate systems spread throughout a supply chain should not be a barrier to achieving a high level of collaboration with their partners.

Aligning Supply Chain and IT

Three leading chief information officers will offer insights into how they have collaborated across functional lines with supply chain in the session "The CIO & CSCO: Enabling Enterprise Innovation and Growth through Operational and IT Alignment." The CIO panelists are scheduled to include Scott Park with construction equipment maker Volvo CE, Kenneth Egelund Schmidt at brewer Carlsberg, and Aloys Kregting with life sciences and materials sciences company DSM, along with moderator Paul Hoy, global manufacturing industry director with the IBM Information Management Group.

The CIOs will argue that creating a competitive advantage and delivering real business performance can only be achieved through the complete alignment of operational and IT goals. The global landscape requires complex multi-tiered structures supported by flexible and responsive IT organizations that enhance innovation and customer excellence. The chief information officers will discuss how they have worked within their separate enterprises to drive tangible value out of their operations to support wider strategic objectives.

"We're increasingly seeing major application decisions and reengineering initiatives being driven by the lines of business, so it's no longer a 'technology for technology's sake' decision — there has to be a sound business reason before any major undertaking can get started," Hoy says. "And increasingly CIOs and the major line-of-business executives are working in partnership on these initiatives." As companies turn to their supply chains as potential differentiators in terms of cost or customer service, Hoy adds, it's only natural that CIOs are looking to provide greater support for key supply chain transformations. This session is aimed at offering insights into how supply chain executives can best leverage that collaboration to drive business value.

Logistics in the Cloud

Aberdeen's Viswanathan will be presenting later in the conference with Greg Johnsen, executive vice president and co-founder of trade and logistics portal GT Nexus, on the topic of "Cloud Logistics: What It Is and Why It Is Poised to Transform the Supply Chain Technology Landscape." Cloud computing is rapidly taking hold in all areas of business IT thanks to what its proponents cite as its superior economics and lower risk profile. In global logistics, Cloud-based solutions and services make sense because they can enable the inter-company collaboration and information sharing that is so foundational to transforming global supply chains, says Johnsen.

"Cloud computing is one of the largest technology shifts that we'll likely see in our lifetime, and it's about more than just good IT economics," says Johnsen. "What you get with the Cloud is a range of new information models that were designed for inter-company collaboration." The ability to enable greater collaboration across the supply chain, he adds, offers the potential to create far more value than was possible in the past, when IT for the supply chain was more focused within the four walls of an enterprise, whether on controlling procurement processes or managing a warehouse. "It goes back to the old adage that competition is no longer company-versus-company, but value chain versus value chain now, and the Cloud is what is going to power those communities and make that adage come true," Johnsen says.

Sloane, with SCM World, said that the CSCO Summit already has garnered an enthusiastic response. "Never has such an impressive lineup of C-level executives been assembled to talk about supply chain strategy, and never has such content been made so widely and freely available as through the CSCO Summit, which is a virtual event that is completely free to attend," he says. "The reaction we have had to it has been quite extraordinary, and with over 1,000 senior executives already registered to attend, this is a unique opportunity for global supply chain leaders to learn, benchmark and collaborate with industry notables without having to leave the office."

More information on the CSCO Summit 2010 is available at www.cscosummit.raptureworld.co.uk.