Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Re: Web Services

This was indeed nice article to know what Web Services are but it also left me with lot of unanswered questions like
a. Do applications need to be designed in XML or other such Web Services technologies?
b. Or will there be interfaces or middleware which will act as Web Services between two applications? What if one application is WS enabled and other one is legacy system?
c. Do you know of any of your clients who have used WS or such interfaces to make apps talk?
d. If WS is all about Open Source applications, I do not think any app vendor will make their applications with source open. Thus we will still need WS as middleware between two applications. How will it be different than present middlewares?

My feeling is WS should function as middleware which will take input from any system, convert it into open source/standard message and can send to any system that wants it. This way we isolate applications from challenges of interface building & maintenance when applications upgrade to newer versions or even when new applications are brought in the business operations.

I have feeling that in SCM, when RFID gains ground usage and impact of WS will be profound given that systems likes PKMS, Manugistics, SAP etc will need to read tags and update records. In this case PKMS or POS system will read the tags and update/create records. It will then automatically pass on this information to SAP, Manugistics without need to run scheduled process to run interface transfer.

I think we can go deep into this topic. I will find out what work has Manugistics done or plans to do in this area. Also I am sure there will be hundreds of independent bodies and vendors working on this. Let us discuss what is that we can do to get ourselves up to date on this topic and also how can we add value to our company or clients by bringing in new concept or practice in this area.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Impact of Web Services on SCM

Web Services will enable all players in the Supply Chain to participate effectively in the value addition process.

Web Services is to Business Applications what SQL is for Databases. Web Services is all about standardization.

Web Services use standards like XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. All Business applications will support these standards. This will enable all applications to talk to each other using a common language which is XML irrespective of what hardware or software is being used.

The 2 main impacts of Web Services will be as follows:

1) Application to Application communication without human intervention will become possible.

2) It will enable Service Oriented Architecture for Business Applications. Just like we use Water and Electricity, Business Applications will be available on a montly subscription basis (ASP Model). This will be a very big boon to small and medium scale companies which can't afford to have their own ERP infrastructure. Total Cost of ERP and Supply Chain systems will come down drastically.

The major impact from the SCM standpoint is that true seamless integration between all parties in the Supply Chain will become a reality. Moreover the cost and time for activating this seamless integration will be half of what it takes today.

So you will see implementation times being reduced quite drastically. This is from a technology standpoint. The human element in Supply Chain implementations will still be a issue which needs to be dealt with skillfully by Consultants and Project Managers.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Why India has only fraction share in world textile & garments market?

India was one of the major producers of cotton yarn and fabric, the productivity of cotton as measured by yield has been found to be lower than many countries, the study said. Ranked fifth in terms of capacity, there was a need to enhance the capacity and technology infusion in this sector, in view of the changing fibre consumption in the world.

Apart from low cost labour, other factors that were having impact on final consumer cost were relative interest cost, power tariff, structural anomalies and productivity level the study said that India has high power costs compared to other countries like Brazil, China, Italy and Korea, it said.

In India, very few exporters had gone in for integrated production facility, it said, adding that it was noted that countries that would emerge as globally competitive would have significantly consolidated supply chain.
Asserting that activities like spinning, processing, made-ups and garmenting were found to be fragmented in India, it also said that the level of technology in Indian weaving sector was low compared to other countries in the world.
The supply chain in Indian industry was not only highly fragmented but was beset with bottlenecks that could very well slow down the growth and due to this, the average delivery lead times (from procurement of fabrication and shipment of garments) still took about 45 to 60 days, compared with 30 to 35 days of International lead delivery times, the study revealed.
India needs to cut down the production cycle time substantially to stay in the market, it suggested


Sunday, April 17, 2005

SCM Topics

Hi Salil,

I agree that it would be better to go ahead with just the 2 of us to start with and then add more members when we have something substantial.

The topics you have suggested are quite good and I will work on the same. I would like to add 2 more.

1) Impact of RFID on SCM
2) Impact of Web Services on SCM

We can select 4 to 5 topics and work on the same for 3 months.


Topics I think of

1. Increasing forecasting accuracy of Apparel and Fashion items
2. Supply Chain in Direct Delivery business - web orders or catalogues
3. Reducing SCM implementation (process design & testing- non PM activities) time by half

My thoughts on what we discussed yesterday

What I feel about going ahead with what we discussed yesterday is
- we should limit this effort to only two of us to start with
- our common interests are in SCM and related topics and hence we can choose some topic within SCM
- we can list challenges that our client have faced to identify which subject would be worth working on
- since we have worked 2+ yrs in Fashion segment, we have good knowledge of this industry (I mean, better than other industries) and list few challenges this industry faces. But let's not close doors for general challenges from SCM field
- we have to commit say min 5 hrs per week to start with for this initiative
- let's not get bogged with high level thoughts like purpose, motive, aim & goals etc for this initiative. Let some stuff come up in few weeks and then these thoughts can be defined.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

SCM Blog

What is the purpose of this SCM Blog?

This Blog is created for professionals working in the field of Supply Chain Mgt to share their day to day experiences, practical issues and solutions.

It could also be used for sharing white papers and articles related to Supply Chain Mgt.

Prashant S Naik
Sr. Business Consultant