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SAPICS Annual Conference and Exhibition for African supply chain and operations professionals

The Leading Event in Africa for Supply Chain and Operations Professionals

In the run-up to its 32nd Annual Conference and Exhibition, SAPICS – The Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa – has announced that this year’s event features an exceptional and balanced line-up of international and local speakers with insights to share with professionals from every area of the supply chain field. With presenters discussing everything from trains, ports and automotive spares, to chocolate, publishing and government departments, the 2010 SAPICS Conference will have something for everyone. It takes place at Sun City from July 25 to 27 (inclusive), and is held in collaboration with the Supply Chain Council.

Supply chain challenges in the public sector will be highlighted by international speaker David Smith, who is currently the commercial director for the Department for Work and Pensions (the biggest Central Government Department in the United Kingdom) and is accountable for an overall procurement spend of some £4 billion per year. He has specialised in procurement and commercial matters in the public sector for over 20 years. Smith was presented with the coveted "Government Opportunities Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Procurement Excellence" in June 2006, and has also been awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire), for "Public Procurement Excellence".

There won’t be planes, but ships, trains and automobiles will feature at this year’s SAPICS Conference. Maruti Suzuki, a subsidiary of Suzuki Motors Japan, is India’s largest passenger car company, and operates a large, centralized warehouse for spare parts distribution. In his SAPICS presentation, international speaker Sitaram Geddam will discuss the challenges faced by this operation, including long order fulfillment time, erroneous dispatches, low inventory accuracy and manual processes. He elaborates: "This case study will take delegates through the improvements made, which resulted in a 700 – 800% improvement in order fulfillment time, an almost complete elimination of erroneous dispatches and accurate, real time inventory visibility."

Moving from cars to ships, a presentation by Obiora Madu focuses on "The Modern Port and Global Supply Chain Optimisation". "Ports today face two competitive challenges – the large increase in volumes and the need for greater efficiency," Madu notes. "This presentation will identify catalysts for optimum future development of port infrastructure as well as the implications of export competitiveness, port commerce, inter-port co-operation and competition. It will also provide a framework for improving integrated logistics network as a tool for utilizing the full capabilities of modern ports, provide some insights on the cost of poor logistics to country competiveness and the sources of those higher costs."

The presentation on change management, by Lloyd Snowden of Oliver Wight (Europe, Middle East and Africa), features a real example of a transformation project conducted in a national train building company. Snowden elaborates: "It will identify to the audience the initial business maturity found and associated business results, the culture and behavioral challenges and how they were being threatened by cheaper European imports. The presentation highlights the ‘national to international’ challenge. This presentation will explain how the organisation design was used to eliminate power management and release the talent of the broader team, and, through education, how knowledge of best practice was applied and used to drive higher sustainable results."

Applying the "Theory of Constraints" to reduce shorages and surpluses in retail is the topic of the presentation by Alan Barnard, CEO of Goldratt Research Laboratories, South Africa. Barnard uses a publishing industry case study, but the lessons learnt are generic enough to be applied to any other consumer goods supply chain. He explains: "The publishing industry globally, suffering from slow growth or in some cases, even declining sales, has over the past decade, been one of the hardest hits consumer goods industries, both due to recessionary pressures and the advent of online sales channels and e-books. The world’s largest general-interest book publisher approached Goldratt Research Labs to find out if the application of Theory of Constraints (TOC) could help reduce both surpluses and maybe also shortages. This paper will share the process we followed to develop a simple yet powerful way to identify and quantify the extent, consequences and causes of surpluses and shortages within the book publishing supply chain and how TOC was used to develop and test a viable solution."

Lessons learned at Cadbury South Africa will be shared in a joint presentation by Uida Havinga, supply chain development manager, and Johnie Tredoux, head of Distribution and Customer Operations, Cadbury South Africa. "Increasing organisational effectiveness through putting the customer at the heart of your business" is the title of their presentation, which highlight’s Cadbury’s "Project Heartbeat", the intervention that was implemented to improve the health of the business. Says Havinga: "Poor customer service has two prominent, unhealthy effects. Firstly, it aggravates customers, and secondly, it convolutes internal effectiveness. Project Heartbeat dissected the business and focused efforts on improving the rigour of the sales and operations planning process, getting the basics right everyday, through great execution, developing a strategic customer service framework and creating a winning, customer focused organisation." Havinga adds that the result of their efforts was astonishing: a 40% improvement in customer service within 18 months. SAPICS Conference delegates will learn how to apply the insights provided in this presentation to their own businesses.

Green is the new gold; first prize for 21st-century, environmentally-responsible organisations, and reflecting this, the 2010 SAPICS Conference features several presentations with a "green" theme. "Greening Transportation in the Supply Chain" is the title of a presentation by Abrie de Swardt, marketing director of IMPERIAL Logistics, South Africa. "Until very recently, freight transportation was a negligible consideration in company strategy with regard to environmental responsibility," De Swardt notes. "However, current business practices such as international sourcing and quick turnaround times challenge this by extending transportation distances and minimizing lead times in the supply chain. Standard modes of transportation consume fossil fuels, generate noise and emit toxic compounds. The presentation’s objective is to provide attendees the opportunity to gain practical insights into what best-in-class companies are doing to reduce carbon emissions and reduce costs, at the same time thereby significantly optimizing their supply chains," he explains.

In their joint presentation, Liesl de Wet and Adrian van Tonder of Barloworld Logistics Africa, will highlight how best practice methodologies (Lean, six sigma, innovative fleet management and design and driver training, to name but a few) can positively contribute to a sustainable supply chain which will be able to address the present and future requirements of customers by taking environmental considerations into account.

Moving from the environment into the boardroom, international speaker Allan Waller, who hails from the United Kingdom and has also been awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) will discuss the reality of supply chain strategy in the boardroom. Says Waller: "The impact of supply chain on company performance is increasingly important, not only in terms of cost, but in terms of adding value, and this is shown to be especially true in recessionary times, where supply chain thinking is leading the way for many businesses to positively manage business pressures and the cash-to-cash cycle. Research has shown that poor management of the supply chain can significantly impact on the shareholder value of an organisation, and that for business success, supply chain strategy should therefore be coming under far greater scrutiny in the boardroom, and needs to be better understood." He notes that it was for these reasons that Cranfield School of Management, with the support of Solving Efeso, undertook specific research on supply chain strategy in the boardroom, aimed at understanding the reality of what is involved in developing and implementing supply chain strategy in the world’s leading businesses. "The survey utilised the SCOR framework to capture supply chain responsibilities, and the survey roll-out included the SAPICS and Supply Chain Council member communities. This presentation provides the much anticipated feedback," Waller explains.

If your supply chain is in need of an overhaul, look no further than the presentation by Chris Cook, supply chain development manager, Africa, at Damco, South Africa. "Reviewing and Revitalising the Supply Chain" is the title of his presentation, which will focus on a number of critical inhibitors of efficient inventory management, illustrated by case studies from actual scenarios. "The global recession of the last 18 months has driven organisations to aggressively seek out efficiencies with intense pressure on working capital and an urgent need to review capital investment and use of existing assets," Cook says. "This has been implemented up and down the supply chain, focusing on the renegotiation of commercial agreements with suppliers. These cost savings need to be achieved whilst maintaining acceptable levels of service. Ordering processes are often overlooked and, if not carefully managed, can impact service levels," he cautions, and his SAPICS presentation will demonstrate how, through supply chain revitalisation, significant impacts are possible on working capital, warehouse space and the agility of an organisation’s supply chain.

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