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Building a “Learning Supply Chain”

October 4, 2011


As supply chains become increasingly global and integrated, information systems need greater agility to manage the resulting complexity and the need to act in real-time or near-real-time. Companies are asking for technologies to improve sensing to drive a dynamic response. They are frustrated with traditional technologies that do not sense change in real-time or drive a fixed response despite changing conditions. In a previous post [Supply Chain Visibility], I wrote:

Supply chain visibility is a characteristic that most analysts believe will be increasingly important in the years ahead. They also admit it will be difficult to achieve. In an IBM study that involved conversations with nearly 400 supply chain executives worldwide [“The Smarter Supply Chain of the Future,” IBM Institute for Business Value, October 2010], visibility was singled out as the top challenge facing supply chains of the future. In another IBM study [“New rules for a new decade,” IBM Institute for Business Value, October 2010], Karen Butner asserts that visibility is one of the three “Vs” on which supply chain experts need to concentrate. The other “Vs” are volatility and value.

Next week my company will be hosting a webinar that will help supply chain professionals understand how Enterra Solutions® is enabling Newell Rubbermaid and Conair to build a learning supply chain: one that senses before responding and one that adapts based on situational awareness and learning. Joining me on the panel will be: Lora Cecere, Partner, Altimeter Group; Bill Shipman, Group Program Manager -Home and Family, Newell Rubbermaid; Nikki Van Dyke, Group Business Process Owner, Newell Rubbermaid – Home and Family; and John Mayorek, Senior Vice President, Conair Corporation. The panel will be moderated by Kara Romanow, Executive Editor, Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) magazine.


Participants in this webinar will:


  • Gain insights on the future of supply chain technologies from Lora Cecere to understand how sensing and dynamic response are coming together in new approaches for supply chain management. Cecere will share how this approach can be applied to a multiplicity of supply chain problems from demand sensing and automated replenishment to international sourcing and event management.
  •  Hear how Newell Rubbermaid is using this new approach to sense compliance rule changes by the retailer and adapt customer order requirements to improve customer service and reduce deductions.
  •  Understand how Conair is using Enterra® proprietary technology to drive a dynamic response in international sourcing. Conair senses late or delayed shipments, on ships, rail and truck to help allocate limited inventory on high-demand products to increase customer service and fill rates to its highest value customers, and thereby reduce compliance penalties and increase customer satisfaction.


Last year Conair Corporation received an Outstanding Achievement Award in Supply Chain Excellence at the annual Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) Business & Technology Leadership Conference. This prestigious award is presented annually to three consumer goods firms that demonstrate outstanding achievement in executing supply chain improvements. Conair received the runner-up award and was honored for its participation in the development and implementation of the Enterra Supply Chain Assurance Platform™ (ESCAPE™).


Earlier this year, Enterra Solutions was selected as one of 25 companies featured in the Editors’ Pick section of CGT’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Issue. This benchmark issue draws on feedback from consumer goods executives to rank service and solution providers in the following categories: Supply Chain Execution, Supply Chain Planning, CRM, TPM, ERP, New Product Development and Introduction, Business Intelligence, Demand Data Analytics, Consulting, and Outsourcing. The magazine notes that “some companies do not fit snugly into any one group due to their size or focus. In response, CGT created the Editors’ Pick section to recognize companies that are making a respectable impact in the industry and should be duly noted.”


“Enterra Solutions grabbed our attention for co-developing a retailer compliance system with Conair Corporation, which won a CGT Supply Chain Outstanding Achievement Award for the project in October 2010,” noted Alliston Ackerman, Editor of CGT. “The company was selected as an Editors’ Pick in 2011 for filling a need in the enterprise software market for a solution to manage the supply chain requirements of different retailers. We look forward to following Enterra Solutions in its future endeavors.”


CGT is the leading resource for consumer goods executives looking to improve business performance. Delivering content in print, online, and face-to-face, CGT reaches an audience of more than 54,000 consumer goods executives ranging from managers and directors to the VPs and CIOs. CGT also covers all major segments of the consumer goods sector, including Food, Beverage, Packaged Goods, Consumer Electronics and Footwear. For more information on CGT, visit http://www.consumergoods.com.


In the months succeeding months CGT’s generous recognition, Enterra has continued to expand its supply chain optimization solutions. Participants in the webinar will hear about some of the exciting new capabilities that Enterra now has to offer that can make supply chains more transparent and agile.

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