Since 2010, leading American supplier of carbon and alloy steel bar, rod and wire products, Charter Steel, has undergone significant business process re-engineering within demand planning, procurement, supply planning and logistics teams. It is now an industry leader in both on-time delivery and low inventory. Vice President of Supply Chain Robert Dietz has proven himself a visionary leader focused on improving integration, automation and optimization across the entire supply chain, overseeing significant procurement and logistics cost reductions over the past three years. We sat down with him ahead of his presentation at the S&OP Innovation Summit, taking place in Las Vegas on Jan. 25-26, 2017.


Organizations’ drive for efficiency in the supply chain has seen them adopt a wide variety of technologies, from the ingenious to the bizarre. We are now entering a period of unprecedented change for supply chains managers, with a number of new innovations entering the market en masse that have the potential to irrevocably alter operational processes, streamlining them as never before.
    I recently attended the S&OP Innovation Summit in Boston, where a number of speakers discussed what these technologies would be, with three in particular standing out.


The goal of supply chain management can be stated simply: Deliver perfect orders of profitable products. That’s a tall order, and it’s made even more difficult if you’re depending on old-school supply chain technology in this data-driven world.
    “Supply chain has probably changed more in the last 30 years than almost any other aspect of business,” says Jon Chorley, chief sustainability officer and group vice president, supply chain product strategy and PLM at Oracle. “How do you have a responsive supply chain when it takes you two to four weeks to ship the goods to a customer? It requires enormously sophisticated planning and modern, cloud-based tools  to meet this demand.”


The next S&OP Innovation Summit will take place this September 22-23 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.

A company with a mature S&OP processes will be more successful in executing growth programs, new product launches, market penetration, and pricing. It also helps improve understanding, communication, and collaboration between functions, creating a more agile, dynamic and less reactive supply chain.
    There are numerous theories around what constitutes best S&OP practices, and it is constantly having to adapt to new technologies and techniques, but it is now on its way to becoming a standard practice. For those companies that have implemented S&OP to a high level of maturity, S&OP is now evolving into Integrated Business Planning (IBP).


According to data from ProcureCon Indirect East’s 2016 Benchmark report, 52 percent of procurement groups are now centralized. By contrast, only 12 percent were still decentralized, indicating that the level of maturity around procurement’s role in the organization is continuing to grow. This year from September 19th to the 21st, the ProcureCon Indirect West conference will be meeting at the JW Marriot in Scottsdale, Arizona. Addressing the significant growth of the procurement role and where it is headed, the conference brings some of the brightest minds in procurement together every year.

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The ISCEA Supply Chain Technology Conference & Expo is an annual gathering of supply chain, operations, engineering and financial professionals coming together to share cutting edge technologies and best practices focusing on efficiency and profitability.

A study conducted by ISCEA over the last three years concluded that ISCEA members were looking for a holistic event that covers both supply chain and technology, thus the genesis of SCTECH. ISCEA is uniquely qualified to organize an event like SCTECH given ISCEA’s thought leadership position in supply chain and technology. SCTECH will also include events to recognize supply chain excellence via the Ptak Prize, educational workshops, a career fair and many competitions. Additionally, SCTECH will host a venture capital session for supply chain technology startups to showcase their solutions to investors.


Sales and operations planning (S&OP) has been around for some 30 years now, during which time it has risen and fallen in terms of importance. The economic challenges and technological advances of recent years have seen it enjoy something of a resurgence, with it being more vital than ever for companies to balance supply and demand, maintain inventory levels, and hit projected revenue and profits.

S&OP is one of the key drivers of an effective growth strategy. A company that has mature S&OP processes will be more successful in executing growth programs of new product launch, market penetration, and price/promotions. It helps develop better understanding, communication, and collaboration between functions - improving agility, while at the same time making organizations more dynamic and less reactive. However, this is when they get it right. Many are still getting it wrong.

The S&OP Innovation Summit is the largest S&OP focused summit in America, and is returning to Boston for the seventh consecutive year on Sept. 21-22.

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Within a growing number of companies, procurement is being asked to work with HR to assist in creating a long-term strategy for optimizing contingent workforce management. Like many areas of indirect spend that have been traditionally controlled exclusively by other departments - such as IT, travel and meetings, or energy procurement - contingent staffing is being reexamined by procurement at the behest of management eager to bring unnecessary costs and process components to heel.

However, as the category is based on the management of people, an added level of complexity is present in the contingent staffing category that demands special attention. Procurement will need to remove silos and facilitate strong communication with HR in order to successfully streamline the category. In some cases, the level of oversight the category demands is giving rise to distinct category manager roles that can apply their full attention to controlling supplier relations and serving a consultative role with HR.

As the contingent workforce grows, ProcureCon’s event portfolio has also grown on pace with changes in the field, following suit with the addition of a dedicated conference. The latest addition, running July 11-13 in Atlanta, is a new conference: Contingent Staffing 2016. While contingent workforce management has been explored in the agendas of other ProcureCon conferences, this will be the first time a full event has been dedicated to the specific nuances of the category.


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