Is your supply chain supercharged with customer data or weakened by a failing warehouse?

2nd April 2024

Supply chain leaders are increasingly recognising that customer data is the fuel that can supercharge a supply chain and give their business a competitive edge. According to Khuthala Myende, a supply chain specialist who has been recognised as one of “Africa’s Top 100 Influential Women In Supply Chain”, customer experience should be at the forefront of decision making throughout the supply chain.

Myende will share her experience and insights at the 2024 SAPICS Conference. This event, which is now in its 46th year, takes place in Cape Town from 9 to 12 June 2024. It will see hundreds of attendees from around the world gather to network, learn and share knowledge through panel discussions, presentations, workshops and case studies presented by local and international experts and industry leaders. SAPICS (The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management) is hosting this year’s conference in association with the Southern African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF).

Myende, who is the Head of Order to Cash and the Customer Logistics Lead at Mondel─ôz International, asserts that a competitive edge is only achieved if you understand the consumer pulse and build strategies with the customer at the centre of focus. “To have an in-depth understanding of customer needs and fulfil them better than the competition, you need to gather an abundance of customer data and interpret it to extract valuable insights and consumer trends. This is achieved through digitisation and having a focused customer experience strategy within an organisation.”

In her 2024 SAPICS Conference presentation, Myende will explore the benefits of having an exceptional customer experience integrated with technology within the supply chain.

An ailing, failing warehouse needs “Warehouse Rescue 911”

While customer data can optimise the supply chain, an ailing, failing warehouse can be its death knell. Since warehouse management is a critical component of the supply chain, and its impact can be far-reaching, this is another important topic that is on the programme at the 2024 SAPICS Conference, Africa’s leading event for the supply chain profession. “Warehouse Rescue 911” is the title of a compelling presentation by Adri McCaskill, who uses the imagery of an emergency room to provide the audience with actionable steps when faced with a failing warehouse. “Turning around a failing warehouse operation is similar to an emergency doctor's methodology. First you check the vitals, then you stop the bleeding through a triage approach, and finally you stabilise for the long term,” McCaskill explains. “In this session, attendees will gather actionable tools and examples for each of these phases. An exploration of the vitals for a warehouse operation includes the quick and efficient movement of inventory; control and ownership of operations; and the interaction between people, process, and technology. Triaging prevents a worsening situation by prioritising focus areas, putting controls in place to act as a tourniquet, and implementing stop-gap temporary processes as needed. For long-term stabilisation, we must design process improvements, document detailed work instructions and provide extensive training and handholding.”

She says that SAPICS Conference attendees will learn to identify the critical processes, understand who needs to take ownership and control, and ascertain where the problems typically lie when a warehouse is ailing. “It is crucial to be able to identify the vitals amongst the chaos. Do you know where to start and what to look for when faced with a failing warehouse? To ‘stop the bleeding’, controls and stop-gap temporary solutions will be needed. Thereafter, the warehouse should be set up for long-term stability through process improvements, documentation and thorough training.”

McCaskill is the General Manager for iPlan’s Warehouse Management business unit. She manages a team located in iPlan’s offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa.

For more information or to register to attend the 2024 SAPICS Conference, visit the conference website: https://conference.sapics.org or contact the Conference Secretariat at Upavon Management on 011 023 6701 or email info@upavon.co.za