All Episodes of Lokad TV

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Blockchains for supply chain - Lecture 4.21 (Jul 21, 2021)

Cryptocurrencies have attracted a lot of attention. Fortunes were made. Fortunes were lost. Pyramid schemes were rampant. From a corporate perspective, the “blockchain” is the polite euphemism used to introduce similar ideas and technologies while establishing a distanciation with those cryptocurrencies. Supply chain use cases exist for the blockchain but challenges abound as well.

The Future shaping the Past (Jul 15, 2021)

In supply chains, there's often somewhat of a catch-22 between the optimum decisions you can take today and how these can affect the decisions you can take tomorrow. For this episode of LokadTV, we're delighted to be joined by Warren Powell to discuss the difference between policy and point forecasts and how these can be used to optimize those catch-22 decisions.

How many SKUs should a Supply Chain Planner manage (Jul 7, 2021)

With modern companies providing increasingly large catalogues and technology facilitating easier stock management, a modern Supply Chain Planner must spin many plates. That's why for this episode of LokadTV we're asking':' how many SKUs should a Supply Chain Planner manage? And just how many is too many?

Amsterdam, cheese brands (persona) - Lecture 3.2 (Jun 30, 2021)

Amsterdam is a fictitious FMCG company that specializes in the production of cheeses, creams and butters. They operate a large portfolio of brands over multiple countries. Many business conflicting goals must be carefully balanced':' quality, price, freshness, waste, diversity, locality, etc. By design, milk production and retail promotions put the company between the hammer and the anvil in terms of supply and demand.

Forecast Value Added (Jun 23, 2021)

Much like the saying, "a problem shared is a problem halved", Forecast Value Added is a management technique that simplifies a forecast by splitting it into manageable chunks. On this episode of LokadTV, we discuss just how well this works and why decomposing a forecast can actually lead to more difficult decisions.

Bureaucratic core of supply chain (Jun 16, 2021)

With 95% of the world's supply chains existing in companies of over 1000 employees, organizations must use a complex network of systems and processes. For this episode of LokadTV, we're going to discuss just how bureaucratic these organizations are and what we can do to make supply chain practitioners more efficient.

Modern algorithms for supply chain - Lecture 4.2 (Jun 9, 2021)

The optimization of supply chains relies on solving numerous numerical problems. Algorithms are highly codified numerical recipes intended to solve precise computational problems. Superior algorithms mean that superior results can be achieved with fewer computing resources. By focusing on the specifics of supply chain, algorithmic performance can be vastly improved, sometimes by orders of magnitude. “Supply chain” algorithms also need to embrace the design of modern computers, which has significantly evolved over the last few decades.

The bullwhip effect (Jun 2, 2021)

The "Bullwhip Effect" was an influential paper published in 1997 that looked at how transactional information can be distorted, resulting in knock-on effects upstream on the supply chain. For this episode of LokadTV, we're delighted to welcome Stephen Disney to learn more about how this phenomenon occurs and what impact it can have on supply chain practitioners.

Nonsense in Management Studies (May 26, 2021)

The study of management can often tread a fine line between art and science, which naturally paints a confusing picture for many company leaders. For this episode of LokadTV, we're delighted to be joined by Dennis Tourish to discuss how much management research can be trusted and what we can learn from his book, "Management Studies in Crisis':' Fraud, Deception and Meaningless Research."

Modern computers for supply chain - Lecture 4.1 (May 20, 2021)

Modern supply chains require computing resources to operate just like motorized conveyor belts require electricity. Yet, sluggish supply chain systems remain ubiquitous, while the processing power of computers has increased by a factor greater than 10,000x since 1990. A lack of understanding of the fundamental characteristics of modern computing resources - even among IT or data science circles - goes a long way in explaining this state of affairs. The software design underlying the numerical recipes shouldn’t antagonize the underlying computing substrate.

Half a century of forecasting science (May 12, 2021)

When it comes to forecasting, we often take it for granted that there are already techniques that have been fully tried and tested. Our guest for this episode didn't have that luxury. For this episode of LokadTV, we welcome Spyros Makridakis, one of the forefathers of forecasting, to discuss its evolution over the past 50 years.

Forecasting elements that stand the test of time (May 5, 2021)

Forecasting is an ancient practice that is constantly evolving. As such, many pieces of software fail to stand the test of time. For this episode of LokadTV, we have the pleasure of welcoming Rob Hyndman, whose implemented open-source software has been downloaded by millions of users. We discuss the sustainability of real-world forecasting techniques.

Miami, an aviation MRO (persona) - Lecture 3.1 (Apr 28, 2021)

Miami is a fictitious aviation MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) in the USA serving a large fleet of commercial aircraft. In aviation, security is paramount. Parts and components must be routinely inspected and potentially repaired. Miami is in the business of keeping aircraft in the air at all times, avoiding AOG (aircraft on ground) incidents, which happen whenever a part needed to conduct a maintenance operation is missing.

Upgrading supply chain as a science (Apr 21, 2021)

Some topics, such as physics, can take almost a lifetime to master and have a vast library of literature. Supply chain education, on the other hand, is still in its infancy. In this episode, we discuss with Dr. Muddassir Ahmed the role of education in supply chain and what the industry can do to attract great minds.

Writing for supply chains - Lecture 2.5 (Apr 14, 2021)

Supply chains involve the coordination of large teams. Thus, written materials are king. Modern supply chains are simply not compatible with oral tradition. Yet, supply chain practitioners often fare terribly as far as their written communication skills are concerned. Let’s review what usability studies, and some notable experts, have to say on these matters.

Food Producers and their Supply Chain challenge (Apr 7, 2021)

Everyone knows the old saying "you are what you eat", but very few of us appreciate just how complex it is to get food on plates at the right place, at the right time and at the right level of freshness. For this episode of LokadTV, we're joined by Olivier Jonard to discuss supply chain in the food industry and how technology can help.

Adversarial market research for enterprise software - Lecture 2.4 (Mar 31, 2021)

Modern supply chains depend on a myriad of software products. Picking the right vendors is a matter of survival. However, as the number of vendors is large, companies need a systematic approach in this undertaking. The traditional market research practice starts with good intent but invariably ends up with bad outcomes, as market research firms end up acting as marketing fronts for the companies they are supposed to analyze. The hope that an unbiased research firm will emerge is misplaced. However, the vendor-on-vendor assessment is a methodology that allows even a biased market research firm to produce unbiased results.

Crazy Claims of Enterprise Software Vendors (Mar 24, 2021)

It can be said that the pursuit of truth is often what makes progress truly advance. However, in the world of enterprise software vendors, "the truth" can often be difficult to come by. Especially when the latest technology does not fit in with the design of your product. As such, for this episode of LokadTV, we discuss some of the craziest claims made by software vendors and see how you can separate fact from fiction.

Negative Knowledge in Supply Chain - Lecture 2.3 (Mar 17, 2021)

Antipatterns are the stereotypes of solutions that look good but don’t work in practice. The systematic study of antipatterns was pioneered in the late 1990s by the field of software engineering. When applicable, antipatterns are superior to raw negative results, as they are easier to memorize and reason about. The antipattern perspective is of prime relevance to supply chain, and should be considered as one of the pillars for its negative knowledge.

Inventory Optimization Models and Simulations (Mar 10, 2021)

Historically, programming has often been seen as an intimidating task reserved for computer whizzes and IT practitioners. Nowadays, however, with the rise of tools such as Python, programming has become that much more accessible. For this episode of LokadTV, we're joined, once more, by Nicolas Vandeput to discuss just how simple programming can actually be.

Experimental Optimization - Lecture 2.2 (Mar 3, 2021)

Far from the naïve Cartesian perspective where optimization would just be about rolling-out an optimizer for a given score function, supply chain requires a much more iterative process. Each iteration is used to identify “insane” decisions that are to be investigated. The root cause is frequently improper economic drivers, which need to be re-assessed in regards to their unintended consequences. The iterations stop when the numerical recipes no longer produce insane results.

Beyond Statistical Modeling (Feb 24, 2021)

Despite many companies currently investing huge amounts of resources into establishing data science capabilities, the hard truth is that the majority of these projects fail to impact upon daily business operations. As such, we look beyond classic statistical modelling and explain why the impact of a proper data science department must run far deeper than just collecting data, manipulating it and getting an output.

Paris, a fashion retail network (persona) - Lecture 2.1.1 (Feb 17, 2021)

Paris is a fictitious European fashion brand operating a large retail network. The brand targets women and positions itself as being relatively affordable. While the design line is relatively classic and sober, the main business driver has always been novelty. Multiple collections per year are used to push waves of new products. Pushing the right product, at the right time, at the right price and with the right stock quantity is one of the core challenges.

S&OP in 3 minutes (Feb 10, 2021)

Sales and Operations Planning, or S&OP as it's more commonly referred to, helps large organisations to synchronise their operations by leveraging a deeper alignment between the supply chain and other key departments.

Supply Chain Personae - Lecture 2.1 (Feb 3, 2021)

A supply chain “persona” is a fictitious company. Yet, while the company is fictive, this fiction is engineered to outline what deserves attention from a supply chain perspective. However, the persona is not idealized in the sense of simplifying the supply chain challenges. On the contrary, the intent is to magnify the most challenging aspects of the situation, the aspects that will most stubbornly resist any attempt at quantitative modelling and any attempt piloting an initiative to improve the supply chain.

Maintainability of Supply Chain Software (Jan 27, 2021)

When investing in a piece of supply chain software, there is the expectation that it will last a company decades, rather than just a few years. However, with a rapidly changing tech landscape, this becomes a complicated endeavour. For this episode of LokadTV, we discuss this challenge of maintainability and how it can be impacted by good design.

Quantitative principles for supply chains - Lecture 1.6 (Jan 20, 2021)

While supply chains can’t be characterized by definitive quantitative laws - unlike electromagnetism - general quantitative principles can still be observed. By 'general', we mean applicable to (almost) all supply chains. Uncovering such principles is of prime interest because they can be used to facilitate the engineering of numerical recipes intended for the predictive optimization of supply chains, but they can also be used to make those numerical recipes more powerful overall. We review two short lists of principles":" a few observational principles and a few optimization principles.

A Day in a Life of a Supply Chain Scientist (Jan 13, 2021)

We've previously discussed the importance of a supply chain specialist over someone with more classic data science capabilities. At Lokad, we call them "Supply Chain Scientists". We're joined by one of our Supply Chain Scientists, Maximilian Barth, to learn more about what their role entails.

21st Century Trends in Supply Chain - Lecture 1.5 (Jan 6, 2021)

A few major trends have been dominating the evolution of supply chains over the last decades, largely reshaping the mix of challenges faced by companies. Some problems have largely faded away, such as physical hazards and quality issues. Some problems have risen, such as overall complexity and competition intensity. Notably, software is also reshaping supply chains in profound ways. A quick survey of these trends helps us understand what should be the focus of a supply chain theory.

The Future of Work in Supply Chains (Dec 23, 2020)

Mahatma Gandhi famously said that “The future depends on what you do today.” ― and for the organizations of tomorrow to be successful they already need to start establishing the right set up and supply chain operating model. We're delighted to welcome Markus Leopoldseder and Knut Alicke from McKinsey to discuss with us which capabilities organizations should be focusing on, and what the future of work in supply chains may look like.

Programming paradigms as Supply Chain theory - Lecture 1.4 (Dec 16, 2020)

While mainstream supply chain theory struggles to prevail in companies at large, one tool; namely Microsoft Excel, has enjoyed considerable operational success. Re-implementing the numerical recipes of the mainstream supply chain theory via spreadsheets is trivial, yet, this is not what happened in practice despite awareness of the theory. We demonstrate that spreadsheets won by adopting programming paradigms that proved superior to deliver supply chain results.

Product-oriented delivery for Supply Chain - Lecture 1.3 (Dec 9, 2020)

The goal of a Quantitative Supply Chain initiative is either to deliver or to improve a software application that robotizes a scope of routine decisions (e.g. inventory replenishments, price updates). The application is viewed as a product to be engineered. The supply chain theory is there to help us deliver an application that steers the company toward supply chain performance, while being compatible with all the constraints that the production entails.

The Quantitative Supply Chain in a nutshell - Lecture 1.2 (Dec 2, 2020)

The Quantitative Supply Chain's manifesto emphasizes a short series of salient points to grasp how this alternative theory, proposed and pioneered by Lokad, diverges from the mainstream supply chain theory. It could be summarized with':' every single decision is scored against all the possible futures according to the economic drivers. This perspective gradually emerged at Lokad as the mainstream supply chain theory, and its implementation by (nearly?) all software vendors, remains challenging.

The Foundations of Supply Chain - Lecture 1.1 (Nov 25, 2020)

Supply chain is the quantitative yet street-smart mastery of optionality when facing variability and constraints related to the flow of physical goods. It encompasses sourcing, purchasing, production, transport, distribution, promotion, ... - but with a focus on nurturing and picking options, as opposed to the direct management of the underlying operations. We will see how the “quantitative” supply chain perspective, presented in this series, profoundly diverges from what is considered the mainstream supply chain theory.

Numerical Recipes for Supply Chain (Nov 18, 2020)

Much like a great chef in a Michelin star kitchen, the best data scientists have to craft statistical solutions that adapt and evolve to every scenario. As such, we investigate what it takes to create these numerical recipes and what characterizes the solutions built for our supply chains.

Lead time in 3 minutes (Nov 11, 2020)

Lead time can be summarised as the latency between the initiation and completion of a process. In a supply chain, this is usually involved whenever goods are purchased, transformed or serviced.

Financial Optimization of Supply Chains (Nov 4, 2020)

Dollars of profits and losses are the only metric that matter in the long run for any company. At Lokad, we emphasize a strict financial optimization of the supply chain. This approach should not be confused with short-sightedness and other kinds of pseudo-rational methods which are prevalent when finance gets in charge of the strategy. This approach goes against the idea of service levels, and most of the other KPIs similarly defined through percentages.

The Unification of Pricing and Planning (Oct 28, 2020)

Historically, pricing and planning have been dealt with by separate divisions within companies. This has resulted in inconsistent strategic thinking and data silos. For this episode of LokadTV, we discuss why these two challenges should be dealt with in tandem and how they are actually, in reality, two sides of the same coin.

The Supply Chain Law of Small Numbers (Oct 21, 2020)

Mainstream statistics are all about the law of large numbers. Yet, supply chains are the opposite. It's the law of small numbers that prevails. For decades, this mistunderstanding has generated problems for practitioners due to misdesigned tools, methods and processes. In this episode, we discuss the challenges and the appropriate perspectives when it comes to small numbers.

Cyber Risk in Supply Chains (Oct 14, 2020)

As coronavirus swept the world, numerous organisations quickly transitioned towards remote working. However, with so many employees working from home, these less secure environments created new security vulnerabilities. As such, for this episode of LokadTV, we are joined by Professor Richard Wilding who tackles with us this complex topic of cyber risk in supply chains.

Probabilistic Forecasting in 3 minutes (Oct 7, 2020)

Probabilistic forecasts are used for everything, from predicting tomorrow's weather to generating betting odds on sporting events. Instead of looking at one possible outcome, this technique looks at all possible events and assigns a probability of each one occurring.

The Quantitative Supply Chain Journey (Sep 30, 2020)

When starting Lokad back in 2008, we thought we had the solution already all worked out. However, since those early days, there have been many twists and turns along the road, and we have had to change the entire strategy of the company on a large number of occasions.

Predictive Analytics for Business Forecasting (Sep 23, 2020)

Here we're joined by the host of IBF’s On Demand Podcast, Eric Wilson, to discuss the role of analytics in modern day organisations and in particular, what we can learn from Eric’s new book titled ‘Predictive Analytics for Business Forecasting’.

Quantitative / Qualitative Paradox in Supply Chains (Sep 16, 2020)

Better quantitative results in supply chains are frequently obtained through better qualitative, if not highly subjective, perspectives rather than from better numerical methods. Most the breakthroughs, that ultimately lead to quantitative improvements, of Lokad were of a qualitative nature.

Scenario Planning vs. Probabilistic Forecasting (Sep 9, 2020)

Scenario planning was first pioneered by Shell in the 1970’s and since then has been promoted by consultancies worldwide as a powerful tool to help companies prepare for every eventuality. Here, we discuss the effectiveness of this approach and whether it can be replaced by alternative methods, such as probabilistic forecasting.

Min/Max Inventory Method in 3 minutes (Sep 2, 2020)

Min/Max is one of the earliest automated replenishment methods that is now used across almost every piece of inventory software on the market. Its roots can originally be traced back to around the 19th century; it was developed as a visual method where you could physically see the amount of stock in a carefully sized bin.

Smoothing Warehouse Operations (Aug 26, 2020)

Despite the rise of automation, modern day warehouses still rely heavily on manpower, which can lead to diseconomies of scale in periods of heavy demand. As such, we learn more about how decisions can be prioritized and why smoothing warehouse operations is so important when it comes to managing fluctuations in activity.

Pricing Practices for Supply Chain Software (Aug 12, 2020)

From exorbitant one-time licenses to hidden maintenance fees, it seems like navigating the range of approaches to pricing software can often be somewhat of a minefield. Here, we explore some of the main approaches and learn more about the bad practices to look out for.

What is Supply Chain? (Aug 5, 2020)

From a company perspective, while dealing with flows of goods, supply chain is the mastery of optionality when facing variability. This episode focuses on what the term ‘Supply Chain’ means, and what are the organisational implications of this definition.

The Importance of Network Design (Jul 29, 2020)

The very design of a supply chain network has a huge impact on inventory optimization. For this episode, we're delighted to welcome Pinak Dutta, Head of Network Optimization at Spreetail, to discuss what constitutes good design and how organisations can exploit this to improve their inventory allocation.

Bill of Materials in 3 minutes (Jul 22, 2020)

A bill of materials - which is more commonly referred to as a BOM - is a list of the raw materials and associated quantities that are needed to manufacture, assemble or repair an end product. Much like a list of ingredients that a chef would use to make a recipe, a BOM provides us with a compact inventory-oriented representation of the requirements associated with an end product.

Event Sourcing for Supply Chain systems (Jul 15, 2020)

When relational databases emerged in the 70’s they provided a breakthrough for companies to turn their supply chain digital, decades before the 'digitalization' buzzword. However, event sourcing has now emerged as a more manageable, more reliable and more scalable way to design supply chain systems compared to the relational design. At the core of this revolution, a perspective on reality itself which is too frequently under appreciated by supply chain practitioners.

Walmart forecasting competition - post game analysis (Jul 9, 2020)

A forecasting competition based on Walmart store data ended June 2020. Lokad ranked 6th out of 909 teams. In this episode, we have a closer look at this unusual sporting event, and what it takes to win such a competition. We are joined by Rafael de Rezende who was leading the Lokad team in this competition.

Better Data for Better Forecasts (Jul 1, 2020)

Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic character Sherlock Holmes famously said ‘it is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data’. We certainly agree, as data is the foundation of any optimization process. Here, we discuss what companies that collect data can do and tackle the myth that data has to be "perfect" for a machine to be able to work with it.

Safety Stock in 3 minutes (Jun 24, 2020)

In inventory control, there is a financial trade-off between purchasing more inventory and the cost of a potential stock-out. The more stock you have, the more working capital is needed and with too little stock on hand there are potential sales that can be missed, and even entire production processes that could be interrupted.

Open-to-Buy (Jun 17, 2020)

Open-to-Buy is a budgeting and planning process that is commonly used in the fashion industry to drive purchasing decisions. In this episode, we discuss why this approach is so popular and discuss whether modern technology can provide alternative approaches to keep up with the ‘fast fashion’ culture.

Early Signals and Forecasting (Jun 10, 2020)

With a product's success so often relying upon the latest trends, the ability to capture initial demand and detect new crazes is becoming increasingly sought after. Here we discover whether the rise of social media means that forecasting these trends is now possible and what companies can do to react based on early signals.

Assessing Supply Chain Software (Jun 3, 2020)

Market analysts and consultants can be a useful aid in assessing the multitude of different supply chain software. However, too frequently, those 'experts' hide behind weak and irrational methodologies, instead of providing opinionated insights which would require a lot work from them. Far from being irrational, high-quality subjective reviews nearly always outperform cheap and naive methodologies.

Inventory Turnover in 3 minutes (May 27, 2020)

Inventory turnover is a popular inventory management concept that is used to determine the overall efficiency of an entire supply chain. The ratio reflects the number of times inventory is replaced during a given period of time, and can give a useful indication of both trends and how well a company controls its merchandise. Numerically, it is calculated as the ratio between the cost of goods sold, divided by the cost price of the average stock level over the same time period.

Decision First Supply Chains (May 20, 2020)

Supply chains have historically been built with forecasting at their centre, with the actual decision making process left to the intuition and experience of senior staff. We explore the alternative approach of putting ‘decisions first’, and how this philosophy vastly improves the supply chain performance.

Choosing your ERP (May 13, 2020)

ERPs are misnomed. It should have been ERM standing for Enterprise Resource Management. It's a class of enterprise software that support many routine operations of a company. When it comes to choose an ERP, one must first understand the design and driving forces behind those products.

Supply chain responses in a pandemic (May 6, 2020)

Covid19 has unleashed havoc for supply chains worldwide. Supply chains have recovered fast, but most realize they could have done better. In this episode, we are joined by Cédric Hervet (Kardinal) and Stefan Gstettner (BCG), to discuss how supply chains can fair better during a pandemic crisis.

Supplier Development (Apr 29, 2020)

A competent and capable network of suppliers is a critical ingredient of the supply chain performance. In this episode, we are joined by Muddassir Ahmed (Regional Planning & Operations Manager at Bridgestone) to discuss how both parties can extract maximum value from these relationships and what companies can do to maintain and build solid relationships with their suppliers.

Hard Luxury Store Assortment (Apr 22, 2020)

The nature of the hard luxury market means that despite a growing online presence, the vast majority of purchases are still made in store. With sales reaching as low as one or two units per year, it can often be challenging to know what to display in stores and how best to capitalize upon a demand that is so sporadic. For this episode of LokadTV, we discuss this dilemma and learn what hard luxury stores can do to optimize their assortment.

Hiring for Modern Supply Chains (Apr 15, 2020)

As supply chains have never been so dependent on technology and, in particular, on software technologies, hiring talent is more pressing than ever. The working world is changing and it seems like candidates are now asking more and more of businesses. We're joined by Radu Palamariu, Managing Director of Alcott Global to discuss what modern companies can do to find and retain talent and how supply chains can recruit experts with the right skills.

ABC Analysis in 3 minutes (Apr 8, 2020)

ABC analysis is an inventory categorization method that provides a prioritization mechanism to concentrate efforts and resources on the items that matter most for a company.The method works by dividing items into categories based on their perceived importance and highlights the most frequently sold and consumed items so that resources can be allocated accordingly.

Inventory Optimization for SMBs (Mar 31, 2020)

Inventory optimization matters for small and medium companies (SMBs). The choice ranges between investing in costly enterprise software to taking on the challenge of doing it manually in-house. For this episode of LokadTV, we explore this dilemma and try to understand what SMBs can do to get the best out of their, sometimes limited, resources.

Building Trust in a Supply Chain Network (Mar 25, 2020)

As humans, trust is a complex emotion that can often take years to build. It's also a highly important factor in business, which can impact on everything from speed of innovation to the perceived wealth of a nation. For this episode of LokadTV, we discuss this topic with Sheri Hinish the 'Supply Chain Queen'.

Tail Risks in Supply Chains (Mar 19, 2020)

Tail risks are sudden, unexpected events and they often kill companies. Brexit, the Covid-19 outbreak and Iceland's volcanic eruption are a few recent examples. Classic supply chain practices leave companies wholly unprepared for those events. This does not have to be the case.

Embracing Uncertainty in SCM (Mar 11, 2020)

From demand to supply, and almost everything in between, there is a huge amount of uncertainty within supply chains. Traditionally, this can be managed using buffer stock, but there are often events that occur which can trip up even the most experienced of practitioners. For this episode of LokadTV, we're joined by Stefan de Kok to discuss why this uncertainty is not necessarily a hindrance but something that should be embraced.

Overstocks in Fashion (Mar 5, 2020)

Compared to other industries, most fashion brands have been lagging behind in technology, resulting in overstocks and large discounts. Jan Wilmking, ex-Zalando and ex-McKinsey, sheds light on the fashion industry, and how tech investments do improve the supply chain performance.

Seasonality in 3 minutes (Mar 3, 2020)

We explore the basic idea of seasonality and learn how it can be confusing to keep track of due to factors such as noise. We explain the impact this can have and why computers are better than humans at predicting the future.

Nurturing Supply Chain Excellence (Feb 26, 2020)

Excellency in Supply Chain Management is a journey. Digital technologies have redefined the meaning of 'excellency'. While excellency used to be dominantly about discipline and rigor, excellency increasingly depends on the capacity to challenge the status quo and redefine what is considered as state-of-art.

Drones in Supply Chain (Feb 19, 2020)

Drones can be used in supply chains for deliveries but also for monitoring facilities, and providing assistance for tasks like inventorying. Interview with Emmanual de Maistre, pioneer of the drone industry.

The Role of Excel in Supply Chain (Feb 12, 2020)

Forecasting demand and optimizing stocks are both usually done in Excel, even in large companies. Many CIOs have tried to move away from spreadsheets to no avail.

The Bionic Supply Chain (Feb 5, 2020)

The bionic supply chain outlines an approach where the human supply chain expertise is supplemented by machine compute power rather than being replaced by it.

Demand Sensing, a Textbook Illustration of Mootware (Jan 29, 2020)

Demand Sensing is yet another buzzword in supply chain that does not live up to the community's expectations.

The Supply Chain Triangle of Service, Cost and Cash (Jan 22, 2020)

Finding the equilibrium between costs and the amount of cash coming in is a constant battle for any modern day company that provides goods or services. This daily struggle can be captured with a concept called ‘The Supply Chain Triangle’. In today's episode of LokadTV, we meet The Supply Chain Triangle's creator, Bram Desmet, to learn more.

Naked Forecasts Considered Harmful (Jan 15, 2020)

Here at Lokad, our commitment is to deliver the best forecasts that technology can provide. As a result, potential clients often ask if we can provide forecasts alone instead of a full managed solution. In this episode of LokadTV, we explain why these "naked forecasts" invariably introduce a whole host of different problems and how, even with better forecasts, a practitioner usually end up degrading the performance of a supply chain.

Real-time Route Optimization (Jan 7, 2020)

With the latest advances in crowdsourced data, we are now able to forecast the impact of traffic congestion and optimize our routes more accurately than ever before. For this episode of LokadTV, we are joined by Cédric Hervet to discuss how real-time route optimization has changed the way delivery companies operate.

Software Design for Supply Chains (Dec 18, 2019)

Lean Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM) starts with a lean applicative landscape to support the supply chain. However, 'lean' in software is primarily a matter of architectural choices. Those choices define the class of problems where the chosen software design is a good fit, and where it isn't. Many supply chain problems stem from broken-by-design situations where core design choices conflict with real-world requirements.

Sustainable Supply Chains (Dec 4, 2019)

Waste reduction has been the long standing goal of Lean SCM. During the 2000's and 2010's, the focus shifted from 'lean' to 'sustainable supply chains', but there are many points of convergence between these two visions. In particular, both require end-to-end supply chain analysis, as 'local' improvements (e.g. waste reduction) do not necessarily translate into 'global' improvements if inefficiencies are introduced in the process.

Bad Data in Supply Chain (Nov 27, 2019)

The proper preparation of data is critical to achieve success with difficult undertakings such as accurate demand forecasting. Bad data is usually the scapegoat of failed supply chain initiatives. Yet bad data usually reflects poorly understood software and processes rather than erroneous data entries.

ERPs and Supply Chains (Nov 13, 2019)

The ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a misnomer, as it should have been ERM (Enterprise Resource Management). ERPs became prevalent back in the 80's to operate supply chains and remain the 'transactional core' of most larger companies. However, ERPs are now undergoing deep changes to cope with newer supply chain practices as well as newer IT practices that have emerged during the last two decades.

Fresh Food Supply Chain Challenges (Oct 30, 2019)

The supply chain optimization of the fresh food industry presents specific challenges, most notably the precise control of expiration dates that are very short and complex seasonalities that are typically more erratic than what 'non-fresh' supply chain practitioners would expect.

Willingness to Pay (Oct 15, 2019)

Willingness to pay is a basic economic concept that determines the maximum amount an individual is willing to pay for a specific good or service. This can be affected by many factors such as marketing and trends, and can often vary massively from consumer to consumer. While this notion is essential to understand market demand, it is too frequently ignored by supply chain practitioners.

Forecasting Demand for Automotive Spare Parts (Oct 2, 2019)

Accurate demand forecasts for automotive spare parts is important to ensure high service levels that minimize disruptions for customers when their vehicles are in need of mechanical repair. However, the number of distinct parts and the number of distinct vehicles are high, which both complicate the forecasting process.

Pseudo-Science in Supply Chains (Sep 18, 2019)

Like most complex systems, supply chains are difficult to comprehend. Most naive measurements, such as the forecasting accuracy, only give a partial view of the problem. As a result, during the 90's and 2010's, multiple methods like ABC analysis or safety stocks have persisted while they had neither theoretical grounding nor empirical results to support them.

A/B Testing, Exploration vs. Exploitation (Sep 4, 2019)

A/B testing is a method of comparing two options, or more, in order to assess which one yields the best outcome. Unfortunately, A/B testing performs poorly when confronted with supply chain challenges. In this episode of LokadTV, we learn why this type of testing is currently being used in a number of industries and why it has historically been so popular. We learn more about how this approach is profoundly weakened when applied to a supply chain and the complexities that mean that alternative approaches work much better.

The Role of Returns in e-Commerce with Paul Bello (Aug 21, 2019)

The convenience of being able to return a product so easily has revolutionised our online shopping experience, with customers now able to shop for a multitude of items, which previously would only have been possible in physical stores. In this episode of LokadTV, we welcome Paul Bello from Revers.io, a company that aims to facilitate customer returns, to discuss with us this change of mindset. We go into more depth on how returns have become such a truly important part of the e-commerce industry and the various impacts that this ease of returns has on a supply chain.

Lokad Quantitative Supply Chain Software (Aug 8, 2019)

3 min introduction to the 'Quantitative Supply Chain', a predictive approach to deliver superior supply chain performance through probabilistic forecasts and numerical optimization.

Shadow IT in Supply Chains (Aug 7, 2019)

The predictive optimization of supply chains relies on data that can usually be found somewhere in the company's existing applicative landscape. However, many of these systems may not be managed by IT as they arose from immediate operational needs that weren't covered by the 'official' systems. Shadow IT is the name given to IT systems that are created within a company without the explicit approval of the management.

Using Weather Forecasts to improve Demand Forecasts (Jul 19, 2019)

The accuracy of demand forecasts is considered a critical ingredient to reduct stock-outs and improve service levels. However, when demand is strongly influenced by the weather, it makes sense to consider refining the demand forecast by leveraging a weather forecast.

Why SKUs Aren't That Simple (Jul 10, 2019)

The Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) refers to a specific product stored in a specific location. SKUs are central in most inventory control sytems. Many inventory methods are geared around the notion of SKUs. However, the SKU perspective is sometimes detrimental to the very problems that the supply chain is trying to address.

New Media for New Supply Chains (Jun 26, 2019)

Comparatively to other fields, say software engineering or mechanical engineering, supply chain media during the 2000's and the 2010's decades has been dominated by the communications of big-name tech vendors to the detriment of innovation and actual supply chain performance.

A Domain Specific Language (DSL) for Supply Chain (Jun 18, 2019)

Supply chains are so complex that regular configuration-driven software can't accomodate the sheer diversity of situations faced by practitioners. These limitations apply to inventory control problems as well as demand forecasting situations. Domain-specific languages (DSL) provide an answer to this class of problems.

Digital Transformation in Supply Chain (Jun 5, 2019)

The performance of a Supply Chain Management (SCM) practice is increasingly dependent on software technologies. The concept of digital transformation covers the complex process associated with the roll-out of a software technology into a large organization.In this episode of LokadTV we are joined by the Global Head of Terra Numerata at Roland Berger, Axelle Lemaire.

What Is Slowbalization? (May 29, 2019)

Due to a vast spectrum of factors, world trade as we know it is changing. From Europe to Asia to the United States, there are changes in the air that have resulted in political forces around the world leaning away from long-standing trends of economic globalization, such as Donald Trump's recent tariff stance against China.

Negative Knowledge in Supply Chain (May 22, 2019)

The Supply Chain Antipatterns represent negative knowledge, that is, knowledge about what doesn't work. Surprisingly, negative knowledge tends to be more robust and more lasting than its positive counterpart, that is, knowledge about what works.

Digitalization in the Fashion Industry with Madeleine Czigler (May 15, 2019)

Digitalization is a company-wide tranformation intended to make the most of a now software-driven world. In fashion, digitalization allows you to accelerate your supply chain in order to be more closely aligned with the latest trends. This week we are joined by Madeleine Czigler, a journalist, TV producer and Professor at the American University of Paris who specializes in culture and the fashion industry, to discuss with us how the digital age has really changed the face of the fashion industry.

Toxic Patterns In Supply Chain Software (May 7, 2019)

Great software products in supply chain are few and far between. Most products start as mediocre, and unfortunately, go downhill as years pass. In this episode of LokadTV we explore why we are so 'out of love' with the products we use in the Supply Chain industry and learn what are the key symptoms of the dismal IT landscape many companies find themselves in nowadays.

Differentiable Programming in Supply Chain (Part 3/3) (Apr 24, 2019)

Differentiable Programming is a hybrid perspective between statistical learning and numerical optimization. This mix is uniquely suited to deliver predictive optimization for supply chains, which also require a mix of learning and optimization.

Differentiable Programming in Supply Chain (Part 2/3) (Apr 17, 2019)

Yann LeCun, the director of AI research at Facebook, argues that ‘Deep Learning’ has out-lived its usefulness and has coined Differentiable Programming as a fresh machine learning perspective. In particular, this perspective proves itself of prime relevance to address supply chain challenges.

Differentiable Programming in Supply Chain (Part 1/3) (Apr 10, 2019)

Differentiable Programming is the descendant of Deep Learning. It has unlocked a series of challenges that were previously seen as “unsolvable” and has paved the way for considerable progress and superior numerical results in the world of supply chains.

Demand Forecasts for Hard Luxury (Apr 4, 2019)

Hard luxury is characterized by an exceedingly low sales volume. Time-series forecasting methods are ineffective at delivering any kind of supply chain optimization. Yet, the quantitative optimization of assortments, stocks and prices is possible for hard luxury - even when looking at the most disaggregated level, e.g. stores.

Why DDMRP Is Fundamentally Flawed (Mar 27, 2019)

Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP) is a multi-echelon planning and execution method. This technique is a further development of MRP and works through strategically placed decoupling points and stock buffers in a supply chain. It has been described as being ‘Built for People, Not Perfection’. In this episode of LokadTV we try and learn whether this method really works in practice and why.

The Problem With Flowcasting (Mar 20, 2019)

Flowcasting has been previously described as 'The Holy Grail of demand-driven supply chain planning'. But just what is it exactly? 'Flowcasting the Retail Supply Chain', a book published in 2006, presents a series of techniques that were intended to revolutionize the retail industry. In this episode of LokadTV, we learn a little more about this concept and debate why a technique that was published in 2006 is still of interest today.

Data Security in Supply Chain (Mar 13, 2019)

Data is both an asset and a liability. Supply chains require extensive historical records for tracability purposes and to ensure the accuracy of demand forecasts. However, data leaks are damaging events both for the company and its clients. Supply chains have to protect both their physical and software infrastructures.

Blackboxing and Whiteboxing (Mar 6, 2019)

Any nontrivial demand forecasting model becomes a black box for supply chain practitioners, that is, an opaque subsystem that produces numbers that are difficult to understand and to challenge. Whiteboxing, as part of the Supply Chain Management practice, is the answer to this problem. Practitioners don't need to understand the 'how' but need to understand the 'why'.

Financial Optimization for Supply Chains (Feb 27, 2019)

The financial optimization of supply chains starts with putting proper measurements in place. Those measurements must be and must remain closely aligned with the company's strategy. However, too frequently, companies get distracted by non-financial indicators such as the forecasting accuracy.

Pricing Optimization and Supply Chain Management (Feb 20, 2019)

Pricing optimization is typically not considered as part of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) practice. Yet, pricing is a factor that strongly influences customer demand. Thus both production capacities and stock levels are highly dependent on prices, and must be jointly optimized.

Real Time Visibility in Supply Chains with Pierre Khoury (Feb 13, 2019)

A tight control over lead times is important in order to optimize a supply chain. Yet, while electronic inventory management started to provide transparency on stock levels back in the 70's, tracking mobile assets only came much later. The term 'supply chain transparency' refers to the real-time positioning of all of a supply chain's assets, including the mobile ones.

Data Lakes in Supply Chain (Feb 6, 2019)

Data lakes are data storage technologies intended for bulk reads and bulk writes. They are particularly well suited to address supply chain challenges, because many situations require an inspection of the company's entire history of orders and stock movements.

POCs (Proofs Of Concept) Don't Work For Supply Chains (Jan 30, 2019)

Supply chains are complex systems made of many moving parts: goods, people, machines. POCs (Proofs of Concept) routinely fail when attempting Quantitative Supply Chain initiatives because problems get displaced instead of getting solved.

Why You Should Subscribe to LokadTV (Jan 24, 2019)

Keep up with the latest changes in the Supply Chain industry.

Terabyte Scalability for Supply Chains (Jan 16, 2019)

The relevant amount of historical data when considering large supply chains frequently exceeds one terabyte. As a result, inventory control requires two distinct flavors of software: transactional software (e.g. an ERP) to manage the resources, and predictive software (e.g. Lokad) to optimize the resources.

Why Safety Stock Is Unsafe (Jan 9, 2019)

Safety stocks are an inventory optimization method that enforces an extra quantity of stock beyond the expected demand in order to maintain a target service level. This method relies on key statistical assumptions about the demand forecast, most notably that the error is normally found in the distribution.

Multi-Echelon Supply Chain Optimization at Bridgestone (Dec 19, 2018)

The inventory optimization of Bridgestone's multi-echelon supply chains entails many challenges. Probabilistic forecasting is used to assess the consequences of every single stock movement and every single production capacity adjustment within the supply network.

Generations of Machine Learning (Dec 12, 2018)

Machine learning is an umbrella term that includes diverse algorithmic approaches. In supply chain, the historical way of doing machine learning was time-series forecasting. However, this approach has been superseded by a series of superior forecasting approaches.

Quantitative Supply Chain For Fashion (Dec 5, 2018)

Fashion brands are driven by novelty. This puts a lot of pressure on fashion supply chains to reduce overstocks, both to reduce the discount rates but also to make room for the new collections. Overstocks are typically caused by an incorrect prior forecast of the customer demand.

Data Science For Supply Chain Forecast with Nicolas Vandeput (Nov 28, 2018)

Statistical demand forecasting was pioneered in the 20th century, however it can be revisited with better, more modern statistical approaches. Yet, these methods aren't necessarily more difficult to implement than their older counterparts, because software tooling has also significantly progressed. We are joined by Nicolas Vandeput, a Supply Chain Scientist specialized in demand forecasting and inventory optimization. We discuss his new book: 'Data Science for Supply Chain Forecast'.

Why Lead Times Are Nearly Always Underappreciated (Nov 21, 2018)

The lead time is the total amount of time, typically counted in days, associated with the inventory replenishment cycle. The amount of stocks that a supply chain needs to operate tends to be roughly proportional to its lead times. Accurately estimating future lead times is critical for accurately estimating the amount of inventory needed to fulfill future demand. However, it is a fundamental factor that is often overlooked by companies, with a far greater importance being placed on forecasting.

Service Level vs. Fill Rate (Nov 14, 2018)

In supply chain, the service level defines the probability of not hitting a stock-out during the next ordering cycle. However, the fill rate defines the fraction of the customer demand that will be properly served. Service levels and fill rates are distinct, and should not be confused.

The Min/Max Inventory Method Doesn't Work (Nov 8, 2018)

The Min/Max inventory method defines two stock levels: first, a replenishment threshold, referred to as the 'min', and second, a replenishment target, referred to as the 'max'. Yet, despite its popularity, this method is not suitable for most modern supply chains.

Transforming Complex Supply Chains with Hervé Hillion (Oct 31, 2018)

Supply chains have to undergo profound changes to benefit from software innovations such as predictive optimization technologies. However, transforming complex, many-decade old organizations is difficult. We are joined by Hervé Hillion, one of the founding members of SAY Partners. Hervé explains how change can be effectively conducted across an entire supply chain.

La Formation Des Futurs Décideurs Supply Chain (Oct 24, 2018)

Supply chains are changing and now require a different skillset from their employees than before.

Inventory optimization for an aerospace MRO (Oct 17, 2018)

An aerospace MRO needs to optimize its inventory in order to both minimize the number of AOG incidents and minimize the amount of stocks, typically held in the form of rotables. We are joined by Antony Nardozza, the Head of Inventory Solutions at OEM Services, who previously worked for both Airbus and Spairliners.

Forecasting For Aerospace (Oct 10, 2018)

Forecasting demand in aerospace is difficult because demand is both highly erratic and intermittent. Also, TAT (turnaround times) need to be forecasted as well. In practice, probabilistic forecasts are required to achieve any meaningful results in the aerospace industry.

Is Forecasting High Growth Possible? (Oct 3, 2018)

Growth, and more generally trends, needs to be taken into account in order to deliver accurate demand forecasts. However, growth; as a statistical pattern, proves to be more difficult and more elusive to capture than other well-known patterns such as seasonality.

3PL in Global Supply Chains (Sep 26, 2018)

3PL - or third-party logistics - represent a way for companies to externalize their warehousing, distribution and fullfillment. Often when ordering a product on Amazon or eBay for example, the merchant is not actually going to ship the product directly to you themselves and instead uses a specialized company called a 3PL who ships the product on their behalf.

How To Forecast Seasonality (Sep 19, 2018)

Seasonality is one of the major cyclical patterns that can be used to improve forecasting accuracy. Most supply chain processes tend to be seasonal to some degree. Not only because of demand, but also lead times.

ABC Analysis does not work (Sep 12, 2018)

The ABC analysis is a widespread inventory categorization method used in many supply chains. Its intent is to prioritize management's attention to where it matters most. Yet, this method has many flaws, and can no longer be considered as state-of-the-art.

Modularisation in Supply Chain (Sep 5, 2018)

While the physical infrastructure supporting most supply chains is highly modular, their software infrastructure counterpart, e.g. inventory control or demand forecasting systems, tends to be monolithic and brittle. As a result, large scale 'software' supply chain failures are still ongoing.

Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) (Aug 29, 2018)

Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) is a corporate practice intended to deliver superior supply chain execution by leveraging a deeper alignment with other divisions beyond supply chain - most notably sales, finance and production. Despite the claims from multiple vendors that the best-in-class businesses operate under S&OP, most implementations suffer from similar flaws, which are intrinsic to the very nature of S&OP.

Data Jobs in Supply Chain (Aug 16, 2018)

Supply Chain Management (SCM) practices are increasingly data-driven and quantitative. New roles have appeared such as the Supply Chain Scientist. Companies need to make strategic decisions about whether these competencies are developed in-house or externalized.

Data Requirements for Supply Chain Optimization (Aug 8, 2018)

Predictive supply chain optimization relies on heavily prepared data. The purpose of this data is twofold: first, the historical supply chain data is used to build the forecasting models, second, the data describing the supply chain's current state is used to drive the optimization of the decisions.

Forecasting Demand for New Products (Aug 1, 2018)

New products do not have a sales history that can be represented as a time-series. As a result, time-series forecasting models don't work for new products. Forecasting demand for new products requires alternative forecasting models capable of leveraging data, such as product attributes, that do not come as a time-series.

Fear of Change in Supply Chain (Jul 25, 2018)

A good Supply Chain Management (SCM) practice includes a healthy dose of conservatism as the cost of failure tends to be high. Yet, rejecting all change is not an option in a world where innovation drives laggard companies out of business.

Startups: Myth vs. Reality (Jul 19, 2018)

Developing an innovative technology is the not-entirely-sane undertaking of any startup. The line is thin between visionaries and snake oil salesmen. Olivier Ezratty shares his views on the myth vs reality conundrum faced by startups.

Software Frankensteinisation in Supply Chain (Jul 12, 2018)

Managing supply chains and optimizing them is particularly challenging from a software perspective. The 'Software Frankensteinisation' refers to the technological decay that plagues entreprise software when faced with its own evolution over multiple decades.

Probabilistic Forecasting for Supply Chains (Jul 5, 2018)

Optimizing supply chains relies on having insights about the future. Classic forecasts dismiss uncertainty entirely, and assume that the forecast is perfectly known. In contrast, probabilistic forecasts embrace uncertainty, and reflect that supply chain optimization should remain robust when faced with unexpected events.

Internet of Things for Supply Chains (Jun 27, 2018)

For a supply chain management practice to be performant, managers need to have access to the position of every single asset. Unlike classic electronic inventory management, Internet-of-Things (IoT) offers the possibility to gain real-time visibility on all assets, vehicles included.

Data Preparation in Supply Chain (Jun 20, 2018)

Properly preparing the data is a requirement to achieve success for any data-driven initiative. When considering supply chain challenges, data preparation is difficult because it involves complex enterprise systems that have not been designed with data science in mind.

Bitcoins, Supply Chains and Cartels (Jun 13, 2018)

A free market is not only about competition, cooperation matters too. Cartels have a role to play in Bitcoin and supply chains alike.

Artificial Intelligence and Supply Chains (Jun 6, 2018)

In this episode we talk about this major buzzword and its application to supply chains.

Forecasting Promotions (May 31, 2018)

Forecasting promotional demand is necessary in order to allocate the correct amount of stock. However, time-series forecasting models are typically not a good fit to address pricing-related demand patterns. More complex machine learning forecasting models are needed to properly take into account past promotions, and to reflect the upcoming impact of those that are planned.

The User Experience Paradox (May 23, 2018)

Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems feature complex user interfaces. Among them, demand forecasting subsytems are not only complex but complicated as well. Better user inferfaces are needed to tackle this complexity.

Silos and Decisions in Supply Chain (May 9, 2018)

Modern supply chains are complex, and the most direct answer to complexity is a 'specialization of labor'. Unfortunately, this approach results in 'silos' that fail at delivering decisions that maximize returns for the company.

The Morality, Humanity, and Weirdness of Bitcoin (May 7, 2018)

Bitcoin is becoming more widely talked about in the media. Joannès Vermorel gives us his thoughts.

The Data Scientist in Supply Chain (May 2, 2018)

Supply chain challenges are frequently quantitative and data driven. This makes them a good fit for a data science practice. However, understanding the business is a frequently overlooked aspect of the data science practice in supply chain.

Blockchain and Bitcoins (Apr 24, 2018)

Blockchains and Bitcoin do have applications for supply chains, but not the ones most prominently put forward by software vendors.

Artificial Intelligence (Apr 17, 2018)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an umbrella term that covers many high-dimensional statistical methods such as Deep Learning or Differentiable Programming. These methods can be used in various ways to improve the operational performance of supply chains. However, both problems and solutions differ vastly from mainstream AI problems such as Natural Language Processing (NLP).

Accuracy of Demand Forecasting (Apr 11, 2018)

Achieving a highly accurate demand forecast is classically considered as the first step towards the optimization of a supply chain. More accurate forecasts are expected to reduce stock levels and to improve service levels.