Current affairs

Wednesday, 10 de April, 2019

CSCMP Spain Roundtable (Council of Supply Chain Professionals) were the main organizers of two independent sessions run by Len Pannett, the Managing Partner at Visagio Consulting and the President of the CSCMP UK Roundtable. The supply chain expert has previously advised companies such as Rolls-Royce, Nokia and Clarks on aspects related to technological change and complex program management. His presentation at EAE’s Madrid Campus focused on an analysis of Brexit, while at the Carrer d’Aragó Campus, he turned his attention to digitization and la automation.

Brexit: Global Supply Chain Challenges

Miquel Serracanta, the VP of Programs at CSCMP Spain Roundtable and Director del Master in Supply Chain Management, introduced the event held at the Joaquín Costa Campus, accompanied by Alberto Marina, the General Secretary of CSCMP Spain Roundtable and a graduate of EAE Business School.

In his presentation, Len Pannett emphasized the uncertainty generated by Brexit and the need to establish proactive management of supply scenarios to assess the risks associated with each of them. Moreover, he discussed aspects such as the instability triggered by the events taking place in the British Parliament. The United Kingdom is the second biggest contributor to the EU, with the third largest population. As such, it plays a key role in the trade balance, with figures in the range of 44% of exports within the EU. In addition, London is the global financial centre and there are low profitability sectors that will have to reinvent themselves if they leave the EU.

The supply chain expert put forward three possible Brexit scenarios: No Deal, May’s Deal and No Brexit. “The disruptions to the supply chain have never been greater in peace time and companies have to implement strategic actions in order to survive this disruption”. As such, it is essential to know your own organization. “We don’t work in isolation. Map out the supply chain dynamics and understand how your operations and human capital work”, explained Len.

Although we have to apply the 6 Ps (Prior, Planning, Prevents, Pretty, Poor and Performance), the expert also highlighted the need to carry out supply chain planning actions. “Identifying different scenarios and analysing their impacts, stocking up with raw materials, WIPs and finished product, relocating operations and production, setting up distribution centres outside the United Kingdom and using technologies such as automation and 3D printing to reduce risks”.

Digitization and automation, in focus at EAE’s Barcelona Campus

Guillermina Rodríguez, the President of CSCMP Spain Roundtable, introduced and chaired the event held at EAE’s Barcelona Campus entitled “Digitization and Automation: Déjà Vu!”. On this occasion, the Managing Partner at Visagio used examples of transition similar to the digitization of the financial sector in the late 1980s and the automation of the automobile sector in the 1960s. Moreover, he mentioned some interesting figures, such as the fact that expenditure on digital transformation will reach 2 trillion USD by 2020, much of which will go towards supply chain operations.

The President of CSCMP UK Roundtable then went on to analyse RPA (Robotic Process Automation) processes, commonly used in mature and stable models, and how they improve processes by automating manual activities using robots (software) that emulate people. In this respect, he emphasized that the automation of robotic processes can be applied to different areas of the supply chain, with a proper plan of selection and implementation. He highlighted various benefits, such as a reduction in operating errors, savings of up to 90% in the execution time of certain processes, and a 66% decrease in operating costs. In view of this reduction in time and costs, people can concentrate more on aspects such as data analysis, decision-making and tasks that generate added value.

When companies implement automation processes, Len Pannett advises them to do so in areas of lower risk and smaller size in the business, “to start where change has less impact in a company, and manage the organizational change effectively, starting at the executive levels, which are critical for promoting change”. Tending to be uncomfortable with change, this group has to change its mindset and manage preparations for transformation in advance, in order to integrate new emerging technologies. In this respect, “professional talent management will be fundamental in the coming years”, he concluded.