The iPhonification of the Automotive Industry

The world of automotive is changing, changing utterly. And many of the big name brands we are familiar with today will go the way of Nokia, Kodak, and Blockbusters, if they don’t change completely as well.

In 2011 Marc Andreessen penned his now famous essay Why Software Is Eating The World in which he pointed out how software is taking over everything from book sales (Amazon), to direct marketing (Google), to everything from financial services, oil and gas, health and education, on and on, you get the idea.

Automotive is no exception to this phenomenon (as Andreesen himself pointed out in his piece), but the extent of that change has gone beyond what he even imagined.

Software

Most of us are familiar with how Tesla provides over-the-air updates for its vehicles, in much the same way as Apple does for iPhones. The updates can be bug fixes (Tesla offers a bug bounty for anyone who finds a bug in its code), they can be feature adds, or they can be efficiency gains. However, what you may be less aware of is how Tesla has also recently started to offer paid over-the-air updates to do things like shave half a second off the 0-100km (0-60mph) time of its vehicles, to activate rear seat heating in cars that shipped without that feature turned on, and they are about to offer their Full Self Driving on a subscription basis.

This is huge. I’m not aware of any other automotive manufacturer who is doing this, or even has the capability to do this. Tesla, similar to Apple, has realised that their hardware device can be a platform for software sales. Whether Tesla further follow Apple and opens an App Store for 3rd party developers to develop apps for their cars remains to be seen, but there is nothing technologically stopping them from doing so. On the other hand, the incumbent car companies have all sorts of technological, logistical, and regulatory hoops they will have to jump through before they can follow Tesla and embrace this new business model turning their cars into software sales platforms. 

To their credit Volkswagen have seen this change, and appear to be leaning into it. In a post on LinkedIn last year, Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group said

The car will become the most complex internet device we have known so far, the car will become a software product 

This is the most blatant acknowledgement of this trend I have seen by any traditional auto maker, but on the other hand, Volkswagen do have some *ahem* repetitional issues to live down, so if anyone needs to embrace change, it is them.

Waymo

 

And of course the tech companies are jumping in – Apple has its secretive Project Titan, which we know very little about still. Then there is Google who have multiple plays in this space. The three most prominent are Android Auto, Android Automotive, and Waymo. What is the difference between them? Android Auto runs on Android phones and can display on a car’s infotainment system when connected to the vehicle via USB. Android Automotive is a customisable operating system and platform for running a car’s infotainment systems, while Waymo is an operating system for the complete operation of autonomous vehicles. Waymo (the company’s) ambition in this space is breathtaking. In April 2019 Waymo CEO John Krafcik said that 

Anything that has wheels and moves along the surface of the earth is something that we, in the future, could imagine being driven by Waymo

So, not just passenger vehicles then? Nope. *Anything* that has wheels.

Think back to 2008. That is when Google released Android, and see what that did to the mobile phone ecosystem (Blackberry, anyone? Nokia?). Now imagine a similar, or even greater disruption happening in the transportation sector over the next 10-20 years and you’ll start to get some idea of what Google/Waymo are thinking.

Transportation as a Service

Similar to Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program where you pay a set amount every month, and you get to swap your 12 month old iPhone for a brand new iPhone every year, car makers are now starting to embrace the car subscription model (ofter referred to as either Mobility as a Service or Transportation as a Service). Several car companies now offer the ability to do a long term rental of their vehicles (typically anything from 4 months to 4 years) which includes an agreed upper limit of mileage, full insurance, maintenance, tax and registration fees, and management of tolls and fines.

Why are they doing this? 

There are a number of reasons. 

  1. Data – modern cars now ship with hundreds of built-in sensors, and a SIM card for connectivity. This is hugely valuable information, and who does this data belong to? Well, if the manufacturer maintains ownership of the vehicle, then written into the rental contract of the vehicle will be a clause, or clauses making absolutely sure there is no doubt who owns the data. I had two guests on my podcast recently talking about a software solution to capture and store all that data for vehicle manufacturers
  2. Consumers want it – the ownership model is going away. Gen Z, millenials, and even old fogies like me are increasingly eschewing buying big ticket items like cars. Especially as cars increasingly have more and more technology built into them, they become out-of-date quicker, so having an option to drive a new vehicle every 3 years say, can be very attractive (that and having insurance, maintenance, etc. all looked after for you is the icing on top)
  3. Existential threat – the current model of selling cars is dying. A car manufacturer who sold a car 10 years ago could reasonably expect to make $30,000 over the lifetime of the vehicle in maintenance, spare parts, and repairs. Now however, that $30,000 is decreasing because of the shift to electric vehicles which cost at least 50% less to maintain, because of the increasing number of sensors in cars (parking assistance, lane keeping, situational awareness, etc.) which means fewer repairs are needed, and because of the fall in the numbers of people buying cars

Sustainability?

Can it be sustainable to swap your car for a new one every 3-4 years?

Like so many of these things, the answer is “it depends”.

At this point batteries in electric vehicles typically last over 500,000km, and a recent paper from well known battery researcher Jeff Dahn, one of the pioneering developers of the lithium ion battery, showed that Tesla batteries can last up to 10,000 discharge cycles or 3.6 million km (2m miles). Considering car bodies average 322,000km this means a battery of this type could power over 10 vehicles in its working life, before being retired to live out the rest of its considerable life as stationary storage on an electricity grid somewhere! 

Could this be the next new business model for automotive manufacturers? Rent out their vehicles for 3-4 years, take them back, replace some of the body parts, update the electronics, and rent it out again?Cars are already the most recycled consumer product in the world today, so there is precedent for this, and only some of the parts would need to be replaced when the vehicle came back.

Of course, using Industry 4.0 technologies which are increasingly being adopted by automotive companies, these vehicles can be designed from the ground up to be recycled, can be manufactured with take-apart in mind, and can report their status back to their manufacturer throughout their life, to help decide which parts need to be replaced.

In this way, far fewer “new cars” would need to be manufactured, and vehicles would get closer to 95-99% recycled parts, which would be a huge sustainability win.

If you’d like to know more about the use of Industry 4.0 in the automotive industry check out the recent “Industry 4.0 and The Next Generation of Mobility for Riders – NOT Drivers!” episode on VoiceAmerica.com

This post was posted originally on my Forbes blog

Six steps to amazing broadcast-quality 4K video for your working from home Zoom meetings

In my last blog post I talked about how I have used the time at home to improve the audio quality of my Digital Supply Chain podcast. Now in this post I want to talk about how I have gone on to improve the video quality I’m able to put out – this works for video recording, for live-streaming, but as a nice byproduct, also for Zoom/Team calls, webinars, and the like.

Screenshot of Zoom call in 4K

 

So, how did I fare? You be the judge. In the images above (click to enlarge) you can see the before and after images from Zoom calls. In the first image, I am simply using my laptop’s built-in webcam for the call, whereas in the second image I’m using my all new setup which is capable of live-streaming 4K video. Scroll to the end of this post for a video showcasing the results 👇🏻

So, how did I achieve this? To be honest, it was a steep learning curve, but I’ll try to summarise what I learned below.

  1. it is going to sound obvious, but to get high quality 4K video, you are going to need a good camera – one that is capable of putting out 4K video (duh!) and  clean HDMI (I had no idea what “clean HDMI” was before embarking on this journey – fortunately my colleague Timo Elliott had embarked on this journey long before this crisis, so he was able to give me some pointers, including the need for a camera with clean HDMI out). I opted for a Canon EOS R which is a bit of overkill for this job, but I already had a collection of good Canon lenses, so it made sense for me to purchase a camera capable of utilising them. A quick Google search will bring up a long list of articles each with lists of cameras with clean HDMI out.
  2. The next thing is to sort out how to get the HDMI feed from the camera into the laptop. The HDMI port on most computers is for putting out a HDMI signal (to an external monitor or data projector, for example), not for receiving one, so you need a HDMI capture card to convert the HDMI signal to a USB one that you can then feed into the USB port on the computer. Many people recommend the Elgato Camlink capture card, but they have been out of stock everywhere I looked for months now, so I opted for a Digitnow! one instead (I hadn’t come across the brand before, but it had good reviews), and it is doing a superb job!
  3. Now that we have the 4K video coming from the camera into the computer we need to be able to use it for recording video, for Zoom/Teams calls, for Webinars and/or live-streaming. To achieve this you need software like ManyCam or if you are Mac based (like me), you can use ecamm Live. I have used both, and I can strongly recommend Ecamm Live over ManyCam for a variety of reasons. ManyCam is glitchy (currently it has issues working with Zoom), its user interface is challenging to navigate and settings are often forgotten by the app, and support isn’t the best. ecamm Live on the other hand has a very easy to use interface, it is rock solid in terms of reliability, and fortunately, I have not had any reason to check out whether or not it has good support, but I suspect it does(!). The other thing that really sold me on Ecamm Live is that there is a really good set of short tutorials on its use over on YouTube. Checking these out before getting the software allowed me to see its capabilities, and ease of use. ecamm also has a 14 day trial option (without asking for credit card details) so you really can try before you rent (yes rent – Ecamm is a subscription service, not a purchase and I see this as a good thing because the developers are constantly rolling out new features, so it is continuously improving). By the way, to use your 4K video in Zoom or Teams, you will need to install the Virtual Cam option which is only available with the ecamm Live Pro  option.
  4. The next thing you will need is a green screen (aka chroma key). This can be as easy pinning some green cloth to the wall behind you, or you can go for a commercially available one. I chose the latter route and ponied up for an elgato Green Screen. This one is handy because it is free standing, and doesn’t require any supports. elgato also have a green screen that can be hung from the ceiling.
  5. You should also have key lights. These are lights which you place behind your screen facing you to illuminate your face. Ideally you have two, one on either side of your screen for even illumination and they should give off controllable, diffuse light, so the light on your face is not too harsh. I opted for a pair of Elgato Key Light Airs. They have built-in wifi and come with an app for your smart phone, and your computer so you can quickly and easily adjust your light temperature and brightness. For the app to work on your computer though, your computer needs to be connected to wifi. Not a problem, right? Wrong, because…
  6. The final piece of the puzzle is, your computer should use a wired connection for Internet access, not wifi. Wifi is great for most things, no doubt about it, but when you need a rock steady connection for pushing out broadcast quality video, a wired connection is your only real option. Also, obviously a good internet connection is required, but if you’re working from home, you already have that, don’t you?

And the results?

I shot this quick video to let you see the kind of output you can expect:

 

That’s it. It took a few trials and errors, but now I have the ability to output amazing broadcast video, either in a Livestream, or recorded like the one above.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, and I’ll try my best to answer them.

Seven simple steps to better quality podcasts

I published my first podcast, called PodLeaders back in around 2006 and ran it for two years. I have set up and published a several more podcasts since then, including my most recent one, the Digital Supply Chain podcast which I set up in June of last year.

The recent Coronavirus pandemic has brought a halt to my travels and this allowed me to focus more on the podcast, and in doing so I learned a LOT about how to improve the quality of your podcast. The improvement in quality has coincided with a big upswing in listenership, which is nice. Some of this increase may be to do with the uptick in quality, but it is also likely to be that the content is more topical (several Coronavirus impact on supply chain podcasts), and because the frequency of publication has gone up.

Graph of the stats for the podcast
Graph of the stats for the podcast

So here is my new and (vastly) improved podcast process, in case it helps anyone else with their podcast (or podcast aspirations!).

 

Calendly screenshot
Calendly screenshot

  1. Step 1 in my podcast is to schedule the guest interview. This is quite straightforward if the guest is an SAP colleague as I can see their availability on their calendars, and vice versa, but for folks outside the organisation this can be a lot of back and forward, so I set up a Calendly account. Calendly allows people to see and book the available slots on my calendar, and so saves a lot of the to’ing and fro’ing that is otherwise required to find a mutually agreeable time.
  2. Step 2. Once the recording time is confirmed (or sometimes a prep call, followed by the recording), I set up the call on the podcast recording platform Squadcast. Squadcast, like Zencastr records in lossless WAV format for better quality audio, but unlike Zencastr, Squadcast uploads the recorded file live to the cloud for safe storage, as the podcast is happening, and it also has a video interface, so you can see the person you are talking to. I can’t stress enough how much better this makes conversation flow. The video is not recorded (and guests have an option not to turn on their cameras, if they’re not comfortable, or they’re still in their pyjamas!). Squadcast do say they will add an option to record video later this year, so if this is something you need, they will be adding it.
  3. Once the interview has concluded, I download the WAV files from Squadcast, and I run them quickly through the Noise Reduction and Normalisation sound effects in Audacity (an open source audio editing program). The Noise Reduction in Audacity is particularly easy to use, and can quickly get rid of any annoying static, or hissing sounds that may have been picked up.

    Hindenburg Journalist Pro screenshot
    Hindenburg Journalist Pro screenshot
  4. Having exported the cleaned-up files from Audacity, I drop them into Hindenburg Journalist Pro – this is an application which is specifically created for the editing of podcasts. This is the only software I’m aware of which is specifically created for podcast production. Journalist Pro’s user interface does take a little getting used to, but they have great video tutorials online to help get you up-to-speed quickly, and they have a 30 Day free trial, so you can try before you buy. The auto-levelling, the voice profiles, the granular volume controls, are some some of the many reasons this program is a podcaster’s best friend. For reference, before Journalist Pro, I used to use GarageBand, and that is not bad, but because it is a program designed for music editing, there were quirks and work-arounds you had to do all the time when working on podcasts. On the other hand, GarageBand if free if you own a Mac, so that’s something to take into consideration too.
  5. Once the podcast production is completed in Journalist Pro, you can export it directly to your podcast host site. In my case, my podcast host is called Buzzsprout. I have used other podcast hosting sites like Libsyn, and Podbean, but to my mind Buzzsprout is the best of them. And I say this not specifically for any technical reasons, but rather because they go out of their way to make the podcast publication process painless. Not just do they have a nice simple interface for podcast publication, but they also have a great Youtube channel with loads of fantastic tips and tricks to help you set up, or improve your podcast, a cool podcast of their own (duh!), and a useful newsletter. It was via their newsletter that I learned of Journalist Pro, for example. However, when I’ve finished with the production in Journalist Pro, I don’t publish the audio directly to Buzzsprout, instead I export it as a WAV file to my computer.

    Auphonic screenshot
    Auphonic screenshot
  6. I export the WAV file to my disk because I want to improve it a little more. So now, I upload the file to Auphonic. Auphonic is a magic site which just improves your files audio. From the screenshot above you can see the before waveform at the bottom, and the after waveform at the top – the audio levels have been levelled! Not just that, the audio post Auphonic just sounds better. Now it is ready to be published!

    Buzzsprout upload screen
    Buzzsprout upload screen
  7. So, I upload the file to Buzzsprout, and also most times to Trint as well. What is Trint? Trint is a site that does transcription of audio files using AI. This means you get the transcription back in minutes, rather than the days it can take when you are relying on humans to do the transcription. Trint also has a free trial, so if you’re interested in trying it out, you have nothing to lose – really, it is not one of those free trials where they take your credit card details and make it hard for you to back out. As transcription goes, the output is quite good. It is not perfect, obviously and will need some work to clean it up, but it is fast, and it has an excellent interface for that inevitable clean-up. Then, I post the transcriptions here on this blog, along with the Buzzsprout player so anyone who is interested can listen to the podcast, and read along the text as well, see here for an example.

Ok, that’s it. Those are my seven steps to better podcasts. For now. I’m always learning, so I may do a follow-up as I learn more. If there is anything I missed, some further improvements you think I could make, or some questions you have, do please feel free to hit me up in the comments, or drop me an email.

Digital Supply Chain and surviving coronavirus-driven supply chain disruptions – a chat with MSCG

Supply chains have never been hit with so many disruptions at once. A perfect storm of trade wars, an oil price crash, and then the coronavirus have seen global supply chains shocked like never before.

In the midst of this, via a chat on LinkedIn I discovered that MSCG held a webinar for partners and customers on this very topic, so I invited the two webinar hosts, Dr Dan Bhide and Odell Smith to come on the podcast and talk about the comments, concerns, and learnings folks came away from the webinar with.

I think it was a great chat, but don’t take my word for it (I may be a bit biased 😉 ), have a listen using the player above and/or check out the transcript below, and let me know what you think.

 

Odell Smith [00:00:00] We’ve been in great times, you know, over the last over the last several years, and and the the the thought about risk management and about evaluating risk and then putting in good mitigation plans hasn’t hasn’t really been in place.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:19] Good morning, good afternoon or good evening. Where ever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast and I am your host, Tom Raftery.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:31] Hi, everyone, welcome to the Digital Supply Chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and with me on the show today, I have two guests, Dan and Odell. Dan and Odell, would you like to introduce yourselves?

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:00:45] Yes, happy to Tom. Thanks for having us on your podcast today. Really look forward to this conversation. My name is Dan Bhide. I’m a co-founder and partner at My Supply Chain Group. We are Enterprise consulting firm, helping our clients with supply chain stategy, process reengineering and solution implementation in multiple industry verticals.

 

Tom Raftery [00:01:07] Super, and Odell…

 

Odell Smith [00:01:09] Hey. Glad to be here. My name is Odell Smith. I have been with My Supply Chain Group for since it started over 11 years ago. I have been working in the supply chain space for over 30 years and specifically and in I.T. for the last 26 or so and build ITs, architect I.T. solutions for the supply chain.

 

Tom Raftery [00:01:38] Nice, nice, nice. Now, you guys held a webinar a week or so ago addressing specifically supply chain disruption, because  we’re in a kind of a crazy mixed up world right now, this is April 2020, the 14th of April 2020. You know, everything in the world seems to have gone to pot. And you had about a hundred or so people on the webinar. And I was interested to maybe bring some of the learnings from that to the audience of his podcast. So, do you want to talk about the background to the webinar first and then we can get into some of the things that come out of it?

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:02:20] Indeed, we had a lot of other clients calling us, asking, hey, you know, can you help us with these issues vs those issues? And we certainly engage in those activities. What turns out from our experience is this unlike many other disruptions that we have seen in the recent past, whether it was an earthquake or a tsunami, or a fire at a major airport, this one is unique in the sense that quite a few things have certainly assembly together themselves in one place at one time. You know, whether it’s the corona pandemic, whether it’s also the mix of the US-Sino trade war that’s actually been happening for the last couple of years whether it is this certain glut of oil and the rapid decline in oil prices because of that, the fear of recession. All those things are suddenly piled up on us. And a lot of companies that thought they had their business continuity plans put together are now finding that, you know, those weren’t after all that resilient. So that was the reason behind us saying lets take a big picture approach to helping our clients and prospects understand what happened, why it’s happening and what we can do about it. As we go on this conversation we can explain the fact that, you know, beyond going from just issues, impact and mitigation strategies, very able to help clients understand how to actually translate a mitigation strategy into the specific action plans and the specific tasks.

 

Tom Raftery [00:03:44] Okay. Odell, you want to jump in and add anything to that or…

 

Odell Smith [00:03:48] A lot of a lot of this kind of comes down to to information and in the sharing of information. And so one of the one of the only ways that any business is going to be able to get through this is is with collaboration. And so so there’s being able to have information to process and manage internally as well as being able to share with your your vendors and your customers.

 

Tom Raftery [00:04:20] Can I interrupt you Odell for a second just, rather than getting into that just yet, can we take a step back? And we’ve identified the kind of main factors, the drop in oil price, the trade wars and the sudden global pandemic that has shut almost everything down. Those are the big picture factors. But how is that affecting supply chains? How is that affecting organizations you work with? What is it? What are the problems that you guys are seeing out there for companies?

 

Odell Smith [00:04:55] OK. So an example is there’s there’s quite a bit of disruption in in not only in in some of the vendors and suppliers, especially with the the great focus that’s been happening over the last 10 to 20 years of outsourcing, a lot of stuff overseas. And and so there’s obviously enormous impact there with suppliers not being able to provide raw material and/or finished goods to to the supply chains. But in addition to that, there’s there’s logistics impacts as well. So take, for instance, one of our clients has asked us to help them build some what/if simulation capability around port closures. So as these as these products, in addition to the suppliers not being able to provide things, the government mandated closure of of logistics facilities and ports has been a significant problem and a concern with several companies in addition to health and safety measures for the people that work in those areas. So there’s just a couple of examples of of things where things that you wouldn’t normally expect. I mean, sometimes you have union strikes and these type of things, but they’re they’re known more ahead of time. Right. Sure. And there’s a way to be able to try to mitigate some of that. But this is this is urgent, immediate and unexpected in many cases.

 

Tom Raftery [00:06:36] Totally, totally unprecedented to use a word that’s been used an awful lot these days.

 

Odell Smith [00:06:43] Exactly.

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:06:44] You know, if you think about it Tom, even in the last few big disruption that some of us have read about or been through we were, none of us were around for the 1929 Great Depression, many of us may not remember the 1973 oil shock, but none of them had this confluence of all the events and the disruption of demand, disruption of supply, the disruption of networks. And all that compounded by the fact that most of us are forced to stay home because of social distancing. Many people are losing jobs, and all this confluence of multiple impacts is fairly unprecedented.

 

Tom Raftery [00:07:18] It is. And we here in Spain, they’re now starting to allow some sectors go back to work again in a very limited capacity. But it looks like we’re coming out, you know, slowly, the other end of it. The curve is being flattened, but it’s still… There’s not going to be a vaccine widely available until mid to late 2021. So social distancing and those kind of measures you know, to Odell’s point in the workplace for health and safety. That’s going to be an ongoing factor and possibly access to supplies and things like that we can deal with these kind of things short term but is this something that we can manage for 18 months?

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:08:11] I guess it’s more do we have a choice about how to manage it. You know one of the CEOs of a big retailer said, “Hey, you know what? There is no playbook. We are doing this on the fly.” And speaking to another client recently, he said because of social distancing requirements we really can’t even have the whole production staff on the floor, for example. And if earlier we were running the line with, say, 20 people on the line, now we have to make do with ten or twelve of them because of social distancing. And that means we are running our lines at says 60-70% of the capacity than I would usual. Now, this is where the ability to look at all kinds of what/if analysis now that I’m running at 70% for example can I open up the third shift? Can I open up Saturdays? And if I do that, do I have an ability to catch up on my demand? That kind of ability to on the fly do these kinds of different analysis and then figure alternative now that you know you have a different harder constraint of not getting everybody on the production floor becomes an issue. And how quickly are you able to do that kind of analysis to have right kind of decisions made becomes a significant challen. If you digitise your supply chains, then that kind of what/if capability becomes a little easier to achieve then if things are still disconnected and maybe worst, even on paper.

 

Tom Raftery [00:09:32] In the webinar that you guys ran what were the primary concerns that people had when they joined the webinar? What were the questions they were asking and what kind of answers did you have for them?

 

Odell Smith [00:09:44] I guess some of the main concerns were around again, back to the data thing trying to be able to understand the impact of a particular situation. In many cases there are there are several different impacts even inside of some of the same companies. Right. You can have massively increased demand in one business unit and devastatingly loss demand in another business unit even inside of the same corporation. So being able to quickly be able to get information on where we think that’s going to go and what the impact of that is going to be is important and being able to simulate what, how am I going to solve whichever side of that that I’m on? One of the things about this flattening the curve thing, Tom, is I get it. It’s important for for the medical response to this. But what that does, in effect is an indeterminately amount extend this issue and extend the supply chain impact for what you’re talking about, a very long duration. Right. That’s a whole purpose of that model of flattening that curve. And and so trying to to be able to put some data, the people that we were talking to were very concerned about how how to model that. Right. So that they could so that they could plan effectively and then try to, you know, come up with different scenarios where they might be able to make it through. There’s a lot of capability to do things to to try to substitute products where available and to be able to maybe, maybe delay demand spikes or, you know, change promotions and and pricing things that were going to affect demand and that type of thing to be able to shift some of those things around. Those are those are very doable. Those wind up affecting then the supply and how it’s supply is going to be able to make that. So there’s a balance that you can do with that. But being able to simulate that and see that have the visibility of those is some of the biggest concern, because a lot of people have not put in some of some of the new capabilities to be able to visualise that stuff. And that’s that’s an important piece of this concern anyway. Not being able to see.

 

Tom Raftery [00:12:30] So Odell, if I remember correctly, I think you said you’ve been in supply chain for 26 years. Yes. If this had happened 25 years ago as opposed to today you know, what are the differences in the supply chain solutions that are available today versus ones that were available 20 odd years ago? What can companies do now that they couldn’t do then? I mean, we were chatting away here on a podcast recording platform that allows us to see each other’s faces. We’re working from home using Zoom and similar technologies, things that could not have happened 25 years ago. How does the supply chain world compare?

 

Odell Smith [00:13:14] It’s even it’s it’s hard to even imagine back then the the being able to have a) this happening, but but the capability of being able to to function as well as we’re able to. I mean, there is still an amazing amount of business that’s being accomplished because of technology, just like what you’re what you’re describing here. So as an engineer, before you know, it got into the I.T. side of the supply chain working in manufacturing there, there were there were these same type of of of problems. But it seems like there has been this kind of just in time mentality that’s that has really shortened the supply chain, has reduced a lot of cost and has and has taken a lot of the flexibility out of the supply chain over the last several years. And and that that flexibility then is has done a great thing for reducing prices and increasing margins. And it’s a it’s a great thing for the business. But it also I think this is a bit philosophical, but it’s kind of, we’ve been in great times, you know, over the last over the last several years. And and that the the thought about risk management and about evaluating risk and then putting in good mitigation plans hasn’t hasn’t really been in place. Back to your technology question. So there’s going to be a focus on that going forward that hasn’t been there in years. And this whole just in case logic that we discussed in our webinar is going to be much more tied to the just-in-time thing and there’s going to be a balance there. The new technologies that we’ve that we’ve seen come available, especially in the digital revolution, where we’re able to quickly put data in to a system and be able to get valuable results out of it from partners is probably one of the biggest, biggest benefits. So our being able to see the entire supply chain and then be able to collaborate with the cloud technologies with with partners on on from supplier side as well as in the in our manufacturing and processing as well as through to the end customer. And being able to collaborate is the biggest advantage that I’ve seen here in the technology. And that’s that’s a large piece of that is going from on-premise to the cloud. Right. And those those are the biggest the the biggest advantages. And then the tool sets inside of those that that allow more flexibility and visibility in the analytics that are real-time, where we used to have to wait days, you know, to be able to get data in a place where we could do analytics on it. Those are the main pieces for me.

 

Tom Raftery [00:16:32] All right. Dan, have you anything to add there?

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:16:34] Sure. You know, just as the technology has evolved, you know, most of us hadn’t. Maybe the word digital supply chain wasn’t coined 25 years ago. Now it’s a reality for us. You know, and some of us had been leaders, some companies had been forced to follow that, you know. The expectations of consumers have changed as well over the last 25 years, you know, when you thought of getting a product within a week was good enough. Now, here are the Amazons of the world offering the products overnight or even sometimes the same day. So some brick and morter have been forced to go there as well. What that has done is we all talk about the 3 V’s of supply chain, the velocity of supply chain has been forced to increase big time. The visibility also is required to go literally not just within your own silos or breaking the silos, now we’re talking about visibility across the whole network you know from supplier’s supplier to customers, customers. And then there’s also expectation of variability how do I reduce my variability in my supply plan so that I can assure for Tom delivery of his product that he ordered tomorrow morning or even today evening. So expectation of reduced variability, expectation of increasing velocity and expectation of increased visibility has been forced upon the client companies as well.

 

Tom Raftery [00:17:51] And we’re at to almost 18 minutes mark now and I like to keep this podcast to about 20 minutes. For people who are listening who were unable to attend your webinar. What advice would you give them going forward where we’re headed into a world of possibly 18 months of social distancing. You know, maybe there’s a vaccine comes out sooner and maybe it’s, you know, nine or twelve months or whatever it is. But we’re heading into a world of a lot of unknowns, you know, and we’ve had this triple whammy hit us now, what advice would you give to people who are running supply chains now moving forward?

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:18:33] You know, one of the things a caution is that this priming the pump, once things start getting normalised to a new normal, I mean, is going to be excruciatingly complex and time consuming. So that is something that they’re already dealing with. But this priming the pump, meaning getting back to a new normal, is going to take weeks, possibly months to happen. And that means that we have to now look beyond the short-term mid-term plans to look at the Long-Term Plans, having the business continuity plans in place and also literally doing a monthly new scenario’s of what/if, and to mitigate the risk and most importantly focus on the fact that what you do now is going to redefine your competitive ecosystem as well, because some companies will be able to handle this well, some won’t. And that’s going to create a new normal and a new competitive landscape. So see this as much as an opportunity, as a disruption or threat.

 

Tom Raftery [00:19:32] Ok Odell…

 

Odell Smith [00:19:32] So there’s there’s a lot of companies where executives are down on the shop floor packing warehouse boxes right now, trying to to to be able to just get through this. Right. And and that is absolutely required. You just have to do what you have to do to be able to make to make this work. All hands on deck. But at the same time, there has to be some level of strategy where you do like Dan was saying, where you you look for ways that you can take advantage of this and that you can get out of execution and start trying to do some of that forward planning and being able to being able to focus on the entire chain inside of your corporation with a value chain, but the entire supply chain and work on collaboration, with your suppliers and with your customers, to see what they are seeing right as what their demand is and to be able to figure out how you can best supply that, you have to you have to spend some time on that, even in the middle of, you know, working 14 hours a day packing boxes to try to get things out. And so the it’s not necessarily a time to to go and do a full system implementation, but there are there are ways that technology can help in this digitisation, the digitisation that we’ve just talked about. That was a little bit tough to get out! There are there are ways that that you can use information to help expedite that collaboration. And I couldn’t I couldn’t emphasize the collaboration with customers and vendors enough in that scenario.

 

Tom Raftery [00:21:25] OK. Last question, guys. Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you think we should have talked about? Anything that you’d like to bring up that we haven’t hit on just yet?

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:21:36] One quick comment from me and as I was referring to earlier, it’s one thing to comprehend the big picture and talk about mitigation strategies. I would align that to maybe a 80 to a 20 thousand feet level thinking, but it’s a whole another world translating those mitigation strategies into really what enables us to translate that mitigation strategy into action plans. So this is where the expertise matters. How do you translate the so-called one-liner mitigation strategy into 20-30 action items or tasks, whether they’re on the system side, on the people side, on the process side, on the policies and practices side, how do you come up with the new KPIs for resilience as against traditional KPIs for efficiency and just-in-time because those are the challenges that one needs to really think through.

 

Tom Raftery [00:22:31] Odell…

 

Odell Smith [00:22:31] I think being able to look back at this and be able to think of what worked and what didn’t work is going to what is going to wind up being of value as well. It’s it’s almost impossible to do that while you’re in the trenches. But take take notes about about what’s going on and and what worked and what didn’t work and then where you might want to, where you might want to have things perform differently in the future. Most of our planning solutions are are based on data that happened in the past. These anomalistic times that we’re in are going to cause many, many outliers. But there is also going to be a new normal that’s going to come out of that. There’s going to have to be a focus and an analysis on that data to have good plans going forward in the future. And that’s probably a complete separate podcast discussion around innovations and that type of thing. And, you know, being able to use advanced machine learning and AI to be able to support some of those quick decisions. But that anyway, that’s that’s that’s something that’s necessary to do for sure.

 

Tom Raftery [00:23:52] Gentlemen, thank you very much. If people want to know more about yourselves, Dan and Ordell or MASC Gee, where would you have me point them?

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:24:01] They can go to my supply chain group dot com and they can call us as well. But my supply chain group dot com, one word is the place they can reach out to us.

 

Tom Raftery [00:24:13] In that case, gentlemen, thank you very much for your time and your expertise today. It’s been it’s been a pleasure talking to you.

 

Dr Dan Bhide [00:24:20] Thanks for having us Tom. It’s my pleasure.

 

Odell Smith [00:24:22] Yes. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for the time.

 

Tom Raftery [00:24:30] OK. We’ve come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone, for listening. If you’d like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to SFP dot com slash digital supply chain or simply drop me an email to Tom Dot Raftery at SAP dot com if you’d like to show. Please don’t forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application to get new episodes right away as soon as they’re published. And also, please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find a show.

 

Tom Raftery [00:24:57] Thanks. Catch you all next time.

 

[00:28:56] Super. Super. That’s great. Claudio’s that’s been fantastic. Thanks a million for coming on the show today.

 

[00:29:10] OK, we’ve come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone, for listening. If you’d like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to SFP dot com slash digital supply chain or simply drop me an email to Tom Dot Raftery at SAP dot com if you’d like to show. Please don’t forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application to get new episodes right away as soon as they’re published. And also, please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find show.

 

[00:29:38] Thanks. Catch you all next time.

 

And if you want to know more about any of SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don’t forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

 

 

 

Life in Spain under lockdown

Today is April 14th 2020 and it is our 32nd day under the Coronavirus lockdown orders here in Spain.

 

I thought I’d paint a little picture for you of how life has been for us since the state of emergency was declared by the government on March 14th. Spain has one of the tightest lockdowns outside of China with people being required to stay home except for trips to the grocery store, trips to the pharmacy for medication, and to walk dogs. Dog walking can only be undertaken by a single adult (no couples, no kids) from a household and has to be within close proximity to home. Fines starting at €600 and up to €30,000 are meted out for any infractions.

Sign announcing Parks Closed
Sign announcing Parks Closed

I took my dogs out for a walk on the first morning of the lockdown and passing a kids playground I saw a sign from the local council stating that the park was closed due to the Coronavirus. Schools had been shut the previous day so the council didn’t want children congregating in parks, potentially infecting one another. The sign was dated the day before the the state of emergency lockdown, and so the Stay at Home order very quickly made it redundant!

 

Empty meat counter shelves
Empty meat counter shelves

I went grocery shopping on day one as well, and found that while there was no shortage of toilet roll in the shop (!), the meat and fish counters had been stripped bare. The only thing remaining was a few plant based Beyond Meat burgers, so I finally had an excuse to introduce them to my family (two of us loved them, the other two, not so much).

 

Store sign requiring use of gloves
Store sign requiring use of gloves

In the following days, the supermarkets’ supply chains stepped up and now there are no shortages in the stores. Practices in shopping have changed though. Shops are pushing people to shop online and choose home delivery as much as possible. Delivery times are typically reasonable and usually come within 24-48 hours though you can be unlucky. If you do need to go to the store, shops now provide disposable gloves for shoppers and require their use when using a trolly or shopping basket.

 

Keep your distance and pay by credit card
Keep your distance and pay by credit card

Physical distancing is enforced when queuing to pay, and most shops now shun cash in favour of contactless credit card payments.

Interestingly Amazon delivery times are way out of whack. I don’t know if this is just a Spanish thing, but ever since the pandemic hit delivery estimates have been in the order of weeks for most orders. However, having then placed the order, it more often than not arrives in a day or two rather than the weeks that had been estimated. I’m assuming Amazon are still adjusting their logistics, taking on lots more companies, onboarding them, etc. so this too will be sorted in time. The good thing is that they are erring on the safe side, not promising delivery in a day or two, and then taking weeks to deliver!

 

Graph of penetration of Fibre to the Home internet connections by country
Graph of penetration of Fibre to the Home internet connections by country

Apart from the good weather, another advantage of being based in Spain is that at 44%, Spain has by a significant margin the highest penetration of Fibre to the Home (FttH) internet connections of any country (Portugal is next closest with 37%). This investment in infrastructure is now paying big dividends with so many people needing to work, or continue their education online. My home connection is a 600mb synchronous connection, so four people simultaneously video conferencing doesn’t put too much strain on the connection. Very occasionally there are glitches in the video connections, but I put that down to upstream congestion with the increased traffic on the network.

Classes are being delivered online
Classes are being delivered online

Classes are being delivered online using a combination of Zoom, and Google Classroom. Fortunately the school my sons attend made a decision a couple of years back to issue all the kids with iPads, and deliver all their educational material that way (i.e. they have no physical textbooks). The unintended positive consequence is that all the kids in the school have their own tablet containing their curriculum, and because of the high penetration of fibre, most have a decent internet connection. As a result of this, the school hit the ground running and the transition to delivering lessons online was made that much easier. This is a public school btw.

 

Virtual family lunch
Virtual family lunch

Other changes – traditional big extended family lunches at weekends have been replaced by virtual get togethers with the family on Zoom. It is not the same, to be sure but it helps maintain a semblance of normality.

Finally, I do venture out to walk the dogs daily. Part of my walk brings me past a (formerly) busy intersection. Now that intersection is eerily still with only the very occasional car passing. And now you hear the sound of birdsong there instead of the constant growl of heavy traffic.

 

Air quality February 2020
Air quality February 2020

 

Air quality March 2020
Air quality March 2020

The air quality has improved, as you’d expect as well. I carry a Plume Flow personal air quality meter with me at all times so I have air quality data for this area going back many months. The two screens above show the air quality in February (before the lockdown) and March (two weeks after the lockdown) respectively with the February screen having large portions of the air quality map being either yellow (moderate air quality with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 21-50) or red (high pollution with an AQI of 51-100). Two weeks after the lockdown though and the air quality index is reading under 20 almost for the entire walk, which is a vast improvement.

 

Daily new Coronavirus cases in Spain
Daily new Coronavirus cases in Spain

Daily new deaths data from Coronavirus in Spain
Daily new deaths data from Coronavirus in Spain

These last few weeks of lockdown from the pandemic haven’t been easy, there is no doubt. But the outcome speaks for itself. The cleaner air is welcome, sure. But the fall in new infections and the fall in the number of people dying daily from this pandemic here in Spain is very welcome. If you are in the early stages of a lockdown, look at those two graphs. This will happen where you are too if the proper measures are taken to enact and enforce a lockdown.

 

Yesterday the Spanish government partially re-opened sectors of the economy to allow some people back to work. They required everyone travelling on public transport to wear face masks and they had police and volunteers in every public transport station handing out masks to those people who didn’t have any.

Was it too soon to re-open the economy? Possibly it was. We will know in one-two weeks time if we see the number of new cases increase once more. We are all just feeling our way in this new world. Until there is a universally available vaccine I think we will have to proceed extremely cautiously on all fronts. Stay healthy, stay safe, and above all, stay SANE!!!

Digital Supply Chain, Climate 21, and Climate Change – a chat with Toby Croucher

It is April 2020 and we are currently in the middle of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, however we will develop a vaccine  for this virus, and so this crisis will finally pass. Unfortunately there is no similar “easy cure” for climate change.

With that in mind, a huge amount of an organisation’s carbon footprint comes from its supply chain, so when I heard about SAP’s new Climate 21 initiative, I was keen to get one of the core team, Toby Croucher to come on the podcast to talk about it.

Toby agreed and we had a great chat talking about how the Climate 21 initiative will help companies calculate, manage, and reduce the carbon footprint of their supply chain. Enjoy.

Click on the player above to hear our conversation and/or check out the transcript below:

Tom Raftery [00:00:00] Whereas if I’m looking down through my supply chain of different suppliers, it’s very difficult for me to tell who is using renewable energy or not, you know, which cloud provider do I choose? Because do I know their energy sources? Which logistics company do I use? Do I know which of them are using electric vehicles or which of them are using diesel? You know, that’s not exposed today.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:27] Good morning, good afternoon or good evening. Wherever you are in the world, this is the digital supply chain podcast and I am your host, Tom Raftery.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:38] Hi, everyone, welcome to the Digital Supply Chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and my special guest on the show today is Toby. Toby, would you like to introduce yourself?

 

Toby Croucher [00:00:47] Hi, Tom. Yeah thanks. My name’s Toby Croucher. I’m the energy and natural resource industry lead for the EMEA North region. There’s a Nordics and France UK, and Benelux. Good to talk with you Tom.

 

Tom Raftery [00:01:06] Thanks. Thanks. So when I want to get you on the show, Toby, because, you know, we’re gonna talk about a thing called an initiative of as SAP’s called Climate 21. And the reason I wanted to talk about that is because supply chains are a massive part of a company’s carbon footprint. And the Climate 21 initiative is is an initiative that SAP is, you know, getting into to try and address that. So and you’re you’re part of the core Climate 21 team. So I decided to have you on the show so we could talk a little bit about it. And, you know, some of the reasons behind it, what it hopes to address, where the future is going, that kind of thing. So could you, you know, maybe start off give me a little bit of a background of Climate 21. What is it and why is it.

 

Toby Croucher [00:01:58] Yeah, well, I mean, climate’s not been. It’s not it’s not a new issue. It’s not a new challenge, as it were, it’s been you know, it’s been in the in the public domain to varying degrees, you know, for decades, really. Certainly since the early 2000s. But but last year, last year in particular, there’s an entirely new level of exposure in society as to what’s happening with the climate. What was happening with our response and the gap between our ambition you know, globally, our ambition to stabilize our climate between one, half, two degrees from the from the Paris accord, the U.N. agreements that, you know, 73 countries now have signed up to be net zero. And a level of action going on, actually. And, you know, from an SAP perspective, you know, when you look at CO2, of all of the issues relating to sustainability, it’s the only one as a has a globally consistent currency. It means the same thing. And a ton of a ton of CO2 means the same thing wherever you are in the world.

 

Tom Raftery [00:03:11] There’s no there’s no difference between a French ton of CO2 and an American icon of CO2.

 

Toby Croucher [00:03:17] As as the head of the international agency said it, CO2 doesn’t need a passport. And you know, it can be converted. Different greenhouse gases can be converted into the equivalent CO2 now. So it really lends itself actually to a transactional system. And it’s spread. CO2 is spread in terms of it’s it’s it’s the output of CO2 across industries, through supply chains, all the way to customers, all the way from the lip of the primary energy industries. So it’s got it’s got a certain kind of attributes CO2 that really lend itself to SAp’s heritage. It’s it’s it relates to material flows. And, you know, to a large extent, all the issues around managing our approach to climate change have been you know, how do we get the accounting right globally? How do we get the accounting right all the way from the global system of accounting for CO2 down to the national decarbonisation targets, which which, you know, most of the countries we live in have; then down to an industry level. And that, you know, can be inside trading schemes like the EU have. And then inside to a company level. And then when you’re in a company, actually, you go start to look across all your activities globally. And that constitutes your footprint, whether that’s direct, scope one or indirect scope two or scope three, which is there all the way through your supply chain. And the moment the world doesn’t have an effective, reliable, consistent way of doing it, it fits over well with that SAP’s heritage and SAP’s capabilities. The program started off as week I think we set September, October last year, we started moving into action in this with, you know, with our Board level sponsorship.

 

Tom Raftery [00:05:17] OK. So before I turned the recorder on, we had a little bit of a discussion about this, and one of the topics that we said we would chat about was the idea of a carbon budget. Now, the idea of a carbon budget is something that a lot of people may be unfamiliar with. So I think the way I frame it to people and, you know, feel free to jump in. But the way I frame it to people is that we have, as you rightly pointed out from the Paris Climate Accord in 2015, we have internationally signed up to trying to limit the global warming to one and a half degrees C, between 1.5 degrees C and maximum 2 degrees C, ideally one and a half and at worst 2 degrees C is what, one hundred and ninety five countries signed off on. We know where we are today. We’re already at one. So that leaves us between a half and one degree C to go. And we know to get from where we are today to one and a half to two degrees C. We have to pump X gigatons of CO2 into the climate to reach our target of 1.5 to 2 degrees C and that X is known, it is just physics. It is about a thousand gigatons. And the issue around the carbon budget is that the fossil fuel companies have proven reserves of about 3000 gigatons. So it becomes kind of challenging, I think, for organizations. So but we do we have that budget. We know where we want to get to or where we want to stop at. And  I mean, for companies, for organizations to figure it out where they are themselves, they need some kind of accounting right?.

 

Toby Croucher [00:07:03] Yeah, and I think, you know, you’re absolutely you’re absolutely right. You know, I mean, I I’ve I’ve explained that, you know, when I explain to my children, I explain it in the same way you think about calories, you know. I mean, it’s there are ways in which there are ways in which the world can absorb carbon sinks, absorb, you know, oceans and forests that suck up. And there are their outputs. There are ways in which it’s produced. And we’ve got to get a gigaton is a lot. But actually, you know, current rates of our current rates of consumption or carbon emissions, we’re gonna get I think it’s between eight and ten years we’ve used up all our budget. OK, if you’re dieting and someone’s that you couldn’t go over 2500 calories a day, you know. You know, you’ve got there by lunchtime. You know, and it’s it’s not that many years left now as you start to as you start to cascade that down, because that’s very, very hard for an organisation. Is is you you cascade that down until what are you what are you what are your targets and where are you going to go? Now, the interesting thing is, you know, and you hear this now increasingly from, you know, from the large international companies, you know, both in the energy intensive, industries and the consumer end and all the way through the supply chains. You can’t do this alone. You know, you can’t as a company continue to and that’s where the analogy breaks down. You can’t continue to squeeze your own emissions. You’ve got to get visibility through them, through and through your transactions. So, you know, we had a discussion with a company only this morning that produces industrial materials. And they said, well, you know, we really want to supply these these pumps. So the electricity they use is less and less and less actually are ah, you know, our customers are able to run these in a low carbon way. But actually, we get inputs to build them. We want to know how much carbon is in there. And and essentially this you know, this budgetry challenge, this carbon budget challenge is going to have is going to have to two parts to it. One part is is leaving fossil fuels in the ground. And those assets investors are calling those assets stranded assets. And the valuation of those companies that used to have a reserve to production ratio, which is “I’ve got loads in the bank, we can burn later”. That’s not going to apply anymore. That’s half of it. So half of it is is decarbonizing primary energy supply, which is you know there is options for that around hydrogen and bio and green electrons. The other half actually is products and services and squeezing those and in the same way, you know, if you if you want to lose weight, you need a good pair of scales. That’s second half for that second half that, you know, that, you know, decarbonise and squeezing all of the grams and kilos and tons and kilotons, not the gigatons a billion tonnes, but making all those small decisions, you know, you know, now just, you know, not having milk in your coffee, type decisions to make those types of decisions actually is going to take a very, very different approach to your future and your transactional systems.

 

Tom Raftery [00:10:28] And I think it’s it’s important as well, because in in, you know, take your example in the idea of a diet. It’s very easy going through the the aisles of the grocery store to pick up the items and look at the label on them to see how many you know, how much carbohydrate is in them or how much protein or fat is in them, you know, per 100 grams or whatever it is. Whereas if I’m looking down through my supply chain at different suppliers, it’s very difficult for me to tell who is using renewable energy or not. You know, which cloud provider do I choose? Because do I know their energy sources? Which which logistics company do I use? Do I know which of them are using electric vehicles or which of them are using diesel? You know, that’s not exposed today.

 

Toby Croucher [00:11:18] No, it’s not. And you know that there’s a big element of trust. You know, public trust in relation to, you know, I mean, you saw with Volkswagen’s challenges around their , you know, that their emissions monitoring dieselgate. Exactly. Dieselgate. And I think, you know, what we’re starting to build when we start to look at Climate 21 is an ability to, you know, to have that visibility and to be able to manage that and have that ledger that passes through as those as those products and services move down through the industrial, ultimately to us as consumers I mean, the notion has been, you know, the notion has been, you know, presented that individuals should have a carbon budget, you know, depending on the population growth projections it’s somewhere between, you know, two tons and four tons or six tons. But it’s it’s a budget now at the moment you know, very few of us would know whether we were underweight or overweight in terms of are we doing the right thing. Now, you know, you know, you’ve got photovoltaics on your roof. You know, it’s a it’s a big decision to make in a way to dieting. You don’t eat cake. You don’t eat cake if you’re dieting. But the smaller decisions, the small decisions around how to source which which supplier will source materials, can you change? What’s the substitution options you’ve got? These traditionally these lifecycle assessments are these lifecycle assessments have been done on a on a singular basis for a single product or a single service. And the you know, the the oil and gas industry did it with biofuels. Right? Well, sort of biofuels, but it becomes. But to do it once is a manual exercise to do it systematically, continually across all your business process. I mean, that’s you know, that’s an entirely different undertaking. But actually, that’s the only way you’re going to get the assurance through your supply chain. You’re gonna get the visibility through your supply chain. You’re going to get an ability to have those numbers, not just assured, as they are currently in that scope three area. But verified, reported both to investors to say, I’m decarbonising my business and ultimately to your your customers, whether it b2b or b2c. And that level of trust is going to have to come with a completely transactional level. I mean, currently, you know, many of our customers, if not most report CO2 emissions reporting is very important. And that will remain important for lots of reasons. But it’s the longer term is the management of them that’s going to become so, so important. And the ability to tell a story about how you’re effectively managing and effectively decarbonizing not just your business strategy book, but your supply chains as well.

 

Tom Raftery [00:14:02] OK. So we’re going to help with the calculation and transparency of emissions. Where else is this going?

 

Toby Croucher [00:14:14] Well, I mean, if you if you look at it, if you if you look at the discussions we’re having with with many of our customers, if you look at the way you CO2 is not it’s not singular issue. It’s related to, you know, land-use change, for example. It’s related to, you know, there are in some parts of the world. It is a very really a good example. You take you know, you’re low carbon energy is is actually a secondary importance to air quality and NOxand SOx and those issues. And the intent here is not to have a singular transactional system around CO2. I mean CO2 as I said at the beginning, it got certain qualities. And it’s a it’s a it’s a global it’s it’s a global priority, of course, for reasons we know well. But if we start to look at our strategy, it’s very much towards saying, let’s look at let’s look at the traditional non-financial flows, things that fit under the broad banner of sustainability. Let’s look at the non-financial flows and see how we start to build those in into our our ERP proposition. So Climate 21 is it is it is a kind of leading program that’s gonna be followed with, you know, us evaluating how it’s up, to what extent can we build this transactional future that historically has been, you know, hasn’t been included in with an organisation decision making has been reported on up in the manage and optimise. How do we start to build that in strategically? And that’s it. I mean, that’s it’s incredibly. It is. It is something, actually. You know, the world. And I said this to you, Tom, before we started the call. This idea of, you know, ecosystem services and the services that nature provides, if you like. I mean, that’s, you know, since the beginning of time, the the ultimate supply chain has been that nature itself, which we benefitted from a tremendous reliability. You know, it’s it’s it’s free at point of consumption. I mean, it’s got all the qualities about it now. You know, if you start to build that into then and you’re in your industrial systems, it’s a huge leap. It’s a huge leap.

 

Tom Raftery [00:16:29] Very true. We are, today is the first of April we’re recording in the middle of a global pandemic. The Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Are you seeing any parallels between what we’re seeing in the pandemic and the whole climate issue?

 

Toby Croucher [00:16:48] There’s an incredible amount being written actually at the moment about the link between current employment, I think, because, you know, for very obvious and actually rightfully so, you know that the Coronavirus situation has knocked climate change off the off the pedestal of global concerns. And that’s absolutely correct. I think what’s really interesting what is really interesting with Corona. And this is really this is really, I think, important for the climate debate is we’re seeing most of the reporting that we’re receiving as members of society is based around what the modelling is telling us, the data in terms of how we’re doing, you know, in terms of flattening the curve and the forecast and, you know, the idea of the idea of being, you know, relying on on data to see where you are, you know, modelling to see what could happen and then and then forecasting your interventions to see where that’s going to get you to against, certain outcomes you don’t want. That’s… And we’ve been very science led. I must say, I think that the way we’re responding as companies, we’re being led by the science. We certainly see that in the UK. It’s been you know, it’s that the science is leading our response. Now I think that’s very promising for the climate agenda, particularly in this next decade that is being called that the decade of delivery. If we don’t if we don’t crack, if we don’t crack some of these challenges in the next 10 years. And we’ve had 20 years to think about it. And we don’t get it in the next 10 years. We’re in a very, very difficult position. So so I think there’s something there’s something positive around corona. And we may see it. We may see a return to science and science based decision making being led by data, which, again, we have a role in. I think that’s very, very positive. I think the risk for me is the oil prices has dropped. It’s it’s it’s low. And actually one way to one way to stimulate, you know, the post-corona recovery could bake-in could lock in some sort of high carbon outcomes that will lose time. And we don’t have you know, we don’t have that time to lose. You know, I think the drop in in consumption during the Coronavirus. We’ll eat that up in a few months. That won’t really matter. It’s about trying to stimulate economies. And there’s such an oversupply of fossil fuels at the moment that if that squeezes, you know, other investments that could be made, that that would be challenging. The final thing I would say with corona is, is, you know, with running all the risk management, we can we’re doing as much as we can. As societies in the hope there’s going to be a remedy, a vaccine, something, something at some point in future, we know we’ll come in and take this particular problem away as long as we can reduce, reduce what’s happening in the interim. That silver bullet will not present herself with with climate change this decade. There isn’t you know, there isn’t a singular answer like that. And that’s, I think, why it’s been such an such a difficult challenge over the past couple decades, because there’s so many dimensions to it. You know, fiscal, technology, societal, I mean, it’s a hundred years worth of energy infrastructure has been built around the world, around, you know. And it’s a tremendously efficient oil and gas and coal as well are very energy dense think they’re great fuels. If it wasn’t for that pesky CO2. So I think right. I think it’s there’s some things we can learn from corona, I feel cautiously positive.

 

Tom Raftery [00:20:30] When one of the things that, hey, I try and get people to visualise is, you know, what is a ton? You know, you can think of like a Mini Cooper as being roughly a ton and a gigaton is one billion tons. So try and picture a billion Mini Coopers and then try and picture a way of hoovering 10 billion Mini Coopers out of the atmosphere, every year, and storing them somewhere. And that’s the kind of level of challenge we’re at, and 10 billion is probably not enough to be hoovering out of the atmosphere every year. We obviously need to stop putting it in, putting them into the atmosphere in the first place. But we’ll have to try and suck them out as well. And that’s an even bigger challenge, I think.

 

Toby Croucher [00:21:22] Yeah, I think we land use land use will play a role, you know, to kind of recarbonise reforestation. Yeah, that that will play a role. You know, it’s a policy decision as to whether that’s linked as an offset or not. You know, I think you have to be careful with with offsets, you know. But but and sequestrations, carbon capture and storage actually finding it and, you know, putting in an aquifer, putting in a geological formation. But there you need a you know, you you kind of need a big single point geography. The geography doesn’t work. So it’s you know, that’s that’s that’s challenging as well. And that’s where you start to look at you know, you start to look at solving this this challenge and you have to set as a lot of energy efficiency needed, a lot of land use changes. You’re going to have to rely on, you know, the three you know, the three kind of energy supply vectors around bio and hydrogen where appropriate. And then, you know, green electrons from renewables, you’re going to have to try and sequester. And then you’re going to have to have, you know, buildings and different industrial solutions. So buildings, heating, cooling buildings. Mobility is going to have to be addressed. And you start to see actually and the whole thing, that whole picture of activity is gonna have to it will generate a whole new set of business models of course. There’ll be a whole supply chain associated around it, but it’s going to in a whole system transaction to make sure that it all adds up. And there is a global accounting system which which links them on the micro to the macro. And I think it’s going to be it’s going to be very. Yeah, it’s gonna be very interesting to see how this how this plays.

 

Tom Raftery [00:23:12] Toby we’re coming to the end of the podcast. We’ve gone 22, 23 minutes at this point. Is there as a last question, is there any question I have not asked you that you wish I had?

 

Toby Croucher [00:23:27] No, I think, you know, I think it is a typical job interview, kind of question, where would you know where? Would you like to be in 10 years time or where would you like to where would you like to have got this agenda to in in in 10 years time? And that’s probably the question. Are you going to ask that question?

 

Tom Raftery [00:23:51] You asked it. Go ahead and answer it now!

 

Toby Croucher [00:23:57] Well, I think will be what I think will be great, actually. And I see I see that there’s very much there’s an element of the role with this in SAP is the market and markets and, you know, and customers and investors and employees over the next decade. Very much so if we’re to stand a chance of hitting our 2050 targets and seeing ourselves in a good place for, you know, future generations. The companies do well in this are going to have to be you know, it’s going to have to be clear they’re winning and they’re doing well and they are performing well. And I think that’s that’s where you start to see flows of talent, flows of capital, you know, access to markets, new markets, going to the companies that get this, you know, that really get this that really get the fact that they’ve got a build-in, you know, a new system of transaction. They’ve got to take these issues from being historically reported once a year, you know, in a report which often doesn’t really get read by very many people and pushed out the door, you know, with risks, all those associated risks of, you know, it being marketing, they’ve got to build it in actually all the routine way of running a business. And I think when that happens and when society responds and consumers respond, those companies will win. And that they’ll not just win in traditional ways, that they’ll win in terms of their market share. And I I think we’ve started to see that, you know, the early seeds of that we have done before, you know, but then we get hit with a financial crisis or other crisis. But I think if we’re looking for where I want to get to in 10 years time and the role SAP could play, I think it’s very much in shifting that, you know, shifting that gap between the companies that are really, you know, doing this and those that aren’t and that gap, you know, there’ll be a high penalty to pay for the companies that don’t manage to get across that gap and start building this way of working and become, you know, essentially sustainable businesses.

 

Tom Raftery [00:26:14] Yeah. Cool, cool, cool, Toby. If people want to know more about Toby or about SAP Climate 21 initiative or about, you know, any anything else you think they might want to know about or where we’re should/ where would I direct them to go?

 

Toby Croucher [00:26:36] Within SAP we have a Jam site. There’s an internal Jam site for our Internal employees. We have an external point of view. I mean, I know as I said, you know, I think just before we started the conversation Tom we’re in, build and develop, you know, where we were kind of, you know, a pretty early stages but we’re moving very, very fast. But either, you know, comes to me there’s a there’s a core team working this, you know, right now. I mean, you know, organizationally it will grow and expand over time as we start to build up, you know, our go to market and our, you know, engage with customers more widely. So use the jam internally. Or come through the Climate 21 core team. I’m happy to fill any any questions around our approach.

 

Tom Raftery [00:27:27] Super, super, Toby. That’s been fantastic. Thanks a million for joining me on the show today.

 

Toby Croucher [00:27:32] My pleasure. Thanks a lot.

 

Tom Raftery [00:27:37] OK, we’ve come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone, for listening. If you’d like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to SAP dot com slash digital supply chain or simply drop me an email to Tom Dot Raftery at SAP dot com. If you’d like to show, please don’t forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application to get new episodes right away as soon as they’re published. And also, please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people. To find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

 

 

And if you want to know more about any of SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don’t forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

 

Digital Supply Chains and the impact of the #Covid-19 #Coronavirus – a chat with Richard Howells (@HowellsRichard)

It is early April 2020 and the world is in the middle of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The contagion has hugely impacted supply chains, and in some cases supply chains have hugely impacted the contagion, stepping up to allow automobile manufacturers pivot to building ventilators, airplane manufacturers switch to 3D printing protective visors, and drinks makers start making hand sanitisers.  And that doesn’t even start to get into the challenges facing grocery stores maintaining stock levels.

In the midst of this Richard Howells wrote an excellent piece in Forbes titled Business As Unusual: Resiliency In Times Of Supply Chain Disruption examining how supply chains are coping with the outbreak so I thought I’d invite him on the show to discuss this and we had a fascinating conversation on the topic.

Click on the player above to hear our conversation and/or check out the transcript below:

 

Richard Howells [00:00:00] So there’s lots of areas where we’re seeing companies addressing short term challenges, but also looking at ways to rebalance their supply chains, moving forward and having risk mitigation strategies. I think supply chains will, if they don’t already in every business, will have a seat at the table of every business moving forward because they’re both an opportunity and a risk.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:27] Good morning, good afternoon or good evening. Wherever you are in the world, this is the digital supply chain podcast and I am your host, Tom Raftery.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:38] Hi, everyone, welcome to the Digital Supply Chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery and with me on the show today, I have Richard Howells. Richard, would you like to introduce yourself?

 

Richard Howells [00:00:47] Hi, Tom. So I work for SAP in the area of digital supply chain and I spend a lot of time writing about business challenges, trends and opportunities for supply chain executives.

 

Tom Raftery [00:01:00] Yeah, you write a lot of stuff on Forbes as some great some great articles. And you wrote one because, you know, we are; this is, what, the second of April 2020, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. The Covid-19 Coronavirus virus pandemic. Today is the day that we are going to reach 1 million people infected and 50000 dead. And, you know, it’s presenting a lot of challenges. And you wrote a blog post about this on Forbes called Business as Unusual Resiliency in times of Supply Chain Disruption. And you made some, you know, great points in that and talked up some interesting stories. So I thought it’d be cool to have you come on the podcast, because, you know, this is a supply chain issue big time globally. And you address a lot of those challenges there in that article. So would you like to talk a little bit about that?

 

Richard Howells [00:01:53] Sure. So, I mean, I start I started the article off about talking about some of the challenges from a supply chain perspective that this pandemic has caused. I mean, it’s hard to believe that when we were celebrating New Year’s Eve for three months ago that this didn’t was a figment of wasn’t even a figment of anyone’s imagination. We couldn’t believe that we’d be been this case three months later. And what’s happened is that I mean, we’re seeing supply chain at the centre of everything at the moment. It’s both the challenges in some cases and the opportunities in others. I mean, when we started off with the issues in China, it considered it created a huge supply issue because China is the manufacturing factory of the world. So when you’ve got uncertain supply of critical materials, it has a knock on effect throughout the whole world. And then as the pandemic spread, so did the demand volatility as people started panic buying. I mean, we’re seeing huge demand for medical equipment, medical devices and of of of key products from a from a consumer goods standpoint. And the demand for luxury items and discretionary items is nonexistent. Now, it’s amazing to me that we are reliant as a globe now on 20 or 30 items that everyone’s looking for in the stores and… toilet paper of all things, who thought there would be a rush on toilet paper.

 

Tom Raftery [00:03:23] I think that was a I think there was a social media thing more than anything else, because I went to I we had our lockdown announced on the 14th and I went to their local supermarket and there was plenty of toilet paper. What was missing was all the meat. The meat counter was stripped bare. Now that was fixed in a matter of a couple of days. It was a supply chain issue again. You know, they didn’t anticipate that big demand, but they and they got it fixed in a couple of days. So there aren’t any shortages here. There are sometimes if you go to the shops, there might be a short term shortage of an individual brand, but not of that, not of the class of goods.

 

Richard Howells [00:03:57] And I’m based in the US. And we’ve still got I mean, you’re you’re a few weeks ahead as far as the pandemic is in in Spain. And we we still have shortages. And those shortages are now because of capacity constraints. There are shortages because we don’t have enough manufacturing capacity to increase the production of toilet paper, for example, which was running at full production anyway. And we’re having logistics challenges of getting goods from point A to point B. What if they’ve got to come from foreign foreign ports or foreign countries? There’s no transport that the flights are down by 80 plus percent. Some of the ports are closed or there’s less or less capacity going through it. And then we’ve got the challenge of drivers and the risk that those drivers are taking without the proper security and humanitarian coverage. And that’s the final challenge I think we see from this at the moment, is that humanitarian risk, the balance of of labour shortages, but also of ensuring the health and safety of employees who are doing the vital jobs, who are doing the “required jobs”. How we’ve changed manufacturing processes, for example, where there can be less people on the plant floor. So to make sure that we’ve got the social distancing during working environment, working processes and working environments as well.

 

Tom Raftery [00:05:22] That’s going to be a huge challenge for manufacturers. I mean, they they’ve set up their manufacturing lines in a particular way. And to your point now, they have to do social distancing between the employees and the floor and just for health and safety.

 

Richard Howells [00:05:33] Yes, it’s it’s it’s things that you wouldn’t think about in normal circumstances, I’m sure it’s never been thought through as a as a plan of how to do this. And people are having to come up with solutions literally on the fly.

 

Tom Raftery [00:05:47] I went grocery shopping yesterday just for the second time since lockdown because the grocery shops are tending to push us towards online deliveries and in the grocery stores now, they have markings on the floor to say where you should stand when you’re in a queue for the checkout counter you know, and there is, you know, two meters between each mark so that you’re two meters behind the person in front of you. You know, again, for social distancing and they have to have a glass Perspex barrier between you and the person at the checkout counter, which was never there before. And again, it’s just to protect the employees from potential infection from shoppers. Yes, and vice versa, I suppose.

 

Richard Howells [00:06:27] Is that just they’ve just started introducing in some of the stores here one way systems around the supermarkets as well, which I haven’t seen up until now in the US.

 

Tom Raftery [00:06:36] Wow, wow, wow

 

Richard Howells [00:06:38] And we’re seeing lots of repurposing as well of manufacturing. I sent you a link this morning to the Airbus plants here in Spain. I mean, Airbus have several factories here in Spain and they have over 20 3D printers because they I mean, they were they were the first commercial airline company to use 3D printed parts and commercial flights back in, I think was 2015. So they’ve been playing a lot and working a lot after playing working a lot with 3D printers. And now they’ve turned that around into using those 3D printers to make the Perspex masks that the health workers, the health care workers are using to keep themselves safe when they’re dealing with people who are very sick. Actually, there’s a there’s a consortium that I’ve seen online of 3D printing companies who are sharing the designs of these 3D masks for that very purpose that they’re crowdsourcing and sharing the information. And we’re also seeing other companies doing some similar things. I mean, I read about Medtronic’s are opening up, or making that does the designs of their ventilators so that they’re simple ventilators, their basic line of ventilators open to other people so that they can manufacture those ventilators. And they’re also partnering with with Tesla to to to increase their production. You’re you’re seeing automotive companies becoming outsourced, manufacturers for medical device companies to increase the production, because there’s a lot of very small ventilator manufactures that just can’t scale.

 

Tom Raftery [00:08:15] If I had said that to you in December thirty first, that the car companies would be making ventilators in April of this year, you’d said, Tom, you’re smoking crack.

 

Richard Howells [00:08:24] That’s exactly what happened. Yes. And they’re becoming the contract manufacturers rather than working with lots of contract manufacturers for their parts.

 

Tom Raftery [00:08:31] So how do they how are these automotive, for example, companies sourcing the parts to manufacture these ventilators? How would that work?

 

Richard Howells [00:08:40] Well, that means that that means having improved visibility across the supply chain. I mean, first of all, I mean, SAP is doing a lot of work in providing offers to our customers to access some of our, some of our systems in these times of need and mapping, mapping the visibility of where the suppliers are that have the inventory with your demand and in-building and having visibility across the network of that is a huge, huge first step. I mean, I would imagine that there’s as I said, there’s a lot of partnerships going on. The also the the the the medical device manufacturers will be sharing their partner information and their supply information and supply sources to satisfy that demand for additional materials that these companies may never buy. I mean, we’re seeing other examples. We’re seeing perfume manufacturers and liquor producers making hand sanitizers. I mean, at the moment, the medical device, medical companies need three or four sections of things. They need we need they need the public to have and they need hand sanitizers to reduce the spread of the virus. They need the masks, the testing equipment and the robes for testing people and treating people. And ultimately, in the worst case situations, they need ventilators and an unparalleled amount of ventilators to actually treat the most critically ill. And companies are coming together to help support that. As I said, I mentioned the hand sanitizer example. We see the ventilator example with car manufacturers. We’re seeing other companies. Another one of our customers, actually Decathlon are are repurposing this, their the devices for their breathing, snorkelling devices and adapting them to be ventilators, working with with partners to adapt them to be ventilators. So we’re we really are thinking out of the box and and building partnerships that you wouldn’t have seen. And it’s it’s actually good to see companies coming together to solve solve some of these problems.

 

Tom Raftery [00:10:45] I came across a thread of tweets a couple of days ago and again this morning because someone else tweeted, not me, where it was. I think a psychologist talking about how in times like this, people are afraid that there’s going to be a breakdown of social order. Whereas in fact, in times of crisis like this, it seems to bring out, in fact, the best of us, the likes of the people in New York in 9/11, all coming together to help each other out. And, you know, we’re seeing it again in this situation where rather than, you know, everything falling apart, in fact, we’re getting to your point, unprecedented partnerships between businesses that would never work together before, to try and all come together to produce the goods that are in short supply.

 

Richard Howells [00:11:31] Yes. I mean, you see it at a personal level with with neighbours helping other neighbours. And we’re seeing it at a business level as well at a larger scale. And it’s it’s good to see. But the wrong circumstance. Wish we didn’t have to see it, but it’s good to see when it does happen.

 

Tom Raftery [00:11:47] Richard, what are some of the strategies that companies are coming up with to address this situation?

 

Richard Howells [00:11:53] Well, what we’re seeing across all areas of the supply chain, different, different needs and different strategies. If we start at the basic level over the last 10 to 15 years, we’ve stripped a lot of cost out of the supply chain. We went to a global supply chain to reduce the cost of raw materials. For example, we’ve outsourced a lot of our manufacturing to have cheaper labour. And this has done a great job in cost reduction. But it’s also increased the risk involved, which… Exactly, it’s coming home at the moment as a huge cost implication and a customer service implication. And in the short term, I think we’ve got to work out where the from a supply standpoint, where the inventory is, how can I access that inventory? Which which partners do I have that already have it? Which other companies have available inventory that I can source? How do I get the goods to the right place, to the hotspots when we’re talking about medical supplies to the to the areas with the most shortages? When we talk about supermarkets, we’re seeing so so alternate sourcing strategies are one of the areas in the short term that I see a lot of supply chains looking to to solve. Also, where to position inventory in a in a global supply chain. I can’t be totally reliant on having all my finished goods being shipped and it takes a week for me to get the finished goods. I need a source of inventory of finished goods locally. We are seeing a lot of companies start thinking or will be thinking a lot about the balancing of offshoring versus near shoring versus on shoring, even though it may cost more to manufacture locally, but you need that to reduce that risk. The whole area of employee safety, of ensuring you have the environmental, health and safety processes in place to ensure the safety of your people working on the plant floor. The people working in the distribution area and and and your customers safety of making sure that the products are of good quality and having visibility of demand, I think is critical. I mean, this may be a case. It’s taken a long time to for the retailers to share the point of sales information with manufacturers. Now is the time to share that information. We need to know where we have shortages. We need to know what is going off the shelves, although it’s pretty obvious what’s going off the shelf as a consumer. But maybe the manufacturing companies could have had advanced information of that to get more goods of the right sort to to the to the retailers that needed it the most. So there’s lots of lots of areas where we’re seeing companies addressing short term challenges, but also looking at ways to rebalance their supply chains, moving forward and having missed risk mitigation strategies. I think supply chains will if they don’t, already in every business will have a seat at the table of every business moving forward because they’re both an opportunity and a risk.

 

Tom Raftery [00:15:03] Yeah, absolutely. And so that that brings up a good point. Where do we go? Post pandemic? You know, in whether it’s six or 12 or 18 months time, what is the supply chain world going to look like?

 

Richard Howells [00:15:18] Well, I mentioned I think we’ll have still have global supply chains, but maybe with local execution we will be balancing our inventory so that we keep a certain percentage of inventory locally. We will be balancing our manufacturing, outsourcing vs. and offshoring to to maybe doing some of the manufacturing ourselves and at least having it local, local manufacturing capabilities and capacities. I think that we will not be reliant on single sourcing strategies. We won’t put all our eggs in one basket. We will we will have multiple suppliers to provide the same critical the critical components that we need and balance that. Maybe we work with one but 20 percent and 80 percent with the other at the moment, but have the ability to switch so that you can go to local sourcing as and when required. And it’s going to cost a little bit more, but it will reduce risk. And I think sustainability actually will be a huge thing moving forward. I mean, it should be a huge thing anyway. But we’re seeing the in the environmental impact of this pandemic is actually a positive impact on the globe. We’re seeing less pollution in certain areas and we’re seeing cleaner waterways due to lack less less distribution and fumes being put into the atmosphere. And I think that as companies start to think about how they are global but execute locally, that will reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chains automatically. But we also want to ensure that we we are still sourcing ethically, that we are having good labour manufacturing environments to work in for working conditions and we are designing sustainable products and recyclable products for the good of the planet anyway.

 

Tom Raftery [00:17:22] I actually have a very practical example of that. I have a personal air quality meter. It’s made by a company called Plume. Plume Labs. It’s called a Flow air quality meter. It’s it’s a device you wear on your belt loop or somewhere like that. And it measures five different air quality indices. There are things like VOCs which are, you know, volatile organic compounds, NOx, pm 1, pm 2.5, and pm 10, that’s particulate matter at different sizes. And it has an app which comes with the phone, which syncs with the phone. So it matches up the air quality, which it measures once every minute along those five measurements. It synchs that with the G.P.S. coordinates and then uses mapping data to give you a map of the air quality for everywhere you’ve been for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year, etc.. So, I only get out of the house now to walk the dogs because we’re on lockdown and walking the dogs is literally the only… Well that and grocery shopping, you know. But what of the groceries are, you know, online deliveries? So just walking the dogs. I used to walk the dogs anyway before the lockdown. So I have before and after data for the air quality where I live and for the walk that I take every day. So I’ve perfect A.B data and these the the difference in air quality between, you know, before the lockdown and since the lockdown is just amazing. And even even before the lockdown, you know, I used to in presentations talk about this, talk about, you know, you get air quality in one area, which is terrible and in another area, which is better. But it’s not just it’s not just it’s not just a question of where. It’s also a question of when. And what I mean by that is… Rush hours? Yeah, exactly. The the I used to take the dogs out for a walk in the morning and the evening and in the morning it was, you know, just before 9:00 a.m. and I’d be walking past a local school. And of course, all the SUVs would be outside the school as the parents were delivering their kids. I’d walk past the same school at eight o’clock in the evening and there wouldn’t be a car from miles. And the air quality difference between those two times a day for the exact same place was incredible. But now that there have been almost no cars driving by there in three and a half weeks, it’s it’s flat. You know, there’s almost nothing there at all. It’s just like almost it’s not it’s not exactly zero across all five measurements, but it’s close enough.

 

Richard Howells [00:20:15] And it’s interesting, using personal devices like that would be a great way of getting the information across the globe or the country. You know, about how that has improved because that information is is stored centrally in the cloud some whereand that information can really add value. And that’s another example about that. We’ve been seeing this in the news about we we can see where the hot spots are and where that they’re reducing a little by people who were using electronic temperature. That’s right. The company has visibility across the North America at the moment of the temperatures are coming down in certain areas, which implies that people are getting a little healthier in those areas or the pandemic isn’t as is reducing in some of those areas or increasing as the case may be. Saw that. That’s fascinating. A type of information from Smart Assets is very valuable in today’s climate and it’s very valuable from a business perspective moving forward as well.

 

Tom Raftery [00:21:17] It is. And the company who make that air quality meter know that, they’ve been mapping air quality across cities globally since they started. It was a, you know, one of the one of the business drivers of creating the air quality meters. Richard, we’re at about 20 minutes. We’re just over 20 minutes. So we’re coming towards the end of the podcast. I like to keep it about the 20 to 25 minute mark. Is there is there anything else that we haven’t touched on that you think that we should have?

 

Richard Howells [00:21:44] I think we’ve covered most of the topics or all the topics, I think. I’d just like to. I hope that everyone stays safe and adheres with the different mandates and guidances from the different governments around the world, and hopefully the next time we we do a podcast Tom, we’ll be talking about in happier times and about happier subjects.

 

Tom Raftery [00:22:05] I hope so. OK, everyone, thanks a million for your interest. Richard, thanks for coming on the show. And to everyone who’s listening. Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay sane. Because, I mean, you know, we’re on lockdown right now. It’s very easy to kind of go a bit out of your head, do stay sane.

 

Richard Howells [00:22:24] I’m not sure if I can do that.

 

[00:22:30] OK, we’ve come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone, for listening. If you’d like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to SAP.com/digitalsupplychain or simply drop me an email to Tom Dot Raftery at SAP dot com. If you’d like to show, please don’t forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application to get new episodes right away as soon as they’re published. And also, please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people. To find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

And if you want to know more about any of SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don’t forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Digital Supply Chain – @SAP offers access to software to help combat the #Covid-19 #Coronavirus crisis

It is April 3rd 2020 and the world is in the middle of a deadly pandemic which by the end of yesterday had infected over one million people, and killed over 50,000 with both numbers rising at exponential rates.

Businesses and entire industries have been massively negatively impacted (tourism, restaurants, sports, etc.) while demand for things like webcams has soared as people shift to working/studying online.

This crisis has really highlighted importance of supply chains as automobile manufacturers have pivoted to building ventilators, airplane manufacturers switch to 3D printing protective visors, and drinks makers start making hand sanitisers.  And that doesn’t even start to get into the challenges facing grocery stores maintaining stock levels.

Given all this chaos SAP, whose software runs many of the world’s most complex supply chains, has looked at this issue to see how best we can help. We have decided to make some of our most useful cloud-delivered supply chain software free for our customers. I invited SAP SVP Martin Barkman (who was on the show just last week) to come back on to explain this new and timely free offering from SAP.

Click on the player above to hear our conversation and/or check out the transcript below:

Martin Barkman [00:00:00] I think if there’s one thing we’ve seen it, it’s that the world now needs operational and resilient supply chains more than ever before. Why? We need to bring certain goods and services to end consumers. And there’s a sense of urgency. We all live it. We all feel it.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:37] Hi, everyone, welcome to the Digital Supply Chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery and I’m with you today on a special edition of the Digital Supply Chain podcast where we’re going to talk about Covid-19 and what SAP are doing to help our customers. So, with me in the show, I have Martin Barkman, who came on the show last week and very generously given more time to explain to us what the current situation is, and how we’re going to help our customers. So, Martin, do you want to take it away?

 

Martin Barkman [00:01:05] Absolutely. Thanks, Tom, and thanks for bringing us together again. I think if there’s one thing we’ve seen it, it’s that the world now needs operational and resilient supply chains more than ever before. Why? We need to bring certain goods and services to end consumers. And there’s a sense of urgency. We all live it. We all feel it. But supply chains are threatened. There is now more complexity, uncertainty, volatility that supply chain leaders have to cope with. Right. And we see this across the whole supply chain spectrum. You may be short on certain raw materials, right? So can you switch in your bill of material for another ingredient or component? You have to understand your capacity, which could be changing because of labour challenges. How do you adjust your capacity to meet demand that is now coming at you with more uncertainty and changing quite a bit? We also see a lot of companies rethinking what products should they produce? Should they reduce the number of SKUs and really crank up the throughput to make sure they deliver the volume of product that the consumers need. And of course, in some cases, companies are retooling their manufacturing lines completely and making things like hand sanitizer, gowns, facemasks. Distribution is a challenge. Now, all of a sudden there are limitations and restrictions. So even if you make the product, you have to think through how do I get it to the end customer? And then, of course, this all assumes that the assets you have in your supply chain are operational. And as we know, maintenance is importance in this pandemic era. How do you do maintenance? So, my goodness, there is just so much that we now have to go tackle and help supply chain leaders sort out.

 

Tom Raftery [00:02:57] So what do we do to help?

 

Martin Barkman [00:02:59] Yeah, it’s if we are we are here to help. As as you know, we have a broad and deep and functionally rich portfolio of supply chain solutions at SAP. And we’ve thought about really what are what are now going to be the most important capabilities that our software has that can not only help customers work through these challenges that I mentioned earlier today, but also how do we build? As we do that, how do we also build a foundation that’s going to help a company manage through this? We don’t know what the recovery will be. I’ve heard V-shaped, U-shaped, L-shaped, who knows? But there is going to be an evolution, right? Something’s going to happen over time. So how do we really look at the capabilities that are going to help companies digitally manage their supply chain? Well, with with more and more remote people making decisions more quickly, harnessing the information that’s coming at them. And then, of course, we have to even think beyond this crisis, because let’s not forget that supply chains were already undergoing a digital transformation. Things like better visibility, things like pivoting the supply chain to be more customer centric, things like looking at productivity through advancements in the industrial Internet of Things or Industry 4.0 or even thinking about sustainability. Right. The topic of sustainability is still true and important to many of the companies that are operating supply chains. Hopefully most of the companies, if not all. And now we have an opportunity as we go through this, to also think wisely about how we’re preparing for a future where resources are scarce and consumption can’t be unbounded. So that’s what we’re looking at overall in the very, very near term we have thought about our capabilities and there’s one capability that we think can help companies literally right now, and that is how they do planning. For many companies, planning is sequential, people-centric, I want to say in part spreadsheet-governed process. Think sales and operations planning. It plays out typically over the course of a month. Well, guess what? Now we are not living in months. We are living whatever was taking months, maybe was trending towards days. Today it’s happening every hour. Right. So companies are constantly having to update their plans. So we’ve partnered with our, we are offering, we have 90 certified integrated business planning software partners at SAP and we are offering them for the next 90 days the ability to run planning as a service for companies that are struggling to do planning with their spreadsheets. So what does that mean? We are allowing our ecosystem to use our software to deliver a capability to customers, basically to offload that firefighting exercise and bring resources to help customers get through through that type of that type of process. So we’re really excited about this because we think it can have an immediate impact and immediate difference. And we’re very blessed to have such a such a passionate and knowledgeable ecosystem of partners that already know the SAP software solution for this. And now they can bring that capability for the next 90 days and help companies navigate through this crisis.

 

Tom Raftery [00:06:48] And you said its cloud delivered so there’s no hardware installation or anything like that.

 

Martin Barkman [00:06:53] Exactly. So we will host it. Its cloud, delivered. We will stand up the system that our our channel partner would, would, would use. They can move the data in remotely using file uploads and then start to run these planning scenarios. To look at things like, well, what are the bottlenecks in the supply chain? How do I plan around those? What is the demand that’s coming in? What what’s produced material do I have? Where do I need to get it? How do I analyse different scenarios, for example? Do I want to put service level targets do I want to aspire to it to achieve? How did those change perhaps based on where the crisis is, is most urgent. And they can run these different scenarios and evaluate, evaluate what to do, and our hope is that we can help supply chains get the products to where it’s most needed. It was really interesting, of course, I can’t help, but I have to watch the news. And earlier this week, the president had CEOs on the White House lawn talking about what they’re doing to help with this crisis. And one of the CEOs for a large defence company, said this is war. And in war strategy is great, but logistics wins the war. So, think supply chain, if we can have supply chains, do more, do better, do it faster. It’s going to have a huge impact for all of us as individuals, let alone as businesses.

 

Tom Raftery [00:08:31] Sure. This is a free offering, as you said. If if I am an organisation who wants to take advantage of this, what do I do?

 

Martin Barkman [00:08:40] Yep, so certainly contact your your SAP account executives. We have processes where we can get that level of interest and funnelled and channelled through our partner ecosystem, furthermore, you can also contact your your your supply chain partner if they are a certified partner on our SAP integrated business planning solution than they’ll be made aware of this offer and can consider it to see if it’s something that they support and that they can deliver for the customer expressing the interest.

 

Tom Raftery [00:09:20] Superb, superb, Martin that has been fantastic. I’m sure there’ll be huge interest in this offering. Where is this mentioned online as well? That I can put a link in the show notes?

 

Martin Barkman [00:09:30] It is. You can go to http://www.sap.com and look through the section of our offers that we have across the company. And there is a mention of this particular offer right there on the Web site.

 

Tom Raftery [00:09:46] Fantastic. Martin, that’s been great. Thanks a million for coming on and telling our listeners all about this.

 

Martin Barkman [00:09:51] Thank you, Tom. And let’s go make a difference.

 

Tom Raftery [00:09:55] Let’s do it. Everybody stay safe. Stay home, stay healthy, stay sane. Thanks.

And if you want to know more about any of SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don’t forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Digital Supply Chain – Women in Supply Chain a chat with @circular_nomad and @supplychnqueen

As well as running the Digital Supply Chain podcast, and the Industry 4.0 themed series of podcasts, I decided to also spin up a new series – themed around the topic of Women in Supply Chain. This series will strive to highlight the stories of women leaders in Supply Chain to attempt to address the current imbalance in their representation on panels, podcasts, etc.

Kicking off this series, I invited Sheri Hinesh (@supplychnqueen on Twitter), and Deborah Dull (@circular_nomad on Twitter) to join me for the inaugural podcast, as they have their own very successful Supply Chain podcast Supply Chain Revolution.

We had an awesome conversation covering topics as diverse as the impact of digital goods, the transition of our energy systems to clean energy, sustainable supply chains and the circular economy.

Listen to the podcast using the player above ☝🏻, and/or see the full transcript below 👇🏻:

Sheri Hinesh [00:00:00] And when you think about sustainability through the lens of supply chain and even digital, 50 to 80 percent of the revenue spend happens in supply chain. And so, do, up to 85 percent of the environmental impacts, social impacts of supply chain. so, who better then than us as supply chain practitioners who have that end-to-end interconnected view of the world of business, of the communities where we operate to really do something epic?

Tom Raftery [00:00:32] Good morning. Good afternoon, or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the Digital Supply Chain podcast, and I am your host Tom Raftery

Tom Raftery [00:00:41] Hi, everyone, welcome to the Digital Supply Chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery. This is the first of a new series that we’re going to run on Women in supply chain. And with me, I have two of the highest profile women in supply chain today, Deborah and Sherri. Deborah and Sherri, would you like to introduce yourselves?

Deborah Dull [00:00:59] Hello, I’m Deborah Dull. Thanks, Tom, for having us on. The most important supply chain related introduction about me is that I have a deep love for inventory.

Tom Raftery [00:01:12] Fascinating, fascinating, and that laugh there is from Sherri, Sherri, would you like to introduce yourself?

Sheri Hinesh [00:01:17] Hello, world digital supply chain, folks. My name is Sherri Hinish, and my vision is to change the world through sustainable supply chain, evangelizing the SDGs and making the world a better place. The world that we share. I’m also affectionately called the Supply Chain Queen. And I have a podcast with Deborah called The Supply Chain Revolution, where we share provocative points of view that challenge paradigms for progress, say it three times.

Tom Raftery [00:01:50] so, Sherri for anyone who is unfamiliar because this is a digital supply chain podcast, not a sustainability podcast, so, people might not be aware. What are the SDGs?

Sheri Hinesh [00:02:04] Sure, so, the SDGs are a framework where we can achieve as the human race can achieve economic and social and environmental prosperity in the world that we share. And with everything happening right now with Covid-19. This is really important for us to understand that we’re all connected. And the SDGs are 17 interconnected goals that would help us to achieve a better world by 2030. so, this is really about the decade of action. How can we encourage a world that has no hunger, where we have economic growth and prosperities in the community where we operate, that supply chain touches? Responsible consumption, responsible production, where we protect life below water and life on land. And it’s really a beautiful vision. I’ve devoted my life to really sharing this picture and framework of a better world, that’s super tangible that people can connect to and that we can really mobilize each other in a meaningful way in the world we share. We have to get there. We have to get in the canoe. Deborah and I always talk about this like get in the canoe. We can do it and we need inspiration right now more than ever Tom.

Tom Raftery [00:03:30] No, I get that completely, I’m a former sustainability analyst for seven years or so, before I joined SAP, so, you know, you’re completely speaking my lingo here. But tell me, I mean, maybe, maybe. Deborah, jump in here. What does sustainability have to do with supply chain?

Deborah Dull [00:03:46] Great question. so, one of the topics that I love most, which is related to but different than sustainability, is the idea of a circular economy. And I’ll explain what that is briefly. But the answer to your question is that the way the world operates is through supply chains. so, every supply chain manager impacts the planet and impacts sustainability. And when you talk about financial sustainability, environmental sustainability, social sustainability, the choices we all make in our day to day impact that where we buy, how we buy, how we manage our suppliers, do we make bridges or do we hold people negatively accountable, for example? All comes back to the human connection that Sherri talked about, certainly. And when we talk about the concept of a circular economy, I think supply chains are uniquely positioned to really catapult the businesses and organizations that we support. And what I mean by that is if we look at the way the world works today, we take an item from the planet. We make something very efficiently, we use it. And then typically that item gets thrown away. And there’s a new economic model that says, hold on a second. All those items we’re throwing away, there’s actually more money to be had. We could squeeze more out of those materials and everybody makes more money. And so, if we think about the way to circulate and loop all of these materials and resources, even like heat or organics or plastics or metals, it’ll come down to supply chains, ability to find, circulate, move it, track it, bring it back. Is it socially responsible? Is it safe for human consumption? And I can’t think of a discipline more impacted than supply chain. And the flip side, who can impact more than supply chain can? We certainly have to work across material scientists and economists and those who design these systems. But if we look at the US workforce alone, 37 percent of jobs are supply chain related. And so, we have this massive cohort. And given that we’re such a new field, I think we haven’t really been considered like that at a global scale. And these days, though, it’s hard to read the news or turn on the radio without hearing the word supply chain every five minutes, which if I take my rose coloured glasses on here, I see it’s just a tremendous step forward for our field.

Sheri Hinesh [00:06:14] And Deborah, you make a great point. That supply chain is truly the conduit. And when you think about sustainability through the lens of supply chain and even digital, 50 to 80 percent of the revenue spend happens in supply chain. And so, do up to 85 percent of the environmental impacts, social impacts of supply chain. so, who better then than us as supply chain practitioners who have that end-to-end interconnected view of the world of business, of the communities where we operate to really do something epic? In the next wave in the supply chain revolution. This is this is our purpose right now, so, we’re super excited.

Deborah Dull [00:06:58] If think about Tom, if we think about the impacts of digital digital supply chain. so, actually, fun fact. I wrote my master’s thesis on the digital supply chain. But at the time this was *mumbles* years ago, it was actually about digital goods. so, I talked to Amazon, the Kindle team, I talked to the Netflix team. I talked to Sony. And so, when they were moving digital goods around the world. And the reason why this is so, important is the cloud is a real physical place that’s supported by real physical supply chains. And so, as we who are in software make decisions about product or as we as consumers make decisions about how many copies of our vacation photos we keep. That has a physical impact in the cloud. And if we make choices, that requires twice as much storage space. That’s twice as many servers, twice as many spare parts, twice as many supply chains, twice as many power requirements, twice as many mechanics engineers to repair. And they’re going to be driving there. so, you duplicate the whole thing. The other interesting factor is how much energy A.I. takes in chugging through their algorithms. It’s something like 30 percent of the world’s power right now is being taken just to help AI think. And these are elements that I don’t think are highlighted enough but relate very much to digital supply chain. Regardless of the way you define digital supply chain, whether they’re digital goods or the digital backbone that supports the physical supply chain.

Sheri Hinesh [00:08:36] You know what’s crazy, so, right now, a lot of people are talking about this pivot to virtual and how we connect digitally and how the CO2 impacts. And I know, Tom, this is right up your alley because you post a lot about climate change. And I saw a quick and dirty study from IBM, and I think it was Jeremy Waite that positioned that the pivot to Virtual actually has the same impact as people driving every day. so, when we start to think about digital supply chain in the world, we share digital waste. And are we really being as lean and effective in this new way of working? Where’s the opportunity? so, I would I would love to hear your point of view, Tom, around that. What are you hearing and seeing?

Tom Raftery [00:09:23] so, I missed that post and I would have assumed that working virtually working from home, for example, like all of us are now thanks to Covid-19, would have had a lower environmental impact. But you’re saying that Jeremy’s post said that, no, it’s similar because the technologies we’re using require large amounts of technology which are carbon intensive?

Sheri Hinesh [00:09:51] Yet our energy grids are still dirty and highly reliant on fossil fuels. so, depending on where you are in the country with your energy mix, you still have this very comparable impact. so, I thought it was a really, you know, in terms of education, I think this is really the pulse here. And the opportunity is we need to accelerate the transition to renewables. And if we can do that, if we can do that, you know. What might that look like?

Tom Raftery [00:10:23] The cool the cool thing is that I’ve done a lot of work on this. The cool thing is, speaking of renewables, that the transition to those is happening not fast enough, but it is happening. And it’s happening not because people are suddenly turning into tree huggers. It’s actually happening because the renewables are a) cheaper to roll over than any fossil fuel alternative and b) faster to roll out. There’s a new offshore wind park being built in the UK on the Dogger Bank. It’s 3.6 gigawatts. That’s three and a half nuclear power plants worth of wind, offshore wind, and it’s being built in two years from start to finish. There is an equivalent. There’s an equivalent called Hinkley C in the UK again, Hinkley C is a nuclear power plant. It’s 3.5 gigawatts. so, comparable power output. It’s going to take 10 to 15 years to build it out. Whereas the wind park the offshore wind 2 years. so, right there and you know, nuclear has a place. I know some people are against it. It’s a polarizing generation, but it is carbon free, essentially, once you’ve built the nuclear plant, it’s carbon free. But it doesn’t scale. It does not scale. Renewables scale massively. There’s. Because, again, down to economics. There is a solar farm being financed right now to be built in the north of Australia. It’s called Five B. I think if I remember correctly, it’s being it’s being financed by, amongst others, Mike Cannon-Brookes from Jive. And it’s going to be ten gigawatts, 10 gigawatts, 10 nuclear power plants worth of solar with 22 gigawatt hours of storage. so, 22 nuclear power plants worth of storage in the Northern Territory in Australia. They’re going to draw a big cable off to the right to power the city of Darwin. And they’re going to draw an even longer cable north three and a half thousand kilometers to power the city of Singapore. And again, it’s down to economics. It’s because it’s the cheapest way to do it. Australia has vast, vast, vast tracts of unused desert which can be used for these kinds of projects, which can be used for turning Australia into a hydrogen economy. You know, they can just put a massive mass of solar plants, generate as much hydrogen as possible and sell the hydrogen off into the global markets for electricity generation or for transportation.

Deborah Dull [00:13:07] It’s amazing. I’m so, glad you brought that example up, Tom. And just to reiterate the brilliance and excitement around circular models. One of the tenets is a shift to renewable sources of energy. And, you know, there’s two questions to ask yourself on. If a model is circular or if it just falls under CSR, and that’s is it making you more money? You can go faster, and you could be cheaper if you’re looking at something like a circular business model and in supply chain. I don’t know how many more levers we have left to pull to get faster, cheaper. We’re pretty fast and we’re pretty cheap, free in most cases or nobody’s paying for it at least. We have a cost. so, we have to start thinking of other levers to pull to add additional value back to organisations we support. And so, the examples you’re giving are brilliant because we’re going faster, it’s cheaper. And then if we think about, let’s say, a spare part to support one of these farms that’s going in, we could start from scratch, start from the metal, from the earth. But that takes more time and it’s going to cost you more if you can refurbish and use B channel parts or even your own parts refurbishing or shocking, I see a world where all similar parts will be refurbished and shared and within a single industry it’s going to be much, much faster and it can be much, much cheaper because you’re not starting from virgin raw materials anymore. so, I think it’s a fascinating model. And the biggest message to get through this is you can make more money as a company. And it just so, happens that it’s also great for the planet. so, it helps to span this gap of the sustainability drive that we all know needs to happen. And the sheer economics of running an economy that we’re all becoming very aware of these days and I think is just a lovely example. so, thanks for sharing.

Tom Raftery [00:15:03] Yeah. And you mentioned something earlier, Deborah. You were I mean, you used the expression that a lot of people use of “throwing things away”. And I remember, I can’t remember when it was or where it was, but I remember reading some point somebody saying that “There is no away”. Away is not a place. It doesn’t exist, you know? You know, so, throwing things away doesn’t make sense. It is not a thing.

Deborah Dull [00:15:30] You are just moving it to someplace else. Yeah, exactly. I actually think in the next… After we mine the ocean for plastic and let’s not be mistaken, that’s exactly what companies are doing now. We are we are now mining the ocean. We will move to landfills. I’m guessing in the next 10 years because we are running out. We’re running out of gold. We’re running up copper. It is still on the surface of the planet. To your point, unless cities are burning and a lot of people say, oh, cool, you’re burning garbage to create energy. But that’s actually not great because you’re losing all the value in the material. So, yes, you’re getting a short-term boost of energy. But actually, in reality, that’s the closest thing to “away” that we have is to burn something and you can no longer get it back again. so, much better is to find a way to retain the value of that item and reuse it as many times as you can.

Sheri Hinesh [00:16:21] Yeah. What we’re what we’re talking about here in describing is really this shift where supply chains who have traditionally been viewed as maybe transactional. And this cost improvement, you know, riddle it down to as efficient as possible. They’re really transitioning to an innovative catalyst that is a strategic partner at the table. And in the future of work. In the future of business. Competitiveness will be defined how your supply chain can execute and innovate. And that’s where we really believe that that’s where the future’s heading. All of the things that are described in in circular economy and sustainability. Yes, you can do well and do good, but there is a business case to be made for why. How you connect people is equally as important when you think about purpose, economy and experience economy. People want to show up at work and not leave their values at the door and be a part of something that’s truly transformation on EPIC. And this is the opportunity that supply chains have because we are so, in the end and we are a tapestry of different professionals. You know, when you when you say supply chain, what does that even mean anymore? It could mean data science. It could mean sourcing and procurement. It could mean your own distribution. Logistics. It could mean inventory. Deborah loves inventory. If you ever meet Deborah Tom face to face and bring up inventory, make sure you have a stiff pour of whisky because she will talk to you for hours.

Deborah Dull [00:18:03] Digital inventory is also super interesting. I had a whole section in my thesis on it. Punch line. It basically comes down to master data, which is also a very interesting topic. People roll their eyes, but it’s not, so. It’s often considered the inventory of a digital digital goods supply chain. If you’re moving around digital goods, it’s your master data and that the way you manage your master data is similar to managing inventory and you can use a lot of the same principles. Super fascinating. I love this stuff. That was not even a whole stiff pour Sherri. so, that was like half a finger.

Tom Raftery [00:18:42] I had no whisky ready. Jeez, Deborah, come on. You could’ve warned me.

Deborah Dull [00:18:46] I know next time that’ll be a different one. We do something called drink and learns on our podcast and we invite you to come to a drink and learn where we drink and learn. And it’s really super fun. And you’re you’re open. You’re openly invited Tom anytime.

Tom Raftery [00:19:00] I appreciate it. Thank you. I have listened to your podcast, so, I’m aware of some of these things. Thank you. But for people for people who haven’t listened. This is a good learning experience. And I’ll put a link to your podcast in the show notes as well. Just in case, you know, people are not aware of, but they can follow through and subscribe and do subscribe folks like and do subscribe to this one, too. Just just in case you’re not already subscribed. We’re coming towards the 20-minute mark. We’re at 18.50, right now. Is there any final thing you want to say to people who, you know, have been listening so, far who’ve made it this far into the podcast? Any last messages you want to leave with them?

Deborah Dull [00:19:36] Absolutely. Look. OK. You’re pointing at me, so, we’re all. And we’re all we can see each other right now. so, my final words are, look. There’s enough bad news happening in the world. We are all probably indoors for something going on two to four weeks depending on where you are in the world. And there is another way to connect with each other. One use of this digital technology that, yes, is using energy and a server somewhere in the world is that you can find a new community. We have something that we call the supply chain rebel who really describes if you feel different than those around you. If you feel like you’re pushing back, if you feel like perhaps you don’t have a community connect to. We are your community. And whether you are feeling too old, too young, not experienced enough, too edgy, too soft, whatever the too is that you’re feeling in your surroundings where your people. so, do come join together with us. We have a great time and we really look forward to connecting with you all.

Sheri Hinesh [00:20:42] Yes. Thank you, sir. Thank you so, much, Tom, for inviting us. The disruptors, the Rebels. And in final message, like Deborah said, find us supplychainrevolution.com. I have admired Tom’s work and his point of view for many years. And I salute you and your fabulous swagger. I love the hat. I love your brand. So, we’re we’re just really thrilled to find others. And I think right now the the opportunity is there are others out here like you and we can unite, especially across digital platforms, social platforms and really change the world. I think that sometimes people forget the impact that you can have in the world we share. And that’s really this message that we would hope you walk away from, that you can change the world.

Tom Raftery [00:21:36] Super, super, Sherri. Deborah, thanks a million for joining me on the show today.

Deborah Dull [00:21:43] Thanks, Tom.

Sheri Hinesh [00:21:43] Thank you.

Tom Raftery [00:21:46] OK, we’ve come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone, for listening. If you’d like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to SAP.com/digitalsupplychain or simply drop me an email to Tom Dot Raftery at SAP dot com. If you’d like to show, please don’t forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application to get new episodes right away as soon as they’re published. And also, please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

 

And if you want to know more about any of SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don’t forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

 

Digital Supply Chain, Industry 4.0, Discrete Industries, and the Covid-19 Coronavirus – a chat with Stefan Krauss

We are in a very strange times! On this fourth Digital Supply Chain podcast on the theme of Industry 4.0, I had a chat with Stefan Krauss. Stefan is aSenior Vice President and he heads up discrete industries at SAP, so I was keen to have a conversation with him about the impact of Industry 4.0 on discrete manufacturing.

Of course, given the time we are in right now, we couldn’t avoid discussing the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, but we also discussed Industry 4.0, and its effects on industries like Automotive, Industrial Machines and Components, and the Shared Services economy.

Listen to the podcast using the player above, and/or see the full transcript below:

 

Stefan Krauss [00:00:02] This whole crisis also shows that there will be a significant impact on the whole supply chain in the world. And I think this will go way and beyond this crisis that I think companies have to deal with this new world and we need to really rethink the supply chain processes.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:24] Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast. And I’m your host, Tom Raftery.

 

Tom Raftery [00:00:35] Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Digital Supply Chain podcast. This is one of the series themed around Industry 4.0. And my guest on the show today is Stefan. Stefan, would you like to introduce yourself?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:00:49] Yeah. Tom, thank you. And hello, everybody. My name is Stefan Krauss. I’m heading up discrete industries at SAP and I’m very happy to talk with you guys about, you know, how we perceive Industry 4.0. OK. You people. Yeah. Go on. Yeah, but maybe before we start, I think as you know, we are I think all in the middle of a, you know, serious crisis. Let. Allow me to really, you know, wish everybody listening to this broadcast, you know? All the best. Let’s all stay healthy. Let’s make sure, you know, we take care about ourselves and our families. On the other side, I think this whole crisis also shows that there will be a significant impact on the whole supply chain in the world. And I think this will go way beyond this crisis that I think companies have to deal with this new world and that we need to really rethink the supply chain processes.

 

Tom Raftery [00:01:48] Yeah, that that’s. It’s a good place to start, actually. Stefan, thank you for me for bringing that up. We are in the middle, as you said, of the Coronavirus pandemic at the moment. This is March 18th we’re recording this. I’ll be publishing this early next week. So, some things could even change between now and then. But from everything we’ve been reading, it’s looking like this is going to last a while and, you know, I wouldn’t like to be an airline pilot right now, as I said to you before I turned on the recorder, or I wouldn’t it to be a waiter in a restaurant right now or a chef or a restaurant owner. That’s huge implications all around. You said there in your opening that supply chains are going to be massively impacted by this as well. How can we help there?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:02:41] Yeah, I think and again, due to this this pandemic, I think we already see that some manufacturing facilities have closed. I think they have already a shortage on parts to really, you know, keep production alive on the other side. It’s also about, you know, do you want to have all your employees coming, coming to the factory? So maybe we as a software company have it a little bit more easy as we can really work remote from home. But I think in all those places where really people are coming together, it’s it’s a tough time. And as I said, I think we all really see some impact on the whole supply chain that there is a shortage. So, I think overall, if I look then into the future and and they this term, Industry 4.0 is heavily used around the world. And there are also other names like Smart Manufacturing or Manufacturing 2025. I think the fundamental thing is really in my opinion, about how can companies best serve the individual customer demands their customers have. I think this is for me the trigger, which causes really the that’s a challenge both on supply chain and manufacturing processes to be very flexible, agile, and elastic to really react on changing customer demand. And of course, this is in this crisis even more obvious. How can we react? And really, you know, produce the right things as long as we can really now produce and fulfilling here the customer demand.

 

Tom Raftery [00:04:20] OK. Very good. You mentioned discrete industries, can you for people who are not familiar with the term, tell us a little bit about discrete industries. What are they? Who are the customers you’re dealing with, and what kind of concerns do they have?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:04:35] Yeah, that’s a that’s a very good question. And I think we are famous for using those kinds of abbreviations. So discrete Industries are industries like automotive, industrial machine and components, High-Tech, Aerospace, and Defence. And when I look particular to industrial machinery and components and high tech industries, what I find very interesting is those industries or those companies, you know, being part of those industries have a two kind of roles in Industry 4.0, because on the one side, I think they want to optimise, of course, their own manufacturing process, their own supply chain. But on the other side, I think with their products, they are selling to their customers. And this is, of course, very often a B2B business. I think they are also helping their customers to then establish industry 4.0 scenarios, to connect machines products, to embed more and more software into the machines. So, I think this is a very interesting or two very interesting industries to look at right now, where we see tremendous change in the, you know, the business processes, the business models and how they operate.

 

Tom Raftery [00:05:49] OK. And in what kinds of ways are industry 4.0 helping these companies?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:05:59] I think, as I said before, it is really about end to end pro or end to end processes, we want to look at starting with really the customer demand, the customer order, which you then want to drive in a very again flexible way through your whole manufacturing supply chain processes. And I think we see more and more companies who want to shorten, let’s say, the freezing time where you say customer cannot change order anymore because now it’s really going into the production process. And you want to be maximal flexible to say, I can still take last changes. And, you know, executed through the whole, you know, production process. And this is something where I think Industry 4.0 will help cost our customers to really change those business processes and create the transparency and the flexibility to react. And this goes also, in my opinion, very much from top to down. So very often we say from top floor to shop floor. So, you want to really create full transparency through your entire production processes and facilities around the world, down to an individual factory and then even down to the individual machines to really have that kind of information and transparency, you need to really steer the whole processes.

 

Tom Raftery [00:07:28] So this transparency is this is something that companies are thinking about exposing to their customers?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:07:37] Yeah, of course. I think because an additional trend which we see is that more and more, you know, business models are saying we are not necessarily selling the product to the customer anymore, but we see more and more this operating model the outcome based business processes, which means a manufacturer of a machine, may not sell the machine, but they will install and operate it for their customers. And then, of course, you can take data out of machines IoT data basically out of sensors and end to end to optimise of course, on the one hand side, the performance and the output of the machine, but I think it is also very much of course used for predictive maintenance processes, for example, when billing. Right. And it’s about the uptime. It is about the uptime and productivity of machines. So, you can avoid, you know, long lasting repair time and so on. And then, of course, the billing, which is basically the interesting challenge later on to say, hey, I pay by the hour, I pay by the output, I pay by, you know, the number of products which has been produced with the machine and so on. So, yeah, it’s very interesting how those business models are evolving and changing the entire landscape here.

 

Tom Raftery [00:08:59] Yeah, and can we speak to some good use cases? Cause, you know, we have lots of customers and that there must be some really fascinating stories you can talk to about some users of industry 4.0 technologies.

 

Stefan Krauss [00:09:14] Yeah, absolutely Tom and I think one nice example, it’s a German company called Gephardt Fördertechnik. They are a leading company in internal logistics and they have really created an IoT platform which allows not only again in their own manufacturing facilities, but also when they of course sell their products to their customers to create this transparency and have those, you know, machines and products really connected and have a dashboard visualisation to really observe all, you know, the the the activities going on in the machine. And as I said before, really run predictive maintenance processes and so on. So I think this is a nice example where Gephardt Fördertechnik is using SAP products like SAP Asset Intelligence Network, which allows you to really connect all those assets at the customer site in a network. And here you can track both structural and unstructured data to share it with the I call it the right ecosystem. So, with whomever you decide you want to share those information that can be employees on the customer side, it can be people from Gephardt Fördertechnik who, you know, offers services, could be a third party service providers. So, I think this is, of course, fully managed to say who has access to those information to really, you know, have full transparency about the machines.

 

Tom Raftery [00:10:50] Ok great for our customers. And again, you’re interacting with a good number of them. What are the… I don’t want to say forcing factors, but what are the things that are moving them into this space most? And what are the kind of challenges that are coming across once they start going down, you know, the route of rolling out one of these projects?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:11:16] Ha! This is another very interesting topic. And I just recently had a meeting with our senior management of industrial machinery company. And they are super successful, let’s say, in their current business. So, they are growing every year. Nice business. Still, of course, top management is saying we cannot just lean back and say, hey, this will be the future. So, for them, it’s really about rethinking. Also, you know, what will be our product offerings here in the future? It’s going even beyond saying, you know. Today they very much sell individual products into we sell solutions. We sell something which the combination of products and services, embedded software. We operate it. So, this this this business model. And I think are a major challenge those cost companies face is I think they might be all very experienced in innovation when it comes to, you know, develop and innovate the next product. Most companies are not necessarily, you know, used to say, I also need this business model innovation. How are we changing the company? And there’s a lot of resistance, of course, on middle management, on let’s say employee level, because for them, they still say, hey, why do we have to change? We are so successful today. This is something, I think where I think top management, and this is also a lot of discussions I think where SAP comes into the game. But also, you know, the strategy consulting companies to really help customers on what I think a lot of people call digital transformation. And how can we really define and and let’s say, articulate those changes through all the entire company. And it really starts with the employee level and then it starts with the skills we need here in the future. So, I think we also see that companies, of course, hiring more and more, for example, I.T. experts, even if they are a machinery company or an automotive company. So, they need a shift in skills.

 

Tom Raftery [00:13:23] I saw the CEO of Volkswagen, whose name has just gone out of my head. Say yes. Herbert Deiss. He said just the other day. Well, that is a couple of weeks ago now. He said that Volkswagen is going to have to become a software company. I mean, that’s a huge change and I mean, he’s been forced into that position by the likes of Tesla and the complete upheaval of the automotive industry. But it just to exactly your point to hear Herbert Deiss say that Volkswagen needs to become a software company. That’s amazing.

 

Stefan Krauss [00:13:57] Yeah. I think he is right. And there are other companies also when we look to some of these Start-Up companies building now the e-cars. I have talked to one. I think they are located in Asia and they say. Our goal is not to produce a car. Our goal is to produce the next screen, the fourth screens, so you have the iPhone and you have maybe the desktop at that stuff. But the car will also act as an environment where people can either work or, you know, of course, enjoy movies and whatever. And then, of course, it’s somehow driving. And I think this is a totally shift in mindset. And yes, of course, Tesla is it’s nicely leading this nowadays. It’s also very interesting when you compare so normally, I think I don’t know how long you drive your car, but, you know, we buy a car and we drive a car for three, four, five, six years. And in the past, you know, you had the car like you bought it. Maybe little accessory here and there. But the features, I think was built in how you ordered the car. Now, in this this software world, you can activate certain components later on. Maybe you have some money left and then you want to invest here into this and that. And I just what you know, funny enough, somebody was was selling or let’s say another one was buying and such and such an E-car and all of a sudden, certain software pieces were deactivated. That’s right. That’s a discussion about use rights. Then later on. So, you get a physical car. But let’s see what really software options are activated or gets deactivated. Yeah.

 

Tom Raftery [00:15:39] I was on the game changers radio show yesterday talking about the future of automotive. And I said we’re seeing I called it the iPhonification of the automotive industry. And I referenced exactly your point about how Tesla are now converting also into a software as a service company, where, to your point, they’re able to turn on or turn off the utility of parts of the car. And it’s where they turn it the car into a platform for software sales. And obviously, it makes it easier for Tesla if they have a single SKU of model and they say they differentiate by the features that are turned on or off in software. So that that makes the manufacturing far easier for them and it gives them a completely different sales model that they sell you a a car, and based on how much you pay, you get X features turned on and or not, and then you can have them turned on later. And of course, I suspect it will be a matter of time before like the iPhone, they open up an app store to developers to develop apps to sell on the car. And this this will completely change how automotive the automotive industry works. And it’s only possible through the likes of the the technologies that we’re talking about.

 

Stefan Krauss [00:17:08] Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. And I think this has a lot of pros, but it may have also some cons. And we have discussed this also with other, you know, customers of us, because I think we also need to consider maybe whether you are in the volume business, like of course you, you have one SKU and then of course, you sell it in a high volume. The question for, you know, industrial machinery companies where of course, we don’t actually have that kind of volume in all the different segments, is it still, because the business fundamentals are still valid right? It is really about, you know, top line and bottom line at the end of the day. And to just say now I have maybe a machine where I have built all the options in, and the options cost money, of course. And then the customer may activate it or may activate it later or even not, it’s not necessarily a good business case if you’re not really in a volume business. So, I think that is not the one answer to everything right now. And this is why, again, I think customers or companies really have to throw a think through on, you know, what of those new business trends and models will really stay relevant, relevant in the meaning of creates, you know, business value and business outcome for them later on. And we see already first all the automotive companies who started, for example, with mobility services, and they stopped it already by saying, oh, looks doesn’t look like a good business case for us. So, this very interesting times where I think it’s very much about also, you know, testing, trying failure, you know, adopting and then and it’s not the continuous improvement business. Many companies have been in for so many years.

 

Tom Raftery [00:18:59] Yeah, it’s it’s challenging. And something just occurred to me the other day as well. The whole idea of the shared services industry is going to be, I suspect, massively hurt by Coronavirus, I mean, are you going to want to get into a car that you don’t know who’s been in it before you?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:19:18] You’re right. Just thinking about it as you said it. Yeah, because I was just reading this morning in the newspaper that, you know, people are asked to, of course, use more and more their cars and not maybe, you know, public trains and buses and so on. And then, of course. Yeah. That’s also very true what you said on those kind of, you know, mobility services. Yeah.

 

Tom Raftery [00:19:39] Yeah. Yeah. That I suspect they’ll take a huge hit. Stefan, we’re coming to the end of the podcast we are at about 19 minutes now, I just said I’d ask you; is there anything that I have not asked you that you think I should have?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:19:57] I think we could talk about this this very interesting topic for hours and hours. I know. I know. Happy we if you want, we can also follow up. But no, no, I think for today, I think we covered the main points. And maybe to summarise it from my point of view. What we see this is not about technology. It’s about really business value. I think companies want and need to achieve. And this is where I think we see leading companies already, you know, heavily in and where, of course, laggards may need to follow. And it’s all about not only the processes, I think it’s also how to use all this data which are available nowadays coming from IoT sensors and so on and so on from the Internet and make good business usage and value out of that. I think this is my, you know, maybe suggestions or, you know, kind of credo companies should look at. And this is also, of course, where we as SAP want to help many companies on this digital transformation, both on a business process talk, but also then, of course, with our solution and service offerings we bring here to the table.

 

Tom Raftery [00:21:13] Super, Stefan, if anyone wants to find out more about Stefan or about discrete industries or about any of the other things. Where should I direct them to go and any links you give me, I can embed them in the in the in the description of the show notes. So, fire away. Where should you, where would you like me to send people?

 

Stefan Krauss [00:21:36] Yeah, I think of course, happy to share with you. I think you all can find me on LinkedIn, of course, Stefan Krauss and Krauss with double S. So, I think it’s a very common name. But also, I think please join SAP’s, you know, SAP.com and then you can find via the link to industries. A lot of those kind of, you know, trends and of course, of solution offerings we have. You can find nice whitepapers which we have written for all of our industry to translate basically those trends which we see in industries into, you know, how SAP can support here. So, I think that what would be my two main sources I would like to point you to.

 

Tom Raftery [00:22:18] Perfect. Perfect. Stefan, that’s been great. Thanks a million for coming on the show today.

 

Stefan Krauss [00:22:22] Thank you very much Tom. See you soon again. And have a great day. And please all stay healthy. That’s is most important.

 

Tom Raftery [00:22:30] Indeed. Indeed.

 

Tom Raftery [00:22:33] OK. We’ve come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone, for listening. If you’d like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to SAP.com/DigitalSupplyChain or simply drop me an email to Tom.Raftery at SAP.com. If you’d like to show, please don’t forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application to get new episodes right away as soon as they’re published. And also, please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

 

And if you want to know more about any of SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don’t forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.