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Synopsis

Supply chain management today has never been more complex, more dynamic or more unpredictable.

The good news is that new techniques for analyzing country-level investments, network configuration and in-sourcing/out-sourcing decisions can enable more precise and effective span of control. The latest generation of network design and optimization applications has created broader opportunities to view and streamline links between supply chain network nodes.

New concepts in multi-channel demand signal capture -- and in pooling and data warehousing customer signals coming into the enterprise from retail stores, websites and call centers -- can bring the enterprise closer to the customer. Emergence of practices such as multi-channel supply management and virtualized cross-enterprise inventory pools are enabling rapid response to changes in demand, creating a level of "cyber-kanban" unimaginable a few years ago. Companies can now truly respond to the pull of the market rather than the push of supply.

Companies are also using advanced Business Intelligence (BI) software to mine the demand signal repository and cull critical insights for action and response. Case in point: Wal-Mart’s response to Hurricane Katrina was based on insights gained from mining community consumption trends during previous hurricanes.

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