In brief

In brief

  • Reflecting on the past two years, it feels like we as operations managers need to perform unimaginable tricks day-in and day-out to stay on top
  • We cannot expect for things to settle down, the speed of change will stay the same or even increase and we need to be able to jump “skyhigh”
  • This means we need to be able to adapt to new situations and scale solutions quickly by leveraging technology
  • As always, we are discussing the trends and challenges within the domains of supply chain operations, centered around the lead topic – Skyhigh


Welcome to edition 11 of Operations.Insights, where operations management meets insights.

When I sat down to write this editorial, I was looking at the cover picture of this edition. Although such movements are unimaginable for me to perform, I really feel connected to this parkour artist who moves with grace, jumps over the next abyss, and faces danger with only a small margin of error. Sometimes when working in supply chain and operations, it feels like we need to be able to perform similar tricks day-in and day-out to stay on top.

Reflecting on these past years, I see that the past two were dominated by a variety of global macro events and various crises that pushed us to our limits. With COVID-19 infections spiking again around the globe in November, we see how much the pandemic is still felt around the world.

In addition, we must face disruptions from natural disasters caused by climate change, the growth ambitions of developing countries which are changing the status quo, and political conflicts that result in humanitarian crises. The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow showed how hard it is to unite everyone for change. But one thing is clear: These global developments cannot be managed by one individual party alone. We as a society need to take responsibility.

That’s why in our last editorial for the 10th edition of Operations.Insights, I emphasized that companies need to consider 360-degree value creation to account for the holistic impact they are having on societies and the environment.

We cannot expect for things to settle down. The events of the past few years indicate that the speed of change will stay the same or increase. That means our supply chain and operations environment will be even more complex and will bring frequent challenges and other obstacles into our lives that companies will need to spin around or jump over, just as the parkour artist on the cover does.

Considering the impact of the events of the past years, the difference will be that we must be able to jump "skyhigh," which means we must be able to adapt to new situations and scale solutions quickly.

With our 11th edition of Operations.Insights, we are focusing on how we can jump higher by leveraging the possibilities offered by technology in the domain of supply chain and operations.

We begin with a perspective on how cloud technology can increase efficiency through access to IoT technology and improve lead times through data continuity across the entire value chain. Next, we resume the story of the digital thread from our previous edition and highlight which building blocks are essential to drive transformation from an end-to-end perspective. We continue with a spotlight on the termination of SAP’s APO and how business and IT need to work as an integrated team to make the transformation journey successful before diving into the topic of large-scale business transformations.

E-commerce has been in the spotlight for the past two years and got a boost from COVID-19. In this edition, we explain the crucial elements for a successful e-commerce platform and how they create value. Afterwards, we analyze the degrees and maturity levels of service-oriented and product-as-a-service business models and how they can change your business. Within an excursion into the supply chain area, we explain how customer centric supply chains drive profitability in the chemical industry and how the German “Lieferkettengesetz” will impact businesses in Germany. Last but not least, we focus on indirect procurement and how it can drive resilience in multiple areas.

I wish you an insightful read. As always, we look forward to getting your feedback and discussing the challenges you face within the domains of supply chain, operations and sustainability.

Articles of the 11th Ops.Insights edition

  1. The sky is not the limit
  2. Spinning the digital thread
  3. The end of APO as a chance for new SC planning excellence
  4. Unleash enterprise value
  5. Operations as the real enabler for e-commerce
  6. Are you really ready for product as a service?
  7. The customer comes first
  8. Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz
  9. Procurement is defining the limit

Michael A. Meyer

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Supply Chain & Operations DACH, Russland

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