The supply chain is an important function in any organization looking to maximize profits and improve customer satisfaction. As supply chain optimization is a constantly evolving process, you may be missing out on the new trends and technologies.
"Supply chain perspectives by Portcast" is a series where we interview industry leaders regarding the latest supply chain trends and technologies. In the first of this series, we interview Marvin Bunyag, the founder of ExploreSCM and an industry leader in the Philippines.
Read for a detailed sharing of his experience with demand planning and procurement, the impact of Covid-19 and running a supply chain publication in the Philippines.
Q: Please Introduce Yourself
I am Marvin Bunyag, founder of ExploreSCM Supply Chain Insights, a supply chain management publication covering the latest events and developments in the supply chain space in the Philippines and across Asia. The publication also publishes opinions from supply chain leaders across different industries.
Q: What Made You Pursue a Career in Supply Chain?
One thing I like in a supply chain career is that it never gets boring because you learn something new every day. As the world continues to evolve so do the skills and role within the supply chain function. Being a supply chain professional means that you have to keep up with the latest technologies, political climate, economic outlook, and other factors disrupting business operations today.
Supply chains are not confined to one region, it goes beyond borders. Almost everything we buy has foreign components in it. And if you try to map it out, from a division of labor perspective, you have professionals working to source, transport, and produce these components from anywhere in the world to your factory.
Imagine the skills needed to manage all these supply chain complexities. So I pursue a supply chain career because it gives me a better understanding of global businesses. Just from my work experience, it feels like I know pretty much everything that’s happening in another country.
Q: What Are the Areas You Think Companies Can Work on When It Comes to Supply Chain Optimization?
I really think firms should put more emphasis on supply chain agility. It’s the ability of companies to respond efficiently and effectively to changes in demand or any disruption that threatens the supply chain performance.
We have seen multiple companies struggling to respond better to demand spikes for some items during the pandemic because of panic buying. Some of them have reconfigured their supply chain and closely collaborated with suppliers to increase their capacity in meeting demand.
Q: Given Your Extensive Experience With Demand Planning and Procurement, How Do You Think We Can Leverage Technology to Save Time and Costs?
There are many different supply chain softwares out there. But we cannot base our selection on a software’s popularity. Companies need to understand its current challenges hindering their growth and the future they want to achieve. That would give them a good business case to identify and choose which technology will meet their needs. Whatever technology is chosen, it should provide data analytics, real-time information, and visibility across the supply chain networks.
I’ll give one example- just by using a warehouse management system, you empower the visibility of inventory levels and movement of resources in real-time allowing you to make the best decisions. Of course, people handling the technology should be well-rounded in their skillsets and knowledge to make the most out of it. When there is the right technology with the right people solving for the complex problems, that is when you reap the benefits of technology – saving you time and costs.
Q: What Do You Think Are the Main Reasons Companies Hesitate to Implement Technological Solutions?
There are four dominant reasons. The first one is company culture. The management and employees are typically reluctant to change because they are satisfied with the results of existing systems or processes.
Second is the cost-benefit factor. When you offer a solution to the company and they think the benefits of using the product do not compensate for the investment provided. Or the solution only provides zero to minimal impact to their bottom line, then organizations tend to stick with their old way of doing things.
The third is implementation complexity and timeframe. The more complex and the more time that is needed to learn the technology, the more time and resources companies will have to invest.
And obviously, the last one is the cost. If the technology requires significant investment, companies may delay or simply won’t buy in the technology.
Q: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Supply Chain Disruptions Have Been Happening Globally. What Do You Think Companies Struggle With the Most and How Can They Mitigate This Disruption?
I think businesses today have been experiencing logistics bottlenecks, even our government is moving essential goods where it is needed. We see surging demand for certain items, creating backlog orders at manufacturers. These producers were trying hard to maximize their capacity to cater to the demand. One good solution firm can do is determining the real demand. Sometimes, suppliers are flooded with orders containing ‘fake or fabricated demand’ that only creates a bullwhip effect in the supply chain pipeline.
Also, close collaboration between customers and suppliers or manufacturers is a must to improve collaboration and reduce cost.
Q: Do You Think COVID-19 Has Accelerated or Slowed Down the Digitalization of Supply Chain Processes?
The pandemic has pushed for the digitization of supply chain processes. I have seen companies in the Philippines leverage the power of technology to manage their supply chain operations remotely. The virus has made companies move their products and manage processes with no or minimal physical intervention. That’s where technology comes in, it enables firms to do just that. It is evident that coronavirus has accelerated supply chain digitization.
Q: Please Share More on ExploreSCM - What Content Does ExploreSCM Publish and Who Are Your Readers?
Founded in October 2019 as a personal supply chain blog, ExploreSCM has expanded in 2020 to include news and other content to provide added value to our increasing audience in the Philippines and across Asia. We even increase our readership in the west with the United States as the country with the highest readership. We cover subjects spanning from the end-to-end supply chain to the latest disruptive innovations in the industry.
We have a variety of content – news, thought leadership articles, interviews, educational resources, and we also offer marketing solutions for companies this coming month. We welcome guest posts from experts in the field.
Q: Why Did You Decide to Start ExploreSCM? Was It a Knowledge Gap That You Saw Based on the Existing Publications Out There?
There is no dedicated online publication in our country (Philippines) that contains resources and news for supply chain management. The fact that this field remains unfamiliar to many, there is a need to ramp up efforts to help get the right information to the public.
For many, when they heard logistics, they tend to view it as simply a truck transporting goods or a warehouse full of inventory or a port with containers piling up.
ExploreSCM is here to change that thinking and that is why we guest posts from experts to add insights that helps to tackle different areas of the supply chain. A delivery truck view of logistics is just a tiny piece of the entire supply chain.
Q: Any Final Message You Would Like to Share?
There is a growing need for supply chain professionals to keep abreast of the latest news, events, and relevant developments that have the potential to disrupt existing business models. Consuming the right industry information and learning world-class practices by using the right technology a key component in becoming a successful supply chain professional who brings significant impact.
Please email Marvin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for a collaboration with ExploreSCM.
Looking To Share Your Supply Chain Perspective With Portcast?
Reach out to us and we will schedule an interview with you! Please submit a contact request with a short description of your supply chain background and the topic you will like to discuss.