The 30th Annual SAPICS Conference 2008

Our congratulations go to Mr Ken Titmuss, the South African Production & Inventory Control Society’s (SAPICS) President, and his team on once again staging what they claim to be ‘The Leading Event in Africa for Supply Chain Professionals’.  Over 1200 delegates arrived to take part in 12 workshops, listen to 60 speakers (many of them international) visit the stands of 40 exhibitors and generally contribute to an exceptional annual supply chain outing at Sun City.

Chris Visser, Managing Director of Dialworx, the marketing services provider to SAPICS, enthusiastically told SmartProcurement that “this was without doubt our most successful annual SAPICS Conference ever! Delegates arrived to register on Sunday the 29th of June and experienced wall-to-wall conferencing until the wrap-up at the Gala Dinner on Tuesday night the 1st of July.  SAPICS attracted some top-flight speakers from the local Supply Chain Management (SCM) community and also selected overseas experts”.

The Conference Guide gives an indication of the tremendous selection of subjects, in 6 streams, that the delegates had to choose from:

  • Workshop 1:  An Introduction to Advanced Planning Systems.
  • Workshop 2:  The Consensus Demand Management Process.
  • Workshop 3:  Everything you wanted to know about MRP, but were too afraid to ask.
  • Workshop 4:  Performance Measures – Still essential.
  • Workshop 5:  PUSH versus Demand driven PULL Supply Chain.
  • Workshop 6:  How to Develop Serious Systems with Excel.
  • Workshop 7:  Contract Management:  From Concept to Solution.
  • Workshop 8:  Techniques to Writing an APICS Exam Successfully.
  • Workshop 9:  Starting out SCOR.
  • Workshop 10:  Tracking the BBEEE Compliance of a Large Supply Base.
  • Workshop 11:  Excellence through Demand, Warehousing and Transport Optimisation.
  • Workshop 12:  A Manager’s Introduction to Lean.

In the 6 streams there were over 40 papers to choose from.  Here follows a brief excerpt of topics we found of interest from the Procurement & Supply Management Perspective:

  • 10 Principles of Operations Management by Stephen Melnyk, CPIM, Prof. of SCM, Michigan State University, USA:
      • High wages and benefits are not the only reason manufacturing struggles in the US.  In their attempts to offset the advantages of foreign competitors, US companies often make things worse by violating one of the 10 principles of Operations Management.  And other companies fail because they will never embrace these principles in the first place.  This presentation examines these ten principles, explores why they are principles, and discuss what happens when they are violated.
  • The Journey to World Class – How Lean Implementations Succeed by Bob Forshay, CPIM, Vice President of Transformance Advisors, Inc, USA:
  • World class companies achieve significant advantages in terms of profitability and valuations.  The journey to world class performance involves both dramatic change and continuous process improvement.  This is not a journey that involves heaping numerous “programs of the month” onto an organisation with the hope that somehow, somewhere, something will improve.  In reality, many companies have found that the journey to world class involves sustained executive support and contains three phases:  1. Predictable Performance, 2. Eliminate Waste, and 3. Reduce Variability.  This presentation will focus on how programs such as lean, six sigma, process simplification, company-wide focus on quality processes, and others relate to the pursuit of world class performance.
  • Planning Accuracy as a Leading Supply Chain KPI by Prof. Johan Louw, Department of Logistics, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa:
      • Supply chain planning processes aim to balance the market demand requirements with supply resources across inbound supply, manufacturing and outbound logistics (it prepares the supply chain for smooth execution).  Currently there exists only partial performance indicators to measure the performance of supply chain planning processes (e.g. forecast accuracy).  Planning accuracy (measuring all four major supply chain planning domains of demand, source, make and deliver) aims to address this shortcoming.
  • Opportunities and Challenges Around the Implementation of the Green Supply Chain by Vanessa Katz, Senior Manager, Deloitte, South Africa:
      • South African companies are now starting to examine the environmental footprint of their supply chains.  In recent years supply chain trends have been dominated by efficiencies, but the movement of products across the globe is one of the most visible signs of the contribution of supply chains to climate change.  Far from a feel-good initiative, green supply chain is fast emerging as a strategic business imperative.  The green supply chain presents both opportunities and challenges for South African companies.  Up to 75% of most companies’ carbon footprint comes from transportation and logistics.  However, the business case for greening your transportation and logistics in a way that actually saves you substantial amounts of money in both the short- and long-term needs further debate.
  • Strategic Procurement by James Jooste, Business Development, MasterCard Worldwide:
      • The presentation will discuss Global, and focus on, Local Corporate Procurement trends in handling “Low Value” High Volume transactions within organisations.  Traditionally 80% of all purchases make up only 20% of a company’s spend, but take a large amount of time and resources to fulfil.  Integrated technology solutions and world class strategies are available that can assist in increasing efficiencies and reducing procurement process costs without increased risk, in fact, these technologies reduce the risk of fraud through built-in controls and total transparency of what was purchased, by whom and from where.
  • Cross Industry Solution Group, SAP South Africa – 30 Years of Practice by Doug Hunter CPIM, CIRM, Manager:
      • What have we learned to keep supply chains sustainable today?  In this presentation, we will brieflydoug_hunter.gif review key initiatives that companies have ‘discovered’.  It will be shown how and why some have worked and have become the foundation of successful SCM strategy and action today.  We will also highlight why and where some were ridiculed and failed.  From these theories and the presenter’s own varied experience of supply chain management over 20 years in a range of industries, key success factors will be distilled.  We will highlight what works where and what the rewards of supply chain management success can be.  This presentation will educate and entertain using real examples to help delegates commit the gems of supply chain management to common sense.
  • National Qualifications Framework for SCM by Charles Dey, Education Specialist appointed by the FSCMA and Cobus Rossouw CSCP – Chairman, FSCMA and Director of Volition:
      • A major contributing factor to the lack of competence in the supply chain management field is theCobus Rossouw.gif absence of an integrated approach amongst the different stakeholders involved in the process.  This results in wasted resources through the duplication of education and training programmes, a lack of mobility between different programmes, and no clear career paths to facilitate the development process.  As a result of this fragmentation, companies are only able to obtain limited benefits from their Skills Development Levies in respect of supply chain training as it stands, but these training programmes are not aligned to registered unit standards nor are they provided by SETA accredited providers.  Key to addressing these problems will be the building of an integrated, nationally registered qualifications structure embracing all supply chain management disciplines.  The Federation of Supply Chain Management Associations has initiated the National Qualification Framework Project in this regard.
  • Moving from Data to Information in a Fraction of the Time to Stop Making Decisions in the Nick of Time by Proppie Fraser, Director, Cutting Edge Commerce South Africa:
      • The traditional approach to Business Intelligence Solution Development makes some fundamental assumptions about data and the information environment within an organisational supply chain.  These assumptions have a significant impact on the ability of managers to make operational and tactical business decisions.  This presentation reviews these fundamental assumptions and proposes an alternative development approach for Business Intelligence Solutions in a variety of supply chain disciplines.  By attending this presentation you will find out how to move from data to information in a fraction of the time in order to stop you from making your business decisions in the nick of time.

The commercial contingent to this years SAPICS reads like a ‘who’s who’ in SCM with lead sponsors being ORACLE (principal sponsor) and then, CuttingEDGE Commerce, Volition, Imperial Logistics, Syspro and MasterCard Worldwide, the Gold Sponsors.

According to Chris Visser, one of the highlights of SAPICS 2008 was the paper, “Women in the Economy – Untapped Potentials” by Ibukun Oluwa Awosika, Chief Executive Officer, Sokoa Chair Centre Ltd, Nigeria:
More often than not, a woman’s role as a mother, a wife, a sister to her siblings, a professional / a business person, and a home-maker, amongst many, are usually called upon all at the same time.  This multifaceted nature of a woman makes her a natural manager of both people and resources, as well as a communal being.  And by extension, a potential major contributor to the growth of the economy, if positioned and enabled in a way to do so.  In many areas of the world, and even more so in the African setting, she is highly inhibited and hence unable to actualise her natural capabilities for the benefit of the greater society.  Considering the world population ratio, it does not seem like good business judgement not to fully utilise almost 50% of the earth’s human capital.  As a result, we are running the world on one engine when it is, in fact, designed to be run by two engines.  Is there then any surprise at the kind of results and chaos that we experience all around the world?

Visser went on to point out that “we were extremely fortunate and privileged that SAPICS 2008 attracted many more women delegates and participants than in the past”.  One such lady who thoroughly enjoyed herself was Priscilla Gibson, the Managing Director of Tech-Pro Personnel, the SCM specialist recruitment & resourcing agency (now in the fold of the JSE Listed ADvTech Group). Gibson was delighted with their decision to put up a stand in the exhibition hall, “this years SAPICS was absolutely phenomenal and we had a constant stream of visitors to our stand. We are now working hard to follow up on all the new leads and, to keep up with the demands of our current clients!”

So remember to make a note in your diaries: The 31st SAPICS Conference will take place at Sun City from 12-15 July 2009.

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