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Trace Alliance

ebp Global announced that it is joining the Trace Alliance, a collaborative hub for solving supply chain challenges using blockchain technology. Joining the Trace Alliance brings us closer to using the OriginTrail blockchain protocol for data exchange in its supply chain, and is also a platform for connecting with a global network of software development and implementation partners.

Continue reading “Trace Alliance Press Release” »

Any organization goes through different stages of maturity over its life cycle. The is a natural way to develop the organization, business processes, systems and data over time. Usually the level of maturity an organization is adopting, will be highly depended on a number of factors:

  • Industry maturity, or
  • Competitive pressures, or
  • Vision of the executive team, or
  • Willingness of an organization to invest in people, processes and systems, the last point is highly dependent on the margin pressure of a particular industry

In order to agree on the correct steps to improve key capabilities of an organization, understanding the current state is a key step. Hence, mapping an organization’s key capabilities on the maturity model is the first step. Not every organization must or should attain the highest level of the maturity model. As important as understanding the current state is to determine the adequate next step on the maturity development as well as the correct end state. Again, this does not have to be the highest level of the maturity model.

The understanding of where an organization is along the maturity model is vital. This is a key foundation for successfully adopting business processes or even running projects.

The Capability Dimensions of the Model

Before we review the various stages of the maturity model, let us first review the key capabilities. Those are:

  • People, describing the skills and working practices of the people within an organization;
  • Data, describing the availability and usage of data and information;
  • Metrics, describing the key metrics an organization uses to drive its performance;
  • Application/Systems, describing the usage, integration and scope of systems;
  • Business Processes split by:
    • Planning based Processes, describing the usage of planning methods and working practices;
    • Execution based Processes, describing the usage of transactional methods and working practices

In addition, external and internal drivers are important as well:

  • Business Challenge, describing the market pressures exerting on an organization representing the external drivers;
  • Change Driver, describing the internal drivers such as objectives or targets defined by the executive leadership

The Maturity Stages of the Model

The maturity of an organization, which is dependent on internal and external factors, can be best described in a number of maturity stages:

  • Functional Excellence, ensure functions can operate at a target level of excellence
  • Internal Flow Integration, ensure functions are integrated and operate cross-functional
  • External Collaboration, ensure external parties are will integrated into the internal functions
  • Networked Single Channel, ensure the operations services each channel with high performance
  • Networked Omni-Channel, ensure that an omni-channel setup can be serviced effectively and efficiently

Each maturity stage requires the attained of a defined level of performance for each capability. Moving too fast and skipping a stage can be dangerous for an organization as the underlying foundation is not well build out. Evolving an organization through the maturity stages requires a well laid out roadmap and can take multiple years. Before such as roadmap can by developed, understanding the organization current deficiencies and capabilities is an important step to complete.

ebp Global Supply Chain Maturity Model

The Maturity Model Impact on the Operating Model

In other articles we introduced the operating model as a comprehensive way to describe the operation of an organization. Each stage of the above maturity model can be linked to the way the operating model is deployed and can be evolved. ebp Global uses heat maps to develop the core structure of the roadmap and determines if functional areas need to be prepared first before integrated or networked approaches can be deployed.

Standard ebp Industry Operating and Process Model

ebp Global held a presentation about Artificial Intelligence at the Footwear Innovation Summit in Shenzhen on November 16th.

Topic: Artificial Intelligence in the Footwear Industry with the Example of a Go-to-Market Platform.

This conceptual level talk was meant to show how specific AI models which were proven effective in other industries can be adapted to Footwear.

To access the presentation slides, please send an email to

Any business operates an annual budget process. Once done, this budget is hardly touched or modified during the fiscal year of execution. Targets for sales, production or other departments are derived from those budgets and used as performance targets for the fiscal year to come by each department.

As the fiscal year is passing by, monthly or weekly updates to a demand plan or a sales forecast are being applied. In any organization, a gap between budget or targets AND the demand plan or sales forecast will sooner or later appear. Whilst the desire for senior management to manage the business against a single number, i.e. the budget or target, they are much less comfortable with managing the gap.

Neither adjusting the demand plan or sales forecast to the budget or target, nor the opposite, are useful mechanisms to manage the performance gap.

Continue reading “One Number” »

The objective of this article is to ‘refresh our memories’ about one of the most fundamental relationships in supply chain management: Inventory is proportional to Lead Time.

Let us remind ourselves where this started. This relationship was first defined in the context of the semiconductor industry, managing complex material flows through a production plant. Known as “Little’s Law”, the relationship is expressed as follows:

LT (Lead-Time) = CT (Cycle-Time) * I (Inventory)

CT = 1 / Tact Rate, or described in business language: CT = 1 / (PROCESS TIME per Piece)

If the cycle time stays constant, then lead-time will be longer in proportion to the amount of inventory. However, lead-time increases may result from a variety of additional factors.  Let us explore those.

Continue reading “Inventory is proportional to Lead Time” »