Friday, September 30, 2005


Do you think UPS is serious? IS TNT trying to pump up their stock? Was Kuehn mis-quoted?

Shares in TNT rose as much as 4.5 percent on Friday after a German newspaper said UPS sees the Dutch mail and logistics company as a possible takeover target.

German newspaper Die Welt in its Friday edition quoted UPS Senior Vice President Kurt Kuehn as saying, "It is a possibility. We are looking at it."

UPS Chief Executive Michael Eskew also told the paper his company considered acquisitions in the mail business and that he did not exclude the possibility of hostile takeovers. But Dow Jones quoted a Bear Stearns as saying UPS said the newspaper took Kuehn's remarks out of context to suggest its interest in TNT.

UPS did not immediately comment.

The Dutch government holds a 10-percent stake in TNT, as well as a golden share, with which it can veto all other shares.

TNT has a leading position in the European express market and is the world's second-biggest contract logistics provider after Britain's Exel, the latter having agreed to a $6.7-billion takeover bid by Deutsche Post. I know, old news...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Its All Over, Except For The Shouting! Or, Ich will das mit einem Kurier verschicken.

Okay, so another quick entry on the D.Post acquisition of Exel...just so you know I'm still up on the deal.

Over a week ago, the Boards of Deutsche Post and Exel have announced the terms of a recommended Offer for Exel. Under the terms of the Offer, Exel shareholders will receive 900 pence in cash and 0.25427 of a new Deutsche Post share for each Exel share. The Exel Board intends unanimously to recommend the Offer to shareholders. A summary of the key points from the Offer document are shown below.

Rationale and strategic benefits
Deutsche Post believes that there is compelling strategic and financial logic for acquiring Exel and believes there will be significant strategic benefits from combining the two businesses. By offering a share element as well as cash, the Offer allows shareholders to participate in the benefits of combining the two businesses and, if they wish, to retain an investment in the sector.

Deutsche Post believes the proposed acquisition would:
– create a global market leader in contract logistics;
– merge complementary strengths: Exel’s strong position in contract logistics in the UK and US
with Deutsche Post’s activities in Europe;
– create a global market leader in ocean/air freight forwarding;
– enhance the geographical footprint;
– increase exposure to fast-growing regions;
– create a highly attractive financial profile;
– potential for strong cash flow generation through enhanced margins and realisation of
significant synergies.

Management, employees and integration
Deutsche Post views both the management and employees of Exel as critical to the success of the combined group. Deutsche Post plans to work with Exel management to further develop and integrate the business into the enlarged Deutsche Post Group.

Upon successful completion of the acquisition, Deutsche Post intends to appoint John Allan as head of the enlarged logistics business, comprising the combination of Deutsche Post and Exel’s existing logistics activities. Deutsche Post intends that John Allan will lead the integration process and the business will be headquartered in Bracknell, in the UK.

Deutsche Post has given the Board of Exel assurances that, if the acquisition completes, the existing employment rights, including pension rights, of all employees of the Exel Group will be fully safeguarded.

The proposed acquisition is to be effected through a Scheme of Arrangement, which requires approval of shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and sanctioned by the Court.

Deutsche Post also needs competition clearance in certain countries. If all the above go according to plan, completion is expected to occur in the first half of December.

Deutsche Post (just in case you didn't know)
Deutsche Post is the largest postal operator in Europe and one of the world’s leading logistics companies, offering a comprehensive portfolio of distribution and logistics services on a one-stop-shop basis under the Deutsche Post/DHL brand names. The Deutsche Post Group also includes an interest in Deutsche Postbank, one of the largest retail banks in Germany, which offers a wide range of standardized financial services to over 12 million customers (as of 30 June 2005).

The business is structured under four key divisions – Mail, Express, Logistics and Financial Services.

For the twelve months ended 31 December 2004, Deutsche Post revenues amounted to €43,168 million (£29,295 million). Deutsche Post has a current market capitalisation of approximately €22.3 billion and is a member of Germany’s DAX 30 Index (which includes the largest, publicly-owned companies in Germany).

During the past 15 years, Deutsche Post has transformed its business from a government-managed agency into a multinational group by means of a strategic restructuring and numerous acquisitions. Deutsche Post’s stated vision is to become the leading global logistics company.
Deutsche Post’s activities are organised into the following corporate divisions:

· Mail (28% of 2004 external revenues) – which offers a comprehensive portfolio of products
and services for paper-based communication;

· Express (41% of 2004 external revenues) – which offers domestic and international courier,
parcel and express delivery services (DHL Express) and ground transportation services (road-
/rail-based) throughout Europe (DHL Freight);

· Logistics (15% of 2004 external revenues) – which offers a wide spectrum of domestic and
international logistics services under the "DHL Express/Logistics" brand name. This division
comprises the DHL Danzas Air & Ocean and the DHL Solutions segments. DHL Danzas Air &
Ocean offers worldwide freight forwarding services (organization and management of air and
ocean freight transportation), as well as project logistics and transportation related value-
added services. DHL Solutions provides contract logistics services, developing and
implementing customised and comprehensive logistics solutions for companies;

· Financial services (16% of 2004 external revenues) – which encompasses the business
activities of Deutsche Bank and payment transaction services.

If you want to find out further information about the Deutsche Post Group please go to their website

Keep checking out this Blog and I'll let you know how things progress. TSCHUSS!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Back from Philly and Trying to Dig Out!

Sorry for such a delay in creating my next post...I am trying to get all of my follow-up work done from the EyeForTransport conference (it was an excellent venue for open discussions) and my current project workload. Hey, remember, I still have a day job! I will get back in the groove starting next week.

Monday, September 19, 2005

EyeForTransport Panels

Its Monday, September 19, 2005 and I am in Philly.

This week, I will be collaborating on two panels. Come up and introduce yourself, or ask a question from the audience.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
11:45 - 12:15

Panel Session: Capacity restriction planning: Expert advice on saving time and money by making customer satisfaction your value-added factor.

Learn how to establish shared data environments that produce real-time capacity shortfall knowledg.

How to get the information you need to predict a looming capacity crisis: Key sources to follow and indicators to watch.

Improve your supply chain by synchronizing the right information at precisely the right time.

Nathan Pieri - Vice President Of Marketing Management - Dynamics

Michael Stolarczyk - Senior Director - Exel

Jim Fernandes - Former International Transportation Manager - Sonoco

Eric Lewis - Principal, Ex Masterfoods

John Wilkinson - President & CEO WPG Shipper Association (moderator)

4:15 - 5:00

Panel Session: How to set up a shared data environment that makes your supply chain more responsive – even in times of increased uncertainty and danger.

Knowing which data to share and when – best practice examples.

Technology that enables you to make the best response to real-time supply chain data.

Make sure your collaboration scheme runs effectively: Top operational tips.
Working in a shared data environment: How to make your partners trust you, no matter what.

Jerome Frederick - Op. Manager Ex - Physician Sales & Service
Michael Stolarczyk - Senior Director - Exel
Chaka Wallace - Corporate Logistics Manager - MACTac
Jim Fernandes - International Transportation Manager - Sonoco
Kieran Ring - CEO Global Institute of Logistics (moderator)

The details of the conference are listed below...see ya there!

eyefortransport Supply Chain Directions Summit 2005

Dates: Tuesday 20th September to Wednesday 21st September

Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue
4200 City Avenue
United States 19131
Tel: +1-215-879-4000
Fax: +1-215-879-9020

Conference Agenda

Monday, September 19th

Tuesday, September 20th
Registration Opens

Main Conference Sessions
8.45AM –1.15PM

Concurrent Tracks (Tracks 1 &2)
2.15PM – 5.45PM

Cocktail Reception
5.45PM- 7PM

Wednesday, September 21st
Registration Opens

Concurrent Tracks (Tracks 1 & 2)
9.00 AM – 12.00 PM

Main Conference Sessions
1.15PM - 3.30PM

Friday, September 16, 2005

So, the TRUST has been established, but you still have to reduce your risk.

So, now that you have established an open forum to share information, and you have created mutual trust, what can you do to ensure it success?

Use the the 3P's methodology as a useful framework to secure value from sharing relevant and useful information, while decreasing the risks of abuse.


Segmentation-The basic foundation for protecting confidential data is the classic technique used by the military to protect secrets; classifying data according to its confidentiality and giving access only on a "need to know" basis. For example, a supplier designing a component that fits in your product usually only needs to know the physical envelope (attachment points and constraints) and electrical interface characteristics for their component, rather than receiving your entire design.

Actionable Information-A promising approach is to scrub data into actionable information. Structured contracts, with detailed boundaries, venues, and parameters, are a good example. Instead of sharing range forecasts, companies express future demand via structured contract terms like minimum firm commitments (or MQC's), lead times guarantees with different pricing for different lead times, capacity guarantees for upside flex at a higher price, etc.

Escrow Account- At least one company had success with another creative approach; establishing an escrow account that is used if either party violates the agreement. The money is then reinvested in the relationship to fix the cause of the problem, e.g. joint team education, fixing flawed processes, or new technology. This dramatically improved the level of trust in that relationship. (Good luck getting your CFO to buy-in on this, but it can be done).


It is critical that the policies are backed up by processes and controls to prevent, detect, and correct accidental or deliberate misuse of confidential information, such as:

Physical Security-Controlled access to offices, receptionist diligence on who is allowed in the building, badges, questioning unknown people in sensitive areas, not leaving confidential documents out in the open, etc.

Separation/Rotation of Duties-E.g. having a different person control physical inventory than the one controlling information about that inventory.

Training and Testing-Training employees on the procedures and importance of protecting confidential information (yours and other's under NDA). Testing awareness and taking corrective steps.

Logs- Keeping accurate, tamper-proof records of who accessed what areas/ information and when.

Audits- Auditing your firm and trading partners to ensure safeguards and proper training. Some companies have computer-assisted "continuous auditing" of compliance.
Particularly sensitive data may require structural organizational safeguards as well. For example, some engineering organizations establish a "clean room" approach that separates the people receiving the highly sensitive design information and restricts their interactions and communications with the rest of their engineering organization to prevent the partner's design information from leaking into their own proprietary designs.


Policy and process decisions must weigh tradeoffs based on business performance impact:

1) Business value of sharing information
2) Cost of implementing proposed controls
3) Consequences of compromising the information

There are useful technologies available for implementing these practices. Role-based access controls (RBAC) enable implementation of segmentation-giving access only to specific people only for the specific chunks of information they need. Digital Rights Management systems can protect individual documents even after they are sent outside your company, limiting access only to specific people and certain actions (e.g. no printing, no cut and paste, no forwarding, etc.). Private and industry networks have implemented technologies to protect confidential data between trading partners; for example, the ANS network enables automotive OEMs and their suppliers to securely exchange digitally signed and encrypted confidential design files and business transactions. At the very least, PDF files can reduce some leaks...

Executive-level Advocates
This may be the single most important issue to have secured, and resolved prior to creating a shared trust environment. To realize the optimum "return on sharing", there should be advocates for both the sharing and protection of data. Some companies have elevated data protection to a C-level job-the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer). Senior supply chain executives must also advocate the benefits of sharing of information. These decisions should rationally weigh the tradeoffs. The supply chain, that maximizes sharing of the right information, works like one integrated enterprise, realizing significant competitive advantages over a supply chain whose participants withhold valuable information from each other.

Be smart when sharing information. Reduce your risk be using the 3P's.

I will be at the EyeForTransport Supply Chain Directions in Philadelphia next week from April 19, until April 22nd. It is at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue Hotel. We will be sharing more on my recent topics in the speeches and break-out sessions. I hope you attend. See ya there!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What should you share with your trading partners? TRUST!

Should you share important, sometime sensitive information, with your trading partners? When important information is withheld, it leads to enormous inefficiencies or even disasters in the supply chain.

Trust is needed to streamline decision making and interactions in the supply chain.

Before the virtualization of the enterprise and globalization of the supply chain, it was not so hard to be selfish. The boundaries of your "sphere of trust" aligned pretty clearly with the boundaries of the old vertically integrated enterprise. Just keep all that confidential information safe inside your company and you were OK.


This is simply no longer true. The "sphere of trust" now extends deep into the supply chain. We are deeply interconnected. Everything (and everybody) is networked. More to the point, we have outsourced so much that you MUST share confidential information with your trading partners now. If someone else is designing major components of your product, someone else is doing your manufacturing, someone else is servicing your products at your customer's sites, and someone else is running your call centers, then by default you're sharing confidential customer information, product designs, IP, and production information. All the competitive pressures to reduce cycle times, inventory levels, improve service, and innovate products faster are pushing companies to integrate more tightly and share more information, not less. No longer can you afford the sloppiness inherent to keeping your trading partners in the dark.

So, for today, lets talk about sharing...and my next blog will talk about reducing risk.

Building Strategic Partnerships (through building the relationship)

A clear distinction should be made between strategic partnerships and the more tactical commodity, vendor-buyer relationships. Building strategic partnerships takes time and diligence. It can be accomplished with a small, rationalized set of suppliers. Done right, suppliers become an extension of your enterprise. This requires methodically laying out an agreement on what will be shared, the benefits, as well as the consequences of a breach. Building an understanding of the mutual self-interest and interdependence of the relationship is tantamount to its long-term success. In the past, traditional relationships were adversarial, it takes a lot of time to change mindsets. No matter, you must look to the future...

Many companies use the quarterly business review, generally under strict non-disclosure agreements, as the primary forum for sharing confidential strategies. These planning sessions at a senior-executive-to-senior-executive level review things like the changes to the market assumptions, scenarios, product roadmaps, transitions (strategy, timing, risks), and supplier performance (goals, actuals, and improvement plans). There are instances where a trading partner abuses this position of trust, but the end result is usually bad for the abuser.

Confidential dialogs can be even more challenging when the supplier or customer is also your competitor. Even with a non-disclosure agreement, the sharing of product strategies, roadmaps and other confidential data is uncomfortable, though it is done every day. Many of the large diversified conglomerates that are likely to be both competitors and trading partners are in the Far East where IP rights are not as strongly upheld. Another twist: as more and more manufacturing is outsourced to China and elsewhere, it raises the issue of sharing product and manufacturing knowledge with companies that could potentially become competitors of yours.

We all have stories about how IP was sent to China, and was then utilized by the competing vendor, "down the street," to build a comparable product, at a lower cost. This will continue to happen, unless you establish some principles to reduce your risk...

Lets leave that for the next entry...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Top 10 Risks - Priority List (Example)

To close our discussion on risk assessment from the last three posts, lets look at a Top 10 List:

1) Supplier Problems: Financial, Quality, Missed Deliveries
2) Loss of key Supplier (Due to Natural Disaster or Catastrophe)
3) Logistic Route or Mode Disruption
4) Building or Equipment Fire
5) Logistics Provider Problems
6) Labor Issues
7) IT System Failure(s)
8) Terrorism
9) Computer Virus / Denial of Service Attacks
10) Loss of Key Equipment, Facility, or Staff

What do you think? Do you have any risks to add? What did I miss? Please post your thoughts and comments.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Assess Risk. Manage Risk. Continued...

Key Issues, from yesterday, for Leaders and Supply Chain Professionals:

1) Do it now!
2) Utilize a cross-functional team to identify risks.
3) Be thorough in identifying enterprise risks.
4) Don’t get lost in too much data to assess probability and severity risks.
5) Subjective risk assessment is a quick way to get started with ranking risks.
6) Prioritize focus to the key manufacturing and supply chain risks.
7) Empower business units to take ownership of managing risks.
8) Work on actionable risks and integrate into operational business processes.
9) Repeat on annual basis

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Assess Risk. Manage Risk. Do It Now...Then Repeat

While Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) continues to gain acceptance in the financial services industry as a means to address credit, market and operational risks, and improve performance of business operations, other industrial sectors have lagged behind in adopting a true enterprise-wide view of risks. Companies are now realizing that global sourcing and just-in-time lean manufacturing, while yielding significant cost savings, may have also increased their risk exposure to global risks. Now, with minimal inventory levels and efficient utilization of production capacity, the traditional buffers against disruptions are no longer available. To respond to this new competitive environment, businesses are beginning to enhance their current capabilities in managing global risks and mitigating impacts of disruptions. Here are some thoughts on how organizations can get started in rapidly identifying and assessing manufacturing and supply chain risks to enhance their operational awareness and responsiveness to said risk events.

1) Nominate a Cross-functional Team of Risk Experts

An extended team of experts from across an organization should be selected to help with rapid and thorough identification of risks. Team members can be chosen from among risk managers, statistical analysts, operations research analysts, manufacturing engineers, purchasing staff buyers, commodity experts, supply chain and logistics managers, operations IT systems experts, etc. Each team member is expected to represent their business unit and assist with identifying and gathering quantitative and qualitative risk data. Traditionally in most large organizations, risk management as an expertise has a corporate home in insurance and risk financing or audit services. However, the real risk owners for manufacturing and supply chain risks are in operations. Thus, we advocate that the team must include subject matter experts from business operations who have handled many of these supply chain and manufacturing disruptions in the past. These operations specialists can contribute significantly in identifying risks and explaining event severity from an operations perspective.

Among the team, there has to be a core team of "risk evangelists," who must take up the challenge to promote risk awareness across the entire enterprise, share risk management and mitigation successes, document and convey lessons learned, and leverage knowledge and experience to embed risk management in operations business processes. Early on in the process, the team should also obtain top management support and a management champion to help overcome organizational roadblocks, and drive improvements in operational awareness and responsiveness to risk events.

2) Convene the Cross-functional Team for Brainstorming to Identify and Map a Portfolio of Enterprise Risks

The portfolio should include financial, strategic, hazard, and operational risks. These four categories are chosen, as they are typically how risk management responsibilities have been divided and assigned to different business units in many large corporations. A simple high level risk categorization used in the map allows executives and mid-level managers to readily engage in the process of editing the map as well as identifying or taking ownership of some of the risks from the portfolio. This portfolio is an excellent starting place for manufacturing engineers and supply chain analysts to begin identifying risks that would affect their work, or they could impact through their operations responsibilities. The portfolio must include all possible enterprise risks that the team can identify. Capturing this full portfolio is important, for it demonstrates to top leadership that the team has been as thorough as possible in identifying risks. The portfolio will be a key tool for risk awareness discussions, for it encourages groups to talk openly about risks they can control, manage, or mitigate, and those risks that are outside their spheres of influence.

3) Step 3: Filter, Assess and Prioritize Risks

Once the risk portfolio is defined and agreed upon, the next step is to have the team filter down the broad portfolio to those risks that are relevant to manufacturing and supply chain operations. They could be boiled down manufacturing and supply chain risks. This exercise can generate valuable discussion on ownership of some of the risks, recognition that some risks do not have clear owners, and help the team to build a common understanding of the breadth of the company's portfolio of risks.

Once the subset portfolio of manufacturing and supply chain risks is identified, the next task is to construct a subjective risk map or "heat map" for the manufacturing and supply chain risks, and classify risks based on probability of occurrence and loss severity. Without collecting much statistical data, the team can subjectively place risks in the quadrants, and openly discuss which risks could most impact manufacturing and supply chain operations. Lastly, the loss severity assessment should also intuitively include how difficult and costly each risk is to mitigate.

Further division of the probability of occurrence into 4 categories (such as very unlikely, improbable, probable, very probable), and the loss severity into 4 categories (such as insignificant, minor, serious, catastrophic) can help clarify and distinguish among the different manufacturing and supply chain risks in terms of their overall impact. This refined classification will help the team to recognize the relative difference across all risks in terms of occurrence and severity, and help them arrive at a prioritized list in view of organizational metrics.

This subjective risk map can guide allocation of scarce resources (people, time, money) to subsequent risk modeling and analysis efforts. Once the prioritized risk map has been developed, the team can naturally create a Top-10 priority list of risks (We can formulate one later this week). The exercise of constructing a Top-10 list is important. As your team starts to form the Top-10 priority list, the team may have to revisit and adjust their probability and severity assessments on the risk map as well.

4) Work on All "Actionable Risks" and Integrate what has been "Learned" into Business Processes

Leaders can use this proposed approach to prioritize manufacturing and supply chain risks that can be strategically influenced or managed over time. We note that some risks are "out there" but nothing can be done about them. Managers should acknowledge these risks, and move on to other risks that are actionable. Secondly, enhancing risk management in manufacturing and supply chain operations amounts to changing organizational culture and priorities. This type of change has the promise of making operations more resilient and responsive to the dynamic environment, but cannot be achieved overnight. The risk maps and models can help multiple stakeholders visualize and comprehend cost-benefit tradeoffs of various mitigation efforts and impact on the overall enterprise. Risk management for manufacturing and supply chains is adopted in an evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) manner, because manufacturing and supply chains typically evolve over time, and sudden interruptions for the sake of better risk management can affect morale of the organization significantly. Management should consistently revisit the prioritized heat map of risks along with the top-10 risks to update actionable and urgent risks, and monitor how the firm is doing in enhancing operational responsiveness to manufacturing and supply chain risks.

What do you think the always take-aways will be from this exercise? Lets think about it and give some suggestions tomorrow. Please provide your comments, insights as well...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

King of Chaos

A few quick thoughts on Change, Chaos and managing them both in the here-and-now seems to be an appropriate topic. Today, change is not the issue...and chaos is, well CHAOS!

Businesses, industries, and markets are experiencing massive restructurings, re-engineerings, and redirection. Skills and tools are needed for the appropriate response to various impacts, to help us create rather than react. We are spinning faster, and the same old change tools do not always seem to work. We need to incorporate an actual chaos management strategy!

Whether it's your workplace or your personal relationships; whether you run a large organization, a small business, a tiny team, or simply your own life - the tools you need now are for managing chaos.

1. Be the "eye" of the storm
Lets consider a hurricane, or a cyclone...utter chaos, causing great devastation. Think of the center. Calm, peaceful, quiet. The eye. Think of it as yourself. Be the eye. You may not be able to stop or even control the wind and the noise around you. But you can retain your own center. Find your strength, your capabilities, your power and your value, and stand quietly in your own ability to respond to each situation with courage and wisdom. We all have it. We just forget it sometimes when the winds of change are howling around us.

2. Know what matters
The first rule of success, is to have positive energy. It is important to know how to concentrate it and focus it on the important things, instead of frittering it away on the minutiae. The most powerful thing you can do at any moment is re-focus. What do you want to achieve? Why is this important? Then, make it happen.

3. Nurture your network
No one person is an island. We operate best when interdependent. Not leaning, but supported. It may be time to re-value family, to re-assess social contacts, to re-energize team consciousness in the workplace. One of the keys to managing chaos is the ability to tap into support facilities. Productivity almost invariably increases when we delegate, leverage and pull together. Find those Idea Practioners as well (the Trojan Mice).

4. Have courage to tell the truth
This may not be so for you, but for many people an enormous amount of time and energy is wasted in developing and maintaining the mask. There's no time any more to do that - have you noticed? It's time for empowerment, accountability, and ownership. Take it, and make it happen!

5. Learn to live with less
This is a strange concept for many of us in business who have spent much of our working lives running after 'more'. When life moves fast, the less baggage we have to carry the better. Traveling light - in many ways - becomes more effective. We're discovering that a simpler life can be a lot less stressful. I am not down on wealth and its pleasures - just to eliminate the desperate struggle for it!

6. Rejoice regularly - don't be afraid to express yourself, or an emotion
A behavioral researcher visited a kindergarten. "How many of you can sing," he asked? All hands went up. "How many of you can paint?" Again all hands were proudly thrust in the air. "And, how many can dance?" "Me, me,me," was the answer. The researcher asked the same questions in a university lecture hall. "How many of you can sing?" Two hands. "How many of you can paint?" Not one. "And how many can dance?" Fingers were pointed at others, with comments and laughter, but not one claimed the ability. What happened? Why did we forget, or decide our own self-expression was not good enough? It's just about a joyful release of stress hormones - good for the mind, the soul and the body.

7. Choose care over fear
There are only two fundamental emotions - love and fear. Anything that isn't one is the other. Until recently, we didn't talk about this in the corporate arena. Now we know, tough love builds good teams, and chaos is exacerbated by fear. This is not about being soft and gooey - you know that. It's about finding a way to address issues head on with an intelligent mix of courage, commitment, and compassion.

8. Do the right thing!
Always do the right thing and with strong beliefs and conviction. So I'll use two quotes:

Harry S. Truman - "To do what is right, is the right thing to do...and let the rest of them go to hell!"

Vaclav Havel - "Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, and is right, regardless of how it turns out"

Chaos is inevitable. In the sense that perturbation is evolutionary, it's also desirable. But managing it is essential. It is no use for any of us to hope that someone else will do it. Take Charge! Do you have your own personal strategies in place? What are they? Can you lead other people to the task? Will you do the right thing?

Friday, September 02, 2005

EXELlent! Wie viel macht das?

The Board of Exel announces that it has received an approach from Deutsche Post AG which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company. Discussions are at a preliminary stage and there can be no certainty as to their outcome.

So, who has the 6 billion dollars to make this deal real? Do I hear 6.5? How about 7 billion?

I'll ponder this over the weekend and prepare myself for the future...

Thursday, September 01, 2005


With so many companies providing RFID systems, and so many expensive choices, how do you buy smart? Here are 10 tips on selecting an RFID system that provides a return on investment:

1. Get educated: Learn best practices from early adopters. Attend industry events and EPCglobal standards meetings where leading companies openly share their RFID implementation experiences.

2. Build a cross-functional RFID implementation team: Include key members from your sales and marketing and supply chain groups to help identify the business processes that can benefit from RFID.

3. Develop a long-term RFID strategy: You need a solid understanding of RFID's long-term benefits to design the appropriate first steps. Define an ROI pathway that maps out both near-term opportunities to drive benefit, and long-term opportunities to build competitive advantage across the value chain.

4. Select the right SKUs for the initial program: Using the ROI pathway as a guide, select SKUs that will accelerate payback from RFID deployment. Don't select SKUs based solely on RF characteristics or the ease of integrating tagging stations into existing processes.

5. Capture business context: Create an Electronic Product Code manifest linking key business information to RFID data elements. This builds the business context to support the applications that will drive benefit.

6. Create an enterprise-wide view of goods movement and inventory: Integrate trading partners with internal RFID data to create a 'single version of the truth' for all goods moving through the supply chain. ROI depends on your ability to re-create goods movement in the physical world from a noisy, incomplete, error-laden RFID data set captured at many points across the supply chain.

7. Collaborate with partners in the value chain: Share RFID data with trading partners and develop active communication to identify opportunities for jointly driving efficiencies across the value chain -- for example, automating shipment verification among trading partners.

8. Share RFID data with internal teams: Provide internal teams with access to enterprise-level RFID data. Long-term success of an RFID rollout requires carefully prioritizing opportunities to modify business processes to drive benefit. This requires insight from internal stakeholders across the business.

9. Avoid custom development: Every business needs to tailor RFID-centric systems to fit its products, business processes, and facilities. Custom development is expensive and difficult to support, and increases long-term total cost of ownership (TCO). Minimizing TCO requires the ability to configure scenarios within a supported platform.

10. Integrate RFID with existing systems: In the long term, enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM will capitalize on the inventory visibility and goods movement that RFID provides. Devise a strategy for integrating the RFID data management platform with existing enterprise systems.