Jan 12, 2021

Gartner: Five levers for supply chain cost optimisation

Supply Chain
Cost Optimisation
Janet Brice
2 min
Logistics and Supply Chain
Five-point plan to optimise supply chain costs for businesses from research analysts at Gartner...

Are you fully optimising your supply chain costs? This is the question posed by Gartner whose analysts have identified five key levers to manage end-to-end supply chain cost optimisation in businesses.

“Create a strategic vision for supply chain cost management,” is the message in a new report from Gartner research who has found supply chain cost management models remain short term and functionally focused. 

“Short-term cost goals are prioritised over long-term business value, and a narrow, function-specific focus limits the ability to pursue big change and meet full performance potential,” says Gartner in the paper Optimise Supply Chain Costs.

“To optimise supply chain costs, it's important to align business value (customer experience, profitable growth, compliance and sustainability) with efficient supply chain operating outcomes (demand fulfilment, product supply and new products/business),” comment Gartner.

The report points out that reducing supply chain costs is further complicated by supplier substitution, outsourcing, supplier refinancing and inventory changes.

“Not only do the best supply chain leaders control supply chain costs in the face of disruptions like pandemics, recessions and geopolitical shifts, but they also consider the relationship between diverse resources and networks. 

“Instead of reduction targets, these supply chain leaders and their key stakeholders focus on aligning and collaborating around key operating outcomes to optimise supply chain costs.”

“Supply chain leaders must adjust how they engage with their key stakeholders and propose initiatives that achieve breakthrough cost improvements. 

Analysts from Gartner have identified five key levers for a company to manage to achieve end-to-end supply chain cost optimisation, these include:

  • Deals – minimise price wasting
  • Operating tactics – Adjust tactics for optimal supply-demand balance
  • Processes and roles – Design and enable processes and roles for efficient network operation
  • Networks – Alight supply and distribution network to product and service demand
  • Portfolios – Alight product and service offers with customer value and market competition

Gartner recommend companies implement this framework by taking the following three actions:

  • Drive collaboration and innovation around cost-optimised operating outcomes
  • Develop cost analysis models that align to the scope and performance objectives of specific operating outcomes
  • Justify investments based on their potential to improve specific operating outcomes

“This framework represents a more complete and effective approach to performance improvement, compared to fragmented control of individual sites, functions and cost centres,” comments Gartner.

You can download the free Gartner guide, 5 Levers for Optimising Supply Chain Costs if you click on the link below.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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