In this new interview series we’re introducing some of our senior staff in a little more detail. What makes them tick? What ticks them off? But also: Why do they love supply chain management so much?
First up is Keiran Hogan. He’s been with Logistics Bureau as a Manager since 2009.
1. Keiran, you started out as a technician working on heavy machinery and now you’re close to celebrating ten years with Logistics Bureau. Quite the journey!
Yes, I’ve worn different hats throughout my career. It started in the technical side of MRO. That involved planning, servicing and managing service operations for industrial and farm machinery. I moved to sales and later into marketing with multinational companies. Planning, logistics and inventory management became my life. There’s something so satisfying about seeing how a small change, such as implementing the right inventory planning technique, can have a big impact on overall operations. This passion was the platform for my focus on supply chain management over the last decade.
2. Tell us a little bit about your job at Logistics Bureau.
What we do is understand and model a business’ current supply chain, including procurement, purchasing, inventory and network and operations. Then we look at what differences can be made to service, cost, complexity and risk with changing one or more things. For example, we could change a planning process or a depot operating practice and see major improvements in availability, cost or service. We can usually quantify the benefits and we aim to socialise our recommendations in the business during the project – so that it “sticks”. It’s about implementing lasting chance.
My clients include both industrial and business-to-business (B2B). Those in the first category have a lot of building and maintenance needs and most do some level of small-scale construction. B2B companies typically supply hardware and equipment to other companies. Depending on their exact activities, both face challenges from multiple supply chains – be it retail / wholesale, projects, MRO, manufacturing, hire, etcetera.
3. As supply chains become more complex new challenges will come up. What would you say is one of the biggest supply chain management challenges?
From an inventory and operations standpoint a big factor is the variability in demand for what is typically slow moving product. You need robust systems that take into account future activities. Activity driven replenishment is a good example of that. Ideally a business – especially an MRO – aligns supply and inventory to planned demand. The activity plan then drives supply. The challenge is to determine how much of the demand can be planned and how much needs to be forecast. That’s where we can often help make a big difference. It really boils down to being smart and calculated and having insight into present and future needs.
Keiran is an enthusiastic cyclist. His objective for 2018 is to win some of the local Monday Night Club Races.
4. Advances in technology now allow even small and medium-sized companies to extract benefits from optimizing their supply chain management. The ‘little guys’ can play now too. What do you make of this?
Technology development is going at a huge rate and many supply chain management tools are now available in the cloud. It’s very exciting. In the last couple of years affordable tools have become available to let small and medium companies do advanced inventory planning. They didn’t exist just a few years ago. The potential for efficiency gains is enormous. More and more of our clients now have the software and systems that fit well with these new business intelligent tools. This opens up a window of opportunities for smaller and bigger companies alike.
5. You’re an avid cyclist. Any ‘sporty’ personal objectives for 2018?
I want to win some races! I’m with the Penrith Cycling Club in Sydney and every Monday night there’s a criterium race. The “crit” races are short and sharp and require strength, fitness and some strategy and tactics. I’ve got a new training plan (cloud based!) and in the last few months I’m getting places in most races – so all good so far. The fitness is there, I just have to be a bit stronger and smarter. It’s all about scientific training, having a plan and benchmarking. I guess cycling is a lot like supply chain management after all.
You can get in touch with Keiran directly by calling him at +61 418 446134 or shooting him an email.