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Welcome to Enterprise Radio, the signature show of the Enterprise Podcast Network, featuring some of the most prominent business professionals in the world today. And now your host, Eric Dye.
Eric: This is Eric Dye, and once again, welcome to Enterprise Radio, part of EPN, the Enterprise Podcast Network. Today we’re visiting with Mr. Campbell Hatchard, regional vice president of the Asia Pacific Region to discuss how and why companies in the Asia Pacific region rely on Cloud Inventory to achieve enterprise inventory control around the world, no matter whether connected or disconnected to their core systems.
Mr. Hatchard, thanks for joining us here today on Enterprise Radio.
Campbell: Thanks Eric. Great to be here.
Eric: Great to have you out this morning and thanks for your time. So Campbell, if you would, tell us how Cloud Inventory is helping its 3,000-plus customers around the world know the exact state, location and authenticity of their inventory. Let’s kick it off with that today.
Campbell: When you look at global organizations, they’re manufacturing, transporting and managing products in general, right across the world. There’s so much data that actually sits outside the core ERP.
Gardner did a study a number of years ago, and they report about 80% of data that an organization needs to operate actually sits outside those core financial and ERP data structures.
There are a number of factors that drive this. That could be sitting on different ERPs, using different add-on applications, or completely off system and paper based records.
Globally, businesses are often on a core or single financial system. But with different levels of adoption, core ancillary business solutions such as supply chain or CRM just don’t keep up, and they’re never centralized or stay on paper
Supply chain updates frequently by financial business systems. And this can be due to a lack of project funding. It may be uncertainty of the success of growth into a new region, all the general volume inside don’t make it viable to roll out those larger core systems.
Too often when businesses grow away from their high end business operation, the process or solution they adopt when they first set up becomes unstable.
For many businesses, that core ERP has been defined to meet business requirements when it was first implemented, it doesn’t have the flexibility or budget to change dynamically as the environment or economic factors drive different business outcomes or processes, and that creates a bit of a laggard within the organization.
Mergers and acquisitions bring another type of challenge through acquiring not only the business, but the tech stack and processes that they sit on. These new disparate systems are usually operated in disconnected or batch mode back to the core solutions, and further reduce true visibility, which dilutes the knowledge to make critical or timely business decisions.
What Cloud Inventory brings to the table is a tool set and data model that allows organizations to start connecting those dots. The result is a solution set that can sit alongside or even over those disconnected systems, providing two key elements that drive business outcomes — velocity and visibility.
The Cloud Inventory solution provides that connection of disparate data on systems so that customers have a true picture of the state, location and authenticity of their inventory, and that can be anything from assets to project stuff to consumables, or nonstop inventory across an unlimited and unimpeded set of inventory nodes.
Eric: I certainly do appreciate that overview and full coverage on that. That is most helpful and appreciated. Now, talk to us about the benefits. What benefits do your customers see with the enhanced visibility into their inventory?
Campbell: Enhance visibility provides an organization with the ability to make better decisions in a timely manner.
For businesses, the ability to see what inventory is sitting outside the four walls of the warehouse, for example, enhances better purchasing decisions. Many organizations can’t track stock in the field, whether that trunk stock or remote pop up inventory, or overflow inventory holdings.
In organizations with dispersed inventory holdings like these, once the inventory leaves the warehouse, it triggers restocking alerts resulting in orders against supplies when they may not actually be needed.
As we move to a true omnichannel fulfillment model, visibility is key. True visibility of all your inventory no matter where it is, enables an organization to make timely and accurate decisions. This enhances customer satisfaction and retention, as you can easily adapt to changing customer demands whilst balancing the competing interests of safety stock holdings against the value of the cost of the inventory.
What Cloud Inventory does is talk two fold. It provides an accurate timely transactional data, it removes paper from all parts of the organization’s supply chain, providing greater velocity of accurate information flowing through that organization. And secondly, it extends the visibility as to the location of that inventory to encompass both inside and outside the four walls of the operation.
Just as you need accurate financial data to manage your business, having timely and accurate data on your inventory holdings provides an organization with a platform to adapt to changing business and consumer demands. Better to be able to take advantage of events rather than being beholden to them.
Events like we’ve seen over the last 18 months, with COVID or the Ever Given ship blocking the Suez, accurate and timely information enables you to ride the wave rather than being caught in the impact zone.
Eric: Certainly some great and strong points made right there in regards to the benefits of your customers and what they see through the enhanced visibility into their inventory.
Now, I understand you are directly responsible for all business in the Asia Pacific region. What’s different about managing inventory in that part of the world? I’m sure listeners would like to hear the differences there.
Campbell: One of the things that I’ve been lucky over the years, is being able to go out and visit different organizations in different corners of the globe. What was initially mind boggling to me was the difference and distribution models that we see across the globe. And these differences are driven by many things, whether it’s culturally, or size of the population, diversity and density of the population, as well as the distance being traveled, such as we have here in Australia.
In the US with such a big population, we predominantly see full pallet picking models. In Australia, because of the distance and lower population bases, whilst we still see some full pallet picking, there is also a large volume of layer or carton based picking. And this can be because stock is held in more locations due to longer distances.
When you look at the distance between Brisbane and Perth here, it’s similar in distance, about 2,600 miles, to LA to New York, but a significantly different population base.
For perspective, the US has a population of approximately 93 people per square mile. In Australia, that drops to just seven. And when you jump up into the Southeast Asia region, it goes to a whopping 351 people per square mile.
So the Asian distribution model is completely different. It’s not uncommon for distribution to be centered around eaches, it’s culturally that if a customer requests it, the organization fulfills it.
And to do this, they’re taking a carton off of pallet. You’re opening that carton, they’re taking out — they’re opening that inner and they’re pulling out and each. And that creates both increased costs to serve customers. But it’s also a far more challenging environment for system optimization and scalability.
And the traditional ERPs and legacy systems are just not architected to be able to adapt to and apply different methodologies for different business locations. At least not without significant development time in one way to do so.
What we see with customers on Cloud Inventory is the ability to utilize the best practice of functionality that it brings, but also the ability to augment that with customer-specific enhancements to meet localized requirements, whether that’s language or steps in the packing process, for example, to meet specific customers or legal requirements.
Eric: Certainly do appreciate your taking a moment to be with us here today. Especially telling us how you’re running business in the Asia Pacific Region.
Today, we’re joined by Campbell Hatchard, regional vice president of the Asia Pacific region for Cloud Inventory and he’s joined us here today on Enterprise Radio, a part of EPN, the Enterprise Podcast Network.
Now, Mr. Hatchard, what are some of the other challenges you’ve help solve for in other parts of the Asia Pacific and Australia regions?
Campbell: When you look at the wider Asia Pacific region, not only do you have island continents like Australia and the challenges that I spoke about previously, but Asia itself has 48 separate countries and land mass, less than two times that of the states.
If you think knowing where your inventory is hard across a large land mass, imagine managing inventory in a myriad of countries across different islands and archipelagos.
When you add transportation needs in this region with so many countries on different landmasses, this requires your supply chain to engage in multiple types of transportation, whether that air, sea, rail or road, it creates additional visibility issues.
Take, for example, the interruptions that the Ever Given ship caused on global supply chains. Not only was it the inventory that had supply chains reeling, it was the secondary impact of lack of inventory containers globally.
Without connected systems that clearly identify what’s where, where it’s going, and where it was committed, essential business intelligence isn’t available to enable organizations to react and address customer concerns.
In a fully connected supply chain, whilst you can’t stop the mission from occurring, you can react with greater velocity through better visibility. Closing the gap on that 80% of data sitting outside the core systems, provides an organization with tools for better visibility and the capability to improve the velocity of both information and stock flowing through the supply chain. Cloud Inventory with the supporting data model provides the ability to connect disconnected systems and bring information into a single platform that could be used to quickly identify where stock actually is, its state and authenticity.
Customers aren’t just managing inventory. Today, they need to manage things such as assets or specialty items, and non-stock items, tools and consumables wherever it may be out in the wild.
How would it look if you couldn’t fix a machine that was currently holding up a million dollar business because of [inaudible][11:49]
I think one of the biggest benefits that we bring the customers in this region is that 30,000 foot view of what the organization is doing, and the various touch points of inventory, and then applying the principles of Cloud Inventory to that.
Cloud Inventory provides the tool set that can be applied across many different areas of business. The Cloud Inventory solution provides customers with a true value proposition where they can start small, grow, scale with the business, and deploy to new areas as they identify different inventory and non-inventory items that need to be tracked to further benefit the business and deploy the system to other areas.
Eric: Now, another question for you, how does the power of Cloud Inventory help your customers meet local business processes?
Campbell: What Cloud Inventory brings to customers is twofold. First, you reduce the volume of data to the volume of data that you have sitting outside the core system. And secondly, when you look at that core system or ERP, it was likely implemented possibly years ago for a completely different organization or a completely different business model, and it’s likely very fixed and rigid.
Cloud Inventory provides the platform to address local requirements in the here-and-now to support the global inventory needs. One of the key elements Cloud Inventory brings is the concept of tightly integrated, loosely coupled.
What that means is that our toolset allows us to very tightly integrate within the ERP or financial system. We define how we talk to it, about what information will flow to and from the ERP, and this provides a much greater level of security, but also removes a layer of risks in business.
The loosely coupled concept means that as an organization evolves or as an industry evolves or challenges occur out in the marketplace, organizations can very quickly in a very nimble manner, change a business flow or add an extra step or capture an extra piece of data by using the underlying low code development platform that Cloud Inventory is built on.
Bringing this together, Cloud Inventory provides a true cloud-based solution but can be modified or augmented to meet those local business requirements without the need for traditional customization. This enables the solution to be fully upgradable, and enables the customer to manage their solution as time or circumstances change.
Why is this important? Well, it empowers the organization in providing opportunities for top line revenue growth, as well as supports that continuous improvement model to continually reduce costs across the organization.
Eric: Once again, Campbell, really appreciate your time spent with us here today on behalf of Cloud Inventory and all the insight and information shared.
Before you go, any conclusion, any closing thoughts, a takeaway, a tip or anything else you’d like to make us aware of as we do wrap things up here today?
Campbell: I think the biggest takeaway for businesses is — don’t think that because you’re on a legacy system that the aren’t systems that can better manage your business, and pushing up to the cloud and being able to provide that global inventory visibility layer, adds incredible value into an organization.
And Eric, appreciate your time today.
Eric: You’re more than welcome, and appreciate yours as well.
If listeners wanted to get more information on Cloud Inventory and tap into this resource and service, where’s the best place online to do so?
Campbell: The best place to come and see us is www.cloudinventory.com. You’ll find all the information and contact details there.
Eric: And of course, that certainly is easy enough. Again, Mr. Hatchard, and all the best, and thanks so much for joining us this morning here on Enterprise Radio.
Campbell: Thanks, Eric. Great talking to you.
Eric: Again, we’ve been speaking with Mr. Campbell Hatchard, the regional vice president of the Asia Pacific or APAC region for Cloud Inventory, a company that empowers organizations with real time inventory visibility at all points in the supply chain, from the warehouse to the field. And for all the details, simply visit cloudinventory.com.
This is Eric Dye and you’ve been listening to Enterprise Radio, part of EPN, the Enterprise Podcast Network. Tune in to our live location as we are streaming live 24/7 around the world at epodcastnetwork.com/live. You can also find our livestream on iTunes Radio and TuneIn Radio, as well as the TuneIn Radio app for your listening convenience.
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