Insights

Why Use Known Materials in Automotive Lidar Systems?

In a time of failing supply chains and rising costs, the choice of a lidar (light detecting and ranging) system from the many options available has both short- and long-term implications for automotive original equipment manufacturers.OEMs today face two big issues when deciding on an automotive lidar system: supply chain certainty and cost predictability. For lidar producers, one of the best options is to use parts and materials that are known and trusted by OEMs, which ensures both cost predictability and confidence in the manufacturer’s supply chain.When a company uses exotic materials to produce a lidar system, results can be mixed. Issues like sourcing, cost and developer expertise can result in delayed, pricey and difficult-to-replicate hardware.To avoid these pitfalls, it’s important to find an automotive lidar partner that uses known materials which are easily sourced and widely available. Because these materials are used in other industries, there’s a greater chance they’ll be less expensive and more familiar to manufacturers, developers, OEMs and engineers.Following are some advantages to using known materials in lidar production.Cost reduction. The use of known materials for designing and manufacturing reduces the cost to OEMs. If developers aren’t paying for exotic materials run through expensive supply chains, OEMs can more confidently rely on the costs that are reflected in their bill of materials. In turn, this cost savings gets passed on to consumers. (Inexpensive doesn’t imply cheap — a lidar system should be high-performing as well as affordable to both OEMs and consumers.)Supply chain dependability and access to tech. Creating a product from common materials establishes dependability, ensuring that OEMs’ access to the product is protected. Recent supply chain shortages and other issues have made a complicated process even more difficult. By choosing a technology partner that uses known materials, OEMs lessen the risk of not having access to dependable lidar systems in the future.Scalability. Safety is growing as a major differentiator for automotive OEMs. Consumer demand for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) safety features will soon become the norm, just as other safety features like airbags, seatbelts and anti-lock brakes have become standard on vehicles. Using known materials will allow OEMs to extend these safety features more broadly and deeply throughout their fleet. Leading-edge ADAS features, including Level 3 autonomy, will no longer be limited to high-end vehicles.Production supply chain. With materials that are known to the automotive OEM, familiar production processes likely already exist. By avoiding the possible extra production elements of incorporating exotic materials into the product, lidar manufacturers are able to keep costs down, and pass those savings on to OEMs.As OEMs strive to deliver current ADAS technology while preparing for the future of autonomous driving, choosing a lidar system that utilizes known materials means more scalable and higher-performing operations. Most importantly, OEMs don’t have to make tradeoffs between cutting-edge ADAS-enabling lidar technology and expensive bill of materials components. They can have the very best product with a consistent supply.Sumit Sharma is chief executive officer of MicroVision.

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Four S&OP Best Practices for Cross-Functional Alignment

The importance of aligning operational activities can’t be overstated. How well a company carries out activities to create, produce, sell and deliver products to customers is the differentiator between building a strong, successful business or risking a decline in profits and losing customers to competitors.Every company has its own unique strengths. Yet those that possess market-leading value are the ones that will survive challenging times and thrive into the future.What makes these market leaders stand out? First and foremost, it’s the high degree of alignment across all functions within the business. The ability to share information about unexpected events throughout the organization, then change and adapt to deliver an excellent customer experience, is key.Companies establish planning processes to align operational activities. Based on the well-established principles of sales and operations planning (S&OP) developed in the 1980s, they facilitate cross-functional collaboration and alignment. Often these efforts are limited, preventing the various stakeholders from sharing information about unexpected events. As a result, functions can be blindsided, with little or no ability to respond in a timely manner. This ineffectiveness results in unmet demand, operational disruption, idle capacity and excessive inventory investment. Ultimately, each of these shortcomings has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and financial performance.Regardless of industry, market leaders have the highest degree of alignment across product, sales, marketing, supply operations and finance. They consistently deliver high customer value because they share information about unexpected events, such as demand spikes, capacity fluctuations and component shortages, across the organization. As a result, they’re able to make adjustments and alternative plans to avoid or mitigate crises.   For too many companies, the S&OP journey stalls before they realize the true potential of cross-functional alignment. To make sure they have a high-performance business model, companies must overhaul S&OP.To repair what’s broken in your organization, and establish a solid S&OP framework that can adapt to today’s volatile market, there are four steps you should take:Get executive support and participation in the S&OP process. Peter Drucker once said that only three things happen naturally in organizations: “friction, confusion, and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.” To avoid these problems, it’s vital that executive leadership — from the CEO and president to managing directors, general managers and P&L owners — are involved from the start. Engaging executives in S&OP meetings provides a forum for routine decision-making, where leaders can consider team recommendations and determine the best course of action.To gain executive support, engage your company’s executive champion — someone who’s trusted and respected by your CEO, shares your S&OP passion and is willing to take a stand. Then start with an executive S&OP pilot, focusing on one or two product families. This is a low-risk, low-cost approach that will enable executive leaders to see firsthand how their engagement in S&OP gives them improved visibility, and the opportunity to resolve issues before they impact company performance.Scope out full cross-functional S&OP. True S&OP alignment occurs when all activities are focused on the company’s goals and synchronized across all functional areas. S&OP success depends on participation by all functional leaders. The absence of any area from the process hinders the ability to deliver customer value and financial performance. Without full stakeholder involvement, companies risk mismatched product volume, mix, location or timing, all of which negatively affect the company’s performance.If your S&OP process reveals an empty seat in a team that should at a minimum include the leaders of product, sales, marketing, supply operations and finance, you likely have a problem. The first step is inviting the missing member to key S&OP meetings. Their level of participation should increase over time. Perfection isn’t required to start, and shouldn’t get in the way of progress. To show the importance of these meetings, you should share objective and constructive analysis of how their participation may have avoided or minimized past mismatches. By understanding this connection, you’ll establish the importance of S&OP.When several S&OP seats are empty, a different approach may be required. You might need an internal executive, S&OP expert or a third-party consultant to assess your company’s S&OP process. They can suggest upgrades and explain how to best expand to full cross-functional participation.Don’t compromise your business processes for the sake of technology. Each company conducts its business operations in a unique way based on a variety of factors, including industry, markets, culture, practices and leadership. As a result, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” S&OP process, and that’s why for many companies S&OP utilizes a patchwork of Excel spreadsheets and systems.S&OP technology solutions should significantly simplify, not complicate, business processes and establish a single, cross-functional planning environment based on shared data that naturally aligns plans. The success of an S&OP solution depends on its ability to enable rather than dictate business operations. A forced-fit solution and inherent process compromise typically result in low adoption and ultimately jeopardize S&OP success.Consider these four points when evaluating S&OP solutions:Process compromise. Place high priority on the solution’s fit to your business operations. Depending on the solution type, more time (and in some cases, a pilot) might be required for fit confirmation.Ease of deployment. Longer implementation times increase the risk that the solution will be outdated upon completion as a result of changing business conditions or opportunities. Minimize time to value in both the solution selection and project planning phases. Plan for demonstrable value in eight to 12 weeks. Avoid anything longer.Ease of change. Change is inevitable. Technology must flex with the business or it becomes a friction point and slows it down. Be cautious if minor modifications require more than an hour to get into production. Avoid those that take more than a day.Business-user administration. Modern solutions can be administered by a business user without significant support from IT. This is a welcome development, since most IT departments operate at capacity. Avoid a solution if technical resources are needed for application administration.Compromising your business processes in order to adopt S&OP technology is no longer required. Protect the practices that reflect your business model and incorporate those that improve performance. You should invest in a solution that enables both and provides adaptability to your changing conditions.Practice constructive issue resolution. By its very nature, S&OP produces disagreement. After all, it’s the process of developing the tactical plans necessary to achieve the corporate strategy. Functional heads are certain to have different opinions about the best approach. The S&OP team needs to be able to have candid and constructive discussions about issues and challenges. Otherwise, tactical plans won’t align with strategy, compromising the S&OP program and corporate performance.Consider the experience at Ford Motor Company. After its worst performance in history, Ford brought in former Boeing executive Alan Mulally as its new chief executive officer. In Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer, Michael A. Roberto explains that Mulally joined Ford when the executive management team was in discord. The company was highly siloed and rarely had candid discussions of problems it faced. To address this, Mulally immediately implemented a Thursday morning “business plan review” and, to guide constructive disagreement, established “working together behaviors” that required supporting positions with facts and data, no personal attacks or put-downs of any team members, and no side conversations.Despite Mulally’s mandate and these guidelines, the team continued to have difficulty with transparency and candid dialogue. The turning point came when an executive reported bad news and Mulally stood, vigorously applauded, and commended the executive for the transparency and visibility he’d provided to the team. Mulally then asked the team how they could help, and they in turn offered constructive suggestions and assistance. This commitment to problem-solving cleared the way for big changes at Ford, helping the company weather the Great Recession and resulting in workers receiving the highest profit-sharing bonus in the company’s history.If disagreements arise, it’s important to have “working together behaviors” that guide S&OP collaboration. That will make it safe for anyone to speak up and create an environment that focuses on problem-solving instead of finger-pointing.Fully realizing the benefits of an S&OP program is what sets apart those companies that are surviving and thriving in today’s increasingly dynamic environment. Often the biggest barrier to achieving higher value is a gap in the S&OP foundation. By getting overall buy-in through executive level engagement, cross-functional alignment and form-fit S&OP technology, and ensuring all teams work smoothly together, companies can achieve the alignment necessary to optimize S&OP.Ed Lewis is president and chief executive officer of Valizant.

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Getting the Most from Demand Management: The Ultimate Collection of Demand Management Best Practices

Presenting a collection of articles to help you assess the value of your Demand Management best practices and determine how well it’s delivering results.  For over 50 years, Oliver Wight has implemented best practice demand management strategies in hundreds of companies globally. A demand plan is more than a forecast. It integrates with other business processes and aligns with the supply and financial plans. A sustainable demand management plan is one where a consensus is reached and accountabilities for executing the plan are clearly defined. In the Oliver Wight Thought Leadership Series: Getting the Most from Demand Management, we present a series of articles written by our principals who gained hands-on, real-world demand management experience in industry before joining Oliver Wight. They now focus on guiding Oliver Wight clients to design, implement, and sustain demand management processes successfully. You will also learn how to make the case for improving the demand management processes. Templates are provided to show you how. Are you ready to learn more about getting the most from Demand Management? Download Getting the Most from Demand Management. Please CLICK HERE to download the white paper.

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Part Four: Last Mile is So Last Year: Here’s How to Reach The Future Retail Consumer

Date: Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Live Webinar: 1 hour
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Episode 4 of our Supply Chains in Crisis series with Gartner Inc. Catch up on Episode 3, Episode 2 and Episode 1.

Webinar Description

Last-mile has become a term synonymous with home delivery of consumer orders. But as requirements for receiving orders evolve in complexity and variety, current last-mile operations will become outdated and ineffective. This webinar will show how new models, using urban, suburban and rural strategies for order collection or delivery, and multi-retailer consolidation networks will change how retailers get products into the hands of consumers.
 

What you will take away:

Alter their definition of last mile away from just delivery by also including collection options.
Embrace the innovative ways in which consumers and products can come together
Build into their future last-mile plans, the concepts of consolidation, collaboration and environmental sustainability.

Speakers:

Tom Enright, VP of Research, Gartner

Moderator:

Russell Goodman, Senior Editor, SupplyChainBrain

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Automated Warehouses Win: Staying Competitive Through Technology

Date: Thursday, August 18, 2022
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Live Webinar: 1 hour
Webinar Description

As ecommerce trends continue to grow and supply chains become increasingly complex, competitive warehouse operations are upgrading their fulfillment technology to include multiple forms of automation.In order to maintain flawless, end-to-end order fulfillment, process digitization, robotics, and hybrid workforce strategies have become operators’ number one priority. Welcome to the new age of warehousing. 

What you will take away:

Understanding the importance of automation as part of a holistic approach to warehouse labor, process and technology
Automation and warehouse digitalization options for increasing operational efficiency, improving customer satisfaction, and expanding fulfillment networks
How to create a hybrid workforce where workers are comfortable leveraging robotics and other automation technologies, and understand value of implementing them

Speakers:

Jason Lum, Strategic Account Manager, Locus RoboticsKerrie Esancy, Head of First Party Logistics, StordKyle Kobriger, President & Co-Founder, Badger Fulfillment Group

Moderator:

Helen Atkinson, Senior Editor, SupplyChainBrain

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NPA News

Over $3B in new startup funding

Hi all, and happy summer!
I wish you all lots of sunshine and great fun.
Remember IPOs? Companies have raised just $4.9 billion via US IPOs this year, less than 6% of the record sum raised in the first half of 2021.

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Vulture Capitalism in Supply Chain

We love it when our customers succeed, and we are incredibly honored to be recognized as part of their success story. Thank you Zeptive team for the kind words, and thank you Forge team for connecting us!

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2022 NPAs Boston Startups to Watch & more

Cleantech investment exploded in 2021 — the first half of the year alone saw over $60 billion flow to climate-tech startups. That momentum could continue this year. It’s estimated that 14% of VC dollars will go to climate techs.

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2021 turns out to be a record year

It’s been super busy the first couple of weeks of 2022, which clearly delayed the release of our January newsletter.

Go check out this Web3 thing below. They are either all participating in psychedelic drug trials and upped the dosage, or I am just not buying it, but feel free to convince me otherwise.

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China hands US the lead.

Here is your chance to put a New England Startup with Hardware content on a winning pedestal for 2022. See more below.

And oh geeze, it’s just six weeks until Christmas! Start buying presents now as there won’t be much left in December.

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