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Wimbledon: Supply chain planning solutions keep tennis balls in the air

Samir Neji, Managing Director, APAC, Anaplan | July 22, 2015
Cloud-based technologies available today can make the supply chain process intelligent, customisable, mobile and collaborative, says Samir Neji of Anaplan.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Samir Neji, Anaplan
Samir Neji, Managing Director, APAC, Anaplan

Wimbledon is a truly global sporting event and is watched by millions worldwide. Players in the world's oldest tennis tournament also hail from all over the world. However, it's not just the players or the fans that have their origins across the globe -- even the balls used in the tournament have components that made a journey spanning over 51, 000 miles across the world.

While production takes place at Bataan in the Philippines, the clay comes from the United States (8,710 miles). The wool is produced in New Zealand and shipped to Stroud in the UK (11,815 miles) for felt weaving before making the journey to Bataan (a further 6,720 miles). China supplies oil naphthalene (2,085 miles), South Korea offers sulphur products (1,630 miles), Thailand sends zinc oxide (1,335 miles), Greece provides the silica (5,960 miles) and Japan adds magnesium carbonate (1880 miles). One part of the rubber used comes from Malaysia (1,505 miles) while the glue comes from a plant in the Philippines located a mere 560 miles from the factory. The balls are packaged in tins from Indonesia (1,710 miles) before making the final 6,600 mile trip to England. A grand total of 51,130 miles!

The distance the tennis ball travels back and forth, between two players during a few sets at Wimbledon, is tiny compared to what is necessary for production. Not only does the distance involved pose a rather significant logistical challenge, the diverse markets and ways of doing business in the different countries makes it even trickier.

Be it getting balls onto the courts at Wimbledon or sourcing for a business, enterprises today acknowledge that the ability to succeed in a dynamic, complex and competitive economy largely rests on the ability to create a robust system. Applications are available to customers today that can help them match supply and demand, enabling planners to make changes on the go and increasing operational efficiency.

As technology evolves, businesses today have the option of bringing in intelligence with efficient work structures. Cloud-based technologies available today can make the supply chain process intelligent, customisable, mobile and collaborative. Unlike siloed legacy systems, such technologies enable cross function and cross-border collaboration ensuring more efficient business systems.

Having the right infrastructure and intelligence can empower businesses with real-time view on the constraints of factories; allowing the entire business -- including marketing and distribution -- to also be aware of any supply issues. And if the final demand decreases or accelerates, the business will be in a position to make good decisions almost immediately, not having to wait three to six months when it would be too late.


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