Category: Supply Chain Management

Manufacturing & California are on Fire!

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According to Industry Week and the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturing is on fire! Manufacturers’ optimism registered 95.1% – the highest level EVER recorded! Manufacturers are projecting historic growth in investments (4.1%), hiring (3.1%) and wages (2.7%).  Projected wage growth is the fastest in 17 years. The bottom line – manufacturing is on fire!           Now to turn general perceptions on its head, Industry Week did a study of the top states for manufacturing jobs and California was #1! Clearly, this was accomplished in a state that doesn’t favor manufacturing jobs (even though they pay well).  Manufacturing…
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Robots Taking on Pharmaceuticals & Food?

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According to the Wall Street Journal, robots are taking on pharmaceuticals and food preparation.  In pharmaceuticals, companies like Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline are investing heavily in automation to radically change the process of drug discovery.   If robots can handle thousands of samples around the clock (although costs will decrease or be reallocated to more valuable tasks), these results pale in comparison with the vast opportunity to develop drugs quicker! Are you radically re-thinking and innovating with speed in mind? Meanwhile, a burger joint will open in San Francisco that makes $6 burgers entirely by robot.  Creator is betting that robots can create…
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There is More to Chicago than Good Pizza. Logistics Anyone?

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My aunt worked at CSX rail outside Chicago for her entire career.  Growing up, it sounded like odd, middle of the night shifts was what rail was all about.  Now, rail – and specifically Chicago – have become strategic. As people moved west in the good old days, Chicago became a rail hub, and it remains so today. When having supply chain network strategy discussions with clients, Chicago often arises since it connects rail across the country. Now Chicago has expanded beyond rail to become a high-tech logistics hub.  And with transportation rates tight with no end in sight, we…
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Warehousing Strategies for Success

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The Amazon Effect is creating elevated levels of stress in the warehousing and distribution world. The key question is how to provide immediate deliveries, customized service, easy returns, and more for a reduced cost – a very good question indeed! A few considerations to ponder:  Storage capacity -What is your storage capacity?  How does that compare with your requirements?  And how can you maximize what you can store in your warehouse? Flow – Are you running in circles around your warehouse to support your customers?  Similar to a manufacturing environment, flow can be an essential ingredient to warehousing success –…
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Imports & Exports: Which Companies Dominate and What are the Related Impacts?

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According to the Journal of Commerce, the U.S. imported double the amount of its exports (measured in TEU). In 2017, imports increased 6% whereas exports increased 1%.  This is quite an accomplishment since China (the top market for U.S. exports) announced an importation ban last year that cut across the various types of the top U.S. export, waste.   So, who do you think was at the top of the import list?   Walmart! The Details The largest segment of import is retail at 3.5 million TEU.  The next largest segment is foodstuffs at 700,000 TEU.  This is quickly followed by…
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APICS-IE Symposium & Key Take-Aways on GROWTH

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Our APICS Inland Empire chapter hosted the 12th executive panel and networking symposium (over 7 years) on the theme of “Managing Rapid Growth when Manufacturing and Distribution are HOT”.  We had a fabulous panel (clearly enjoying the conversation – see below) of manufacturing and supply chain CEOs and experts.  Thanks to the APICS BOD and Kash Gokli and the Harvey Mudd team for putting on such a value-packed day! Overall, we discussed the power of manufacturing and supply chain in today’s environment.  In the era of the customer, it is all about the customer experience, rapid deliveries, e-commerce and responsiveness.…
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E-Commerce is on Fire

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At the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit, there was much discussion on e-commerce.  No matter whether you are in a consumer products company (which is typically more geared to e-commerce) or if you are in aerospace, e-commerce principles and implications will affect you.  The bottom line is that we are in the era of the customer:   E-commerce is over 10% of all retail sales currently and projected to climb over 15% by 2023 – Customer responsiveness, rapid deliveries and last mile considerations will become commonplace.  China and the U.S. account for over 80% of the e-commerce growth –…
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Collaboration in the Supply Chain

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To succeed in today’s Amazonian environment, we must keep strange bedfellows.  We just love the Amazon example of innovation – partnering with the U.S. Postal service – known as one of the least-innovative organizations out there.  But it works! Who ever thought you’d see a U.S. postal service mail truck delivering on Sunday for Amazon?   At the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit, there were several intriguing collaborations:  Union Pacific and BNSF Railway – Although there was a healthy competition over resources (not surprisingly since both are experiencing a skills gap), there was also much collaboration over issues.  The…
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The Skills Gap Emerges as #1 at Prominent Supply Chain Conference

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At the Southern California Supply Chain and Logistics Summit conference, there were several keynote speakers from industry icons such as Amazon, UPS, Union Pacific and more.  One might expect quite a lot of interesting insights into the latest supply chain trends yet the most common theme among the presentations tied back to the skills gap. It boils down to having the “right people” for success – both in terms of employees and supply chain partners.           Several of the themes emerged the supply chain summit:  Automation: Friend or Foe? With the advances of automation in the…
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Amazon Prime Members Hit 100 Million

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While sitting in a conference today, I received several updates from Amazon Prime – that my mom’s subscription service to a cleaning product would be delivered; that my cat Smokey would be able to eat well this week since his food is ‘on the way’; a confirmation email for an order I placed with ‘1 click’ for a book that a colleague recommended and more. In the last week, how many of us have placed an order using Amazon Prime?  Over 100 million most likely. If we consider how often we take out our phone to order an obscure or…
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