Category: Supply Chain Management

What Tours Have You Gone on Lately?

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In the last month, I have attended quite a few tours of manufacturing and distribution operations.  The pictures below were taken at an APICS Inland Empire and ProVisors tour of Southwest Traders Foodservice Distribution and Do It American Manufacturing.  Both were excellent.  And I walked away with great tips! Tours are a great way to see different ways of doing business and gain insights and ideas to apply in your company.  I find that what I see and learn will provide value to clients somewhere down the line.  As often as I hear clients request a consultant with knowledge in their specific industry,…
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How You Learn More By Teaching

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If you want to learn, teach! Recently I taught a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) class for my APICS Inland Empire Chapter, and it reminded me of this fact.  In order to teach anything (whether in a classroom or one-on-one), you need to brush up on the subject matter and think about examples, case studies or metaphors you can use to explain the concepts.  TAs my consulting mentor always says, he learns more than the students when he teaches. Which topics should you become proficient in to enable success? What have you taught lately?   One tip to implement this…
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What’s Next in the Supply Chain?

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Our most successful clients always ask “What’s next?” as they want to stay ahead of the curve.  It is quite clear that staying on top of current trends and what is expected down-the-road is essential to successfully navigating your business to scalable, profitable growth. For example, if you think your industry might develop a new way of servicing customers, you need to attack it quickly as you afford to be left in the dust.  Clearly, providing an exceptional customer experience is important but so is developing this new service method in a scalable, profitable way. It will be much harder if…
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Conflict & Collaboration in the Supply Chain

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Have you thought about the role of conflict and collaboration in the supply chain?  When thinking of supply chain from creation to customer, there are many links and connections.  In the current supply chain model, there are connections between and among suppliers, transportation partners, manufacturers, outside processors, distributors, customers, end consumers, and much more. Within any of these connection points, there are another set of links and connections between new product development/ R&D, sales, operations, finance, HR/ staffing, and any more.  Given the sheer number of variations of connections, it becomes a critical link in achieving success. Therefore, the concepts…
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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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