Supply Chain Management

MetaExpert Joe Uses Teamwork to Solve Order Fulfillment Problems
Situation MetaExperts Joe was brought on board to help a large lead-acid battery manufacturer suffering from conflicting planning, organizational consensus, and performance gaps. He determined that the main issues stemmed from: Differing objectives and forecasts between Sales, Finance and Supply Chain  Performance gaps were not readily identified and addressed Risks were not consistently identified and resolved Unexpected gaps in the planning Actions To address these problems, Joe introduced a robust Sales and Operations Planning process. This process creates a collaborative effort between all business units with a monthly cadence of meetings and events. On a regular basis, balanced supply and demand plans are determined, inventory is optimized, and risk, opportunities, and gaps are determined with actionable counter-measures.  Results Through the process of consensus building, meeting facilitation, and supply planning, MetaExpert Joe was able to implement a collaborative planning process. The company achieved the following results: Inventory turns improved by 18%.…
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Supply Chain Shipping MetaExperts
This post offers Part 2 of a two-part series about some anecdotal scenarios where some of the main principles of supply chain management are demonstrated. While real-life can be much more complicated than these anecdotal stories, the lessons are clear. Lesson 6: Bottlenecks exist, and they may cause supply chain issues through no fault of your own. In Part One, we discussed how clearing customs issues could create problems that can have solutions to avoiding bottlenecks at the border. But sometimes uncontrollable events can create a damaging bottleneck. Shipping requires various forms of transportation such as by sea, air, rail, and truck. Each of these forms regularly has accidents and breakdowns that-at the wrong time-can do some serious damage to the last mile effort. The supply manager can’t foresee any such events, but the time is approaching when new big data programs will help prognosticate accident probabilities, but before that…
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Meeting Supply Chain Mistakes MetaExperts
We all learn from our mistakes. But it’s always better to learn from the mistakes of others. The following short supply chain stories each have something to help the Supply Chain Manager. Lesson 1: Priorities differ – a disaster for one business can be a success for another. One of the most pressing decisions supply chain managers face daily is how much inventory to order? It’s a “goldilocks” sort of target: Not too much….but not too little…but just right. In other words, managers try to avoid spending too much without creating a shortage of inventory in case things get tight. Most companies have different priorities at different times. Take, for example, the time a famous hotel brand created a champagne disaster during new year celebrations. Likewise, when a restaurant runs out of the main ingredients that constitute its flagship offering. Customers either “go with the flow” or go…to competitors.   …
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Industry 4.0 Technology
In a recent survey, 76% of manufacturers said they would increase their investment and use of smart devices or embedded intelligent into the manufacturing processes within the next few years. In the same survey, 66% of the manufacturing CEOs expect to increase profitability through the use of new technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) within the next five years. According to these results, Industry 4.0 is being adopted far and wide. So, what do they know that you don’t? Advances in Technology are happening at a rapid pace, and it takes special attention to not only understand how new technology functions but also how it can actually help. Indeed, is it hype or help? From a CEO’s point of view, how new technology works is secondary to how adoption could impact the company and its bottom-line. What to consider before adopting Industry 4.0 Most investigations have shown there are…
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Doug Sartain
It’s important to keep your drivers happy and your fleet happy as this infographic about the high cost of employing (and losing) a truck driver shows. Here’s how I help fleets perform and maintain loyalty: Make the driver part of the solution, and not part of the problem. I ask drivers for their input on what the company can do better. When they have an idea, I run with it as long as it does not negatively affect a customer, company policy, cost control, safety etc. I always say, “I will let a driver win a battle as long as the company wins the war”. So even if I do not agree with the idea, I will implement it as long as it is not detrimental. If the idea works, I let everyone know which driver thought of it. You can never take credit for an idea that is not…
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Hands of a formally dressed man chained together
The biggest challenge I encounter in achieving supply chain excellence is that many organizations believe they are powerless when it comes to working with their suppliers.  The typical beliefs I encounter are: “we aren’t big enough to have any leverage”, “we can’t control what our suppliers do”, and “implementing a Lean supply chain will increase our costs”.  Interestingly, most organizations feel the same way toward managing their customers as well.  It is this victim mentality that prevents many companies from achieving operational excellence. The root cause of these limiting beliefs usually comes down to two critical factors: 1) not fully understanding what a Lean supply chain actually is, and 2) not understanding how to “sell it”, in other words, how to demonstrate how it will help the supplier to be more competitive and then use that as part of the negotiating process. To overcome these limiting beliefs, I focus on…
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businessman writing Supply Chain and drawing some sketches
My perspective is that obstacles to supply chain operational excellence occur in business when there is a lack of alignment between people’s measure of success.  In most organizations communication is a fundamental area that almost always requires work and improvement. In those undergoing significant change this comes to light and is amplified, creating confusion and other feelings that often get in the way of the improvement process.  Ensuring that the entire value stream is aligned and that ownership is established with a minimum of silos is critical to success in achieving operational excellence, not just improvements. I like to refer to what we most often experience in this regard as “islands of success in a sea of waste”.  Unless there is alignment which is often associated with Hoshin Kanri or Strategy Deployment, there will be a lot of good work that can go to waste because of the communication and…
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