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  • AT&T Demonstrates Sustainability Progress

    • Jennifer Proctor
    November/December 2017

    Telecom and technology giant AT&T has been around for 141 years. Although the company operates in more than 200 countries and acquires an average of five patents a day, its leaders know continued success depends on sustainability. And from there, it’s a short leap to supply chain, which they recognize is central to any sustainability initiative.......Read More

  • Making Cities Smart

    • Jennifer Proctor
    November/December 2017

    Cities are getting smart, partly because of the rise of cloud computing and the internet of things (IOT). City administrators are starting to use IOT data to run their operations and help improve residents’ environments and lives. AT&T is doing more than taking note of this trend; it’s working with city officials in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and other cities through its Smart Cities solutions.......Read More

  • Competition Is the Key to Supply Chain Success

    • Gary A. Smith
    September/October 2017

    Competition is the soul of capitalism. Without competition, growth and improvement are impossible. Those organizations that are successful in the long run know how to compete in their markets. Innovation, team spirit and perseverance are direct results of that expertise.......Read More

  • Smart Leaders Enable Collaborative Design

    • Philip E. Quigley
    September/October 2017

    Spanish clothing and accessories retailer Zara has been mentioned in this department frequently in the past few years. The company is famous for being able to receive an idea from a retail store manager and, as little as two weeks later, have the new product available for purchase. This continuous flow of new designs — rather than characteristic seasonal releases — is transforming the fast-fashion industry.......Read More

  • Control Unruly Parts Lists with Kitting

    • Randall Schaefer
    September/October 2017

    I once had a long-term consulting assignment with a manufacturer of large-vehicle chassis. The chassis were sold to motor-home manufacturers that would add the bodies and interior accessories. Each chassis consisted of the frame, engine, axle, transmission, brakes, electricals and anything else necessary for safe and legal driving.......Read More

  • Pull System Triggers Optimal Planning and Replenishment

    • Ron Crabtree
    September/October 2017

    Many years ago, when I was an automotive industry plant materials manager, I faced a big challenge. My company’s enterprise resources planning (ERP) system was failing us miserably with regard to our expendable packaging. Although we had initially been very successful at implementing a fully integrated ERP system driven by forecasts, material requirements planning and bills of material, it was discovered that pallets, corrugated boxes, dunnage and other packaging items were essentially impossible to plan for.......Read More

  • Demolish Silos in Total Quality Management

    • Pamela J. Zelbst
    • Kenneth W. Green Jr.
    • Victor E. Sower
    September/October 2017

    Supply chain managers know that the integrated nature of 21st century supply chains requires the breaking down of operational silos to build a connected, effective entity. Different players within the supply chain must be aware of each other’s functions and activities and how these connect to their own roles. In this way, the entire supply chain can ensure that it is working toward a common goal and cooperating on the best way to reach it.......Read More

  • From Soap to Hope

    Simple solutions to complex problems
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    September/October 2017

    According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 billion people do not have access to clean sanitation, and 1.8 million children die every year because their immune systems are not strong enough to battle diseases — many of which could easily be prevented with soap. In fact, simple handwashing cuts morbidity rates by nearly 50 percent. Sicknesses related to contaminated water supplies and poor hygiene most often plague poor, war-torn regions or those in the wake of a natural disaster.......Read More

  • Engagement and Empowerment Mastery for Happier Supply Chains

    • Terence T. Burton
    July/August 2017

    Better employee engagement and empowerment remain a mirage for many organizations. Most executives are committed intellectually to these goals; however, on a day-to-day basis, these professionals tend to push cultural niceties further down the list of immediate priorities. Plus, too often businesses ripple through cycles of engagement and empowerment that turn out to be unsustainable.......Read More

  • The Supply Chain-Finance Connection

    • Gary A. Smith
    July/August 2017

    Recently, I was part of an APICS job task analysis committee for the Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution designation. At one point, we developed an elevator speech to describe supply chain management. After a couple of revisions, it looked like this: “Every organization has a supply chain. The most effective and efficient ones are closed-loop systems for moving, storing and configuring products, starting with raw materials and ending with a satisfied customer. Whether information or physical goods, nothing happens until something moves.”......Read More

  • Could Blockchains Help Uncover Product Pasts?

    • Richard E. Crandall
    March/April 2017

    As a supply chain manager, wouldn’t you like to know everything about your products’ histories, including the origin of individual materials at the mine or farm, who fabricated or assembled each item, how and when the products were transported, who approved or certified their quality, and dozens of other bits of information? Of course you would. But most companies have too many products, and most supply chains are too complex, to track completely and with 100 percent certainty.......Read More

  • Certified Suppliers Keep Sourcing Efforts on Track

    • Kris Beck
    March/April 2017

    Historically, the relationship between a company and its sup- pliers sat somewhere along a continuum from a mutually beneficial strategic partnership to an adversarial dynamic in which buyers squeezed suppliers to achieve the lowest possible pricing. However, for the past 30 years or so, the best companies have been embracing an approach first modeled by Toyota Motor Corporation that takes a strategic view of supplier relationships and continuous improvement and leverages the competitive advantages that can only be achieved by working closely with suppliers. These businesses have discovered that engaging suppliers as collaborators—instead of adversaries—enables their supply chains to operate more effectively.......Read More

  • Mission-Critical S&OP

    Raytheon enhances integration, inspires learning, and boosts the bottom line
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    July/August 2016

    Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) has 28 locations worldwide producing weapons, sensors, and integration tools that support mission-critical areas including air and missile defense; land- and sea-based radar; naval ship operating systems; command, control, communication, computer, surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence systems; and other advanced technologies. In addition, IDS offers air traffic management solutions, sonars, and torpedoes.......Read More

  • Demand-Driven, Collaborative People Supply Chains

    A trend in IT could benefit many
    • Atish Dasgupta
    • Ravichandran Guruswamy
    • V.G. Venkatesh
    January/February 2016

    Today’s business professionals are heightening their focus on the value of human resources, proper people acquisition, and their optimal allocation to various projects. Smart company leaders recognize that employees are the most effective means to combat complexity, competition, shortened life cycles, risk, inefficiencies, cost pressures, and ever-intensifying customer requirements. As a result, more organizations are enjoying the significant benefits that can be gained by superior planning and management of their “people supply chains.”......Read More

  • Dismantle the Battle Stations

    Easing the sources of conflict between supply chain and technology functions
    • David Aquino
    September/October 2012

    At many organizations, the IT and supply chain partnership has become a competition. Acknowledging the limitations and constraints of outsourcing and redefining operating strategy between supply chain and IT are two ways to move forward. ......Read More

  • Meaningful Lessons from Apple

    The value of integrating innovation and operations
    • Philip E. Quigley
    January/February 2012

    Apple would not be where it is today without also having a superb operations and supply chain management organization. There are valuable lessons therein, which every operations or supply chain management professional should learn.......Read More

  • A Brilliant Hue

    Using red teams to challenge your processes
    • Philip E. Quigley
    March/April 2011

    Red teams are groups of subject matter experts with various, appropriate backgrounds who review products and processes, act as devil’s advocate, and role-play potential actions of outside agencies. Can companies use red teams to adapt new ideas? ......Read More