APICS research cuts through the clutter and brings you critical ideas and innovations in supply chain management, best practices, how-to steps, and practical advice that give you and your organization a competitive advantage.
“Supply Chain Management: Beyond the Horizon” is an industry-focused initiative with research and educational components. The research was conducted by Michigan State University in conjunction with APICS.
Transportation Journal is an APICS academic journal devoted to presenting new knowledge about the supply chain, logistics and transportation fields.
APICS, through a partnership with The Manufacturing Institute, explores how manufacturing and supply chain can attract, retain and advance women.
APICS e-News covers hard-hitting topics in a quick-read format to keep professionals up-to-date on the latest supply chain news.
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This supplement to APICS magazine provides real-world information about solutions proven to enhance functions in supply chain.
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Each week, APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE, offers insights into global news and shares his exclusive commentary connecting current events with supply chain topics.
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APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE, offers his viewpoint on supply chain and the latest APICS news.
Letters to the readers of APICS magazine from Senior Managing Editor Elizabeth Rennie and other members of the editorial staff
The official APICS blog features insights, analyses and ideas from experts and APICS leaders to help advance supply chains.
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Twenty years ago, I had an opportunity to tour a number of factories in Japan. I still remember being impressed by seeing kaizen in action. According to the APICS Dictionary, kaizen is the Japanese word for improvement. More specifically, the term refers to continuing improvement involving employees in all areas and levels of the business. At the plants I visited, it seemed that everyone was involved in finding ways to improve productivity, safety and performance. In fact, the cultures of these companies were clearly built around this concept, with workers encouraged and empowered to make small improvements each day.......Read More
The airline industry is fiercely competitive and challenged by rising costs and low margins. Airlines operating in this high-risk marketplace must carefully align their business and operating models. One company working to achieve this objective is Delta Air Lines. After facing significant challenges in the early 2000s, and filing for bankruptcy protection in 2005, Delta now serves more than 180 million customers each year and is ranked as the world’s largest airline by Forbes Global 2000.......Read More
Lean manufacturing theory says that all process waste can be classified into one of seven categories: defects, overproduction, waiting, overprocessing, transportation, inventory or motion. The lean definition of waste refers to any resource or activity that is not adding customer value. Based on this, it’s easy to see how some of the things we do out in the plant and in the warehouse can be considered wasteful. For example, moving in-process work around the factory floor does not add to its value — neither does redundant or unwarranted handling or unneeded inventory.......Read More
For decades, product design, production, sale and use have followed the take, make and dispose industrial model. The manufacturing company takes natural and synthetic resources; converts them to a product; and then sells the item to a consumer, who ultimately uses and then disposes of it. In this model, products are designed to be sold at a low price, are not intended to have long lives and are difficult to service. This means that, when a product breaks, the consumer’s best — and sometimes only — option is to throw it away and buy a new one. The problem is that products that follow this model are quickly using up natural resources and polluting the environment with all types of waste.......Read More
One of my master planners recently asked me: “Are lean and six sigma supportive of each other? And how do they work within a sales and operations planning (S&OP) process model?” Despite its thorny nature, I loved the inquiry.......Read More
A regional distribution center in upstate New York supplies goods to retail outlets throughout the state. This particular distribution center largely consists of labor operations, and there is minimal use of automated storage and retrieval systems. As a result, the company had focused on achieving low costs and driving productivity through the hard work of its employees.......Read More
Most professionals will agree that a standardized approach to supply chain management should produce high volumes of a standardized product. However, this often results in localized optimization, where a particular node in the internal or external supply chain is driven toward behavior that causes pain upstream or downstream. This method also fails to address customers’ desires for flexibility in terms of product variety. Companies and consumers alike expect special treatment, but a historical high-productivity business model is too rigid to accommodate this. To best meet market demands, the supply chain field needs a more evolved operations tactic.......Read More
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
To implement lean processes properly, first identify business goals. Is the objective to reduce product surplus or improve order processing times? Is it to enhance customer experiences? No matter the goal, it must be clearly outlined.......Read More
Lean is used to describe the elimination of waste, particularly in the form of time, in favor of adding maximum value to a product or service. This is primarily accomplished by using feedback — including employee and customer responses — to address areas of inefficiency. In fact, studies have shown that an engaged employee — or one who feels valued and listened to by employers — has a direct, positive influence on profitability.......Read More
A properly conducted exercise using QFD enables businesses to determine the degree of product customization required, the necessary lead time, feature and function combinations, the degree of integration and other differentiators needed, and more key information about potential products and services......Read More
A client recently approached me about its newly acquired business unit. There was the potential to expand sales with some existing clients via new software, product, and service offerings that would satisfy an emerging niche area. This created a huge opportunity to deploy the concept globally, but company leaders weren’t sure the solutions could be scaled. Professionals knew what they wanted to offer, but they did not know how to bring a significant innovation to the marketplace.......Read More
In 2014, electronic measurement company Keysight Technologies spun off from Agilent Technologies. As a newly independent, publicly listed company, Keysight aimed to be cost competitive while making a profit and returning value to shareholders. Unfortunately, the spinoff created redundancies, duplications, and inefficiencies in its supply chain, which hindered its progress toward these goals.......Read More
Continuous improvement, at its core, involves a never-ending effort to achieve perfection. Whether focused on exposing and eliminating the root cause of a problem, identifying waste in a process, or adding customer value, it is a perpetual effort with many incremental advances that can never create a truly perfect result. Even though true perfection is impossible, those involved in continuous improvement initiatives should strive to come as close to it as possible.......Read More
With the aim of identifying potential areas for cost savings and heightening service levels, a manufacturing company recently underwent a rapid assessment of its multi-million-dollar spend for third-party logistics (3PL) services. This firm had already adopted lean operations best practices, and decision-makers now wanted to extend that lean thinking into their 3PL activities.......Read More
Supply chain professionals often are stuck making tough decisions like this one. Pleasing customers by meeting increased service demands can mean displeasing stakeholders by hurting the financial bottom line. Typically, the factors considered in any business decision include short-term, long-term, and lost opportunity costs; level of consensus among team members; and alignment to organizational strategy. ......Read More
In 2015, a small team of lean leaders at the Customer & Logistics Services-North America (CLS-NA) group of Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems wanted to develop a network of professionals focused on continuous improvement. The members of this network would use lean principles and practices in order to bring about meaningful, positive effects on the customer experience, operational capabilities, compliance, and the bottom line. ......Read More
Companies often worry about whether it is easy enough for a customer to buy a product, resolve an issue, find an answer, or complete a related task. ......Read More
Lean is an everyday term in the supply chain management realm. According to the APICS Dictionary, lean describes production that “emphasizes the minimization of the amount of all the resources (including time) used in the various activities of the enterprise.” I, however, am not a supply chain manager, and before now, I understood only the basics of lean. But I recently became interested in learning more.......Read More
We’re in business for our customers, right? And yet all the time we see dismal statistics about companies failing to focus on the customer experience. ......Read More
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