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Improvement Methodologies and Measuring Success

  • Combat Operational Complexity

    Improve performance with a supply chain responsiveness matrix
    • Eric P. Jack
    • John P. Collins
    January/February 2016

    An essential aspect of operations management is, of course, supply chain management. As such, there are valuable tools professionals can use to measure supply chain performance with respect to inventory availability and lead time. One such device is the supply chain responsiveness matrix, which is a value stream mapping tool.......Read More

  • The Key to the Supply Chain

    Unlock potential with logistics, transportation, and distribution
    • Gary A. Smith
    January/February 2016

    Readers of the “Executive View” department are aware that my division, supply logistics, is the logistics, transportation, and distribution arm of New York City Transit (NYCT). My team and I are responsible for receiving, warehousing, transporting, distributing, and issuing material used in the repair of the city’s subway cars, buses, and infrastructure. Additionally, we are a repository for all NYCT resiliency materials.......Read More

  • Reaching for Change

    Operational improvement from basics to blazing trails
    • Brian Mendoza Dominguez
    January/February 2016

    Making changes in the workplace can be a solitary endeavor. Whether it’s replacing a manual task with a robot or revising the whole supply chain strategy, planting the seeds for change and finding support for the initiative tend to be viewed as affronts to current practice. And when support finally does come for the shift, it often ends with mediocrity or even total failure.......Read More

  • And Here's the Pitch

    Three straightforward steps to gaining project support
    • Ron Crabtree
    November/December 2015

    I remember the first time I tried to get management to approve and back a project. I was a plant manager at the tender age of 26. Our business was in a highly competitive industry, so my colleagues and I scrapped for every penny and advantage we could find. The company's owner, the controller, the vice president of sales, and I composed the team. ......Read More

  • Data Defense

    APICS helps Seagate safeguard valuable information
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    November/December 2015

    The volume of data in our world grows so quickly that it's impossible to pinpoint exactly how much information is out there needing to be securely stored and accessed. In fact, experts say that 90 percent of all data has been generated just in the past few years—largely a result of trends such as mobile phone saturation, the upsurge in big data, and the rise of the internet of things.......Read More

  • Part Number Overload

    APICS principles help control the chaos
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    September/October 2015

    Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is one of five Lockheed Martin business areas. The professionals at MFC design, develop, manufacture, and support advanced combat, missile, rocket, manned, and unmanned systems for NASA, the US Air Force, the US Army, the US Marine Corps, the US Navy, and numerous foreign allies. MFC also provides a wide range of products and services to the global civil nuclear power industry and military green power initiatives. ......Read More

  • Solving Project Puzzles

    Essential tools help piece together transformation success
    • Ron Crabtree
    September/October 2015

    The last “Lean Culture” discussed tips and strategies for coordinating the APICS body of knowledge, the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model, and lean six sigma. Unfortunately, these methodologies all too often are used in isolation, neglecting significant potential benefits. ......Read More

  • Changing the Conversation

    Essential messages about supply chain success
    • Gary A. Smith
    September/October 2015

    There is an old saying, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” The maxim gained renewed popularity recently thanks to “Mad Men” character Don Draper, a fictional advertising industry groundbreaker who knows the importance of getting consumers to focus on positive aspects of products and to disregard certain others.......Read More

  • The Insomnia Question

    New research reveals what keeps supply chain managers up at night
    • Patricia J. Daugherty
    • David Closs
    September/October 2015

    The Beyond the Horizon research project investigates current supply chain practices and identifies what assets and tactics supply chain executives think will be required to compete. During the more than 50 in-depth interviews with hundreds of executives, one key discussion topic was what keeps them awake at night. ......Read More

  • Looking Inward

    External customer satisfaction requires internal focus
    • Iris Nielsen
    September/October 2015

    The ability to truly delight external customers starts well before a product is out the door or the final service is rendered. Rather, it involves the essential, interdependent accomplishments of all members of a company’s internal supply chain.......Read More

  • Spanning the Supply Chain

    Talent is essential to end-to-end success
    • Patricia J. Daugherty
    • David Closs
    July/August 2015

    Supply chain and operations managers too often find that their processes fall short of goals and fail to deliver anticipated customer and partner value. Beyond the Horizon seeks to identify and examine strategies for overcoming these challenges. ......Read More

  • Fine-Tuning Conflict Resolution

    Military base uses drum-buffer-rope to achieve the right mix
    • J. Brian Atwater
    • Satya S. Chakravorty
    July/August 2015

    A well-organized production planning and control system has many potential applications beyond simply scheduling a manufactured product through a factory. With a little creativity, the same concepts can be applied to improve the performance of just about any process. ......Read More

  • Try This Addition

    Combine conventional metrics to pinpoint areas for improvement
    • Andrew J. Creager
    July/August 2015

    There are still many companies that do not measure the supply chain as a single unit. Instead, it is common for a business to keep one set of metrics for its suppliers and a separate set of metrics for its internal operations, without ever combining the two to form a single criterion.......Read More

  • Fueling the Future with APICS

    GE Oil and Gas pioneers a winning innovation
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    July/August 2015

    GE Oil and Gas created its Turbomachinery Solutions (TMS) and Downstream Technology Solutions (DTS) business units in 1994 when the company acquired Nuovo Pignone, a manufacturer of turbomachinery equipment. Since then, the organization has continued to expand through internal growth and further acquisitions. Today, it includes business units across all sectors of the oil and gas industry. ......Read More

  • The New Product Challenge

    Tactics for surviving the next decade of innovation
    • Philip E. Quigley
    July/August 2015

    Recently, I’ve been struck by the number of companies publicly discussing their aggressive new product development plans. General Motors has announced that its Cadillac branch will introduce about one new automobile per year for the next decade. Ford intends to rebuild its Lincoln division with a series of new cars.......Read More

  • The Fifth Element

    Are upgraded skills the latest defense against your competition?
    • Eric P. Jack
    • John P. Collins
    July/August 2015

    For many years now, supply chain and operations management professionals have known that competitive advantage is largely influenced by speed, cost, and quality. More recently, industry professionals recognized the need for a fourth capability: the flexibility necessary to respond to changing customer demand. It now may be time for companies to redirect resources toward a fifth key element of operations-based competitive advantage: the technical skills of their employees. ......Read More

  • Harmonious Performance Improvement

    Coordinating the APICS body of knowledge, lean six sigma, and SCOR
    • Ron Crabtree
    July/August 2015

    I recently became an APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR)-Professional (SCOR-P). While pursuing the endorsement, I sought out the opinions of many clients on how best practices from the APICS body of knowledge (BOK) and lean six sigma could be incorporated with SCOR in order to boost improvements. ......Read More

  • And Then There Were Nine

    (With all respect to Shingo)
    • Donald H. Sheldon
    May/June 2015

    I first saw Shigeo Shingo—the master of lean manufacturing and Toyota waste reduction—at an APICS annual conference many years ago. ......Read More

  • People Power for Tactical Success

    S&OP and hoshin planning point employees in the right direction
    • Bharani Ranganathan
    May/June 2015

    Organizations seeking to improve their planning methods aren’t limited to following a single path. Sales and operations planning (S&OP) combined with hoshin planning principles is a unique new device in the toolbox.......Read More

  • Advancing S&OP with SCOR

    Discover a proven process for integrating all levels of the organization
    • Peter Murray
    May/June 2015

    Over the last decade, my team’s sales and operations planning (S&OP) efforts have focused on development and performance both within the organization and universally. In that time, we have made some important realizations.......Read More