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Improvement Methodologies and Measuring Success

  • Better, Faster, Stronger

    The critical skills people need to thrive in the global economy
    • Philip E. Quigley
    May/June 2015

    Over the last several weeks, my students and I have been discussing the new global marketplace and what businesses must do to survive and prosper. When these young people graduate and enter the job market, their world is going to be full of danger and opportunity.......Read More

  • Two Supply Chains, One Common Purpose

    APICS education helps MillerCoors gain alignment
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    May/June 2015

    The Customer Supply Chain (CSC) organization at MillerCoors is responsible for creating the demand and supply plans and managing fulfilment processes, including Customer Relations and logistics. As a joint venture between two brewing companies, CSC employees must successfully operate dual supply chains—each with its own methods, structures, and languages.......Read More

  • See What’s Inside

    Gaining a clearer picture of the Food Safety Modernization Act
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    March/April 2015

    Each year, foodborne illnesses afflict 48 million Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 128,000 of those people are hospitalized and 3,000 die. This is a major public health issue, which leaders at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say is largely preventable—if the global food supply chain is able to control the hazards that can cause sickness.......Read More

  • The Agile Supply Chain

    Responding to demand and variability yields real results
    • Simon Eagle
    • John Earley
    March/April 2015

    The theories behind physics and mathematics, tested over years of practice, form the foundation of supply chain and operations management. But sometimes even the basic principles are lost in the day-to-day realities of running a business.......Read More

  • Completing the Link

    Consider drum-buffer-rope to limit inventory issues
    • William A. Levinson
    March/April 2015

    While containing an issue and eliminating an issue are different things, containment does help keep the problem from getting worse. This is the benefit of drum-buffer-rope (DBR) production control, a system that has held its own as a method for scheduling and managing operations that have an internal constraint or capacity-constrained resource (CCR). ......Read More

  • Balancing Your Operational Choices

    Keep both efficiency and effectiveness in mind
    • Dave Turbide
    March/April 2015

    One of the topics APICS magazine discussed recently was the evolution of lean manufacturing from efficient to effective. It got me thinking: We talk about process and performance improvement a lot, but how often do we think about what that really means? ......Read More

  • Understanding the Experience You Provide

    Why continual customer focus is essential
    • Annette Franz
    March/April 2015

    By now, you’re likely aware of all the buzz surrounding Customer Relationships Team and you’ve heard about the importance of focusing on the customer. Customer Relationships Team is, in a nutshell, the sum of all interactions someone has with your organization over the life of the relationship. ......Read More

  • Systematic Advancement for Tough Problems

    Identifying and applying the right process improvement methods
    • Eric P. Jack
    • John P. Collins
    March/April 2015

    We’ve all heard the famous slogan “there’s an app for that.” As more and more people around the globe make use of the mounting list of application software, the providers of such tools will no doubt continue to devise solutions to enhance our lives. As supply chain and operations management professionals, we are similarly focused on enhancing business processes, so perhaps our mantra should be “there’s a process for that.” Better yet: “There’s an improved process for that.” ......Read More

  • Steady Supply and Demand

    Striking an innovative balance with APICS principles
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    March/April 2015

    PEER Bearing is a manufacturer and global supplier of ball and roller bearing solutions. Its target industries include electrical, industrial transmission, material handling, and more. The company offers a full line of agricultural, radial, and mounted unit ball and tapered roller bearings. ......Read More

  • Tiny Triumphs, Breakthrough Results

    Discovering the bond between continuous improvement and accelerated value stream mapping
    • Terence T. Burton
    January/February 2015

    How much real value exists in your value stream mapping process? Despite its general simplicity and many benefits, organizations often fail to use value stream mapping to its full potential.......Read More

  • Catching Lean's Drift

    The essential message of time-based competition
    • Richard Schonberger
    January/February 2015

    It happens during so many major management initiatives: A set of core concepts and methods attracts supporters until it becomes a bandwagon.......Read More

  • New Mind-Set

    Rewarding honesty is an effective tactic
    • Philip E. Quigley
    September/October 2014

    In my classes at California State University at Fullerton, I’ve been discussing the quality problems at the General Motors and US Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. ......Read More

  • Unintended Consequences

    Proven approaches when anticipating the worst
    • Eric P. Jack
    • John P. Collins
    September/October 2014

    An unintended consequence can be good or bad. But it’s the bad ones, of course, that cause supply chain and operations management professionals the most grief. ......Read More

  • Sprucing Up S&OP

    Kaizen brings a shiny new process
    • Jenny Schneider
    July/August 2014

    In the last edition of this department, we discussed determining if your sales and operations planning (S&OP) needs a revamp, reawakening, or reboot. Now, it’s time to use kaizen to make the desired improvements, keeping in mind that even successful processes can move to the next level with some simple strategies.......Read More

  • The Next Wave of Sourcing

    Responding to the limitations of offshoring
    • Richard E. Crandall
    May/June 2014

    “Best,” “in,” “near,” “next,” “off,” “on,” “out,” “re,” “right,” and “smart.” What do these terms have in common? They are all modern prefixes that can be applied to “shoring.”......Read More

  • IT’s Not Always Easy

    Giving operations and technology professionals a shared vision
    • Ron Crabtree
    May/June 2014

    How can information technology (IT) interact synergistically with lean six sigma and operational excellence? In the last decade, there have been many changes to the way people do things in the IT world. ......Read More

  • Talking Shop

    The value of people in the know
    • Philip E. Quigley
    May/June 2014

    In today’s wired-together world, there often is a reluctance to travel and a tendency to rely on web-based utilities such as Skype to bring teams together. ......Read More

  • A Philosophy of Successful Solutions

    Creating a culture of performance
    • Eric P. Jack
    • John P. Collins
    May/June 2014

    There are three broad management approaches that companies use to respond to today’s increasingly challenging global supply chains: continuous improvement efforts; real-time information technology solutions; and enhanced collaboration, both on the front and back ends of the supply chain.......Read More

  • A Continuous Process Improvement Case Study

    Demonstrating the integrated theory of constraints in the real world
    • Vladimir Plaza
    • João Luiz Simões Neves
    • Srinivasan Kannappan
    • Evandro Diniz
    • Celso Calia
    March/April 2014

    The integrated theory of constraints is a union of the traditional theory of constraints (TOC), lean, and six sigma, and thus often is referred to as iTLS. It is a continuous process improvement methodology created by operations expert and author Reza Pirasteh. The goal is to help organizations deliver their best productive potential by optimizing process efficiency and profitability, as well as aligning products and services.......Read More

  • Consideration and Compromise

    The importance of achieving consensus
    • Eric P. Jack
    • John P. Collins
    March/April 2014

    We supply chain and operations management people are expected to understand the nuances of lean production, inventory management, and sundry other concepts within our domain of expertise. Because many of us are deeply involved in continuous improvement activities, we also are supposed to be fairly adept at various quality and project management fundamentals.......Read More