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Supply Chain

  • 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

  • Making Better Supply Chain Decisions

    • Jonathan Thatcher
    January/February 2017

    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

  • 10 Retail Replenishment Musts

    • Wambui N. Gathu
    January/February 2017

    Replenishment managers are responsible for ensuring that items are replaced the moment they leave shelves—whether they have been purchased by an end customer or removed by a retail professional because of damage or age. At the heart of this effort is inventory management, as replenishment managers walk that very thin and precarious line between stockout and oversupply.......Read More

  • Supporting Sustainable Business

    What makes supply chain professionals so special?
    • Philip E. Quigley
    November/December 2016

    I’m teaching two classes in supply chain management this semester— one graduate and one undergraduate. My students and I have been discussing how supply chain can make the key difference in how a company performs. During these dialogues, it gradually dawned on me that I was seeing supply chain in a different light. In particular, I was starting to better understand how it all fits together and how we industry professionals set strategic goals that enable our organizations to make products that meet requirements and delight customers.......Read More

  • Supply Chain Ripple Effect

    Broad-ranging strengths can build exponentially
    • Judith M. Whipple
    • Patricia J. Daugherty
    November/December 2016

    In previous “Beyond the Horizon” departments, we have discussed phase one of an APICS and Michigan State University research project that involved insights from more than 50 in-depth interviews.......Read More

  • Exploring Supply Chain Cost Drivers

    Proven methods for making your process better, faster, and cheaper
    • Gary A. Smith
    July/August 2016

    How do you describe and identify a cost driver? Most supply chain and operations management professionals probably have their own definitions and examples. In the APICS Dictionary, 14th edition, “cost driver” is synonymous with “driver” and is defined as, “In activity-based costing, an operation that influences the quantity of work required and cost of an activity.”......Read More

  • Touting Supply Chain Value

    Great leaders make the most of their circles of influence
    • Gary A. Smith
    March/April 2016

    In many organizations, supply chain management is viewed as an administrative function. In such instances, it’s typically the operations division that receives the lion’s share of the budget, capital funding, and upper management attention. However, as supply chain professionals, we know that our activities add value and that implementing supply chain best practices positively affects the bottom line. We also understand that, by balancing demand and supply and keeping inventory low and fill rates high, our companies can significantly reduce total costs. This is not lost on our counterparts in operations or on executive managers. Yet, these colleagues do need to be reminded from time to time about the benefits effective supply chain management provides. This is where we must become skilled, passionate lobbyists for our own cause. We must learn to tout supply chain influence.......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

  • The Stagnant Supplier Relationship Risk

    A small time investment goes a long way
    • Jonathan Thatcher
    September/October 2015

    Reader R.C. writes: My company has long-established dealings with a fairly important supplier. However, it’s more of a history of transactions than what I would call a good relationship. My team and I worry about supplier risk management if we keep going as we are now. We also see potential for great mutual business improvements. What can we try?......Read More

  • Transportation and Logistics Remain Relevant

    Smart supply chain professionals make the most of these resources
    • Dave Turbide
    September/October 2015

    When APICS was founded, the organization’s original logo was a stylized representation of an automobile rear axle and differential. About 60 years later, the movement of products from point A to point B (and often back to point A again) via planes, trains, trucks, and more remains an integral part of supply chain and operations management. ......Read More

  • All Things, All Ways, All Places

    Omnichannel commerce takes your supply chain everywhere
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    September/October 2015

    Omnichannel commerce involves merging all types of retail channels in order to create a truly seamless shopping experience. Today’s consumers are ever-more focused on convenience and seeking connectivity between their virtual and in-store shopping experiences.......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

  • Buyer Aware

    Expert purchasing professionals earn recognition
    • Mark S. Miller
    May/June 2015

    Most company leaders believe purchasing’s primary objective to be cost reduction. Some buyers assume that getting low prices from their suppliers is the only way to achieve this goal. However, there are five other important aspects of a purchaser’s job that can significantly affect the bottom line.......Read More

  • Watch Rates with Interest

    Changes influence inventory costs and practices
    • Jonathan Thatcher
    May/June 2015

    Reader A.R. writes: “Our financial team says interest rates may begin to rise this year and that we should plan accordingly. How could rising interest rates affect supply chains and supply chain management?......Read More

  • Complications and Complexities

    Evaluating the intricacy and opportunity in supplier relationships
    • Jonathan Thatcher
    January/February 2015

    Complexity theory assists the study of human and organic systems in areas such as traffic and crowd management; organizational behavior; economics; computing; and, more recently, supply chain management.......Read More

  • One Sheep, Two Sheep …

    A supply chain leader recounts his fears
    • Gary A. Smith
    September/October 2014

    I feel quite confident that I—someone in the public sector—can and do relate to the typical APICS audience. What keeps me up at night is the same stuff all supply chain executives worry about.......Read More

  • The Connected Reality

    Exploring the internet of things and its supply chain prospects
    • Richard E. Crandall
    September/October 2014

    There are about seven billion humans living today, and about one-third use the internet. However, the number of consumer products and devices in use is even greater. What if all these products, or even just a piece of them, were connected to the internet? That’s a lot of data.......Read More

  • Advance Your Business

    Strategic thinking keeps you a step ahead
    • John Richardson
    • Eric Lail
    September/October 2014

    Strategic thinking is a critical business skill sought by organizations of all types and sizes, but particularly by those in highly competitive and fast-changing business landscapes. ......Read More

  • Making International Connections

    • Jonathan Thatcher
    July/August 2014

    Frequently, nations use their networks of embassies around the world to promote domestic economic growth, offering networking and trade events for home businesses. Consider participating in these events, or find ones hosted by other nations whose markets interest you.......Read More

  • Reframe, Realign, and Realize the Value

    Tips for consumer products supply chain success
    • John Larsen
    March/April 2014

    Consumer packaged goods (CPG) supply chain leaders seek to maximize collaboration, fine-tune demand management, reduce procurement and operating costs, and boost margins. Yet, for more than 20 years, there have been no major movements in associated key performance indicators (KPIs) or benchmarks. ......Read More

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