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Thinking Supply Chain

Insights, analysis and ideas to advance your supply chain.
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  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Protecting and Preserving

    On the surface, it might seem that supply chains don’t have anything to do with tigers. However, Lumber Liquidators is learning a hard lesson that sourcing wood from the habitats of endangered Siberian tigers in Southeast Asia—and then claiming the timber came Germany—is bad for the bottom line and illegal.
  • Posted by
    Bob Collins
    APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

    I Want My CSCP!

    I often get asked about APICS Certifications – an occupational hazard when working for APICS - and I’m always glad to talk about them. Earning the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) in 1992 opened up a world of opportunity for me and super-charged my career, eventually bringing me to work for APICS as the Sr. Director of Professional Development in late 2006. I earned my CFPIM (“Certified Fellow”), was Certified in Integrated Resource Management (CIRM) in 1998 and earned my Certified in Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) during the first exam in early 2006.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Production Cuts

    This year, Boeing will produce fewer 747s—nicknamed the “Queen of the Skies”—than it has since the plane’s introduction in the mid-1960s. The company will cut production to six jets a year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Two factors are prompting these reductions: the continued decline of the jumbo jet and decreased demand for global air freight.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 8

    In the previous blog, it was stated that push channel replenishment is driven by two factors: First, channel replenishment was calculated by forecasting channel demand at the aggregate level. This task is usually performed weekly or monthly. Product is then pushed from the manufacturer or DC to downstream channel echelons using some form of replenishment algorithm based on the forecast.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Eating Healthfully and Safely

    Ice cream, cucumbers, chicken salad, and burritos are just some of the foods blamed for causing illnesses and deaths in the United States in the last year. The media and public attention to food safety calls to light important and unique aspects of the food supply chain. Earlier this month, The Washington Post drew attention to the topic in “‘What Can We Do Better?’ Trying to Make the Nation’s Food Safer in 2016.”
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 7

    In this edition of the on-going blog on “push” and “pull,” we will start a detailed examination of the push replenishment system. The previous blog defined the push system in distribution as “a system for replenishing field warehouse inventories where replenishment decision making is centralized, usually at the manufacturing site or central supply facility (APICS Dictionary).”
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    Joining supply chain leaders to share best practices for embracing modern technologies including cloud, Internet of Things and mobility   

    The APICS Corporate Development team is gearing up to attend Oracle’s Modern Supply Chain Experience in San Jose, California, January 25-27, 2016. If you know APICS, you know we’re all about best practices – we set the global standard for them in the supply chain world. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to address supply chain innovators and leaders gathering at this event and will be talking to them about how to embrace modern best practices for supply chain excellence.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Sweetening the Deal: How Hostess Improved its Supply Chain

    If you live in the United States, you probably remember that grim time in 2012 when Hostess ceased its production of such American favorites as Twinkies, Cup Cakes, Ding Dongs, and Ho Hos. Major news outlets reported the corporate bankruptcy and resulting dearth of snack cakes. Consumers clamored in the stores and at online auctions for what they thought were the last yields of the beloved brand. But, Hostess had a “second act” under new ownership, and Forbes Contributor Steve Banker reports that its new model incorporates an entirely new supply chain.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    For-Profit Sustainability

    In the articles of Supply Chain Management Now as well as throughout APICS, we’ve been exploring sustainability and corporate social responsibility as they relate to supply chain and operations management. An article by Futerra CEO Freya Williams in The Guardian asks and answers a common question: “What’s the business case for sustainability?” Her reply: “A billion dollars.”
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    A Resolution You Can Count On

    By now we’ve celebrated, we’ve reminisced, we’ve toasted the year, and we’ve probably given some thought to our New Year’s resolutions. If some of you haven’t, though, you’re not alone. The Washington Post reported early last year that just less than half of people make resolutions.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Gifts, Donations, and Operations Management

    It’s the season of gift giving and charity. Like most businesses, food banks across the nation are realizing success from inventory management best practices, especially as they manage the increase in donations received from November through December. The Wall Street Journal reports how Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee uses software to handle its supplies.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    World Nations Sign Climate-Change Agreement

    After two weeks of negotiation in Paris, 196 countries agreed Saturday to limit climate change by regulating the emissions experts say cause global warming.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 6

    In this blog, the discussion moves from a concern with the nature of demand in the supply chain to a detailed review of push and pull inventory replenishment methods. Previously, it was stated that demand begins with the customer as independent demand, but from that point on is dependent as it passes upstream through the supply chain. How participants in the supply chain respond to demand will determine their selection of either a push or pull inventory replenishment method. A supply chain could be uniformly push or pull, an individual intermediary could be push or pull, or channel partners could be a combination of both. Actual channel replenishment design is driven by a variety of factors, such as the nature of the product, marketing strategies, seasonal campaigns, stage of product life cycles, and others.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    The Future of Work

    Automation is not just a phenomenon people encounter in the movies but in real life at movie theaters, airports, banks—the list goes on and on. The real question we are left grappling with is: How will automation affect our own jobs and the workforce as a whole?
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    African Expansion

    Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers, is expanding its business in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to CNN. Its products now reach 30–40 percent of that continent’s population. That’s 300–400 million people.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Simple Motivations

    Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States. The holiday is meant to give us the opportunity to celebrate with family and friends that for which we are thankful. However, sometimes we get distracted by football, food, travel, or something else. Our working environments also can present us with distractions that make us forget what’s important.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Glimpsing the Future

    The future of supply chain is bright, yet complex. This isn’t surprising to anyone reading Supply Chain Management Now. But, how do professionals prepare and succeed? Last Thursday, APICS hosted at its corporate offices the “Beyond the Horizon Roundtable Forum,” in which participants discussed the key issues of talent and leadership; integrated solutions; and risk, complexity, and sustainability.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Realizing the Benefits of Trust

    Supply chain is about more than products; it’s about people. Therefore, it’s no surprise that effective supply chains encompass professionals who collaborate. Forbes highlighted that kind of successful collaboration this week in an article outlining Alcoa’s innovation in providing materials for customers Pratt & Whitney and Ford.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 5

    My last blog described several key channel design decision factors shaping the use of inventory push and pull methods in the value delivery network. Perhaps the most critical point to make about channel management is that it is absolutely essential to separate the concept of channel “demand” from channel push and pull inventory “replenishment methods.” The first step in exploring this essential point is to visit the different types demand flows found in the typical supply channel. Once channel demand flows are defined, it is then possible to determine channel push and pull inventory replenishment methods.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Enabling Transparency through Technology

    Last week, GreenBiz highlighted an issue that is gaining attention throughout organizations including APICS—supply chain transparency. Dedication to supply chain transparency can lower risk exposure and maximize supply chain’s impact to the organization’s bottom line.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    From Manual Counting to Smart Tracking

    Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems have been used in factories, warehouses, and retail locations for inventory management for years, and now hospitals are starting to pick up the technology as well. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, hospital leaders are looking to add services but constrain costs, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Where’s Your Next Market?

    In the past two years, Ford, Toyota, and Holden have announced they would stop making cars in Australia by 2017. Last week, The Sydney Morning Herald closely examined what that means for Australian suppliers and manufacturing employees.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 4

    My last blog described the value delivery network as that part of the supply chain responsible for the movement of goods and services from their entry into the supply channel to their eventual delivery to the end-use customer. An essential decision factor as to the application of push or pull methods to the delivery network begins with effective channel design. Design decisions are critical because they determine the overall performance goals of the channel configuration. All network decisions affect each other and either increase or decrease channel cost and responsiveness to the customer. A more detailed consideration of these design decisions are as follows.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    TPP: Significantly Changing Global Trade

    Last week, 12 nations reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is aimed at lowering trade barriers to goods and services and establishing enforceable rules related to labor and the environment. In short, it’s the world’s largest free-trade agreement, with member countries accounting for 40 percent of the world’s economic output.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Meeting and Exceeding Supply Chain Expectations

    Upon returning from APICS 2015 in Las Vegas, I have time to reflect on the excellent speakers I heard (and interviewed), motivated people I met, and invigorating conversations I had. APICS was proud to welcome Jack Welch, legendary management expert and best-selling author, to the stage for the conference’s opening general session.