APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain and operations management.
Thinking Supply Chain
APICS BLOG
Insights, analysis and ideas to advance your supply chain.

Thinking Supply Chain

Insights, analysis and ideas to advance your supply chain.
Join the conversation.

  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Farm to Fashion?

    Apparently, people love cat videos—the most successful ones on YouTube get tens of millions of views. Now, Woolmark, a textile group, is presenting sheep videos to illustrate its idea of “farm to fashion,” giving viewers a “sheep’s eye” view of what happens on a wool farm.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    The Bilingual Supply Chain Executive: Learning to speak shareholder

    One of the most frequently asked questions by newly appointed supply chain executives is about how to effectively relate to the C-suite. One answer is pretty clear: Executives must learn to “speak shareholder.” There are two corollaries to this statement. First, the supply chain executive must able translate supply chain scorecard metrics into key shareholder indices. Second, the supply chain executive must be able to correlate process effectiveness to the scorecard measures.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Tractors Blaze Trail for Driverless Future

    Google’s driverless car gets a lot of attention from the press, but this week, the Washington Post pointed out that John Deere tractors have been driving themselves for years. In fact, while many of us city dwellers nostalgically think of the vehicles as quaint and old fashioned, farm equipment is a pioneer in self-guidance technology, utilizing satellite navigation, a touchscreen interface, and radio base stations for precision.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    New Ways to Measure Risk

    Risk mitigation is a hot topic for supply chain and operations management professionals. Therefore, in case you missed it, I wanted to highlight new and potentially more accurate ways to measure risk. Last week, Harvard Business Review presented information on two metrics: time to recovery (TTR) and time to survive (TTS).
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Change Battle Plans to Head Off Competition

    Facing “intense competition, pricing pressures, and new technologies,” company leaders must closely examine their business and growth strategies, according to the “2015 KPMG Global Manufacturing Outlook,” which was highlighted in the June 2 issue of Global Trade Daily.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    Does Your PLM Process Manage Zombie SKUs?

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently wrote about the increase in zombie properties in many Milwaukee neighborhoods. Zombie properties are generally defined as those that have been in unresolved foreclosure for more than three years. They are, according to the paper, “corpses of what used to be good, sturdy homes. … And they suck the life out the valuations of other homes on the street.”
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Embracing Innovation or Not

    Supply chain management professionals hear all the time about 3-D printing, advanced motion controls, robotics, and more, but the real test comes when trying to implement these or any other new technology. Willy C. Shih addresses this challenge in his Harvard Business Review article “Breaking the Death Grip of Legacy Technologies.”
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    Align Supply Chain and Product Managers to Upgrade S&OP

    The elephant does look different depending on your proximity to the beast. The same can be said about inventory. There are two roles in your organization that often view inventory from vastly different perspectives: the supply chain manager and the product manager. The two are frequently pushing against each other, but getting these two roles on the same page will upgrade your sales and operations planning (S&OP).
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Step Up

    The most telling lines from this week’s article come at the very end: “If we want to finally make real progress on promoting more women, after decades of talking about it, men, women, and organizations all need to step up and take decisive action to make it happen,” writes Rebecca Shambaugh in the May 25 issue of Harvard Business Review.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Defective Air Bags Trigger Largest Recall in History

    Air bags, key components in automobile safety systems, are at the root of the biggest consumer product recall in US history. According to the Washington Post, nearly 34 million cars and trucks nationwide were declared defective because of faulty air bags, which, when deployed, can eject sharp metal pieces.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    The Seven Principles of Effective Supply Chain Planning

    Question: Is best practice supply chain planning simply a function of incorporating more leading practices? Answer: No. Leading practices in supply chain planning abound. A simple Google search yielded more than 54 million results. Those practices include everything from sales and operations planning to material requirements planning and demand management to vendor-managed inventory. And new principles in supply chain planning are constantly emerging, including demand shaping, demand sensing, and agile response.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    The Sustainability Business

    This week in Forbes, Steve Banker of the ARC Advisory Group explores the link between business and sustainability. He cites a June 2014 report by the Governance & Accountability Institute, which said that 72 percent of companies listed in the S&P 500 Index published a sustainability or corporate responsibility report.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    Effective Tactical Planning and S&OP: Better Together

    Some things just go better together. Think red wine and steak, Batman and Robin, or hardware and software. Tactical planning and sales and operations planning (S&OP) are a critical pairing for supply chain.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Is It a Job Shortage or a Skills Shortage?

    The Atlantic explored the complex job market for supply chain professionals in its article last week, “Scarce Skills, Not Scarce Jobs.”
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    S&OP: A Case Study

    Sales and operations planning (S&OP) has been around a long time. With the economic challenges in recent years, the process has seen a resurgence of importance with companies striving to balance demand and supply while maintaining appropriate inventory levels and hitting projected revenue and profits.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Nepal Faces Humanitarian Crisis, Logistics Challenges

    Amid the grim news coming out of Nepal every day following the April 25th earthquake, there are some slivers of hope.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Predicting the Future

    Last week, the Washington Post ran a long birthday tribute, not to a person, but to Moore’s Law, which turned 50 on April 19. The Moore here refers to Gordon Moore, the long-term Intel chief executive who predicted that the number of transistors on a chip would roughly double every two years.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Taking Action with Big Data

    It seems big data is the “big” thing in business these days, and supply chain and operations management professionals are not immune to the need to capitalize on it. Last week’s article from Bloomberg Businessweek, “Caterpillar Focuses on Big Data With Creation of Unit,” might have a humdrum title, but the news is significant coming from the world’s largest manufacturer of mining and construction equipment.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    What 3 Challenges Must your Supply Chain Strategy Solve?

    Supply chain leading practices are a bit like fashion—wait long enough and everything comes back disguised under a new name. Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) is a great example. Since its introduction, it has been labeled as MRP, ERP, S&OP, S&OIP, and now, IBP (integrated business planning). A company supply chain strategy often is presented simply as a list of technology platforms and best practices to be implemented over a three-year horizon. It can look the same as the one built 10 years ago—now with new names.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Organic Food Firms Meet Demand with Creativity

    As consumers increasingly buy organic, the real challenge for them might be “finding organic” as organic food suppliers go to incredible lengths to secure their supply chains. Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran the article, “Hunger for Organic Foods Stretches Supply Chain,” which highlights what companies are doing to meet demand as organic-food output has failed to keep pace.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Sneaking a Peek at Supply Chain’s Future

    Providing a glimpse of what the future holds for supply chain and operations management, the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics last week hosted its 11th annual Crossroads Conference. The conference highlights emerging innovations and how they intersect with supply chain management. We were lucky to be able to send an APICS staff member, who provides the following report.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    How Do You Measure Up?

    If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. This is true for many things, especially supply chain cost. Reducing supply chain cost ranked number one on the APICS Supply Chain Council recent survey fielded to identify the top 10 critical success factors for supply chain leaders in 2015. Here, I’ll answer two questions: What to measure and how to get started?
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Learning About and Addressing the Gender Gap

    Last night, APICS and the APICS Supply Chain Council were proud to support the 2015 STEP Ahead Awards, an initiative by The Manufacturing Institute that honors women who have accomplished success within their companies and have proven to be leaders or emerging leaders in the manufacturing industries.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Enhancing Trade with Asia

    While US President Barack Obama fights for the authority to “fast track” trade agreements through Congress, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is first on his agenda. Last week, the Washington Post ran an interesting argument in favor of the TPP. In “Why Obama’s Key Trade Deal with Asia Would Actually be Good for American Workers,” the authors contend blocking the TPP because of globalization fears would be a mistake.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Criminal Lessons?

    I often write about the great value strategic and well-managed supply chains bring to companies. That idea isn’t lost in the world of illicit business. Take, for example, this story from a 2013 edition of Quartz: “Move Over Tim Cook: The real face of global supply chains is a Mexican drug kingpin.”