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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

    Truth in Transparency

    It’s been three years since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that killed 1,135 garment workers when an eight-story building collapsed. The tragedy pushed company leaders to seek greater transparency in their supply chains. It pushed consumers to think about where their goods come from and the definition of supply chain itself. This week, Reuters asked in its headline: “Three Years After Rana Plaza Disaster, Has Anything Changed?”
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    Executive Vice President, APICS

    Performance-Driven Learning

    Use it or lose it. Both applied and academic research conclude that the application of professional learning within a short time span helps increase retention. The longer we wait, the less we retain.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Apple: A Sustainable Example for Supply Chains

    Supply chain transparency is becoming more important to business leaders and consumers, both of whom increasingly are concerned about working conditions, human rights, and environmental preservation. Apple, a company well known to both groups, recently released its “Supplier Responsibility 2016 Progress Report,” which highlights the tech company’s rigorous push for corporate social responsibility standards. Based on the firm’s success, other companies should “take note, and look for ways they can improve their supply chain sustainability to stay competitive,” writes Jessica Lyons Hardcastle for Environmental Leader.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 12

    This blog continues the discussion on the basics of distribution replenishment “pull” systems. In the previous blog we reviewed the mechanics and purpose of the bill of distribution (BOD). We saw that the BOD enables planners to link together the facilities constituting the supply channel.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    Executive Vice President, APICS

    Webcast: SCOR 101: An Executive Guide to Implementation Best Practices

    Maintaining a competitive advantage with the supply chain as a core competency has never been more essential than in today's business environment. Supply chain leaders need to connect the latest industry advancements and insights with proven best practices to deliver operational excellence and shareholder value.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Automotive’s New Power Source

    With its strong industrial and economic force, the automotive sector plays a dominant role in the world’s business. This week, Slate ran an article highlighting how Tesla is disrupting automotive norms and experiencing rising success.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    Executive Vice President, APICS

    Infographic: Paths to becoming a supply chain manager

    The talent shortage for the supply chain industry has been examined very thoroughly over the last few years. Frequently this conversation focuses on educating students and recent graduates on the job market, encouraging them to pursue supply chain careers, or creating better college and graduate level programs to support this career path. There is one angle that is often ignored – hiring. Could the solution be as simple as changing what you are looking for?
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Fighting for In-Demand Supply Chain Executives

    The war for talent might be shifting from the boardroom to the courtroom, according to an article published last week in The Wall Street Journal. Amazon.com is suing a former employee, Arthur Valdez, for taking the chief supply chain officer job at Target. “The e-commerce giant was joining a growing trend in corporate supply chains: fighting back on executive poaching,” Loretta Chao writes.
  • Posted by
    Bob Collins
    APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

    Learning to Block and Tackle

    Few would argue that Vince Lombardi was one of the greatest football coaches of all time. Like many other great coaches (e.g., basketball legends John Wooden and Phil Jackson), Lombardi focused on the fundamentals of the game – blocking and tackling, how to throw the ball.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Tackling the VUCA Market with Tenacity

    Supply chain managers love predictability. Unfortunately, today’s global market is anything but—it’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous). Companies in all industries have to carefully strategize to be ready for changes in the market and keep everything moving forward.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 11

    The first place to start in the development of a “pull” system is the design of the distribution channel structure. The linkage of channel facilities is critical in pull system design. Performing this essential task requires the definition of the relationship of each of the facilities constituting the channel system.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Reality TV Starring Supply Chain

    Over the years, we have connected many mainstream media articles to supply chain. Television shows have been a different story. But with the premier of “Billion Dollar Buyer” on CNBC, network executives and audiences might be discovering what we at APICS have known all along: Supply chain is entertaining.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Using Constraints to Your Advantage

    Although some might view constraints as limitations, others believe that constraints can enhance innovation. That’s what Chris Denson, director of Ignition Factory at OmnicomMediaGroup, asserts in a recent Forbes article. “The more limited you are, the more creative you have to be,” he says in the article. “Time constraints eliminate second guesses. Constraint is a unifier.”
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Crafting a Sustainable Market

    Who knew that when I was enjoying my Bell’s Oberon beer that I was enjoying the benefits of sustainability as well as a terrific beer. Although sustainability might just be a facet of corporate social responsibility for some, craft brewers are looking to sustainability technology to solve some of their common business challenges. For these small, independent, and sometimes family-owned businesses, efforts in this area are primarily about finding workable solutions that save energy and other resources, with returns on investment being secondary, according to MiBiz.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Mineral Supply Chains Going Conflict Free

    Finally, some good news about tin, tungsten, and tantalum. These minerals often are considered conflict minerals because rebel groups and factions of the Congolese Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) benefit from illegally trafficking these materials. However, last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that conflict-free mineral exports are rising. In short, companies are buying fewer minerals connected to militia groups in the DRC.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 10

    In this blog, we will be moving from a discussion of inventory “push” replenishment methods to an analysis of inventory “pull” methods. The APICS Dictionary defines the inventory pull method as -In distribution, a system for replenishing field warehouse inventories where replenishment decisions are made at the field warehouse itself, not at the central warehouse or plant.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Following the Candy Trail

    Like many of you, I’m sure, I like to indulge in the occasional Snickers bar. Unfortunately, consumers in Europe and parts of Asia have to put that type of enjoyment on hold for a little while, as Mars, Snickers’ parent company, issues a candy recall.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 9

    In the previous blog, the mechanics of the channel replenishment “push” system were investigated in detail. This blog continues the discussion by look at the pros and cons of the push system and what types of company/products would deploy inventory push replenishment.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    World Economy Defies Easy Analysis

    The world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk, announced earlier this week that it had earned “significantly lower” prices for moving containers during 2015 than 2014, and it reported a $2.5 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2015. US railroads also are reporting lower profits. The Financial Times suggests that falling prices could be a sign of global trade’s lackluster state.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Investing in the Future

    Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Urban Assembly for Global Commerce (UAGC) in New York’s Harlem borough. I was invited to participate as part of an APICS collaboration with SCM-STEM, an emerging partnership with Intel, Arizona State University, Michigan State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to provide content and support for K–12 programs that create awareness for careers in supply chain.
  • 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.”