APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain management.
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

    New Ideas for Team Building

    The headline “How Coty Reinvigorated Its Supply Chain,” encouraged me to read with keen interest last week’s article in Harvard Business Review. Coty is a global beauty company, and its fragrance and color cosmetics portfolio includes such well-known brands as Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Nautica, Sally Hansen, and others.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Better Relationships for Your Bottom Line

    Trust and positive relationships with suppliers lead to more than general goodwill for automakers. According to Planning Perspectives President John W. Henke Jr., it can mean winning a supplier’s newest technology and most innovative designs, plus getting the best prices. This week, The Detroit News highlighted the results of the 2016 North America Automotive OEM Buyer-Supplier Study, conducted by Planning Perspectives.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 14

    In the previous blog a variety of pull system techniques were introduced: electronic techniques (EDI, CPFR, QR, and POS); a lean technique (kanban); and computer application-based (ROP and DRP). It was also stated that there are two essential criteria to consider when selecting a pull technique: 1) distribution lead time, and 2) the originating source of replenishment: either an outside supplier or an internal plant.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    All Aboard the Rate-Hike Express

    Company decision makers whom rely on railroads to ship their goods are finding that their prices are increasing even though freight volume is decreasing. Bloomberg reported last week that all major North American railroads increased prices in the earlier part of 2016, but freight is the lowest it has been since 2009.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Customizing 3-D Printing's Latest Advance

    MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has reported a breakthrough. It is now possible to 3-D print hydraulic devices in a single step—liquid and solid components being fabricated concurrently—using commercially available 3-D printers. Researchers predict a future when consumers will be able to easily create a fully-functional, customizable, robot on demand.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    RFID Meets Big Data

    It sounds like a joke: What do you get when you combine radio frequency identification (RFID) with big data? For Johnson Controls, an auto parts maker, that winning combination enabled the firm to buy fewer $150 containers and $1,500 racks. Last week, The Wall Street Journal highlighted how the company is working to keep its expensive boxes and racks from disappearing.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 13

    In the previous blog we revisited the concepts of push and pull as a prelude to a full discussion of pull system inventory replenishment techniques. To summarize, in a push system inventory flows down the bill of distribution echelon structure in anticipation of customer demand.
  • 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.