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

    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.”
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Supply Chain via Crowdfunding?

    The Apple Watch isn’t the only game in town. According to a piece on Marketplace last week, Pebble Time might give Apple some stiff competition. If Pebble’s Kickstarter campaign is any indication, the leaders at Apple should be very worried—Pebble raised its first $1 million in 49 minutes. As I write this, the campaign is up to more than $16 million.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Identifying and Applying Game-Changing Technologies

    Earlier this month, Forbes focused on the technologies that will revolutionize manufacturing: mobile technologies and applications, big data analytics, and advanced robotics. The article highlights a November report from SCM World, “The Digital Factory: Game-Changing Technologies that Will Transform Manufacturing Industry.”
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    The Supply Chain of Product Management

    The elephant does look different depending on the proximity of the viewer. The same can be said about inventory. I would like to share some experiences with two viewers, the supply chain manager and the product manager.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    5 Critical Supply Chain Questions for a Small Business CEO

    Recently, Gartner Group announced its Supply Chain Top 25. In recent years, they also introduced Supply Chainnovators to recognize supply chain excellence in mid-sized companies (US$1-10B). Supply Chain Insights (SCI), competing with Gartner on a Supply Chain Index of their own, went as far as calling the Gartner list “a high school popularity contest.”
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Supply Chain Manager Rated Top Job

    What do sales engineers, software engineers, database administrators, and supply chain managers have in common? According to online career community Glassdoor, these are among the 25 best-paying high-demand jobs.
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    Building a Global Matrix Supply Chain Organization

    Though I have forgotten far more from my mathematics degree than I remember, some concepts have proven useful when applied to supply chain work. Probability and statistics have helped with six sigma, forecasting, and planning projects.
  • Posted by
    Sharon Rice
    Vice President, Strategy

    Nurturing the Supply Chain Farm Team

    Last week I had the opportunity to spend time with executives of small and mid-sized manufacturing companies in the greater Louisville, Kentucky area. I was invited to speak at the Metro Manufacturing Alliance (MMA) annual summit at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, Indiana. My speech focused on workforce development and how important it is for small and mid-sized manufacturers to invest in developing a “farm team” of talented workers who can contribute to the long-term success of companies.
  • Posted by
    Sharon Rice
    Vice President, Strategy

    Supply Chain Professionals: Have You Sharpened Your Saw Recently?

    In 2013, I made it a priority to attend more conferences. Since I started working with APICS in 2007, I skipped my own industry conferences to immerse myself in the world of supply chain. I needed to learn about supply chain and why it is critical to business success. I needed to meet supply chain professionals. I needed to understand the various organizations that serve you in the APICS community. Additionally, I still spend a lot of time on the road meeting with APICS partners and customers to understand their perspectives and needs. In the office, my days are packed with managing planning, budgets, people, and more. I have a busy work and personal life, and I know many of you relate.
  • Posted by
    Sharon Rice
    Vice President, Strategy

    Can Supply Chain Innovations Create Customer Happiness?

    Jeremy Gutsche was one of the general session speakers at APICS 2013. In anticipation of meeting him in Orlando, I had been spending some time “getting to know him” through his hugely popular website Trendhunter.com. As the site states: “With 40 million monthly views, TrendHunter.com is the world’s largest, most popular trend community.”