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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.
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  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Keeping Production Goals Grounded

    Recent news about Boeing’s supplier snag haven give me, and I hope many of you, a reality check about supply chain goals. The major aerospace manufacturer set a lofty goal of expanding production of its 737 Max jetliner from less than one a month to 52 planes a month by the end of the decade, an unprecedented ramp-up.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    The Future of Production Control and Inventory Management in 5-10-20 years

    A summary of what is commonly suggested from technology platform providers and media sounds like a birthday present wish list. By 2020-2035 how much more sophisticated and mature will our profession and its practices be?
  • Posted by
    Peter A. Bolstorff
    APICS Supply Chain Council Executive Director

    Tips for coaching a team of Millennials

    Two years ago, I was reviewing the profile of the team we put together for a Sales and Operations Planning project kickoff. The team included people from design and steering, as well as sponsors. And while some of those folks were Baby Boomers (including myself) and Generation Xers, a majority of our team were Millennials.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Inspiring Women in Technology

    Many women in supply chain have expressed to me the unique challenges they face in the profession. Their situations are not unlike those that female engineers encounter, which were described in a Fortune Insider commentary by Erin Brooks.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 2

    My last blog introduced the issue of “push” and “pull” inventory management in a multiechelon channel environment. At first glance, managing distribution and retail inventories seems to be a breeze compared to the complexities of managing manufacturing inventories. After all, isn’t it just finished goods being moved around with very short lead times (literally the time it takes for picking, packing, transportation, receiving, and put-away) measured in days, if not hours?
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Chinese Logistics Problems Continue After Tianjin Blast

    Not only have last week’s portside warehouse explosions in Tianjin, China, created persistent logistics challenges, but news reports now are suggesting that at least two other hazardous chemical facilities were operating in the area in violation of government regulations, posing more potential risks for residents and business operations in the area, The Guardian reports.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Supply Chain Meets Complexity Theory In New Research

    The study of supply chains and the study of complexity theory, both relatively new fields, came together in our recent research with interesting results.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    The Digital Paper Trail

    As various recalls, raw material sourcing problems, and worker rights issues have shown us, traceability continues to be an important and even highly desired aspect of supply chain. However, we know that keeping track of every aspect of the supply chain can be challenging.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Incorporating Financial Management

    When I first started this newsletter in 2008, it was the height of the recession. As I talked to people in the APICS community, I learned how critical supply chain and operations management were becoming to business leaders and executives as they sought answers to some very dire challenges. This newsletter was—and continues to be—a tool to help supply chain and operations management professionals understand their crucial role in overall business and economic health.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Finding Hidden Supply Chain Leaders

    Supply chain leaders exist at all levels of management. We may only see the formal leader, the one with a senior management title, but there are informal leaders at all over our profession. Out of the spotlight, they do a job of true importance.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    In India, Scotch is on the Rocks

    Leaders at United Sprits Limited (USL), in which Diageo has a majority stake, want to get more liquor into the hands of consumers in India—a very attractive market. According to The Economist, people in India drink liquor rather than beer or wine for two reasons.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Clustering for Success

    For this week’s post, I’m going to start at the end—at least the end of the article: “Global supply chain is a meaningless term,” says Harvard Business School Professor Gary P. Pisano in a Forbes article.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?

    Over the past months a discussion has raged on the APICS instructor community about the meaning and application of “push” and “pull” methods of inventory replenishment in a multiechelon distribution environment. This blog represent the opening discussion on settling this controversy.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Innovation Expands Rubber Supply Possibilities

    What do wetsuits, gloves, angioplasty balloons, and car tires have in common? The answer: rubber. And although synthetic rubber can be manufactured, it’s not as strong as natural rubber. If you are on an airplane or riding in a car, you want the tires to be sturdy enough to do their job, which means they have to be made of at least 50 percent natural rubber.
  • Posted by
    Sharon Rice
    Vice President, Strategy

    Checking in with the United Nations Global Compact

    A couple of weeks ago, I attended GC+15, the United Nations Global Compact conference in New York. While it was gratifying to see how businesses, governments, investors, business associations, universities and the United Nations are working together toward a sustainable and inclusive global economy, it is clear that the major effort remains in front of us.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Providing Aid with Soda

    Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop wants a Coke, not because she’s thirsty, but because her government is looking to partner with companies, such as The Coca-Cola Company, to distribute medical aid, The Guardian reported June 29.
  • 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.