Think Supply Chain

Think Supply Chain

Leading the supply chain conversation

Join the supply chain conversation with Sharon Rice, executive director of the APICS Educational and Research (E&R) Foundation. Explore topics including the role of supply chain planning in corporate success, how sustainability and corporate social responsibility enable the bottom line, global supply chain risk management, and more. Comments are welcome. 


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Dangerous Drugs Trade on the Rise

by APICS staff | N/A 2013 | 13 | 4

Adulterated or ineffective drugs are threats to people around the world, and developing countries are particularly at risk. However, developed countries are not immune, according to a report by the National Institute of Medicine. For example, 44 people were killed after contaminated batch of medicine at a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy led to a fungal meningitis outbreak from September 2012 to January 2013.

According to the National Institute of Medicine report, the root cause of ineffective drugs is poor manufacturing practices. Making safe drugs requires adherence to factory standards, a well-trained workforce, and independent quality control. Cutting corners may reduce expenses, but it presents significant risks for consumers.

Deliberate falsification of drugs also is a growing problem. “It’s more lucrative to traffic in illegitimate drugs than cocaine or heroin,” says Larry Gostin, leader of the study, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Maker’s Mark Won’t Water Down Whiskey 

After significant backlash following its announcement to reduce the amount of alcohol in its product, the manufacturer of Maker’s Mark bourbon is reversing the decision, the Associated Press reports. Earlier, the company claimed a supply shortage was behind the controversial change, as well as the belief that consumers would not notice any difference in taste.

The supply shortage is reportedly due to growing demand for Kentucky bourbon in general, especially in overseas markets. Maker’s Mark was struggling to keep up with the demand and decreased shipments to some markets. “Our focus was on the supply problem,” says Bill Samuels, chair emeritus of the company, adding that they did not consider the emotional attachment consumers have with the recipe. “We got it totally wrong.”

Getting Rid of Offices Creates Greener Jobs

There is considerable focus on creating environmentally friendly, clean-tech jobs. However, as author Maynard Webb argues on the Harvard Business Review blog network, the easiest way to create green jobs is to stop working in offices. Offices account for about 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and the US Green Building Council estimates office emissions will grow faster than all other sectors in the next 20 years.

Further, Americans spend about 40 minutes a day commuting, which amounts to about 2.3 billion gallons of gasoline. As for morale, employees like flexibility, and 80 percent of surveyed employees would like to work from home at least part of the time. More than one-third would choose the option to work from home over a pay raise. Finally, home-based workers are sick and absent less often than those that come into the office. Unscheduled absences cost nearly $300 billion to US companies annually.

Training for Better Supply Chain Traceability

Today’s supply chains require traceability, or real-time visibility into shipment and component locations, to function. Without it, product accuracy and customer satisfaction are compromised. Spend Matters highlights the following methods to improve traceability in the supply chain.

Go electronic.
Using paper for shipments and inventory files makes it too easy for customer information to get lost. Electronic systems provide higher visibility and better structure for these types of data.

Consolidate software systems.
Many companies use several diverse systems for company functions such as payroll, shipping inventory, and supply chain monitoring. There now are solutions that enable access to this information from a single screen. Consolidating software enables better monitoring of performance, transactions, and products. 

Cross-train employees.
When one department doesn’t understand how another department functions, businesses can suffer. Therefore, it is important to cross-train at both lateral and vertical levels within the organization. Workers who are aware of functions outside their own can help managers understand and trace problems in the business quickly.

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APICS Asia Supply Chain & Operations 2013
April 4–5, 2013 | Mumbai, India

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May 16–17, 2013 | London, England

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June 13–14, 2013 | Chicago, Illinois, USA

2013 APICS International Conference & Expo
September 29–October 1, 2013 | Orlando, Florida, USA

Upcoming APICS seminars and workshops

Learn more about the APICS seminars.

Supply Chain Risk Management Seminar Chicago: Identify, Assess, Mitigate, and Manage Risk
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Supply Chain Risk Management Seminar Orlando: Identify, Assess, Mitigate, and Manage Risk
Friday, September 27, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET


APICS folios Explore APICS folios

Assess supply chain risk, develop your organization’s supply chain strategy and sustainability, and understand how you can successfully implement or grow your organization’s sales and operational planning process with APICS folios. 

$19.95 APICS member - Save 50%
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Discover the new 2012 APICS Supply Chain Risk and Reward Folio

Optimize your supply chain by minimizing risk while maximizing reward. This APICS folio contains valuable tools to aid informed decision making, including

  • Monte Carlo simulation exercises
  • Value at Risk (VaR) examples
  • a risk-reward scoring chart
  • a checklist for identifying, assessing, and mitigating risk
  • articles from the award-winning APICS magazine. 

Explore the APICS Supply Chain Risk and Reward Folio: Measuring Risk in Your Supply Chain for real-world perspectives on risk management best practices and innovations.

APICS Supply Chain Sustainability Folio: Uncovering the Triple Bottom Line
Supply chain and operations management professionals are increasingly called on to carry the torch of innovation to reduce costs, demands on resources, and waste; while increasing the reuse of existing assets, and enabling lean operations. Employing sustainable practices is critical to meeting these business needs.

APICS Supply Chain Strategy Folio: Make the Most of Supply Chain Strategy
Understand challenges and identify areas where senior management and operations management can work together to maximize the effectiveness of your supply chain strategy. Access this APICS folio to delve into critical supply chain functions and tasks that may not be effectively supporting your supply chain strategy.

APICS Supply Chain Risk Folio: Protect your Business with Risk Management
Mitigate and anticipate supply chain risks at your organization—from rising and falling demand to natural disasters, market uncertainty, and varying levels of trust among supply chain partners. Purchase this APICS folio to identify tools to deal with risk at your organization.

APICS S&OP Folio: How to Be an S&OP Champion
Predicting the future generally is thought impossible; yet, S&OP users seek to do just that by strategically directing businesses to achieve competitive advantage. Purchase this APICS folio to understand how you can enable your organization’s bottom-line effectiveness with S&OP.

Supply chain professionals: Take the APICS CSCP Learning System Free Demo today
By earning the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation, you will demonstrate significant commitment to your profession and your career, distinguish yourself as an industry expert, and excel with your newly acquired specialized knowledge.



APICS CPIM exam study options
APICS offers a variety of study options to help candidates prepare for the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) exams and enables them to choose the option that matches their preferred learning method.

Instructor-led courses
For students who learn best in a classroom-based environment, there are instructor-led courses.
Find courses at your local APICS chapter or find an APICS partner outside North America to find courses in your area.

Online certification review courses
Online courses are ideal for professionals who enjoy taking a structured class, but need more flexibility.

Other APICS self-study options
APICS offers a wide variety of tools for candidates interested in studying on their own, including the
  • APICS CPIM Exam Content Manual
  • APICS CPIM practice questions
  • APICS CPIM study notes.