Reverse Logistics and Punt Returns: Often Overlooked But a Key for Success

Reverse logistics is a lot like a NFL club’s punt and kick returns team, often overlooked, but can deliver substantial results in the clutch. Reverse logistics, or returns management, is a function that allows the retailer to either get the product back from the consumer or send the unsold product back to the manufacturer to be reworked, resold, or scrapped. This poses as a valuable tool in a firm’s effort to minimize costs of transportation and reduce non- value adding costs to the supply chain as a whole. Read more…

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Outsourcing: A Reality for Lower Costs in a Competitive World

January 9, 2011 2 comments

Outsourcing.  Man that word has taken on such a negative connotation that even as I type it I can imagine the faces cringing.  However, I argue that outsourcing is a disease that we ourselves created and the flattening of the world with technology only further facilitated.  Face it, costs are not going to be going down in a significant amount anytime soon and we as Americans have come to expect premium prices for work that is a fraction of the cost overseas.

Now what?  In my opinion there will always be some firms that are branded around “Built in America” or “Made in USA” that will require American production to serve the needs of their customers.  However, the majority of organizations’ customer base wants cheap prices and average to good quality (something that is becoming harder and harder to deliver out of US manufacturing operations) Read more…

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Tips for How to Green Your Supply Chain

Greening your supply chain is a key aspect that strong businesses leverage to reduce cost, promote efficiency and gain superior PR buzz for being sustainable and green.  Many of these green supply tips are free or require very minimal capital investment which allows the ROI on these process improvements to generally be very large.  While there are many ways to squeeze more of supply chains I will touch on some of the more valuable.

  • Perform an analysis on time extensive tasks and look for alternative ways to perform the task.  By asking front line worker how they are doing their job, AS WELL AS if they have any thoughts on how the process could be performed any better, a firm can increase throughput in a constant or decreased amount of time.  This potentially saves the firm time, energy, headcounts, or material.  All of these savings are directly applied to the bottom line and potentially no dollars are spent doing so. Read more…
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Why Supply Chain Management is a Lot Like JENGA

January 6, 2011 2 comments

When I was thinking of what to write about the importance of supply chain management to an organization I thought “what could I compare supply chain management to that most non- logisticians could relate to?”… and then it came to me- JENGA.  Most people I would presume have played or at least heard of the children’s game JENGA.  The premise for those who haven’t is that the game starts off with a solid foundation of pieces in a 3×3 pattern that repeats.  Turn after turn players remove pieces of the JENGA structure and place them on the top of the structure and thus enhancing its total height and size, but potentially diminishing its structural integrity.  This continues until the structure grows too tall and unsound ultimately collapsing.

Think of the JENGA pieces together as a firm and the individual JENGA pieces as a supply chain function or principle.  Because supply chain management historically has not been held in the same stature as say marketing, finance, accounting, or information technology which has representation Read more…

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Supply Chains Aren’t Lawnmowers, Pull Don’t Push Them

January 5, 2011 2 comments

To fully utilize the power that supply chains can offer, supply chain managers should seek to structure as much of their business as possible to a pull rather than push model.  While this is not as simple as flipping a switch from “push” to “pull”, it is a powerful tool that can increase profits by optimizing capital spend, increase inventory turns, and drastically lower inventory obsolesce (on both raw material and finished goods).  This transition can be tricky because it takes a collaborated effort between internal employees, suppliers and the customers you are selling to make this happen.   However, once implemented managers and the company itself realize a greater amount of freedom from the shackles of the traditional push model.  Read more…

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Supply Chain Management: The Gift that Keeps Giving

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Supply chains and supply chain management principles are truly an organizational gift that continues to deliver in reducing costs month after month, and year after year.  By setting up superior supply chain practices early and getting ahead of the competition curve, firms are prone to succeed at being able to increase margins and lower cost of goods sold with Wal-Mart being the poster child of this.

WAL-MART

With always low prices and a greeter at every door, Read more…

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Green Supply Chains Can Yield Gold Profits

January 3, 2011 2 comments

There is a multitude of benefits that firms can realize when they ‘green’ their companies global supply chain.  The general rule of thumb here is that a product can deliver a superior selling price with less material or labor involved.  Now that steering a firm towards a sustainable business model has become the new cash cow of businesses as it taps into the consumer’s intrinsic motivation, firms can:

  • Reduce their carbon footprint
  • Reduce their material spend
  • Reduce non-value added steps Read more…
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