@ Supply Chain Management


Logistics best practices – American Identity

Logistics Management announced American Identity as the winner of Logistics Best Practices (Gold Winner)

Here’s what they accomplished:

Logistics Best Practice: Helped clients cut expedited freight usage by 50 percent and reduced shipping-related complaints by 92 percent with the help of its proprietary freight-quoting module. Used a similar module internally to improve inbound routing decisions. Overall, the new system knocked out more than $500,000 in accessorial fees.

Thinking Lean, Acting Lean = Being Lean…

Says Bruce Tompkins in …Lean Thinking for the Supply Chain

A lean supply chain is one that produces just what and how much is needed, when it is needed, and where it is needed.

That’s brevity for you that masks the utter transformation that an entire firm – its supply chain, manufacturing, personnel, accounting, finance, sales and management, have to go through in order to be lean. And that’s the destination – being lean.
There are two conceptual definitions in Lean thinking – Value and Waste.
What is Value?

Value, in the context of lean, is defined as something that the customer is willing to pay for. Value-adding activities transform materials and information into something a customer wants. Non-value-adding activities consume resources and do not directly contribute to the end result desired by the customer.

What’s the best practice with “Best Practices”?

I’ve always been suspicious of “Best Practices” but that probably is because of my background in R&D and the irrelevant pride that often goes with – the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome. Atleast, I recognize it in myself. However, “Best Practices” is the “lazy” approach to execution in the Supply Chain space as opposed to the “hard” approach which is to knock yourself against the immutable laws of business success, fail and try again until you get it right. Sure, you save money and time using the “lazy” or well-trodden and tested path but the trade-off is in learning especially organizational learning in the supply chain space.
I’ve got to make a confession here too – I’ve got a soft corner for gaining competitive advantage through supply chain design and execution which is why I’ve a preference for the latter “hard” approach of doing things. Adopting the “Best Practices” approach implies that you’re adopting what works and your competitive advantage w.r.t to others in the industry is marginal at best. Ofcourse, there is nothing that stops the firm from adopting cross-industry best practices or innovating up from the best practices floor that is adopted.

With regards to best practises in Supply chain execution, here are some pointers from the consultants at Tompkins Associates. Here are the 7 best practices for supply chain execution implementation:

1. Realistic objectives and expectations – Defining business requirements
2. Right Systems – Meeting business objectives
3. Right Team
4. Right Processes
5. Right Plan
6. Right Training
7. Right Timing and Support – Minimizing impact to customers

About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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June 2006