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Thinking Supply Chain

Insights, analysis and ideas to advance your supply chain.
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  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Using Big Data for Improved ROI

    Last week, CIO made the case in “How Manufacturers Make the Most of Machine Data” that supply chain professionals should be working more closely with information technology professionals to collect and use the data machines generate.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Bridging a Gap: People and Digital Supply Chains

    Supply chain is one of the battlegrounds where the objective, data-based logic of digital supply chain management collides with the subjective human mind. And this collision is part of the maturity path of future supply chain practice.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    Managing the Demand Forecast: Part 3

    The previous blog ended with a description of how a sales campaign is decomposed into a possible period, weekly, and daily product-level forecast in the master schedule. Before the discussion can proceed much further, it is important to review the demand section of the MPS grid.
  • Posted by
    Bob Collins
    APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

    When Being Smart Isn’t Good Enough: Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy and Seeing Patterns in Data

    As I’ve shown in previous blog postings, cognitive biases are like built-in software. You don’t have to purchase them or download them. They come pre-loaded in your subconscious.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Supply Chain Risk: Cargo Theft

    The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and retailers and distributors are working hard to meet customers’ needs. However, with more trucks filled with merchandise hitting the roads during the busy buying and shipping season, cargo theft is expected to “surge,” according to NBC Los Angeles.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Sharing Gratitude in the Workplace

    Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States. I know many of us here indulged with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie and then kicked back to enjoy some football. But of course, Thanksgiving also is a time to celebrate the gifts in our lives. Among these, many can count their family and friends, their homes, and their work.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    The Drive for Better Production at Tesla

    Business Insider published a story this week describing how Tesla CEO Elon Musk might finally have solved his company’s production challenge. For years, Tesla’s demand has outpaced its supply because of production delays. Musk thinks the answer might be in the acquisition of automated manufacturing company Grohmann Engineering in Prüm, Germany.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    Managing the Demand Forecast: Part 2

    In my previous blog I introduced the perpetual problem plaguing most businesses in their efforts to integrate the sales forecast and production scheduling. The root of the problem was identified as residing in the discontinuity of many of the basic functions performed by demand and supply management.
  • Posted by
    Bob Collins
    APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

    When Being Smart Isn’t Enough: Shephard’s Tabletop Illusion

    Are these tabletops identical? Of course not, one is much more narrow than the other – right? Well, actually, they are identical. Don’t believe me? Watch this 21-second video: https://youtu.be/t2n3dBiN8R8
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Manufacturing as an Economic Key

    In the United States, as in other areas of the industrialized world, factories have changed. Many have moved to lower-wage countries, leaving industrial wastelands in their place. Earlier this week, in “Small Factories Emerge as a Weapon in the Fight Against Poverty,” The New York Times focused on one such area in Baltimore. There, Marlin Steel is a success story, maintaining its ground and producing metal baskets for bigger manufacturers such as Ford, Boeing, and Merck.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    Managing the Demand Forecast: Part 1

    The effective management of demand and supply has always resided at the core of the manufacturing and distribution enterprise. A veritable mountain of books and articles, accompanied by the availability of countless hours of classroom instruction and professional seminars, have mapped out every process, elaborated on each principle, and discussed the topic from every possible angle.
  • Posted by
    Bob Collins
    APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

    When Being Smart Isn’t Enough: The Blind Spot Bias - Part 1

    You are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is. Right? You are in control of your life and make your own decisions. Right? Your opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis. Right? Well . . . maybe not. Your “hidden brain,” your unconscious mind, exerts more control over than you realize.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    The Trouble with Tricky Suppliers

    Trick-or-treating may be over for the year, but tricky suppliers are a problem all the time. Forbes highlighted this last week in the article “Do Supply Chain Audits Work? Dealing with Deviant Suppliers Like a Journalist.”
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Major League Baseball: Making America’s Sport International

    If you know me, you know I’m a fan of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. This certainly has been an exciting week with the Cubs playing the Cleveland Indians in Major League Baseball’s 2016 World Series. Game three is tonight, and my home team is returning to its home, Wrigley Field. Of course, I’ll be watching the game, hoping the Cubs can become the World Series champions for the first time since 1908.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    BlackBerry Expanding in Indonesia

    BlackBerry might not be making smartphones anymore, but the company has a new business model and is attempting to capitalize on the global market. According to The Wall Street Journal, BlackBerry is licensing its software and outsourcing its production in its largest market, Indonesia, which boasts a population of 250 million people.
  • Posted by
    Bob Collins
    APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

    CPIM Reconfiguration: The World Is Coming to an End – But You’ll Be Just Fine!

    At the APICS annual conference, in Washington, D.C., in September, APICS CEO, Abe Eshkenazi, announced that the iconic Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certification will be reconfigured in 2017.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Aviation Agrees to Limit Carbon Emissions

    Last Thursday, members of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed to cap carbon dioxide emissions from international flights after 2020. The Wall Street Journal reports that airlines that don’t limit their emissions will have to buy carbon-offsetting credits.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Defensive Plays: Hanjin and Solving Broad-Based Supply Chain Risk

    What happens when all partners in a global supply chain find themselves in a purely defensive position? The current situation surrounding the Hanjin bankruptcy provides an example of this. Since the global shipping giant declared bankruptcy, it has had trouble moving its ships into port. In some locations, Hanjin ships are barred from entering, because port operators feared Hanjin would not pay the port fees. As a result, some ships had to idle in the middle of the ocean or return back to their ports of call, carrying mountains of undelivered cargo. Because of this, port operators, longshoremen, customers of Hanjin, and ship-leasing companies all are on the defensive.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    The High Cost of Cheap Minerals

    Last Friday’s cover story in The Washington Post, “The Cobalt Pipeline,” carefully examines how the valuable mineral travels via supply chains from Congo into consumers’ phones, laptops, and electric cars. Congo is home to a wealth of minerals and natural resources, but its population is very poor. Corruption along with human rights abuses and child labor in cobalt mining run rampant.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    APICS 2016: Elevating Your Supply Chain to New Heights

    At the conclusion of my 10th annual APICS conference, I continue to be amazed and motivated by the attendees, speakers, and APICS staff. I’m ecstatic to give readers everywhere a glimpse of what we learned this week in Washington, DC.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    3D Printing: UPS Turns Threats into Opportunities

    United Parcel Service (UPS) is making plans to adopt innovations in the 3D printing marketplace. The US shipping company announced last week that it would expand its 3D printing services to Asia and Europe “in a bid to fully embrace and get ahead of a trend that threatens to eat away a small but lucrative part of its business,” Nick Carey writes for Reuters.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Drop Shipping and Digital Supply Chains

    Digital supply chains may become known as the great levelers. In this era, small businesses that lack the capital of their larger competitors can use information and digital supply chains to make up the difference. For example, online property rental marketplace Airbnb does not own any hotels, yet it is responsible for millions of overnight stays. The Uber online transportation network does not own any taxis, but the company has delivered many millions of trips. Although the business models of Airbnb and Uber are new, leveraging the assets and inventory of others is an old business strategy. Take drop shipping, for example.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 22

    Despite the added control offered by DRP and centralized “push” channel planning, there are often occasions when distribution centers possess insufficient stock to fill the inventory needs of the distribution network. Such an event could occur because of the normal lag time in channel information and material flows or because of unplanned demand or supplier stock out.
  • Posted by
    David K. Peterson
    Senior Consultant Logistics Management Institute

    Accounting for System and Subsystem Interactions in Sparing Decisions

    This is the second in a series of posts about operations and support for complex systems (or systems of systems), such as an electrical grid, railroad line, or assembly line. Such systems are nearly ubiquitous in business today, but we rarely consider their supply chain requirements until there is a problem.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Lost at Sea

    The title of this week’s Supply Chain Management Now isn’t from a new Hollywood thriller; this situation is real, and it’s serious. One of the world’s biggest shipping companies, South Korea-based Hanjin Shipping, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, leaving as much as $14 billion worth of cargo floating and manufacturers uncertain, according to The Wall Street Journal.