Tag Archives: supply chain

Supply Chain Calibration for Consumer Goods

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Managing Director

Now more than ever it is crucial for executives at all companies to scrutinize every aspect of the supply chain due to increasing costs and decreasing sales. This is especially vital for consumer goods companies, where the supply chain occupies that ever-tenuous connection between the flow of goods that companies hope consumers will never see, and the actual consumer merchandise in the store that they are shopping for and take to check-out.

But this is what makes you a great supply chain executive, right? You know how to perfectly balance the need to squeeze every dime available from the supply chain while still putting the right products on the shelves at the right volume to keep your guests satisfied. Or is “perfectly balance” too strong of a characterization?

Truth be told, the tools and techniques to report, analyze, and measure supply chain performance are changing drastically. What worked before this broad recession is no longer good enough today. Our goal with this podcast is to quickly introduce you to a new way of approaching supply chain optimization in the consumer goods industry – an approach we call calibration.

Listen to the first in a series of short podcast interviews we’re recording to give you more detail and actual takeaways that you can put to work immediately across your supply chain. Please share in the comments section your thoughts and reactions, and also any questions you’d like us to answer specifically on upcoming podcasts.

Introduction to Supply Chain Calibration

Life Sciences Supply Chain: How mature is your organization?

IT Supply Chain for LifeSciencesInformation technology (IT) departments within life sciences organizations are under constant pressure not only to maintain services but also improve them while controlling expenses. IT leaders face these daunting challenges amid funding constraints and continually shifting demands for IT resources. Combining supply chain principles with industry-leading practices, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library® (ITIL®), can create an effective framework for supporting cost transparency and IT resource capacity management to meet demand for IT services. Most organizations have some or all of the elements necessary to create an end-to-end supply chain, but these components are often at varying levels of maturity or are not integrated with other critical processes.

Read more about how to determine the maturity level of your organization’s IT supply chain, identify gaps and work towards an end-to-end solution that meets your service management needs.

Global Supply Chain: The Next Frontier

Ship Building Project. Photo/Bresslau.In May, the 2008 MBA class at the Mannheim Business School took the Global Supply Chain course with Prof. Dr. Stefan Minner. Sven Martin, Manager at BearingPoint Zurich, took the class through a case study example on logistics and environmental responsibility.

Now that the “Lean” philosophy has been generally accepted, we discussed the next developments in the field. The two major themes were the role of increasing energy prices and new technologies in information management.

All the slack that was once present in inefficient routes, engines and vehicles has been effectively dealt with in the past few years. Efficient technologies will continue to advance, but will generate less drastic savings than before.

The actual cost of transportation and energy justifies the redesign of many supply networks. If energy prices stay as they are or increase, corporations will certainly rethink their outspread supply strategies, bringing suppliers, production facilities and distribution centres closer to the main markets, as transportation costs counterbalance any savings gained in lower production and labour costs.

Moving to the second theme, new technologies like RFID tags have enabled a new level of IT integration. Information is now ubiquitous but still very dependent on human input and control. Now, new ways to use portable information devices are possible.

To imagine a warehouse where every single item has its own RFID tag to track its movements in real time is not a virtual exercise anymore. The “internet of things” is growing; the boundary between pure information and material objects is getting fuzzier at ever higher degrees.  As a result, inventory levels can be expected to be reduced still further and JIT will become more accurate, efficient, reliable and flexible.

Fernando Bresslau is a Brazilian engineer with an international background in technology and marketing. After studying in Canada and England, he is graduating in September 2008 from the Full Time MBA at Mannheim Business School, working towards a job in Strategy Consulting.