Supply Chain as a Competitive Centerpiece

Supply Chain as a Competitive Centerpiece

April 17, 2014

It’s exciting when you see a company that “talks the talk” and “walks the walk” with complete conviction. Bill Nienburg, Vice President of Global Merchandising and Sales Planning, Under Armour, did just this in front of 300 supply chain practitioners at the recent Logility Connections 2014 conference in Atlanta, GA, calling the athletic apparel maker’s supply chain “a cornerstone for [Under Armour’s] overall growth agenda.”

The company’s goal is to outperform the competition in quality, speed to market, reliable compliant supply, flexibility, and cost-competitive products. To do this, the entire organization must “embrace change as a way to drive continuous improvement.”

Under Armour Supply ChainUnder Armour has a formula for it:  Successful Growth = (Speed + Control + Predictability) x Innovation.

As Supply Chain Digest’s Dan Gilmore put it in his recent column, Under Armour’s Athletic Supply Chain, Bill delivered “a fantastic presentation that in effect said: This is where our supply chain is headed, and how it is a core element in driving rapid growth. See if you can catch us."

That “catch us if you can” attitude is just part of Under Armour’s confident, visionary, supply chain centric competitive business philosophy, based on “4D Collaboration,” which places data directly at the center of a seamlessly integrated superstructure comprising people, tools, and processes.

This synergistic 4D Collaboration depends on several forward-thinking elements, including:

  • Aggressive skill building and training to develop planning “scientists” and super users
  • Global data structure with consolidated reporting and both POS and financial integration
  • Best-of-breed SCM tools from Logility for proportional profile planning, seasonal lifecycles aggregate statistical modeling, optimized supply planning and more
  • Lean methodology built to a long-range consolidated plan

Few companies operating today have so clearly perceived the importance of a supply chain centric strategy as the foundation for achieving outstanding growth and profitability. And it is certainly working—Under Armour has nearly tripled in size in 4 short years on its way to becoming a $4 billion company by 2016.

A faster, stronger, better supply chain in a company that knows how to win.

Karin Bursa is a Vice President at Logility. She can be reached at

Supply Chain Insights Survey: Is Faster Better?

April 15, 2014
Supply Chain Insights Survey: Is Faster Better?

Supply Chain Insights is hosting a survey that explores how supply and demand planning software implementation time impacts ROI. Take the survey and Supply Chain Insights will email you the final report at no charge--and you can receive a personalized review of the results by phone with Supply Chain Insights Founder and CEO Lora Cecere.

Supply Chain at Your Fingertips

April 09, 2014
Supply Chain at Your Fingertips

Cloud. Mobile. On Demand. Analytics Everywhere.
These were just a few of the themes discussed at this year’s Connections 2014, Logility’s customer conference. Held at the Loews Atlanta, the conference brought together several hundred of the industry’s brightest supply chain professionals to share their opinions, techniques and experiences.

The S&OP Word Cloud

February 26, 2014
The S&OP Word Cloud

When the mist clears can we see a picture of S&OP?

Last week, with several feet of snow out my window, I had some fun trying to visualize sales and operations planning (S&OP). I came up with this word cloud.

A word cloud is a graphical representation of the occurrence of words on a web site or in a document. The more prevalent the word is in a document the more prominent it displays in the graphic. Some people see little value in these graphics but I believe there is some insight to gain. 

Corralling New Product Innovation and S&OP

January 28, 2014
Corralling New Product Innovation and S&OP

Gates, triggers and uncertainty envelopes.   One of the greatest areas of opportunity for companies maturing their sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes is in New Product Innovation. Why?  

Ann Grackin: Is the Crisis in Demand Management Being Exacerbated by Spreadsheet Dependency?

January 22, 2014
Ann Grackin: Is the Crisis in Demand Management Being Exacerbated by Spreadsheet Dependency?

Demand management has always been at the top of supply chain professionals’ list of challenges. Of late, many companies have also indicated that having grappled with cost cutting a few years back, now they are more focused on growth. Predictably, 62% of the respondents sought growth through channels, 46% through more direct customers, and approximately 20% by creating new products.

Lora Cecere Asks: Why Do People Question the Value of S&OP?

January 15, 2014
Lora Cecere Asks: Why Do People Question the Value of S&OP?

Frequently, I get asked the question, “What is the value of S&OP?”  When I get the question, I smile. For clients that I have worked with on this topic, the value speaks volumes, but to companies trying to get started, the value proposition is elusive. So, today, let me answer the question by telling a story. 

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