S&OP, SIOP, IBP, MIOE - A Supply Chain Rose by Any Other Name

August 16, 2016
Hundreds of companies struggling to improve their supply chain performance have adopted an effective business decision-making process to balance and align demand and supply. According to Aberdeen Group, this process can result in a 14% increase in operating margin, a 4% increase in gross margin dollars, a 55% reduction in inventory write-offs, a 17% increase in new product revenues, and a 35% reduction in lost sales. Great!

Nine Mistakes You Don’t Have to Make in Your Career

August 10, 2016
I saw a blog topic the other day titled “My Biggest Mistake.” The intent of this topic was obviously to teach, to explore a hard but useful lesson a broader audience could benefit from.…But I’m not really wired to think that way, so let me flip it around. Here are 9 things that I got right, whether by design or accident, that others could learn from. 

ChainLink Research: Agile Retailer - Linking Allocation and Transportation

April 20, 2016
ChainLink Research founder Ann Grackin takes a look at the needs of an agile retailer and the benefits of linking two traditionally disparate diciplines--allocation and transportation--together. If inventory is constantly in motion, then shouldn’t the transportation strategy be linked to your more dynamic allocation strategy? Agile retailers are beginning to think about their business in a highly integrated fashion, understanding the implications from a sales and cost perspective and how all the parts fit together.

Supply Chain Risk Management and Rocket Science

February 23, 2016
I became very familiar with risk management early in my professional career. I was working as a flight test engineer on experimental military aircraft, a world where the boundary between safety and expanding capabilities was often crossed. The aerospace industry was an early adopter of Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) which, as the name implies, involves reviewing as many components, assemblies, and subsystems as possible to identify failure modes and their causes and effects. FMEA provided visibility into the most likely modes of failure and their level of criticality. Part of the process was to develop contingency plans, and I can tell you from personal experience that the FMEA contingency plans I helped develop saved lives on at least one occasion when the envelope was pushed just a bit too far on an experimental aircraft. That aircraft entered a deep stall at 30,000 feet and recovered at 1,500 feet above ground. During that harrowing episode the flight test team relied on training and contingency plans to help save the lives of the flight crew.

Continue Reading: Supply Chain Risk Management and Rocket Science

The Biggest Challenges Supply Chain Leaders will Crush in 2016

January 26, 2016
To be fair, it’s nearly impossible to predict what will turn out to be the biggest challenges supply chain leaders will encounter in the year ahead.  Millions of supply chains face unique challenges that vary across industries, geographies and business strategies. A host of unpredictable factors will certainly arise, such as geopolitical conflict, social and economic upheaval, natural disasters, and more. But despite the difficulty factor, let’s gaze into a crystal ball and make a few predictions about the challenges supply chain leaders should be preparing to face in 2016.

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.”

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

January 22, 2014
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.


The Pace of Business Speeds the Supply Chain

December 10, 2013
Amazon’s recent announcement that they will start Sunday delivery through a deal with the USPS is, from a supply chain point of view, another example of the cadence of business speeding up. What used to be monthly became weekly, what used to be weekly became daily, what used to be daily became hourly and it continues to trend towards instantaneous. 

Helpful Hints for Apparel Manufacturers

August 1, 2013
The apparel industry uniquely combines the characteristics of make-to-stock manufacturing with consumer-driven fashion volatility which can lead to a supply chain forecasting nightmare. Speaking with several supply chain executives in the apparel industry, attribute-based SKU-level forecasting is not just difficult; it is often impossible.


Supply Chain Congratulations in Order!

December 19, 2012
The supply chain and software industries have several high-profile awards and distinctions. We, along with our customers, have been fortunate to win many over the years. There is another award program that is very special to us, our SAILS Award.

Blog Subscription

Supply Chain Brief

Featured Podcast