Prior to one Holiday season several years ago the volume that was coming into the Distribution Centre receiving area was unprecedented and unpredicted. We were out of room on the docks and we were out of storage space but trucks kept on coming. And we were still weeks away from being able to ship product to stores to relieve the pressure.
We were gridlocked. We kept inching our way along but we were very, very close to having this traffic jam of activity shut us down.
Modern transportation and trucking is currently experiencing major changes thanks to transformative transportation technologies. Although we’ve become accustomed to long international flights, jam-packed public transportation and diesel trucks that only get 20 mpg, the future of transportation promises to change all of that and much more — and it’s closer than many people realize.
Let’s take a look at 6 transportation technologies sure to impact the trucking and transportation industries forever.
How many times have you looked at your Distribution Centre operation and thought about how you would re-layout and streamline the process flow if you had the chance?
When you are starting with a new, empty facility it is clearly much easier to layout the operations to make the best possible flow of materials and processes. But when you have an existing operation which has evolved over a long period of time, you are likely faced with utilities, equipment, infrastructure, walls, and paradigms all of which have resulted in a rather inefficient flow of materials and people and processes.
This was the situation we had in one of our Distribution Centres. In this particular Distribution Centre the current layout of the operation had been the result of many iterations of adding new customers, new products and new processes over time with the associated fluctuations in demand for everything.
Yet with the launch of our Global Process Excellence project we had unleashed our employees to make the improvements they had imagined could be made for a long time.
At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe. As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series at Supply Chain Game Changer. This interview is with Paul Kretz, Head of SCM at Church and Dwight.
I first met Paul at Celestica. He left to purse other interests but our paths crossed again later on. I was at a company that had just implemented a new WMS system in the Distribution Centre. The system cutover was a disaster. And the operation had been run without true Warehouse Management experience as well. As I looked to recruit a new leader I was looking for a someone who could lead change.
I toured my final two candidates through the Distribution Centre, including Paul. Their reactions would help me decide who to select. The other person seemed overwhelmed and lost while looking at the mess in the warehouse. It wasn’t clear what they would do. Paul looked at the disastrous situation like a kid in a candy store. He saw opportunity at every turn. And instead of being intimidated by the situation Paul was motivated and inspired. I found my leader!
Here at Supply Chain Game Changer our fundamental mission has been to share experiences and expertise in the areas of Supply Chain, Logistics, Distribution, Procurement, Business, Human Resources and more. We now present our 2019 Top 10 list.
In our 3rd year at Supply Chain Game Changer we have had the tremendous opportunity to share more content created by ourselves and a growing number of Guest contributors.
With new articles provided to us every week our audience is allowing us to share ever more engaging content and their incredible intelligence for the benefit of all. We extend our thanks to all and invite everyone to submit articles for our consideration.
Here at the midpoint of 2019 we would like to share the 2019 Top 10 List of our most viewed articles of 2019!
Most of us create, use, present and work with at least one spreadsheet each and every day. Spreadsheets have proven invaluable. And many businesses even observe, and complain, that they are run on spreadsheets.
Yet there was a time not that long ago when most people didn’t even know what a spreadsheet was. In the early 1980s I was given one the first IBM Personal Computers to use, along with the spreadsheet software Visicalc. Spreadsheets forever transformed my productivity and skill set.
As consumers the complexity in the retail supply chain is usually oblivious to us. We go to the store and pick up the goods that we want. Or we order goods online from our devices at home, in the office, or anywhere for that matter. We consume the items, returning them if necessary, unaware of all of the work that went into making those goods available to us.
A phenomenal amount of activity goes on behind the scenes to make this experience as seamless as possible. I am not saying that it always goes smoothly. Sometimes items are broken. They are late. Or there is some other issue.
But behind the curtain that is Retail there are a lot of people managing a lot of processes and dealing with a lot of complexity earnestly trying to make your goods available to you.
As to Supply Chain predictions, in the book The Living Supply Chain, the authors argue that, “Speeding up the supply chain is at the root of everything that is good: improved revenue, reduced working capital, higher profitability, and less obsolete inventory. Conversely, slowing down the supply chain is at the root of everything that is bad: working capital write-offs, reduced profitability, and slowing revenues.”
The first job I had at the beginning of my career was in the Materials Handling and Engineering department. As a part of my job I was responsible for Forklift and Material Handling equipment planning.
To help me understand this area better I took the Forklift driver training course just like anyone else would have to do. I was able to drive the truck and load and unload pallets from trucks and into and out of warehouse storage locations.
While I wouldn’t trust myself to drive a forklift these many years later I was reminded of the importance of forklift driver training and safety this week when I saw a short video of an absolutely horrendous forklift accident.
The modern supply chain grows increasingly complex with each passing day. The digitization, focusing on fundamentals and change, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and many other factors are transforming how the agile supply chain functions.
Once, the lean supply chain was considered to be the most effective form of manufacturing and supply chain management. However, a new concept in supply chain processes, the agile supply chain, is quickly growing to replace the often overused term.
The CEO called. “We’re out of Parts … I need your help!” And so it began. These are my confessions as a high priced expediter.
Every Supply Chain is going to have supply disruption and raw material shortages at some point. So if you work in Supply Chain you are going to get involved in some fashion. Maybe you are calling suppliers, qualifying new, replacement parts, or maybe you are arranging for fast delivery of the shortages.
I have been involved directly or indirectly in resolving part shortages throughout my career. Even as an Executive I still got pulled in to these situations and asked to personally get them fixed. Once an Expediter, always an Expediter.
I began my career working in a manufacturing plant within an international company that was completely vertically integrated. From component manufacturing through to subassembly manufacturing and end product assembly they did it all.
Within 10 years the company experienced a number of site closures and declared that manufacturing was no longer a core competency. For the site that I was a part of this meant that closure was an inevitability.
Faced with this stark reality we made the choice to spin off from the parent organization and start our own new company, entering the world of Contract Manufacturing.
This was my first experience with Outsourcing, or what I refer to as “Supply Chain as a Service” (SCaaS).