Archive for April 2009

Advance Warnings

I recently wrote a piece called “The Reset Economy” where I argued that for various macroeconomic reasons, demand may not bounce all the way back after the recession ends.  Consequently, many manufacturers may end up with more capacity than they need.  I believe this is the biggest supply chain problem many companies will confront over the next few years.   If that is the case, then companies need to conduct some strategic planning and scenario […]

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The First Moment of Truth: Part II

Yesterday, I talked about how I’m a fan of the “moment of truth” concept, and I highlighted how we have gone through three phases in trying to solve the “out of stock” problem, but that a new phase is emerging.  This new phase, which has begun only recently at some leading manufacturers, includes making a better link between merchandising and supply chain operations.  Merchandising involves maximizing sales using product design, packaging, pricing, and displays in a […]

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The First Moment of Truth

I’ve always been a fan of Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley’s two moments of truth concept.  The first moment of truth is what a consumer sees on the store shelf; the second is what the consumer experiences after they have bought the product.  Today, I want to focus on the first moment of truth, on what consumers see on the store shelf, assuming there’s even a product there for them to see.  It strikes […]

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Swine Flu Supply Chain

History has a bad habit of repeating itself, and over the past few days, an ever-present supply chain risk reemerged: the outbreak of a new infectious disease.  In this case, swine influenza appears to have started in Mexico and is quickly spreading to other places around the world, including the United States, which formally declared a public health emergency yesterday (see Department of Homeland Security press briefing). And the impact on supply chains has already […]

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Shippers Needing Carriers

This morning I reviewed the search engine keywords that bring people to the Logistics Viewpoints website.  Not surprising, “logistics viewpoints” is the number one search phrase directing traffic to our site.  But number four on the list was a bit surprising: “shippers needing carriers.” If the search phrase was “carriers needing shippers,” then it would make more sense, based on the financial results being reported by carriers and logistics service providers these days  (see the […]

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TMS Tune-ups and Usability Facelifts

Last week, I was briefed by Sterling Commerce on their software-as-a-service TMS.  The main focus of the briefing was their new optimization capabilities, powered by ILOG’s Transport PowerOps (TPO) solution.  According to Sterling, TPO offers improved capabilities over their previous optimization solution, including faster processing speed, multi-modal capabilities (including parcel), and improved route planning functionality.  It’s also easier to use, thanks to an improved user interface that allows users to set up rates, transit times, […]

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Just the Right Fit: Improving Logistics Dimensional Data

Across a wide range of supply chain projects and processes, poor data quality is a recipe for failure.  Today, I’m focusing on dimensional data.  Do you have accurate weight and dimensional data for your products?  For the cases, inner packs, and pallets those products are shipped in?  While data quality is one of the least sexy topics I can imagine, it’s also a costly one for companies with poor dimensional data due to: Increased transportation […]

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Reading the Transportation Tea Leaves

Last Monday, I wrote a piece highlighting the Dow Jones Transportation Average, and how it could serve as an indicator of where the economy is heading (see “Pirates, Truck Drivers, and the Dow Jones“).  Based on the results reported by J.B. Hunt and Landstar Systems last week, it doesn’t seem like we’re on the path to economic recovery just yet. It’s difficult to compare the financial results of J.B. Hunt (JBH) and Landstar due to […]

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A Supply Chain Problem I’d Like to Have

I recently wrote a piece called “The Reset Economy” where I argued that for various macroeconomic reasons demand may not bounce all the way back after the recession ends.  Consequently, there will be too much capacity in many industries.  I believe this is the biggest supply chain problem many companies will confront over the next few years.  However, in certain industries, demand will always be hard to meet for certain “hot” products, a problem many […]

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Is ‘Green’ Good for Business in a Recession?

This is the title of the presentation I’ll be giving next month at RedPrairie’s RedShift:2009 Conference.  I don’t want to steal my own thunder, but here is a snapshot of what I plan to say.  A year ago, I was telling folks that “green is good for business” because only green projects that are good for business get done.  My answer today is that green is good for business because you don’t have another choice-green […]

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