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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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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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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RFID: Supply Chain vs. Merchandising Visibility

More than six years ago, WalMart announced a new EPC RFID mandate.  RFID was going to revolutionize the supply chain, leading to better visibility for suppliers and reduce out-of-stocks for retailers.  That was the vision.  However, when I interviewed twenty-four of the top 100 suppliers that were mandated to participate, I heard a different story.  Costs would be shifted from WalMart to suppliers; supplier processes would become less efficient; and any benefits suppliers might achieve […]

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A Strategic Hole in the WMS Market

ARC recently published my new Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Market Outlook study.  In a previous Logistics Viewpoints article, I highlighted the fact that the largest WMS suppliers continue to grow as the market shrinks.  However, despite that, I believe that these leading WMS suppliers have a strategic hole in their supply chain execution portfolio that could make them vulnerable. Obviously, having a larger suite of solutions has been a key advantage for these large suppliers.  […]

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The Reset Economy

“This economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle.  It represents a reset,” according to Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric.  “It’s an emotional, social, economic reset,” which will lead to greater government involvement in the economy and business affairs. For Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, the problem with the economy is that it grew for 25 years on unrealistically cheap debt and that era is now over.  “I think that expansion was built on […]

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A Logistics Service Provider Makes The BusinessWeek Top 50

I picked up this week’s BusinessWeek and took a glance at their cover story, “The BusinessWeek 50: the Best Performers.”  As I scanned the list of the top 50 financial performers, I was surprised to see a logistics company, Expeditors, included on the list (they were number 28).  I’ve always viewed logistics as a leading indicator of the economy.  When the sector starts to perform poorly, it’s a sign that the economy is heading south, […]

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The iPhone as a Logistics Visibility Device

When it comes to Logistics Service Providers (LSPs), it is clear that FedEx and UPS have technology-driven value propositions.  There is no other way that they could economically and efficiently pick up and deliver large volumes of packages each day without the aid of technology. But technology innovation is not just limited to very large LSPs.  Some “boutique” service providers, like D.W. Morgan, have also built their company, in large part, based on their technological […]

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