I recently attempted to read a white paper from McKinsey that talked about the value a digitization program can provide; the problem was that after reading the article for ten minutes I still had no idea how they defined “digitization.” Sometimes I get fed up with theory. What follows are ten supply chain case studies published over the last year in Logistics Viewpoints that provide a practical approach to improving supply chain capabilities. Click on the subheadings to see the full case studies.
Amazon is no stranger to innovation; we need to look no further than its investment in drone technology, warehouse robots, robotic picking competitions, the Prime program, dash buttons, cloud services, and a host of others. Often, the company will quietly launch one its new services as a test run before making any major announcements or grand roll-outs. Last month, Amazon did it again with the launch of its first trucking app.
In October 2016, Zipline began using delivery drones for moving medical supplies to health clinics in Rwanda. The San Francisco based company is a combination high tech startup, drone manufacturer, logistics service provider, and public healthcare system consultant.
Artificial Learning has become a hot topic. Supply chain software companies are working to incorporate machine learning and AI capabilities into their solutions. But there are companies that have built their own data science teams, developed AI capabilities, and improved their value chain capabilities through the initiative. Plated, a meal kit subscription company, has a good case study in this area.
When it comes to relief efforts after a hurricane or other natural disaster, rental car companies are the face of the future. This comes down to their ability to manage their fleets appropriately, to get the proper vehicles to the proper locations at the proper time.
Pactiv, headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of foodservice and food packaging products. Their manual approach to yard management was hindering their ability to find trailers in their yard. And they wanted to reduce trailer detention times and the $25 daily fee they get charged by carriers for each day after the initial 72 hours.
A revolution in robotic automation for the piece picking warehouse is emerging – mobile picking robots! The combination of mobile robots and picking arms is potentially revolutionary. These solutions are just beginning to emerge. Rochester Drug Coop (RDC) has implemented a solution from IAM Robotics with future phases already planned.
AGCO Corporation – a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural equipment – began their supply chain transformation in 2012. An initial conclusion was that inbound material logistics and freight management should not be run as separate operations. There were synergies that could be captured by running these operations together on a globally integrated basis.
Historically, the main reason companies implemented transportation management technologies is to reduce costs. Occasionally, I’ve come across companies that implement logistics solutions to drive increased sales. There can be a strong business case for investing in a transportation management system (TMS) to grow revenues. Home Depot has proven that using a TMS to improve the ability to do time definite deliveries can boost revenues.
Companies greatly reduce their inventory carrying costs through better forecasting. But how can they know if they are doing a good job in this area. Benchmarking forecasting can be devilishly difficult. This case study explained Campbell Soup’s approach to this process.
Terex is a global manufacturer of lifting and material processing products. The Aerial Work Platforms (AWP) business unit sells many of its products under the well-known Genie brand name. Genie customers are mostly equipment rental companies that purchase high-volumes of units on an annual basis. The company had a cumbersome process for finding the precise made-to-order unit that reflected a customer’s requested features in their yard. After a pilot, they implemented a real-time yard management system to drive better fulfillment efficiencies.