OP DURABLEBy Guy Amisano Sr.

As the supply chain becomes more complex, the amount of data collected at each level continues to grow. More and more companies are investing in platforms and tools to help them utilize this data in order to continuously improve processes and make smarter business decisions. In fact, a recent SCM World review showed 64 percent of professionals from every level of the supply chain are prioritizing big data analytics as an important technology for long-term growth.

 INVENTORY MANAGEMENT 01Here are some “dos and don’ts” for effective inventory management.

By Gary C. Smith

When it comes to efficient inventory management, even tightly run companies may have room for improvement. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when disposing of unwanted stock, without asking if there’s a better way.

For example, discounting nonperforming merchandise devalues products and undermines sales, yet many wholesalers and distributers continue to do it. Liquidating merchandise yields just pennies on the dollar, yet liquidation vendors are alive and well.

Why not step back from your familiar inventory management processes and see if there’s a solution you’ve overlooked? You want to ensure you get the most from what you’ve got—even your least successful products. To that end, consider these dos and don’ts for efficient inventory management.

 INVENTORY ACCURACY 01Inventory accuracy is vital to your operation’s success.

By Lisa Anderson

Inventory accuracy is a cornerstone of a business’ success.  Although this topic isn’t seen as exciting as implementing leading edge lean, robotics and warehouse automation strategies, it has proven to be a predecessor to sustainable success. Similar to the foundation of a house, inventory accuracy is the foundation required for high service levels, profit levels and accelerated cash flow. In a house, fancy windows and high-end doors provide little benefit if the foundation is shaky and collapses. Similarly, in distribution, the best technologies will be useless if your foundation – inventory accuracy – isn’t in place.

A high inventory accuracy level is one of the most consistent qualities of a successful business. Just as solid blocking and tackling provides the base for running sophisticated plays to win a football game, inventory accuracy provides the base for achieving profitable growth in distribution.

 SUPPLY CHAIN PLANNINGGreat execution cannot overcome bad planning.

By Toby Brzoznowski

Enter “bad design” into a Google image search and hundreds of examples will rapidly display on your browser. A new design does not necessarily mean a positive one and examples of bad design litter the marketplace.

In most situations, the design of a system is what ultimately determines how well it will perform. No matter how hard you try or how well you execute, the design of the system has set an upper limit on performance.

Over the last several years, this “constraint of design” has dramatically changed the way in which supply chain executives look at their jobs, and how they set their priorities – and the result has been the emergence of a third discipline in supply chain management called supply chain design.

 OP RETAILBy Darrell Smith

When you own and operate a distribution facility you are only as valuable as your inventory. An absolute worst-case scenario is your in-stock product sustaining any kind of damage. Most distributors have had this nightmare, but many assume that it could only happen if they were unlucky enough to experience a natural disaster such as flooding, a hurricane or an earthquake. However, there are a number of more subtle ways that your inventory can become damaged and depreciate without you even noticing. Chief among these is sun damage, as the sun's ultra-violet (UV) rays can do significant damage to your inventory. Contrary to popular belief, UV rays are often not kept out by windows.

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 OP MANUFACTURERS REPRESENTATIVESBy David Whitaker

In the fast-paced field of supply chain management, it can be easy to overlook one crucial aspect that improves operations: collaboration. Collaboration within the industry itself—especially between manufacturers, forwarders and shippers—is not a novel idea. However, the true key to boosting productivity across all facets of your operation is often overlooked. All contributors in the supply chain should look beyond the industry, particularly to community stakeholders and business organizations, for opportunities to collaborate. Connecting with partners can benefit your organization in many ways, beyond improving day-to-day procedures. Building relationships and sharing news and resources can bolster your organization’s reputation, in addition to creating new opportunities for business. 

 OP NONDURABLEBy Tony Donofrio, Stephen Francis and Harsh Joshi 

In a column in the Spring 2016 issue of Wholesale and Distrbution International, we discussed the power of simplicity and noted that “simple and easy are not always the same thing.” Now we’ll help your company drive simplicity by asking some hard questions about transportation management systems (TMS). 

If you haven't heard of TMS, you can think of it as “Uber for freight.” Just as the smartphone app allows passengers to "pool" rides, a TMS enables you to aggregate freight with actors outside of your enterprise.  

 OP DURABLEBy Tony Donofrio, Andreas Doerken and Stephen Francis 

Imagine you’re watching a parade. In front of you is a large, very enthusiastic marching band, pounding out a rapid-fire rhythm. A little ways down the street, another band approaches, playing a different tune with a different tempo. As the second band gets closer, their rhythms don’t mesh with the first, and pretty soon all you’re left with is noise.

This is exactly what’s happening in most firms — the different business units are marching to different drummers and yelling at each other over the noise.

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