February 2010
Harnessing 2010

October 2009
A Good Foundation for Partnership

May 2009
Beyond Industry and Technology

March 2009
You and Your Bright Ideas

January 2009
Challenge Employees to Engage Best Thinking

August 2008
Open Book Partnerships between Logistics Service Providers/3PLs and Clients

July 2008
"Bids: The Good, the Bad, and the Only" (Part 2)

April 2008
"Bids: The Good, the Bad, and the Only"

January 2008
"A Work in Progress"

November 2007
"Why Focus on Pennies When you Can Save Millions?"

September 2007
"3PLs as One-Stop Shops"

August 2007
"Ventures Requiring 'Super' Powers"

June 2007
"What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us"

Reprinted from SUPPLY CHAIN DIGEST, January 9, 2008
Expert Insight: Supply Chain InView by Ann Drake

A Work in Progress

Key to Effective Change is Pro-active Evaluation

In my most recent blog, I wrote about using network modeling to find ways of improving service and reducing costs across the entire supply chain. I outlined a four-step process we’ve used in our company to identify better options and more effective solutions. One of the key steps is baseline mapping of the distribution channels. In some cases, this baseline will demonstrate “misalignments” between the distribution network and customer demand. Most often, misalignment occurs as a result of changes that have taken place without corresponding reconfiguration.  

Even if you do not have a process in place that includes network modeling, here are some key questions that can be asked to uncover adjustments that need to be made. Is your company – or your customer:

  • experiencing rapid growth, especially in new markets?
  • undergoing a merger or acquisition with overlapping distribution networks?
  • moving production overseas?
  • dealing with customers who are demanding smaller and more frequent shipments?
  • experiencing shifting marketing conditions that add unexpected costs, such as fuel surcharges, to your bottom line?
  • needing to reduce inventories network wide?

Changes such as these – and other changes that are frequently rapid and unpredictable – are something we have all learned to accept. But in this demanding business environment, accepting isn’t enough. A pro-active evaluation of all aspects of the supply chain, aimed at continual improvement, is the key to effective change management. We need to view the supply chain as a work in progress – not a “done deal.”

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