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Joe Andraski: An Incredible Supply Chain Journey

Supply-chain veteran (and former logistics executive with Nabisco) Joe Andraski, founder of Collaborative Energizer LLC, talks about his life in supply chain, the lessons he's learned along the way, and his new book detailing his adventures.

Andraski's book is entitled "My Incredible Supply Chain Journey, and What You Can Learn From It." The work relates his long and successful career at Nabisco, in the midst of huge changes at the company.

Andraski's tenure in the world of supply-chain management extends back to pre-regulation days, when carriers were ruled by tariffs and strict classifications.

"Then all that went away," he recalls. In a more free-wheeling environment, transportation was combined with warehousing to create the discipline of "distribution," which was followed in turn by "logistics" and finally "supply chain" management.

Andraski credits his success in the corporate world to "the desire to have everybody in your organization be successful." Like every major shipper, Nabisco sought the best freight rates it could get, but it also came to emphasize the need for carriers to be profitable. "That was turning a leaf in the relationship we had with service providers," he says.

Effective supply-chain management begins internally. At Nabisco, the challenge was especially daunting because of a string of mergers and acquisitions that kept an organization in a state of constant flux. On the positive side, "the management team didn't have interest in anything other than making sales and margins," Andraski says. "We were pretty much left to ourselves."

An internship program with universities helped to generate the right entry-level hires. Every two years, each young intern took on a new job within the company. The strategy developed their skills and fostered a fuller understanding of the business. "That made it so much easier to be able to manage a large organization," Andraski says, "rather than taking an older organization with people very much set in their ways."

In addition, Andraski's team took care individually to model each customer and product. The effort yielded "a good, strong foundation of information," he said.

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