Did no one tell that to Dal-Tile Corp., Whirlpool, Werner Ladder Co. and Convermex, this year's winners of the Supply Chain Innovation Award? Obviously not. Because Dal-Tile, North America's largest manufacturer and distributor of ceramic tile and natural stone products, has been mixing its extremely heavy shipments with the much lighter appliances from Whirlpool, aluminum and fiberglass ladders from Werner and - get this - plastic plates, cups and utensils from Convermex to great success.
Traditionally, you could either fill a railroad boxcar headed to the U.S. from Mexico with the legal weight limit of heavy tile or stone (using only about 20 percent of the railcar's volume) or pack it entirely with lighter products; in either instance, the shipper paid 100 percent of the transportation expense. But why not put the allowable amount of heavy stone on, fill the remaining 80 percent with lightweight products - and the shippers split the logistics costs 50-50? Working with their matchmaker, the 3PL Transplace, that's exactly what these shippers did: stone and appliances or tile and ladders or tile and plateware. In doing so, they took home the 2012 Supply Chain Innovation award.
No shipper wants to see returns, and Cardinal Health, which specializes in delivering pharmaceuticals is no different. But the product is often highly temperature-sensitive. "Warm" is the enemy because temperatures above a certain level renders use of these often costly items unsafe. The traditional shipment method, using frozen gel-packs, can be unreliable. So Cardinal, working with ThermoSafe, came up with a solution that uses a reusable, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, USDA "bio-preferred phase change material" made of plant oils that work together to maintain the narrow product storage range of 4 degrees Celsius regardless of the environment or season. For Cardinal, it's goodbye to virtually all costly returns and the millions of dollars lost.
Sometimes, making chemicals is much easier than delivering them.
In 2009, Dow Chemical Co. shipped about 12,000 metric tons of PolyAcrylic Acid, an ingredient found in many household and personal care products, from France to Russia. The buyer was Procter & Gamble. Originating in the town of Villers-Saint-Paul, France, product was trucked in liquid form to the Port of Rotterdam, where tanks were then loaded onto vessels bound for St. Petersburg, Russia. A final over-the-road segment took the chemical to its destination at the P&G plant in Novo. The transit was complex and decidedly un-green. Working closely with Haesaerts Intermodal and P&G, Dow implemented a multifaceted plan for significantly reducing its carbon footprint caused by the movement of this crucial chemical.
Even with a wealth of recycling opportunities, the disposal of corrugate and other packing materials can be time-consuming and environmentally damaging. Office Depot has devised a simple yet effective way to cut down on unnecessary shipping materials, including corrugate. For smaller items delivered to most business customers, the company has replaced corrugated cardboard boxes with returnable plastic totes and paper bags. The solution is expected to reduce the cardboard used in deliveries by more than 3.5 million pounds.
Delivering information and monitoring logistics performance is difficult at the best of times, but when a company is as large as Pfizer, the job is staggeringly complex. So the pharmaceutical giant set about getting its arms around the challenge. In conjunction with partners GT Nexus and Unyson Logistics, Pfizer came up with a cloud technology-based information strategy called the Logistics Delivery Platform.
Until fairly recently, HIV/AIDS treatment programs were available in all but the world's hardest-to-reach areas, which included much of sub-Saharan Africa. But then the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, a consortium of healthcare and logistics professionals, was launched. PFSCM now sees that viable, brand-name pharmaceuticals are delivered timely, safely and inexpensively to most of those areas.
Sales and operations planning is a well-established practice within many organizations, but the number of companies to have applied the concept to logistics is far smaller. Dow Chemical Company, however, looks to change that. Deploying what it calls Executive Sales & Operations Planning to help forecast the need for transportation services months, if not years, in advance, Dow is a pioneer in that area.
In fact, each of the finalists in this competition is a pioneer. Each one confronted a problem that stymied efficiency and added cost; in one case, inefficiency even cost lives. But they stepped up and innovatively solved the problem.
Congratulations to all of them.
The 2012 finalists and winners are:
Dal-Tile Corp.Whirlpool, Werner Ladder Co, and Convermex (Winner)
Cardinal Health (Second Place)
Dow Chemical Co.
Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain management IT, international trade, inventory management, value chain, value chain IT, inventory control, 3PL, third party logistics, global logistics, logistics management, warehouse management, logistics & Supply chain, logistics services, supply chain solutions, inventory management systems, supply chain planning, transportation management systems, retail supply chain, sourcing solutions, supply chain risk management
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