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The race goes to the swift. At least, it does at a track meet. That may not be the case everywhere else. In the business world, for instance, a breakneck speed may not always be the best idea. You should be sober, deliberate and reflective, especially in these difficult economic times. Nevertheless, you have to keep moving and evolving. You must find new ways of thinking. You have to tap into ideas generated either in-house or from a trusted partner. That's called innovation. And it's that kind of energy, drive and creativity that we celebrate in this our annual Supply Chain Innovation issue.
Cisco Systems, the winner of this year's award, earned the No. 1 spot by completely transforming its reverse logistics program. In the process, it went from a non-value-adding cost center to being a profit generator that enhances satisfaction of all customers, both within Cisco and outside the company.
Cisco was quick to realize that it could make returns a virtual business if it borrowed successful aspects from both marketing and finance. That's innovation.
GENCO Supply Chain Solutions knew that manually entered data creates problems. In the warehouse, that means costly mistakes, wasted time and non-productive labor. GENCO and technology partner Sky-Trax set out to fix that, and earned the innovation award runner-up spot in the process.
Among the finalists in this year's competition are Lockheed Martin, APL Logistics and Con-way Freight, PartyLite Gifts and Chicago Consulting, the U.S. Air Force, and Dynamic Worldwide Logistics and partner Instaknow.
Lockheed Martin knew that four principal partners and thousands of suppliers added up to great potential for error in its Joint Strike Fighter project. Its innovative approach ensures that doesn't happen.
APL Logistics and Con-way Freight teamed up to design an innovative service that provides a new shipping option between ocean and air. The service brings together the cost savings of ocean containerships with the certainty of airfreight-at a fourth of the price.
PartyLite Gifts moves a huge number of candles by direct sales to customers. Its innovation involves a new formula by Chicago Consulting for optimizing the size of the cartons used. Not only has it eased the burden on the environment, it's saved millions in packaging materials.
Through an innovative program called Expeditionary Logistics for the 21st Century, or eLog21, the U.S. Air Force is optimizing its supply chain. It's replacing old-fashioned, stove-pipe processes and disjointed IT systems with an enterprise-wide infrastructure that brings much needed efficiencies.
Dynamic Worldwide Logistics provides end-to-end services to the apparel industry, but a global operation like that has demanding information needs that manual access can no longer meet. Partner Instaknow helped it to automate the process without expensive IT system replacement.
Most of these innovations got under way before the economy took such a disastrous nose-dive. But these are the kinds of companies that aren't content to stand still; they are always looking to evolve, to improve-to innovate. Aren't they glad now they did?
Congratulations to this year's Supply Chain Innovation Award winners and finalists.
Cisco Borrows from Sales, Finance to Transform Returns Into a Profit Maker
GENCO Creates a Better View for Warehouse Productivity
The U.S. Air Force Targets a Total Transformation of Its Supply Chain
In an Outsourced Supply Chain, Lockheed Keeps the Raw Materials Flowing
PartyLite Gifts Encounters Incredible Shrinking Carton
First Time-Definite Ocean/Land Service Provides Asia-U.S.Shippers Alternative to Airfreight
3PL Now Finds Itself in the Know -in an Instant
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