Monster Cable is a 31-year-old company that makes a wide range of popular accessories for consumer electronics. It services some 20,000 storefronts through multiple retailers, supplying around 5,000 SKUs. Three years ago, says Corella, the company launched a major transformation based on the SCOR (Supply Chain Operations Reference) model of the Supply Chain Council. It set up internal teams to identify best practices within each step of the process - Plan, Source, Make, Deliver and Return. That was followed by the creation of metrics for benchmarking the company's progress in each area, with an eye toward ensuring continuous improvement every year.
Monster Cable was determined to configure its supply chain to keep pace with market changes. It sought closer ties to retailers through the deployment of Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR) techniques. The work involved weekly and monthly planning sessions, in order to reach a consensus with customers on future demand levels. In addition, the company increased its use of postponement strategies, whereby product is configured at the last possible minute to meet the unique requirements of a particular market. Previously, all finished product had come from factories in China. Two years ago, Monster Cable began bringing some items into a postponement facility in Mexico. "That allowed us to have a lot of flexibility at the last moment, and have less inventory," Corella says.
One initial project was to postpone retail packaging. That might mean inserting a DVD into a product in collaboration with a content producer such as Disney. Now, says Corella, Monster Cable can finalize a product and its packaging two or three days before it's needed, instead of the weeks that were required for items manufactured entirely in China.
Corella says CPFR has been a success for big-box retailers that already have good processes in place. It's been more of a challenge for mid-tier retailers and distributors. "They see the value," he says, "but they don't have enough supply-chain professionals on site." Monster Cable works to fill that gap, by supplying a level of expertise that is more common to the biggest retailers.
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