Europe's widely differing regulations of the consumer health product industry pose significant obstacles to centralized distribution. For companies trying to build efficiencies into their supply chains, such as health care giant Novartis, it's a real Maalox moment.
The Japanese car maker, which once held almost eight months' worth of aftermarket parts at its Belgian logistics center, is well on its way to keeping only a little more than two months' of spares on hand. In doing so, it has relied on surprisingly little in the way of information technology.
A potent mix of changing consumer tastes and legislation that forced it to sell much of its pub business caused Bass Brewers to radically tighten up its supply chain. It called in Numetrix to provide the needed technology.
When Bama Companies, a Tulsa, Okla.-based pie maker, found it too costly to continue exporting to China to supply McDonald's, its biggest customer, Bama officials decided to set up operations there. Implementing that decision involved numerous challenges.
When Daimler-Benz decided to tap into the growing demand for sport-utility vehicles with an all-new design, it relied on innovative manufacturing and supply-chain efficiency to bring the product to market at a reasonable cost.