Analyst Insight: Ever wonder why a majority of inventory optimization projects struggle to completely realize potential benefits? Most companies focus solely on inventory strategy, without taking a comprehensive, holistic approach. Taking the holistic approach introduces two additional levers to inventory optimization - business alignment and execution excellence - which, coupled with inventory strategy, enable supply chains to achieve strategic and targeted performance improvement goals. We call these the three rings of inventory optimization. - Rodrigo Cambiaghi, Principal; Claudio Menegusso, Senior Manager; Mark Johnson, Manager; and Saurabh Jha, Senior, all in the Advisory Services of Ernst & Young LLP
Manufacturers frequently ask themselves, "What if...?". What if a typhoon hits a major supplier in Asia and disrupts shipments? What if port workers go on strike in Long Beach? What if customers have expectations of order fulfillment within two days and you're losing sales to competitors? What if my inventory levels aren't sufficient to meet future demand for a product? What if I'm carrying excessive amounts of inventory that may turn to waste?
Innovation of the Year: Automating the assembly of pallets that incorporate cases of multiple dimensions leads to big savings in labor costs, a safer work environment, a streamlined D.C. operation, and better service to retail outlets.
Innovator of the Year: The Liquor Control Board of Ontario; Runner-Up: Lennox Residential; Finalists: Hewlett-Packard, U.S. Marine Corps, Shared Support Services of Southeastern Ontario
Innovative online retail companies are learning how to compete with well-established companies by creatively managing their supply chain. By combining best practices and technological advancements, these companies are disrupting their competitors while maintaining lean inventories and cutting out the middleman to deliver lower prices to consumers.
Demand planning and forecasting projects are popular tactics today for boosting financial results and shareholder value-for good reason. They typically produce one-time and often significant inventory reductions but also higher inventory turns that allow organizations to sustain lower inventory levels over time. The results look great on paper, prompting executives to search for more ways to "optimize" inventory throughout the supply chain.
Few economic entities have been grabbing as many headlines in recent years as the factory. Increasingly human-like robots, self-replicating 3D printers, and software programs that are directing complex supply chains have all been in the news. Reactions have been varied, with some worrying about employment implications and others sensing the possibility of a new era of U.S. industrial might.