Tag Archives: supply chain

Handling Extreme Supply Chain Variability at Rev-A-Shelf

Headshot of Rev-A-Shelf's John Engelhardt

John Engelhardt, Director of Purchasing and Asian Operations, Rev-A-Shelf

Does your extended supply chain suffer from extreme seasonal variability? Does this situation challenge your ability to meet service level commitments to your customers? I have grappled with this at Rev-A-Shelf, addressing unusual conditions created by Chinese New Year and other global events, and would like to share the experience and a few things I learned along the way.

Continue reading

Truth in Forecasting—Practical Advice at Year’s End

Head shot of Turbide

Consultant Dave Turbide

At year’s end, we are often caught up in thinking and planning for the coming year. Did 2013 turn out the way you expected? Will 2014 be dramatically different? Are there other factors—things we are planning to do; things we think our competitors might do; outside forces like changing taste, demographics or economics—that might change the course of business in the coming year?

Continue reading

6 Essential Steps to Better Recovery Planning

Venn diagram illustratnig the inventory sweet spotAs we approach the midpoint in 2013, there is still a lot of economic uncertainty complicating your supply chain planning processes. Some look at this shaky  economy and postpone needed investments that can position their organizations for a strong future.

However, this is not the time to retreat from your supply chain improvement initiatives. Rather, it’s a time to double-down on your efforts to prepare for the inevitable business opportunities that lie ahead.

Economic recovery is a time of sales opportunities. You want to make sure that you’re prepared to take advantage of them. Good demand and inventory planning can help. Continue reading

The Average is not the Answer

Fluctuations in an inventory supply chain are inevitable. Randomness, which can be a source of confusion and frustration, guarantees it. A ship carrying goods from China may be delayed by a storm at sea. A sudden upswing in demand one day can wipe out inventory in a single day, leaving you unable to meet the next day’s demand. Randomness creates frictions that make it hard to do your job.

At first blush, it sometimes seems best to respond to randomness with the ostrich approach: head buried in the sand. You can settle on a prediction and proceed on the assumption that the prediction will always be spot on. The flaw in that approach is that it ignores statistical methods that allow us to make use of a wealth of knowledge about our knowledge itself—how confident we can be in our predictions, and what breadth of possibilities confront us. The efficient approach to tackling the problems that stem from randomness is not to ignore uncertainty, but to embrace it with eyes open.

Continue reading

Saving Billions? How Far the ‘Center for Innovation in Logistics Systems’ Might Take the US Army

Col. Parlier, in uniform

Dr. Greg Parlier (Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired)

Contributed to The Smart Forecaster by Dr. Greg Parlier (Colonel, U.S. Army, retired). Details on Dr. Parlier’s background conclude the post.

For over two decades, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has indicated that the Defense Department’s logistics management has been ineffective and wasteful, and that the Services lack strategic plans to improve overall inventory management and supply chain performance.

Continue reading