Manufacturing

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Image courtesy of Wal-Mart.

Rebuilding the Relationship Between Manufacturers and Retailers

In the tug of war between manufacturers and retailers, retailers seem to be winning. Retailers control market access and influence consumer behavior. Their power has moved downstream. What can be done to improve the situation? While manufacturers are locked into fixed investments and products with long payback cycles, retailers have a variety of ways of making money. This article explores how manufacturers can benefit by tailoring their approaches to a retailer’s specific business model.

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When One Size Does Not Fit All

Although executives understand the difference between efficiency and responsiveness, many are confused about when to apply each strategy. In recent years, companies have been caught in the bind in which Dell Inc. found itself in 2008, when it needed to transform its supply chain to serve new customers in new channels. The question was: how to do that? Dell decided to create multiple supply chains, configured so that the company could reduce complexity and benefit from economies of scale.

Image courtesy of Flickr user jurvetson.

Improving Environmental Performance in Your Chinese Supply Chain

Multinational corporations are under growing pressure to make sure their contractors and subcontractors in China meet environmental standards. Yet traditional approaches to ensuring environmental, health and safety compliance, such as checklist audits, have proved problematic. This article recommends that organizations work closely with suppliers, providing incentives for identifying, disclosing and addressing problems and establishing collaborative relationships with NGOs and industry groups.

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Is It Time to Rethink Your Manufacturing Strategy?

Since the mid-1990s, many companies have outsourced or offshored their manufacturing operations. For most, one crucial enabling factor was cheap oil: Long supply lines were economically feasible because transportation costs were relatively low. Hence, companies emphasized reducing manufacturing costs through (1) offshoring or outsourcing; (2) plant rationalization; and (3) consolidating distribution centers and warehouses to reduce inventory levels and minimize fixed facility costs.

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The New Practice of Global Product Development

Many manufacturers have established product development activities in different countries around the world. Yet their senior managers often struggle to tie those decentralized organizations into a cohesive, unified operation that can efficiently drive growth and innovation. New empirical frameworks may help unlock practices with which managers can deploy well-coordinated global product development strategies.

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When Learning Stops

Learning rarely follows a linear, upward progression. People forget what they once knew; institutional memory fades; obstacles of all kinds block individuals and groups from making progress. Sometimes an initially successful program or approach stops delivering results.

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Changing the Channel: A Better Way To Do Trade Promotions

The authors examine the theoretical and practical problems associated with trade promotions, and they explain how the right kind of deal can be created — a transparent system that generates mutual trust and provides benefits to both manufacturers and retailers. The key is proper implementation of what is thus far a little understood tool: the pay-for-performance trade promotion, in which retailers get rewarded according to how much they sell, not how much they buy.

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Unwise Decisions and Unanticipated Consequences

How could a team of decent, hardworking, normally law-abiding managers find themselves facing fines, jail time, the loss of their jobs, and ultimately the loss of the company they managed? In making executive decisions, these managers were not deliberately trying to evade the intent of the law, defraud anyone, harm

Showing 1-20 of 30