Supply Chain Innovation

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Creating More Resilient Supply Chains

Global supply chains bring increased risks of disruption from events such as natural disasters. But by understanding and planning for such risks, Cisco Systems improved its own supply chain resilience. Its five-step process: identify strategic priorities; map the vulnerabilities of supply chain design; integrate risk awareness into the product and value chain; monitor resiliency; and watch for events. John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO, calls this type of risk management “a key differentiator.”

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Delivering on the Promise of Green Logistics

The best way to reduce emissions and cut costs is to transport goods efficiently. So why aren’t more companies taking the steps that would get them there? In a set of three case studies, one of the key obstacle becomes clear: implementing logistics strategies to reduce emissions requires significant internal and external collaboration between companies, suppliers, and shippers. But as these case studies prove, undertaking complicated process changes can also produce significant rewards.

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The Four-Point Supply Chain Checklist: How Sustainability Creates Opportunity

Supply chain executives are uniquely positioned to be able to see the whole ecology of a firm’s business, because they’re so close to all the pieces. This is especially true when it comes to matters of sustainability. This interview with Edgar Blanco, Research Director at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, outlines the areas in which supply chain managers can immediately have a sustainability impact, including packaging, transportation, supplier engagement, and customer alignment.

Image courtesy of Wal-mart.

Outcome-Driven Supply Chains

When properly designed and operated, the traditional supply chain has offered customers three primary benefits—reduced cost, faster delivery and improved quality. But managers are increasingly recognizing that these advantages, while necessary, are not always sufficient in the modern business world. The supply chain should be designed and managed to deliver one or more of six basic outcomes: cost, responsiveness, security, sustainability, resilience and innovation.

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Creating Growth With Services

In a world of commoditized products, companies are turning to service offerings for growth. The key to success involves redefining markets in terms of customer activities and outcomes, not products and services.

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The Bullwhip Effect in Supply Chains

Distorted information from one end of a supply chain to the other can lead to tremendous inefficiencies: excessive inventory investment, poor customer service, lost revenues, misguided capacity plans, ineffective transportation, and missed production schedules. What happens when a supply chain is plagued with a bullwhip effect that distorts its demand information as it is transmitted up the chain? How do exaggerated order swings occur? What can companies do to mitigate them?

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How Hadco Became a Problem-Solving Supplier

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. We can apply this Newtonian principle to the vertical supply chain: for every part outsourced by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), there is an equal and opposite opportunity for a parts supplier to furnish that part.

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ABB and Ford: Creating Value through Cooperation

More than three years ago, Thomas Lyons et al. noted that U.S. manufacturers and their suppliers were being pushed by world-class competition to develop new styles of relating to one another.1

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