Archive for the ‘News Articles’ Category

Thanksgiving Logistics – Thanks To DLA

November 23, 2009

David Edwards . Operations Professionals

As we approach our Thanksgiving holiday here at home n the US, we should all be sure to give a special thanks to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for their tireless efforts to bring Thanksgiving to our troops stationed around the world. The DLA makes sure that our troops, wherever they may be, get a chance to celebrate and give thanks for the unique opportunity that is our country, while we give thanks for their incredible sacrifices to preserve it. So as you sit down to give thanks with your family, remember to give thanks for those who protect your right to do so.

Read the complete article here:  US Defense Logistics Agency cooks up Thanksgiving feast

The US Defense Logistics Agency has revealed it takes over seven months of meticulous planning to organise the delivery of Thanksgiving dinners to 180,000 personnel around the world.

“Providing superb meals to our US troops is a critical mission of the Defense Logistics Agency and one we put a great deal of effort into,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Chambers, who commands the DLA Philadelphia field activity which provides all the food for US military personnel worldwide.


Lean Emergency

October 27, 2009

David Edwards – Operations Professionals

As the health care debate rages in the US and centers on how to provide health insurance to our citizens, it seems our government leadership is missing the point, which is providing health ‘care’ to our citizens. Effective health insurance should by all rights be a zero sum proposition, the sum of all premiums collected should equal the sum of all health care provided (less a reasonable administrative profit), a seemingly simple concept that appears to escape the average health care consumer who is being led to believe that ‘affordable’ health insurance means paying less in premiums and receiving more in care benefits. Providing insurance to everyone will not accomplish this goal, decreasing the cost of health care will.

Manufacturing organizations have been faced with this challenge since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Companies that can effectively deliver higher quality products at lower costs thrive and those that can’t wither away. Unfortunately, our health care system has not benefited from this challenge. Health care costs, and therefore health insurance costs, have increased at more than double the rate of inflation since the 1970s. This exponential growth is a product of gross inefficiency in the entire health care / health insurance process.

Health care operations are beginning to understand the value of applying the ‘lean’ principals pioneered in the manufacturing sector to their health care processes. A recent study looks at 4 emergency room operations that tried to apply lean principles to their emergency care operations. According to Dr. Eric W. Dickson, a lead researcher in the study, “We have a fundamental problem in the U.S. health system, and it relates to delivering value to our patients.”

The results of this study indicate that health care operations can reap the same benefits that manufacturing operations have been reaping for years from the application of lean concepts. However, the results also indicate that health care operations are in the infancy of learning to apply these principals. Similar to US adoption of these principles in the 80’s and 90’s, health care operations are still very tentative and suspicious of the process. But, for the US (and global) health care industry, continued application of lean principals must be part of any solution designed to improve the quality, cost and delivery of health care.

Read the complete article here: Toyota Philosophy Works in the ER




Supply Chain Excellence – The Top 25

October 5, 2009

David Edwards . Operations Professionals

Who are the current leaders in Supply Chain Management, and what are they focused on? A recent article by AMR Research gives us their perspective. The leaders are focused on improving bottom line business performance, not just by focusing on efficiency and cost minimization, but by paying attention to visibility, responsiveness, and adaptiveness. The leaders are leveraging supply chain to grow market share and improve revenues, elevating their supply chain from a cost liability to a strategic asset. The list of leaders (as defined by AMR) include names you would expect to see like Dell and Wal-Mart, as well as a few that may surprise you.

Supply Chain Excellence

By: AMR Research

After you’ve fiddled with labor costs, R&D, procurement, and such, if you’re looking for ways to boost financial performance (and who isn’t?), there’s still one slice of uncharted corporate terrain where additional business value is there for the taking. Pick your head up a bit and you just may notice it: the supply chain.

Make Your Exisitng Systems Work For You

September 23, 2009

David Edwards . Operations Professionals

All too often companies struggle with the same issues every day. Everyone involved with the issue is just too busy putting out the raging flames driven by these issues to stop and eliminate it at the source. And in a large majority of cases, the tools to eliminate the source are right under their noses. Sophisticated ERP, SCM and WMS systems have been implemented, but for a variety of reasons are not being used to their full potential. Companies waste mountains of precious time, energy, and money fighting problems that could be eliminated if they just used their existing systems to their fullest potential. The following article details some of the most common reasons for this lack of utilization, and offers some simple advice for getting your money’s worth from the software investment you have already made.

Read The Full Article Here: Driving Business Process Improvement with Software You Already Own

Written by Marek Omilian    
Tuesday, 08 September 2009 

Many companies struggle to realize the full value of their software investments. Whether due to unclear business requirements, lack of user awareness, organizational resistance to change, or not leveraging existing software to address new business requirements, a significant amount of software functionality goes unused. To tackle this problem you should consider conducting a Business Process Improvement (BPI) planning engagement to unlock your software’s full potential. BPI engagements provide a structured framework to analyze and address business problems you face every day, driving cost savings and additional value from software you already own.

Leading The Way With BPI – Who’s In Control

September 23, 2009

In this article from, the struggle for control of the BPI process between IT and the business units being examined is discussed in depth. While IT has the expertise in the tools and techniques of BPI, business units resist  change processes that are not led by their own organizations. Successful BPI initiatives that are led by IT have been executed in organizations where IT leadership has recognized the need for IT to closely collaborate with and serve the business units. It’s in their best interest to do so because BPM is at the center of so much IT activity. Says Burlton, “Process is so important right now because it is the linchpin of all these other things we’ve talked about for years: ERP, CRM [and now SOA]. Process holds everything together.”

Who Controls Business Process Improvement

By Meridith Levinson

November 01, 2006 — CIO

 In the 1990s, Michael Hammer and James Champy’s blockbuster book, Reengineering the Corporation, set off a tidal wave of business process improvement initiatives throughout corporate America. The two management gurus showed that redesigning a company’s processes, structure and culture could lead to a dramatic increase in performance. But a lack of attention to change management and the impact of these initiatives on employees yielded counterproductive results in many companies that tried to put Hammer’s and Champy’s ideas into practice.

Business Intelligence – Mining Your Data For Gold

September 19, 2009

A recent article from Supply and Demand Chain magazine details the results of a recent study conducted by IBM. If you are working to develop meaningful information from the mountains of data you collect every day, you are not alone.

What’s on Your CIO’s Mind? Analytics, Analytics, Analytics

IBM study highlights business intelligence as top priority as today’s chief information officers focus on becoming more strategic, enabling business growth By Editorial Staff

Above (from YouTube): IBM CIO Pat Toole comments on a new global study of more than 2,500 Chief Information Officers (CIOs).

Armonk, NY — September 18, 2009 — Leveraging analytics to gain a competitive advantage and improve business decision-making is now the top priority for CIOs, according to a new study of more than 2,500 chief information officers by IBM.

via – Article – What’s on Your CIO’s Mind? Analytics, Analytics, Analytics.

Hyper Hyping Technology

July 17, 2009

In a recent AMR Research article on Business Week, Kevin O’Marah states “As businesses prepare for a new normal of hyper-volatility, the limits of the Japanese-inspired, low-tech, Lean philosophy are starting to show”. He goes on to use the latest AMR research on Supply Chain Risk to support his premise that the increasing level of supply chain complexity and risk requires an increase in the use of supply chain technology. This doesn’t surprise me coming from a technology industry guru, the answer to everything is always more complex technology.

However, his survey results don’t really support the idea that simpler (Kanban) is not better, the companies surveyed seemed to realize this year that the most successful supply chain risk mitagation strategies were closer collaboration with your suppliers, clear communication of expectations to your suppliers, and having a backup plan. The more things change, the more they stay the same, technology is a tool that can be leveraged to execute business more efficiently, but it cannot replace strong realtionships and clear communication in mitigating supply chain risk. In most cases, simpler is better…

Supply Chain Risk: Kanban Won’t Cut It

Posted by: Rachael King on July 16

Today, Kevin O’Marah, chief strategy officer for Boston-based advisory firm AMR Research, is guest blogging. Here’s his post:

Somali pirates, oil prices on a roller coaster, and poison peanuts are typical of the new reality for global supply chains in these crazy, turbulent times. As businesses prepare for a new normal of hyper-volatility, the limits of the Japanese-inspired, low-tech, Lean philosophy are starting to show. The global supply chain in 2009 is a lot more than just a factory and a loading dock – today’s system of plants, distribution centers and retail outlets works more like a worldwide telecoms network than an assembly line. Add a hefty dose of supply chain risk to the mix and a tech-free Lean gospel just can’t hack it anymore.

Success with Supply Chain Technology

July 13, 2009

A recent article from AMR Research defends SCM technology. Supply Chain Technology itself is not the issue, the issue driving success or failure is well summed in the excerpt “When technology–not surprisingly–doesn’t solve the organizational and process problems, it gets blamed for the organizational shortcomings”. SCM technology is a tool, it is used to execute organizational strategy, if that strategy is not well formed or the processes that are supposed to support it are not aligned properly, the technology does little more than automate the same problems that existed without it. Successful SCM technology implementations start with well aligned strategies and supporting processes, without this foundation the technology will be sure to fail…

Defending SCM Technology: It’s Not the Answer, but a Damn Good One

AMR Research | July 01, 2009

Master Your Future

July 3, 2009

Are you a ‘master’ of your supply chain. If you are, a recent Accenture survey says you have “achieved 10 percent greater forecasting accuracy than their counterparts did; that service management masters attained 33 percent better turns on “spares” inventories, and that masters of sourcing and procurement delivered 2.5 times more value for every dollar they spent on procurement than companies that haven’t achieved ‘masters’ status did.”

supply chain master: a definition

New research into high-performing supply chains looks at what sets the best apart from the rest …

By Mark B. Solomon, Senior Editor
From the July 2009 issue

Rational Decisions

July 3, 2009

Retailers and wholesalers have made significant inventory adjustments over the past 18 months in response to declining sales. This restructuring has impacted the manufacturing sector hard as they lose not only the reduction in sales, but the associated downward adjustment in inventory levels as well. The question is whether an uptick in sales will be accompanied by an associated increase in stocking levels, leading to an exagerated uptick in manufacturing requirements. If optimization techniques are properly applied, then we should expect to see some increase in stocking levels as consumer demand increases, just as we have seen stocking levels decline with decreases in consumer demand. This makes the task of managing manufacturing resources all the more critical during these periods of drastic demand swings…

SUPPLY CHAIN STANDARD: Rationalised and Optimal

July 1, 2009 — The current recession has seen massive destocking by retailers – is this the new norm or will the shelves fill up again come the upturn?