Chapter News

Archive for September, 2009

The Fast Beat the Slow
September 2009

Al Leigh
APICS Brandywine Valley Chapter President
Al Leigh

In the contest that is business, these are the competitors:

  • the strong vs. the weak
  • the big vs. the small
  • the big fish with deep pockets vs. the small fish with limited resources
  • the established vs. the upstart new comer

But watching the world around me, I think the contest has changed. It is now: THE FAST VS. THE SLOW! And the companies that get their products and services out there first, WIN!

Think about that quarterback trade that occurred just before the season started. What company was the most successful in bringing out the replica souvenir team jersey with that name and number on the back? The one that was in the stores first, right? One company had them available the same day the trade was announced!! That is agility and just-plain speed (and a good bit of preparedness). Their sales that first day ensured their success vs. their competitors.

Speed equals velocity. How quickly can you turn your orders around? How quickly does your inventory turn? Do your new products hit their target introduction date? Think about the producer of commodity products (for example, paper clips). How do they successfully compete? I believe it’s by having their products in the right place at the right time, at the lowest overall supply chain cost. And that’s the result of high velocity in all their supply chain processes.

In addition to the well-known characteristics of product quality (defect-free, robustness, consistency, etc), I’ve added the service characteristics of on-time and timely delivery, accuracy, and hassle-free. That is a major part of customer satisfaction. That is velocity. That is supply chain. That is what we (APICS) do.

On a different topic, please join us at our Professional Development Meeting on October 13th for a very interesting topic. Sherry Read, an Executive Coach, will be speaking on “Expert Leadership.” She will share with us how we all can develop and demonstrate improved leadership skills in ourselves and our teams. You can find more on this topic and register for the PDM here.

Al Leigh, President APICS-SDELV

September PDM Recap
September 2009

Speaker: Oscar Jones, W. L. Gore

Topic: “To China and Back Again”

Oscar Jones

In a decade where outsourcing to China has become one of the chief mechanisms for reducing cost, we learned that reaping the benefits from inexpensive labor is more complex than looking at cost of goods sold (COGS).

Oscar walked us through the three phases of a manufacturing plan to move production from the US to China. Each phase of the project had its own set of challenges that required completion before moving on to the next phase. The goal of phase one was source raw material in China; of phase two, to move packaging to China; and of phase three, to move production to China.

The benefits of sourcing from China can include a lower raw material cost, flexible raw material supply, cheaper labor, and regional manufacturing for a global business. Oscar used local Chinese Associates to help identify potential suppliers and contract manufacturers to zero in on the best ones for his product line. After successfully driving the project through phase two, it became apparent that there were additional aspects of the transition that would need to be considered in addition to COGS. First and foremost it was discovered that their customer base was concerned that the product was packaged in China, and this in turn affected sales. Even though the product was still being made in the US, the customer noticed it was being packaged in China because it had to be declared on the box (packaged in China). This was a negative experience for the customer, impacting their purchasing habits. Secondly, the legal aspects of moving material in and out of the country (particularly in phase two) proved more problematic than anticipated. When asked what Oscar would do differently if he had to start all over again, he did not hesitate to answer that he would get Legal and Logistics from both countries involved from the very beginning.

Lastly, the packing operation, while effective, was not as efficient as Gore’s US counterpart’s. This affected their ability to manage material through the supply chain with the lead-times that they had anticipated. While this could have been improved if they continued with their plan, the decision was made to keep the operation in the US because the team could not afford to risk losing customers due to the “Packaged in China” label. In the end Oscar and the team negotiated a 10% decrease from their domestic packaging contract manufacturer.

There are real benefits that can come from setting up operations overseas, but there is more to consider than cost of goods sold.

Welcome New Chapter Members
September 2009

The following people have recently joined our chapter:

Martin Salva – DuPont
Robert Miller, CSCP – DuPont
Eileen Ward, CSCP – DuPont
Greg Myers – DuPont
David Spangler
Nicole Kemper – AET Films, Inc.
Dakaque Lewis – Kraft Foods

Please welcome them to our chapter if you meet them at a PDM or other chapter event.

Membership Milestones
September 2009

Congratulations to the following members who will celebrate a milestone this month:

5 years:
Tamsey Schuler, CPIM – AstraZeneca
Elizabeth Hubbard, CPIM – Eaton Aerospace

10 years:
Angela Luther, CPIM – AET Films, Inc

25 years:
Willet Egge, III, CPIM

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