[TOP-PERFORMING SUPPLY CHAINS]
in a nutshell, it is better decisions, lots of postponement,
mastering ever-increasing complexity in a leveraged way,
and using all the data that we can get our hands on. .... I
believe in the Internet of Things and see great opportunities to “connect the dots” of data that may impact demand
and create opportunities for the companies that are agile
enough to respond.
How do you define supply chain excellence?
When I think of supply chain excellence, I believe that it
means we never miss demand. Excellence occurs when
there is minimal inventory ownership ... but the company
never misses demand. Strategically, I have declared that
as Carter’s continues to grow, it is my responsibility every
year to consume a smaller and smaller percentage of sales.
If the supply chain total cost of ownership of sales is x,
I want a downward tilting line for supply chain costs.
Survival means that we must invest in big data analytics,
customization, and postponement.
Companies that aggressively make the pivot to buy
globally and aggregate buying power can leverage low-
er-cost strategies. The key is using
some mechanism like attribute-based
forecasting, attach-rate planning, or
postponement. The item-master and
SKU-based logic used in most off-the-shelf software
solutions is too restrictive and constraining. Carter’s use
of the dimension code and the rationalization of retailer
platforms into a standard code allow the company to gain
both economy of scale and flexibility to differentiate for
the retail channel.
If you’d like to hear more about Carter’s Inc.’s supply
chain strategy and achievements, plan on attending Supply
Chain Insights’ Global Summit in Lake Oconee, Georgia,
September 5–8, 2017. Peter Smith is one of several confirmed speakers to date. For more information, go to
http://supplychaininsightsglobalsummit.com. I hope to
see you there!
LORA CECERE IS FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE RESEARCH FIRM SUPPLY
CHAIN INSIGHTS ( WWW.SUPPLYCHAININSIGHTS.COM) AND THE AUTHOR
OF SUPPLY CHAIN METRICS THAT MATTER.
[RESEARCH FOR THE REAL WORLD]
able systemwide performance improvements. The network design change studied in our paper involved
changing the location at which loads are clustered and
sorted for store delivery; that is, from the distribution
center to one facility farther upstream in the distribution
network. This is just one example of just one kind of networkwide change that could seriously benefit cross-docking performance.
The paper also shows that changes at the network level
affect another type of performance metric—metrics that
not many firms currently use in cross-docking. Without
such metrics, many opportunities to improve operations
may go unnoticed. We provide just a few examples of
metrics that would reveal these opportunities, such as the
number of load carriers [wheeled equipment for moving
cases] on-site or how long it takes for the load carriers
to move through the distribution network. The data for
these measures are typically already available in a firm’s
existing warehouse management system.
What is the key takeaway from your research?
First and foremost, we empirically verified, and there-
fore stressed, the importance of
taking a holistic approach to
cross-docking. But in order to
take this approach, cross-dock
management needs to be organized differently. Firms
could consider changing the way management responsi-
bilities around cross-docking are organized. They could
also consider adopting new performance metrics that bet-
ter reflect the holistic approach to cross-docking.
When you have functional silos, with managers who are
responsible for internal operations and managers who are
responsible for network operations, and they each have
their own metrics, it’s quite hard to make cross-docking
happen efficiently. So a key takeaway is that you need to
organize cross-docking differently to see the opportunities
and then to seize them.
TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE …
As a member benefit, CSCMP members can access articles in the Journal of Business Logistics at no charge. To
request access to this and other JBL articles, send a request
via e-mail to email@example.com.
[CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47]