sc digest
September 12, 2014 - Supply Chain Flagship Newsletter

This Week in SCDigest

bullet Our Best Supply Chain Cartoons of All-Time bullet SC Digest On-Target e-Magazine
bullet Supply Chain Graphic & By the Numbers for the Week bullet Holste's Blog/Distribution Digest
bullet New Cartoon Caption Contest Begins bullet Trivia      bullet Feedback
bullet New Supply Chain by Design and Expert Insight bullet Videocast/On Demand Videocasts

Vendor Performance Impact on Safety Stock Videocast, WebEDI, Retail Supply Chain Special Reports and more



first thought


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week:

The Cost Components of Running a Truck

China's Global Resources Play Not Panning Out
The USPS Making Bold Parcel Rate Moves to Gain Market Share
Ford F-150 Truck Replacing Screws, Bolts with Glues
Important Container Productivity Program at Port of LA/Long Beach


September 9, 2014 Contest

See The Full-Sized Cartoon and Send In Your Entry Today!

Holste's Blog: Great Customer Service Depends on Quick & Easy Access To Stored Products


The Logistics and Transportation Insight and Solutions You Need - Without Leaving the Office

register now
October 15, 2014


Weekly On-Target Newsletter:
September 10, 2014 Edition

New Cartoon, USPS Cuts Parcel Pricing; Warming Pause, Non-Putaway DC Models and more


Just Because the Feature Exists, Doesn't Mean You Should Use It

by Dr. Michael Watson

Will the Evolving Connected World Construct Change the Paradigm of SCM?

by Prasad Satyavolu
Global Head – Innovation, Manufacturing & Logistics Practice


What was the annual US trade deficit in goods in 2013, excluding oil related products?

Answer Found at the
Bottom of the Page

Our Best Supply Chain Cartoons of All-Time

I am aware of the power of well-placed humor in almost every activity, notably presentations - a point which I will confess I often forget.

So among all the serious materials we have here at SCDigest, I must say the idea to have a supply chain cartoon caption contest to lighten things up a bit was among our better initiatives.

Except it wasn't really my idea. The illustrator who draws our cartoons actually reached out to me, seeing if I would be interested in such an idea.  He was doing a caption contest for a web site that focused on industrial automation equipment (PLCs and such), and decided to look around for similar opportunities.


"Challenging to keep coming up with new ideas, but we'll keep doing it."


Send us your
Feedback here

He was actually concepting and illustrating each cartoon, but I didn't think that work for us - you have to have the domain knowledge. So I said "We'll concept, you draw" and that's how we got started.

It has been a big hit. We regularly receive emails from readers saying the cartoon captions bring some laughs that help a bit with the near constant stress that can  be part of supply chain.

So why not even lighten up even one of these First Thoughts columns for a change? Hope you enjoy.

Our first cartoon appeared Dec. 4, 2009 - at a time mind you that orders and freight volumes were in the dumpster. Our winning caption was provided by Joel Wilmarth, at least then of Graybar. (Clicking on any cartoon will bring up larger image).

In early 2010, Gerry Anderson, then of Freight Intelligence Corp., gave us this good caption, which I grew to like even more when I saw a someone from retailer Canadian Tire use it in a supply chain presentation:

Later in 2010, Steven Miller of Walt Disney gave us this great caption:

In the first quarter of 2011, diesel prices had really started to shoot back up again, leading to this contest winner from John Lowder, then of Intel:

In mid-2011, Russ Thorne, then of Cargill, was a co-winner with this caption, giving a nice shout out to to Eli Goldratt's "The Goal":

In mid-2012, Roger McCoy, then of GAP, sent in this funny winner:

While in 2013 we received this winning submission from Paul Krumhaus of the US Military:

So many more good ones, but we are out of room. But here is my all-time favorite, which I use all the time, submitted by Tom Hammann of General Mills:

Hope you enjoyed these, and had a least a few chuckles. We've had just 2-3 that were close to repeats but that's it. Challenging to keep coming up with new ideas, but we'll keep doing it.

Do you enjoy the caption cartoon contests? Any ideas for a cartoon? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button (email) or section (web form) below.


View Web/Printable Version of this Column

New Big Ideas Videocast:

The Internet of Things: Where it's Headed, and Practical Strategies for Leveraging RFID Right Now

We are Entering a New Era of "Turbo Visibility" - Learn How Connected Assets and Data-Driven Analysis are and will Make Companies More Efficient

Tom O'Boyle, Director of RFID, Barcoding, Inc., McLeod Williamson of Zebra Technologies and SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New On Demand Videocast:

Achieving Supply Chain "ESP" with Advanced Simulation Techniques

Enterprise Simulation Planning Enables Companies to See the Future of Their Supply Chain - Learn How

Featuring Toby Brzoznowski, executive vice president at LLamasoft and globally recognized authority on supply chain network design and SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore.

Now Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

Case Study - Flowcasting Vision and Success at Sigma Alimentos, a Leading Food Manufacturer and Distributor in Mexico and the US Southwest

New Approach and Technology Will to Take Supply Chain Performance to the Next Level

Part Two of a Series

Aldo Santarelli, Head of Logistics, Sigma Alimentos and SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore.

Now Available On Demand


We received several letters based on the two-part series guest First Thoughts contributor David Schneider wrote while editor Dan Gilmore was on vacation. Schneider argued that planning was poorly performed in most supply chain and logistics organization - and our readers seemed to agree.

That includes our Feedback of the Week from Greg Schlegel of Lehigh University. That letter and several others are below


Feedback on the Week on Getting Planning Right:


Just scanned column by Dave Schneider on injecting risk into the supply chain dialogue.

We at Lehigh University and the Supply Chain Risk Management Consortium say AMEN!

As Supply Chain Risk evangelists, we know through research that only a small portion of manufacturing organizations overtly spend time, money and resources to Identify, Assess, Mitigate and Manage enterprise-operational risks!

This compelled us to write, we feel, a "First-of-a-Kind" end-to-end approach book covering a new discipline - Supply Chain Risk Management.

Good dialogue in the column and we need to and will press this issue to inject new tools, techniques and methodologies into the supply chain and especially the S&OP process to Identify, Assess, Mitigate and Manage debilitating supply, demand and global risks.

Greg Schlegel
Lehigh University

  More on Planning:  

Hi. I believe that many companies have trouble getting the planning done right and quick enough because of the lack of collaboration of the understanding of all of the employee business roles, functions and the data in a business system that can be accessed by at least the leadership positions making the planning decisions.

When making the planning decisions you need to know who needs to be involved to be as efficient as possible and make sure that roles are not duplicated but also work is supervised, completed at the proper timing, cost, and high quality level.

Shelley Jordan


After being around many companies and helping them with implementing planning processes enabled by software, I agree 100% with the assessment.

Planning is often just a motion to complete the task of planning.

Most often there is no penalty for bad plan, but a lot of penalties for not making it (late, wrong, etc.)

Fast and multiple re-planning is not making it much better, but does confuse (a lot!!!), unless it is comprehensive (with who, what, when, where, why and how) and executed.

All failed plans have one common denominator: no-one owns them.

I believe in technology as an enabler, but I don't believe in planning for sake of planning.

Jakub Wawszczak
Sr Principal, SAP


Great article. As a Sales and Operations Planning Manager, I agree with you that Planning is a leadership function, which many MD's and CEOs fail to recognize! I will save this article and pass on the link to our supply chain team!

Gavin du Plessis
GUD Holdings


I am not sure I agree with all of this, but it made some good points.

What it did not address though is the aspect of time. It is one thing for a consultant to come in, charging by the hour, and do a superlative job of planning. It is another for a manager with 100 other things to do to put that same level of planning effort into a given initiative.

There usually simply not enough time to do it at the level suggested here. You try to do it with enough quality that you get close to the desired results - and cross your fingers that the risk elements don't come back to bite you.

It's not that most of us don't know how to do planning right, but that the time simply is not available to do so.

Alex Terzanno



Q: What was the annual US trade deficit in goods in 2013, excluding oil related products?

A: Unbelievably, a whopping $702 billion. The trade imbalance with China represented some $320 billion of that. The numbers are up this year from 2013.

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