Expert Insight: Supply Chain InView
By Ann Drake
Date: February 11, 2010

Logistics Comment: Harnessing 2010


Reducing Costs, Facilitating Customer`s Growth And Open Communication All Priorities for 2010

Rounding the corner from 2009 – a year that gave grey hairs to just about everybody – I asked some of the best supply chain thinkers in my company to suggest smart strategies for 2010, and here’s what they told me:


Reducing Costs

First, cost reduction will remain a priority. Smart companies have renegotiated leases and other costs, but it takes more than that. It is important to keep working toward integrated processes to streamline operations and eliminate waste.


Along the same lines, we need to stay focused on continual improvement. Being a process-driven organization helps because there’s a systematic approach to continual improvement.

Facilitating Our Customer's Growth

Next, as supply chain partners, we should be ready to facilitate our customers’ growth when the time is right. Companies will be looking for every opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. Effective supply chain leadership can offer that – both to achieve margins and to capture market share. While reducing costs, customers will absolutely not accept any decrease in the quality of service.

Strategy For Open Communication

Third consists of a three-part strategy. What we’ve found is that open, honest communication is even more important in tough times than it is in good times. Our Senior VP of Operations advises people throughout our organization to do three things: “Be receptive to change, accept feedback openly, and look for win-win solutions.”


Our pros also have a few suggestions for customers.

  • “Leverage our intellectual capital. Give us the chance to collaborate on solutions before all the decisions have been made.”
  • “Work closely with us, so we’ll have as much time as possible to re-evaluate and re-design.”
  • “Have an open mind and consider ideas that originate outside your immediate organization. When demand patterns change, the supply chain partner is sometimes the first to feel the impact.”
  • “Focus on the long term. Plan for the recession and at the same time, position for coming out of the recession.”

Final Thoughts

It all seems “right on”! I’d like to add my own words of wisdom: In good times and bad, partnerships win. Strong partnerships result in better service and more effective operations because both organizations are focused on improvement.

Agree or disgree with Drake's perspective? What would you add? Let us know your thoughts for publication in the SCDigest newsletter Feedback section, and on the website. Upon request, comments will be posted with the respondent's name or company withheld.

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profile About the Author

Ann Drake is Chief Executive Officer of DSC Logistics, a leading third-party logistics and supply chain management company. She has been a long-term member of CSCMP and WERC and is Vice Chairman of the Business Advisory Council (BAC) for the Northwestern University Transportation Center.

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Drake Says:

In good times and bad, partnerships win.

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