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  Dec. 7 , 2006 - Supply Chain Digest Newsletter
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Featured Report

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First Thoughts by Dan Gilmore, Editor

Readers Respond - Transportation Challenge

A few weeks ago, in my CSCMP Conference 2006 review and comment, I mentioned that I thought too many presentations, both there, elsewhere, and ones I’ve done myself, were including lengthy repetition of all the recent woes and challenges of transportation management. These are no longer adding much value, as we hear the same things over and over again.

Many readers agreed with me, including CSCMP CEO and president Rick Blasgen, who wrote, “I totally agree with you about fuel surcharges, rising fuel expense, driver capacity – blah, blah, blah to be sure!” and Greg Andrews of AdTran, who wrote, “I second that plea to end the “slide drone” explaining the state of Logistics-Transportation.”

But not everyone saw it this way. Jeff Moore of Lakeside Logistics is one of several with this perspective: “I don’t agree with you on your reference to every speaker bringing up what I would call the “biggest issues in transportation today!”  The reason everyone brings this up is it’s a “real” issue, and believe it or not many companies still don’t get it!   We have to keep harping on it because we live this every day in our industry and we need everyone to be aware and to work together to try and solve some of these very serious issues.”

My response in general is that I think most companies get it – there’s just a big difference in how they are responding.

So, keeping it light as we approach the end of year, I proposed use of an acronym that I would make freely available to all that we could use to sum up rather quickly this litany of challenges, enabling speakers to “move on to more value-added material” with dispatch. My suggestion was RISCED.

  • Rates (rising)
  • Infrastructure (lousy in the U.S.)
  • Service demands (customers keep raising the requirements)
  • Capacity (who’s got a truck?)
  • Energy (ok, I needed a vowel, and used this instead of fuel)
  • Driver shortages

But recognizing it could use some work, we opened it up to SCDigest readers for improvement, offering a nice prize (gift card to a major electronics store) for the winner.

We were overwhelmed. Over 350 responses, and one or two more still show up every day. They range from the thoughtful to the ridiculous to the profane, but we enjoyed almost every one. Most popular were various riffs on CRISIS, TRUCKS, DRIVE and TIRES – a few of which were pretty good. There were many identical or nearly identical responses -we publish a selection of many suggestions and other fun stuff nearby in News and Views. This also allows us to include a few of the slightly more, well, let’s say unusual suggestions that probably wouldn’t make it past the firewall if we put them in the newsletter.

Some highlights:

Most active contestants: JJ Berrall of RedPrairie, Lynford Apple of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Pat Johnson of Michaels Foods, each of whom sent in numerous suggestions, Ms. Berrall  and Mr. Apple in one fell swoop, Mr. Johnson whenever the muse inside him took hold.

Best creative idea that didn’t qualify: Kevin Murphy of the Borders Group, who offered the intriguing concept/ term of “Transportunities.” He later wrote back and said the term appeared to already be taken, but our Google check finds only two obscure references. Not an acronym, but we like it – a half prize (busting the promotional budget) to Mr. Murphy. I suspect this term will show up on many presentations from here on out.

The “OK we’re taking this a little too far” award to the rather large group who sent in very long acronyms, like “DISCREPANCY”, “CHALLENGED” and all kinds of things that would be hard to fit on one slide. This includes friend of SCDigest Doug King of QVC, who offers “DISCOVERING” – and even sent along the artwork! Sorry Doug – too long!

The “Dan was close” award to the many readers who basically liked my first attempt, but re-arranged things a bit. Example: Don Call of Georgia-Pacific, who had offered a few such permutations, including, “Replace ‘Service Demands’ with ‘Increasing Service Demands’ and you get IDRIVE:

Increasing service Demands

Driver Shortages





The “Vanna White” award again to Lynford Apple of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who offered a number of pretty good ideas, but just kept needing another letter or two to make them work. He asked if he could “buy a vowel” or other letters. The answer is maybe, but we would have to use the prize money.

The “wow, I better think about this” award to Mark Bedeman of Accenture Supply Chain Solutions, who wrote: “This list is missing one vital and highly threatening new cost, particularly for those in Europe, but for sure one day in the US - Road Pricing. Once the governments, national, regional and local realize how easy it will be to charge via satellite based GPRS systems for road use, by day and time of day, load capacity, and route etc, the industry will be “hammered”! This makes the choice of an acronym even harder…” No prize, but thanks for a future SCDigest article idea.

The “over confidence” award to Jeff Gantt of Manhattan Associates, who started his two submissions out with the statement: “50 bucks here I come.”

The “best rejoinder” award to Tim Meester from an unspecified retailer, who wrote: “If you would like, I could submit this to our AGC (Acronym Governance Committee) for review.” 

OK, enough suspense. Our small committee was not extremely overwhelmed with any one submission. After seeing what we were getting, we looked for one that was short enough, actually seemed like one people might use, didn’t torture the acronym by stretching the phrases too much, and connoted some sense of pain, urgency, challenge, etc.  We strongly considered OUCH from Mark Shary at BestTransport, CURSED, from David Lynch of Dorman Products, FREIGHT from Mike Reese at Hershey Foods, DIESEL from Wally Harris, SCARED from Ronald Factor of Rogers in Toronto, DREADS from Gregg Lanyard of CombineNet, STORMS from Pat Johnson and SCRAPE from a few people (details on the link).

In the end, we decided that the several entries that used CRISES were in the winner pool – short, sweet, urgent, and a couple added in “security,” which we should have included. We randomly drew among several CRISES submissions, and the winner is Greg Andrews of ADTRAN: Capacity Rates Infrastructure Security Energy Shortage of drivers. You could add one more S on the end to include Service. Sorry to those others who had this idea but were not drawn. Awards on there way to Greg and Kevin Murphy.

Any submissions you especially liked? Will you actually use CRISES or any of these suggestions? How about “Transportunities?” Is there a better idea still floating out there? Let us know your thoughts.

Let us know your thoughts.

Dan Gilmore


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The EQ Factor: Navigating through the Emotions around LEAN Changes

by Scott Barrella (MS CPIM), Supply Chain Manager, Nestle USA

How you manage the change is critical to both the project's success and your career, and its often more "EQ" than "IQ" that matters. Part 1 of a series

Lean Supply Chains: From Lean Tools to Lean Management

by Jim Womack, Founder and Chairman, The Lean Enterprise Institute

While we've developed lots of lean tools in the past decade, companies still have a long way to go to become lean enterprises; Three ideas to help get you there.



Dec. 2 , 2006

New Feature: This Week’s Supply Chain News Bites – Only from SCDigest

What’s "in-store” for retailers in 2007? Warehouse Management Study finds there are still a lot of homegrown systems out there; Marks & Spencer still very bullish on RFID, looks for more; the return of cheap oil?

iron ore costs will rise in 2007, but less so than 2006 – steel prices will still likely rise

Dec. 2 , 2006

Transportation Challenges Acronym Submissions

We provide a sample of the more than 350 responses we received


Nov. 30, 2006

Supply Chain Best Practice Tip:  Implementing “Voice of the Supplier” Programs

Suppliers can offer suggestions that can offer significant supply chain improvements – but you have to ask

Nov. 30, 2006

Bear Sterns Shipper’s Report Finds Swing Towards Overcapacity in Truckload Market, Concern over Dimensional Rating by UPS and FexEx

Respondents also say rail service is improving, as more move cargo to rail providers; where are fuel surcharges and shipper compliance with them going?


Q. About what share of global steel output is China consuming?

A. Click to find the answer below


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Feedback is coming in at a rate greater than we can publish it - thanks for your response.

We're still behind - be patient if your letter has not yet been published

We're just getting to the many responses we received on our review and comment on the CSCMP Conference 2006 in San Antonio. First, we appreciate all the comments we received thanking us for this type of review, some of which are included below. We hear from a few readers not happy with the conference, others who were (Carol-Ann Kemp of Johnson & Johnson really enjoyed a Sit with the Experts session that we think can be a great thing), plus a variety of other opinions. See for yourself.

Our feedback of the week is from CSCMP CEO Rick Blasgen, with a brief response to our review. We're confident the event will continue to improve under Blasgen - especially as he promises to end the perpetual shortage of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi!

Keep the dialog going! Give us your thoughts on this week's Supply Chain topics. As always, we’ll keep your name anonymous if required.

Feedback of the Week – CSCMP 2006 Review and Comment

Great write up, and we will take your suggestions to heart. 

We will not move toward a "trade show" environment - the feedback we received from our first year of utilizing sponsors was positive.  We will not allow sponsors to directly or indirectly impact our programming around education maintaining our core principles. 

I also know we had several sessions around transportation and sourcing.  This is in response to survey work we completed during the year.  As you might imagine we do a lot of work understanding what our attendees wish to see and hear about.  But I totally agree with you about fuel surcharges, rising fuel expense, driver capacity - blah blah blah to be sure!  

P.S.  - We'll get some more diet Coke!  

Rick D. Blasgen

President & CEO

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

More on CSCMP 2006:

I found the session to have some value.


I also presented our "Carrier Web Portal" and found the audience interested in the topic.


I trust that when Dan mentioned "Corning" in his article, he meant Owens Corning?

John A. Gentle, DLP
Global Leader Transportation Affairs and Processes

Owens Corning


I did not go to CSCMP, continuing a trend of the past few years.


The reasons I do not go are: it is very expensive; there are too many sessions -- and, not enough focus; there are too many commercials -- and, not enough substance; there is an increasing number of consultants and fewer 'do-er's'; there is decreasing attention to issues facing transportation providers -- and resolutions thereof;  and, it is just too big a crowd.


I might suggest they have separate conferences focused on transportation/3PL providers and one for shippers, perhaps alternating years or having one in the Spring and one in the Fall.  This would allow them to focus the agenda, perhaps shorten the event, and locate it in smaller facilities.


I regret not attending to see my friends and associates, but the issues above are overwhelming.


I'll be attending NITL in November to see if it is a better alternative.


PS: I am a long term CLM member, once winning the CLM Doctoral award.  Many, many years ago.   The annual CLM meeting was a mandatory event for me at one time.


Douglas A. Fisher
Partner - Consulting & Business Development
Cascade Consulting Partners, Inc

I agree mostly with your synopsis of the latest CSCMP Annual conference in San Antonio and after missing the last two conferences “intentionally”  I was refreshed to see and hear some new topics of interest and attended some great sessions.  The one point I don’t agree with you on however is your reference to every speaker bringing up the what I would call the “biggest issues in transportation today!”  The reason everyone brings this up is it’s a “real”  issue and believe it or not many customers still don’t get it!   We have to keep harping on it because we live this every day in our industry and we need everyone to be aware and to work together to try and solve some of these very serious issues.  


Ironically I was speaking to someone today that was conducting a short survey for our local CSCMP chapter and the comment he got from this senior exec of a major 3PL was “I would attend more events if there was more emphasis on current issues like driver shortages, fuel surcharges and capacity!”  I rest my case.


Thanks for the great article.


Jeff Moore

Managing Partner

Lakeside Logistics Inc

I attended the conference and agree with much of Dan's commentary, particularly as it relates to the transportation sessions and lack of Supply Chain expert keynote address.  The "Hot Topics" Supply Chain Disruption with the Avian Flu was very good and included audience participation, which really makes you think about what you're not thinking about!


I had the good fortune to attend one of the "Sit with the Experts" sessions - Customer Logistics with Mary Long from Campbell's.  I found this to be very enlightening.  I would look for more sessions of this nature in the future.  


Carol-Ann Kemp
Director, Customer Logistics
Johnson & Johnson Sales and Logistics Company, LLC

Your observations on the conference are fair and on target. I too noticed some positive changes: more time between sessions, and the buffet in the tech area on Monday was really good for both attendees and vendors. Several vendors I know said they really had quality traffic as a result. I also thought Don Bowersox's thank you speech was extremely well done - short and sincere. I did hear that some sessions were pure selling situations which are hard to stop beforehand.


I attended one session which many attendees agreed had no resemblance to the description. This I blame on the track chair. All in all I had a great time and attending was absolutely worthwhile. [I attended my first annual conference over 25 years ago].


By the way I enjoy SCD and read it regularly...also signed up for your new one topic newsletter. I did see you lugging all that equipment at the Tues night dinner and wanted to say hello but you moved on too quickly.


Jack Ampuja

I can’t believe you are exactly like me in not accepting how event planners always run out of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. I have even told a colleague at PepsiCo.


Great process in getting this review out quickly.


Mike Loughrin

Transformance Advisors

I do agree that we need to keep focus on distribution as it seems to becoming a smaller track than others. I know that there are plenty of topics of interest to DC members, such as lean distribution, Customer Service and DC partnerships, VMI for both supply and supplier, Technology changes in the business, WMS,TMS, communication systems..


I had a very good time and felt I learned much from the sessions. Change is good and we need to keep the eye on the whole package not just the hot new “global” think.


Bob Smith

DC Manager - Las Vegas


The feedback from the CSCMP, is fantastic for those of us in small companies that do not budget for conferences or trade show for middle managers.


Please continue to present this type of information. I am eagerly awaiting the promised “more detail.”



Juan Chapa

QA & Special Projects Manager

Chicago Steel Container Corp.

I agree with many of your observations.  But I have to say it was one of the worse conferences I have been to.  I will not attend the CSCMP conference again for awhile.  The keynote speaker is the spark that is to kick off a successful and inspirational conference and when all of us left the room afterwards trying to figure out how crack dealers and prostitutes symbolize our profession we just shook our heads and walked in confusion to the onslaught of endless classes.  It got to the point where a group of us would choose a class and then see each other fifteen minutes later saying did you walk out on yours too?


At one point on Tuesday I went back to my room figuring I would just do some work and as I went through some folders I saw my registration and the fee of $1245.00 and realized I needed to get back to class and try to get something out of this.


I too love San Antonio one of the reasons I wanted to go but I feel this is a sinking ship representative of the new name I can't remember when all us say you know "CLM".


Bill Whelan

Vice President Business Development



Q. About what share of global steel output is China consuming?

A. Unbelievably, almost one-third annually.

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