This week on SCDigest:
No Supply Chain Blah, Blah, Blah 2010
Supply Chain Graphic of the Week and Supply Chain by the Numbers
New Cartoon Caption Contest Starts This Week!!
SC Digest On-Target e-Magazine
Expert Contributor: For Mid-Sized Companies, an Investment in Supply Chain Planning is an Investment in Growth
Expert Contributor: Whose In Charge Here? Making Voice Technology Work For You
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  Newsletter Archives                  Can't View In E-mail? December 9, 2010 - Supply Chain Newsletter

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Videocast: Sourcing Optimization in Consumer Goods

How to Drive Customer Service and System Profitability by Effective Asset Use

Featuring Dr. Michael S. Watson, IBM Optimization & Supply Chain Solutions

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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On-Line Townhall Meeting: Understanding and Navigating the UPS and FedEx 2011 Rate Hikes

Join us for this insightful,

fast-paced discussion --
Not to be missed for parcel shippers! Ask your questions live.

Featuring Jerry Hempstead, long-time parcel industry executive and now president of Hempstead Consulting

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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Videocast Series: Operations Rules -- Delivering Customer Value Through Flexible Operations

Part 1: Matching Products, Markets & Strategies

Videocast Series:

Retail Supply Chain Best Practices

Part 4: Advanced Ship Notices in Retail Supply Chains - The Path Forward

This Week's Supply Chain News Bites
- Only from SCDigest

Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: Advanced Ship Notice Accuracy, Featuring Dr. Brian Gibson of Auburn University

This Week’s Supply Chain by the Numbers for December 9, 2010:
Kroger Makes Supply Chain Move, Oil Prices Heading North, SCM Visionaries Clobber the Pack, Job Posting Auger well for Economy


4th Annual SDigest-Gartner

Supply Chain Study

Participants Receive Major Gartner Report - a $300 Value

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Survey Closes This Sunday!


December 7, 2010 Contest

See The Full-Sized Cartoon and

Send In Your Entry Today !



Weekly On-Target Newsletter
December 8, 2010 Edition

New (Santa) Cartoon, Parcel Rate Townhall, Top Retail Supply Chains, And More

HolsteHolste's Blog: Achieving A Successful DC Upgrade Project, Requires Detailed Planning
Top Story: The Emerging Event-Driven WMS Model
Top Story: Getting Cross Dock DC Design Right
Top Story: CHEP Parent Acquiring IFCO, Creating a Pallet and Container Giant

Why is major wholesale drug distributor Foxmeyer an important footnote in supply chain history?
Click to find the answer below

No Supply Chain Blah, Blah, Blah 2010

It is time again.

Six years ago, I wrote our initial (and somewhat infamous) First Thoughts piece on ''Let's Stop the Blah, Blah, Blah.'' The basic theme: too many presentations at various conferences and other events do not say enough of real value. The jab was aimed primarily at speakers from the consulting, academic, solution vendor, author, and sometimes even the analyst community. This group, as we have noted before, too often tends to be focused on sound bites and restating the obvious, rather than delivering real insight.

In general, I find presentations from what vendors typically call ''end users'' -regular companies and practitioners -generally do not fall into ''blah, blah, blah,'' though the level of detail and insight shared varies greatly. There is also the somewhat bothersome trend of some companies obviously having marching orders to never leave a slide up long enough to actually write down anything useful. I guess we should be thankful enough they were permitted to tell the story.

As always, I include myself in the category of those speakers who risk blah, blah, blah-ness at times, and recognize how hard it is, especially if you speak frequently on different topics, to avoid it now and then. I fully admit to falling into blah, blah, blah territory at times - though I think I had a pretty good year with my Supply Chain 2015 and a couple of other presentations.


"I welcome your nominees for any outstanding presentations you had a chance to see in 2010."


Send us your
feedback here

All that said, I offer again our Audience Bill of Rights, which offers some reasonable guidelines for what you should expect and demand from presenters. We have even heard of conferences where organizers are now using this document in communicating with speakers.

We were plenty busy at SCDigest this year (it was a fantastic 2010 for us - thank you again), but I was on the road quite a bit. Best I can recall, I attended the CSCMP annual conference, a major CSCMP St. Louis roundtable meeting, a CSCMP Atlanta roundtable meeting, the Warehouse Education and Resource Council (WERC) annual conference, the University of Wisconsin's e-business forum, the International Association of Asset Management conference, the annual HK Systems/Dematic Material Handling and Logistics Summit, the two meetings of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain Executive Forum (let's hope it continues after Dr. Langley's departure), the North American Material Handling Show (may it RIP), and the user conferences of JDA Software, Manhattan Associates, RedPrairie, Shipper's Commonwealth, HighJump Software, and Data Alliance (hope I didn't miss anyone).

I also presented and participated privately at global logistics/supply chain meetings of two regular companies in 2010. I do a limited number of these each year. If you are interested, drop me a line – it seems to work out well (yes there is a charge).

In general, I found presentations at these events solid this year, and am actually starting to get blown away by just how sophisticated many of our supply chain leaders are becoming. Sometimes concerned we're not far from getting about as good as we can, I have also come to find that quite often the near perfect story we hear at the conference has a few more supply chain skeletons in the closet than attendees might know.

At the same time, I don't really recall presentations that were truly inspirational in a supply chain way as I have some years, though that may actually reflect the fact that greatness is now all around us - almost commonplace.

Below you will find my totally subjective list of the best presentations I saw in 2010. All company affiliations were at the time of the presentation. Some may have changed, though none I am aware of.

Best Supply Chain Presentations of 2010 (random order):

  • Jim Butts, Sr. VP of Transportation for CH Robinson,who  gave a thought-provoking presentation on supply chain innovation at the CSCMP St. Louis roundtable (one of the best) last spring. We all believe in supply chain innovation at one level or another, Butts said. But is your company measuring it, or even better specifically investing in it? Or is it just talk? For service providers, are you tracking how much revenue is being driven by innovation? Thoughts worth pondering.

  • Thom Grohalski, a project manager for Kellogg's, who at the RedPrairie user conference gave a great presentation on how to make automated guided vehicles (AGVs) work in distribution - not easy. What set this presentation apart was simply the level of detail - excellent.
  • Patrick Lanzing, head of transportation for Logitech (of computer mouse and other gadget fame) who gave  a fascinating presentation at CSCMP 2010 on the Logistics Service Alliance, a coalition he began of 10 shippers doing what is in effect carrier bid optimization across multiple modes and three regions of the globe (Americas, Europe, Asia). That such a thing was happening and almost no one had heard of it was the main distinguishing feature of the presentation. Lanzing could hardly finish because he was interrupted so frequently with questions
  • John Gentile,now independent consultant and former transportation exec at Owens-Corning, who in a great presentation at the Shipper's Commonwealth user conference asked shippers to take a closer look at how carriers rate them as customers - especially important in what is already an increasingly challenging capacity environment. "Voice of the Carrier.'
  • Philippe Lambotte, Senior Vice President, Customer Service & Logistics for Kraft, at the University of Wisconsin's E-Business Consortium in October, with a thought-provoking piece on using supply chain innovation and collaboration with customers as aggressive offensive weapons to win market share. This was inspirational,actually, and offered a very new way of thinking about things.
  • Terra Winston, president of consulting firm inTerract, on PepisCo's new comprehensive program to develop supply chain talent. This is where the batltle will be won going forward, and PepsiCo is showing the way. Interestingly, I came in a bit late, and didn't realize until the very end that Winston was not a PepsiCo employee. More on this soon.
  • Melissa Schmidt, head or North American Logistics for Cummins, during a Videocast this year on our Supply Chain Television Channel. Schmidt gave a detailed and impressive presentation on their highly successful WMS implementation (RedPrairie). It was all business - absolutely no blah, blah, blah here - and provided a real tutorial on implementing WMS right.
  • Jeff Herir of Georgai-Pacific Consumer Products, for a presentation on choosing between ERP and best-of-breed supply chain planning software at the JDA user conference in Las Vegas. This was one of those presentations in which you could sense the speaker is somewhat reluctant to share too many details, yet Herir's s presentation on how his company went through the ERP/best-of-breed decision process and the incredibly detailed way in which they calculated ROI was among the best I have seen on these subjects.

Finally, the SCDigest award for 2010 Supply Chain Presentation of the Year goes to Chris Gaffney, at the time head of Coca-Cola Supply (he has moved on to a new executive assignement after the Coke's merger with bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises. At the Spring meeting of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain Executive Forum, Gaffeney gave a solid presentation on how Coca-Cola Supply was moving towards becoming demand-driven. But what made it our presentation on the year is when he then took it in a whole new direction about how to bring balance into increasingly challenging supply chain careers, and how with the right formula less can really be more for both managers and the company.

The presentation clearly had the executives in the audience thinking about whether they needed to review their own approaches to managing their organizations.

Just FYI, previous SCDigest Best Presentation of the Year award winners were:

  • 2009: Jim Kellso of Intel, on rethinking Intel's supply chain to work for a new chip whose much lower price point required a dramaticlly lower cost supply chain.
  • 2008: Matt Salmonson of Old Navy/The Gap stores group, who spoke at the i2 user conference, on how to implement software the right way, and make change management happen.
  • 2007: Michael Schofer of Coats North America, describing his company’s supply chain transformation, at the i2 user conference.
  • 2006: Paul Mathews of The Limited Brands for his speech on aligning supply chain and the corporate boardroom at the North American Material Handling Show. This was motivational.
  • 2005: Glenn Wegryn of Procter & Gamble, who presented at CSCMP 2005 on how P&G has developed a methodology and set of tools to drive supply chain strategy and planning into overall business strategy and planning – wonderful.

So, that’s our list. Congratulations to the winners. There was a lot I missed, of course. I welcome your nominees for any outstanding presentations you had a chance to see in 2010.

By the way, if you are a parcel shipper, don't miss our innovative on-line Townhall meeting next week on Understanding and Managing the 2011 rate hikes. I promise you it will be great. See notice on the right side.

Did you see any outstanding presentations, especially any that were highly visionary or motivational? In general, are you happy with the quality of presentations you see at conferences? What can vendors and consultants do to make their presentations better? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below.


Dan Gilmore


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By Scott J. Yetter

Voxware, Inc.


Whose In Charge Here? Making Voice Technology Work For You

By Mr. Danny Halim
VP, Industry Strategy

JDA Software

For Mid-Sized Companies, an Investment in Supply Chain

Planning is an Investment in Growth


A few more mostly short letters on the pieces by guest columnist David Schneider digging into WalMart's move to take over most of its inbound freight. That includes our Feedback of the Week fro Paul Soper, who offers some interesting perspective on the subject.

You wll find that an other letters on the topic, and one that says editor Dan Gilmore shouldn't worry any time soon that we are running out of things to write about in the supply chain

Feedback of the Week - On WalMart Inbound:

The 100 mile deadhead from DC back to a vendor is one point, but a similar deadhead exists at the other end or at the Store.  For an inbound carrier to go to a store sounds good, he is unloading at one side of  the DC and the load to “a store” is already loaded on a fleet trailer with roll up doors, whether its truly there own or a contracted dedicated fleet who has to operate with specified grocery trailers.

If its food DC and perishables it’s a multi temp trailer,  it may work with dry vans but here again, that inbound carrier would have to have drops or live load.   The drops on the dry side are mostly walmarts own trailers for outbound I believe with exeption of a few very large carriers.    I think they can accomplish more on the dry side than the Grocery DC side.  The stores and the DC prefer roll up doors.

Shippers on the other hand often prefer swing doors on refrigerated longer haul movements  Also many grocery trailers are flat floor and lack circulation for temp controlled loads and generally weigh more.   In that the grocery side represents 51 percent of WMT sales revenues, they will have to deal with these scenarios.

Many of the big volume vendors have drop trailer from the core carriers, but presently its not feasible to have all the extra trailers that may be needed,,,,not so much a cost standpoint of trailers, but the shear lack of room for them  at vendors premises, some vendors now only have so much room for drops.  The same goes for the Walmart DCs, they do have extra property to pave, but presently they were designed for X number of trailer spaces.  The guy coming in for a customer pick up live load at a vendor is getting loaded later, not faster in most cases.

I watch it closely, as I was instrumental in talking WMT into using outside dedicated carriage for grocery distribution in the fall of 1992, at a time when they had every intention to do it themselves..the trucks and trailers form Great Dane were already ordered for the first food DC in Clarksville, Ark.  We called it Clarksville Refrigerated Lines, or CRL, later named it Transport Industries. I left, 2 years later it was sold and the new owners renamed it Greatwide (and yes we did plenty of pickups when it made sense.) Its an old idea being aggressively ramped up. 


Paul Soper

More on WalMart Inbound:

Excellent article, provides great insight as to how large retailers like Wal-Mart integrate their transportation and sourcing functions to successfully reduce costs and drive efficiencies through multiple areas of the supply chain.

Laurie Turnbull CITT, P.MM
Supply Chain Consultant
The Cole Group

We saw the value of leveraging our in-house fleet following the implementation of our E-Tendering tools in 2009. Later that year, we launched the Direct Ship Initiative to ensure that our suppliers had visibility to our delivery routes/returning vehicles for the purposes of scheduling inbound materials. Rolled-out in January 2010, the program has begun to gain real traction as the tendering application continues to evolve in both coverage and sophistication. As we evaluate the next generation TMS, the ability to manage, expand, and optimize the utilization of the in-house assets will be a key differentiator.

Bill Ray
Director of Procurement
Ply Gem Industries, Inc.

I salute and thank Supply Chain Digest and David Schneider for the excellent article and its thoughtful display of ideas and challenges!


Thom A. Williams

AmherstAlphaAdvisors LLC

I agree with everything you’ve stated so far. However, the high percentage of empty miles the Wal-Mart fleet is traveling has got to be one of their main goals. As an experienced cost justified transportation manager with a large grocery retailer, I can attest to the benefits. It took me years to battle the merchandisers over this concept and just days with our distribution management group. We became a profit center as a result, not a cost center.

Phil Bleeker

On Gilmore's Thoughts from the Beach:

Thought provoking as usual.  I wouldn’t worry about not having enough to write about though.  Early in my career (circa 1970) I worked as an accountant.  I decided to leave the profession because I saw that there were only a few ways to classify debit and credits, and computer programs could do it more efficiently than clerks.  Who would need accountants in the future?  Turns out practices continue to change, and there is plenty of opportunity for accountants.  SCM is way more complex in practice than counting beans.

On the Cisco reference, I saw a great presentation from Cisco at the 2008 CSCMP Conference on Risk Management and how they track all of their supplier partners and plan around risks.  They pointed to the earthquake in China and how they were able to quickly shift production to other sites which were unaffected. 

I guess the Cisco risk system doesn’t look at potential upturns.

Steve Murray

Principal Consultant and Chief Researcher

Supply Chain Visions


Q: Why is major wholesale drug distributor Foxmeyer an important footnote in supply chain history?
A: SCDigest’s number one supply chain disaster of all time, a combination of a bad and almost impossible ERP system implementation and a highly automated distribution center project gone awry – done together in “big bang” fashion - took the company under in the late 1990s. After filing bankruptcy, it was sold for a song to competitor McKesson.
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