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March 24, 2016 - Supply Chain Flagship Newsletter

This Week in SCDigest

bullet More of 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 Beginss bullet Trivia      bullet Feedback
bullet New Gilmore's Supply Chain Jab and Expert Insight bullet On Demand Videocasts


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first thought


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week
Barriers to Adopting Industry 4.0

American Apparel Enters the eFullfillment Wars
Legacy of Legendary Intel CEO Upon his Passing
Target Rethinks Supply Chain Software Development - and Logistics Model
CPOs Think Procurement Teams Lack Talent


Download Complimentary Case Study

Cheney Brothers: Eliminating the Scanner Bottleneck and Boosting Accountability


Week of March 22, 2016 Contest

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

Holste's Blog: Deploying Technology To Increase DC Shipping Capacity


Weekly On-Target Newsletter:
March 23, 2015 Edition

New Cartoon, US Infrastructure, Target's Inventory & IT and more

Software Configurability Underpins Global Supply Chain Performance

by Ty Bordner
Vice President, Solutions Consulting
Amber Road

Will Amazon Really Build Parcel Shipping Network?

by SCDigest Editor Dan Gilmore

New SCDigest Benchmark
Study on Global Sourcing & Trade Management


About how much of total US spending on roads and bridges (new and repair) comes from the Federal government?

Answer Found at the
Bottom of the Page

More of Our Best Supply Chain Cartoons of All-Time

It's a relatively slow week, as we can tell by the number of "out of office" responses we've received from this week's emails, as many are on Spring break with their families, etc. On top of that, we've been at it pretty hard in these First Thoughts columns since the start of the year, so why not a little supply chain levity this week for a change?

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.


It's challenging to keep coming up with new ideas, but we'll keep doing it as long as we can.


Send us your
Feedback here

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.

He was actually concepting and illustrating each cartoon for this other publication, 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 since its inception. 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 this week, once again here are some of the best cartoon/caption combinations we have received. We did this just once before, in 2014, and received some very positive feedback on the effort, so let's give it another go.


I don't think there has been a contest where we didn't have at least one very good submission, usually more, but here are some of the best, all from the past couple of years.


Name and companies of the submitters are obviously what was sent at the time and may have changed since then. Note you can see the cartoon in full size by clicking on any of the images here in the email, or go to the full web page version at the link below this column.


Let's start with one of the winners from the May 27, 2014 contest, with this great caption from Pradeep Bhanot of PINC relative to big data in the supply chain.

Next, we always do a Christmas related cartoon at the end of each year, and for 2014 received this excellent caption from Ron Wheeler of Storck USA.

We received a lot of great captions for this robot related cartoon in early 2015, such that I am publishing two funny submissions, starting with frequent submitter Sue Brittain of Graybar.

Equally good was another caption for this contest from Steven Mihalik of Whirlpool, who also regularly sends in funny captions.

Later in 2015, this Omnichannel-themed cartoon also generated a number of good captions, starting with this winner from Jacques Lamothe of Purolator Inc.
Finally, from early this year we have a funny caption from Alan Fedders of Cincinnati on another ecommerce-related cartoon. Just who might be that enbeatable foe?

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed these, and had a least a few chuckles. We've had just a handful of cartoons that were close to repeats over these many years of doing this, starting in 2009, but that's it. It's challenging to keep coming up with new ideas, but we'll keep doing it as long as we can.


Do you enjoy the caption cartoon contests? Any ideas for a cartoon? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

View Web/Printable Version of this Column

On Demand Videocast:

Now is Finally the Time for WMS in the Cloud

As Supply Chain Software Moves to the Cloud, Barriers to Warehouse Management Joining the Party have All Fallen Away

What has changed, and what WMS technology developments are fueling this transition. We'll cover all that and more in this detailed, fast-paced broadcast.

Featuring SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore and Dinesh Dongre, VP Product Strategy, Softeon

Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

Trends and Issues Global Sourcing and Trade Management

Results from SCDigest's New Benchmark Study on Practices and Technology in Global Trade

You'll learn the results of the survey, unveiled in a new report launched with this Videocast. Not to be missed by anyone interested in global sourcing, global trade management and supply chain visibility.

Featuring SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore, Gary Barraco, Senior Director of Supply Chain Solutions at Amber Road, and Dan Gardner, President of Trade Facilitators Inc.

Available On Demand

On-Demand Videocast:

Using Supply Chain Modeling to Improve Operations and Outperform the Competition

PriceSmart Builds Optimized, Aligned and Dynamic Supply Chain Network

You'll learn about key new trends in supply chain design, where companies are finding the value, and learn the powerful story of how leading retailer PriceSmart has used network design tools to craft its network of the future to support growth, optimize flow paths, and right size inventory levels.

Featuring Frank Diaz, senior vice president, distribution and logistics at PriceSmart, and Toby Brzoznowski executive vice president at LLamasoft and SCDigest's Dan Gilmore

Available On Demand


Just some quick feedback this week we received from our expert columnist Mike Watson's recent piece on lessons we might learn from Alabama football coach Nick Saban relative to inventory planning.

Feedback on Lessons from Nick Saban:


Good clear direction for the coach (inventory manager).

Unfortunately, the owners and the fans DO look at the scoreboard and in many cases want short term results and push forcefully and loudly for short term reactions to item level events.

It takes a strong inventory manager with some degree of legitimacy and authority to be able to push back and affirm that we have the right game plan that will see us through to simultaneous improvements in inventory performance and service.

David Armstrong
Inventory Curve LLC


It was a very interesting analogy.

I would like to purpose a topic to be discussed in your posts. Demand Driven MRP is getting more attention for companies to manage their inventories. Demand Driven MRP forgets about forecasting and have a look to the real consumption. Demand Driven MRP supporters tell to forget about forecasting, it is most of the times wrong, guide your decision on real consumption.

What are your thoughts about it?

Juan Calle
TDM Transportes

comma Editor Note: This Feedback specifically related to a video discussion between Mike Watson and SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore on a broadcast of our weekly supply chain video news, which can be found here:

I really enjoyed your interview with Michael Watson on SCTV and his inventory analogies with Nick Saban's football strategies.

One point made was "to focus on the individual item". This approach, which of course is right, has dramatic implications on the ubiquitous "ABC Class" approach used by so many to manage their inventories. In that approach thousands of items are grouped into a hand full of Classes. So you are left with hundreds of items, all different, yet all managed in the same way.

Moreover these Class systems are constructed arbitrarily. Many will say "the A’s are the top 70% of sales, the B's are the next 15%" and so on. The 70% and the 10% are long standing "folklore" with little rational basis. Managing items based on their actual individual characteristics (forecast, variability, cost and so on) is the only way an inventory system can be optimized.

Great point made by Michael and you.

Terry Harris
Managing Partner
Chicago Consulting



Q: About how much of total US spending on roads and bridges (new and repair) comes from the Federal government?

A: It varies a bit by year of course, but recently only about 25%, lower than most think, according to the new book "The Road Taken" on US infrastructure from Duke’s Henry Petroski. The preponderance comes from state and local governments.

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