Daily Archives: June 23, 2009

A Few More Ways to Go Green and Save Cost and Energy

Last fall, Industry Week ran a good article on getting the green light that outlined some good ways to go green and save green at the end of the article that I haven’t covered yet, and in one case, even thought about before. Cutting right to the chase:

  • Install Alternate Power Units (APUs) in Private fleets

    for heaters, air conditioners, etc. in sleeper units. This can cut engine idling time by up to 80%.

  • Efficiently Route and Load Transportation
    Reduce out of route and empty miles, increase cube utilization, and emphasize multi-stop shipments.
  • Near-Source Air-Intensive Components
    If you receive plastic bottles or packaging in un-blown, test-tube format, blow them into shape on-site, reducing the number of truckloads required to deliver the bottles or packing to the plant by up to 90%.

For more ideas, see the article.

Building Better Links in Your High-Tech Supply Chains

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An article from late last year in the McKinsey Quarterly on building better links in high-tech supply chains did a great job of summarizing the roadblocks to collaboration in today’s high-tech supply chains and of providing great advice for building better bridges across your supply chain.

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, the following roadblocks are almost universally present in under-performing supply chains:

  • Partner complexity and churn

    Supply chain partners often change as product designs and specifications evolve.

  • Siloed forecasts

    Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing, and Product Development often keep, and modify, their own copies of the forecast separately.

  • Poor data quality

    OEM forecasts, which set broad targets across a number of product lines, aren’t typically granular enough to be useful to partners.

  • The spiral of mistrust

    Executives often believe that they must guard information on their business plans and processes, even from partners.

However, with a little work, they can be removed. The advice given in the McKinsey article is good.

  • Sledgehammer the Silos

    Everyone needs to work off of the same plans and forecasts.

  • Trust is Tantamount

    Very little is truly so confidential that it can’t be shared with (strategic) supply chain partners. For example, point-of-sale, customer forecasts, and primary market data will soon be public knowledge anyway (a supplier could walk in and see your product in a store, access public import/export records, and do a survey to see where most of your product ends up), so why not share the information up front? Confidential designs beyond the subassembly they’re building are one thing, forecasts are another.

  • Share

    Why should your partners use their own separate distribution networks with overlapping inventory hubs and logistics systems, which only increases costs for everyone? These assets can, and often should, be shared … and this will reduce costs for all parties.

  • Collaborate

    Undertake joint product development, at least on the components your partner is responsible for. After all, they’re the true experts and given the freedom to come up with a design that conforms to a few parameters might save you a bundle of cash. Look at what Tata Motors did. You could do that to.