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Supply Chain Management - Research & Consulting

As energy costs continue to rise, manufacturing companies have looked to their supply chains as important areas for strategic cost reduction and competitive advantage. The problem is that most companies have already picked the low-hanging fruit in supply chain savings through economies of scale, consolidating source materials and other measures. “We’re tired of hearing how rising oil costs are affecting everybody,” explained one packaging director. “What else is there that we can do?” Manufacturing companies are indeed finding there are few short-term productivity gains left. Instead, innovative companies are looking deep into their supply chain structures, relationships and workflows to find long-term cost reduction solutions. The task is not easy, but some leading companies have developed approaches and frameworks that leverage supplier relationships for continued productivity enhancement.


Best Practice Methodology

Using our proprietary Best Practice Blueprints for Excellence methodology, Best Practices' analysts first help our clients assess their existing processes and performance systems. Following the completion of internal practice collection, Best Practices, LLC and the client team members confer to prioritize the issues and areas that will have greatest economic and operational benefit.  An action plan is then developed and used to guide the benchmarking project.


Optimizing Your Supply Chain Management

A recent client was looking to compare the performance of its supply chain and for ways to streamline and optimize its performance. Our research started with a detailed online survey of comparable companies, designed to gather performance metrics on delivery performance, cycle times, cash management, supply chain costs, and performance improvement initiatives. By localizing the best-in-class companies based on the survey, the research team performed follow-up interviews of respondents to understand what systems, practices, lessons learned, and trade-offs were necessary to achieve world-class excellence. The research team also conducted an extensive array of background research to identify the latest trends in supply chain management best practices. Detailed performance data, along with supporting best practices straight from the source of world-class companies, and supplemented by secondary research, helped our client know exactly where they stood and where to invest time and resources in supply chain initiatives for the foreseeable future.  This study was conducted on behalf of a global manufacturing company. More than 200 companies in 50 industries were studied, with detailed metrics and practices being gathered from more than 25 top companies. With our insights in hand, our client was well positioned to enhance delivery performance, minimize lead times and supply chain cycle times, reduce its cash conversion cycle and inventory on-hand, and give focus to its budget and improvement initiatives. The client also had the information necessary to optimize its supply chain spending on order management, material acquisition, inventory carrying, and supply chain-related finance, planning, and information technology.

Best Practices in Supply Base Management

Several clients have come to us looking for ways to optimize the relationship between their companies and suppliers. The focus of our best practice research was to identify the tactics and operational elements required to optimize vendor selection, interaction technology, new product planning and other mutually beneficial processes, relationship management, and rewards & recognition.  Studies were conducted on behalf of a global pharmaceutical company and a global manufacturing company. More than 150 companies in 30 industries were studied. With our insights in hand, our client was well positioned to enhance product quality, lower QA expenses, reduce administrative costs, negotiate better supply contracts, and achieve a win-win scenario with its key suppliers. We were also positioned to relate the very latest trends and practices in supply base management, which poised our clients to make informed budget decisions as they looked to optimized their supply base and shareholder value.

Best Practices in Order Management

A key element in delivering quality product to customers on time depends on capturing the right order the first time - particularly when the product or service is extremely complex. Our research identified the best practices throughout the entire ordering process - including entry, transmission, processing, execution, and delivery. The objective in this case was to focus on "virtual manufacturers" of highly complex products with hundreds of options and variables. This study was conducted on behalf of a heavy-duty truck virtual manufacturing and leasing company. The study analyzed 96 companies, identifying best practices in each area of the order management process. With our insights in hand, our client was able to identify configuration entry systems, communication systems, and order tracking systems to optimize their lean and timely operation.

Optimizing Procurement Management

The Best Practices LLC research team profiled a highly-regarded group of companies that have a proven procurement organizational excellence in place. The focus of this research was on staffing numbers, distribution in a decentralized organization, budget levels, emerging technological trends, and performance measurement systems. These elements each contribute hard-dollar cost savings that positively affect bottom-line profitability.  This research was conducted on behalf of a rapidly growing energy company. Participants in the study included John Deere, IBM, Halliburton, Medtronic, Mirant, Allegheny Energy, Cogentrix, and Qualcomm.




 

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Cameron Tew,
  Executive Director, Research and Business Operations

Phone: (919) 767- 9246

Email Email

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