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Tactical Supply Chain Management

Tactical supply chain management decisions are made at a national or regional level to produce efficiencies and cost reductions. These articles examine the variety tactical decisions companies make and the effects of those decisions on the supply chain.

Tactical Supply Chain Management
Tactical supply chain decisions focus on adopting measures that will produce cost benefits for a company. Tactical decisions are made within the construct of the wider reaching strategic supply chain decisions that are made by company management.

Sales and Operations Planning
Sales and operations planning (S&OP), sometimes known as aggregate planning, is a process where executive level management regularly meets and reviews projections for demand, supply and the resulting financial impact. S&OP is a decision making process that makes certain that tactical plans in every business area are in line with the overall view of the company’s business plan.

Introduction to Kanban
Kanban is a scheduling system that is used in manufacturing to help companies improve their production process. The kanban system is a “just-in-time” method that was developed sixty years ago in Japan by Toyota to improve manufacturing. The method has been adopted by companies all over the world and has been incorporated into many new enterprise...

Outsourcing
Over the last few years, the subject of outsourcing has caused a division between employees who see that this will lead to the loss of their job and management who believe that this will save their company significant amount of money. This article looks at the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing.

Procurement Card Best Practices
The procurement card, or P-card, is a form of company credit card that is issued to employees who can then purchase goods and services. The procurement card can save a company considerable amounts as it does not require a transaction from be dealt with by multiple departments and numerous employees. When a procurement card program is implemented...

Introduction To Vendor Evaluation
Companies are constantly looking at their supply chain to reduce costs while improving the quality of the items they purchase. To select the appropriate vendor for a particular item, a purchasing department can use a vendor evaluation tool. This article is an introduction into the vendor evaluation process.

Warehouse Best Practices
Companies are constantly trying to find ways to improve performance and warehouse operations is area where supply chain managers can focus to gain maximum efficiency for minimum cost. To get the most out of the operation, a number of best practices can be adopted to improve productivity and overall customer satisfaction. Although best practices vary from industry to industry and by the products shipped there are a number of best practices that can be applied to most companies.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)
Products are moved from point to point by a number of different modes of transport; air, rail, water and truck. In the US, the movement of goods by truck offers shippers infinite flexibility due at a relatively low cost. Truck transportation can move large items faster than rail as the shipment is not dependent on the railroads timetable. This article looks at the Less Than Truckload (LTL) sector.

Operating A Procurement Card Program
The procurement card, or P-card, is a form of company credit card that is issued to employees who can then purchase goods and services without having to process the purchase through a traditional purchasing procedure, such as using purchasing requisitions and purchase orders. This article looks at benefits and risks of the procurement card program.

Inventory Carrying Costs
The cost of carrying inventory is used to help companies determine how much profit can be made on current inventory. The cost is what a business will incur over a certain period of time, to hold and store its inventory. This article looks at the different components that combine to produce an overall cost of carrying inventory.

Origins and Principles of Lean Manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing has grown out of the production system developed by the Japanese automaker, Toyota. After WWII, Japanese manufacturers adopted production and quality procedures from US industry and expanded the principles to reduce waste in the manufacturing process. This article looks at the origins and principles of Lean Manufacturing.

Product Packaging
Packaging is a very important part of the product. Industrial packaging that is used to safely move the items from the vendor to the customer or from the production line to the distribution center. It is usually packaging that is external to the product and usually discarded before the it reaches the consumer. The other type of packaging is designed by the marketing department and is specifically designed with the consumer in mind.

Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is a problem for shipping companies as they struggle to keep their businesses afloat under the strains of competition from other firms and the difficulty of the current economic climate. As well as other factors such as vehicle maintenance and drivers speeding or being unfamiliar with the environment, the problems of drivers being too tired to drive have caused many accidents.

Maritime Transport
The transportation of raw materials and finished goods is an important part of the supply chain. Transportation can include air, rail, road, and maritime shipping. The last of these, maritime transportation, is extremely important to the US economy as approximately 95 percent of all foreign trade is carried by this mode of transport. This article is an introduction to maritime transportation.

Production Routing
In the discrete production process, a item is produced when a shop order is created for a requirement. The shop order will show all the tasks, materials and equipment that will be used in the manufacture of the part. The routing shows the flow of required work that needs to be achieved, which can in be one or more facilities and could include work being sent to a vendor for specialized tasks.

Shared Services
Businesses need to be as cost-effective as possible and one option that companies can take is to adopt a shared services model for some of its functions. Normally these types of functions can be decentralized, standardized or centralized. There are many benefits to creating shared services, including economic, quality, response time, and strategic benefits

Bill of Materials
A bill of materials is used in the manufacturer of a product and should contain raw materials, sub-assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each. Each line of the bill of materials (BOM) will include the part number of the item, description, quantity, unit of measure, and a procurement type which describes if the part is purchased or manufactured.

Manufacturing Process
When a manufacturing company begins production of a new material, it has a choice as to the manufacturing process it uses. The type of process depends on the facility, the staff, and the information systems available. Each process has its advantages and some are best at certain tasks, for example, large batches of finished goods, or small numbers of custom items. This article looks at the many manufacturing processes.

Negotiation In The Purchasing Process
Negotiation in the purchasing process covers the period from when the first communication is made between the purchasing buyer and the supplier through to the final signing of the contract. Negotiation can be as simple as trying to obtain a discount on a case of safety gloves through to the complexities of major capital purchases. This article looks at negotiations in the purchasing process.

Stockout Costs
One of the worse things that can happen to a business is to have a stockout. This means that with no inventory of a certain item, production has to be stopped or a customer order will not be fulfilled. For a warehouse manager it is a scenario that they most dread and with it comes a significant cost to the company.

Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO)
Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO) are created to use the purchasing power of a large number of customers to obtain greater discounts than would be obtained by an individual customer. A group purchasing organization combines the spending power of customers who may be in a similar industry or service line, such as hospitals or farmers, who may use the same vendors for the same items required by each customer.

Supply Chain Performance Metrics
Each supply chain performance metric gives a slightly different view of a piece of the supply chain. The important decision for any company is to prioritize which supply chain metrics are important and how they will be used. Many companies use supply chain performance metrics that are easy to calculate but may not necessarily give a true indication of how the supply chain is performing.

Containerization
Wherever you travel these days there is always a container nearby. Whether it is on a train, on a ship, or on a truck, intermodal containers are an integral part of today’s supply chain. The modern era of containerization started only fifty years ago and revolutionized the way in which goods were moved along the supply chain. This article...

Maximizing Space Utilization
Companies can reduce their costs and improve efficiency of their warehouse by maximizing the space utilization, ensuring that it is possible to store as many items as possible in the most optimum space.

Public Warehousing In The Supply Chain
A company’s supply chain will include warehousing functions. It can be company-owned, owned by a third party logistics (3PL) firm or a public warehouse. Extra warehouse space is sometimes required due to any number of factors including; seasonal inventory, warehouse re-organization or warehouse damage. This article examines public warehousing and the criteria used in selecting a public warehouse.

Industrial Conveyors
In the manufacturing plant the use of conveyors is commonplace. It allows material to be moved quickly between work centers, reducing the wait time between locations, and improving the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process. This article looks at the types of conveyors as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Certified Quality Auditor (CQA)
The Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) designation is an certification offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) which indicates that quality professionals have reached a high level of understanding of the quality audit process. Quality audits are important to companies who manufacture or offer services in order to ensure that the quality process is being maintained.

Manufacturing Costs
Manufacturing costs are important for every company that manufacturers goods to sell. The calculation of the manufacturing costs are important for a company so it can make accurate pricing decisions, whether new item should go into production, or whether an item in the current catalog should be discontinued.

Purchasing
Purchasing is the process of buying goods and services. The process includes preparation and processing of a demand as well as the end receipt and approval of payment.

Labor Costs
There are different types of labor costs such as direct labor costs and indirect labor costs. Direct labor costs are related to the part of the payroll of a company that is specifically associated with the manufacture of a company’s products. Indirect labor costs are not related to a company’s manufacturing but are for labor used in areas such as human resources and administration.

Warranties
When a consumer or a business purchases an item or a service then this will normally be supplied with a warranty from the manufacturer or vendor. The warranty can either be express or implied and will come with clauses that a purchaser needs to be aware of. This article examines the many aspects of a warranty.

Inventory Accuracy
Inventory accuracy is the goal of every company, it believes that by having one hundred percent inventory accuracy that scheduling and available to promise processes will work without errors. However, there are always issues with inventory accuracy and companies have to work with the situation that they have to run their business.

Defining Business Requirements
When a company has a new item or service that needs to be procured, selecting a vendor can be a long and difficult process for complex items or large scale service needs. Before any decision can be made about choosing vendors, there should first be a process followed that defines the business requirement and the requirements you need from the vendor.

Order And Setup Costs
There are a number of costs that make up the total inventory costs for a company. Order costs include the expenses involved in placing an order for a quantity of material, but this does not include the actual cost of the material itself. Setup costs are incurred when production or assembly lines are changed for example when the manufacturing...

Request for Proposal (RFP)
When a complex business requirement has been defined, a company is then ready to find a vendor to fulfill the requirements. The first step in finding a vendor is to create a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP should contain in detail every aspect of the business requirement, and what the company requires from a potential vendor to fulfill the requirements specified.

Reverse Auctions
In reverse auctions, a company will offer a contract on which a number of vendors will bid, based on the terms and conditions of the contract, and the company that has the lowest bid when the reverse auction expires is the winner of the contract. This article examines how and when reverse auctions should be used.

Pallet Storage Methods In The Warehouse
Many companies store their products on pallets in the warehouse. There are a number of pallet storage methods that allow the warehouse to store pallets efficiently. This article will examine a number of the popular pallet storage systems that are commonly used.

British High Speed Rail Network (HS2)
In 2009 the project was launched in the UK based on studies that freight traffic would increase by 40 percent between London and Birmingham. The country's second high speed link, called the HS2, has now been approved by the government after three years of impact studies and public consultations. The opening date for the first stage of the HS2 is...

Cross Docking in the Warehouse
The term cross docking refers to moving product from a manufacturing plant and delivers it directly to the customer with little or no material handling in between. Cross docking not only reduces material handling, but also reduces the need to store the products in the warehouse. In this article, the different types, benefits and products suitable for ctross docking are examined.

Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is an important passageway for container ships as they move cargo between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. But the limitations of the original canal has meant that larger container ships were unable to use the canal and so an expansion project was needed. This article looks at the original canal and the expansion.

Tactical Planning for Supply Chain Management
Tactical planning in supply chain management is extremely important to companies. This article shows some planning models that can be used in tactical supply chain management.

Introduction to Kanban
Kanban systems were developed in Japan by the Toyota corporation. The system has been used at thousands of manufacturing companies throughout the world. This article gives you an introduction to the functionality of the Kanban system.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)
Vendor Managed Inventory or VMI occurs when a vendor takes full responsibility for maintaining an agreed level of inventory of certain items at the buyer's manufacturing or retail location. This article examines the benefits for both the customer and vendor as well as suggestions to develop a successful VMI relationship.

Manufacturing
Manufacturing is basically the production of goods for use or sale using labor and resources. Manufacturing is the basis of industrial development and is key indicator on how a nation’s economy performing.

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