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Time for Manufacturers to Throw Out Old Ideas About Inventory Management

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I think the title of this article in Supply Chain Brain is misleading. By "old ideas" the author is talking about JIT (just-in-time). A lot of manufacturers have never really accepted lean and JIT principles, nor incorporated them into their businesses.  Quote from near the end of the article: “It’s not so much let’s build up more stock,” says Lebovitz, “it’s let’s be better about how we analyze consumption rates, and resize safety stocks and order policies to make sure we’re keeping the right level of what we need and don’t need.” The solution, for all manufacturers, isn't just to move to "just in case" inventory across the board or simply increase their inventory. It about having a rigorous  #riskmanagement  process to understand where disruptions might occur and to take action, or have plans in place, to mitigate the impact. Now is also the time to work on  #supplychain   #collaboration  with partners up and downstream. Read the full article:  Time for Manufa

ARTICLE: Can MRP and Lean Co-Exist (Part 1 of 2)

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I have sold, and implemented, many ERP systems over my career, both inside industry and as a reseller. I have also studied lean and executed a number of successful improvement projects. I have always been intrigued by the relatively few articles about bringing the two concepts together. Most lean practitioners insist MRP and lean cannot co-exist. I would argue that you can bring the two together, albeit never perfectly.  Read the article and let's discuss: Can MRP and Lean Co-Exist (Part 1) About FarStar :  FarStar is boutique consulting firm with a focus supply chain transformation. With team members located in Canada and the US, the company has extensive experience across a wide range of industries including aerospace, defence, high-tech/electronics, and industrial products in a variety of business environments, ranging from make-to-stock to engineer-to-order.

ARTICLE REVIEW - Innovative Online Programs Are Revolutionizing Supply-Chain Education

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I have completed one of the certificate courses mentioned in this article (MIT MicroMasters) and a number of others over the years. The courses I have taken have been challenging - segments become inaccessible over time to force people to meet a minimum cadence, exams have been tough - but I learned a lot. Some of the material was a refresher, some was new and some gave me the theory behind what I was practicing. I was able to do this because the courses were online. Otherwise the time challenges of a busy career and young children would have kept me from any additional educational options. I agree with the conclusion - "Online education won’t replace residential models; it will complement and enrich them with access to industry leaders or innovative facilities via video..." Read the article - Innovative Online Programs....

ARTICLE COMMENTARY: 3 Steps to Take When Your ERP Implementation Goes Wrong by Carl Lewis

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READ THE FULL ARTICLE Step 1 is often not well done - ie. list the expected deliverables. Doing this up front means both the buyer and seller have defined expectations, which can often avoid confusion and frustration later in the process. Buried in the discussion of Step 1 is the topic of "vanilla" installations or using the software "out-of-the-box". I have been on both sides of the table -as an implementing customer and as a former ERP VAR - trust me, you want to keep your ERP as close to the way it was delivered as possible. You will save money up front by avoiding (possibly unnecessary) development, save time by not having to work for the customization and avoiding custom training for your staff. You will save money on the backend by making future updates, and eventually major upgrades, much more run of the mill instead of white-knuckled experiences as conflicts occur during the process. I remembe

SupplyChainBrain -Three Digital Manufacturing Trends for 2020 (article review)

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Read the article. The way I read this article, the forecast is for a "gig economy" approach to machining and other "metal-bashing" industries. In the section headed "Online and On-Demand", the article describes individual part fabrication being completely outsourced through an online network of firms the way 3D printing has evolved. I see this as great news for firms looking to buy one-off items while at the same time increasing competition, and decreasing margins, for job shops. I see this somewhat at odds with the following section on "More Partnerships, Joint Ventures". If firms can get multiple quotes and select a different supplier every time, it is hard to see the partnership aspect. Unless, of course, over time the major users of these online services decide to focus on working with a select few vendors with whom they can develop Long Term Agreements (LTAs) based on negotiating rates, volume, lead time and quality. I would see thi

Introducing FarStar (video 1:25)

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Lessons From the Military on Improvement

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This article is about learning from "best-in-class" and applying the lessons to other industries. Although the title refers to the retail industry, the concepts apply across the board. In the civilian world we are simply using different names such as "servant leadership" and "cross training".  This is like bench-marking - look up and outside of your specific industry to see what the best are doing then borrow shamelessly to improve.     Read the article Read the Article