2010 Pros to Know

Honoring supply chain leaders building competitive advantage in recession and recovery


2010 Practitioner Pros to Know

Linda Austin, CEO, Test Technology, Inc. Linda Austin viewed the recession as an opportunity both to improve her company's supply chain and to find additional ways to add greater value to her customers' supply chains. Under her leadership, Test Technology launched a Lean initiative to examine the entire value stream to identify areas for process improvement and waste elimination. The benefits: a more efficient operation, increased capacity, an empowered workforce and, most importantly, greater customer satisfaction.

Patrick Bliss, Director, Strategic Sourcing & Procurement, Apollo Group, Inc. During the recent downturn, Apollo Group used the recession's effects on the market to enhance its leverage and purchasing power with its supply chain. Contracts were re-negotiated and given extended terms, affording the supply chain a revenue stream with a growing organization, while earning Apollo deeper discounts and stronger support and delivery opportunities for its acquired products and services. In addition, the company invested in key procure-to-pay technologies and automation.

Patrick Bower, Director of Demand Planning and Customer Service, Combe Incorporated. During the recession, well-known demand planning expert Patrick Bower and his team of planners worked with the Combe marketing teams to continuously re-plan the forecast based on the latest market insights, shipments and consumption modeling, and sales inputs. By midyear the company's forecast was as accurate as ever; customer service fill rates remained very high and inventory was on the decline. Bower is quick to point out the team effort.

Bob Bushey, Vice President, Strategic Sourcing & Procurement, Health Net, Inc. Bob Bushey joined Health Net in April 2008, at the early stages of the recession, with an initial charter to transform Procurement into a world-class organization. As the recession progressed, he expanded his scope to help the organization drive dramatic, near-term SG&A savings to the bottom line. Bushey's collaborative approach proved to be a key success factor for the initiative, as it drove internal alignment around goals and objectives and strengthened communications.

Chuck Cornell, Director of Business Solutions, Johnson Outdoors Inc. In 2009 Chuck Cornell focused his attention on helping Johnson Outdoors reduce and better manage its inventory throughout the supply chain by providing near real-time visibility of inventory levels at retail store locations to Johnson's sales directors, leveraging SPS Commerce's on-demand Trading Partner Intelligence Service. This Internet-based solution provides sales directors, sales representatives, analysts and marketing staff with timely point-of-sale (POS) information, and it offers access to a consolidated view of sell-through information from the retailers that serves as an early alert system regarding the most current in-store inventory conditions.

Brian Hancock, Vice President, Supply Chain, Whirlpool. After its merger with Maytag, Whirlpool completely redesigned the company's supply chain to make it more efficient, to turn it into a competitive advantage and to implement green building and transportation strategies. By implementing new warehouse management systems to handle the volumes and complexities of the company's larger distribution centers, Whirlpool has seen significant cost savings and productivity gains, as well as improvements in transportation efficiency, helping to achieve savings of $66 million in a single year.

Abdi Hariri, Group Vice President of Global Operations, LAM Research. Abdi Hariri believes that in turbulent times a company must act and act effectively to survive. In times like these, companies like LAM need to ensure their customers' needs are addressed as much as looking after their own needs, he says. At the same time, the company works with its supplier base in defining what is needed and how it can be achieved in a collaborative manner.

Julius F. Heil, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, CHEP. Julius Heil says that the recession put supply chain professionals in a precarious position where they were under pressure to achieve a higher level of cost savings versus acting with a partnership mentality. But Heil believes that, in the long run, the partnership mentality, based on trust, will always prevail. "Any supply chain professional that has been around for more than a few years knows that you must protect your partnerships, and your reputation, at all cost if you want a sustainable supply chain in the long run," Heil says.

Letty Hernandez, Vice President, Manufacturing & Distribution, Handgards. Under the leadership of Letty Hernandez, Handgards moved to embrace a culture of continuous improvement. In the warehouse, the company's strategy is to optimize warehouse operations to ultimately increase inventory accuracy and boost customer service levels to support continued profitable growth. In implementing the Logility Voyager WarehousePRO solution and formalizing best practices in warehouse management, inventory accuracy has risen to a healthy 99.2 percent, and the company has boosted customer service levels, improved warehouse efficiency and avoided increased costs.

John Kern, Vice President, Product Operations, Cisco. John Kern and his team approached the economic downturn as an opportunity for Customer Value Chain Management (CVCM) to become a strategic partner with Cisco engineering, instrumental in Cisco delivering on its strategy of driving innovation and entering new, adjacent markets for Cisco solutions, thus positioning Cisco for longer-term growth. His philosophy is one of early, sustained and focused engagement to ensure, for instance, that new value chains are designed to meet the specific business targets set for the new products, and that the value chains are in place and optimized at the time of first customer ship.

Raymond Kernagis, Vice President, Supply Chain, Johnstone Supply. Johnstone Supply sees the recession as an opportunity to change quickly, remain aggressive in driving operational improvements, and use its expanded distribution network to increase market share. Raymond Kernagis has led the supply chain team through several aggressive initiatives that focus on creating a strong, flexible and reliable company that continues to gain both mindshare and market share within its contractor partners. For example, by implementing Logility Voyager Solutions, the company already is seeing measurable results in more accurate forecasting and better synchronizing inventory to drive efficiency and higher service levels as a part of its competitive advantage.

Mike Maris, Senior Director, Transportation, Distribution & Logistics, Motorola. One of the key takeaways from this economic downturn, Mike Maris says, is the fact that it makes an opportune time for a company to actually increase its market share. "There are many items that contribute to the increase in market share, but the key is first to maintain or increase customer service, provide additional value-added services, and increase the customers visibility into your supply chain," he says.

Michael A. Massetti, Vice President, Supply Chain, AMD. AMD is continuing its strategic transformation of the supply chain to higher levels of customer service, reduced levels of inventory, more flexible manufacturing and globalization. Developing a competitive edge with a world-class supply chain, says Michael A. Massetti, is essential to continue driving customer satisfaction. "The one thing about being in supply chain is that you can clearly see your impact on the business," Massetti says. "With our key performance indicators and overall supply chain metrics, we've shown the team the progress they've made. It's all about instilling confidence in the team, keeping the challenges real and achievable, and stopping to appreciate the accomplishments along the way and thanking them for the efforts."

Steven Miller, Vice President, Supply Chain, Wabash National Corporation. Steven Miller has been a key corporate player in helping Wabash National navigate the recession. He worked closely and collaboratively with his suppliers to manage payment and cash flow; effectively negotiated multi-year supply agreements; and championed the implementation of a multi-company purchasing consortium. In addition, in the midst of the downturn, Miller and Wabash National hosted the company's supplier day, demonstrating a commitment to communication and a dedication to strategic relationships with its suppliers.

Juan Molina, Vice President, Supply Chain Management, Westinghouse Electric Company. Juan Molina believes sees his supply chain strategy as very straightforward: Assure continuity of supply to Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC). "The main lesson learned [from the recession] is that we need to keep alert to the market conditions and their relationship with our key suppliers," Molina says, adding this can only be achieved through a proactive approach involving interaction with suppliers beyond the traditional performance evaluation that occurs at the end of every quarter.

Shekar Natarajan, Director of Supply Chain, Pepsi Bottling Group. Shekar Natarajan has been spearheading a change and transformation initiative to completely modify his company's logistics and delivery systems. His primary responsibilities include identifying opportunities from repurposing PBG warehouses, increasing storage and driving productivity to delivering improved returns on invested capital and reducing reliance upon direct labor. He also is leading the development of new inventory management and supply chain execution systems.

Cindy Reese, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Operations, Sun Microsystems. At Sun, the goal of supply chain management is to find ways to grow both the top and bottom line results. "We want our supply chain to be viewed as a strategic differentiator for the company," says Cindy Reese. A supply chain veteran with more than 25 years in operations, Reese says that Sun has been investing in training and cross-training its team members during the recession. "Our best motivation tool is engaging our team members in our improvement plans so they can feel that they are part of the solution," Reese says.

Richard Shapiro, Vice President, Demand Forecasting, Jarden Consumer Solutions. Richard Shapiro has led the project for the global implementation of demand and supply planning across all the company's businesses. The project is enabling the company's strategy of streamlining its forecasting processes and consolidating all its brand lines under a single supply chain solution that can afford the company the visibility to optimize inventory investments and leverage supply chain best practices across a global operation.

John B. Sorci, Vice President, Global Operations, Symantec Corporation. To combat the economic recession, John Sorci recognized that Symantec's supply chain needed to rapidly evolve to meet changing buyer demands and market dynamics. Over the past two years, Sorci and his Global Supply Chain (GSC) team led a major transformation focused on driving process improvements and identifying additional cost savings opportunities from every step in Symantec's supply chain, from raw materials management and manufacturing to product packaging and distribution. In addition, he is strategically utilizing outsourcing as a lever for driving significant savings.

James Szilagy, Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In the past year, James Szilagy has led UPMC's Supply Chain organization by deploying specific initiatives that allow the enterprise to do more with less. One game-changing initiative is his continued focus on expansion of the UPMC eMarketplace, a third-party solution that has enabled UPMC to build arguably healthcare's largest marketplace of contracted supplier content. The eMarketplace solution has delivered true bottom line results and myriad process savings.

Mark Vogt, Director, Marketing Management, Prudential Financial. Responsible for the procurement of printed materials and literature fulfillment, Mark Vogt says his team's strategy during the downturn was to review all current processes to identify any possible area for improvement. "Looking at the things we thought we already knew is where we found some things we hadn't seen before," he says. The big lesson, he adds, is not to be complacent with current systems and processes.

Scott Wilkerson, Director, Global Strategic Sourcing, The Clorox Company. One lesson that Scott Wilkerson believes the recession reinforced is the importance of due diligence and constant monitoring of supplier risk. He advocates knowing your suppliers better than they know themselves, as the enterprise and the supplier are inextricably bound to one another's success. In this vein, Wilkerson positions himself and his organization for all situations to take advantage of opportunities as they emerge from the recession.

Milton Young, Director - Global Sourcing, FMC Technologies. The majority FMC Technologies' suppliers have worked with the company through several business cycles, and they understand the margin pressures the company faces in a very cost conscious and competitive sector. As a result, says Milton Young, "we wanted to work collaboratively with our supply partners to share the pain and the gain of the recession and the commodities run up. We looked for a balanced approach to cost reduction, quality improvement and on-time delivery improvement from our strategic partners. We also worked to have better communications with our best performing suppliers."

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