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Point of use vending solutions enable companies to lock down indirect and MRO materials spend.

By Spence Webb

Industrial vending and point of use (POU) solutions have evolved over the past twenty years to accommodate an ever-increasing demand for clients need to operate smarter, leaner, and capture out-of-control spend in the historically taken for granted and largely ignored category – indirect/maintenance, repair, operations (MRO) materials.

Depending on the needs and desires of each client’s application, there can be many POU options and styles to choose from. Security and accountability are usually primary performance drivers along with data-driven intelligent usage/requirement based purchasing and stocking decisions. Clients can choose from carousel or locker style machines where selected securities can require badge or RFID identification, controlling product style and volume limits and providing for multi-layered spend analysis to eliminate spend waste and identify rouge usage. These solutions also provide for dispensing and usage tracking on high volume low dollar items and/or VMI managed products that serve the end user better by being as close as possible to the usage location.

Bowen Prepare for Change

Know where you are today. Know where you need to be.

By Steven Bowen

A recent research paper from the Global Supply Chain Institute (GSCI) found that increasing complexity across the supply chain and cost-savings fatigue is driving the need for a new approach to achieving competitive advantage. Supply chains that are not adopting this new approach risk being left by the wayside as new technologies and more collaborative ways of working come to the forefront. The question for supply chain leaders is this: How well is your end-to-end supply chain truly positioned to adapt to new technologies and capitalize on growth opportunities?

Answering this question in any meaningful way requires taking a “warts and all” look at your current buy-make-move-fulfill supply chain to establish exactly where you are right now, where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

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Identifying the right electronic logging device (ELD) for your supply chain operation.

By Jim Dempsey

Beginning last December, a new federal government mandate went into effect requiring fleets to adopt electronic logging devices (ELD) to record time spent on the road. As fleet managers move to replace traditional paper and pencil logging systems, it offers a unique opportunity to look at the role mobile technology can play within the supply chain and logistics industry, not only keeping drivers safe and complying with regulations, but building a more efficient industry for the 21st century.

Choosing a device to outfit your fleet should be a carefully considered decision – a device is only as good as it is reliable, and with harsh environmental conditions like dirt, dust, extreme temperatures and strong vibrations, not just any device is going to be up to the task. With the new federal requirement dictating the use of ELDs, downtime doesn’t just mean lost time or efficiency; it can also mean violations that can lead to expensive fines.

Retail Time Data

Accurate and real-time inventory data can give local retailers an edge in competing against online shopping portals.

By Mark Cummins

The way we shop is evolving rapidly. “Research online, buy offline” is quickly becoming the most likely path to purchase and shoppers are now used to seeing what a store has in stock at the click of a button.

In order to remain competitive, retailers need to be able to predict what customers will want in the coming hours and days in real-time. The technical challenge is immense, and is still a work in progress for most retailers.

For customers, time is a precious commodity and their number one priority is convenience. Take for example a typical millennial trying to buy a brand or product of interest: their natural first instinct is to take out their phone and search for it. What they experience next is deeply broken – dozens of e-commerce results, but almost no information about where the product they desire is available locally. If a store 50 feet away has the product in stock, they might never know.

What Drives Millennials

Companies should attract the emerging workforce with career development, not perks.

By Marisa Brown

Millennials have an unwarranted reputation in the workforce as short-term employees always looking for a better opportunity and seeking crazy workplace perks. Their resume may reveal a “job-hopping” mentality, but they aren’t completely to blame. These workers, born between 1980 and 1995, are merely responding to how organizations are treating them. It’s not that they want to leave their jobs, but organizations aren’t giving them compelling reasons to stay.

This is especially interesting in the supply chain management (SCM) workforce. In a recent APQC study, 676 SCM professionals age 22 and age 37 shared their likes and dislikes in their current job. By understanding what they’re thinking, organizations can respond to their needs and wants. Organizations must learn to attract millennials looking to leave other employers but also retain their existing millennial employees.

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