the background 1017065 640Whether you are a warehouse, distribution center, manufacturer, or even a retailer, there are two sounds made by your business -- the sound of making money or the sound of losing money. When products are being made, moved, or sold the floor is a flurry of activity. Conversely when inventory is unable to keep pace with demand the consequences can be deafening. In a best case scenario inventory mismanagement results in back orders, late orders, incomplete shipments, and lost customers. The worst case? Your business and/or that of your customers come to a grinding halt – the dreaded sound of silence.

O Toole Original 2A Few Critical Steps to Mitigate Supply Chain Risk under the Export Controls and Sanctions Laws

Recent reports in the international media have demonstrated that US export controls and economic sanctions laws reach well beyond the United States. A host of European financial institutions have been handed massive fines, reaching in to the billions of dollars for transactions that took place entirely, or almost entirely, outside the United States. And the focus of U.S. regulators has not been limited to financial institutions. More industries are being scrutinized. For example, in 2014, media reports surfaced about a Department of Justice investigation into several companies involved in the design and manufacture of the F-35 fighter jet. According to the reports, the investigation was focused on whether those companies had violated U.S. export controls laws by including companies from China and Japan in the supply chain. Doing so may have violated U.S. law if it involved sending controlled products or technical specifications to those overseas suppliers without a license, even if the ultimate product was assembled in the United States and remained subject to strict controls here.

mark 516277 640As you may be painfully aware, logistics companies have felt significant margin pressure over the past decade. According to a report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, they experienced a decline in profitability from 6.8 to 4.2% EBIT between 2005 and 2012. Furthermore, only 35 of the 100 top global firms in the space have increased their profits since 2005.

Melanie NuceHow can you sell something if you don’t know where it is?

This is the question being addressed by many retailers as they determine their omni-channel retailing strategies. What they have found through numerous pilot programs and academic research is that efficient inventory management is foundational to delivering the “always-on, always-open” consumer experience that is so coveted today.

Gravier Nov2014 0581Businesses are in the business of gambling, and inventory makes up the table stakes. How much return can you get on your wager? Supply chain managers have substantially improved the returns to inventory. From 1981 to 2014, inventory investments fell 67 percent from 8.1% to 2.7% of US GDP. GDP more than quintupled during the same period – which means that returns on inventory wagers are near all-time highs.

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