Ainsworth Pet Nutrition

Credit Chris Vallieres

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition’s logistics operations stay on top of industry trends and challenges.
By Jim Harris, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

During his tenure as vice president of logistics for Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Ryan Hunter has stressed to his team the importance of being proactive. “We are a high-growth company in an industry that is changing rapidly, and that is very exciting,” he says. “We are trying to shift from reacting to growth to driving change within our logistics operations.”

The pet food manufacturer identified three strategic logistics initiatives that will allow it to drive change within the organization. The first of these is to expand and optimize its footprint by ensuring it has the right number of distribution centers in the right locations.

Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants web photo 1

Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants helps retailers and others improve their supply chain and distribution operations.

By Jim Harris

For the past 60 years, Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants has helped retailers and others navigate through a constantly changing marketplace. “There are existential challenges for retailers who are trying to deal with today’s market, and our job is to help them through that space,” says Dave DuBose, vice president of business development.

One of the most obvious of these challenges is competition from e-commerce giants such as Amazon. Meeting next-day and same-day delivery expectations without driving up costs is a constant challenge for retailers. The Cleveland, Ohio-based company helps many of its clients build their e-commerce distribution capabilities. “In-store sales might be declining and stores are closing across retail, but online sales are growing by double digits,” DuBose adds. “We help retailers think about ways they can leverage the assets in their in-store networks to creatively meet online sales demand, such as shipping from stores or using stores as pop-up distribution centers.”

Rakuten Kobo web photo 3

Rakuten Kobo experiences steady growth and introduces audiobooks to its product portfolio. 

by Kat Zeman

As tablets and smartphones grew in popularity, many people predicted the death of the e-reader. They were wrong. E-readers have millions of dedicated fans, especially among avid readers 45 years and older.

Rakuten Kobo, the second-largest manufacturer of e-reading devices and accessories in the world, can testify to that. The Toronto-based company, which introduced audiobooks to its portfolio in September, has been enjoying a steady revenue stream in recent years. It has also been studying readers and their habits. It segments them across a number of data points to glean who they are, how old they are and how they decide to buy and what motivates them.

It has found that its thriving business is driven partially by middle-aged adults and people in retirement age. Why? E-readers give them the ability to change font size to suit tired eyes or diminished eyesight, they are much lighter than the weight of most books and they offer instant access to books without having to venture outside of the home. 

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Loewen web photo 1

Loewen’s high quality and attention to detail make it the preferred wood window and door provider for ultra-luxury homes.

By Tim O’Connor

Many of the best craft manufacturers have one thing in common: they invest heavily in their skilled workers and keep them around for the long haul. It’s no different at window and door frame manufacturer Loewen, where continuous improvement and strong professional development are intrinsic to the culture.

The Canadian company works with employees early on to understand their interests and identify opportunities within its organization so that they are more likely to stick with Loewen as they advance in their careers. Those efforts have helped the company counteract the generational attitude shift that has millennial workers changing jobs more frequently than their predecessors.

Honda web photo 1

Honda of America wants its supply chain practices to be ahead of the automotive manufacturing pack.

By Jim Harris

For more than 20 years, Honda trailed much of the automotive industry when it came to its supply chain practices. For example, the operation was one of the last OEMs to partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, which it did in 2006, Associate Chief Advisor Dana McBrien says.

Today, the operation is leading the industry in some supply chain and transportation practices such as the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors. Honda partnered in a CNG fueling site located on its main manufacturing campus in Marysville, Ohio, and continues to use the tractors in an effort to be a better corporate citizen.

We wanted to not just catch up, but blow by the competition and do things better, McBrien says. Were committed to being innovators in the automotive world and want to have people watching us from behind for a while.


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