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Craft and cake decorating product specialist Wilton Brands is transforming its supplier relationships. By Jim Harris

Since 1929, Wilton Brands LLC has inspired and enabled consumers to engage their creative sides, whether through baking sweet treats, decorating edible masterpieces, making their own clothing and costumes or creating amazing crafts with paper. Today, the company is one of the largest and most diversified suppliers to the craft industry. Its commitment to crafting remains evident in its vision statement: “We inspire the joy of creativity in everyone, everywhere, every day.”
    Up until the past few years, however, the Woodridge, Ill.-based company’s approach to sourcing the crafting items it sells and distributes did not involve much creativity or interaction between it and its suppliers beyond placing orders and receiving goods. “We long had more of a transactional relationship with our suppliers,” Executive Vice President of Global Operations James Hill says. “Today, we look to our suppliers as an extension of Wilton instead of just buying goods from them.”
  

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7-Eleven is working with its franchisees to understand how daily ordering patterns can impact the supply chain. By Tim O’Connor

7-Eleven Inc. is the leading name and most prevalent chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Irving, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses some 10,700 7-Eleven stores in North America and each store provides approximately 2,500 different products and services that are designed to meet the needs of specific individual localities. Worldwide, there are more than 58,841 7-Eleven stores in 18 countries.
    Of the 10,700 7-Eleven stores operating in North America, only a small percentage have anything resembling a backroom for stocking inventory. When the Twinkies run out, employees can’t simply go into the backroom and unload another case of the tasty snack cakes. Instead, 7-Eleven keeps their store shelves stocked by making daily deliveries to every store using a complex but very effective supply chain.

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Haverty Furniture Companies aims to become one of the best retail supply chains in the nation. By Chris Petersen

As a leading furniture retailer with more than 120 showrooms in 16 states throughout the Southeast and Midwest, Haverty Furniture Companies Inc. already has a highly effective supply chain organization behind it. Keeping its Havertys furniture showroom locations stocked with the most popular furniture brands means the company has to be at the top of its game, but Vice President of Global Supply Chain Abir Thakurta says the company isn’t satisfied with simply being good at what it does – he says the company wants to be one of the best in the retail sector.

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dr. brandt skincare provides customers with innovative products while improving efficiencies and logistics. By Stephanie Crets

As a renowned dermatologist to celebrities, Dr. Frederic Brandt put his long-time skills to use and launched his own skincare product line in the late 1990s called dr. brandt skincare. Based on his extensive skincare research and innovations, the products were created to help everyday people repair and prevent skin damage, while promoting health and beauty. Brandt passed away on April 5, 2015, but his skincare line lives on in one of the fastest-growing companies in the cosmetics industry.

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With 600 suppliers, DCD leads the way in distributing English-language comics and merchandise. By Alan Dorich

From its start in a warehouse with only 17 retail customers, Diamond Comic Distributors (DCD) Inc. grew into the world’s largest distributor of English-language comics, graphic novels and related pop-culture merchandise. “Over the years, we have reinvented how we do business to meet the changes and needs of our customers [both vendor and retailer] and the ever-changing challenges in the economy,” Vice President of Operations John Wurzer declares.

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Cosmetic Essence Innovations strives to operate as an extension of its clients’ manufacturing operations. By Alan Dorich

Cosmetic Essence Innovations (CEI) has stayed adaptable when it comes to serving its clients for the past three decades. CEO Peter Martin explains the company spends much of its time studying the in-house capabilities of its customers to meet their exact needs.
    “We think that it gives us a leg up in being able to talk to our customers and prospective customers in a language that resonates,” he says. “We’ve done the homework to understand what kind of services our customers need.”

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Callaway Golf’s supply chain operations ensure end-users get the right clubs and the best accessories for their game. By Jim Harris

Golf enthusiasts know there’s much more to the game of golf than just picking up a set of clubs and heading off to the golf course. The head, grip, shaft and other configurable elements of the clubs in a player’s bag all have a role in the golfer’s overall game. Since one size truly does not fit all when it comes to golf equipment, experienced and even neophyte players often look to customize their clubs to fit their swing.
    From the perspective of a player, the experience of customizing a set of golf clubs to suit their unique requirements is relatively straightforward. Players hit balls with various types of clubs – different shafts, head designs, etc. - with a club pro or a technician, who takes measurements for the adjustable aspects of the club, such as shaft length and flex, clubhead lie and loft and grip diameter. Those specifications are then sent to a manufacturer, and a short time later the player is ready to hit the links with the best club configurations possible for their game.

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