Step into any Le Pain Quotidien location and the smell of fresh baking bread fills the air. Place a pastry breakfast order or soup and salad lunch order and take a seat at the large, communal table made of reclaimed wood. Then, enjoy the meal surrounded by décor that feels warm, inviting, yet with a Belgian flair that harkens back to its roots.

“We try to create a home away from home, a third base beyond home and work,” says Ralph Mercuro, director of supply chain and logistics for the United States. “We do a lot of research when going into a new neighborhood, so that we organically reflect the community that already exists there. We pick up old and new elements that can be subtle but each location always incorporates something unique. The guests that are local to our restaurant often think it’s a local gem, and the only one in the world.”

As one of the only truly global, full-service real estate companies in the world, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is investing in the standardization of its supply chain programs and processes globally. “I think we are fairly unique being truly global with a full spectrum of real estate services,” Chief Procurement Officer for the Americas Denver Clark says. “What we are looking at in sourcing and supply chain overall is seeking to deliver a consistent product that creates real and sustainable value for our clients.” 

With its global headquarters today in Chicago, the company has specialized in commercial real estate services and investment management for more than 200 years. JLL focuses on creating value for companies and institutions that invest in and use real estate. The company has 58,000 employees and more than 230 corporate offices worldwide to serve the local, regional and global real estate needs of corporations and investors in more than 75 countries. 

Greene, Tweed & Co. Senior Vice President Henry Stueber believes the company’s success is the result of changing the rules. “We have a strategy in place,” Stueber says, explaining that the strategy places a sharp focus on both customer needs and product differentiation. “We all fully understand our strategy. Our strategy is product differentiation.”

“Previously we were a sales-driven leadership team,” Stueber explains. “We are now challenging those assumptions to create a team made up of both operations and sales leaders to change the way we behave or the way we work. In our current team meetings, members feel empowered to challenge assumptions or ask clarifying questions so that they understand the expectations. Due to this clarity, they are better able to adjust their process or provide an improved solution.”

The largest distributor of soft contact lenses in the country, ABB Optical Group says its aim is to ensure the continued growth and success of eyecare professionals. The company says it supplies more than two-thirds of the nation’s eyecare professionals with brand name contact lenses, high-grade ophthalmics and fully customizable gas permeable lenses. Eyecare professionals that join ABB Optical Group’s distribution network can order contacts online and purchase ophthalmic lenses or customize gas permeable lenses for their patients.

There are numerous players in the smart home market, but Vivint’s approach sets the company apart. “We shake things up. We like to ask, ‘Why not?’” says Wayne Dupin, vice president of supply chain. “We can rival any mainstay company today.”

The Provo, Utah-based company’s approach to the market is a bold one that relies on continual advancements to stay ahead. “It’s a very competitive market,” COO David Bywater says. “It keeps you sharp every day. You need to continually innovate.”

That’s been the company’s goal since its beginnings in 1999 and again when it transitioned from marketing third-party security products and services to creating its own smart-home platform and products in 2005. The reason for the conversion was simple, Bywater explains. 

Headquartered in Chicago, True Value is one of the world’s largest member-owned cooperatives. With its global presence, True Value serves 58 countries from more than 4,400 locations, 13 regional distribution centers, a retail support center and approximately 2,500 True Value associates.

“The True Value co-op was founded as a buying consortium to pool resources and help independent hardware retailers compete with larger competitors,” Vice President of Supply Chain Operations Rob Saper says. “That mission hasn’t changed in more than 60 years.”

TRI Pointe Group builds homes and relationships, Vice President of Purchasing and National Accounts Kevin Wilson says. “We need to have strong relationships that we can rely on to negotiate stronger programs that benefit the manufacturer and the subcontractor, and give us the ability to satisfy and delight our homebuyers,” he says.

TRI Pointe Group manages a family of premium homebuilders that operates across the nation. CEO Doug Bauer, President and COO Tom Mitchell, and CFO and Treasurer Mike Grubbs started the company in 2009. The three had worked together in the industry for over a decade and decided to start the company after developing a vision for a homebuilding firm that was driven by home design.

Although the economic downturn impacted many of TRI Pointe Group’s peers, Bauer, Mitchell and Grubbs used their expertise to start and grow this new company. TRI Pointe also merged with Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co. (WRECO) in 2014, which had operated with five separate homebuilders in seven states.

The holiday season is already in full swing for The HoneyBaked Ham Company LLC. During its busiest time of year, the Atlanta, Ga., company increases its volume from 80 to more than 600 cases of product per delivery beginning in November. Earlier this year, HoneyBaked implemented a new distribution network that it expects will offer a cost savings and better service year-round.

“We have traditionally moved our hams – that’s our highest-volume product – from suppliers to the stores and the other hundreds of SKUs from foodservice centers to the stores,” Vice President of Supply Chain/Quality Assurance Randy McAdoo says. “In May, we combined all of our hams and SKUs into the same distribution network.”

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