A supply chain, like any other kind of chain, is only as strong as its weakest link. Many manufacturers must depend on the strength of numerous vendors throughout their supply chains to ensure the entire operation is strong. That’s not as much of a concern for Red Wing Shoe Company, however, as the company’s integrated supply chain maintains tight control over virtually every stage of production. As Director of Logistics Dewey Rothering explains, Red Wing’s vertically integrated supply chain makes it unique not only in the footwear industry, but in the manufacturing sector as a whole.

“I would say one of our largest strengths is that we have nearly full integration of everything we do in the company. We source raw material cattle hides which are tanned in our owned tannery, followed by shoe manufacturing in our plants, with finished goods shipped to our owned retail stores and mobile shoe trucks for sale to our many consumers in the United States and around the world,” Rothering says. “We are vertically integrated throughout the entire supply chain from beginning to end.”

Nowadays, not only are supermarkets expected to have in stock enough of an ever-growing variety of food and pharmaceuticals that consumers desire, but they even are being tasked with getting the merchandise into consumers’ homes. Previously, that last mile was the domain of the shopper, but now home delivery is being offered at five of Price Chopper Supermarkets’ 135 locations. An alternative curbside pickup option is also offered at seven of the chain’s locations.

“We have a fleet of vans which service these customers,” announces Jason Kennedy, who was director of distribution services at press time. “Personal shopping has become a growing part of our business over the last few years since we started offering these services in 2011.” The supply chain’s challenge is to drive cost out of what tends to be an expensive operation by using onboard computers, telematics data analysis and route optimization. 

Founded in 1980 as Precision Corp., Precor has become a leader in exercise equipment. Known for quality, innovation and performance, Precor provides state-of-the-art fitness equipment to health clubs, hotels, spas, fitness centers and private homes around the world.

“The major driver of our success is highly talented people who are drawn to a company culture focused on work/life balance,” Director of Global Sourcing and Supply Chain Management John Fogerty says. “We make fantastic products that enable people to live the lives that they desire. The freedom we give our people in a great place to work allows us to design and make great products.” 

Like many other utilities, OGE Energy Corp. believes strongly in customer service. For the Oklahoma City-based energy company’s supply chain organization, this service goes beyond providing energy and timely maintenance to its residential, business, commercial and institutional customers. 

“When I joined the company six-and-a-half years ago, the one thing I learned was you have to partner with internal customers, which are the other business functions supported by supply chain, so you can align goals and objectives and get moving in the same direction,” Enterprise Supply Chain Director Sherryl Love says. 

Don Vlcek finds himself on the road quite a bit these days, but it comes as no surprise. Vlcek is vice president of purchasing and distribution for Marco’s Franchising, the company that franchises Marco’s Pizza, which calls itself the fastest-growing pizza chain in the country.

Vlcek meets with vendors and distributors, talks to franchisees and meets with other members of the restaurant’s executive team in a continual effort to grow the company. So far, that endeavor has been a success.

“We’re shooting for 200 stores next year,” Vlcek says. That’s double the growth the company realized in 2013 when 102 restaurants opened. The following year, Marco’s Pizza added 155 locations, and the company expects to close 2015 with another 138 locations. Marco’s Pizza has 641 restaurants in 36 states and three countries, and the growth plan remains aggressive in the $46 billion pizza industry, he says. The goal is to quadruple the store count over the next five to seven years, he says.

Founded in 1984 by Eileen Fisher, the Eileen Fisher Inc. company and clothing line was begun with $350 and a vision of creating simple shapes that could integrate with each other seamlessly. The company’s mission is to inspire simplicity, creativity and delight through effortlessly chic and modern clothing for women. 

“As a socially conscious company, we are a pioneer in eco-fashion design and support global initiatives that empower women and girls,” Vice President of Distribution Khaja Khateeb says. “The brand is known for timeless design, clothes that are simple, modern and always relevant.” 

Eileen Fisher Inc.’s goal as a company is to help women solve their fashion problems through collections of clothing that take the guesswork out of dressing.  Offering comfortable, simple, beautiful and high-quality clothes helps women dress with ease and focus on joyfully living their lives. 

The connotation of the term “blowout” varies based on the industry. In tire care, blowouts are bad, but in hair care, they are good. In fact, they are at the heart of one of the fastest-growing phenomena in the beauty industry: a company named Drybar. 

Instead of having their hair cut, customers can have it shampooed and styled for professional results at Drybar locations nationwide. To provide customers with the Drybar experience at home, Drybar sells customers the same dryers, curling irons, presses and hair care products that they use in their 40-plus shops.

A Canadian intermediate gold producer, Detour Gold owns and operates the Detour Lake mine in northern Ontario. A long-life, large-scale open pit operation, Detour Lake is the second-largest gold-producing mine in Canada with the largest gold reserves. 

“This is a large-scale mine with a long lifespan of 20-plus years,” Supply Chain Superintendent Stuart Gilray says. “It is the largest gold mine in Canada not controlled by a senior producer, located in a mining-friendly jurisdiction and with promising exploration opportunities.”

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