KLA-Tencor Corp. has been the leader in semiconductor process control equipment and yield management systems since it was formed in 1997 and also has become the most important process control player in the industry.  To better handle emerging product and manufacturing process technologies as time went on, the company began its first transformation of its supply chain more than 13 years ago to implement better practices.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based company was formed through the merger of KLA Instruments and Tencor Instruments. Prior to the merger, both businesses served a segment of the inspection and metrology area – KLA focused on defect inspection solutions and Tencor focused on metrology solutions. 

The Husqvarna name has been associated with quality for more than 325 years. “We’re very proud of the quality of the products we make, and believe we are as good or better than everyone else,” Global Powertrain and Electrical Sourcing Senior Director Denis Wolowiecki says. 

The company is the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products including zero-turn mowers, garden tractors, walk-behind mowers, snow throwers and chainsaws. “Our brand has a strong name and credibility with customers around the world,” he adds. “We are well-positioned globally.”

Houghton International will celebrate its 150th anniversary this year and although the milestone requires a look back into its history, the company continues to move into the future by modernizing its supply chain practices. 

“The old way was fragmented and independent; each part of the world ran their own supply chain separately,” Vice President of Global Operations and Supply Chain Bob Summerhayes says. “I wouldn’t call it a supply chain. I would call it fragmented links with limited operating discipline.”

It goes without saying that you wouldn’t invite anyone into your home without trusting them, and David Weekley Homes knows the value of this principle from a supply chain perspective. The Houston-based homebuilder is the largest privately held builder and one of the most successful in the United States. It received the 2013 Builder of the Year Award, and its annual revenues exceed $1 billion. Vice President of Supply Chain Bill Justus says the company places a high value on measuring performance of its national trading partners and challenges everyone, including itself, to world-class levels. 

It seems the trend favoring American-made products doesn’t just apply to manufacturers of hard goods. There has been a resurgence of whiskey sales in the spirits market since 2009, coming after nearly 40 years of steady decline. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), whiskey once held a dominant position in America’s spirits market. In 1970, whiskey sales were nearly twice that of all other spirits combined. However, that number dropped steadily from 1975. In 2000, it was less than half. 

Just after the economic crash, the market started to come back. From 2009 to 2013, whiskey sales in the United States have grown nearly 7 percent, and they’ve grown internationally, as well. In places such as India, overall U.S. distilled spirits exports reached almost $4.3 million in 2013, up by 49 percent compared with 2012. U.S. whiskeys, primarily bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, represented the vast majority (97 percent) of the total.

There’s no getting around it – Waste Connections Inc. is a large operation and there are a lot of pieces to manage to keep it running smoothly. The company provides solid waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services to more than 1 million customers in 30 states. It mainly targets residential and commercial customers in secondary and suburban markets, but through its R360 Environmental Solutions subsidiary, it also is a leading provider of non-hazardous oilfield waste treatment, recovery and disposal services in several of the most active natural resource-producing areas in the United States. Additionally, Waste Connections offers intermodal services for the movement of solid waste and cargo containers in the Pacific Northwest. 

The global supply chain team at Vertellus Specialties Inc. welcomes exceptions. Because, as the team’s director, Hugh Mitchell, explains, exceptions are really just areas to improve. 

“When we’re looking at reports and dashboards, it helps us to zero in on exceptions, because exceptions equal opportunities for cost savings and reduced expenses,” Mitchell says. “Detailed analysis creates a focused objective leading to results. At any one time we have a number of projects going on, whether it’s a detailed distribution cost analysis, or recycled inventory improvement, [or] improving our shipping time.” 

Sears Holdings Corp.’s product delivery operations are unmatched when it comes to size, scale and omnichannel integration. The company, formed in 2005 after the merger of national retailers Sears, Roebuck and Co. with Kmart Holdings Corp., has long specialized in providing products of all sizes to its customers where and when they need them.  

“The ability to effectively deliver products not only into our retail network but into homes is a distinct advantage of our supply chain,” Chief Supply Chain Officer and Senior Vice President Bill Hutchinson says. Sears is a home appliance, tools, lawn and garden, apparel, consumer electronics and automotive repair and maintenance leader, known for its Craftsman, Kenmore and DieHard brands. 

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