Imagine flipping a light switch and having to wait an hour before the light came on – that’s what an inefficient supply chain can feel like. The lights do eventually go on, but in the meantime you’re sitting in the dark. If that’s the case, odds are there’s a problem somewhere in the wiring between the switch and the light, and it needs to be found and fixed before the lights can work the way they’re meant to. 

As one of the global leaders in such technology, FEI has operations spread around the globe, and so keeping its supply chain operating with maximum efficiency is a top goal. 

As Carl Douglas, senior manager of supply chain quality, explains, keeping FEI’s supply chain at peak performance is not something that the company can do alone. He says FEI relies on the strong bonds it has created with its suppliers and partners to maintain a high level of efficiency and live up to the company’s definition of supply chain success. “Success is when we’re 100 percent in line, and that would mean our products are coming on time and to the quality expected at reasonable and fair prices,” Douglas says. 

Encana Corp. has roots going back more than 125 years, but the energy company does not remain set in its ways and resistant to change. Instead, “We’ve been a fairly adaptable company,” Director of Materials Management Kevin Smith says.

That attitude drove Encana to complete a major restructuring in the past year, and led the company to earn its status as the first oil and gas operation to take a manufacturing approach in a resource play. “[We] sort of cracked the technical nut,” Smith says. “We’ve seen that repeated across North America.”

It takes a lot of expertise to successfully design a complicated piece of machinery like a lift truck, and Crown Equipment Corp. knows how important this knowledge is. “Award-winning design does not happen by accident,” it declares.

“Crown does thorough research into how operators and businesses use lift trucks, examining every component to assure our forklifts deliver optimal productive use,” Crown states. “This process results in an line of IC and electric lift trucks that have earned the reputation for unsurpassed quality, ergonomics and serviceability.” 

For many supply chain managers, the products they are responsible for do not lose their value in a few days. But for those in the foodservice industry, the freshness of their products is paramount. So working with distribution experts to provide products and ingredients to more than 100 locations throughout the United States, Costa Rica and Dubai needs to be a reliable strategy for Cosí Vice President of Supply Chain Jennifer Silveira.

Established in 1889, Bernhardt Furniture Co. has been in business for 125 years. This makes the company among the country’s largest family owned furniture operations and a leading diversified global furniture manufacturer. And the only thing old about Bernhardt Furniture is its age. The company continually wins awards for product design excellence and it sets standards in environmental sustainability, having earned the American Home Furnishings Alliance’s environmental excellence award for corporate performance. With this reputation and 125 years of tradition in quality, it’s important that the supply chain keeps up. 

Each of the 13 building material supply companies that make up US LBM Holdings LLC are given a great deal of flexibility when it comes to serving customers.  These companies operate their own fleet and distribution centers while partnering with select suppliers based on customer brand preferences.

“We think allowing this flexibility drives creativity and innovation. It also gives us the opportunity to share best practices that work at one company and can be adopted by others,” EVP Supply Chain Randy Aardema says.

Formed in 2009 by LT Gibson with the acquisition of three professional builder supply companies, US LBM Holdings has become the fastest growing building material distribution company in the United States.  The company currently consists of 13 business divisions with more than 70 locations serving 11 states in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Western United States.  US LBM is actively adding acquisitions and new green field locations for current divisions. 

For the management, production and logistics experts at Madden, the sky is the limit.

Madden was founded by Joe Madden in 1957 as a printing company, President Sean Madden explains. Brothers Joe and John Madden transformed their printing into more than a commodity service with their unique and innovative ways to approach customers. “They spent a lot of time simplifying complex processes with lots of elements such as multipage books, binders, manuals and typesetting columns,” Sean Madden says. “They built solutions to integrate these processes and eliminate redundant steps. They applied these techniques for a variety of production needs, especially for high-output pages for training manuals.”

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