2019

UP FRONT

Low Blow

Identifying true costs in the supply chain

Logically, it makes perfect sense that the lowest-priced product doesn’t always come at the lowest cost. Supply chain inefficiencies—such as wrong quantities, incorrect timing or service issues—all factor into total cost. If even one of these is off, it can throw a whole system of processes into a tailspin.

Given the complexity of global supply chains, however, sorting through and strengthening the many interrelated links can be daunting. That’s where quality comes in. In this month’s cover story, "No Weak Links," the authors provide a look at a telecommunications organization that examined its supply chain’s efficiency using three quality tools: value stream mapping, eight rights and seven supply chain wastes. Applying these tools helped the organization thwart suboptimization and streamline key processes.

"Need for Speed," explores this increasingly important requirement of being quick to market and explains that flexibility is a crucial element to competitive dominance. The article includes a list of tips for prioritizing in-house product development and ultimately, beating out the competition. Decisions related to outsourcing to secure the right resources are also key, and the authors provide some criteria and food for thought on making those crucial decisions.

Speed of delivery is also the impetus behind recent innovative expansion in Amazon.com’s business model. The online retailer is piloting the use of its own delivery fleet, creating a new competitive force within its established delivery network by going up against partners including FedEx and UPS. Will the model work? Could it become a new service standard? Will consumers’ demand for quick delivery become a marketplace requirement? And how can quality be preserved in an on-demand world? Read "Amazon’s Going the ‘Last Mile.’"

Thoughts or comments on the topics covered in this issue? Email me at ssanders@asq.org.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders
Editor


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