Managing the Bullwhip Effect: The Importance of Signals and Priority

One of the reasons why the bullwhip effect has been a huge obstacle for manufacturers for decades—and why so much energy is devoted to solving it—is because it shows how rational decision makers can make things worse by trying to do their best. After all, planning and forecasting is supposed to be the way to solve production, supply, and storage issues.

But what we’re currently seeing with the prolonged impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on manufacturing and shipping capacity all over the globe is that variations in demand are being magnified more than ever before by forecasts that can’t react and adjust dynamically to changing conditions.


Warning Signs Your POs Could Cause Trouble

Does your factory have warning signs? You know, those bright yellow triangles? Perhaps it has an exclamation mark for caution, or a lightning bolt to represent high voltage area. Maybe it even features a skull & cross bones to signal that dangerous chemicals (or pirates) are present. No matter the sign, they clearly mean one thing: WARNING.

As a supply chain manager, you probably wish you had a sign like that for your team to help them with the purchase order process. Maybe it would be a triangle with a broken down delivery truck meant to represent an impending shortage. Whatever it would look like, it’d be amazing to give your buyers a sign for which POs could leave you at risk.

Well, there may not be a physical symbol you can place in your office, but there are plenty of warning signs to look out for. Here are four warning signs your POs could cause trouble. Continue Reading “Warning Signs Your POs Could Cause Trouble”

Kanban Board Best Practices: 6 Strategies for Your Procurement Team

Whether it be improvement projects, system implementations, or simply personal to-do lists, a Kanban Board is a great way to manage work. The chief benefit is that the board is visual, so your whole team can see when progress has been made (or stalled). But this visual aid loses its power when it is not kept current.

Just like your email inbox, a Kanban Board that is not kept clean is at risk of having things slip through the cracks. Here are six strategies to help your team maintain a clean Kanban Board. Continue Reading “Kanban Board Best Practices: 6 Strategies for Your Procurement Team”

Supply Chain Analysis: 5 Awesome Widgets for Inventory Reporting

Your car’s dashboard features a broad array of controls, measures, and gauges. You can tell how fast you are going, how the car is performing, and when you are running out of gas. Everything you need to know is right there in front of you. Your supply chain analysis dashboard should be no different.

At LeanDNA, our built-in dashboards are comprised of widgets that provide critical insight into your most important metrics. With these highly customizable dashboards, users can make quick, informed decisions to improve factory performance.

While every widget brings value to the table, here are five of my favorites: Continue Reading “Supply Chain Analysis: 5 Awesome Widgets for Inventory Reporting”

How to Develop Standard Work For Your Supply Chain Team

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Standard Work wasn’t a supply chain business term in the 1900s, but if it had been, you better believe Henry Ford would have had a quote about it. Ford, a major proponent of the assembly line, knew the value of placing his workers in the best possible position every single day.

A key component of the Kaizen philosophy, Standard Work, does just that. It puts supply chain teams on the same page, eliminates unnecessary action, and ensures everyone moves forward together.

So now the question becomes, how do you develop Standard Work for your supply chain team? Continue Reading “How to Develop Standard Work For Your Supply Chain Team”

Helping Your Buyers Understand the ABCs of ABC Analysis

Your buyers do not have enough hours in the day. From managing shortages to finding inventory reduction opportunities, good time management is crucial. When dealing with thousands of parts and dozens of suppliers, your team needs a way to prioritize the items with the greatest overall impact on inventory cost. That’s where ABC analysis comes in. Continue Reading “Helping Your Buyers Understand the ABCs of ABC Analysis”

Supply Chain Best Practices: 3 Phrases to Stop Using at Work

There are some terms and phrases we all hear regularly in lean manufacturing. You really could write an entire dictionary to explain and interpret all the lingo! But there are some phrases in the factory that might make you turn your head for the wrong reasons. If you aim to follow supply chain best practices at work, here are three phrases you should eliminate from your vocabulary: Continue Reading “Supply Chain Best Practices: 3 Phrases to Stop Using at Work”

Lean Manufacturing: 26 Terms Lean Factory Professionals Should Know

To an outsider, the lean manufacturing world can look a little like alphabet soup. Within five minutes of any lean meeting, you will hear acronyms that can seem like the letters are strung together with no rhyme or reason.

But as you and your company embrace lean, those letters start to work like alphabet magnets on a refrigerator. They are purposefully arranged to form acronyms and concepts that separate lean from, well, not-lean. (Side note: “not-lean” is probably not a term real Lean pros would use.)

Let’s take a look at the following 26 terms to better understand what makes lean manufacturing effective. And who knows, we might just learn a term for “not-lean.” Continue Reading “Lean Manufacturing: 26 Terms Lean Factory Professionals Should Know”

5 Ways To Strengthen Your Communication With A Supplier

Suppliers are your friends! Depending on your role in your organization, they may be your most important friends. A supply chain can become highly streamlined or remain stagnant based on relationship with your vendors. With less-than-perfect supplier communication, incorrect parts are shipped, dates are missed resulting in shortages for your business, and targets are missed. Not to mention all that stress, on both sides! If your supplier relationships are a bit bumpy at times, don’t worry — a little preparation and communication can go a long way. Here are 5 tips for improving communication with your suppliers and reaping the results.