The Bexar County Hospital District, doing business as University Health System, has come a long way in the past century. Today, its supply chain professionals are focused on implementing Six Sigma, encouraging supplier diversity and adopting automation.

University Health System’s origins date back to 1917 when the city of San Antonio and the county of Bexar jointly opened the Robert B. Green Memorial Hospital to provide medical services to the community’s indigent population. Today, it is one of the largest employers in Bexar County with more than 6,400 employees, nearly 700 resident physicians and a 2015 operating budget of $1.2 billion.

University Hospital System operates 716 acute care and specialty beds and serves as the premier Level I trauma center for a 22-county area of south and central Texas. University Health System’s outpatient facilities provide primary care and specialty outpatient care throughout Bexar County. 

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Energy and telecommunications might make the world go ’round, but the Prysmian Group’s fiber-optic and copper cables that transmit electricity and voice, video and data go around the world. The Prysmian Group manufactures underground and submarine power transmission cables and systems, special cables for applications in many different industrial sectors and medium and low-voltage cables for the construction and infrastructure industry.

For telecommunications, Prysmian manufactures cables and accessories for the voice, video and data transmission industries and offers a complete range of optical fibers, optical and copper cables and connectivity systems. The Prysmian Group was formed in 2011 from the merger of Prysmian and Draka.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb was formed by the 1989 merger of two leading pharmaceutical companies: E.R. Squibb & Sons and Bristol-Myers. Although its origins date to 1858, over the past eight years the company has been on a journey to transform its business, recently accelerating its evolution to become a diversified specialty biopharma. That shift in focus has been a game changer. 

“Our evolution to a diversified specialty biopharma company has resulted in some remarkable innovation that is positively impacting patient’s lives,” says Farryn Melton, senior vice president and chief procurement officer. “Our focus is on helping patients prevail over serious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV, hepatitis C and rheumatoid arthritis. That mission is very special and unique.” 

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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. 

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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.”

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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.”

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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. 

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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.

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