In changing the nature of its relationship with steel mills and distributors, Whiting Petroleum has improved how it procures steel pipe casing and eliminated inventory costs while streamlining the supply chain. “Being able to acquire [pipe casing] in the simplest, most consistent manner at a very competitive price is real beneficial to an end-user such as Whiting,” says Materials Manager Ross Weaver, the man behind the company’s fundamental supply chain shift. Oil producers have utilized distributor stocking programs for years. Whiting was growing fast enough to justify changing the procurement process.

Whiting is an independent oil and gas company that explores, acquires and develops land for crude oil, natural gas and liquid natural gas. The company operates mainly in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale and northern Colorado, where it runs drilling rigs on leased land. It’s proved reserves were 780 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mmboe) at the end of 2014 – a 78 percent increase over 2013 – and it produced 167,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/D) in first-quarter 2015.

Read more: Whiting Petroleum

Independent grocery stores often attract customers because of their local, community-based focus. Although this means they can serve their customer base with greater attention to individual customers, it also means they don’t have the scale to compete with large, national chains when it comes to negotiating with suppliers. 

For many independent grocery stores, wholesale cooperatives such as Unified Grocers Inc. in the western United States give them the collective buying power they need to keep prices low for their customers. But that buying power is only part of the story of how Unified Grocers provides value to its members. According to Vice President of Logistics Gregg Bostick, the size and scale of Unified Grocers also provides members with benefits when it comes to supply chain and logistics.

Read more: Unified Grocers Inc.

The Arctic Circle is one of the more isolated and harsh environments on Earth. There are few roads and less infrastructure. Shipping goods over 1,000 miles is always a challenge, but in the north, every delivery is a small miracle.

It is in those far reaches where The North West Company finds its customers. North West traces its history to the Hudson’s Bay Company, which was founded as a fur-trading business in 1670. In 1987, investors purchased Hudson’s Bay’s Northern Stores Division and renamed it The North West Company after a competitor that merged with Hudson’s Bay in 1821. North West has evolved into a retail business and now operates a number of brands in the northern provinces and territories, as well as Alaska, the Caribbean and Pacific.

Read more: The North West Company

Some companies keep their focus strictly on their own operations, but not SunPower Corp. This past spring, the company began partnering with its suppliers to find better ways to deliver their services, resulting in better products.

Together, “There’s a better understanding of how our product quality impacts the end-customers,” Chief Procurement Officer and Vice President of Supply Chain Mike Kienitz says. “Both parties are focused on how we supply sustainable improvements in quality.”

Based in San Jose, Calif., SunPower designs and manufactures high-efficiency solar panels and systems for the residential, commercial and utility markets. Dr. Richard Swanson co-founded the company in 1985.

Read more: SunPower Corp.

Having assembled a portfolio of companies with more than three decades of experience in industrial pipes, valves and fittings (PVF) distribution, Shale-Inland delivers products and services to industrial markets around the world. The organization provides specialized and engineered products that are essential to its customers and their operations.

“In my role, I have functional responsibility over all of our branches’ operations around the world,” Senior Vice President of Operations Rick Kerrigan says. “We support and manage everything from warehousing and inventory management, shipping and receiving and quality assurance to health and safety, transportation, purchasing and sourcing.”

Read more: Shale-Inland

More and more people are reading on their iPads and Kindles every day, but companies such as Christian publisher LifeWay will continue to depend on its transportation partnerships. “As the publishing market becomes more digital we are certainly reacting to that, but there’s always going to be a need for physical goods movement in our business,” says Chief Supply Chain Officer Mike Harry. With 180 retail stores across the country and a dedicated customer base made up of the religious faithful, LifeWay continues to find ways to improve its supply chain and make itself a priority for shipping companies.

LifeWay was founded in 1891 with the goal of providing literature to churches. After nearly a century of organic growth, in the last 20 years the company began to rapidly expand by acquiring other retailers, including purchasing Berean Christian Stores in 2014. “We basically doubled the size of the store chain from the mid-‘90s to now,” Harry says.

Read more: LifeWay

After more than three decades, Batory Foods Inc. has established a broad reach in the food industry. “We’re a tier one ingredient supplier to manufacturers,” Vice President of Operations and Information Technology Fred Dingraudo says. “If you looked at the markets we’re in, it’s everything from large food to ethnic food to bakeries.”

Based in Des Plaines, Ill., the distributor’s product mix includes sweeteners, proteins, dairy ingredients, oils and shortenings, starches, flours and even cooking wine. Founder Abel Friedman started Batory Foods in 1979 as Chicago Sweeteners. 

“His goal was to provide a single source for the basic food ingredients, [such as] sugar, oats, honey and corn syrup,” Dingraudo explains. Over time, Batory Foods has expanded its offering to include gums, preservatives, soluble fibers and emulsifiers, to name a few. 

Read more: Batory Foods Inc.

Many supply chain specialists only have to get the right amount of product to the right place at the right time. Although that is not as easy as it sounds, it is even harder when only a fixed amount of the product is available. Having to forecast that product amount five years and longer in advance complicates the supply chain even further.

Although this situation might sound like a nightmare for some supply chain specialists, it is the situation Director of Supply Chain Management Tom Sauder faces every day for Andrew Peller Limited’s wines produced from Canadian grapes. Fortunately, the company also blends wines from various regions for some of its products.

Read more: Andrew Peller Limited

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