T-Mobile, the fourth-

largest cell phone and wireless network provider in the country, is aggressively working to win new customers away from its competitors– AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint – with its year-old “Un-carrier” strategy. And it’s working. T-Mobile added 4.4 million customers in 2013, making it the fastest-growing U.S. telecom last year.

T-Mobile experienced two other boons last year: It became an iPhone carrier and merged with Metro PCS, a prepaid wireless service. With business booming, there’s tremendous pressure on the supply chain to meet demand and operate efficiently. 

Companies dream of having this kind of “problem” – even the guy in charge of managing the supply chain. 

Read more: T-Mobile

Based in Milwaukee, STRATTEC Security Corp. has grown into one of the world’s largest producers of automotive locks and keys. Once a part of Briggs & Stratton, STRATTEC has a corporate history that extends back for more than a century. Now it is adapting to changes within its primary industry and looking for ways to diversify its customer base.

STRATTEC is primarily known as a designer, developer, manufacturer and marketer of mechanical and electronically enhanced access control products – locks and keys and ignition lock housings. It also produces latches, power sliding door systems, power lift gate systems, power deck lid systems and door handles for North American and global automotive customers. 

Read more: Strattec Security Corp.

As the largest supplier of lawn care products on Earth, Scotts Miracle-Gro knows a thing or two about covering a lot of ground, and the company’s supply chain operations are no exception. As Vice President of Global Supply Chain Tom Kuharcik explains, the company’s reach covers North America and western Europe, with more than 40 facilities and 18 distribution centers moving more than 12,000 orders a week, adding up to more than 10 billion pounds of product each year.

Not only does Scotts Miracle-Gro move a tremendous amount of products to customers around the world, but it does so with products that are highly seasonal. The company’s core products include lawn fertilizer, growing media and mulch, plant foods and liquid controls, all produced under some of the most recognized brand names in the industry, such as Scotts, Ortho, Miracle-Gro and RoundUp. 

Read more: The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

Some firms only manufacture set products that are widely needed across multiple markets, but Mircom Group of Companies takes a different approach, Director of Operations Michael Della Fortuna says. “We strive to apply technology and a customer service focus that results in products that address both wide market requirements and specific customer needs,” he states.

 “If our clients need the product, we’ll go ahead and do the development on it,” he says, adding that Mircom Group is often faster than its competitors. “We push that envelope in design and how things are done.”

 Based in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, Mircom Group designs and manufactures fire detection and alarm, communications and security, mass notification, nurse call, building automation and smart technologies. With roots that are traced back to the 1960s, CEO Tony Falbo founded the company in 1991 after successfully building a market-leading life safety systems company in the 1980s.  

Today, his sons have taken over the reins in this family-oriented professionally run company, as Tony says he “has built a solid foundation and it’s up to the next generation to significantly ramp it up.”  

Read more: Mircom Group of Companies

When sending packages, people want the comfort of knowing the item will be securely sealed and protected before it reaches its destination. St. Laurent, Quebec-based Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) plays a role in that process by providing packaging products and systems to a wide range of markets, including retail, e-commerce, construction and automotive.

Senior Vice President of Global Sourcing and Supply Chain Joseph Tocci says IPG started operations in 1981 as a manufacturer of carton sealing tape. Over the years, it expanded its lines to include multiple types of tape, shrink and stretch films, carton-sealing equipment, and printing on both pressure-sensitive as well as water-activated tapes.

Today, IPG stands as one of the largest tape manufacturers in the United States, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications James Apap Bologna says. “The tapes produced by IPG seal more boxes than any other tape company in the U.S.A.,” he says, noting that the company employs 1,800 people in its 10 facilities and offices in North America.

Read more: Intertape Polymer Group

One of the biggest challenges for sporting goods manufacturer Hillerich & Bradsby is to create a supply chain centered on a traditional single season. This requires it to be focused with a strong planning strategy to meet its main big, three-month annual launch period in the fall, supported with two smaller launches positioned on the front and back-end of the main launch. 

The company is best known for its iconic Louisville Slugger wood baseball bats. It also makes other sport products including baseball gloves, batting gloves, athletic bags and catcher’s gear and sub-brand Bionic glove and fitness gloves. 

Hillerich & Bradsby’s supply chain “is based on a robust seasonal front-end forecasting process fully aligned to a rolling monthly demand planning broken out by category and supplier,” says Charlie Brown, vice president of global supply chain and sourcing. “The demand and purchasing plan is then fully reviewed with our warehousing partner Legacy Supply Chain Services, to allow them to plan all in and outbound shipments via a planned schedule that is designed to maximize resources, manpower and machinery as required.”

Read more: Hillerich & Bradsby

Eastman Chemical has grown into a global leader in chemicals, plastics, fibers and other advanced materials. Headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., and founded in 1920, it is a $9.4 billion business with approximately 14,000 global employees. The company operates 45 manufacturing sites in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. From there, the company serves customers in approximately 100 countries. Its materials are found in thousands of household and commercial products used around the world on a daily basis.

“We run an integrated supply chain responsible for procurement, supply and demand planning, scheduling, inventory management, customer service and logistics,” Vice President of Global Supply Chain James Harlan II says. 

Eastman has five core business segments: additives and functional products, adhesives and plasticizers, advanced materials, fibers, and specialty fluids and intermediates. The company serves a diverse array of end-markets.

Read more: Eastman Chemical

Earls Kitchen + Bar was founded on the principle that guests should be able to expect good food and a good time every time they walk through the door. Today, the company has more than 60 locations spread across Canada and now parts of the United States, so ensuring the same level of quality in every one of those locations is a high priority. Coping with the growing pains that have come with international expansion has been a challenge, but as Vice President of Procurement and Logistics Claudia Vorlaufer explains, it is a challenge that Earls Kitchen + Bar is meeting head-on. 

Founded more than 30 years ago by father-and-son team Leroy Earl and Stanley Earl Fuller, Earls Kitchen + Bar has grown into one of the most popular casual dining chains in Canada, with 65 locations from Vancouver to Toronto. 

Read more: Earls kitchen + bar

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