There may be some companies that can get away with a late delivery, but Batesville Casket Co. is not one of them. The nature of the funeral industry requires a delicate but quick and efficient hand to help families and friends honor the lives of their loved ones. For the past 100 years, Batesville, a subsidiary of Hillenbrand Inc. (NYSE:HI), has been a leader in the death-care industry. The world’s largest manufacturer of metal and wood caskets, Batesville is also the leading provider of funeral home websites and other technology solutions for funeral and cemetery professionals. But caskets remain its core revenue driver.

All wines are not created equal, and the supply chain process to get the separate classes to market could not be more disparate. In most wine-selling regions, there are two main categories: imported wine and regional wine. While bottling imported wine dictates a traditional supply chain operation where an efficient process creates accurate forecasting and reduced inventory, the director of supply chain management at Andrew Peller explains that regional wine creates a greater challenge. 

Most hotel guests don’t think much about where those little bars of soap or bottles of shampoo come from, nor do they know of the amount of effort that goes on behind the scenes to ensure their rooms are furnished. For more than 148 years, American Hotel Register Co. has helped hotels and other hospitality providers with the products and support they need to enhance the guest experience.

The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company offers the largest assortment of operating supplies and furniture, fixtures and equipment available to the hospitality market. American Hotel carries 50,000 items, including 1,600 national brands and more than 2,500 best-value, private-label Registry® items. In addition to the hospitality market, the company also serves all branches of government and the military plus the healthcare, deathcare, education, gaming, recreation and other markets. 

An amazing 1.8 billion servings of Coca-Cola products are sold around the world every day, according to Steve Buffington, vice president of supply chain development and director of supply chain, Bottling Investments Group for The Coca-Cola Company. Making sure that every one of its thirsty clients gets the right product, at the right time and in the right price range is Coca-Cola’s supply chain priority.

Buffington, a 34-year veteran with The Coca-Cola Company, has been involved in a variety of strategies for growth and operations excellence. He has led new developments in the Coca-Cola supply chain around the globe, from bottler consolidation in North America in the 1980s, to procurement and supply chain strategies in Argentina in the ’90s. In the mid-2000s, Buffington took over management responsibility for the Bottling Investment Group in Brazil, Uruguay, India, Philippines and Singapore as Coca-Cola focused on strengthening bottlers in these key markets.

For any organization to survive for more than a century, it must demonstrate a capacity for adaptation. Intermatic’s effort to extend its many decades of operation well into the 21st century hinges in part on its commitment to improving its global supply chain.

A 120-year-old family business, Intermatic manufactures energy management products. Its product portfolio includes energy controls, mechanical and electrical timers, occupancy sensors, surge protection, photo controls, weatherproof covers, professional lighting controls and pool and spa controls.

Coors Distributing Co. (CDC) has achieved a significant level of growth since its inception in 1971. The operation began selling one brand available in 16 different packages with 14 trucks and 50 employees throughout the Denver area. But with acquisitions and organic growth, CDC is now the largest beer distributor in Colorado, representing 30 supplier/manufacturers and more than 400 brands. It also operates a fleet of 84 trucks and is supported by more than 350 employees. The company attributes its ability to achieve this level of success to its culture, of which its employees’ dedication makes the foundation.

Most supply chains move products along from production facility to production facility, making for a relatively controlled environment. For Bumble Bee Foods, however, its global supply chain operations take it to the middle of the ocean and back again. Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Timothy Fischer explains that Bumble Bee Foods fishes every ocean on Earth for its shelf-stable seafood products, so dealing with those sometimes-chaotic environments and a live product means its supply chain and logistics operations have to be nearly flawless.

A focus on internal investment and product growth is helping United Beverages of North Carolina LLC do what the company says it does best. “We’re very good at serving our customers,” says Bob Cooley, vice president of operations for the Hickory, N.C.-based beverage distributor. “We take care of our vendors and suppliers, protect and promote our brands and support our customers.”


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