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Carboline’s innovation efforts are paying off for the coatings company.

By Alan Dorich

Carboline Co. may not be as large as some of its competitors, but that provides it with an advantage, President and COO Chris Tiernay says. “We can do things much quicker and without the bureaucracy of larger companies, from a customer’s perspective,” he says.

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After 88 years in the automotive industry, Akebono aims to continuously exceed customer expectations with innovative, quality products.

By Bianca Herron

Akebono Brake Corporation has been manufacturing brake friction materials for 88 years. Established in Japan in 1929, Akebono’s commitment to innovation, process improvement, quality control and customer service has positioned it as a key resource for leading OEMs and Tier I brake suppliers.

Some of the company’s key automotive OEM customers include Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Additionally, the Akebono Production System (APS) features proven quality control techniques to guarantee minimal process variation in all phase of production, which allows the company to consistently achieve a nearly zero defect rate per million parts produced.

According to Grant Church, vice president of supply chain North America, Akebono’s focus on brake technology and quality products have resulted in its success.

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Agilent Technologies restructured its supply chain into a global organization delivering on a collective strategic vision.

By Tim O’Connor

When developing its three-year strategy in 2014, Agilent’s OFS organization (order fulfillment and supply chain) wanted everyone to understand its strategic goals and what initiatives needed to be executed to reach them, as well as secure full alignment to Agilent’s corporate strategy and secure transparency for stakeholders outside the OFS organization.

At the end of each year, successes are measured against those goals and decisions are taken about where further improvements can be made. “Everybody in the OFS organization can see how they individually and as a team contribute to the success of OFS and the overall Agilent business,” President of Order Fulfillment and Supply Chain Henrik Ancher-Jensen says.

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Seagate Technology’s supply chain supports the company’s new focus on the enterprise market.

By Tim O’Connor

Think about how people use digital photos. In the past, someone would take a picture then store it on a hard drive where it might quickly be forgotten. Today, that same person snaps the photo using their cell phone and moments later effortlessly shares it with hundreds of friends and family members across social media.

The dissemination is instant, but it also requires a different approach to data storage. The size of flash memory space available on devices such as phones has not grown fast enough to accommodate the explosive number of food photos, selfies and cat memes shared around the internet. The problem of storage space will only grow as people and businesses find ways to interact with their data. One solution is to move information from personal devices into cloud storage.

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Vanderlande’s new facility reduces the lead times and costs of delivering its turnkey baggage and parcel systems.

By Tim O’Connor

Whether it’s a key airport hub like Boston’s Logan Airport or an Amazon warehouse, sorting systems must meet three primary criteria: speed, energy efficiency and accuracy. That last item is especially important to travelers, who expect their luggage will follow them on their flight. A misdirected or lost bag can leave customers without fresh clothes or important travel papers.

It’s one of the reasons many U.S. airports are switching to European-style baggage systems. These place every piece of luggage with its own individually tracked tub carrier, then route the luggage to an early bag storage area, where it is held until the flight calls for that bag. The process results in fewer errors because bags don’t arrive at a gate ahead of time only to be mistakenly placed on an earlier flight.

“People don’t get too happy when their packages or bags don’t arrive with them,” notes Blake Mathies, vice president of supply chain and procurement for baggage handling systems manufacturer Vanderlande Industries.

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Leggett & Platt fosters an entrepreneurial spirit within its logistics team.

By Chris Kelsch

In 1883, J.P. Leggett, an inventor who already had several patents to his credit, developed an idea for a spiral steel coil bedspring. He turned to his future brother-in-law and Carthage resident C.B. Platt for his manufacturing expertise.

Together, the pair invented the Leggett & Platt bedspring, offering the best night’s sleep available. The partnership prospered and eventually the company grew to where it is today: a member of the S&P 500 with 17 business units and 130 facilities in 19 countries.

The company’s diverse array of products can be found in any home, office or vehicle. They include formed wire, office furniture, car seating and tubes used in aerospace and automotive products. And yes, Leggett & Platt still makes mattresses and bedding components.

Kawasaki Motors Corp web photo 3

KMCs supply chain turnaround has taken the company to 'the next level.

By Alan Dorich

Kawasaki Motors Corp. (KMC) U.S.A. has stayed strong for five decades. The Kawasaki brand is known for quality and great engineering, Senior Director of Parts and Accessories Tom Leimkuhler says. Even when the economy goes down, we still continue to maintain and hold our own.

Santa Ana, Calif.-based KMC, which is part of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., serves the power sports sector with its motorcycles, ATVs, jet skis and side X side vehicles. The company recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and today KMC employs 400 workers.

Although KMC is renowned for its motorcycles, its most up-and-coming business unit consists of its side X side vehicles. Hunters and farmers in the middle states are really using them in their efforts, he says.

The vehicles also have found a use in parks and recreation departments, as well as retirement homes. Its a huge, huge market, he says. Its closing in on our motorcycle division.


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