For 45 years, Esri has stayed committed to customer service and loyalty, Global Industry Manager of Supply Chain and Logistics Wolfgang Hall says. “We will really go out of our way to satisfy a customer’s needs,” he says. 

Based in Redlands, Calif., the software company is focused on geographic information systems (GIS), which include its flagship product, ArcGIS. Founder Jack Dangermond started Esri in 1969 as a consulting business.

Headquartered in Boston, Cabot Corporation is a global specialty chemicals and performance materials company that manufactures products such as carbon black, activated carbon, specialty carbons, aerogel, fine cesium chemicals, inkjet colorants and conductive compounds. Brothers Godfrey Lowell Cabot and Samuel Cabot started the company in 1882 when they opened a carbon black plant. 

After more than 130 years, Cabot Corp. has become a leader in its market while striving “to be the best in the industries we serve,” Vice President of Global Supply Chain Renaud Megard says. “We have a strong portfolio of businesses with leading market positions and an extensive geographic reach.

If you need to reduce your inventory costs, instead of just negotiating a lower price – which BJC HealthCare has been doing for its 12 hospitals and additional healthcare facilities – it also helps to determine whether you even need the item in your inventory, or whether you can stock fewer varieties or a lower number of them.

All these options are being explored by the people who best know the effectiveness of inventory items – the medical professionals who use them. “We started a supply chain transformation journey, which we call SupplyPlus, in 2011,” emphasizes Nancy LeMaster, vice president of supply chain transformation. “We wanted to show the strategic potential of the supply chain, not only in terms of reducing cost but in making sure that we had high-quality products with proven patient outcomes. Our clinicians and physicians expected us to only talk dollars, but instead, we were talking in terms of total value with the focus on proven outcomes.”

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center takes a more strategic approach to its supply chain by implementing new practices and state-of-the-art technology that have helped it cut costs and obtain better products. 

“We need to make sure we have the right products in the right place and with more financial and cost-cutting pressures, the supply chain has become more strategic by working closely with all departments,” Director of Purchasing and Contracting Steve Cashton says.

Healthcare has always been a small margin business, but the pressure to find ways to reduce costs has never been greater. In an era of aging baby boomers, the Affordable Care Act, and a new reimbursement model, hospitals are challenged constantly to improve financial performance along with improving clinical outcomes. This is why The Advisory Board Company created its Services Sourcing Impact (SSI) practice to help hospitals transform the ways they negotiate for purchased services and generate tangible results.

“SSI was created because The Advisory Board wanted to get  more deeply involved in financially oriented consulting, as its healthcare clients were looking for sourcing advice and bottom line results,” SSI GM and Managing Director Rick Conlin says.    

With responsibility for manufacturing, quality, safety and transportation of diverse product lines such as Fleischmann’s Yeast and assorted bakery ingredients, the supply chain efforts at AB Mauri North America are specialized and unique. 

“We’ve got some liquid products, some refrigerated products, some dried products, and we’ve got a difference in shelf life from 20 days to two years,” Vice President of the Supply Chain Brian Lundquist emphasizes. “A number of different products are customer-specific – one SKU, one customer. Those are a challenge to be effective at planning and manufacturing and getting to the customer on time, while still trying to maintain the right inventory and service levels. While we lack technological solutions to do all that, for us, it really has to be done through critical thinking and human intervention.”

Anyone who has tried to move the refrigerator out to dust behind it knows that appliances are not the easiest items in a home to move. Transporting everything that goes into an appliance as well as the finished product to retailers and even individuals worldwide is the responsibility of Whirlpool Corp.’s supply chain.

Whirlpool has been working to integrate supply chain functions and eliminate redundancies. “About three years ago, we jumped into this with both feet,” recalls Jim Keppler, vice president of the integrated supply chain and quality. “Prior to having an integrated supply chain, we had separate leaders over our 13 manufacturing plants and other supply chain functions in North America

It isn’t hard to understand how or why supermarkets supplanted the traditional corner market – people like being able to get everything they need in one place. As the largest American group purchasing organization serving the grocery industry, Topco Associates LLC understands this, and that principle has been the driving force as the company enacts a major transformation that ultimately will make it a one-stop shop for its members. 


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