After more than 150 years, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) can boast of strong brand equity in its market. “We are a very well known grocer,” Vice President of Strategic Sourcing Jeffrey Ball says. “There’s a cherished value that’s associated with the [A&P] name and grocery shopping.”

Based in Montvale, N.J., the company operates more than 300 stores under the A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaum’s, Super Fresh, The Food Emporium, Food Basics, Best Cellars and A&P Wine & Spirits banners. Ball notes that A&P’s history goes back to 1859, when tea and spice merchants George Huntington Hartford and George Gilman started it as The Great American Tea Co., a mail order business.

By 1881, A&P had become the first grocery chain with 100 stores. “It was Walmart before there was even a Walmart,” Ball says, noting that A&P is now a $6 billion company with a staff of 30,000. “A lot of people recognize [our] legacy.”

In countless ways, 3M has made life easier for hundreds of millions of people all over the world. From manufacturing to healthcare to electronics, 3M’s innovations have touched lives by improving the way people live and work. But it isn’t only the end-users of 3M’s products who reap the benefit of the company’s never-ending commitment to continuous improvement. As 3M Canada Director of Strategic Sourcing Jeff van Geel explains, the company devotes just as much energy to improving life for its internal staff and business partners, as well. He says a number of recent initiatives under way within 3M Canada demonstrate the lengths to which the company will go to maintain its position as a global innovation leader.

According to van Geel, 3M Canada has undergone a significant transformation that aims to revitalize communication between project teams and improve supply chain operations across the board. The company also has taken the initiative to develop a new supplier awards program that recognizes and strengthens the relationships between 3M Canada and its supply partners. 3M Canada also is taking a more global approach to its supply chain by sourcing from more global suppliers thanks to advances in communication technology.

Watco Supply Chain Services is a new business unit of Pittsburg, Kan.-based Watco Companies that launched in fourth-quarter 2014 to extend additional services to customers and diversify the company. “We expect the unit in five years to reach $500 million in revenue across the various services we offer through organic growth and acquisitions,” President Eric Wolfe says. “We won’t take any shortcuts in building this unit.”

The Springdale, Ark.-based business unit was established after years of listening to Watco customers to understand their supply chain needs. “We build on Watco’s intense customer focus and attention to detail,” Wolfe adds. “Watco has a system-wide focus on the customer.”

Watco Companies is a transportation company providing transportation, terminal and port, and mechanical solutions for customers throughout North America and Australia. Watco Companies is the owner of Watco Transportation Services, one of the largest short-line railroad holding companies in the United States with 32 short-line railroads operating on more than 4,400 miles of track, as well as 28 industrial contract switching locations. 

An international producer of construction materials, Vulcan Materials Co. provides services that are essential to the standards of living of advanced and developing societies. Its product offerings include aggregates, sand, gravel, ready-mix concrete and asphalt. The company works to differentiate itself through concern for customers, a familial culture, safety-first initiatives and environmental stewardship.

“We are the nation’s largest producer of construction materials,” Director of Procurement Pete Roberts says. “A member of the S&P 500, we have been in business for 58 years. The company has locations in 23 states and one offshore operation in Mexico.” 

Stage Stores is the country’s leading small-town retailer, with 65 percent of stores and 59 percent of sales in towns with populations below 50,000, which are underserved markets with limited competition. It differentiates itself from the competition in small and mid-sized communities by offering consumers access to both basic and fashionable brand-name merchandise not typically carried by other retailers in the same area.

Stage Stores is a Houston-based retailer that operates more than 850 department stores in 40 states under the Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage brands. These stores are supported by three highly automated distribution centers, located in Texas, Ohio and Virginia. Stage Stores adopts a brand-focused merchandise marketing strategy to support each store’s position as the local destination for basic and fashionable, moderately priced, brand-name merchandise. Stage just completed its fourth year of offering merchandise online to supplement its small-town, brick-and-mortar presence.

The process of making large, sweeping changes across an entire organization can, for many companies, be a difficult and arduous process. For Sanofi North America (NA), the process of consolidating services and facilities may have had initial hurdles to overcome, but has since proven to be a positive experience. 

“We have a team focused on our cost to serve and our operating model, while also being focused on our customers,” says Doug McLeester, vice president of the healthcare company’s North American distribution and supply chain team. 

The company in 2012 consolidated Distribution & Supply Chain and several other functions – including finance, human resources and site services – that were formerly handled by affiliate businesses into a single Global Services Division (GSD). Sanofi NA consists of five affiliates: Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures, develops and distributes medications including diabetes solutions; Sanofi Pasteur, a human vaccine company; Merial, which focuses on animal health; Chattem, a consumer healthcare company; and Genzyme, which focuses on rare diseases. Sanofi NA is a subsidiary of the global company Sanofi, headquartered in Paris.

For Rowan Companies (Rowan), a delayed supply shipment is more than a temporary inconvenience. “If we’re waiting for a part or material and not having that item prevents us from doing our work, our clients and our revenue are directly impacted,” says Kirk Hoffman, director of supply chain management for the Houston-based company. “It would be a big problem if we had to go off-line because we weren’t fulfilling our job requirements.”

The company’s clients include several of the world’s leading oil and gas producers who retain Rowan to provide offshore contract drilling services. The company operates a fleet of 34 offshore drilling units, including three ultra-deepwater drillships and 30 jack-up rigs; a fourth deepwater drillship is under construction. Rowan Companies has operations in the Gulf of Mexico as well as in the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, in the Middle East, Trinidad, Southeast Asia and the western coast of Africa. 

Rocky Brands’ distribution and supply chain operations have greatly evolved during the past 10 years. “We’ve completely changed how we manage freight and continually improve upon our distribution capabilities,” says Michael Walker, senior vice president and general manager of supply chain operations for the Nelsonville, Ohio-based footwear manufacturer. 

In the past few years in particular, the company has improved its order-processing and shipping capabilities to address the growing needs of its e-commerce customers and found new ways to keep its costs low. 

 

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