Three simple ways to cut supply chain costs

Thursday, February 15, 2018
For those of us eager to provide as many products to their customers as possible, understanding the supply chain is critical. But because the task of optimizing the supply chain can be daunting, many well-managed companies simply avoid it. Every company is different, with each possessing unique characteristics and skills, and so it is likely that your company is managing the supply chain well in some areas, but not so much in others. To effectively evaluate your supply chain without becoming overwhelmed, break the process into three parts, tackling each of them one at a time: Inbound/procurement Whether you’re receiving raw materials or finished goods, procurement of product is a common place for supply-chain costs to get lost. Allowing the lure of achieving fr  [Read More...]

Using color to drive warehouse efficiency

Thursday, February 15, 2018
We can all agree that distribution is not a black-and-white business. It is filled with shades of gray. It is filled with colors, designations and descriptions. With all these nuances, why do we insist on limiting our palate when it comes to the warehouse? With the exception of orange cross beams and green uprights, our warehouses are largely devoid of color designations. If you want to drive behavioral change in your operation, consider using visual cues to provide direction. Think about how colors modify our behavior in daily life. When we see red, our instinct is to stop. Red can also alert us to potential danger or injury. Green is generally accepted as safe or an indicator to proceed without hesitation. I take exception to this rule when visiting a Brazilian steak house. Too m  [Read More...]

Warehouse solutions

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
You have a 99 percent fill rate from your distribution center/warehouse. Is this good? What is good when it comes to measuring distribution performance? Is it the ultimate measure of the life of a customer’s order? Can you capture every step in the life of a customer’s order? Can you measure the errors per order line? The journey of product through any supply chain to a customer is filled with constant movement and activity. Each step holds the potential for delays, wasted money and errors. The odds against fulfilling a perfect order are high and, of course, depend on the complexities of your supply chain as well as your company’s emphasis (whether you compete on service or compete on price). Perfect order exampleFailure to meet just one predefined condition (m  [Read More...]

ICC Program Helps Vets Looking for Job Opportunities

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
By now, most in the building industry know there is a shortage of qualified candidates due to a booming construction sector and retirements. This shortage presents an incredible career opportunity for dedicated, hardworking individuals looking for jobs. The International Code Council already has its successful and still-growing High School Technical Training Program, designed to get high school and community college students interested in the various fields of building safety. But what if there were a group of people who already possess some of the "soft" skills – personality, discipline and drive – who not only could help fill this void, but also are looking for career changes? Sara Yerkes and Ron Piester of the ICC are leading a new initiative, the   [Read More...]

Wholesalers Pull Together

Friday, November 17, 2017
The 2017 hurricane season was unprecedented, but so was the outpouring of support from all those affected in the distribution industry. It’s been a trying couple of months with natural disasters from coast to coast. Although we, as an industry, have always pulled together to endorse the plumbing, heating, cooling and piping community, I’ve been especially moved by the show of support in the face of grief and turmoil, too. With Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate hitting U.S. land with such strong forces in a short period of time, combined damages can reach well beyond $300 billion; it’s still too early to know for sure. Even more severe – the impact on human life. The rebuilding of our infrastructure, as well as businesses affected in our industry, will  [Read More...]