Supply Chain Realities for Today’s Business Climate

With e-commerce reimagining the notion of “quick delivery,” it has never been more important for businesses to have effective supply chain processes. A panel of experts explored the question of supply chain logistics in May’s Leaders Converse series at the Lubar School of Business.

Moderator Dr. Anthony Ross, Rockwell Automation Endowed Chair of Supply Chain Management, asked the experts about the pressures they are seeing from customers in regards to the quickest and most convenient fulfillment of their orders.

“We have three main functions,” said Mark Janeczko (EMBA ’18), Logistics Manager at Kapco Metal Stamping. “The first is to reduce cost. The second is to improve quality. And the third is to provide on-time delivery.”

“Not only that,” added John Goelz, Vice President of Global Supply Chain at MasterLock, “We must reach a new level of transparency. Customers are asking, ‘Where is my product?’ Customers (used to dealing with e-commerce) now expect to track their product from the source to when it arrives at their home or business.”

At non-profit Goodwill Industries, supply chain takes a different approach, said Billie Torrentt, Chief Retail Officer. Location is a critical factor. “We’ve learned that customers who donate goods don’t want to go more than three miles out of their way, but customers who purchase goods are willing to travel much farther to shop at our stores. As a result, we are placing more stores in suburban markets that are closer to our donors,” she said.

A growing issue related to supply chain management is sustainability. Brian Pfannes, Supply Chain Vice President at Steel King Industries (EMBA ’19), says that “every company we work with is making strides to increase sustainability. Our products are made of 90 percent recycled steel, and we’re even taking a regional approach to (obtaining steel) so that we can reduce the amount of toxic emissions during transportation.”

This event was co-sponsored by the Executive MBA Program to encourage dialogue and exchange of information on “front burner” leadership topics. Please contact the EMBA office to register and receive notifications of upcoming programs.