Chain Reactions

Recession Buster # 1: The Supply Chain

Let's say you're a major brand-name manufacturer, watching the recession suck 20% of your sales right down the tubes as consumers hold off on big purchases, and you're stuck with so much inventory that you've got 15 warehouses full of unsold stuff. What do you do?

If you're Whirlpool, you leverage the power of supply chain management to deliver some rather impressive results. Try these:
* a reduction in annual inventory by $250 million a year
* savings of $100 million annually due to improved efficiency
* product deliveries in 48 to 72 hours

According to this story in the Wall Street Journal, the supply chain is one of the few areas of the company that hasn't suffered from budget cuts, and that's for one main reason: The supply chain delivers results. Thanks to a new state-of-the-art distribution system revamp (a program launched, of course, before the dog days of the recession set in), the appliance maker's warehouse is much more efficient these days, with slow-moving items pushed to the center of the facility while fast-moving goods sit near the loading docks.

Nice to know the value of a good supply chain is still being recognized.

TAGS: Supply Chain
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