Building Responsive and Flexible Supply Chains...a Case of Continuous Improvement

Feb. 14, 2015

A recent article in our sister magazine, Material Handling & Logistics entitled “P&G Re-Designs North American Supply Chain” reminds us of the strategic importance of having a responsive and flexible (i.e. lean) supply chain. It also brings to mind the idea that lean is a long term journey of continuous improvement, as what works well at one time doesn’t necessarily work well forever, with the world constantly changing around us.

Needless to say, in order to achieve the goal of an efficient and responsive supply chain, it takes a lot of long term planning. In the case of Proctor and Gamble (P&G), they are investing $500 million in a new one million square foot facility (only its second since 1971) in West Virginia which, when finished, will be able to produce and distribute multiple brands at one facility.

It will enable P&G to better utilize its new distribution center network, with DC’s in Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, reaching 80% of its east coast customers within one day’s transit time. One of the major goals of the facility is to better integrate their external business partners and contractors as well as P&G employees.

Today’s quicker product development, increased product variety, shorter life cycles and omni channel marketing puts added pressure on companies and their supply chains to be able to respond quicker and more flexibly than ever.

To be successful in this endeavor requires a combination of people, process and technology all working in sync and I think P&G is a great example of linking a company’s strategic goals all the way to execution.

About the Author

Paul Myerson Blog | Professor of Practice in Supply Chain Management

Paul's blog "Lean Supply Chain," has moved. You'll find his latest ideas and commentary on IndustryWeek's IdeaXchange. 

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Paul Myerson is Professor of Practice in Supply Chain Management at Lehigh University. He is the author of a Lean Supply Chain & Logistics Management (McGraw-Hill, 2012), developer of a Windows-based supply chain planning software (, and co-author of a lean supply chain and logistics management simulation training game by ENNA (

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