When Toyota Met E-Commerce: Lean at Amazon

Amazon’s former head of global operations explains why the company was a natural place to apply lean principles, how they’ve worked in practice, and where the future could lead.

Zero Injuries, Waste, and Harm

How AkzoNobel NV, a leading manufacturer, is making its health, safety, and environment procedures stronger by making them more consistent.

The Hershey Company: Aligning Inside to Win on the Outside

Changes in the marketplace, if not monitored, can cause serious losses in profit, market share, and in stakeholders’ confidence. Such was the case with one of the most celebrated American companies, Hershey’s. When the company failed to keep its ear to the ground and eye on the ball it lost touch with consumers and retailers. A shift in the company’s focus and a re-alignment of … [ Read more ]

How Ikea Reassembled Its Growth Strategy

During the Great Recession, this iconic Swedish furniture company developed a new way to expand: cutting costs while increasing customer loyalty.

When the Supply Chain Snaps

How Cisco started to get things right after things weren’t right from the start.

Rebuilding Lego, Brick by Brick

How a supply chain transformation helped put the beloved toymaker back together again.

Getting to Win-Win: How Toyota Creates and Sustains Best-Practice Supplier Relationships

Across the automotive industry and around the globe, Toyota ranks as suppliers’ preferred OEM-the one with which they would most like to do more business. Yet Toyota is also known to be extremely demanding of its suppliers and rigorous in its insistence on openness and highly disciplined processes. The authors outline the principles and practices that Toyota employs to win its suppliers’ extraordinary performance-and loyalty. … [ Read more ]

The Power of Synchronization: The Case of TAL Apparel Group

The story of how TAL Apparel Group grew from a single textile mill in Hong Kong to its current status as a global powerhouse in apparel design, manufacturing, and logistics, is a prime example of how synchronization – the simultaneous and highly efficient coordination of far-flung supply chain, product development, and marketing and sales activities with customers and suppliers – can provide not only the … [ Read more ]

Flextronics: Staying Real in a Virtual World

By getting lean, vertical, and global, a Singaporean contract manufacturer became the biggest tech company you’ve never heard of.

Living in Dell Time

For most businesses, warehouses full of stuff are a kind of security blanket. But Dell has replaced inventory with information, and that has helped turn it into one of the fastest, most hyperefficient organizations on the planet. Here’s how Dell uses speed as the ultimate competitive weapon, and why rivals may never be able to catch up.

What Can Go Wrong for $100 Million

Too many Air Garnetts. Too few Air Jordans. Nike lost money, time and a measure of pride when its demand-planning software led it astray. How did it recover? Patience, perseverance and, most important, an understanding of what it was trying to accomplish in the first place.

Balanced Sourcing the Honda Way

At first glance, what Honda of America does to develop its products, sustain its supply base and manage its purchasing function seems little different from what most other car makers do. But the results that Honda achieves are often remarkably superior.

Sainsbury’s A: Transforming the Supply Chain and Sainsbury’s B: Supply Chain Performance Measurement

The UK retail industry has changed beyond recognition over the last ten years. Sainsbury’s, the leading retailer for so long, has been forced from the top of the pile by rival Tesco and has been unable to grab the top spot back. Would it be possible for Sainsbury’s to redress the situation by taking direct action in its supply chain? Associate Professor Regine Slagmulder and … [ Read more ]

Coordinating Disaster Logistics after El Salvador’s Earthquakes using SUMA’s Humanitarian Supply Management System

The logistics of disaster relief projects using supply management technology and the complex relationships between numerous parties during a series of natural disasters in El Salvador are mined for key lessons and their pertinence to future international rescue projects. The case analyses the management of this series of disasters and lays out key learning points for such future projects with especial relevance for international multi-partner … [ Read more ]

What FreshDirect Learned from Dell

And what other e-tailers might learn from make-to-order pioneers.

Managing Product Returns at Hewlett Packard

Product returns have existed since the first time anyone manufactured a product. In the ‘customer-is-always-right’ culture of the US, product returns are increasingly eating into profits, leading manufacturers to develop a returns strategy. In this new Case Study, Professors Van Wassenhove and Guide, and Neeraj Kumar look at the issue within HP’s inkjet product line.

The Scotts Company: (A) Transforming the European Supply Chain, (B) Developing a Supply Chain Balanced Scorecard

From its humble start in 1868 in Marysville, Ohio, as a seller of hardware and seeds, the Scotts Company has grown into the world’s number one marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products. Its expansion into Europe in the 1990s marked the company’s first foray into the region, an area US managers felt was ripe for growth. But after buying five businesses … [ Read more ]

What Went Wrong at Cisco

The poster company for the new economy not only failed to anticipate the economic downturn, its much-heralded forecasting software and outsourcing infrastructure may have even made things worse.

Process Re-engineering at GTE: Milestones on a Journey Not Yet Completed

In this inside look at a process re-engineering program, Charles R. Lee, the chairman and C.E.O. of the GTE Corporation, describes the radical changes being made at the company’s Telephone Operations unit in anticipation of open competition in the telecommunications industry. In an accompanying piece, re-engineering guru Michael Hammer provides his expert view on GTE’s progress.