Legislation could impact pharmaceutical supply chain

May 31 2013

Early next week, the House is expected to pass legislation that would effectively improve tracking along the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The Safeguarding America's Pharmaceuticals Act, H.R. 1919, is designed to allow manufacturers to better view the status of their products as they pass from distributors to repackagers and eventually to pharmacies. The spirit behind the bill is to alleviate counterfeiting risks by tracing all products back to their source.

This law could have a sizeable impact in Ohio. The sponsor of the bill is Republican Bob Latta, who has represented Ohio's fifth district since 2007. Latta is adamant that his home state serves as a leader in this initiative by implementing solutions to improve supply chain efficiency and transparency in the pharmaceutical industry.

Earlier this month, Latta gave a statement discussing the need for stronger pharmaceutical safety, and described how that fueled his motivation.

"When an individual takes a prescribed medication, they should have full confidence that the medication is real and will not impose harm," he said. "It is of utmost importance that we implement common-sense solutions to safeguard our distribution supply chain against counterfeits and improve security and integrity throughout the supply chain."

This is an opportunity for Cleveland-area businesses to improve the manner in which they manage pharmaceutical deliveries. As this blog discussed recently, the city is increasing its effort to become a well-known entity in the healthcare sector. This is a chance for local organizations to improve the pharmaceutical side of the industry, but doing so requires partnering with the right organizations. Working with a Cleveland logistics company can help businesses in the industry improve all supply chain operations, which will ultimately increase productivity while enforcing regulatory compliance.

Lincoln Electric sets standard for Cleveland area manufacturing

May 30 2013

Euclid, Ohio-based Lincoln Electric has big plans for the future. A strategy that was put into place three years ago is expected to yield some pretty spectacular results in a relatively short amount of time.

In 2010, the company initiated a 10-year plan that would double its revenue by 2020. This would put the company at about $4.5 billion annually by that time. In 2012, Christopher Mapes took over as CEO and he believes the organization is well on its way toward achieving this goal.

Mapes recently spoke with Crain's Cleveland Business about the actions his organization is taking to expand its earnings potential.

"We're investing in the long term," he said, referring to the various actions the company has taken in order to not only see immediate results, but to sustain positive growth over the next several years.

The welding equipment manufacturer is a symbol of the type of ambition businesses in the Cleveland area have. Lincoln Electric wants to expand its global reach and is taking necessary steps to get there. Not every organization will have the exact same goals, but the desire to significantly improve financial standing is driving a myriad of companies across Ohio.

Improving logistics can benefit bottom line

Implementing strategies and investing in solutions to help increase sales numbers is certainly a smart strategy, but so is reducing unnecessary spending. Both have the ability to improve the bottom line and help organizations become more profitable. Manufacturers in the area spend a fortune on logistical costs, but building efficiency into various processes along the supply chain can reduce this and improve profitability.

For example, working with the wrong courier service can impact an organization's profits because it will be spending a tremendous amount of money on shipping. Inefficient shipping can cause a number of problems for an organization, because it will likely waste valuable time and money. Working with a Cleveland logistics company can allow local manufacturers to streamline their processes and have a positive effect on overall productivity and profits.

Lincoln Electric is a good model to follow. The company's hard work has already started to yield some impressive results in the past three years. Businesses looking to follow in its footsteps and improve profitability their own way can do so if they invest in the right logistics partners.

Apple named best supply chain for sixth straight year

May 28 2013

It's no surprise that many of the world's leading organizations are also setting the pace in terms of supply chain management. Retailers like Walmart have raised the bar by establishing themselves as leaders in green supply chain and logistics initiatives. However, when it comes to overall performance, Apple reigns supreme.

The innovative computing-turned-consumer electronics company was recently named the world's best supply chain for the sixth consecutive year. Apple received 75 percent of the highest possible points from its peers, a measure that factored into roughly 20 percent of its overall score. While Apple was named the winner due to its performance on many other metrics, other companies did in fact vote Apple number one, putting it slightly ahead of Amazon. While the e-commerce giant is viewed favorably by its peers, its overall ranking finished third behind McDonalds.

Regardless of the various discrepancies between overall ranking and peer voting, all companies are looking up to Apple. The way the company can meet such a high demand for its mobile devices and computers without suffering significant production setbacks has pushed it ahead of the competition.

Debra Hofman, managing vice president of Garner—the research firm that helped formulate the list—said demand-driven leadership is what fuels many of the world's best supply chains.

"We've been researching and writing about demand-driven practices since 2003, highlighting the journey companies are taking from the old 'push' model of supply chain to one that integrates demand, supply and product into a value network that orchestrates a profitable response to ever-shifting changes in demand," she said.

Here in Ohio, companies looking to improve their own efforts should look no further than the businesses on top of the list, as well as the reasoning behind creating the list, to see exactly what constitutes a successful supply chain. While cracking the top 25 may be a pipe dream for some, it does provide businesses with a goal which can be used to drive performance.

Local organizations can help their own efforts by working with a Cleveland logistics company, which can provide the resources and services needed to reach new heights. By building efficiency into all aspects of the supply chain and improving operations from a logistical perspective, businesses can at least compete on the same stage as some of the national leaders.

Walmart leads initiative for greener supply chain management

May 24 2013

In 2005, Walmart executives made going green one of the company's top priorities, and the retail giant has made major strides in the past eight years to reduce its carbon footprint.

At the time, Walmart partnered with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as a way to measure its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. What Walmart found was the vast majority of its energy use came from its suppliers' operations. An internal audit of all things pertaining to energy discovered that 90 percent of Walmart's emissions came from its chain of suppliers, a network that is now over 100,000 strong.

That was when the retailer started imploring its suppliers to look into their own energy usage and find ways to alleviate their carbon emissions. Walmart's pleas inspired a number of companies and has spurred several green initiatives across the corporate landscape. Many companies have looked to Walmart as a leader in green supply chain management, particularly after 2010 when the company vowed to cut roughly 20 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2015.

"That was the start of the supply chain program," said Dexter Galvin, head of CDP's supply chain initiative, in a recent interview with Midwest Energy News. "They started the trend."

Today, a number of businesses have started their own programs and made equally ambitious statements regarding the future of their operations. However, doing so requires a significant amount of effort, because reducing emissions from the supply chain means implementing solutions to build efficiency. Working with an integrated logistics company can help with this effort, but one company's decision to improve the energy efficiency of its supply chain can set off a chain reaction throughout numerous industries.

Galvin spoke with the news source about a number of his other partners that have followed Walmart's footsteps. Some include big-name players such as PepsiCo, Dell and General Motors. He indicated that they have begun to adjust their priorities when evaluating potential suppliers to consider their level of environmental friendliness.

"Traditionally, a lot of our members would make a 100 percent decision on whether to work with a supplier based on price and quality," he said. "What we're seeing now is companies like Vodafone and Dell are actually reducing the amount [of consideration] they give to price and quality, and basing, say, 20 percent of the supplier's score on sustainability issues."

Why local businesses must adjust their operations

In the Cleveland area, fighting economic challenges can be a daily occurrence. Companies need to gain every competitive advantage they can, and they certainly cannot allow their shortcomings to cause them to lose out on potential business. That's why local organizations that could potentially serve as suppliers to big-name enterprises must ensure their own logistics are handled in a way that is both efficient and environmentally friendly.

Working with a Cleveland logistics company can help these organizations obtain the solutions needed to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. Moreover, the speed and efficiency gained with this will help suppliers increase the quality of their own service, which will help generate future business opportunities.

Eight Northeast Ohio companies receive prestigious national award

May 22 2013

A number of businesses in the Northeast Ohio area are being praised for helping increase U.S. exports.

According to an article in Crain's Cleveland Business, eight companies from the region have won the President's "E" Award, which recognizes excellence in manufacturing and distribution. In total, 57 organizations are receiving this prestigious accolade, all of which have made and distributed products that have proven to be popular American exports.

The businesses making the Northeast section of Ohio proud include manufacturers of welding tools, chemicals and plastics, just to name a few. The fact that so many reside in this area mean that Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs are stepping up as national leaders in quality product manufacturing and efficient distribution. These company's contributions have made a positive impact on foreign relations and have helped expedite the economic recovery process.

Because competition spurs innovation, there are opportunities for local businesses to follow in the footsteps of their neighbors. The high praise bestowed on these organizations provides other companies in the area with an attainable goal to shoot for. Businesses that haven't received this award should make it their mission to at least put themselves in position to be considered for it. Becoming a valuable contributor to the U.S. export industry carries a number of benefits.

Of course, doing so requires an investment into resources that can help businesses improve the efficiency of their manufacturing and distribution practices. Working with a Cleveland logistics company will help businesses improve their operations in a number of ways and put themselves in position to at least be mentioned with their award-winning competitors.