Engaging with Supply Chain Optimization

Supply Chain

Anne Robida (Buyer-Bristol), Meghan Carty (Corporate Purchasing and Pricing Manager), and Tekai Shu (Social Media and Business Development Manager) recently attended a supply chain workshop hosted by GENEDGE and the Heart Project. GENEDGE is a not-for-profit economic development organization dedicated to creating and maintaining jobs in Virginia’s industrial and manufacturing sectors with the assistance of industry leading professionals and resources. The Heart Project is a grant project whose main goal is to network small businesses, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers within a sixteen county footprint in Virginia.

supply chainAlong with six other regional companies and their employees, Strongwell attendees focused on “The Benefits and Approach to Optimizing a Supply Chain.” Utilizing the research conducted by GENEDGE’s consultants, GENEDGE presented that most companies are suffering from the lack of collaboration and visibility within tiers of manufacturing. True costs are also not completely understood due to the lack of a synchronized plan for their supply chains. The presented research also illustrated that as companies work on being leaner, they should focus more on total acquisition costs instead of the traditional compartmentalized focus.

As a part of this workshop, GENEDGE provided attendees with a group simulation through an MIT beer distribution game. The game has been used as a standard to study system dynamics of retail, wholesale, shipping, and manufacturing over an accelerated 52 week simulation. The design of the exercise was to experience the destabilizing effects of dependence, variation, lack of supply chain visibility, and forecast inaccuracy within a beer company. As departments reacted and overreacted to dependent events and statistical fluctuations, a bullwhip effect took place on inventory levels. It was a fun, eye-opening experience to see how changing supply chain variables can make a significant impact in other areas.

Many thanks to GENEDGE and the Heart Project for hosting and providing a great learning environment for Virginia’s businesses and supplying useful information regarding business suppliers and manufacturers.