What surprises students new to the topic of the supply chain process is the effect that each player has on the other when bringing a product to market. But what surprises professor Stuart Rosenberg is that often people familiar with the field haven’t considered these effects either.
Rosenberg will lead a SCORE-Princeton workshop on Monday, August 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library titled “Small Business Supply Chain Strategies.” The free, interactive session will provide expertise and support for participants looking to solve real business challenges. Register at princeton.score.org or call 609-393-0505.
The workshop will cover traditional supply chain disciplines: inventory management; demand planning; warehouse operations; transportation and logistics; procurement; manufacturing and service operations; and customer service, plus the indirect disciplines: accounting or finance; human resources; and sales and marketing. It will cover third-party logistics, product sourcing, inventory management, local supply chains, and building a global supply chain.
Based on 20-plus years of work in the field, Rosenberg shares several of his insights here and in articles he has written that are now available on LinkedIn:
Current and future trends: Think Digital: Managers must be savvy about current trends that are increasingly impacting supply chain activities including automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing, block chain, bit coins, and the internet of things (IOT).
The global business culture: Build a global supply chain and prepare for the inevitability of disruptions. He refers to the five “Ps” that can disrupt one’s supply chain: powerful weather, pandemics, political instability, port closures, and primary sourcing.
Using Hurricane Sandy as an example, he reminds us that hospitals were shuttered because of power outages, and workers had problems getting to their jobs because gas stations were running out of gas.
Because disruptions will happen, Rosenberg says that companies must think and act in terms of supply chain resiliency. He recommends that you have access to alternative suppliers in locations that are detached from your primary supplier’s facility.
His must-do list for resiliency includes “sound business methods and investments, a robust global network to ensure flexibility, analysis of past disruptions to reinforce contingency planning, and detailed disaster preparedness.”
Quality Control: A crisis can occur at any step in the supply chain process from design to raw materials to production or transportation.
Poor quality, unsafe working conditions, or non-compliance with regulations will lead to business disruption, financial loss, lawsuits, and damage to the brand’s image, says Rosenberg. These breakdowns can cause consumer dissatisfaction, regulatory issues, and public criticism.
The good news, he says, is that some vendors are meeting these challenges with stricter client quality standards set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Inventory Management: Rosenberg stresses the importance of communicating inventory needs to all departments within the company and to keep abreast of new technology that supports collaboration in forecasting and inventory planning. Poor inventory management — not having items available when customers need them or paying for storage of over stocked items — can lead to expenses and loss of sales and customers.
Managing for the right sizing of inventory requires attention and sustainability, says Rosenberg, but the outcomes — improved customer service, reduced costs, increased sales, and more profitability — are worth the endeavor.
The last mile: A new meaning to the phrase: “last but not least”:
The is a relatively small segment of the supply chain, but it is growing in importance. Known as “last milers,” they are the people who drive trucks in the last miles of delivery to retailers, mom-and-pop operations, supermarkets, or consumers’ residences. We need to re-think the value of these last milers, says Rosenberg, who considers them as potential route managers, merchandisers, and salespeople. In the age of e-commerce the last miler has become a key partner in the retail landscape.
Rosenberg is the president of First Choice Supply Chain, a full range supply chain consulting and service firm. He is known for helping companies find solutions in challenging environments. He has held leadership and director positions with several worldwide corporations including Johnson & Johnson, Cadbury, Reckitt Benckiser and Linde Gas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at City University of New York.
In addition to running his business, he teaches supply chain management as an adjunct professor at Union County College and Hudson Community College. He is also an advisory board member for the Rutgers University Center for Innovative Education.
Rosenberg is a syndicated writer and author of the book “The Global Supply Chain and Risk Management.” Among several topics, he summarizes several historical periods that have affected business operations from the post-war years, the late 1940s and early ’50s; up to and including the relentless outsourcing years, the mid-’70s to 2014. He is currently writing a book that focuses on future trends in the field.
He appeared on Princeton Community Television’s “Secrets to College Planning” this past June where he spoke about the requirements, opportunities, and challenges in the supply chain field. He and SCORE-Princeton chair Amulya Garga are developing a workshop on this topic.
He traces his interest in manufacturing and the supply chain process back to his childhood. His father worked for Nabisco Cookies starting as a salesman and working his way up to being a regional manager. During school breaks young Rosenberg would go to work with his dad and witness the manufacturing process first-hand. As a kid who loved cookies, his day with Dad at the plant was a happy adventure.
Rosenberg’s advice for business owners or supply chain managers is to keep up with the changing nature of the field, especially digital solutions and globalization. Work collaboratively with all the departments within your company and with the people on the outside who make up your supply chain.