Biggest Supply Chain Management Problems


I like to listen to people, read group discussions, read expert opinions and make lists. So, from numerous sources, I made an unranked list of what LOTS of people regard as their biggest SCM problems. Then I searched out an expert opinion on what are the biggest SCM problems. The one I liked best was “Top Supply Chain Challenges” from the Supply Chain Council (the SCOR people). Next, I slotted the opinions of the workers in the trenches into the five categories from the Supply Chain Council. I could be wrong, see if you agree!!!


Van Sweringen Brothers, Nickel Plate and Other Ohio Railroads WebSite


 Pictured above is the Cleveland Union Terminal

Early in the 20th Century, two brothers from rural Ohio built a railroad empire when railroads were more critical to American transportation. Their achievements were first real estate, secondly in skyscraper construction, and finally in railroad consolidations. Oris P. and Mantis J. Van Sweringen were bachelors who had no hobby but work.

In 1916, the New York Central sold them the New York, Chicago & St. Louis (commonly known as the Nickel Plate). This road did not do well with passenger traffic but had a rich freight business. They hired John J. Bernet as the president to run it. By 1922 they had absorbed the Lake Erie & Western and the Toledo, St. Louis & Western (Clover Leaf Route).

Next, they gained control of the Chesapeake & Ohio and Hocking Valley (the Hocking Valley gave C&O a long haul route from the Ohio Valley to the Great Lakes). These fed coal tonnage to Nickel Plate which served industrial centers such as Lackawanna, Cleveland, Lorain, Toledo, Gary and Chicago. By 1927, the Van Sweringens had 26% of the Erie, 33% of Pere Marquette and 17% of Wheeling & Lake Erie.

In 1926 the Interstate Commerce Commission did not allow the brothers to merge their holdings. They then shifted their consolidation scheme to C&O to satisfy minority shareowners. This didn’t work either.

The coming of the Great Depression in 1929 nullified whatever unification plans the “Vans” had. They died in 1936 and 1937 after their empire collapsed.
Central to the Van Sweringen empire was the Nickel Plate Railroad. Find out why the Nickel Plate was built.
See a great Nickel Plate map and discover the role of the Nickel Plate in various “Alphabet Routes”. An important Nickel Plate connection was the Buffalo Creek Railroad

Cleveland was important to the Vans. We have some Cleveland railroad maps a story of what’s left of Cleveland Union Terminal. You can also see the New York Central Cleveland Division in 1925 . We talk about Cleveland’s current regional transit system too.

Read about Ohio in 1998 and about Ohio railroad stations. Find out about the Maumee River Bridge and Interstate trails.
Between 1926 and 1930, the system saw development of new high-horsepower locomotives. The most famous of these was the 2-8-4 Berkshire. These were used by Erie and Nickel Plate. Later, T-1 2-10-4’s were developed on the C&O based on the 2-8-4’s.

SCRUM Teams and Other Ideas in SCM Project Management

ImageKinlock SCM ThisWayThatWay

There are lots of project management resources available in the enterprise today, but which approach is right for your requirements? Choose the wrong project management methodology, and you can miss deadlines, overrun costs, incur the wrath of top management. Choose the right path, and projects will run smoothly, without delays, restarts or missed expectations.
What is SCRUM ?

Business Case for Enterprise Social Networks


How do we justify a Social Supply Chain? Companies are not going to have any MORE Information than they have now, but they will use it differently/better because of what is happening with social technologies. Much of this information is beyond the four walls, but he wall between employees, vendors and customers is falling down. Thus highly socially networked companies that take advantage will find themselves in a more favorable position and see improvements over less networked companies. This means increased working capital, decreased inventories and better service levels.
The challenge in going “social” is to copy the real-world relationships found in today’s supply chains. Take a look at Facebook. Why did they succeed where others like MySpace did not? One thing that Facebook found is that a Facebook user’s social network better reflects real-life interactions. Facebook is successful because it crashes the barriers between people who have already demonstrated the desire to communicate with each other in the real world.

Metro North Railroad New Haven Line Crash Disrupts Busy Rail Line


Officials toured the scene of a two-train collision in Connecticut that injured dozens of people and halted rail traffic from New York to Boston on Friday.

Area hospitals reported seeing 70 people after the rush-hour collision. Two remained in critical condition on Saturday.

“The damage is absolutely staggering,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal told reporters on Saturday after a tour of the scene. “Ribbons on the sides of cars are torn away like ribbons of clothes. Tons of metal tossed around like toy things. The insides of cars are shattered.”

An eastbound Metro-North train derailed at 6:10 p.m. on Friday and was struck by a westbound train between the Bridgeport and Fairfield stations, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener told reporters on Saturday.

Investigators from the NTSB arrived in Connecticut at about 9 a.m. on Saturday morning and planned to begin documenting the scene of the crash, Weener said. Investigators planned to spend between seven to 10 days on scene, and will conduct interviews with the train’s crew members, passengers, and witnesses.

Metro-North, which runs between New York City and its northern suburbs in New York and Connecticut, is one of the busiest commuter rail services in the U.S. There are four tracks on that segment of the New Haven Line, an MTA statement said, but two are out of service for replacement of overhead wires.

There was “extensive damage” to the track and the wire from the collision, MTA said. The train cars will remain in place until the investigation is completed.

Amtrak cancelled all NY to Boston trains, but later added limited service New haven-Boston.

Until they clean it up, there is no acceptable detour in place. One exists, but it is only single track. Norwalk to Danbury, Danbury to Derby/Shelton on the Maybrook Line, Waterbury Branch to Devon on the Waterbury Line. However, the Maybrook Line is currently out of service for political/financial reasons. Besides, it is not electrified and Metro North does not have significant number of diesel locomotives to operate. In the meantime, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (parent company of Metro North) has rounded up lots of busses to “bridge the gap” between Bridgeport and Norwalk.

 On average, two people PER DAY die on Interstate 95 between Maine and Florida. How many Interstates are there? The section of I-95 between New Haven and New York City is one of the worst. Just do the math. The railroad is much much safer. Airlines? Usually 100% fatalities in a plane crash.
Bangladesh Railway 1 track/grade crossing every 100 feet/chicken cages tied to the roof.

Full Metro-North Rail Service Expected Wednesday

Tue May 21, 2013 4:28 am (PDT) . Posted by:

“Gary R. Kazin” gkazin

I knew they could do better than two weeks. That was a worst-case estimate; better to do that than say they can do it in four days and need five…

Full Metro-North Rail Service Expected Wednesday
Published: May 20, 2013

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Monday that it expected full commuter rail service to return by Wednesday morning, less than a week after a collision near Fairfield, Conn., involving two Metro-North Railroad trains injured more than 70 people and jammed a crucial transit corridor for much of the Northeast.

“We are confident that the reconstruction work, inspection and testing will be completed in time for a normal rush hour on Wednesday,” said Howard Permut, the president of Metro-North Railroad, who had estimated as recently as Sunday morning that service would be disrupted “well into the coming week.”

Full article:
http://www.nytimes. com/2013/ 05/21/nyregion/ after-crash- metro-north- riders-face- morning-commute. html?ref= nyregion

Be A Successful Shipper


Taking some ideas and attitudes that have been around for a while I developed this document for a 3PL logistics provider in Zimbabwe. It really applies to any company who ships or any company who hires a 3PL to ship for them. With everything going on in Supply Chain Management (control towers, etc) and the “Omni-Channel Revolution” underway, we can at least make our shipping process more effective.

Gino’s Rail Page, Blog and Trolleys…..Capital District, New York


If you are interested in railroads or trolleys around the Capital District of New York State, or up into the Adirondacks, then you need to follow him. His BLOG just announced that the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad is purchasing the former Delaware & Hudson Palmer Branch in Corinth. (S&NC is the railroad that we follow because of their extension to Tahawus)

His Railroad Page  has lots of great sections, including the Troy & Schenectady Railroad.

He has a great trolley page too.

Gino has published a book on Capital District trolleys, and is a musician (who hasn’t quit his day job)


Who Sits Where in the Supply Chain Management Control Tower?



We recently wrote an article on Supply Chain Control Towers. Now, who is going to staff the control tower? Logistics was conceived by the military to get the right amount of supplies to the troops at the right time, supply chain management takes a bigger approach of looking further back into the life of a product to its manufacture and even product design while integrating what were once thought to be unrelated disciplines: marketing and customer service.
The Global Supply Chain Forum has identified eight key processes that make up the core of supply chain management: (1) Customer Relationship Management (provides the structure for how the relationship with the customer is developed and maintained); (2) Customer Service Management (the company’s face to the customer); (3) Demand Management (coordinates all acts of the business that place demand on manufacturing capacity): (4) Order Fulfillment (integration of the firm’s manufacturing, logistics and marketing silos); (5) Manufacturing Flow Management; (6) Procurement (supplier relationship management); (7) Product Development and Commercialization (integrating customers and suppliers into the product development process in order to reduce time to market; (8) Returns.

Dropship and the Logistics Provider


In 2012, I wrote about the end delivery process in drop shipping. Next, my target was to walk back up the chain and find a company that was manufacturing something then shipping it.
I searched for someone to interview who is involved with drop shipping from a manufacturing standpoint. In return for providing me with answers to some of their business processes, I offered some free publicity. Some of the questions about the sophistication of the business processes I hoped to get answered:

Are any of your contracts executed electronically? In other words, does customer send you an electronic purchase order or is done verbally/FAX? If electronic, how is it done? EDI? Other? Is either a shipping advice or payment done electronically? How do you communicate with your factories? Voice, FAX, email, or some type of electronic file sharing over Internet? Now, how do you ship? I need some type of introduction to your vendor, customs broker, shipping company. What type of electronic interface do you have with them?

Instead of getting a manufacturer, I got a third-party logistics provider. Sort of like going fishing for trout and catching a bass instead. So his responses to my questions were: