Inbound We Trust

If I had a dollar for every time a reader asked me, “Why inbound? Why demand-driven?” I’d be living in a nice little house by the beach. And considering the number of new readers asking that question, it soon might be a nicer little house by the beach.

Who are these new readers? Last year, Inbound Logistics boosted circulation by 5,000 new subscribers. Add the global readers who access our online, handheld, and digital content, and you’ll see how my dollars add up.

So, why inbound? Why demand-driven? Inbound Logistics’ mantra is: match your demand to your supply and align your business that way, no matter what products you ship or receive.

Inbound logistics compels businesses to look at the supply chain in a different light: to predict how demand fluctuations at point of consumption impact their supply line at point(s) of origin, then everywhere in between.

Visualizing the extended value chain this way, logistics visionaries can implement processes and technologies, outsource logistics activities, and drive better communication and information sharing among partners. The end result: better control, leaner inventory, reduced costs, and happy customers.

As you’ll see in this issue, the perishable foods and consumer products industries are astute practitioners and stewards of inbound logistics best practices.

Take, for example, McCain Foods, the largest frozen french-fry producer in the world. Responding to customer demand, the manufacturer is evolving logistics best practices to consolidate, integrate, and streamline inbound transportation into its DCs. For instance, McCain recently mandated that any new refrigerated warehouse facility brought online in its U.S. distribution network be rail-served.

Timothy Egan, director of warehousing for McCain Foods, reports a 15-percent capacity advantage in shifting more inbound freight to rail. “It helps reduce costs and maintain good capacity with over-the-road carriers,” he says.

Consumer product manufacturers follow a similar course, but drill deeper into the supply chain to better predict consumer purchasing habits and map resources and capacity to demand.

As you’ll read in The Consumer Product Supply Chain, forward-thinking manufacturers use consumer-driven replenishment models to identify “point-of-consumption” trends, better forecast fluctuating demand, and evolve distribution strategies that ensure retailers have the right stock in place at the right times, even going so far as to match capacity to demand.

We continue to shape our editorial content around the diverse needs and feedback we pull from our readers—our “demand drivers.” The importance of looking at supply chain management through a demand-driven filter remains relevant to both long-time readers and newcomers.

And you’re all invited to my beach house.

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