Articles

Evolving Inventory Management Practices

We all remember as a kid the first time we put two cups on the end of a string and learned that the sound could travel along the string to a friend a hundred feet away.  If you are like me, this simple example of a mechanical acoustic device sparked an inquisitiveness to understand how things work. 

Read more
Case Study - BoutiqueToys Inc.: Putting Success Into Play

After working with KidBlox* for more than three decades, Robert Setter* identified a market segment that had been underserved by the iconic toy manufacturer. Recognizing the major business potential, Setter approached KidBlox with a proposal to spin off a new business designed specifically to cater to the overlooked group of small local and boutique shops.

Read more
The Growing Importance of Commerce Today: Why Supply Chain Leaders Should Engage

There are several factors that exist today that collectively drive companies to think more about Commerce than ever before.  We at Tompkins International have recently reorganized into seven Business Units and have adopted an ecosystem model for the overall enterprise.  The model defines our business into four core competencies Strategy, Commerce, Logistics, and Technology.  The inclusion of Commerce is unusual; yet, this reflects the services and products companies need today, along with the other processes, in order to achieve profitable growth. 

Read more
How to Create a Successful Supply Chain

Now is the time to fully leverage your assets.  As you look ahead make sure your strategy is grounded on principles beyond competing in today’s marketplace.  You will want a strategy that will put you in a leadership position.

Read more
Industry Executives Met at the Supply Chain Leadership Forum to Discuss Common Challenges and Solutions

A dozen supply chain executives met over breakfast at this year’s Supply Chain Leadership Forum (SCLF) to share their views, experiences and current challenges. When asked, “What’s going on in your operations?” by Denny McKnight, moderator of the discussion and President of Tompkins International, a common theme quickly emerged from the group, which was, “how are you attracting and retaining top talent amidst the current labor shortage?”

Read more
The Challenges and Solutions for Optimizing Inventories in eCommerce

This article extends the topic previously discussed in, The Challenges and Solutions for Sales Forecasting in eCommerce. We will address the question of how to best optimize inventories once the sales forecast is accepted.

Read more
The Challenges and Solutions for Sales Forecasting in eCommerce

It is commonly known that forecasting sales is complex and that retailers, wholesalers, and brands have struggled with achieving accuracy since the beginning.  Consumer buying behavior is non-scientific.  Despite algorithmic and statistical advances in recent years, as well as progress in data science and artificial intelligence (AI), high degrees of accuracy are not always achieved. 

Read more
Evaluating Different Delivery Channels: When Are They the Right Fit for Your Operation?

The rapid growth of technology and the number of innovative service providers is advancing the variety of options available for retailers and direct-to-consumer brands to deliver products ordered online to customers. As a result, shippers must constantly evaluate their last-mile delivery options to ensure they are providing the best possible service using the most cost-effective process. There are several strategic questions that should be considered before evaluating the different options shippers have for products that end up on a consumer’s doorstep.

Read more
Effectively Manage Your Supply Chain Talent

In April 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 7 percent increase in jobs from 2016 to 2026 in the area of logistics. Other forecasts have estimated this rate of growth to be as high as 26 percent.

Is there really a talent gap or is there a management gap in developing resources to meet the needs? With the supply chain taking on more and more of a leadership role in driving strategy, the time is now to capture the excitement of the best talent and help them understand that they can make a real difference in a business.

Read more
MonarchFx: Optimizing Supply Chains for Better Healthcare

Today, the rise in e-commerce is affecting businesses across all markets and ushering in an era of rapid service delivery. One of the industries that is extensively influenced by the surge in e-commerce is healthcare. Consequently, with the healthcare industry spending billions on e-commerce and web services annually, smart sellers of healthcare products that provide digitally oriented purchasing experiences are performing better than the ones that do not. Therefore, in order to keep up with the growing influence of e-commerce, healthcare product companies are looking for an answer to their supply chain-related challenges. Delivering a solution that resolves the security, time-sensitivity, and compliance tracking in a healthcare product business’ supply chain, MonarchFx, a North Carolina-based logistics company, is assisting organizations to reinvent typical healthcare product purchasing.“MonarchFx ecosystem integrates the offline, online, and logistics data across a single unified supply chain to assist healthcare companies to fulfill their organization-specific needs to safely and securely deliver in two days or less” says Benjamin Patipa, MD, Vice President of healthcare strategy at MonarchFx. 

Read more
Late Orders Equal Many Unhappy Returns

Travis’ Instagram post turned Brian splenetic.

While Brian was happy that his brother was at the World Professional Football Championship watching his favorite team, Brian wasn’t happy with the gear Travis wore – the same throwback Los Angeles jersey that Brian bought Travis from Football Fanatics Emporium, the one sitting in the box at Travis’ neighbor’s house in San Francisco because it had arrived a day later than the Los Angeles retailer’s website pledged – hitting Travis’ door when Travis was waiting for his flight at the San Francisco International Airport.

Thus starts the tale of how Football Fanatics Emporium ...

Read more
Consumer Packaged Goods Can Compete

The best way forward for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) is to start building direct relationships with end consumers, evolving their current business-to-business (B2B) mindset and developing a sales model much closer to that of their DTC competitors.

Read more
Challenges Facing the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry

There is a famous story you are no doubt familiar with about a menacing giant who was so ferocious that even the bravest of warriors did not dare to challenge him. Trained from birth as a warrior and ever so confident in his abilities, he challenged the warriors of Israel to one-on-one combat, winner takes all.

Read more
Distributed logistics rewards your brand investment

Liliana wanted gluten-free rigatoni, organic pasta sauce and free-range meatballs for her Saturday shindig.

On Thursday, she logged onto the Mama Eleonora All-Natural Pasta Conglomerate online fulfillment center, which – without access to a distributed logistics network – offered delivery by Monday. Or overnight for an additional $25.

Ugh.

Read more
Supply Chain Is Under Siege

Supply chain is the difference between the planned margin for your product or business and the margin you achieve.  Your supply chain will either help you maintain your margin, exceed your margin expectations, or it will erode your margin.  At its core, supply chain is still the movement of goods; however, in today’s global unichannel marketplace every business support function plays a role in making sure your planned margin is achievable. 

Read more
How You Can Get More from a Unichannel Logistics Partner

Those who consider price only or as main factor in their logistics selection process are doomed to mediocrity and perhaps even failure.

Read more
Optimizing The Supply Chain Is More Than Minimizing Costs

Tompkins International has been disrupting traditional supply chain thinking for over three decades. In a recent white paper, Achieving Revenue Gains from Distributed Logistics, we again extend the thinking of the role of supply chain and the business impact on supply chain. In addition to the white paper, we wanted to discuss several other key elements that have made a major impact on the supply chain.

Read more
When Does the Customer Have Enough Access?

The retail sector has experienced unprecedented brick and mortar consolidation over the past several years.  We are living in a time where retailers are trying to recraft their go to market strategy and redefine the competitive balance between bricks and clicks.  Many have finally come to the conclusion that these channels play off of each other and must be a part of the go forward strategy to provide the product access and service response the customer requires.

Read more
Understand the Value of Inventory Management

As businesses look to free up working capital to respond to the current market conditions, inventory planning is often a target. With inventory being the largest capital outlay for any business, making a nominal change in strategy has implications on a large sum of dollars. These freed funds can be used to expand operations, take on strategic initiatives, and position the company for a stronger tomorrow.

Read more
Achieving Revenue Gains from Distributed Logistics

Ever since its inception, supply chain management has largely been focused on cost and expense management, seeking methods to reduce the costs of logistics, transportation, warehousing, distribution, procurement, manufacturing, and all the other business processes that make up supply chains. Further, in recent years the costs associated with inventories (including working capital), fixed capital (facilities), and supply chain technologies have been measured and targeted for reductions. Since these processes and supporting investments were established as necessary functions of the enterprise, their operations were viewed as important for cost management.

Read more
Is Artificial Intelligence A Radical Change?

New technology being introduced into the market to automate historically manual tasks, brings back our sense of fear. Do we want people to complete menial/labor intensive tasks or do we want to create competent/reliable machines to complete these tasks? 

These feelings of uncertainty are not new. In the 19th and 20th centuries there were also these concerns. The introduction of the car, electricity, and the telephone caused a lot of uproar. 

Read more
CPG Manufacturers and MonarchFx

The MonarchFx management team recently reviewed a paper by McKinsey & Company titled Should CPG manufacturers go direct to consumer – and, if so, how?. As usual, the paper is thought-provoking, as well as providing meaningful executive advice.

Read more
MonarchFx Continues to Excite

We recently held a very successful two-day open house at the Tompkins International Emerging Technology Center (ETC) in Orlando. Over 120 interested representatives from retailers, brands, and others were provided a two-hour discussion (the “context”) by our CEO, Jim Tompkins.

Read more
Amazonification of Commerce

Amazon is one of the most written about companies of the modern era.  There are daily reports of astounding accomplishments and news of their plans moving forward.  Why write more about the number one online retailer in the U.S.? Because they are leading the pack by a wide margin, with respect to the U.S. online retail world. 

Read more
What does it Take to Win the Retail Race?
The winds of change are blowing on multiple fronts. Jimmy Dean, the late singer, actor and creator of Jimmy Dean’s sausage once said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” He recognized the need to be flexible responding to change and to use it to his advantage. Read more
Robots in the Warehouse: A Supply Chain Game-Changer
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has started, warehouse robotics is raging in the logistics arena. Amazon’s acquisition of Kiva, the company regarded by many as being the first to introduce warehouse robotics, left a void that is continually being filled by new, exciting, and emerging technologies. Read more
Order Deliveries Using Drones
Drones are going to become an option for certain selected final mile deliveries in the future. Will drones become the next best option for final delivery and meeting customer expectations? We believe there is still a lot to be understood about the rules, regulations, and costs of using drones for final mile delivery.
Retail 2017 Trend Report
As the department store channel shrinks, and more brands fight for less space, our opinion is that brands will need to be more creative, flexible, and diversified in their approaches.
Increase Return on Inventory
How an increasingly evolving uni-channel retailing model is impacting replenishment operations and what retailers need to do to adapt
Align Strategy and Operations with Collaborative Integrated Business Planning
Integrated Business Planning (IBP) sits at the heart of many organizations as the management process that runs the entire business. The real power of IBP is in enabling effective decision making to control the future direction of the company.
Jim Tompkins Builds a Supply Chain
After years of writing about supply chains, Tompkins is building out an ambitious e-fulfillment network for retailers and e-tailers.
Compete or Collaborate?
I commence this article with an invitation for you to join me on a journey to the fictional Island of Siloville. It will be an interesting visit because Siloville is populated by the most rugged and individualistic people on the planet. They grow their own food, sew their own clothes, and build their own homes. The Silovillian’s passion for self-reliance produces some unusual arrangements in almost every area of their lives but, for our visit, we are going to focus on the evolution of their transportation industry.
What is a Brand?
Believe it or not, one of the questions often asked by clients is, “What is a Brand?” There is an enormous amount of confusion as to what a brand is. In all of the confusion around the concept of what constitutes a brand, it seems like a simple question, but the answer is anything but simple. If the consumer is confused about what the brand stands for, the result is a lack of brand integrity and brand persona.
CapEx vs OpEx
In our many discussions with retailer and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) executives about developing eCommerce, we often hear the issue of capital availability being a key barrier. This is not surprising, since investments in facilities and equipment required to compete in the new world of online ordering are being estimated in terms of billions of dollars.
Network Effect
“In economics and business, a network effect (also called network externality or demand-side economies of scale) is the effect that one user of goods or service has on the value of that product to other people” (Wikipedia).

In the next five years, the accumulated impact of three decades of exponential improvements in technology will force organizations to radically transform and totally reinvent how they do business. What is driving this revolution and how to prepare?
Secrets of Success
The secret to success is not much of a secret at all. It’s right there in front of all of us and Amazon is showing us the way. What is not a secret is Amazon’s incredible eCommerce and package volume. This volume makes feasible, and justifies their investment in, a network of fulfillment centers moving closer and closer to population centers, as well as, their insourced delivery services.
Optimizing Inventory
MonarchFx is offering an unparalleled opportunity for inventory agility and transparency. Estimating future demand forecasts is one of the most fundamentally valuable, but frustrating challenges in supply chain optimization. Often forecasts are incorrect, but getting demand forecasting right provides the critical forward-looking picture that shapes how a company will deploy its supply chain effectively. Demand planning is the effort to increase forecast accuracy and customer service levels, having the greatest impact on business profitability. Providing the best plan and capturing information as close to the selling season, using pre and in-season data is a critical element in giving the customer what they want, when they want it, and where they want it.