Taking Stock: Transitions

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by Emily Atkins
Emily Atkins is editor of Inside Logistics. E-mail Emily.

Making major changes, whether in business or your personal life can be disruptive, challenging and upsetting. And when these changes are made thanks to the imperative of a rapidly changing environment, the pressure is on. It can be a matter of adapt or fail. Or as the wise Yoda said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Following our own dramatic transition last issue from MM&D to Inside Logistics, this time around we are sharing with you the stories of interesting changes in the Canadian supply chain world. Although they bridge different industries – from auto parts to outdoor gear – and include cautionary takes about how to avoid making changes that will hurt your business, the three features each demonstrate the importance of adaptation.

Our cover story (page 16) looks at how Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the outdoor gear retailer, is modifying and improving operations at its home DC in Surrey, British Columbia. Outdated IT and some less-than-efficient operational practices are being phased out in favour of systems that can manage the co-op’s rapidly expanding e-commerce business. Our tour looks at some of the challenges and solutions.

For auto maker BMW Canada, the challenge is keeping up with demand for spares. As a significant player in the luxury car market, the company needs to ensure it’s service matches up with the brand’s commitment to its customers. That means opening new regional DCs across the country to ensure that drivers are back behind the wheel as quickly as possible. We share our peek inside BMW’s spotless new operation in Mississauga (page 26).

Finally, we gathered a panel of experts to share their secrets to avoiding making bad automation decisions. We learn that copying your competitor, and failing to scope the business case in minute detail are two of the most serious errors companies are making. Check out our feature on page 20 to learn the rest of the pitfalls and how to avoid them.

As always, we are on the lookout for great supply chain success stories. How did you manage a big operational transition? If you’d like to share your ideas with the rest of our supply chain community at Inside Logistics, please drop me a note at emily@newcom.ca. I look forward to hearing from you.