FOR LEADERS IN THE BUSINESS OF LINKING THE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN
SUPPLYCHAIN SUPPLY CHAINW W RLD VOLUME 8, ISSUE 11
Life-saving supply Jeremy Strong, Vice President of Supply Chain at Rush University Medical Center reveals how its focus on supply chain efficiency helped it navigate Covid-19 and put it in a good position for the future
Healthcare The pandemic stretched some supply chains to breaking point – what needs a re-think? Page 4
Disruption Organizations need to protect their supply chains and enhance operational resilience Page 12
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Hello and welcome to the November issue of Supply Chain World. The features in this magazine mention disruption and uncertainty – two factors that can have massive knock-on effects for supply chain managers. In our feature on page 6, Josh Roffman highlights how the correct labelling solution can play a role in continuity. ‘If you can’t label products, you can’t get finished goods into people’s hands’ he says – it sounds simple but as he discusses the challenges, it’s clear that there are issues and problems that cannot be ignored. In Jennifer Bisceglie’s article on page 12, she looks at the true cost of supply chain disruption and what can be done to mitigate the problems. According to Jennifer ‘adoption of enabling technology is lagging’. Do you agree?
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FOR LEADERS IN THE BUSINESS OF LINKING THE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN
SUPPLYCHAIN SUPPLY CHAINW W RLD VOLUME 8, ISSUE 11
ON THE COVER Our cover story this issue looks at the supply chain
operations of Rush University Medical Center. Known for clinical quality and patient experience, Rush University Medical Center treated 20 percent of Illinois’ ventilated Covid-19 in-patients in 2020, and has been instrumental in this year’s vaccine distribution effort. Jeremy Strong, Vice President of Supply Chain reveals to SCW that its operations were organized so successfully that it was able to handle the extra demands caused by the pandemic, and is now in a strong position to accommodate a post Covid world. He discusses some of the approaches that Rush takes to ensure its supply chain is as efficient as possible – read the story on page 20.
Life-saving supply Jeremy Strong, Vice President of Supply Chain at Rush University Medical Center reveals how its focus on supply chain efficiency helped it navigate Covid-19 and put it in a good position for the future
Healthcare The pandemic stretched some supply chains to breaking point – what needs a re-think? Page 4
Disruption Organizations need to protect their supply chains and enhance operational resilience Page 12
Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE FEATURES
Nowhere felt the pressure more to get supply chain operations right during the pandemic than healthcare. What lessons did we learn?
One way that organizations can avoid supply chain risk is to make sure they get their labelling solutions standardized and centralized
A recent study has looked at concerns and plans of supply chain leaders, while also measuring the impact of disruption
NEWS 10 Supply Chain news
Updates and announcements from the supply chain arena
Scientific Laboratory Supplies
Troy UK 2
Disruption COVER STORY
Rush University Medical Center
La Cie Canada Tire Inc
Bunzl Canada scw-mag.com
A healthier model
Rethinking supply chain models for the digital age. By Kevin Sample 4
he pandemic shone a light on just how important it is for organizations across every industry to get their supply chains right, but nowhere was this seen and felt more than in the healthcare sector. With the increased demand for PPE and other medical materials essential to the frontline response to Covid-19, hospitals and healthcare trusts saw their logistics and requisition operations stretched to breaking point. What lessons can we learn about the supply chain models used during the pandemic, how did they evolve, and what does the digitalized supply chain of the future now look like? Traditionally, the supply chain has been seen through the lens of two models: the push model and the pull model. At their
most basic, the push model uses defined forecasts to predict demand, whilst the pull model bases its approach on actual stock usage. Both were used to some extent in the healthcare sector during the pandemic, to varying degrees of success.
The push model The supply chain push model uses a defined forecast of what you will need in the future and automatically brings in materials when it determines they will be needed. This model requires a greater use of digitalization and data analytics due to its reliance on creating forecasts and generating data-based assumptions about future usage and demand. During the pandemic, the push model was used sparingly in the healthcare sector in
hospital wards would have a pre-set inventory level, which would generate an automatic replenishment order if stock fell below that number. This model was more common in the healthcare sector during the pandemic. It would typically see wards keep, for example, 100 masks at any one time, with a replenishment trigger whenever they fell below 20 masks. Once stock levels fell below this threshold, new materials would be ordered to bolster stock back up to the original 100 masks. The pull model has recently received something of a digital upgrade itself, with a number of hospitals and trusts moving away from manual stock counts to use automated digital scanners. Using these scanners, details of each medical procedure can be recorded, from consultant information through to materials used (from PPE through to higher value consumables such as implantable devices). This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a central digital database, which allows for an automatically-generated report to ensure accurate patient records are free from human error, as well as an updated stock level to allow for stock replenishment routines and purchase orders to be run automatically. Whilst this is simpler to implement, the model is based purely on usage and so is reactive, rather than proactively seeking to avoid shortages. During the pandemic, this inevitably led to problems in the supply chain where orders could not be fulfilled fast enough to prevent shortages of critical care equipment such as PPE.
A hybrid approach
the UK, mainly due to the lack of required digital infrastructure in some parts of the NHS. However, some decisions were taken away from NHS trusts and centralized to NHS Supply Chain, which used a forecasting model based on demand for protective equipment in different parts of the country. While this approach had its benefits the lack of comprehensive, accurate and timely data across the whole healthcare landscape meant that it was not as effective as it might have been.
The pull model In contrast, the pull model is based on realtime usage data rather than forecasts. This data, in a healthcare setting, would typically be more granular; for example individual
There are undoubtedly pros and cons to both approaches, with the key to both being the proper collection of good quality inventory data. By acknowledging the power of data, supply chain professionals working across different sectors, but particularly in healthcare, should now be looking toward a new, hybrid approach which combines the best elements of the push and pull models to mitigate the risk of stock shortages.
By combining actual ward level data with the power of predictive analytics, the healthcare industry can continue the journey towards automation of its supply chain processes whilst avoiding shortages of critical materials during unusual spikes in demand. This hybrid system could see a flexible pull model, which adapts its target threshold for stock replenishment based on forecasted demand. This combination of real-time data and predictive analytics could be revolutionary for the healthcare industry: the ability to gain real-time insight into stock levels, assess the likelihood of an increase in the need for medical supplies and then pre-emptively order the required supplies. All without diverting clinical staff away from their frontline roles, which is crucial in balancing healthcare’s need to maintain supplies of critical medical equipment while still meeting demand for better patient care. Integrating such a hybrid system would not be difficult. Healthcare settings already amass huge amounts of data, and the difficulties faced during Covid-19 galvanized the sector to develop better data strategies. Healthcare providers analyzing case data to better predict demand became a central part of the NHS’ Covid response and procurement teams improved their ability to collect, maintain and properly analyze reliable, reproducible and secure data. For example, as the pandemic progressed, healthcare teams became better at identifying areas more susceptible to Covid-19 cases based on a combination of real-time data and existing information on the makeup of populations. This then influenced decisions on how many resources to stockpile in a specific location. Such progress would not be difficult to continue into the postpandemic era. The pandemic has seen the rapid growth of digitalization across a number of different sectors, with the supply chain, and in particular the healthcare supply chain, being no different. If supply chain professionals are to best utilize this growth in digitalization and data management, we need to move to a new model of supply chain management which plays to its strengths. D
Kevin Sample is a Senior Consulting and Business Development Manager, GHX Europe. Building on decades of collaboration between providers, manufacturers, distributors and other industry stakeholders, Global Healthcare Exchange, LLC (GHX) is leading the charge in helping organizations run the new business of healthcare. By automating key business processes and translating evidencebased analytics and data into meaningful action, GHX is helping the healthcare ecosystem to move faster, operate more intelligently and achieve greater outcomes. With the support of GHX, healthcare organisations have removed billions of dollars of wasteful healthcare spend. www.ghx.com
Managing change Ensuring supply chain continuity in times of uncertainty – why labelling plays a key role. By Josh Roffman 6
oday, thanks to the pandemic, supply chains face a range of risks at a time when their operational agility and resilience are increasingly important. One key way in which organizations can avoid many of these risks is by making sure they get their labelling right. If labelling goes down during a crisis, continuity
is broken. If you can’t label products, you can’t get finished goods into people’s hands. However, if enterprises choose the right labelling solution, they not only avoid the risk of business disruption and delays stemming from a break in continuity or from mislabeling, they also avert the threat from industry fines that may be incurred as a result.
Moreover, when facilities have to shut down or there are issues with warehousing, companies may need to shift production. It is important that when one facility is disrupted, labelling can be quickly and easily shifted to another facility - with the ability to manage any and all labelling requirements - from new languages to alternate customer requirements
to altered shipping routes. Clearly, organizations may struggle when it comes to shifting labelling and managing label printing operations across their enterprise. Part of the challenge is to understand the unique requirements in each region. For instance, those employees or resources most familiar with the labelling requirements for a
specific impacted geography may now work from home. This means there could be limited access to the knowledge needed to manage the labelling function, which could result in further delays or errors. Without an Enterprise Labelling solution in place, companies may be forced to spend weeks getting their labelling efforts set up in a scw-mag.com
Companies should standardize and centralize labelling to provide access to users and locations regardless of geography
Enabling suppliers with browser-based access Companies should standardize and centralize labelling to provide access to users and
new facility only to be forced to move again. However, when companies enlist multi-site capabilities they are able to easily shift labelling from one site to the next. The approach also allows companies to drive labelling centrally and failover to any local instance if there is break in continuity to headquarters. This is critical in maintaining business continuity in the case of supply chain disruption.
locations regardless of geography. Allowing multiple locations and/or suppliers flexible access to centralized labelling and label content is crucial to business continuity. Accurate and compliant label templates can be accessed centrally from any location, avoiding the time needed to design new templates or copy existing ones. Ultimately, to enable enterprises to create, manage and print labels, organizations need a browser-based interface that allows them to seamlessly implement, deploy, maintain, scale and shift their labelling operations across their network. Additionally, implementing a cloud-based
platform with universal label templates enables suppliers, 3PLs and other labelling locations to easily print labels remotely. This allows any additional users to maintain the same level of printing quality and performance as experienced in the networked locations. Also, the data and content they need is still available at their location for printing. When shifting labelling to new locations, it is also important to maximize control through role-based security that allows administrators to select who gets access to labels, content, and printing devices. Administrators should have visibility to easily understand which printers are in use and who is accessing them.
Enabling a remote workforce with the cloud To maintain supply chain agility, companies must be able to swiftly shift both facilities and resources between different locations.
However, when provisioning infrastructure through the cloud, companies can quickly add computing resources on an as-needed basis, preventing bottlenecks. Using the cloud affords the opportunity to provide role-based access and by defining a role at a new facility and adding label template permissions, new users can access all they need. Additionally, remote users will be able to use a definitive library of approved label templates without recreating their own local versions and introducing the potential for labelling errors.
Beyond the pandemic As previously mentioned, business requires innovation and forward thinking. Perhaps your company has managed to get by during this pandemic. But how do you make sure you are always ready to deal with adversity moving forward in today’s disruptive economy? Shifting production and managing suppliers can have a drastic impact on your supply chain and business operations, but without the flexibility of Enterprise Labelling, you’ll lose time, incur costs, and risk accuracy and consistency. With this kind of solution, everything relating to labelling deployment can be carried out remotely. Also, by standardizing and centralizing labelling across your enterprise, you ensure label requirements are fulfilled and labelling uptime is guaranteed. This type of fully automated labelling supports complex scenarios by providing the right label, in the right place, at the right time.
Looking ahead to the next disruptor To manage this, it’s important to have the flexibility cloud and browser-based deployments offer. Without a browser-based solution it’s nearly impossible to quickly shift production from one facility to another, especially if the new facility has different technologies and printer hardware. The same is true for label templates, configurations, and data services that aren’t typically accessible to other locations. When these aren’t available by default, and in cases where a new facility has a different infrastructure, labelling processes may need to be recreated, potentially putting both compliance and consistency at risk. Companies need to maintain their standards and labelling consistency even when they’re faced with moving their operations. However, this may not be quick or easy when companies are tied to an on-premise infrastructure. Moving to a new on-premise site or facility,
while maintaining the same levels of service may entail finding the same software, the same software versions, and the same configurations. This is a lot of work, and it might not be possible to get it right in the short time frame required. In the worst-case scenario, a hurried effort to move labelling to a different location – without the cloud – can result in labels that can’t be used, products that can’t be shipped, or fines related to mislabeled products.
It’s safe to say the virus has changed the way businesses operate, and one priority is maintaining uptime. As no one could have predicted the pandemic, no one can predict the next major supply chain disruptor. All you can do is prepare for impact so you can meet new demands – whether entering new markets, addressing evolving customer and regulatory requirements, or dealing with unforeseen change. D
Josh Roffman is VP of Product Management at Loftware. Loftware and NiceLabel combined under the Loftware umbrella to offer customers and partners an expanded choice of Enterprise Labelling & Artwork Management solutions, providing enhanced labelling capabilities and the benefits of greater investment in cloud-based solutions for companies of all sizes. Maintaining a global presence with offices in US, UK, Germany, Slovenia, China, Japan and Singapore, the union combines over 60 years of expertise in solving labeling challenges and helping companies improve the quality, speed, and efficiency of their labeling, while reducing cost. www.loftware.com www.nicelabel.com
NEWS IN BRIEF Business optimism A survey by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK (CILT UK) has revealed that, despite the majority of logistics and supply chain organisations being affected by international supply issues, more than half of respondents are confident of a full recovery in 12 months. Kevin Richardson, CEO at CILT (UK), said every corner of the profession has experienced disruption during
the pandemic, but it was encouraging
UL has released its new SafeCyber Digital Security Platform, a suite of solutions aimed
to see a large number are looking
at democratizing IoT security and empowering key organizations, such as device
toward a quick recovery. “Our member
manufacturers, suppliers and systems integrators, to take charge of their connected
responses give a good indication of
challenges across all supply chains and
According to a report from Statista, estimates suggest that the roughly 8.74 billion
we recognise driver shortages and the
connected devices in use in 2020 will swell to over 25.4 billion by 2030, and amid that
Christmas period will continue to test
uptick in connectivity, organizations are facing a rash of new cybersecurity threats
our services. As many businesses look
– a recent study revealed that supply chain attacks rose by 42% in the first quarter
to recover in the coming months, these
of 2021 via 27 third-party vendors. Coupled with a fast-moving and complex global
insights will support future planning and
regulatory landscape, now more than ever organizations need a comprehensive yet
resilience,” he said.
streamlined solution to assess their overall cybersecurity posture and risk. As part of the launch, UL formally introduced its Maturity Path capability, a solution that provides device manufacturers, suppliers and system integrators with a maturity
Single window solution
assessment for connected device security to build sustainable product security
DP World, the leading provider of smart
governance and processes.
supply chain solutions, has launched its new digital logistics platform, CARGOES
UL also announced that it offers Firmware Check and Field Monitoring capabilities within the SafeCyber platform.
Logistics. The platform provides customers with a single-window solution enabling seamless, safe, secure, and efficient movement of their cargo.
Possible game changer
With CARGOES Logistics, customers
Tosca, a global leader in reusable packaging solutions and pooling for
can choose from multimodal logistics
supply chains, has introduced the NeRa Pallet, a nestable, rackable
options, ship freight by sea, road, and/
and stackable heavy-duty plastic pallet that can deliver game-changing
or rail, get instant quotes, swift booking
efficiencies throughout the automated distribution supply chain.
confirmation and multiple secure
engineered with PowerDeck™ strength and fitted with SureFoot™ legs
Search, Choose & Book. It will offer easy
for seamless automation. It is rated for static loads of up to 3000kg and
and swift cargo booking from origin to
is fully nestable – a unique combination that increases storage capacity
destination. The first phase of launch will
while reducing space requirements by up to 2.5 times compared to
immediately offer customers access to
book cargo from UAE to India as well as
Its robust yet lightweight design guarantees minimal deflection
India to multiple destinations across the
over time, making the NeRa Pallet ideal for highly automated sectors
Middle East, Subcontinent, Southeast
where it is critical to minimise product damage and avoid cross-contamination.
Asia, the Far East and North Africa. Rizwan Soomar, CEO & MD,
Designed to outperform wood, the NeRa is the first plastic pallet
payment options in three simple steps –
Jesse Sels, President EMEA at Tosca explained: “There are plastic pallets that can carry similar weight in a rack as the NeRa, but this is the first time this kind of strength
Subcontinent, DP World said: “With
has been available in a nestable pallet. This nestable design, combined with a high
CARGOES Logistics, our aim is to build and
strength-to-weight ratio and long service life, makes the NeRa a more cost-efficient and
offer highly efficient, seamless and end-
sustainable solution than wooden pallets in virtually any warehousing and distribution
to-end transparent supply chains.”
NEWS Solving inefficiencies
Freight technology company Loadsmart has acquired
ATR has announced a program to help customers transform e-Waste into
Kamion, an intelligent trucking management system,
valuable E-commodities as supply chain shortages rise. “The strategy is to not
and Opendock, a company that offers warehouse dock
just work harder, but to also work smarter,” said Ken Ehresman, COO for ATR,
a nationwide IT Asset Management company. “The e-Commodity program will
Connecting Opendock’s dock visibility and Kamion’s
empower customers to play an active role in maximizing returns on retired
carrier network with the Loadsmart platform is one
IT assets, manufacturing scrap, and e-Waste that until recently reduced
step closer to removing the barriers between shippers
and carriers so freight can move in the most efficient,
E-commodities are the reusable materials harvested from outdated
transparent and automated way. “By bringing carriers,
electronics, computers, wire, and all types of technology assets that have
shippers and warehouses together, we see the potential
reached the end of their life cycles. Recycling companies use a wide range of
to solve the most pressing issues in the supply chain
recovery technologies to shred, sort and prepare these materials for reuse.
today,” said Felipe Capella, co-CEO and co-founder of
Waste generating customers can
Loadsmart. “Ultimately, our goal is to increase efficiency
increase their materials recoverable
and reduce friction across the logistics ecosystem.”
value by simply sorting items into
Loadsmart had previously announced Flatbed
specific categories, or maximize
Messenger, a flatbed
values by removing contaminants
like bags, boxes, and segregating
in partnership with The
materials that have higher values
Home Depot, and a new
from less valuable materials.
Interested eCommodity and
headquarters in Chicago,
Wholesale buyers can sign up at
signaling rapid growth.
Ease the pressure Postal operators, carriers and their customers can give themselves a competitive edge during Peak by ensuring that their cross-border shipment data is of the highest possible quality. Commenting on the issue, Martin Palmer, Chief Content and Compliance Officer at Hurricane Commerce, said: “The demands facing the global supply chain are some of the worst I can recall in over 30 years working in the sector and at the busiest time of the year with events including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, China’s Singles Day and the Christmas holiday season looming large. “The issues around staffing shortages, increased shipping and transportation costs and delays are serious enough on their own, but add into the mix the continuing pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing global regulations and the challenge becomes all the greater.” Regulations impacting cross-border eCommerce that have come into effect this year include the US STOP Act, the EU’s abolition of the VAT exemption on low-value goods entering and the introduction of the Import OneStop Shop (IOSS). At the core of these and other regulatory changes is the requirement for complete and accurate shipment data including product descriptions, HS6 codes and import and export codes. Martin added: “The one thing in the control of postal operators, carriers, retailers and marketplaces is the quality of their data. Complete and accurate data needs to start upstream and drive the end-to-end supply chain. “Getting the data right means removing cost – the cost of delays, the cost of storage, the cost of returns, the cost of fines and penalties relating to compliance breaches and the cost of lost customers.”
T The true cost of supply chain disruption and what can be done. By Jennifer Bisceglie 12
he UK is in a time of unprecedented supply chain turmoil. Through Covid-19, Brexit, global trade wars, disruptive cyberattacks and myriad other crises, the trade networks that support a globalized world are buckling amid continuous shock events. In the UK, this is being felt across industries. From food shortages on supermarket shelves and shuttered fast-food restaurants, to a semiconductor supply shortage hampering the production of every consumer good that requires a computer chip. In tumultuous times like these, it’s more important than ever to understand the specific concerns and future plans of supply chain leaders to better direct strategy towards protecting trade networks
and enhancing operational resilience. A recent Interos study has done just that, while also measuring the impact of supply chain disruption to worldwide organizations.
A staggering cost Perhaps the most stark takeaway from the study is the sheer amount that supply chain disruption is costing companies across the world. The report found, on average, disruption to global trade networks costs large companies £132m ($184m) a year. This is a colossal amount of money being siphoned from the global economy. It is unsurprising then that a vast majority of the 900 polled senior IT, IT security and procurement decisions makers across the EU and US reported some negative impact
percent) reporting disruptions to production lines and locations. One particular area of future concern – on top of current disruption – is that of a brewing international trade conflict. After all, Brexit has oftentimes put the EU and the UK at loggerheads, while the even more tumultuous relationship between the US and China shows no sign of thawing. Indeed, an overwhelming majority of those polled in the survey (88 percent) reported that international trade disputes would cause significant, notable, or moderate impacts to their organization. The most common impacts likely to be faced by organizations being forced changes in production locations, disruption to banking and payment infrastructure, and increases in cyber-espionage against businesses. There’s no shortage of recent examples of state-backed cybercrime. 2021 has seen a rash of devastating hacks aimed at the supply chain, with the most recent being through the MSP Kaseya. This attack is thought to have impacted 50 of the MSP’s direct customers and 800 – 1,500 SMEs further down the supply chain network. The hack led to shuttering of 800 supermarkets across Sweden, which exhibits the far-reaching consequences of any particular attack directed against the supply chain. In North America, the Colonial Pipeline and JBS hacks have also left their mark upon trade networks. In this context of cyber threat, it comes as no surprise that three-quarters (77 percent) of those polled in the survey had encountered at least one cyberattack on their supply chain in the last year.
Recognition of the supply chain threat
to revenue resulting from supply chain disruption. This was attributed to a number of varying supply chain risks including cyber breaches, financial risks, ESG (environmental, social, governance) and transparency issues.
Multiple ongoing threats will continue into the future While suffering the monetary and reputational damages of disruption to their trade networks, global supply chain leaders are continuing to grapple with the ever-changing conditions of worldwide Covid. Indeed, the report found that a little over half (51 percent) of organizations’ global supply chains have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the last two years, with almost all of those affected (89
In this era of vulnerable yet highly interconnected supply chains, a paradigm shift is required in how organizations meet the threats to their trade networks. The status quo – manual, survey-driven processes that provide periodic visibility over a portion of the supply chain – can no longer keep pace with the complexity of modern supply chains and their ever-increasing risk vectors. As supplychain driven cyberattacks and a host of other factors increase volatility, corporate leaders
are recognizing that the supply chain security and resilience must be a core business priority. In fact, half of those surveyed (50 percent) believe that it will be their organization’s top business priority in two years’ time, compared to just under two-fifths currently (39 percent). This shift is reflected in the increasing frequency that boards are meeting to discuss supply chain risk, with over three-quarters (78 percent) reporting that their boards confer on this topic at least once every month.
Technological uptake moving slowly While it is positive that global organizations are recognizing the severe nature of the threat, change is taking place at a slow rate. It is true that organizations are focusing upon supply chain risk and operational resilience, but adoption of enabling technology is lagging. Fully addressing supply chain threats must rely upon rapid risk-mitigation technology, leveraging AI and data analytics to discover and respond to risk in real time. Organizations must be able to monitor continuously for changes in risk profile before operations are disrupted. This entails assessing a holistic portfolio of risk areas including finance, cyber, geopolitical, prohibitions and restrictions, operations, and Environment, Social, Governance (ESG). However, according to those polled in the survey, only a third (34 percent) of organizations currently assess their global supply chain on a continuous basis, in spite of the fact that these tools were considered more beneficial than any other kind of solution with 45 percent of leaders ranking them the top three most-beneficial tools for monitoring their global supply chain. The smallest portion of users (16 percent) ranked questionnaires as the most helpful. It’s an unfortunate fact that threats to the supply chain are going nowhere soon, and given the interconnectivity of global trade networks, their impacts will be far reaching. It is incumbent upon both public and private organizations to protect their supply chains as best they can or damage will be felt across the world. D
Jennifer Bisceglie is CEO and founder of Interos the operational resilience company – reinventing how companies manage their supply chains, through a breakthrough SaaS platform that uses artificial intelligence to model the total ecosystem of complex businesses into a living global map, down to sub-tier suppliers. Eliminating months of backward-looking manual spreadsheets, the Interos platform helps the world’s companies achieve operational resilience by avoiding risks and managing potential disruptions. At the same time, businesses can uncover game-changing opportunities that radically change the way they see, learn, and profit from their relationships. www.interos.ai www.interos.ai/resources/global-supply-chain-report/
Scientific Laboratory Supplies
The science of service
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021, Scientific Laboratory Supplies has grown to become the UK’s largest independent supplier of laboratory equipment, chemicals and consumables
perating in an industry historically dominated by a handful of major global players, Scientific Laboratory Supplies (SLS) has become successful by focusing on the things that make it different – namely, flexibility and excellent customer service. Managing Director Ian Roulstone explains more: “A couple of our corporate competitors might be larger, but they are much more process-driven than us,” he says. “Due to our agile business model, we can be much more flexible and customer-oriented than our rivals. We know our customers, we deal in real, personal relationships, and that helps us to understand their requirements. Whereas bigger businesses take a bit of a ‘one-size-fitsall’ approach, we go out of our way to adapt
for our clients and that is why SLS has become so valuable to so many people.” Since it began trading in 1991, SLS has become renowned for its approach to sourcing and supplying the highest quality, best value products and brands on the market. From pipettes and petri dishes to the latest in laboratory instrumentation, the company has always prided itself on providing precisely what customers need, when they need it. In addition to their own consumable and chemical ranges, SLS partners with a huge range of leading industry names, including Sigma-Aldrich, Becton Dickinson, Eppendorf, Kimberly-Clark, Thermo-Scientific, 3M, Merck, and Corning, allowing it to confidently carry out even the most specific and demanding customer requirements.
“Over the last 18 months, considering all the market conditions brought on by Brexit and the pandemic, we have had to adapt quickly to the challenges,” Ian states. “It has involved winning new agreements and supporting different customers with things like PPE, which, incidentally, we have always supplied to the UK market. Demand in that area just went through the roof in 2020, leading to a wide array of ongoing supplier contracts with firsttime SLS clients. “We have also worked very closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) over the last year or two,” Ian continues. “Covid-19 meant the department’s demand for product increased, and so did the complexity of the items in question. From clinical supplies, equipment and consumables to PPE and
storage freezers for the vaccination program, we have been incredibly active and highly successful in our work.” As Ian suggests, in December 2020, SLS joined forces with leading international life sciences company Eppendorf to develop a 3-phase delivery schedule to complete delivery of the ultra-low temperature freezers required for the UK’s supply of Covid-19 vaccines. Having been awarded with a contract from the DHSC to equip two central sites and 56 regional hubs with vital laboratory equipment for the vaccine’s safe storage, SLS worked to ensure that free-standing ULT freezers were in place and ready-to-use as soon as the vaccine became available. SLS also helped the NHS sites to create storage and ULT protocols and simulate vaccine packed scenarios with engineers temperature mapping the units to validate each unit in situ. As well as coordinating the delivery, installation and testing of the freezers, SLS supplied PPE to each site, allowing the entire rollout to be completed in a matter of weeks. “This was an extremely ambitious and challenging project as we didn’t know when a vaccine might be approved, or what its storage requirements might be,” Sales Director Bob Mclaughlin points out. “Open communication and adaptability were essential as we worked side-by-side with Eppendorf to develop a strategy that would allow us to deliver their large, heavy, ULT freezers to almost 60 sites at very short notice. Looking back, we are very proud of what we achieved, providing everything on time and on budget to help in the UK’s fight against SARS-CoV-2.” With thousands of customers on its books, SLS is used to servicing highly individualized demands and specific expectations on each and every one of its projects. One of the company’s longest-standing customers, for instance, is a contract testing facility whose relationship with SLS depends on the firm’s ability to deliver a variety of ‘process critical products’. “Process critical products are items that, if not delivered, can bring a business to a halt,” Ian reports. “This particular contract testing customer came to us several years ago and asked if we could guarantee availability of around 200 different products. Not only that, but they also wanted to be able to order and receive products on the same day, which, given that they are several hundred miles away from our distribution hub, is not a very easy task. However, by ringfencing a large volume of product to guarantee availability for this company’s process critical items, and then
placing those items in a warehouse close to the client, we created the ability to call that product off on a daily basis. If the customer in question placed an order with us on the morning of any given day, they could receive it by the afternoon.”
Similarly, SLS’s ability to find new ways of serving its customers’ increasingly complex requests has proved invaluable throughout both the Covid-19 pandemic and the fallout of Brexit. As well as arranging temporary storage for hundreds of pharmaceutical freezers scw-mag.com
Scientific Laboratory Supplies
integral to the fight against the virus that SLS were contracted to supply, the firm allayed fears about a lack of continuity after the UK left the EU by offering several clients the opportunity to analyze their product purchase profiles and identify any potential risks before supply issues occurred. “It meant that our customers could see if a product was coming in from continental Europe, and if so, we could install contingency plans for alternative items, or offer forward buying options,” Ian reveals. “It’s yet another example of rolling with the times and growing with the circumstances with which we have been presented.” Growing consistently since 1991, SLS has enjoyed accelerated progress during the last ten to 15 years. Over the course of the last decade, the company has become ISO 14001 certified, doubled the size of its warehouse in Nottingham (enabling the firm to hold more stock and serve more customers) and firmly established itself as a supplier of choice for countless scientists and scientific institutions across the UK. While most of the company’s growth has been organic, SLS has also
expanded its presence through acquisition. “Around 2016, we purchased a business in Northern Ireland and have integrated that into SLS, meaning we now have a direct footprint on the isle of Ireland,” Ian remarks. “That was a big step forward for us, and, in the same year, we joined forces with French firm Dominic Dutscher to help us better serve customers across Europe. “Most recently, in 2019, we acquired a company called Wolf Laboratories, which is based in Pocklington, Yorkshire. Again, that has added a lot to SLS Group, including more bench-top equipment and a successful web offering, which complements us very nicely. 2019 was a busy year as we also opened our first office in Africa with SLS East Africa opening its doors in Nairobi, Kenya.” In the next few months, SLS will be going live with an international website speciallydesigned for non-UK customers, which will include translation services. The site’s launch is set to round off a special year for SLS – the company’s 30th anniversary. “I was at SLS for our 21st anniversary and we marked that in style at the time with a big
party, inviting lots of suppliers and customers to celebrate with our staff,” Ian notes. “Of course, we would absolutely love to do that again to celebrate our 30th, but with Covid-19 still a presence in our daily lives, it is simply not possible at the moment. We will still be marking this key milestone in our company’s history, but this time it will be much more reserved. For instance, alongside a small internal event, the front of our new catalogue has a 30th birthday celebration element to it and we have had a variety of promotional content sent out with a similar theme. “Thirty is a big number for any business,” Ian affirms. “It is certainly a very proud moment, so it would wrong not to mark it in one way or another. The most important thing though is to do it in context and in keeping with the strange times in which we are living.” With 2022 already looming on the horizon, attentions for many businesses are turning to the year ahead. However, as an SLS veteran and someone deeply familiar with the ways and workings of the industry, Ian’s take on the future of the company remains the same as always.
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“We will continue doing more of the same,” he declares. “Consistency has been important to our success up to this point and I expect that to remain true going forward. We might not be a global player in our market, but we are efficiently positioned as the largest independent laboratory supplier available to clients in the UK and Ireland. The key now is to keep growing organically, taking opportunities to develop the business through acquisition when they arrive. That’s something that might occur over the next three to five years, but essentially, we will keep doing what we have done best for 30 years now – staying flexible and retaining our focus on people. “Two years ago, we set ourselves a five-year target for scaling-up the business organically. Today, we are already two years ahead of that target and we believe we can achieve our goal in three years, rather than five. We’re ahead of the curve right now,” Ian says in summary. “If we can keep that trajectory up, then the future of SLS is going to be very bright indeed.”
Scientific Laboratory Supplies www.scientificlabs.co.uk Products or Services: Laboratory equipment, chemicals and consumables
Rush University Medical Center
Having played a vital role in managing the Covid-19 pandemic, Rush University Medical Center continues striving for unparalleled clinical excellence through further integration and streamlining
Jeremy Strong, VP of Supply Chain scw-mag.com
Rush University Medical Center
n academic medical center since 1837, Rush University Medical Center (Rush) is a core component of the Rush University Medical Center System for Health, which is made up of four hospitals and clinics across Chicago’s suburbia. Known for clinical quality and patient experience, Rush University Medical Center treated 20 percent of Illinois’ ventilated Covid-19 in-patients in 2020, and has been instrumental in this year’s vaccine distribution effort. Today, the hospital continues using outcome data to consolidate its life-saving supply chain management system, and provide the most efficient medical care possible. In March of 2020, Rush was faced with the global outbreak of Coronavirus; seeking to help as many patients as possible, the hospital used its industry-leading facilities to accommodate patients from all across Illinois. Thanks to its existing infrastructure, the hospital was able to fare well with the increased demand; as Jeremy Strong, Vice
President of Supply Chain, confirms: “Rush has done well. Our emergency department has been a huge asset, it has an ambulance bay that we can convert into a decontamination zone, lobbies that turn into intensive care units, and all the provisions necessary to make up isolation units, which we did pretty aggressively. “We had all the infrastructure built in, including an emergency supply chain, so we handled it all pretty well. We were even taking transfers, because we had the facilities, and felt a sense of responsibility to take on as many patients as possible,” he adds. As the effects of the pandemic become less urgent, Rush is in a strong position to accommodate a post-Covid-19 world. “The Delta variant hit a lot harder in other parts of the country, so the last few months have been manageable in comparison to what we were used to in 2020. At this point, we are dealing with our Covid patients, and vaccinations, whilst also handling our regular practice in the hospital; there are designated areas for
Covid-related issues, which has helped make it more manageable,” Jeremy affirms. The pressures of a global pandemic revealed the absolute importance of medical manufacturers and suppliers. As Jeremy explains: “Supply chain is a big part of what we do. In order to keep on top of it, we have weekly meetings with a lot of our primary suppliers, as well as our distribution partners. In these meetings we look at the existing data, and review any potential, up-coming shortages with them. “These meetings are for discussing any issues that we might be seeing on the horizon, so that we can start building substitution plans and other arrangements. We also work in this capacity with our clinical team, in order to smooth out the utilization of certain items; some of the products we used now have alternatives, which makes things easier, but it also means we have to communicate with the clinical team about when to use those substitutes.”
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Supply chain is a big part of what we do. In order to keep on top of it, we have weekly meetings with a lot of our primary suppliers, as well as our distribution partners
Ongoing communication between its clinical and logistical departments helped steady Rush in the midst of uncertainty, as Jeremy reveals: “Our supply chain team works really well with our clinical team. They identify the need for substitutions ahead of time, we are made aware of it, and can ensure the existing product goes exactly where it needs to go. “We aim to make our supplies go as far as possible, as efficiently as possible. We know which items are critical, and which are provisional, that’s how we try to stay ahead of it. We are connected by ongoing communication between our manufacturers and clinicians.” Using data technology, Rush’s supply chain team has continued to hone these strategies, and make them more accurate. “Over the past couple of years, we have invested heavily in technology that matches the clinical work flow of Rush,” states Jeremy. “On a nursing unit, for example, they use a lot of supplies as and when they need them; in order to keep better track of our stock, we have tried to develop an inventory strategy that will highlight when the pile is running low, so we can re-stock.
Rush University Medical Center
“We wanted to use a more weighted system because we felt it would be best if the doctors and nurses didn’t have to press any buttons, or do anything extra, in order to keep track of the supplies. They don’t have to do anything other than take supplies when they need them, and we still know what is in there. Using trends from this data, we can set up automatic reordering. “This way, medical professionals spend a lot less time worrying about or looking for stock, because they know exactly where the equipment is kept, and how much of it we have. In the meantime, we are monitoring supply levels, and keeping an eye on any changes that might be needed,” he elaborates. Unsurprisingly, these provisions helped cut through the chaos of the early pandemic, and kept operations running smoothly. “It’s really helped us during the Covid-19 outbreak; especially with syringes and basic things like that,” Jeremy asserts. “We can look at our system and know what we have, and where it’s going, we can also assign priority to items that are running low. “Using data this way means we can feed the body of information we already have, and make better decisions on proper inventory strategy. In some of the higher end implants we use bar-coding, which we have now set up with our clinical team, so that when they are documenting all they have to do is scan the items and it automatically adds to the system,” he continues.
Having successfully emerged from the height of the pandemic, Rush University Medical Center takes what it has learned and continues to invest in supply chain and data analytics. “In 2022, we will be really focused on tightening our controls and contracting around purchase services. “Because we have grown pretty quickly, it’s important to look back and streamline our operation. We are partnering with human resources and marketing to really have a better, tighter contracting process in place,” says Jeremy. With 183 years’ worth of experience in the medical field, Rush aims to continue its long and storied history by investing in the ambulatory sector, and consolidating its distribution model. “We plan on handling all of our distribution internally, and we hope that we can leverage our technology to create a robust ambulatory strategy within the supply chain. We also want to keep our stock easily accessible, clean and standardized,” Jeremy summarizes. “Ultimately, we aim to be resilient in everything that we do. We want to develop different kinds of substitutions, and improve our ability to mitigate our own risks, should another unprecedented medical emergency occur,” he concludes.
Rush University Medical Center https://www.rush.edu/ Products or Services: Hospital
Troy story Working in close partnership with market-leading manufacturers and specialist suppliers, Troy UK is building a better future for independent distributors of industrial supplies
champion of independent distributors, Troy UK is providing a competitive advantage to companies throughout the industrial supplies sector. Founded by four cutting tool specialists in 1986, the company was launched when the group discovered that, by pooling their buying resources, all members could receive better prices. “After years of success, our founders started looking towards retirement in the early 2000s. They eventually decided to sell Troy on to someone who would further its legacy and take the company forward, while keeping the existing business model intact. That person,” explains Sales Director Richard Pymm, “was Paul Kilbride, who bought the business in 2010 and is now our CEO.”
After assembling a team of experienced industry professionals, Paul immediately set about modernizing the business, with a focus on the value-added services Troy could offer. By 2018, thanks in part to its dynamic, forwardthinking approach, the firm had acquired one of its main rivals, THS Tools, taking Troy’s membership base from 200 to 300 members. “Ultimately, our members are at the center of everything we do here at Troy,” Richard asserts. “Put simply, the membership base itself is made up of businesses that are great at sales, but very time-poor. Part of our vision, therefore, is to act as a support mechanism for these independents for the things they may find challenging, like marketing, IT and inventory management, whilst also providing them with access to over 400 suppliers of industrial tools and equipment.”
A long way advanced from its humble beginnings, today, in 2021, Troy turns over close to £250 million and works with major brands like Bosch, Hikoki, Kärcher, Makita and Stanley. Though it remains rooted in the industrial sector, the company is also far more diversified than it once was, boasting a strong presence in PPE, power tools, fixings and fastenings, and cutting tools. “We are often described as a ‘buying group’, but really, the term ‘selling group’ would be much more apt,” Richard states. “We encourage, help, promote and offer opportunities for our members to sell. “Acting as a conduit between supply chain and member, we have built a network that strives to offer the same services, conditions and products to our members as their national
Like the rest of the world, in March 2020, we had a moment’s pause, took a deep breath, and asked ourselves how we could prepare for what lay ahead
competition. Interestingly though, these suppliers all do it with a twist, and that twist is that they are local – they understand the local market, they understand the technical constraints their customers are working with, and they offer the right tool and advice as a solution. “Despite everything you read about the power of the internet, people still buy from people, and there is a huge swing to companies wanting to support their local suppliers. It happened during the pandemic and it’s now really relevant post-pandemic as we get back to normal.” As Richard suggests, Troy, like most of its peers in the business world, did not escape the impact of Covid-19. However, the company was quick to rise to the challenge, working together
with its members and suppliers to increase the chances of success for everyone involved with the firm. “Like the rest of the world, in March 2020, we had a moment’s pause, took a deep breath, and asked ourselves how we could prepare for what lay ahead,” says Purchasing
Director Jim Chadwick. “Fortunately, the group rallied round and we had an extremely successful year, working closely with members and suppliers, negotiating on things like extended credit terms to enable our members to continue trading during that difficult period.
Just 1 Source Just 1 Source & Supply offer a complete range of consistent high quality tested gloves at real value for money. With many of our designs now recognised as the industry standard, the “Predator by Ron” brand now incorporates Coloursafe, Watersafe, Touchsafe and Gripsafe ranges. Our uniqueness and technical expertise enables us to specify and design bespoke products for all types of applications. All factories are ISO9001 approved, therefore all “Predator by Ron” products in our extensive range are fully compliant with the current PPE EU Standards. Our BSIF membership confirms our commitment to the consistent high levels of customer service.
“We have got really strong relationships with lots of our suppliers, as well as a strategic supplier campaign, which means we work with our suppliers to ensure their products and ranges receive a strong focus within the group,” he continues. “In terms of being able to access product over a tough year for the supply chain, we worked very closely with these suppliers to create bespoke product ranges, rather than relying on stock supplies, which, understandably have fluctuated. “The goal really has been to ensure that, in the event members can’t get products they would normally purchase, we have alternative products available. Using our connections with suppliers to understand the markets our members are in and the relevant product developments, we have worked very hard to make sure everyone around us can thrive.” One of the key learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic for businesses across the world has
been the importance of technology in helping a company adapt and evolve under changing circumstances. Driven by a recognition that the online market was always going to be invaluable in light of the global restrictions brought on by the pandemic, Troy has continued to invest in the latest technologies over the last 18 months in order to help its members remain operational and effective. “In some ways, we were quite lucky in 2020 in that a lot of our businesses were allowed to remain open due to the nature of their work and their involvement with PPE,” reports Marketing Manager Keira Park. “As a group, we have done really well in that area. More than this though, investment in technology has allowed members to continue focusing on what they love to do, which is selling and looking after their customers. “As part of our existing digital services, we offer EZ-base, which contains quality product
data on our 400 or so suppliers, and from which members can extract information on international brands like Stanley, Black+Decker and Draper, and use it to produce leaflets, flyers and websites. They can even link EZ-base into their ERP system – yet another useful aid in the battle to stay strong, relevant and competitive. “At present,” Keira adds, “we are in the process of building and launching an e-commerce platform for our members to use, which integrates seamlessly into EZbase, enabling members to trade through an avenue that they may never have had before. The pandemic has highlighted the need for businesses to be able to serve more than just their local area, and e-commerce obviously opens up those national opportunities. On top of that, it also drives efficiencies and gives members access to tools that the national players have had for years, levelling the playing field in the process.”
Europa Tool Co Ltd Europa Tool Co are a wholly owned subsidiary of the largest global round shank cutting tool manufacturing group, and a market leading supplier of tooling in all market sectors including Aerospace, Automotive, Energy, Medical and many others. We have been a Troy supplier for many years, and working hand-in-hand with Troy members, our Technical Managers have been able to supply cost-down initiatives to many companies; in turn growing business for the members. With the incorporation of Clarkson Osborn International into Europa we can supply a comprehensive range of hi-tech and standard products, with the Clarkson brand established for 80 years and Osborn brand for over 150 years. We carry large stocks of all our product ranges in our UK warehouse facility centrally located in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, close to all major motorway networks and transport hubs, so we are ideally situated for distribution of our products throughout the UK and beyond.
With Troy, members making use of an e-commerce platform for the first-time benefit from the expertise of an extended team in place to support them through any unfamiliar, transitionary activities in the digital space, as well as market their efforts upon completion. This team, and their work, is evidence of the fact that, alongside technology, talented people remain an equally critical differentiator in the industry today. “We are a people business,” Richard declares, “and so are our member firms.
“We have a great business development team that has helped our members through Brexit and Covid-19, and will continue to support them in the future. “Many Troy members have been with us for years and years now because we are not a profit-driven organization, but one that cares about the independents we support. Yes, we do make a profit, but a lot of that is reinvested back into our members, which helps us build trust. Members know we are with them every step of the way.”
As we enter the final stretch of 2021, raw material costs and freight charges continue to add inflationary pressure to products in the industrial supplies industry, while the sourcing of items from places like India and China is still proving difficult. However, although Jim feels that these pressures will continue for some time, he is hopeful that the challenges will stabilize in the second half of next year. “We are hoping that, in the next 12 months, things will start getting back to normal,” he remarks. “One way in which we aim to evolve is through diversification as we continue developing ranges of products that are exclusive to our members, both new and old.” For Keira and Troy’s marketing team, the emphasis remains on creating new opportunities for sales for members, which includes the e-commerce side of the business, as well as developing its communications channels. “Members who were already geared up for e-commerce have thrived through the pandemic and now we want to make sure that, if anything like this ever happens again, every member has access to a fantastic e-commerce platform they can trade through,” Keira notes.
“Elsewhere, we want to ensure that we are helping our members get their message out there, so we will be continuing with things like digital shows, where people can log on, watch us live and communicate through a chat function. We have been doing those shows exclusively for our members so far, but we aim to start doing them for our end-users as well to try and drive traffic and footfall back through our membership. Those shows, and our work in general, will be built around product innovation, sustainability, and making sure our voice, and our members’ voices, are heard in the industry.” Strengthened by the clear vision of its CEO, Troy is ready to tackle the decade ahead, supporting its members across the UK and creating a better environment for independent distributors of industrial supplies. As it has been since its founding, the organization is set to be a vital ally to its members for years to come.
“Independent businesses have an incredible ability, much more than their national peers, to create demand for products and bring innovation to the market. We, at Troy, will continue to help these firms maximize on the rewards they receive from this hard work,” Richard proclaims. “The goal now is to make sure that all our members with an appetite for growth are relevant in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025. By ‘relevant’, I mean that they are able to offer contemporary customers what they want, including retail shops for a ‘touch-feely’ experience, as well as online capabilities so that that customers can research and purchase a product online. “Around 85 percent of all products are now researched online prior to purchase, so if you don’t have a website that is accessible to your customers 24/7 then there will inevitably be leakage to Screwfix or Amazon because it is just
easy to buy from those firms. Members need an omnichannel approach; that is the most immediate requirement. “Beyond that, I think this business is totally scalable,” Richard says in closing. “Within the next three to five years, there is no reason why we can’t move into new markets. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be tools. At Troy, we have a successful template in place for all sorts of products and all sorts of businesses. I think we have proved, in our performance over the years, that this is a company with unlimited potential.”
Troy UK www.troyuk.co.uk Products: Supply facilitator of industrial engineering products
Toolbank Toolbank have worked in close partnership with Troy over many years. We consider Troy a vital link to the industrial supply chain and work hand-in-hand to deliver sales opportunities to Troy members. Toolbank are proud of our close links with Troy and we continue to offer Service – Support – Integrity.
La Cie Canada Tire Inc
ow in its fourth generation of family ownership, Canada Tire has been distributing tires to businesses across Central and Eastern Canada for nearly 100 years. Leading the company’s steady growth over the last five years has been CEO Gabriel Granatstein, whose great grandfather, Lewis Wiseman, founded the company in 1928. Gabriel’s father, Billy Granatstein, Executive Chairman, led the
company’s transformation to a major distributor. “Originally, we started as a retail business with multiple stores, but now we are 99 percent distribution focused with one legacy retail store in Montreal,” Gabriel explains. “We are unique in the sense that we are a familyowned Canadian business that has been in operation for a long time. Through the sale of tires to garages, car dealers, car rental companies, online vendors and more, we
continue to grow steadily and organically. “I think what sets us apart from the competition is that we try to find solutions for our customers,” Gabriel continues. “Anybody can sell a tire, but I think it’s more about the service you provide and what you sell around that core product. At Canada Tire, we have become recognized for our close relationships with our customers, as well as the fact that we listen to our clients and
The wheel deal
With the help of ongoing investment, long-standing partnerships and organic growth, Canada Tire Inc. continues to provide unique tire brands and solutions that maximize profitability for its customers build tailored solutions for them that help to increase their profitability.” Operating from seven distribution centers across Canada, Canada Tire recently moved its main facility to a brand-new 113,000-squarefoot site just outside Montreal. A major investment for the company, the warehouse, which is now the firm’s largest facility in the province of Quebec, opened its doors for the first time in July 2021.
“One of the most advanced and up-to-date constructions of its kind, our new warehouse has a 32-foot clearance and includes millions of dollars’ worth of racking and furniture,” reveals Vice President of Operations & HR, Marc Fontaine. “We are always planning for the long-term, so we still have room to upgrade our racking with minimal investment. In short, we could double the number of tires onsite, if required, and there would still be
space to expand as the business grows over the next five to ten years.” Canada Tire’s new and improved warehouse arrived right on time for the business. With Covid-induced supply chain volatility still an issue in many places around the world, the new facility has afforded the company with vital space for storing extra product, which, in turn, helps the company to manage its wider distribution network. scw-mag.com
La Cie Canada Tire Inc
Aided by this level of infrastructure, over the last 18 months, Canada Tire has navigated the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, while still achieving increased productivity in every one of its distribution centers. Marc believes that the company’s workforce – in its warehouses, its offices and working from home – deserves the credit for this achievement. “Our people have done an incredible job over the last year or two and it is because of them that we have been able to carry on delivering to our usual standard, and even grow the business,” Marc states. “We have employees that have been here for over 40 years, which shows just how much they enjoy working for us. Canada Tire is a huge family and we regularly see each other for coffee or a chat. It’s my job to provide my employees with all the help and coaching they need to be able to achieve their potential, and for that reason, good relationships are really important.” As Marc suggests, strong relationships have been instrumental to Canada Tire’s success in modern times, not just internally but externally, and never more so than during the
Covid-19 pandemic. Director of Purchasing & Pricing Joël Boivin elaborates: “Without our long-term and loyal partners, we would not have been able to get through this pandemic,” he says. “It started on the production side of the business with things like payment schedules and went all the way through to logistics, where we worked with partners around the globe to help source space and equipment.” Among Canada Tire’s key partners during the pandemic was Mactrans Freight, a Torontobased 3PL firm that assisted the company in remaining nimble and transporting its products to the people and places that needed them most. The flexibility this allowed the business has been, Joël believes, one of Canada Tire’s hallmarks throughout the Covid crisis. “We are a progressive company that always looks forward and thinks outside of the box,” he asserts. “Higher management is always setting the tone for more efficient working practices and, during the pandemic, we adapted so well that we gained the flexibility to turn on a dime. Many businesses did not move as quickly as we did, especially when it came
to adjusting our purchasing, our sales strategy and testing our various sales policies.” Despite not being far away from reaching its centenary, Canada Tire’s popularity in Canada continues to grow and the organization’s customer base is more loyal than ever. What then is the secret to the firm’s deep and lasting connection with its clients? In answer to this question, Gabriel cites his belief that, in business as much as in life, honesty is the best policy. “Our customers know that, when they work with Canada Tire, they are dealing with real people and I think that makes a difference,” Gabriel argues. “As part of this, we always tell the truth because our customers deserve it. For example, from the beginning of the pandemic, I sent out regular communications to all our customers updating them on what was going on and being honest with them about the situation regarding supply issues. We were not afraid to tell our customers that this winter would be a challenge, while many of our competitors were saying that it would be fine.” “I think honesty and integrity are important, especially in an environment
where you are hearing lots of different things about prices and supply. Our honesty with clients has helped us win their respect.” Over a year and a half since the pandemic began, and with the worst of it now, hopefully, behind us, Canada Tire is preparing for better days ahead. As international business picks up and activity returns to pre-Covid levels across Canada, one of the firm’s biggest short-term goals is to continue delivering on its promises. “From our products to the overarching vision we present to our customers, we need to make sure we are delivering on it all,” Gabriel declares. “The biggest challenge this year has been getting product to our clients and doing it in a cost-effective way. Given the supply chain issues, the price is less relevant than whether or not we actually have them in stock and I think those issues are going to persist well into 2022. As a result, we will continue to lean on our partners, on transportation companies we work with, and on our suppliers and factories to make sure we are delivering for our valued customers.” Even with the battle against Covid and all its related obstacles, Canada Tire has still grown by around five percent to ten percent annually over the last five years. It’s a remarkable trend that Gabriel would like to see continue throughout the decade ahead. “Soon enough, I can see us opening new warehouses in the areas in which we operate to help expand our service,” he predicts. “If we keep doing what we are doing, we are going to continue growing as we are
growing. By executing on our plan to be more efficient, we can jump on opportunities when they arise, while still performing in a responsible manner.”
La Cie Canada Tire Inc www.canada-tire.ca Products or Services: Tire distributor
Forged through a combination of organic growth, operational improvements and new acquisitions, Bunzl Canada, a distributor of packaging, cleaning supplies and safety products, continues to find ways to ‘be better’ 38
ith a portfolio of more than 45,000 customers to its name, Bunzl Canada acts as a vital link between Canadian businesses and the critical supplies they need to thrive. A provider of food and retail packaging, cleaning and hygiene products,
Right now, sustainability is a critical business objective for many organizations, so we are developing a unique range of products and options to help customers in that sense vendor partners, and did our very best to service those needs.” In many ways, strong communication comes naturally to Bunzl Canada. Even before the pandemic, communication was a core strength of the business and Margo Hunnisett, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, believes that this is the result of the firm’s historically united and cohesive company culture. “Our culture is a very significant point of differentiation for us,” Margo declares. “We are a people-focused, team-based company, and it’s just a great place to work. We believe in empowerment, we manage by result, but most of all, this is an incredibly caring and supportive team that works together to achieve success for our customers.” In order to remain efficient and reliable in the most demanding circumstances, Bunzl Canada continues to invest in the latest technologies, ensuring that the firm remains at the head of the market from both a human and machinery standpoint. “Our investment in information technology and clear lines of communication between
and safety and industrial supplies, the organization’s innovative solutions, first-tomarket technology, and logistical excellence have allowed it to become a partner-of-choice for firms across Canada since 1990. “Bunzl Canada is a division of St-Louis-based American firm Bunzl Distribution, which is, in turn, the largest division of our London-based parent firm Bunzl PLC,” explains Director of Supply Chain Resources Michael Thompson. “Bunzl PLC operates in over 30 countries and has more than 100 distribution centers across the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean supplying the grocery, food processing, manufacturing, education, healthcare, institutional and facility management sectors. “Bunzl Canada’s customers benefit hugely from the size and scope of our operations. We provide them with the obvious advantages of our global sourcing network, as well as leadership in product innovation, national scale, attentive, responsive local service and deep category expertise. The upshot is that we are a global organization that takes great pride in maintaining local relationships and a local feel across Canada.” Understandably, in what has been a supremely challenging 18 months for businesses and their supply chains, Bunzl Canada’s services have been more in-demand than ever. Resilient in the face of such unprecedented global difficulties, the company first secured the safety of its employees - home working, sanitization and a digital cleaning management app all played a part - before taking on its most difficult Covid-19related test of all – usage volatility. “Usage volatility has been the biggest challenge we’ve experienced over the last 18 months, especially at the very start of the pandemic. We had unprecedented demand for many different items and, simultaneously, saw the demand decrease on other items depending on different closures across the country,” Michael recalls. “At the end of the day, in order to navigate through the hardest times, it all came down to communication. “I am a big believer in the power of communication,” Michael affirms. “Right off the bat, we had to figure out how to navigate the virus through collaboration and teamwork - from the purchasing department through to our customers. Ultimately, we worked hard to understand the requirements of our clients and
the teams enabled us to keep the business up to speed during the pandemic,” Michael notes. “By leveraging really strong foundation processes and best practices, we enhanced our systems in order to meet the challenges we were faced with. In addition to that, it helped us deliver updates and connected many different channels through the organization, right up to the senior leadership team and out to our vendors and customers.” For many businesses, 2022 is set to be a bounce back year during which companies hobbled temporarily by the Covid-19 pandemic begin to rebound. In preparation for this, Bunzl Canada recently acquired three new subsidiaries - Pinnacle Distribution, Snelling Paper & Sanitation, and Sur-Seal Packaging - helping it to lay the foundation for a highly productive and profitable year ahead. “We continue to grow through acquisition and, in spite of the pandemic, we have been able to bring these three firms on board during the last year,” Margo reports. “The organizations fit very well and are all experts in at least one of our core areas. Snelling Paper & Sanitation, for example, is very capable in food
service packaging as well as in cleaning and hygiene products. It also has its own expertise in sourcing and delivering from a very wellestablished base in Ottawa. “Sur-Seal,” she continues, “is an industrial packaging business based in Winnipeg. It focuses on providing the types of supplies
that are needed to move product out of the warehouse and into the hands of customers. “Finally, those two businesses are joined by Pinnacle, which provides cleaning and hygiene products and, in British Columbia, a tremendous amount of packaging for the grocery market. It fits seamlessly with what we
already offer to customers across the country, which is a key criterion when we are looking to acquire a firm.” Taking Bunzl Canada’s employee count over the 1200 mark, the triple acquisition will expand the company’s reach and improve its efficiency, whilst maintaining the firm’s reputation for friendly, knowledgeable, local service. “As we look to next year,” Michael says, “we hope 2022 can bring us, and our customers, closer to normal in terms of our businesses and working environments. If we have learnt anything from this pandemic, it’s that we are now fully aware of how important it is to adapt. We are continually learning how to be better and more agile, which is already paying off, and will continue to do so in the years ahead. The market is changing so quickly that you have to be ready to pivot to ensure you are continuing down a path of success.” Going forward, both people and technology will have a significant role to play in forging that path and defining the direction of Bunzl Canada’s future. With this balance of capabilities and resources at hand, Michael and Margo are confident that the company will continue to be recognized as an organization capable of optimizing its clients’ businesses and accelerating their performance. “We are always looking to find new solutions for customers through product development and innovative technology, so it is important that we collaborate with our customers and vendor partners on their latest requirements,” Michael argues. “Right now, sustainability is a critical business objective for many organizations, so we are developing a unique range of products and options to help customers in that sense.” “Along with sustainability, technology tools and the Internet of Things are changing the way facilities are managed,” Margo points out. “We are looking to help our clients manage their facilities more efficiently, more cost effectively and more sustainably as well, with digital cleaning management applications just one popular example of this at present.” When it comes to people, Bunzl Canada still holds its employees up as the most indispensable part of the organization. As a result, the firm continues to invest in talent development and career advancement programs for its sizable workforce. “Our talent development initiatives are designed to make sure we have the right capabilities for the future and help us build a succession pipeline,” Michael states. “It is something I am incredibly passionate about,
along with diversity, equity and inclusion, which our new Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is now working on right across North America. “While the constant upgrading of analytics helped us succeed against the challenges of the pandemic, and will continue to benefit us in the future, our ongoing success really comes down to people. That includes the warehouse workers, the drivers, and those working from home. I cannot thank every single employee enough for everything they have done to service the customer and maintain the focus of our business throughout this trying period.” With a dedicated workforce on the ground, and enthusiastic leaders like Michael and Margo to guide it, it is no wonder that the future looks bright for Bunzl Canada. Though the cautious atmosphere brought on by Covid-19 still exists in areas of the business world, those that know Bunzl Canada best are excited for what lies ahead. “There might still be a lot of unknowns out there but we certainly plan to stay the course, keep working hard for our customers and continue to introduce new products, services and innovations to the market,”
Margo says in summary. “Our customers want to reduce risk, improve efficiency and enhance their performance - and we can help them do that. “As an organization, we’re looking forward to the future. Personally, I am really excited about the path and the strategy and the focus of Bunzl Canada at present. Now I think it is just important to continue pushing forward through investment, innovation, analytics,
and talent development. By focusing on those areas, we can continue to raise the bar and achieve more.”
Bunzl Canada www.bunzlcanada.ca Products or Services: Distributor of packaging, cleaning supplies and safety products
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