Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor (


Safety Standards January 23, 2009

Green reality: “Regulations won’t stop until the wooly mammoth returns”

IDC, the Framingham, Mass.-based research firm, was pleasantly surprised in a survey of 372 U.S. companies to find that the vast majority—72 percent—stated that green/sustainability issues were important to senior management.  Much of the interest, however, is being driven by regulations—a key factor in doing business. As one survey respondent put it: “Regulations won’t stop until the wooly mammoth returns.”

By Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor (
Workforce Development April 1, 2008

Avnet, others address need for greater transparency in outsourced manufacturing operations

Outsourced manufacturing paired with extended value chains in fast-moving markets is a recipe for complex management challenges. Add lean to the value chain mix and more complexity will surface: inventory optimization at every step, to balance lean with replenishment order planning (ROP) and ensure coordinated responsiveness to the OEM.

By Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor (
Safety Standards April 1, 2008

In a down economy, opt for demand-pull strategies that lead to inventory reductions

Inventories—especially for finished goods—are a major concern for everyone in an extended supply chain, especially whenever there's threat of an economic downturn. Such a scenario seems to patently justify the adoption of demand-driven or “pull” fulfillment strategies tied directly to customer orders.

By Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor (
Energy Efficiency & Management March 1, 2008

Petrochemical feedstock’s unwelcome surprise

Price volatility surrounding petrochemical feedstock is a harsh reality that creates distress all along the supply chain. Feedstock is the process derivative—e.g., ethane, propane, and naphtha—that comes out of petroleum and natural gas and is subsequently converted for use in everything from shampoo and solvents to plastics, glue, drugs, pesticides, computers, and cars.

By Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor (