I was recently asked to respond to April’s Manufacturing Business Challenge featured by Industry Week.

The problem concerns a hypothetical landscape and building maintenance vehicles manufacturer and are unlike those being asked by many small and medium manufacturers and distributors today.  Like it or not, the business environments in many industry settings have dramatically changed, especially if your business includes continuous product cycles and a volatile supply base.  Many supply chain organizations today find themselves asking a lot of ‘what-if’ types of questions.  An understanding of the difference in approaching ‘what-is’ vs. ‘what-if’ information analysis is the key to understanding what needs to change.  Knowing that you will have a problem, as well as what will cause the problem — before it occurs — is the first step to correcting any problem.  This capability is today’s fundamental building block for supply chain business intelligence.

I trust you will enjoy and benefit from this challenge scenario and my response.

Bob Ferrari