Improving Supply Chain Performance During Times of Uncertainty

Improving Supply Chain Performance During Times of Uncertainty


Are you concerned about global uncertainties impacting your supply chain?

Looking for opportunities to improve performance and reduce costs are great strategies to combat global uncertainties.

Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) recently shared a case study highlighted below on how one company was able to heighten their supply chain performance leveraging ASCM educational tools.

At APICS Greater Detroit we are proud to be a preferred channel partner of ASCM and offer globally recognized supply chain certification training locally that’s been proven to help companies improve performance.

A recent example of a company achieving heightened business performance by leveraging ASCM educational tools is Novartis. Below is an excerpt from the ASCM case study that was originally published as a “Corporate Spotlight” in the April-June 2019 issue of SCM Now magazine.


“With headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis has a global reach of approximately 129,000 associates worldwide and sells products in 155 countries. The company offers a diversified portfolio consisting of medicines, generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals, and eye care.

The Novartis supply network for the Innovative Medicines division is composed of 16 sites. Not long ago, on-time-in-full delivery reliability was 40 percent, with about 400 stock keeping units (SKUs) out of stock from a total portfolio of 10,000 SKUs. This, in turn, led to a 97 percent customer service level, which impaired patient access to medicines and damaged business performance.

Trust eroded between commercial and supply operations — each blaming the other for poor forecasting or undependable supply. Functional silos were common and firefighting was the norm.

“People had lost connection to how the supply chain was designed to operate,” says Ian Anderson, Novartis Operational Standards for Supply Chain Excellence global program head. “Planning competencies had degraded, leading to the supply chain becoming more reactive.”

Novartis leaders responded by committing to a transformation project that would improve operating efficiency and enable higher levels of service. The primary program goals were to ensure patients always have access to medicines and maximize business success.

Decision-makers based the transformation on APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) education. In the end, this initiative was so successful that it was honored with the 2018 APICS Award of Excellence — Transformation.

In addition to CPIM courses taught to reinforce learning and education on-site, core CPIM principles were adapted to the specific needs of the Novartis business and documented in a set of internal standards: Novartis Operational Standards for Supply Chain Excellence (NOSSCE). The processes were defined in a manual and measured via 23 key-performance indicators (KPIs). In addition, Novartis created a checklist to help each site measure progress against the defined standards.

“APICS CPIM is a foundation to gain a common understanding and a common language about how a supply chain is designed to operate,” Anderson explains. “This is so important; it is vital that people understand the supply chain theory and then use this knowledge to implement sustainable processes in each local business unit.”

Key results of the overall educational effort at Novartis included:

  • On-time in Full (OTIF) delivery reliability improved from 40% to an average of 91.6%
  • Customer service has improved from 97% to 99.8%
  • The number of products out of stock reduced from around 400 a week to an average of 24 a week
  • Across six sites, customer lead-times were reduced on average 22%
  • Increased employee engagement and collaboration, with 93% of respondents reporting a significant/ very significant improvement in role clarity and in decision making

To read more on the above case study and additional customer success stories, go to:

At APICS Greater Detroit we offer many programs to help you deepen supply chain management knowledge within your existing team. This September we are excited to offer the following globally recognized certifications with new VIRTUAL options and savings of 20% off historical prices!

  • CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management)STARTING ON SEPTEMBER 11th, CPIM 1 is the perfect certification for production and inventory management personnel. CPIM provides you with the ability to understand and evaluate production and inventory activities within a company’s global operations.
  • CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional)STARTING ON SEPTEMBER 14th, CSCP is the most sought-after certification by supply chain professionals around the globe seeking to achieve mastery and recognition in their field.

APICS Greater Detroit chapter members receive discounts on all certification classes – click here to join today. We look forward to helping you and your company improve results in 2019!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s