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Speed to Market: Becoming Lean Through Outsourcing

By: Dave Becker
Posted: June 3, 2010, from the June 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 6

The most innovative outsourcing companies provide value-added services to further save time. Surefil is a product formulation, compounding and packaging firm. CEO Bill Hunt indicates that Surefil has discovered a win-win solution by expanding its shipping capabilities.

“We’ve simplified and shortened the entire supply chain by offering transportation service directly to our customers’ customers.”

Eliminating several unnecessary steps, Surefil can strip days from delivery times and keep product in constant supply.

As with many supply chain initiatives, the results of lean deliveries often don’t have a clear time or dollar figure attached to them. Many companies tend to overlook such “soft” savings, but Hunt insists that the results can be astounding. “We estimate that shipping directly to the retail outlet saves about three weeks of inventory. If you have a $20 million product line, that translates to more than a $1 million cash savings on inventory, along with better service and efficiency.”

Beyond the inventory savings, a supply chain that consistently gets products to market faster is invaluable.

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