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  Supply Chain

Supply Chain Optimization

About Supply Chain Optimization

Manufacturers deal with supply chain challenges daily. From the identification of new suppliers and materials through distribution to customers; manufacturers must remain strategic in their quest to increase visibility and mitigate risk. By assessing situations and implementing strategic solutions through collaboration with suppliers and customers, companies will develop a better understanding of the true total cost of their supply chains and achieve more consistent manufacturing growth. 

MEP's Supply Chain Optimization is a comprehensive approach to solving the challenges of U.S. manufacturers by utilizing tools based on a Theory of Constraints methodology1. Manufacturers can benefit from the program which promotes a better flow of production from suppliers to customers resulting in reduced cost, improved quality and shortened lead times.

MEP’s Supply Chain Optimization roadmap includes a set of workshops and strategy sessions:

Executive Engagement - This series of working sessions focuses on the critical components required to create and implement a supply chain plan that delivers higher value, including profitability and satisfaction, for every stakeholder within the system. By the end of the program, executives will better understand cause and effect within supply chains and have a clear strategy for improving supply chain performance.

Partner Engagement - In this supply chain strategy session, suppliers and partners identified in the Executive Engagement phase are introduced to Constraint Theory and a methodology for holistically resolving choke points within the supply chain. This is contrasted to the supplier development method, which narrowly focuses on problem areas, resulting in suboptimal solutions.

Risk Management - Evaluating, assessing, and prioritizing the probability of unexpected events are part of Risk Management, which is essential for an effective supply chain. This session helps participants create a risk impact analysis, including the financial implications of unexpected events.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - TCO is a method for quantifying the costs for every activity along the supply stream, including acquisition, transportation, storage, and selling of goods. TCO allows strategic sourcing decisions to incorporate social costs, which historically have been difficult to assess. The working session also introduces a TCO calculator, which allows a side-by-side comparison of up to four suppliers and the analysis of multiple sourcing scenarios.

Outstanding Results:

  • Syn Strand of South Carolina increased sales by $2 million, retained 8 jobs, and realized annual savings of more than $200,000 as a result of the program
  • Volvo Group Trucks Operations Americas’ initiative included incorporating supplier, Mahle Behr, into the research-based supply and value chain project, resulting in increased competitiveness, productivity and collaboration among suppliers for the leading heavy truck manufacturer’s U.S.-based operations. 
Click here to read more successes and case studies.

Contact us

For additional information about MEP Supply Chain Optimization efforts, visit www.mepsupplychain.org or contact  NIST MEP Mark Schmit.


1 The Theory of Constraints is a operations management methodology developed by Dr. Eli Goldratt, founder of the Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute as a way of "improving the world in which we live through the development and dissemination of common sense methodologies.