We’ve had the privilege to work with some of North America’s largest retailers, distributors and CPG manufacturers, including Canadian Tire Corporation, Loblaw Companies Limited, Home Depot, Martin-Brower, and Procter & Gamble.

How has our small consulting firm managed to contribute to the success of these companies?

Truthfully, we couldn’t – at least not on our own. But, since our approach involves instilling their teams with our supply chain planning principles and know-how, they could and they did. They have even stayed in touch over the years and let us know that the foundation we laid down together endures. Here are just a couple of examples:

• Loblaw Companies retained us to help design and implement supply chain processes that would integrate planning, forecasting and replenishment, a vital component of their sweeping transformation. The results of our work together are now being used to plan the flow of product through over 20 distribution centres and with 1,000 suppliers worldwide.

• Home Depot Canada retained us to help them to develop and implement a centralized supply chain replenishment process, including new store inventory management processes and best practices. Today, they plan 75% of their product flow centrally, from just 20% when the project began.

We haven’t always been consultants, though.

We started as members of the supply chain re-design team at Canadian Tire in the mid 1990’s, looking down the barrel of an onslaught of competition from south of the border. Our assignment was to significantly improve the responsiveness of our supply chain, while also reducing its cost. Our resulting process was one of the first integrated, time-phased supply chain planning processes in retail history. Service levels went from the low 80s to the mid 90s and inventory turns doubled. To this day, that process, designed and built in the 1990s, is still considered to be one of the most successful retail supply chain planning processes in the country.

As might be evident from our talks, papers and even our tagline, education and thought leadership are as integral to our approach as they are to our values. We even coined the term “flowcasting” when we co-authored the book, Flowcasting the Retail Supply Chain.

For us, it always goes back to that old adage – “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

References from analysts to supply chain VPs provided upon request.