3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2009

Izak Duenyas is a professor and the chair of operations management at the Ross School of Business and a professor of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan.

His research interests are in supply chain management, investments in capacity and flexibility, and lean manufacturing. He has been awarded the Researcher of the Year award by the Ross School of Business, and he has provided training and/or consulting services to companies such as GE, Ford, Siemens and Diebold. He is also a co-director of a program in lean manufacturing for industry offered at the University of Michigan.

Q. Why should companies re-evaluate their approach on transportation logistics?

Many companies see transportation logistics as a cost center, and this is just not true. Approach transportation logistics in a problem-solving fashion. Your customers want something — finding the most efficient process to get them what they want will create customer loyalty. If they want the lowest price possible, see how you can eliminate costs in your overall company strategy to get them the lowest cost. If they care most about the fastest delivery, find a way to get them that.

Q. What advice can you provide to companies looking to reassess their in-house shipping process?

Be congruent with your supply chain strategy. Make sure everyone is handling the process in the same manner. Try not to have too narrow of a focus. Don’t minimize cost only. Look at all possible strategies that will ultimately be best for the company. Don’t be ideological about your approach. There’s always a PR benefit and a cost benefit to actions.

Q. How can technology help a company have more efficient transportation logistics?

Technology is a huge benefit if you know the solution you need. Know your problems and goals before investing in technology. Technology can help you organize, ship and plan all aspects of transportation logistics, but if you are enamored with technology and have no strategy, it will be useless to you.

Izak Duenyas is a professor and the chair of operations management at the Ross School of Business and a professor of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan.

His research interests are in supply chain management, investments in capacity and flexibility, and lean manufacturing. He has been awarded the Researcher of the Year award by the Ross School of Business, and he has provided training and/or consulting services to companies such as GE, Ford, Siemens and Diebold. He is also a co-director of a program in lean manufacturing for industry offered at the University of Michigan.

Q. Why should companies re-evaluate their approach on transportation logistics?

Many companies see transportation logistics as a cost center, and this is just not true. Approach transportation logistics in a problem-solving fashion. Your customers want something — finding the most efficient process to get them what they want will create customer loyalty. If they want the lowest price possible, see how you can eliminate costs in your overall company strategy to get them the lowest cost. If they care most about the fastest delivery, find a way to get them that.

Q. What advice can you provide to companies looking to reassess their in-house shipping process?

Be congruent with your supply chain strategy. Make sure everyone is handling the process in the same manner. Try not to have too narrow of a focus. Don’t minimize cost only. Look at all possible strategies that will ultimately be best for the company. Don’t be ideological about your approach. There’s always a PR benefit and a cost benefit to actions.

Q. How can technology help a company have more efficient transportation logistics?

Technology is a huge benefit if you know the solution you need. Know your problems and goals before investing in technology. Technology can help you organize, ship and plan all aspects of transportation logistics, but if you are enamored with technology and have no strategy, it will be useless to you.