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TEQ Impressions

A tasty lesson in supply chain efficiency

On Mar 5, 2015

From the grocery store, to the office, and yes even online, it’s that time of year again when we are constantly faced with the temptation to stock up on Thin Mints, Tagalongs and Samoas, not to mention take advantage of a time-honored opportunity to help young girls learn money management and business ethics skills. It’s no doubt that over the years the Girl Scouts have succeeded in creating quite a staggering demand for these cookies, but how did it all start?

You may be surprised to learn that the Girl Scout cookie craze began in 1917 when a group of Girl Scouts in Muskogee, Oklahoma on a mission to raise money for their troop decided to bake cookies and sell them in the high school cafeteria. Today, nearly a century later, over three million girls sell over $750 million worth of cookies each year. So how do the Girls Scouts manage such a feat? The answer is simple.

The Girl Scouts have developed a well-oiled, highly efficient supply chain.

Production is limited to only two bakeries and troops must order in full cases, making the transfer of cookies from bakery to a fleet of moving trucks dispersed across the nation and finally to individual vehicles as streamlined as possible. At the same time, pallets of extra cases are delivered to “cookie cupboards” across the nation, which troops can visit to purchase extra cookies if needed.

While not necessarily on such a massive scale, creating highly efficient supply chains like this one is exactly the type of challenge we enjoy at TEQ.

For example, when a global leader of healthcare devices moved the production of their ear thermometer covers from a manufacturing operation in Ireland to one in North America, TEQ not only set up a fully-functional, certified modular clean room operation, we also re-examined the entire workflow process to identify opportunities for improvement and increased efficiencies.

By implementing a series of tooling and machine modifications and identifying a new partner in close proximity to our clean room facility to produce the printed components and ship the medical and retail cartons – we were able to introduce a continuous flow of material reuse and drastically reduce unnecessary delays and cost from the supply chain.

What about you? What supply challenges has your business or industry overcome?

Todd McDonald

By Todd McDonald

A creative, customer-based problem solver, Todd has over 20 years of industry experience. Starting as a designer, he moved on to engineering project management, then transitioned into sales. It is this diverse background that gives him a “unique, multi-faceted understanding of business” that generates unexpected, smart solutions.

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