Ladner Building Products
Issues. Gordon Stephens, logistics analyst for Ladner Building Products (Ladner), a building materials distributor, has to prepare for the next two weeks a report analysing the company's logistic practices for Doug Turner, vice president, logistics and materials management. Moreover, the report had to present recommendations for Doug that would reduce costs, improve company performance, or accomplish both simultaneously. The main immediate issue that Gordon has to deal with is the high cost that Ladner has in the distribution end of the business. Doug has identified some of the potential causes for Gordon already: too many small orders, too much flexibility to the sales people but Gordon knew that his analysis and recommendations needs to be integrated with the other activities in the company such as marketing and sales, regional operations and purchasing. While having to address these immediate issues and suggested causes, Gordon has to look at the big picture" and analyze in full the company's supply chain management. It appears that the basic issue might be the lack of a systematic and consistent approach across all regions to managing the entire flow of customers, information, materials, and services.
Decision Parameters. The competitive environment of the building materials distribution industry was strong and margins were low. The industry comprised in a wide variety of products grouped in three main product segments: commodities, industrial, and allied products. Although the general economic climate had been strong in Canada, the company had generated losses in each of its last four years. Most firms competed at the regional level, and the market was fragmented both geographically and by product lines. Ladner was one of the few national firms with an estimated market share of four to five percent, and this seems to be their competitive advantage. In this context, a high level of efficiency of the supply chain management seems...
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