Private industry does not have a monopoly on supply chain innovation, as evidenced by CSCMP's presentation of its 2015 Supply Chain Innovation Award to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), a government enterprise that manages the buying and selling of alcoholic beverages in the province of Ontario, Canada. The award was announced at CSCMP's 2015 Annual Conference in San Diego, California, USA.
The LCBO has more than 650 retail stores and over 210 agency stores as well as catalogs and special order services. Its warehouse manages the sortation and distribution of more than 50 million cases of product each year.
The agency was recognized for its innovative automated palletizing process, which uses sophisticated optimization software, three-dimensional (3-D) visualization, and simulation to build mixed-case pallets of variable dimensions. The automation creates more stable pallets, resulting in less product breakage and fewer workplace injuries. It also saves millions of dollars in labor. According to LCBO Executive Vice President George Soleas, the automated palletizing technology is unique and has not been used anywhere else.
Judith M. Whipple, professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University and Supply Chain Innovation Award co-chair, was impressed with the results achieved by the automated palletizing process. "[LCBO's] innovation dramatically improved warehouse productivity while reducing workplace injuries and product damage, and also delivered substantial transportation savings due to denser pallets," she said in announcing the award.
The runner-up was a case study involving Lennox Residential and the software firm ToolsGroup Inc. The companies used advanced analytical techniques to accurately model and forecast demand in a complex and unpredictable business environment, improving forecast accuracy and achieving millions of dollars in transportation cost savings while supporting revenue growth.
More information about CSCMP's Supply Chain Innovation Award is available here.