- THE MAGAZINE
Menlo Logistics this month marked its 7th year as ArjoHuntleigh's global logistics and distribution partner. The two companies provide a case study that demonstrates the value of a business relationship built on trust and a common vision which, at its core, emphasizes a continuous improvement ethic that extends deeply into both organizations.
ArjoHuntleigh focuses on developing mutually beneficial supplier relationships. Menlo, the global logistics and supply chain management unit of Con-way Inc. has built its customer software on a formalized process and tools for driving Lean continuous improvement throughout its service portfolio -- and into its customer's supply chain operations. The match has been successful. In providing for the care of people who require assistance with mobility, ArjoHuntleigh focuses on preventing the preventable and assisting their customers in an increased efficiency. As such, it constantly strives to do the same with its own processes and supply chain.
After a recent period of acquiring companies across the world that manufacture complimentary equipment, ArjoHuntleigh has concentrated on building one corporate structure and one supply chain, while promoting the elimination of waste and increased efficiency. "Our supply chain strategy is now concentrated on four major aspects," explains, Christian Lambrant, the company's global logistics director. "Optimizing our plant footprint, finding the right suppliers, reducing working capital and using Lean techniques to eliminate waste. In Menlo we found a logistics service supplier whose values are consistent with our own; whose business philosophy matches ours and whose willingness to develop its global capabilities are in-line with our own growth strategy.
Menlo, which offers warehousing and transportation management services as well as integrated 3PL and 4PL logistics solutions, has as its core philosophy a value-driven supply chain transformation concept. The company employs Lean methodologies to achieve a culture of continuous improvement which unites manufacturer and supplier in a mutual optimization exercise. This method empowers employees of both parties to make beneficial changes to the supply chain process.
Tony Gunn, Menlo's managing director, Europe, notes, "many 3PL/shipper engagements are tactical rather than strategic. Often shippers, in the main driven by their procurement functions focusing on cost reduction, make short-term choices based on volatile market demands. In the process they lose sight of greater efficiencies that can transpire from a longer-term partnership with a logistics supplier."
Menlo and ArjoHuntleigh share a mutual drive to improve supply chain processes as the parameters of change in market forces and the economic environment constantly fluctuate. Long-term relationships made up of such like-minded organizations as these are proven to be the most successfully in adapting to on-going, challenging business circumstances.