Nick Ostdick

Nick Ostdick is a former college English instructor, journalist, and blogger with several years of experience in the communications and marketing fields working to craft engaging, creative messaging and branding in the education and manufacturing industries. Nick has written extensively on supply chain logistics and processes and works as a member of the flexis marketing team to highlight some of today’s most pressing supply chain topics.

Recent Posts

A Transport Logistics FAQ

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

If our goal on the flexis AG blog to educate our readers about the pressing issues in global manufacturing and supply chain management, then today’s entry is right on par with that mission. Transport logistics, though a critical element to a manufacturing supply chain management strategy, is perhaps one of the least discussed aspects of SCM. While an underutilized element of administering a successful value chain, transport logistics (or the manner in which companies move finished products from the production room floor to the customer’s door) is the last crucial link in fulfilling customer expectations and ensuring production programs are executed to their fullest extent.

It’s somewhat difficult to understand why transport logistics often gets lost in the fray of global supply chain management. Perhaps it’s because more emphasis is placed on operations at earlier stages in the value chain such as planning and procurement. Or perhaps it’s because the facilitating of effective production programs is often at the forefront of the minds of planners and managers. Either way, transport logistics, though often neglected, can either be a significant boon or detriment to how effective a manufacturing company conducts itself.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Industry 4.0, Lean Manufacturing

Can Industry 4.0 Generate Revenue Growth?

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

One of the greatest challenges manufacturing companies face in today’s global, competitive landscape is generating and sustaining growth of revenue. Because the manufacturing industry is variant-rich and often reliant on complex partner networks spread across the globe, manufacturing companies often operate in a ‘lean and mean’ context where profits can be fairly small and margins for error in terms of investment and return are razor thin. As a result, companies must deploy a number of concepts, platforms, and campaigns to help bolster revenue, optimize processes, and eliminate instances of waste or redundancy.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Lean Manufacturing

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Manufacturing

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 14, 2017 8:00:00 AM

There’s one thing that pops to mind when you ask people about artificial intelligence in the manufacturing industry, particularly in the automotive landscape: Autonomous or driver-assisted cars. And the future of driverless vehicles may in fact arrive sooner than many people think, there’s actually more concrete contexts for artificial intelligence (AI) in today’s manufacturing sphere. AI has the potential to impact the automotive manufacturing supply chain in equally profound and interesting ways beyond the idea of the driverless car. In fact, AI has the potential to be a truly disruptive force in the way automotive manufacturing companies produce vehicles and how the consumer interacts with the end product. 

With AI as an increasingly common technology platform, the manufacturing industry — automotive sector in particular — is set to experience significant changes in the coming years in terms of production and supply chain management. As vehicles become more integrated, individualized, and complex, manufacturing companies will have to leverage more lean methods of production and supply chain logistics to keep pace with the demands of such a variant-rich industry.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Digitization, Lean Manufacturing

Can S&OE Create A More Responsive Supply Chain?

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 12, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Administering an integrated supply chain in today’s manufacturing industry is a tricky proposition. No matter how carefully and thoroughly planners and managers work to reduce volatility and uncertainty in any number of variant-rich industries, the complexity of a global manufacturing and supply stream means companies must work harder than ever to ensure their value streams are responsive enough to weather potential breakdowns, disruptions, shortages, and other obstacles in facilitating effective supply chain management.  

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Topics: End-to-End (E2E) Visibility, Sales & Operations Execution (S&OE), Lean Manufacturing

How Machine Learning Impacts Supply Chain Management

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The manufacturing has long relied and functioned on a platform of automation or an automated method of facilitating production programs. The production facility floor is ground zero for how manufacturing companies use robotics or artificial intelligence to streamline production processes and increase the efficiency of how products move from the production floor to the customer’s door. But what’s slowly gaining more and more prominence in the manufacturing industry is machine learning outside of the actual production space and the ways in which a digitized manufacturing platform can enhance supply chain management at every touch point of the value stream.

Understanding machine learning in this context — a holistic reimagination of how this technology can be a disruptive force in a cross-organizational way from sales and procurement to transport logistics — puts machine learning on a grander stage in terms of shaping the future of the automotive supply chain. In addition, machine learning can provide planners and managers with a critical competitive advantage in a somewhat uncertain, variant-rich manufacturing space.

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Topics: Digitization

How Integrated Transport Logistics Creates Real Growth

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

It sounds simple, but how well a manufacturing company moves products from the shop floor to the customer’s front door is not only a sign of a healthy supply chain, but also a critical indicator as to how efficiently planners and managers mitigate several aspects of global supply chain management. But in one of the more interesting paradoxes in today’s manufacturing landscape, integrated transport logistics, while extremely valuable, is one of the more overlooked elements of how manufacturing companies work their production cycles.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Supply Chain Logistics

How S&OE Adds Business Value

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 31, 2017 9:00:00 AM

We’ve talked in a great length on this blog about the elements of effective global supply chain management and the implications thereof. But while these are important discussions to have as manufacturing companies work to expand their footprint and growth their customer base, at the end of the day the developments in supply chain management only really matter insofar as they add business value for these manufacturing companies. Advancements in procurement, production planning, job allocation, and transportation management must equal enhanced business value for each partner stage in a production network or else these aspects are simply window dressing designed to give the appearance of lean production principles.

One of the most valuable assets manufacturing companies can utilize to increase business value is the idea of sales and operations execution (S&OE). Though something of a recent concept in global supply chain logistics, S&OE is a powerful piece of planning capability planners and managers can deploy to increase the efficacy of their planning and production programs, as well as enhance a number of other critical functions across the value stream such as resource and material procurement, optimized inventory management, and even job shop scheduling and job allocation. 

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Topics: Supply Chain Logistics, Supply Chain Planning, Sales & Operations Execution (S&OE), Supply Chain Management

The Importance of Mitigating Supply Chain Risk

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 29, 2017 9:00:00 AM

It’s a big concept both in terms of importance and how many elements of global supply chain management under which it encompasses. We’re talking about risk and the factors manufacturing companies must address and combat to ensure stability and reduce the amount of uncertainty in a globally-competitive, variant-rich landscape. No matter how diligently planners and managers work to curtail this uncertainty, risk in a variety of forms can plague companies across the entire value chain, everything from planning and procurement to production and transport logistics.

All this being said, there are a number of strategies, solutions, and principles manufacturing companies can deploy and integrate to reduce the level of risk in a cross-organizational manner that also helps to increase productivity and enhance efficiencies.

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Topics: Supply Chain Logistics, Supply Chain Planning, Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Conversations: An Interview with flexis’ Robert Recknagel

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 24, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Today’s blog entry features a fascinating conversation with flexis AG Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics Robert Recknagel. As a thought-leader in the supply chain landscape with more than 10 years of experience in operational supply chain management, software concepts and optimization design, Recknagel provided us a glimpse into the key conversations, discussions, and concerns manufacturing companies are addressing in today’s global manufacturing landscape. Recknagel’s work with flexis has largely focussed on helping companies administer their supply networks as efficiently and productivity as possible, which uniquely positions him to shed light on the challenges and opportunities today’s manufacturers see each and every day.

Nick Ostdick: There’s a lot of information in today’s supply chain about Industry 4.0. Can you clarify a little bit about what Industry 4.0 means for the manufacturing supply chain and how companies should be looking to implement this technology platform?

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Supply Chain Logistics, Supply Chain Planning, Supply Chain Management

Why Manufacturers Should Put Big Data to Work

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 22, 2017 9:00:00 AM

While Big Data has certainly permeated nearly every aspect of today’s manufacturing and supply pipeline, some industry analysts still question the validity, value proposition, and staying power of Big Data for companies as they strive to streamline their operational platforms and leverage lean manufacturing principles for optimal productivity and profitability.

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Topics: Advanced Analytics, Supply Chain Management, Lean Manufacturing