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SCMEP Helps Itron to Optimize Supply Chain Operations

SUpply Chain Optimization for ItronHow can a world leader committed to the resourceful use of energy and water better its own operations in a resourceful, efficient way? This question, among others, is what Itron asked the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP), who helped the aforementioned company to improve its global supply chain operations throughout the 2014 year.


Leading Facility Comes to SCMEP for Assistance

Itron’s Oconee Manufacturing Facility is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest corner of South Carolina.

A world-class manufacturing facility with its commitment to ISO9001 quality processes, leading edge technology and the expertise of its dedicated, highly trained workforce; the Oconee Manufacturing Facility has evolved with changing markets and industry and has been instrumental in developing and refining milestone energy management technologies.

Yet with many positives, there was room for improvement in one area: Supply Chain Optimization.

Itron’s Oconee Manufacturing Facility leadership came to SCMEP Greenville in 2014 after supplier non-performance caused the facility to close down a line and lay off nearly 50 of its 800 workers.

NIST-MEP Supply Chain Optimization and SCMEP Step In

In June 2014, Itron reviewed the NIST-MEP Supply Chain Optimization program that SCMEP has been heavily involved in developing. Despite being very experienced supply chain managers, Itron was excited by the opportunity to work with SCMEP’s supply chain experts to gain creative supply chain strategies to help Itron improve their global supply chain performance.

SCMEP Develops Supply Chain Strategy Workshop for Itron

SCMEP facilitated a two-day Executive Supply Chain Strategy Workshop. This workshop produced the following key strategies:

  1. Develop Supplier Selection Strategy
  2. Develop a process for quantifying variability and costs with forecast accuracy
  3. Develop Communication Collaboration Strategy
  4. Develop Supply Chain metrics and Scorecard

Implementing a SMART Strategy

Itron also developed a game plan for each Strategy. The game plan followed the “SMART” process which is Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time bound. Four operational teams were selected to work on the key strategies.

Mike Higgins, Manager of Operations at Itron, was pleased with the assistance provided by SCMEP, stating,

“The Supply Chain Optimization program provided by SCMEP enabled us to create a concise strategic vision combined with a plan for changes necessary for effective execution. The two day Executive Session is well organized, expertly facilitated and the SCMEP Greenville office provides an environment that enabled our team to focus on the creative process with minimal distractions.”

Learn more about the process and get more supply chain optimization advice by signing up for the MEP Newsletter, and watching the testimonial below.

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"MEP has put together an intelligent program that was well thought out and challenging for supply chain management team. They challenged our supply chain approach and current paradigm – forcing us to take a fresh look at what we do and how we do it. We are using the supply chain strategy tools that they provided as “take-aways” to change how we do things."


-Bruce Broxterman, President, Richards Industries

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