VI.  Short "Collaboration" Case Studies




    A.  Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble

        1.  If there are two companies that have made supply chain a household word, they are 
            Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble.  These two companies started collaborating back in 
            the '80s when retailers shared very little information with manufacturers.  The two 
            giants built a software system that hooked Proctor & Gamble up to Wal-Mart's 
            distribution centers.  When Proctor & Gamble's products run low at the 
            distribution centers, the system sends an automatic alert to Proctor & Gamble to 
            ship more products.  In some cases, the system goes all the way to individual Wal-Mart 
            stores.  It lets Proctor & Gamble monitor the shelves through real-time satellite 
            up-links that send messages to the factory whenever a Proctor & Gamble item swoops 
            past a scanner at the Wal-Mart register.

        2.  With this kind of up-to-date information, Proctor & Gamble knows when to make, 
            ship and display more products at the Wal-Mart stores.  No need to keep products piled 
            up in warehouses awaiting Wal-Mart's call.  Invoicing and payments happen automatically 
            too.  The system saves Proctor & Gamble so much in time, reduced inventory and 
            lower order-processing costs that it can afford to give Wal-Mart "everyday, low 
            prices" without putting itself out of business.