Knowledge TopicsLooking for deeper meaning behind some the way successful supply chains work?  How about deep dives on leadership?  Do you have questions about Distribution Center Design?  Need some help improving your warehouse cycle count process?  What WMS is right for your operations?

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In 1930 Sam Furrow got the opportunity to buy out the Pocahontas, IA lumberyard that George Schneiders owned for $10,001.  Schneiders also owned the bank, and crushed under the beginning of the Great Depression, George gave young Sam at opportunity to own his own business.  Still employed by the Fullerton Lumber Company, Sam along with family members and friends put together the cash to buy the business.  Because Sam still worked for competitor Fullerton Lumber, the new owners kept the business transaction "hush-hush" and called it Kiefer-Wolfe Lumber.

From that risky start in the first year of The Great Depression, the Furrow family started what became Payless Cashways, one of the largest Building Materials / Home Center retail chains of the 1980's.  While Payless Cashways is no longer in business, this once mighty company embodied a story of risk and reward throughout it's growth.

Virginia Suggs Furrow, Vernon Furrow's wife, wrote the history of the company through 1985.  Published by the company as a marketing and PR tool, Aged in Wood is the story of how a band of risk taking entrepreneurs worked to change the nature of the US lumber and hardware business from 1930 through the 1970's, setting the company up for billion dollar revenues in the 1980's.  The book is republished here as a source for past employees who wanted to read the rare book.

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  • Messy Inventory

    by David Schneider | Jan 03, 2017
    Did you get everything you were looking for this Christmas?  Online or at the old-fashioned store, did you find everything that you wanted? I bet you didn’t.  Many did not.  In our family, we had to resort to the second or third choices, or we found something almost like it in another place.  Speaking to friends and neighbors they had the same experience, items advertised or displayed online, but not available.  Even and the Big River web site.  I even got...
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  • Where have we been?

    by David Schneider | Nov 30, 2016
    I must admit, we have not been keeping house here at the Practitioners. It is my fault.  Yep, I am the one to blame. 2015 proved to be a busy year as I worked with a client to create a new distribution facility in Las Vegas.  They engaged me in April to work on a different project, while they signed a lease for a facility in May.  I quickly shifted focus to Las Vegas and worked with the management team of the existing facility to develop the design concepts for the new...
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  • Flow, Part 3

    by David Schneider | Sep 26, 2016
    [The following is Part 3 of the Flow series] Water flowing in a stream. Oil flowing through pipelines. Gas flows through pipelines too. We typically use the word flow to describe the movement of water or gasses. But what about the flow of a crowd? How about gain flowing from a hopper? Flow is a description of movement, the movement of liquids, a bunch of solid objects, of work, of people, of ideas. If it moves, it can flow. I like to think of a logistics network as a system of pipes in which...
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  • Simple Commitment

    by David Schneider | Sep 20, 2016
    Desired outcomes do not happen without commitment. Ever. “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elemental truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment that one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents,...
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