Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Amway Bets $175 Million on U.S. Manufacturing and Supply Chain Innovation

By Marc Dresner, Senior Editor, IIR

Manufacturing is a game of scale, and innovation has always been defined by the ability to make more more efficiently for less money.

But what if your goal is to make less? Or more specifically, to make just enough?

That’s the challenge Amway VP of Operations in Ada, MI Lauren Walker faces.

“When you think about your typical supply chain, there is power in making many,” said Walker. “It’s a complete mindshift change to make fewer.”

Lauren Walker
While most major manufacturers look overseas, Amway is investing more than $175 million in manufacturing within the U.S.

Walker has been charged with designing the supply chain as the new plants go up to accommodate a “need one; make one” model.

Right-sizing mass production is an ambitious undertaking made even tougher given Amway’s extensive portfolio spanning more than 450 personal care, household, nutrition and cleaning products.

You have to get good at things you don’t necessarily want to do.”

You have to get good at things you don’t necessarily want to do, like changeovers,” Walker noted.

In this episode of Forward FocusFEI’s expert interview series—Lauren Walker discusses how one of the world's largest direct-to-consumer sales businesses is betting on supply chain innovation to buck the definitive trend of the industrial age.

Check it out here on FEI's YouTube Channel or simply watch below!

About Forward Focus
Forward Focus is a special interview series featuring thought leaders and experts at the forefront of innovation.

Forward Focus is brought to you by FEI 2015—the 13th annual Front End of Innovation conference—taking place May 18-20 in Boston.

For more information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a publication for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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