Traditionally, the end of the year is a time for wrap-ups, but I think you’ll forgive Operations & Fulfillment if we skip looking back at the painful 12 months that we’ve all endured. Instead, let’s fast forward to the exciting changes that we plan to make in 2003 — changes that we’re convinced will enhance the benefits you receive from reading O&F.
In an editorial advisory board survey some weeks ago, one operations executive said that “the bear economy puts a whole new complexion on things.” Most of the other board members, all O&F subscribers, echoed this sentiment; the consensus was that things won’t really turn around until the second half of next year, and that until then, minimal capital investment and vigorous expense reduction would be de rigueur. Under the circumstances, they said, what they expect O&F to provide is advice on how to cope with stagnant growth; hard-to-find industry statistics; fresh and creative solutions to old problems; cost-cutting advice; resourceful management techniques; and tons of how-to’s.
Expect to find all that and more in next year’s issues. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary in 2003, the magazine will feature a brand-new design, improved editorial, new departments, and formats created with economy and flexibility in mind. Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll see starting in January:
- Whole-body makeover
Look for a powerful new logo; updated, reader-friendly page layouts; shorter features; information presented in modular chunks; more interviews and profiles; and lots of eye-catching graphics.
- New departments
Steep yourself in logistics lore with “O&F Then and Now,” a monthly department that puts operations in perspective by exploring historical and current developments. And check out “Opinion Poll,” a quarterly roundtable that tells you what your industry peers are thinking and doing.
- New research
The popularity of our current benchmark reports indicates the urgent need for statistics in the fulfillment business. Anticipate new benchmark reports next year on CRM and customer service (January), key operational performance indicators (May), and systems integration (September). We will repeat our current surveys of material handling, call centers, and information systems in 2004.
- Expanded focus on supply chain issues
As we heard at several conferences in the past year, most retailers are unprepared for effective supply chain management (a newly trendy discipline) and are struggling with legacy systems, redundant facilities, inaccurate financial information, and unwieldy inventory handling and returns processes. Arm yourself with our tip-and-technique-packed reports — and you’ll have no trouble tackling SCM head-on.