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Breaking: Report Indicates Apple is Preparing to Launch 12.9 Inch iPad in Q1


In mid-July, business and social media was abuzz with the announcement that two long-time rivals, Apple and IBM, would team-up in an alliance to create business apps leveraging Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices.  Under the alliance, IBM will create what it terms as “simple” business productivity apps leveraging the respective Apple mobile devices. Today, Bloomberg released some somewhat stunning news which many are speculating is directly related to above announcement. Supplier sources informed Bloomberg that Apple is preparing to manufacture the largest model iPad ever, a 12.9 inch screen device, with production scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2015. That is 6-9 months from today. As we have echoed in previous Supply Chain Matters commentaries, the Apple supplier network is feverishly ramping-up production volumes for new models of iPhones and iPads for the all-important upcoming holiday buying surge period. Apple’s three key suppliers of LCD screens are especially […]

Another Evidence Point on the White Hot Demand for Senior Supply Chain Executives


Supply Chain Matters has previously alerted our readers among multiple previous postings to the red hot demand for both experienced supply chain professionals and executive leaders. (Search on the term: ‘talent management’ in our Categories section in the right-hand panel). While such demand for supply chain talent extends across multiple industry settings, the needs for highly experienced supply chain leadership within the pharmaceutical and medical device sector are especially growing. Premier executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles today acknowledged the “white hot demand for supply chain executives.” The executive search firm appointed Carlos Garcia an added Partner within the firm’s Supply Chain and Operations Practice.  Mr. Garcia’s concentration will be on building a practice in the pharmaceutical, biologic and medical device industry sector. The appointment is described as a new strategic talent initiative for this executive search firm. It is gratifying to again observe the continued demand for experienced supply […]

Napa Valley Assesses Damage to Wine Inventories and Production Equipment


Business owners in the Napa Valley area of California woke up today to the after-effects of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the region on Sunday.  The Napa Valley was very close to the epicenter of this earthquake and we all know and appreciate what this region’s most important commercial product is, namely great wines with global brand identity. Reports indicate that the wine industry may have suffered some significant damage as a result of the quake and its aftershocks.  A report produced by business network CNBC features video and reports of damaged wine caskets and bottled inventory among growers and distributors, some of very expensive varieties. According to a report by CNN, the damage was isolated, some wineries being hit very hard, others not so. Wine producers and wholesalers are in the process of assessing overall damage along with trying to save stored aging wine.  Wine within damaged barrels […]

Maersk Line’s Mid-Year Report Reflects Positive Results but with Broader Industry Implications


The adage: “where there is a will, there is way” is the headline for this week’s news coming from the leader of ocean container shipping. A combination of factors has led to an improved financial outlook for the industry leader in ocean container shipping.   This week, A.P. Moeller-Maersk, the parent of Maersk Line reported its Interim Report Q2-2014 reflecting current and expected financial results. That report indicates that Maersk Line made a profit of $547 million compared to $439 million a year earlier. These results were reportedly achieved by a 4.4 percent reduction in overall costs and a volume increase of 6.6 percent. At the half-year mark, average freight rate was reported as $2631 in the first six months compared with $2691 at the same point in 2013. Cash generated from operating activities in Q2 was $870 million.  The practice of slow steaming coupled with continued deliveries of larger, more […]

Fears Grow Over Earthquake and Volcanic Activity in Iceland- Implications to Air Traffic


Just over four years ago, air traffic across the continent of Europe was disrupted by a volcanic eruption that occurred within Iceland that spewed concentrations of volcanic ash at high altitudes and across European and Atlantic skies.  Many industry supply chains were impacted as time and value sensitive shipments of agricultural and food products, pharmaceutical, medical products, high technology and telecommunications components were impacted, to name a few.  Air travel was a mess as thousands of air travelers suffered through flight cancellations and so were ground logistics and transportation networks as supply chain logistics professionals scrambled to seek alternative means to move products to customers.  Much was hopefully learned from that disruption event. All of this week, media has been reporting a high concentration of volcanic occurrences within a specific region of Iceland. This intense earthquake swarm involves thousands of small earthquakes within the area of the Bárðarbunga volcano.  The […]

Report of Apple iPhone 6 Supply Chain Scramble with Late Product Design Change


Supply Chain Matters has featured previous commentaries reinforcing the critical dependence of product design and new product introduction (NPI) with supply chain network decision-making. We now have another real-world reminder of the challenge that many high tech and consumer products focused supply chains continually encounter in the constant dependency and alignment of NPI decisions with the external supply chain network. Reuters, in an exclusive report, indicates that LCD suppliers for the pending Apple iPhone 6 product NPI launch have been scrambling to scale volume production, after a late product re-design disrupted supplier production plans. The Reuters report cites two supply chain sources as indicating that the backlight design of the LCD panel was supposed to feature a single layer instead of the standard two-layers of film. Apparently the new design was not bright enough to meet Apple’s product management expectations and was sent back to design to fit in the […]

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