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Report Card on Supply Chain Matters 2014 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains- Part Two

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We continue with our series of postings reflecting on our 2014 Predictions for Global Supply Chains that we published in December of last year. Our research arm, The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group has published annual predictions since our founding in 2008.  We not only publish our annualized ten predictions, but scorecard the projections as this point every year.  After we conclude the scorecard process, we will then unveil our 2015 annual projections for industry supply chains. As has been our custom, our scoring process will be based on a four point scale.  Four will be the highest score, an indicator that we totally nailed the prediction.  One is the lowest score, an indicator of, what on earth were we thinking? Ratings in the 2-3 range reflect that we probably had the right intent but events turned out different. Admittedly, our self-rating is subjective and readers are welcomed to add […]


Added Significant News from SAP- The Pending Unveiling of a New Multi-Year Strategic Plan

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These past few weeks have featured a series of noteworthy news items related to enterprise and supply chain technology provider SAP. In a prior posting, Supply Chain Matters called attention to the announcement of a new chief marketing officer and the formation of a new Digital Business operating unit. In this posting we touch upon some other announcements and their significance to a broader strategy that is underway, one that is perhaps strategically critical to SAP. Earlier this month, SAP announced three business applications  to help customers leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technology. These announcements represent initial efforts towards an overall multi-year effort for SAP to provide increased leveraging of digital based technologies. SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service, which is developed on SAP’s HANA Cloud Platform, is directed for manufacturers’ support in predicting a malfunction of installed equipment before it occurs by monitoring equipment sensors and historic operational data. SAP […]


Breaking News: Wal-Mart’s Chief Merchandising Officer for U.S. Retail Departs

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Retailers will shun senior leadership or organizational changes within the critically important holiday sales period to avoid distraction or disruption to all-important operational execution.  That apparently may not be the case for global retailer Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations. The Wall Street Journal reports (paid subscription) that the global retailer’s chief merchandising officer for U.S. operations, Duncan Mac Naughton will be leaving amidst an apparent shake-up involving U.S. retail merchandising.  According to the report, Greg Foran, chief executive of Wal-Mart U.S., informed employees in a memo that Mac Naughton decided to leave the company “to pursue new opportunities,” effective immediately. The publication cites unnamed internal sources as indicating that Mac Naughton’s departure was prompted by being passed over for the U.S. CEO role this past summer. The company also announced it will replace its U.S. head of grocery operations, Jack Sinclair. Steve Bratspies, who leads the general merchandise division, will take over […]


Report Card on Supply Chain Matters 2014 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains-Part One

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While global industry supply chain teams continue to work on enabling 2014 operational and business performance objectives, this is the opportunity for Supply Chain Matters to reflect on our 2014 Predictions for Global Supply Chains that we published in December of 2013. Our research arm, The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group has published annual predictions since our founding in 2008.  We not only publish our annualized predictions, but score our predictions every year.  After we conclude the self-rating process, we will then unveil our 2015 Annual Projections for Industry Supply Chain during the month of December. As has been our custom, our scoring process will be based on a four point scale.  Four will be the highest score, an indicator that we totally nailed the prediction.  One is the lowest score, an indicator of, what on earth were we thinking? Ratings in the 2-3 range reflect that we probably had […]


More Visibility to Amazon’s Fulfillment Center Automation Efforts

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In March of 2012, Amazon agreed to acquire privately-held warehouse automation and robotics provider Kiva Systems in an all cash deal of $775 million. At the time, there was much speculation regarding Amazon’s strategic intent in acquiring this warehouse and distribution center robotics automation provider at such a hefty price.  Speculation primarily centered on what was Amazon’s strategic intent.  That speculation changed shortly thereafter when external sales of Kiva based technology was no longer offered to new external customers. In essence, Kiva was to become an in-house fulfillment center automation innovator for Amazon. In June of this year, Supply Chain Matters highlighted reports noting that at Amazon’s annual investor meeting, founder Jeff Bezos indicated that the Internet retailer would have upwards of 10,000 Kiva based robots deployed by the end of this year. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported (paid subscription or free metered view) that during the current […]


Severe Congestion and Paralysis Among U.S. West Coast Ports- Supply Chain Matters Update Four

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In last week’s Update Three commentary regarding the current crisis involving the near paralysis among the U.S. West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Supply Chain Matters highlighted that conditions on the ground were not showing any signs of improvement.  As this week draws to a close, the situation appears to be deteriorating even more, and now involves clear impacts and continued disruption for both U.S. exports as well as imports. Last week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) published an editorial with the statement: “The sudden change in tone is alarming and suggests that a shutdown of the ports — either from a walkout by labor or a lockout by management — is imminent.” The NRF has since been joined by other industry associations  including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and 60 other organizations representing agricultural growers. Agricultural exports such as apples, […]


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