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The Most Important Considerations in Your Organization’s Supply Chain Technology Investment Plans

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Tomorrow, this author will be joining a distinguished compliment of speakers at the 7th Annual Supply Chain Management Summit sponsored by Bryant University and Benneker Industries. This event is turning out to be one of few premiere New England regional conferences focused on current issues and learning in supply chain management. Last year’s event drew upwards of 250 attendees among many industry settings. Since many of our readers are located across the globe, the purpose of this Supply Chain Matters commentary is to summarize the key messages and takeaways of my talk. My presentation is titled: New Developments in Supply Chain Technology- What to Consider in Your Supply Chain Investment Plans. The key takeaway messages I’ll be delivering is that three converging mega-forces: Constantly shifting customer and business needs requiring sense and response, as well as  more predictive business processes and decision-making capabilities. Supply chain process and IT technology convergence […]

Apple Takes Steps in Requiring Safer Supply Chain Substances


The bulk of Apple’s component supplier and contract manufacturing partners reside in China and Asia where many high tech electronics products are produced.  Unfortunately, this is an area that continues to deal with high levels of industrial pollution, worker safety and industrial accidents. Apple is now taking meaningful steps to initiate substance regulations across its supplier network.  According to a recent posting appearing on Apple Insider, the company is banning the use of cleaning agents’ benzene and n-hexane within supplier factories. This moves is part of Apple published Regulated Substances Specification which has recently been made available for open viewing. The purpose of this specification reads in-part: “We require our suppliers to adhere to this Regulated Substances Specification, which describes Apple’s global restrictions on the use of certain chemical substances or materials in our products, accessories, manufacturing processes, and packaging used for shipping products to Apple’s customers.” Apple’s vice-president of […]

More Railcar Shortages Loom for U.S. Midwest- Grain Shipments Remain Impacted


Earlier this year, severe winter conditions across North America coupled with the continued boom of bulk crude oil shipments originating from the Bakken region of North Dakota led to significant railcar bottlenecks and shortages. Business media was quick to note that the rail car shortage problems stemmed from pileups at the BNSF Railway, which was one of other railroads heavily burdened by surging demand for crude oil transport.  The problem was a classic capacity-constrained network, as winter conditions incurred a heavy toll on equipment and schedules. At the time, the railcar shortage was expected in extend further into the year.  A recent published report from Bloomberg now indicates that grain farmers in the upper Mid-West region of the United States now have a compounding problem.  The article quotes grain industry sources indicating that 10 to 15 percent of last year’s grain crop still remains stored in silos because of the […]

Supply Chain Matters News Capsule: August 15; Google, Airbus, Boeing, HP


It’s the end of the calendar work and this commentary is our running news capsule of developments related to previous Supply Chain Matters posted commentaries or news developments. In this capsule commentary, we include the following updates: Google and Barnes and Noble Partner to Take on Amazon Airbus Completes Test Trials of the A350 Boeing to Make Additional Cost Cuts from Defense Focused Supply Chain Hewlett Packard Announces Smaller, Less Costly Cloud Platform U.S. Job Openings at a Thirteen Year High   Google and Barnes and Noble Partner to Take on Amazon Earlier in the week, the New York Times reported (tiered subscription) that Google and Barnes and Noble are joining forces on for fast, cheap delivery of books. According to the report, buyers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay locales will be able to get same-day delivery of books from local Barnes and Noble retail stores […]

Samsung’s Announced Acquisition of SmartThings is Another IoT Strategy Play


One of our Supply Chain Matters 2014 Predictions for Global Supply Chains published in late 2013 (available for complimentary downloading within our Research Center) predicted that interest levels in the “Internet of Things” (IoT) would accelerate this year.  That prediction is proving to be valid one, considering the increased acquisition announcements coming from larger technology providers in a frenzied interest in acquiring key IoT technologies and related applications. Product lifecycle management technology provider PTC has already made two strategic acquisitions in this area, while Amazon Amazon is taking “on-demand’ to a new dimension with its inaugural 3D printing marketplace. Other large technology vendors such as Google, Qualcomm and Cisco have strategic initiatives underway targeting the operating systems supporting IoT. Samsung Electronics announced this week that it intends to acquire SmartThings, which the Wall Street Journal described as “a poster child for a movement to bring intelligence to all manner of […]

Amazon Taking a Long View on India Online Market Penetration


The Asian editions of the Wall Street Journal report (paid subscription or free metered view) that Amazon is taking a long view on the growth opportunities for online commerce in India.  The online juggernaut is reported to be prepared to invest $2 billion in India for developing a nationwide delivery system along with technologies tailored to serve India’s consumers, most of which don’t have computers but do have mobile phones. Amazon reportedly obtains 35 percent of its current India business via mobile phones. Thousands of merchants must be trained to utilize Amazon’s web site and logistics services. In its reporting, the WSJ notes that analysts were surprised by the large investment. India’s e-commerce market is likely to grow to more than $30 billion in next six years, much smaller than prospects in China. Once more, Amazon will have to compete with existing India based, or other foreign-based e-commerce providers.

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