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Napa Valley Assesses Damage to Wine Inventories and Production Equipment

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]


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

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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 […]


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