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Highlights of Supply Chain Matters Briefing with Fieldglass, an SAP Company

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In March of 2014, SAP acquired cloud-based procurement contingent labor and vendor management system technology provider Fieldglass.  Plans called for combining the functionality within Fieldglass with that of the existing human resource management capabilities of SAP SuccessFactors and integrating both with the Ariba, an SAP Company network platform. After the acquisition was completed in mid-2014, the technology services provider has since been designated Fieldglass, a part of SAP. This author recently had the opportunity to conduct a briefing with this services procurement and contingent workforce management technology provider.  The briefing was prompted by reports that Fieldglass has experienced a considerable growth trajectory since the SAP acquisition. In our briefing, we were informed that post acquisition plans have gone exceedingly well. The technology provider has grown its global workforce by just over 30 percent and relocated its corporate headquarters to another part of Chicago. Efforts are underway for broader coverage in Europe […]

Supply Chain Matters February 20th Update- U.S. West Coast Port Disruption

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On this Friday, February 20th, Supply Chain Matters provides another reader update and advisory on the all-important and unfortunately, all-consuming disruption occurring at U.S. West coast ports that is impacting multiple industry supply chains. Various published reports indicate U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has set today as a deadline for the Pacific Maritime Association and the west coast dockworkers union to end a long-running labor dispute that has clogged West Coast ports. The sides reportedly negotiated late into the Thursday night in San Francisco, but no agreement was reached. According to a published report by the Los Angeles Times, City of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who has participated in a nightly call with Perez and mayors of other West Coast port cities, told the Associated Press that if a deal isn’t reached today, Perez plans to force the parties to Washington, D.C., next week to finish negotiations. All reports seem […]

More Information Comes to Light Regarding Speculation that Apple is Developing an Electric Car


Supply Chain Matters provides a brief update to our previous commentary regarding Apple’s reported potential development of an electric powered car. More information has come to public light, information pointing to development of advanced battery component capabilities for larger applications. Today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal echoes a published report from Reuters that A123 Systems, a lithium-ion battery developer and producer is in the process of filing suite with Apple for what that company alleges as “an aggressive campaign to poach employees.” The compliant names five employees that have defected to Apple or appear to be in the process of recruiting other existing A123 employees to join Apple. According to the Reuters report: “Apple has been poaching engineers with deep expertise in car systems, including from Tesla, Inc., and talking with industry experts and automakers with the ultimate aim of learning how to make its own electric car, an […]

Added Evidence to Structural Business Changes Impacting Consumer Goods Producers


Supply Chain Matters provides added rather important data point concerning the ongoing significant business challenges associated with many large consumer packaged goods providers and their associated supply chain teams. Multiple U.S. based food producers continue to serve up grim financial and operating news from their latest quarter. Most all of these ongoing challenges are attributed to the industry’s abilities to adapt to fundamental shifts in consumer tastes, changes in previous market growth assumptions and now, the added significant financial implications related to foreign currency effects. This week, the largest globally focused food manufacturer by revenues, Nestle SA, reported its slowest annual sales growth since 2009 and 2015 will likely provide added challenges. Nestle’s organic sales growth for all of fiscal 2014 was reported as 4.5 percent, a number that perhaps most other large CPG producers would relish at this point.  But, that number fell below Nestle’s declared growth target of […]

Another U.S. Train Derailment Involving Crude Oil Transport with Far Broader Implications


Yet another incident involving hazardous crude oil rail transport has occurred in the United States. This week’s West Virginia train derailment involving a CSX train hauling a 109-car oil tanker train of crude oil from the Bakken North Dakota fields has significant repercussions.  News media and the CSX itself have confirmed that this train was hauling the newer CPC 1232 tank cars, those that have been billed as being far more explosion resistant and safe. This CSX train was enroute to an oil depot facility located in Yorktown Virginia. As of this Supply Chain Matters commentary, reports indicate the fire is still burning, two days after the accident, inhibiting further recovery efforts. The train derailment that occurred near Mount Carbon West Virginia, a small town 33 miles southeast of that state’s capital of Charleston, caused fiery explosions that engulfed a reported 25 tank cars.  Initial reports immediately after the accident […]

Reports of Apple Designing and Producing a Concept Electric Car


Business media including the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Apple was working on a secret research lab (not so secret anymore) possibly directed at developing a concept electric car.  According to these reports, under the code name “Project Titan” Apple has several hundred employees working at this research lab designing a concept vehicle that resembles a minivan. Apple, of course, has declined comment to any of these publications. According to the published WSJ report, the size of the project team and the senior executive hires are indications of seriousness, with Apple CEO Tim Cook approving the development project almost a year ago.  Once more, the report indicates that Apple executives have flown to Austria to meet with contract manufacturers.  The publication names the Magna Steyr unit of Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International as one potential party involved. The report accurately notes that manufacturing […]

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