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Robert Bowman

Tuesday, 08-08-17 14:40

@RosemaryCoates, the following quote comes from a blog post from the Reshoring Initiative ([..]

"Three to five million manufacturing jobs have been lost to trade/offshoring since 1979. Similarly, three to five million can be brought back by reshoring. These conclusions are consistently found by serious researchers on the subject."


Tim Hagler

Tuesday, 25-07-17 15:24

In healthcare supply chain, we are highly interested in the elements of viability that the meal kit delivery supply chains experience as they may help with scalability of home care (direct-to-patient) supply chains for home health and hospice community-based health systems.

Great article

Tim Hagler


Don Muncy

Monday, 10-07-17 13:55

Agree with the article, but it is only covering one aspect of the "Dark Spending". There are situations where the primary supplier has failed to provide quantity or on time deliveries. The purchasing department needs to procure product to maintain an assembly line operation or meet the company obligations to their customers. Thus purchaser out of necessity needs to step out of the policy mandates to keep the process flowing. Yes, there are still purchasers or stockroom managers that have hidden inventory in their desks, filing cabinets, or closets for such an event. The acquisition process needs to migrate to an "integrated supply chain", requiring a shift in responsibility and automated inter-company visibility.


Robert Stein

Monday, 10-07-17 10:43

As if all this wasn't bad enough, the customs compliance built into many supply chains in many cases is bypassed by this dark spending. This results in goods being purchased that do not meet the proper requirements for marking or intellectual property rights, amongst many issues. Very often the first clue that this is happening is when the compliance manager gets a "call for help" when the goods are "stuck in customs".


Rosemary Coates

Friday, 30-06-17 18:44

You have completely misquoted us at the Reshoring Institute. We never once said all jobs were coming back, nor do we think they should. We advocate for the return and redevelopment of advanced manufacturing that pays a living wage and helps to revitalize the American middle class. We think the low-skill, high-touch, labor-intensive jobs belong in low-wage countries. Please publish a correction.


Glen Sink

Thursday, 22-06-17 11:31

Message is spot on. Industry will benefit by projecting this message.
This image must get into less advantaged communities and the education community. Is a reflection of employment needs in sectors and regions beyond manufacturing.

SCORE Mentor


Buy American Campaign

Tuesday, 20-06-17 16:27

It's true that we as a nation need to properly train and educate the youth who are looking for a career in manufacturing.


Hugh Wilson

Monday, 08-05-17 10:30

Interesting article and about time this role is given the credit it deserves. In particular like the paragraph pertaining to the Muti-tier supply chain, the upstream disruptions that the customer is not always aware of.


Joe Caprara

Wednesday, 26-04-17 12:41

Great read! Emphasis on a more collaborative nature between customer and supplier, including better information on financials, subs and JVs is a subject that I think could use more attention. At the end of the day, I think customers should be taking a more active role in management of supplier supply chain processes.


Buck Crowley

Sunday, 26-02-17 08:12

Amazon's Kiva robots are 10 years old and very antiquated. For every item they fetch, they move 1000 pounds and many unneeded items. They slowly carry tiny 5 foot high shelves, weaving among dozens of other 1000 pound shelves moving out of their way.


Patrick Ryan

Monday, 12-12-16 08:31

Nearsourcing is becoming a reality for businesses looking for solutions to the rising costs of fuel and Chinese labor. What we have to see is what countries they will go to and why.


David Price

Tuesday, 22-11-16 14:43

Locus Robotics approach in pick to cart scan verification and eliminating ecommerce picker deadheading is simple and elegant operationally. It combines humans and robots in an effective symbiotic relationship that delivers a compelling ROI. This type of flexible, KISS application of robots in the warehouse is a generation beyond KIVA at a fraction of KIVA's cost.


Robert Sabath

Monday, 21-11-16 09:41

This is an excellent article, but there is one serious weakness with Welty's opinion. He fails to consider the technology that has not yet been developed. The Need for more flexible robotics will drive the development of a new generation of flexible technology.

With that exception, I think the arice was right on point.



Friday, 14-10-16 11:26

The big support comes from the fact is going to limit competition and allow the big to get bigger due to the fact not all owner operators or small company's will be able to afford the new technology most new trucks are out of the reach of these owner operators and small company's now.


Kenneth Hall

Monday, 10-10-16 08:57

Of course big shippers and truck manufacturers are going to applaud the new's an early Christmas for rent-seekers. Small players and independents will be driven to the wall.


Joe Kirchner, CPIM

Thursday, 29-09-16 16:37

For the suppliers of smaller packages, utilizing LTL or Parcel Delivery, they will most probably have to stage orders and communicate precise pick and delivery terms to their carriers. With few exceptions, I can't imagine manufacturers assuming they can rely on their normal scheduling processes, both internal and external, and meet Walmart's demands. They are a tough customer and will continue to increase their demands on suppliers.


Joe Roy

Wednesday, 28-09-16 14:46

I've been on both sides (supplier of products and specialty retail) of this discussion. Despite your best efforts to outline the challenges presented, the real issue, in my view, is that suppliers need to think and act like retailers. Suppliers focus on cost savings while retailers focus on sales. How companies fulfill orders, and the manufacturing and inventory processes they have in place, depend on whether you optimize production to lower costs (supplier) or resupply daily to respond to sales. Consumers are looking for a convenient and customized shopping experience. Companies have no desire to "fight Walmart demands" but they lack the will to change their philosophies around speed and flexibility of their supply chain. Adding to inventory is not the answer.



Monday, 26-09-16 08:14

This company keeps making demands yet can never pickup on time with their own fleet. They need to fix their poor performance before making more demands on suppliers. Disgraceful.



Thursday, 22-09-16 09:20

Everything has a story, this level of transparency always lets the customer know what all happens at the back end. From my experience UAE DTDC has one of the best e-commerce models for providing these platforms a very effective supply chain.


Parnika Gamat

Tuesday, 20-09-16 06:02

What a great article on Brexit! We've certainly started seeing the impact in more than one way. Many industries including the logistics industry is affected in unforeseeable ways. Here's another look at the possibilities:


Monti Lawrence

Wednesday, 14-09-16 09:42

Great post! Thanks for the insights.

Monti Lawrence
Vanguard Software Corporation



Tuesday, 30-08-16 15:06

This was a great post! Thank you for sharing. You made many good points - today consumers want instant gratification but don't want to pay for that.

I enjoyed reading. Thanks,
Hannah, Kingsgate Transportation


Parnika Gamat

Tuesday, 23-08-16 08:24

Yes, it is a struggle for medium sized e-tailers to meet the demand of their customers. Free delivery is a great option from the customers point of view but delivery is not always smooth and sometimes there can be delays which lead to disappointment and complaints.
If you're looking for a good e-fulfillment service, try DTDC. They have done a spectacular job in India and now they have expanded worldwide. Do have a look at their website here:


Larry Simon

Monday, 15-08-16 09:39

It is always interesting to me that it is suppose to be good to work closely with your suppliers to improve the ability to respond to changes in demand yet it is also suppose to be a good practice to not pay them properly. How does a supplier feel towards a customer who moves payables to 120 days? Are they still a preferred customer?


Steve Hopper

Monday, 18-07-16 16:53

Excellent article, Robert! The supply chain industry is finally -- and rightly -- becoming aware of identifying and managing supply chain risks at the "30,000-foot" level.

There is also significant risk "down in the trenches," inside each of the facilities where the day-to-day blocking and tackling of operating a supply chain occur. What happens if failures occur within these facilities? In most distribution centers (DCs), warehouses, and manufacturing facilities, the failure of certain information systems, equipment, people, and processes will bring the facility to a crawl, or even shut it down entirely. To avoid these issues, forward-thinking businesses must identify, prioritize, and mitigate these risks as well.

Stephen T. (Steve) Hopper, PE
Inviscid Consulting, LLC


Dan Curran

Tuesday, 10-05-16 09:31

Conspicuous by its absence is any reference to Alibaba.

The suite of services they are providing seems to be setting a standard. Amazon has been the leader in Supply Chain. In my opinion, Alibaba will be taking the lead on Asian markets by outsourcing services and facilities, where Amazon has built their own infrastructure.

I would be interested in your research comparing Amazon and Alibaba.


Michele Carroll

Monday, 18-04-16 11:37

Great point Bob - thanks for the perspective. Seems similar to the move from bigger centralized distribution centers (DCs) to more nimble, smaller nodes closer to demanding markets as the total cost picture came into better focus.


Mike Pipia

Monday, 18-04-16 09:42

The most important point is Demand. Demand, the volume of freight is not there so larger vessels is not the answer to lower costs. Once you exceed the supply and demand balance, which we have now costs savings are not there. The bottom line, ROI, for carriers reflects the vessels laid up which negate any saving in the grand picture of a successful and profitable ocean carrier. Carries have far exceeded the balance of supply and demand and seemed to be just more concerned with who has the largest fleet of the larges ships!


Ravindra Garg

Monday, 11-04-16 11:31

Marketplaces to promote supplier collaboration were introduced as early as 2000 at Oracle; It was seen way ahead of its time and sadly abandoned.

Now is the time, third party platforms are mushrooming that support integration and collaboration across all B2B activities (procurement, wholesale, value chain planning, logistics), and revenue being driven with brokerage business models.


Rob Hawks

Friday, 11-03-16 13:47

Biggest challenge we see is the lack of realization that effective S&OP requires the right people, the right processes and the right tools. Focusing a majority of your effort on just one part of the equation will provide, at best, marginal results.

In addition to Excel, there are a number of tools available to help S&OP leaders set and monitor KPI's. Put them in place but then make sure the monthly S&OP cadence includes the discipline to monitor the KPI's and use them in directing business activities.


niels van hove

Sunday, 06-03-16 06:42

I can relate to Eric's message on lack of measurement. My S&OP research shows that only 28% of businesses have clear S&OP targets that they check at least yearly.


John Krech

Monday, 29-02-16 10:12

I agree about the need for metrics and results. Unfortunately today's systems do not tie together all the metrics however new predictive analytics have come on the market that utilize metrics like Economic Profit to tie together Demand, Lead-time, and Yield as well as their forecast uncertainty.

Too often, I see S&OP only focus on the demand forecast and they forget the role that other data plays in the results. You can have a great forecast but if your safety stock, reorder point, or order quantity are off - you will still get poor results


John Krech

Tuesday, 02-02-16 14:56

Great post - it can also be ignorance with the ERP system itself. Most ERP platforms including SAP use outdated algorithms that are over 100 years old. The algorithm increase the potential to be out of stock as well as increase overall inventory levels


Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky

Monday, 07-12-15 13:57

Yes, I agree with the author: alignment is critical in our fast paced world of supply chain and finance is a critical part of that alignment. It's the balanced scorecard effect: bring everything along at the same time to avoid costly mistakes later on.


Ed Evans

Monday, 16-11-15 13:54

Trade Agreements do not prevent anything. Careful design of the working documents and the final treaty can enable Enforcement functions to operate. An example would be the failure of US domestic law to gather complete respect among the populace, since there are enforcement rules for elements that vary widely. The same has been true of International accords (League of Nations Charter, UN Charter, various Geneva Conventions). It is quite rare when any Agreement/Treaty is clear and enforceable. The TPP appears to be another example of too many clauses and to little ability to enforce.


Jeffrey Davis

Monday, 16-11-15 08:40

I agree that what you need to do is motivate employees on a consistent basis by creating a friendly, competitive environment. There is a company out there that we use to pay our employees on a productivity basis created by Inbound Technologies. It provides real time productivity specifically geared for warehouse work. Our employees get paid to do a job then get to go home, so they know if they work hard and fast, they will make more money in a shorter amount of time. This gives them a better quality of life.



Monday, 09-11-15 18:09

Port Laredo's total trade, total Exports and total Imports, grew more than any other U.S. Customs District in 2014, en route to a fifth consecutive record and Number Three national ranking. The Mexican ports will definitely play a major role in the Supply Chain of commodities primarily as an alternative to the issues related to U.S. Pacific coast ports.


Jahanzaib Mohammed

Monday, 09-11-15 01:45

Very interesting article. I actually used to wonder why professional car companies had these problems when they have been in business for decades. This article perfectly sums up all the reasons why defects and recalls are occurring. I completely agree that the solution for these problems is rooted deeply in communication between the OEMs all the way up to CEOs and CFOs. From a supply chain perspective, we can see that a lot of time and money can be saved if defects can be predicted ahead of time as well as using more professional analytics to solve these problems. I want to add that companies should consider their past mistakes in supply chain discrepancies in order to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.


Don Pergal

Tuesday, 03-11-15 08:36

Robert Bowman's comments are very much on target. I see these forcing functions in almost every search we do. I certainly agree that the tools are out there, but not yet at the warehouse workers level.


Cyrus Byramji

Saturday, 31-10-15 20:23

From a procurement perspective it is interesting to take a look at the human-rights issues that can be created from the lack of supplier compliance programs. As stated in the article, more often than not, the challenge is not having immediate suppliers meeting regulations and contract guidelines, but suppliers that are found further and further upstream of the company's supply chain. Furthermore, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage these upstream suppliers and who these suppliers are subcontracting business to, leading to the possibility of these subcontractors employing children and other unfit laborers without the company's knowledge. Thus, visibility of the company's supply chain, constant communication between company suppliers throughout the chain, and even potential government audits of local businesses can help mitigate risks and ensure effective protocol.



Thursday, 29-10-15 10:17

Great article, Robert! It's fascinating to see Mexico growing at such a rapid pace. I'm interested to see how all this will pan out, because as you say a good port needs a good interior infrastructure such as roads to thrive.


Charles Thomas

Monday, 28-09-15 12:35

The volatility of the world market makes forecasting far into the future incredibly difficult, so Mr. Ghemawat has his work cut out for him. The fact that an index created using data from just two years ago is already obsolete is shocking to me, but definitely understandable. Creating short-term indices to forecast using more recent data is an interesting idea, but it runs into the problem of using too small a sample size for forecasts.

I am surprised to learn that global trade has only increased slightly in the last 10 years as a fraction of global GDP. I would have imagined that global trade had grown incredibly since 2005, but it makes sense that the recession affected the total growth rate.

Charles Thomas


Jahanzaib Mohammed

Monday, 28-09-15 03:21

This is an innovative approach on China's part. From a supply chain perspective, this approach of using robots achieves the ultimate goal of increasing efficiency and productivity. However, this can potentially backfire on China's economy since the decreased amount of jobs mean less income and spending. It will be very interesting to see how this approach unfolds in the long-run.


Dean Stevens

Sunday, 27-09-15 16:43

After 30 years a Teamster I can no longer pay dues to this corrupt union that will not represent its members(BOUGHT OUT BY YRC in my case)


Ed Evans

Thursday, 24-09-15 10:06

Things are bad enough that warehousing firms are buying or leasing their own chassis. This guarantees them the ability to move at least some of their priority cargoes. They also avoid having truckers in line for chassis at the pool, and needing to return the chassis after the move with any empties. Drayage costs are reduced, but overhead charges increase.


Anthony Miles

Wednesday, 23-09-15 07:40

Well, this is what happens when a business goes out of its resources and capacity. Competition is tough everywhere. If one drops out, others fill the gap efficiently.


Joe Kirchner

Tuesday, 22-09-15 16:40

While I am happy to see manufacturing jobs returning to the USA, I wouldn't call this a permanent shift. Companies will continue to weigh the total cost of ownership to determine where to manufacture their products. I hope it does continue, though.


Cyrus Byramji

Tuesday, 22-09-15 15:43

From a procurement perspective, it would be interesting to see if companies requiring overseas shipping would start taking a look at their domestic supplier portfolio and conduct business with these domestic suppliers as a means to alleviate overseas spoilage. Potential benefits potentially include the tightening of the companyís supply chain along with reducing shipping lead time. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see if increased costs are unpreventable from utilizing domestic suppliers compared to outsourced suppliers.


Sandy Montalbano

Monday, 21-09-15 10:03

Companies are recognizing that with the use of the refined metrics of total cost of ownership (TCO) to uncover the hidden costs and risks of offshoring and reducing costs with sustainable strategies such as robotics, improved product design, innovation, automation, and LEAN they can increase competitiveness and manufacture in the U.S. profitably.


Abel Suizo

Tuesday, 25-08-15 02:47

IMHO, information and the flow of it will increase and not decrease over the years. The normal channels for such info are these gadgets for vehicles. We're seeing Internet-connected vehicles already, and this will open wide the floodgates for info to the driver. Because of this irreversible trend, the only way to make driving safer is by *building smarter vehicles* that will allow drivers/operators to give less attention to driving, and allow them to communicate (answering calls, even writing reports and sending email, being informed of safety, traffic / weather conditions along his route, receiving news, allowing him to indulge even in social media). Such smart-vehicle technology should be made mandatory in the near future, or accidents will continue to happen because of distractions brought about by the Internet and technology.
Just my 2 cents.
-- Abel


James Casey

Monday, 10-08-15 12:59

The only way out of this problem is to get rid of automated factories. Robots don't pay taxes and don't produce children and future users of products. The rich certainly are not going to pay for social programs and infrastructure. The little people pay most of the taxes that fund everything else. Without people working who will buy the products of this automation economy. If this problem cannot be solved it does not bode well for the future. As the U.S.A has proven, the service economy doesn't cut it. It will be of interest to see how this turns out.


Dan Curran

Wednesday, 17-06-15 13:23

If you put the West Coast port facilities to withstand the rigors of a good economics model the outcome would be predictable. It would select the most cost effective solution. When you introduce the avoidable expense and impact on Supply Chain reliability the glow of the West Coast ports looses its luster.

The parties involved have done their best to discourage commerce through the port facilities.



Wednesday, 10-06-15 07:08

In my experience the focus on the discipline of supply chain lessens in a growing or strong economy. Here in Australia we have had many recent years of 'boomtime' where the job of the supply chain personnel was to get the 'stuff' here as soon as possible whatever the cost. Now in a waning economy the 'management' aspect of SCM is becoming important, perhaps for the first time in many industries.

If executives in the US can develop and maintain supply chain management strategies and training opportunities, the country will be much better placed to withstand future economic softening. I sometimes feel like we are on the back foot trying to fix ineffective SCM practices that served us reasonably well when the driver was to 'get it now'.


Dacvid Faigle

Friday, 05-06-15 14:47

Yes Owner Operators can and have been Teamsters!
I am personally sick and tired of the public being fed the load of crap that that is not true. I have several friends and relatives who have been since the 50's and 60's. Further looking into the matter, apparently the way this was done was for the owner operator to operate as two separate entities: a truck owner and a driver. The company paying for the truck service then pays the truck separately from the driver. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING NEW!!!!!!. It was common practice in the steel hauling industry for many years. This matter today concerning the ports is nothing more than race/culture discrimination in disguise. It's practically common knowledge that the majority of truckers in Los Angeles that work from the port are Mexican/ Hispanic.
The Longshoreman Union could look into this and solve the whole problem by inviting the drivers into the union and doing the same as the steel companies.
But.... alas, we all know the Longshoreman don't give a damn about anybody. But take a nickle away from them and you will be killed. They would never be so intelligent as to realize that the end result would be good for them.


Chris Haas

Friday, 05-06-15 11:50

I think part of the gap is due to a lack of understanding by company leadership as to what supply chain professionals actually do and require to complete the tasks at hand. Many company's groom their leadership on the sales side of the house with only surface knowledge of what supply chain is and how it links together to support the sale of the product. The nuts and bolts, the software and data mining, the logistics and the cross functional expertise required is often under appreciated or bypassed as supply chain functions are viewed as support functions to the sale when in all actuality they are the veins in which the product is delivered to the customer and consumer.

I have spoken to many sales team members who have crossed over into operations and are completely blindsided and dumbfounded what it takes to 'complete a sale" once the customer has agreed to the purchase. The wool is pulled off of their eyes when the curtain is pulled back and the wizard is revealed as his or her true from. It is a mentality change that will start to reverberate throughout all industries as the talent gap widens and the sales teams have a harder time seeing their product as a result of increased operating costs due to poor supply chain and logistics management.


Ann Grackin

Monday, 01-06-15 08:14

A major issue in port congestion in the sourcing policies of retailers. While they clog LA, other ports stand ready with better processes, capacity and closeness to consumer markets. As well, there are other sources beside China, Bangladesh and so on to manufacturer goods. Retailers have most of the responsibility for the port congestions. This is something they have talked about for decade, long before the longshoreman slow down, but have done little about. It is convenient to blame labor vs. understanding and doing the work on managing supply chains. That needs to change to support not only time and cost to market but the growing interesting of consumers for fair labor practices, more transparency and reduced risk in products.


Jean Pierre lamblin

Monday, 01-06-15 08:09

Container shipping lines are only one segment of global supply chain and here the most important is not the cost, but capacity to monitor supply chain to reduce inventory level and increase value for share holders. Any kind of freight forwarders all around the world with his network is in position to be the key player of the game subject to have the right IT tier tool

Sunday, 03-05-15 15:38

Very interesting article. In the latest report the $349 watch have about $86 worth of material and labor cost inside them. Would be interesting to know how much the more expensive versions have cost to produce.


Hari Govindan

Friday, 24-04-15 02:29

Container shipping has been a commodity in terms of pricing at least for quite some time. Wondering why the carriers not thinking of equipment sharing in order to optimise/balance the capacities.



Friday, 17-04-15 10:33

"To guard against deceptive pickups, companies can deploy scanners to verify a driver's identification, with the ability to detect counterfeit licenses for all 50 states."

How do I get one of these scanners? What if someone uses a valid license but steals a load?


Aaron Salzer

Tuesday, 14-04-15 15:53

Forecasting in its very nature will never be 100% perfect. Perfect information is the future and without knowing the future we are at the mercy of uncertainty and how well we can recognize the patterns we see throughout business. The more we adhere to these trends the better we can forecast which aids the supply chain division in preparing for those demands.


Jessica McCarthy

Tuesday, 14-04-15 14:46

Thank you for the article! However, I am curious as to what other policies a company could make to reduce risk. As you said, hedging has risks of its own. Many companies would probably argue that locking an exchange rate is too risky since currency trends, as you also said, are very unpredictable. For example, the dollar itself could decline if problems with the national debt are not resolved. Also you suggested India as a possible long term opportunity, but companies have long had issues with entering that market.


Robert Caldwell

Tuesday, 14-04-15 14:13

The suggestion to lock in currency rates, similar to other commodities that are increasing in value, is a very interesting situation for procurement professionals. I foresee international contracts with negotiated terms for a fixed transfer rate, with procurement heads at the forefront of those deals.



Tuesday, 14-04-15 00:57

I agree that the new pricing formula is going to impact many businesses and possibly cause them to rethink their shipping carrier choices. However, from UPS and FedEx's points of view, the new formula does make sense because large packages are a hassle, regardless of weight. Trucks only have a certain amount of volume capacity, so they will need to make more trips if they have more large packages.


sixuan song

Tuesday, 14-04-15 00:53

When doing business with suppliers in other countries, the issue of currency rate fluctuations is inevitable. Not every company will be hit hard by the fluctuations. If the company is able to use this to its advantage, it can actually be very beneficial for the company. Some companies think that if they contract in their own local currency, they can eliminate the currency, but is not true. Suppliers will price in currency risk, or they will find ways to adjust price over time to account for it. If the currency moves in your favor, you will miss cost saving opportunities. It is important to agree on the baseline exchange rate of the initial quote, so there are no variation between suppliers and unexpected price changes over time.


Tom Jackson

Monday, 13-04-15 21:12

This article shows great perspective about the current state and future of procurement professionals. Procurement is becoming increasingly integral to the success of supply chain operations and is delivering great value in return. In addition the increase in importance, the way procurement professionals do business is changing. Rather than just trying to cut costs across the board, there is now an emphasis on developing relationships with suppliers to create a mutual benefit and leverage supplier expertise. Often times a supplier will be able to assist with producing data driven solutions because they are an expert in their own fields.

Concerning future procurement hierarchy, I believe that every company needs to integrate a CPO into their executive level of management. Having the freedom of a C-level position to devote to improving supply chain operations can bring an immense amount of value back into a company.


Natalie Burk

Sunday, 12-04-15 01:34

I do agree that this West Coast Port Nightmare was a direct result of the workers in the ILWU seeking outlandish demands in addition to inadequate port infrastructure to handle incoming capacity of the ports. I believe the responsibility of this prolonged incident, however, falls on the shoulders of port managers who should have long foreseen a conflict like this on the horizon. When workers see inadequacies in the way their day-to-day business is run, and are operating at a two thirds capacity, there is bound to be frustration. Managers should have sensed that their workers were unhappy, and should have realized that at the root of these issues is the poor infrastructure of the ports. Most were built during a time-period that had not seen the levels of inflow that we see today. They were not built to handle the effects of a globalized world with the increases in international trade. Therefore, a strike like this one is a reasonably foreseeable result of these issues. To ameliorate the damages, those who run the ports need to create expansion plans that will allow them to handle the capacity of increased inflow.


Sujit Singh

Friday, 10-04-15 16:39

Very interesting article. Thanks. This is an area of interest for me as well.


Jyothsna Luckshetty

Wednesday, 08-04-15 19:14

That's a great way of introducing kids to Supply Chain. In fact, as a part of my Lean Concepts and Application class, we performed similar lego-based supply chain simulations to understand the importance of Lean activities like Kanban, Binning system and involvement of suppliers in design and development phase.



Tuesday, 07-04-15 13:09

What a great concept and I too think reaching out to the home schooled population is a great idea. What about a summer program with other learning opportunities developed with local ISD's and colleges?


gerald jackson

Monday, 06-04-15 19:24

I totally want to do this in Seattle! Who is with me?


Jim Bowers

Monday, 06-04-15 08:41

This is a great idea, but it needs to be extended beyond the factory school systems and made available to the home schooled population where some of the best and brightest talent is being shaped today.


Millard Humphreys

Monday, 30-03-15 17:20

I believe that the negative impact of the new parcel dimensional shipping formulas was further exacerbated by the general increase and by the impact of the fuel service charge. This "triple whammy" has offered an opportunity to aggressive competitors and provides a window for segmenting the parcel market.



Monday, 30-03-15 16:14

6 ways to increase density book by Ray Bohman written in 1982. I had a comment that we could put sand in the package, Barrert from JOC said use stones, Ray said use bricks. All of us agreed to "Make it smaller".

Reduce your release value for LTL and see how the less than 500 pounds stacks up against the parcel carriers.


Steve Johanson

Tuesday, 17-03-15 11:34

It is very healthy to accept the faults of a forecast--it is a lot easier to measure forecast error than to change it. If you build known variability into a solid Production Run Strategy--the world becomes a much better place.

Thanks for writing this.



Sai Krishna

Monday, 16-03-15 23:24

Fantastic Article...Very Informative.


Derek Schnur

Thursday, 19-02-15 14:04

Petersonís study is very enlightening in helping outline the roles a procurement professional should be involved in. The job definition of a procurement professional is changing. Procurement is no longer about cutting supplier costs to meet a budget, itís also about quality, relationship management, and sustainability, among other things. Like Micah mentioned below, having a mutually beneficial relationships with your suppliers can yield more long- term results than just decreasing cost. While procurement is very important to any organization, I think dedicating a C-level executive to the position is highly dependent on the industry the company is currently in.

To answer Petersonís question he hopes to pose in his next study, I believe they should. Strategic global sourcing should be a strong focus for any global company, and these decisions should be made with more than the traditional low-cost approach in mind. In his next study, I hope Peterson looks into the impact data analytics is having on automating and refining the procurement process.


Ashley Foley

Thursday, 19-02-15 12:31

This article is very interesting. Procurement has added numerous definitions over the last few decades. Procurement is no longer an inconspicuous department but has evolved into a major business management activity. As the article states, procurement officers are adding value to their organizations and the suppliers' organizations they work with. The idea that 10 percent of officers do not value external ties with third parties is very interesting. Procurement is leading organizations to innovations and better network relationships. This article was perceptive to the changes procurement has faced and is still continually developing into.


Akshay Hingwe

Thursday, 19-02-15 12:10

I am interested to see how companies in the food industry will perform with the amount of risk that they face in the marketplace for 2015. With stricter government regulations and increased consumer awareness, it is vital that food companies provide a quality finished product. Procurement professionals in the supply chain of these companies will be playing a key role in this! Since supply chains in the food industry are becoming globalized, I am interested to see how companies deal with natural disasters or other events that may disrupt the supply chain. This was a great article, Mr. Bowman


Akshay Hingwe

Thursday, 19-02-15 11:53

This was a very thought-provoking article, Mr. Bowman. As an aspiring procurement officer, I believe that all procurement professionals have a vital role in the operations and success of a business. I am shocked that many CFOs often ďgradeĒ their purchasing officers solely based on the money that they spend! I agree when you point out that purchasing managers add value to a company through managing external relations. I believe that procurement professionals also add value by ensuring the quality of all sourced materials and services. Furthermore, I think that procurement professionals play a key role in corporate social responsibility. Sourcing materials and services from unethical suppliers can have a disastrous effect on public relations and reduce revenues! I enjoyed reading this!



Thursday, 19-02-15 10:56

The new generation of customers expects products immediately. Their patience for waiting has slowly diminished due to the increasing e-commerce market, which in return has caused manufacturing companies to want to reduce their waiting time and outsource their products closer to home. By reducing their transportation costs and shortening their supply chain, companies will hopefully have a larger budget for labor costs and source their manufacturing in-home, or in countries in close proximity. Since manufacturing is showing a trend of leaving the China/Asia region, I think that many US based companies will move their outsourcing to countries like Mexico, which could ship their products to the US in less than a day's time. Since Mexico has a significantly lower labor wage than the US, and is still comparable to that of China, its closer proximity will bring a competitive edge to manufacturing while they compete with the upcoming e-commerce market. However, this kind of regionalization will come at a cost and may be a risky move that only well established, larger manufactures can handle.


Jennifer Yang

Thursday, 19-02-15 02:27

I agree that nowadays, retailers are getting more and more competitive in terms of shipping in order to grab more market share. However, one recent option I've seen Amazon begin to offer is free No-Rush Shipping for Prime members. The order is delivered in 6 days rather than 2, and the customer receives $1 credit to use on Amazon Instant videos, books, and music. This is a move that takes Amazon in a different direction. Instead of competing with faster delivery, Amazon is offering a net savings for the customer, which in the end, probably ends up saving Amazon shipping costs in the long run when compared to free two-day shipping. This new move seems to forecast a potentially different direction the competition will take in the quest for market share.


Tom Jackson

Thursday, 19-02-15 02:22

I think many of the companies that decided to outsource production to China and other Asian countries were initially blinded by cheap labor costs and vast manufacturing capacity and jumped on the opportunity without developing a comprehensive expansion strategy. Non-market strategy wasn't completely integrated into global expansion market strategies and companies are now paying for their oversight in this facet. For example, the Foxconn plant in Taiwan has been engaging in unfair workplace practices to cut cost and maximize production. Foxconn's production numbers look fantastic on paper, but the non-market aspect of the plant is atrocious. Conditions became so bad at Foxconn that a mass-suicide was planned by workers in January 2012. There was a massive amount of criticism from the media and every company that had a stake in the plant was crucified publicly.

Now that labor prices are rising in Asia, companies will most likely turn their focus to Latin American countries, just as the article cites. To prevent another Foxconn-type situation, firms moving into Latin America need to fully integrate a robust non-market strategy into their market expansion strategy that aligns with their values.


Jennifer Yang

Thursday, 19-02-15 02:10

I definitely agree that the shift to the cloud will occur eventually. Younger generations more easily embrace cloud technology, and as they move into the workforce, they will bring their use of the cloud with them. Therefore, more and more companies will begin using the cloud for their supply chain management needs.

It seems like Oracle's first customers may be younger, smaller companies who can more easily embrace the culture change. As mentioned in the article, the cloud also requires high levels of communication within the company, which is more easily accomplished at smaller companies. However, this does not take into account the cost of the cloud software, which may be hard for small companies to take on.



Thursday, 19-02-15 00:34

very interesting


Megha Reddy

Wednesday, 18-02-15 19:46



Megha Reddy

Wednesday, 18-02-15 19:45



Aaron Salzer

Tuesday, 17-02-15 09:56

To even entertain the notion that drone delivery systems are a feasible feat is a tribute to the technological innovation that has transpired in this day and age. However, as noted by the article, there are several obstacles that must first be overcome in order to aid in the fruition of unmanned aircraft systems for commercial use. I understand that the Federal Aviation Administration has its concerns over public safety and general privacy rights, but then why so stringent in regulating corporations like Amazon and Google (each of which are highly regarded in their corporate social responsibility practices)? By not acknowledging their request for domestic testing, the FAA has driven companies such as these to seek foreign implementation. Though, in this overseas alternative, we may find a methodology that suits the proper execution of drone delivery systems via UASí in the USA.


Micah Phenix

Monday, 16-02-15 14:47

It is so interesting to see the development of procurement officers within the business world. Procurement officers are definitely developing skill sets and taking initiative to transform their position from a cost-cutting role to a value-adding role. One skill set that is transforming this role is building and investing in supplier relations. As stated above, ninety-two percent of the top performing officers believe they can add value to their suppliers and some even go so far as to seek new technology from them. This shows a vibrant relationship with the supplier who will repay the business by trusting them and not just trying to cut cost, but give their partner the best value they can. This was a very insightful and interesting article.


Hannah Smith

Monday, 16-02-15 13:43

It seems like consumers have increasingly come to expect a short delivery time, thanks to things such as Amazon Primes next day delivery. Because of this, I think it is a safe assumption that companies will have to work to reduce lead times and increase market responsiveness to keep up with the consumer demand for shorter delivery times. It is likely that companies will opt for regionalization in order to reduce transport costs and lead times, but there are plenty of other issues to consider. Having several facilities around the world creates a whole new set of managerial challenges and risks. Larger companies, such as Caterpillar as Sandy said, would be able to handle these new costs and risks, but other companies might not be able to. Alternatively, small companies with lower overhead would be able to afford manufacturing directly in the consumer market. An example of this is Harley-Davidson, who, even though they could save money by outsourcing, chose to remain in the US to protect their "All-American" brand.


Bradley Elliot

Monday, 09-02-15 05:32

Increase in productivity is an amazing things for every SME's and large organization.


jonathan Cohan

Wednesday, 04-02-15 16:12

There is some interesting thinking on Oracle and a number of other providers available from a recent study by Nucleus research. I have attached a link to the study [ ]. In addition to the provider study it also offers some insight about what is happening in the supply chain space. It's a nice add-on to this excellent article.


John Dean

Tuesday, 03-02-15 12:06

I am a large proponent of cloud based services and solutions....coming from an IT/SCM role where maintaining of systems and solutions was always in a lag of upgrade and hardware refresh.

The benefits of SaaS can definitely be obtained if 'IT' is not at the forefront of an organization. It can also drive disciplines within the business processes because you have less availability of customization, over configuration.

I don't believe you can do everything as SaaS, but a combination of true cloud and a miz of managed services or infrastructure as a service, can certainly add controls to an IT budget and help provide governance in maintaining solutions and processes


John Hughes

Monday, 02-02-15 12:28

An interesting comment on the yes/no debate about the cloud. Early adapters may win out, as long it is safe. Can I copy this into my School VLE for students?


Sandy Montalbano

Tuesday, 27-01-15 17:05

Companies are shifting manufacturing closer to customers because localization often reduces total cost therefore many times it makes more sense to produce a product in the market it is going to be consumed in.

Large companies like Caterpillar use this concept to produce near consumers, shortening supply chains, reducing shipping and moving products to consumers more quickly.

Changes in the global manufacturing market, technology and the benefits of locating manufacturing closer to customers are giving companies more options to reshore and manufacture competitively. Companies are investing and reshoring back to the U.S. because it makes good economic sense to do so.

Automation, Lean processes and new technology are tools that can increase productivity and competitiveness. When productivity is increased, it reduces the Total Cost vs. offshore and boosts competitiveness.


John Xdriver

Wednesday, 21-01-15 16:33

Autonomous trucking? I would wager there is nobody old enough to read this article whom will see that technology successfully used in automobiles let alone trucks in their lifetime!
All the new legislation supposedly aimed at carriers is in reality destroying the lives of good drivers. Take Idaho for instance,
New legislation making over weight tickets a criminal charge was "aimed at the carriers", but promptly puts a criminal charge on a drivers record! No fine to the carrier, and if the carrier runs Canada/US border, then that driver is out of a job!
Ma and Pa outfits that cannot afford to maintain equipment just keep on chugging along while drivers get low pay, slow pay, and in a lot of cases they the brunt of the penalties!

We have the wrong people heading up these "studies" and passing new laws, and we are all paying for their shortcomings!


Srini Raja

Wednesday, 17-12-14 14:22

The authors discussion on Industries going paperless is good, in fact from small to large sized companies must take ownership to protect the environment and ensure their suppliers also meet this requirement.


Kunkun Zheng

Sunday, 16-11-14 07:54

Closing the supply loop will cause a gigantic impact on the practices of doing business and our life. We should look beyond the financial impact, but also the ecological, environmental and scientific developments in this process. However, to improve the efficiency in business sustainability, this step should start from the product designing stage instead of the disposal stage. Governments and businesses should attach real attention to this issue instead of just putting up shows.



Monday, 10-11-14 22:25

This article hits many good points. I agree that all the practices listed are important for the fast paced future, especially found managing IP and patent protection to be most interesting. Maintaining security is extremely imperative because if not done correctly, it could cost a company millions of dollars.
However, I think another good practice would be continuous data gathering. I feel that gathering data at any time is no harm, but really helpful when needed. There's much to find about sources, suppliers, competitors, etc. Especially for the procurement side of supply chain, being on the look out for better deals is a must. Another element that ties in with this practice is knowing how to negotiate well. Negotiating well will be what drives a company to success.



Sunday, 09-11-14 18:59

Hi Robert Bowman,

My name is Ruby Arora and I am a Supply Chain Management student at the University of Texas at Austin.

After reading this article a couple of thoughts came to my mind. I have always been very interested in the ethics of supply chain management and as your article highlighted, this inevitable wage increase will raise the pressure for discount retailers to reduce their costs even further. Because of this increase in pressure, procurement professionals will be working closely with suppliers to reduce costs or find new suppliers with lower prices, which can all ultimately affect the quality of items. This raises two ethical concerns for me. First, it forces a lot of pressures onto suppliers to perform at a lower cost or else they will lose a customer. Many times, for global suppliers this can lead to ethical concerns about how the constant pressure to reduce costs affects supplier's workers mental health and well-being. Secondly, with the goal to reduce costs to meet the new minimum wage, retailers may decide to sacrifice quality of items to achieve their goal. In addition to decreasing the cost of their goods, another effort by retailers to make up for the increase in wages may be to increase their selling prices. Putting these two together, ultimately, they could be selling lower quality products at higher costs.

There are many ethical considerations that arise from this topic, but I just touched on a few. I think this article was great insight on what is to come regarding how wage increases will affect retailers, and I enjoyed looking at it from an ethical perspective.

Thank you for sharing!


Ruby Arora

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