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Think Tank

Blog Photo ... Think Tank is where the editors of SupplyChainBrain share their thoughts and comments on the latest supply chain trends and developments. Read what they have to say and then join the discussion by posting your own observations.
Hosts: Jean Murphy, Russell Goodman, Robert Bowman
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Exostar Knowledge Forum Seeks to Improve A&D Industry's Supply Chain

October 08, 2009
By:Jean V. Murphy, SuppyChainBrain

Founded in 2000 at the height of the B2B frenzy, Exostar is one of the few supply chain exchanges that is still standing. Indeed, it has grown into a thriving hub that provides extensive services and support for the complex trading needs of the world's largest aerospace and defense companies, including its founding members: BAE Systems, the Boeing...[more]

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In the Zone: Companies Show Renewed Interest in FTZs

October 07, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

Woe to the manufacturer who thought it could save unlimited amounts of money just by moving production to China, or a similar source of cheap labor. What began as a simple case of outsourcing has grown a lot more complex in subsequent years. Government keeps heaping on more regulations on imports, while rising fuel and labor costs have made offshoring...[more]

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Carriers, Beware of Good Economic News

September 29, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

Transportation providers who long for a surge in business had better be careful about what they wish for. According to one group of investment bankers, carriers might not be prepared for renewed customer demand."Congestion could come back," said William Hunter, managing director of Jefferies & Co., Inc. (www.jefferies.com) "I absolutely think that's the...[more]

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Your Company's Future: Wanna Bet?

September 23, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

For some years now, betting types have been using something called a prediction market to divine the future. Players wager on a selected outcome - say, the dollar hitting a certain level against the yen 90 days from now. A bet takes the form of a contract which bears an initial price and can be bought or sold over its lifetime, then pays out a given amount...[more]

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Rough Waters for Southern California's Biggest Ports

September 18, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

For a long time, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were invincible. Year after year, they chalked up steady growth in container volumes, fighting for the title of number-one U.S. gateway for international ocean freight. There seemed to be no reason why the ports couldn't go on growing indefinitely. Until, of course, the recession gave them...[more]

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Who's Getting the Better Price? You Might Be Surprised

September 11, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

So you think that only the biggest companies get the best deals from their transportation and technology providers? Think again. A closer look at major markets reveals that pricing patterns aren't quite so logical or systematic as one might assume. Vendors can be highly erratic in choosing which customers to favor with discounts or better deals. The reason...[more]

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How Service-Parts Makers Are Coping With Recession

September 03, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

How has the recession affected the service-parts end of manufacturing? Depends on whom you ask. Software vendor MCA Solutions (http://www.mcasolutions.com), a specialist in that area, recently canvassed its customer base on the topic and got a variety of answers - including some disagreement over when economic recovery is due to kick in.The survey,...[more]

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Building Boeing's Dreamliner: Why All the Delays?

August 28, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

So what went wrong with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner? A new paper from UCLA's Anderson School of Management (http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/), due to be published later this year, has some ideas. Christopher S. Tang is Edward Carter Professor of Business Administration at UCLA, and one of the key authors of the report. He combined information from suppliers, the...[more]

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When Going Green in Packaging, Look at the Big Picture

August 24, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

The "green" implications of a shipment go well beyond the materials that went into the packaging. It's fine to use recycled materials and shrink the size of the box to an absolute minimum. But what if that exercise results in damage to the product while it's being shipped? Then the supplier has to send out a replacement. And voila: the carbon footprint of...[more]

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Supply Chain Visibility: Lots of Talk, Little Action

August 17, 2009
By:Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain

How far do companies have to go, before they become truly "green"? A long, long way, if the results of a new survey are to be believed. According to the study by the Business Performance Management Forum (BPM) and E2open, nearly two-thirds of respondents lack the visibility needed to monitor the environmental impact of their supply chains. This despite the...[more]

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