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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

Peterson’s 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, it’s 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 Peterson’s 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 “grade” 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 UAS’ 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


Sabrina Wang

Sunday, 09-11-14 16:11

Hello I'm a Supply Chain student at the McCombs School of Business and I really enjoyed reading this post. I was just wondering:

Suppliers are already feeling the pressure from big retailers like WalMart who use their buying power to get savings on their own bottom line. The suppliers are more likely to feel the impact of a higher minimum wage than big retailers are, what are some ways suppliers can cope with the change?


Francisco Martinez

Friday, 07-11-14 23:07

Hi Mr. Bowman,

My name is Francisco Martinez, I am a senior undergraduate student at McCombs Business School at The University of Texas at Austin. I've noticed that your article involves two conflicting ideas at Apple. While Marketing wants secrecy for Apple's product, Operations and Procurement would like to have diversified production, however this would entail an increase in the risk of intellectual property to be leaked. I believe that this shortcoming could be avoided if Apple could bring some of its production back to the US, where laws on intellectual property are stricter and easily suable, or like you said, to Mexico. This would not only diversifying your production, but shortening the lead times for any variation not anticipated in forecasts. For this, Apple would have to incur some costs in order to qualify suppliers, but the amount of revenue made from extra sale, could easily cover it. Apple needs to look in the long term and ask themselves if their current production model would be able to sustain them, or diversifying it, and act upon it as soon as possible.


Caroline Garcia

Thursday, 06-11-14 18:39

Apple's supply chain can be directly tied to its bottom line. Since outsourcing production involves knowledge sharing on Apple's strategically critical design process, Apple faces the issue of free riding if secrets are leaked to other companies or suppliers. However, adding an additional supplier in Mexico would reduce lead time to effectively meet its US-centered demand without backlog. Apple needs to conduct a spend analysis to calculate to balance between creating artificial scarcity and maximizing profits. Alienating loyal customers could be harmful in the long term - Apple's empire, after all, is not guaranteed to last forever.

Ultimately, Apple should evaluate its strategic sourcing criteria and at least consider other suppliers. Foxconn cannot sustain unlimited labor hours, and Apple needs to remember its focus on providing innovate products to its consumers. I do wonder, though - are contract agreements enough to protect intellectual property? That's the core question Apple needs to answer.



Wednesday, 05-11-14 22:47

Most accurate prediction by a leading economist in the recent past was that of Paul Zane Pilzer's. He rightly predicted that the wellness industry would surpass the "sickness industry" - ie the traditional health care industry which is cantered around treating the illness of the people rather than ensuring the wellness of the people at the first place. We can see, with the growth of nutraceuticals, fitness centers etc, the predictions that he outlined in his book wellness revolution is already coming into being. Day is not far when the wellness industry will take over the illness industry. Not all the economists need to be wrong..!


Paulina Delgado

Monday, 03-11-14 13:10

Regardless of the popularity and the efficiency I do not believe a physical store can ever be replaced completely by online shopping. However I agree that retailers need to be more intelligent about the sizes, distribution centers and items they offer. Retail stores need to focus on what specific experiences and needs only they can offer as opposed to online shopping and take advantage of it; they must look at the aspects that cannot be replaced by online shopping such as trying on items or seeing them first-hand. I feel the case is similar to CDs and hard-copy of books, although there exists a completely digital copy for these items, they cannot fully be replaced by them. I believe retailers could decrease their in-store stock as it is also true that some people might just use the store as a “showroom” and will actually buy online. Additionally I agree that they should not step away from products that are e-commercial friendly, as these items are becoming an essential part of our everyday life, and some customers may want to see them up close first.

Paulina Delgado - McCombs School of Business, Supply Chain Management Student



Wednesday, 24-09-14 14:29

Robert J. Bowman,

I enjoy your blog. I am a student at the University of Texas at Austin studying Supply Chain Management, and I found this article particularly interesting.

In response to store-bound retailers attempting to offer products that are not e-commerce friendly, I agree that this is unrealistic with the progression of the use of technology in the world. Those retailers should, rather, focus on minimizing physical stores and improve timeliness of deliveries, straight from distribution centers. This has a wide affect on the suppliers and buyers because they will need to find faster and more efficient modes of transportation as well as be able to respond quickly to a change in the market and demand. These retailers may even consider having less distribution centers to cut down extra costs and send the product from a few central distribution centers to the consumer.

In response to retailers with a wide variety of brands, I agree that the Apple Store and other brands are adding competition. However, this does not mean an end to Targets and Wal-Marts. These retailers will have to shift their focus to improve consumer experience at their stores, as Apple has done, or to become a strictly online service. The retailers must find what it is that brings consumers to the stores and how they can use this to cater to the consumers desires. Also, rather than seeing the internet as the "Big Bad Wolf", it would be more beneficial for retailers to creatively use the internet to their advantage.

Thanks for the article!



Tuesday, 23-09-14 22:22

It was interesting to see that stores have the option of same day delivery mostly because of the competitiveness factor instead of providing for the customers' wants. I believe that most people do not bother with the same day option due to the costliness of the delivery. It would be more practicable for groceries since they are perishable. However, with commodities such as clothing, customers would rather try it on before buying, which cannot be done over online purchasing. Customers would not be willing to buy clothes or shoes online without a good solid returning/exchange policy. Stores must make returning or exchanging extremely simple and beneficial to the customers in order for them to purchase it. With a return/exchange policy like that, it would be really costly for the stores to provide delivery from and back to the store. Nevertheless, they would need to provide this to maintain good customer service.
Also, to provide same day service, stores must make sure they have all the inventory needed with them. If same day delivery actually were to be big someday, there must be warehouses at many locations globally that is frequently restocked. Once a customer buys a product, that product must be restocked quickly before the next customer buys the same product with a same day delivery. These stores would have to have a really good solid relationship with their suppliers to get products promptly and at reasonable prices. The stores would also have to make a decision on how much of a product they should hold depending on the turn over rate of the inventory.


Travis Tibbetts

Tuesday, 23-09-14 01:05

I am wondering if Mr. Bowman works for the DNC for his day job because reading this article makes me feel like I'm listening to a campaign speech.
Get used to it? Really? Remember, as retailer prices go up, prices go up which hurts the people intended to be helped.
This isn't the first article I have read from SupplyChainBrain that makes me feel like this website is coopted by the left.
Simply put, I want balanced supply chain information. I don't want to be told to "get used" to anything; especially when we shouldn't have to get used to it. Remember, Mr. Bowman, half of the country doesn't buy into the ideology of the left.
I am pro-business. Period. Minimum wage jobs are not supposed to be jobs that people stay in all their lives. The idea of a living wage is such a broad target; some think $25 per hour is a living wage. Do you really think retailers can afford that? Plus benefits, etc....
Please SupplyChainBrain.... check the Democrat policy pushing at the door.



Monday, 22-09-14 16:52

I think this is a great opportunity for large companies, with extensive supply chains, such as Walmart to go back and reevaluate some of their current processes. If the company has a hard bottom line for wages, then there is the option of cutting back on number of employees and streamlining processes to make their work more efficient. With a smaller work force, those employees will reap more benefits, and hopefully that will motivate them to perform better. As far as processes go, SKUs can be managed and organized by technology, like by robots or better sorting. If technology is implemented, then there would be less of a need for employees. Large retailers can launch apps that show whether or not the desired items are available in store, and the customer could purchase via web and just pick up in store. These new technological options help to optimize purchasing and utilize less physical workers.

If cutting back on the workforce is not an option, perhaps the companies can reevaluate their business models to see where else they could reduce costs to help compensate for the bottom line. Possibly changing suppliers, looking for new suppliers, ordering larger quantities, shipping larger loads, etc.

Very interesting article, and looking forward to seeing how this plays out!


Mike Atwood

Friday, 05-09-14 13:58

This is a great article. I agree that in tracing the minerals back to the mine it would be extremely beneficial to have the smelter validation program set up by the EICC.


Hank Mullen

Tuesday, 02-09-14 09:48

Great to see The PRC rejected their arguments and let the changes stand.

We needed more competition and it looks like we will get it. All the extras that the big boys charge usually are not in the USPS charges (free Saturday delivery, no residential charge, no fuel, no extended area) it add up.


Ganesh Prasad Ganesh

Monday, 11-08-14 06:18

It's indeed a very good article, however the proposed Best Practice is not valid till 2025 with such rapid changing environment. I would consider one of the elements which is missing in the list is People development. With such rapid changes in environment, people should develop their skills to keep up the pace and in every organization, there is a need to have a team of people who will focus on people development, to retain the talent as well as develop them to make sure the progress is in line with the pace of external world.


C Wojtowicz

Monday, 19-05-14 10:05

I'm still confused as to why we care.. Aren't there atrocities elsewhere in the world and even here at home we should focus our concerns on? How did the DRC become important and vital to U.S. national security? More important than say education or (insert cause)? Seems more a drain on profits and a waste of time. ($4 billion to implement and $200-600 million annually thereafter - Washington Post)



Wednesday, 30-04-14 14:52

I found this article very interesting mostly because, Whirpool is such a highly sensitive market to consumer demand. Since it is a commodity product, and a household brand, the logistics heavily involve sourcing to changes in consumer demands and pricing competition. I found this part very interesting, "With Whirlpool under constant pressure from competitors who manufacture abroad, smart logistics management becomes an important weapon in its struggle to control costs. The company’s products are relatively lightweight, cubing out trucks without approaching vehicle weight limits. Whirlpool is addressing the problem by working with other shippers that can fill out the loads with smaller, heavier items." By restructuring their weight limits when shipping, will hopefully lower costs among competitors and really bring Whirlpool to the front for consumer products.


Megan Johnson

Wednesday, 30-04-14 12:09

What’s essential to food safety is a two-pronged approach that addresses traceability and transparency. Traceability offers companies more than positive brand image – it benefits them economically as well. According to a study in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and numerous studies by the FDA, traceable supply chains have seen positive, long-term revenue growth. Comparatively, transparency can help ensure food safety as well. According to a study published in Advanced Engineering Infomatics in 2010, there are four major areas of improvement that will help create more transparent supply chains. First is environmental reporting and ensuring that there are common standards of reporting across nations. As Bowman mentions, the FSMA was the FDA’s attempt to create this standard. Secondly, there should be lifecycle assessments that help determine standards both horizontally and vertically throughout the supply chains to get an idea of how different vendors compare to one another. Third, correct labeling, as mentioned in this article, is essential. Every aspect of the supply chain impacts how food is labeled, and therefore, more correct and explicit labeling can help increase transparency. And lastly, implementing traceability systems helps build up brand image by fully disclosing a food’s information to consumers.

I appreciated Bowman’s criticisms to the FSMA. It does seem unlikely to achieve universal standardization within this industry. Therefore, I also agree that the responsibility then falls to the food suppliers and keeping an “eye toward identifying the weak links in the chain” to ensure safe food is supplied to consumers.

For an interesting perspective on the FSMA from small, local farmers check out this video:


Jose Martinez

Wednesday, 30-04-14 10:17

It is interesting to know there are now ways of calculating a companies green house gas emissions. Much more importantly is that organizations are willing to set their scores public. This as, Michele Carchman-Hinks mentions, allows for other organizations to benchmark against each other in their footprint impact. This can be a good step towards more environmentally conscious industries and a battle to be pollute less. In a time where the effects on the environment is become of interest to the end consumer this can definitely give a company a competitive advantage.


Jose Martinez

Wednesday, 30-04-14 10:16

I agree with the case for free as well.


Maria Lewis

Wednesday, 30-04-14 01:17

Although I agree that consumer demand for same day delivery given today’s fast marketplace pace does seem inevitable, I have sincere doubts that it will be cost-effective in the near future. In fact, Mariana’s comment below highlights even more costs and concerns than previously noted in the article. I was interested to read that the drive towards same day delivery has less to do with consumers’ pull demand and more to do with retailers’ and carriers’ attempts to be competitive against one another. Speaking as a consumer that often shops online, even when a retail store is within driving distance, it seems less convenient than ordering something from the comfort of my home. Having products arrive at my doorstep after 2 days (I am a loyal Amazon Prime member) is already changing my shopping habits; getting my orders in the same day would probably drive me away from certain retail stores almost altogether. Therefore, I have several facets of this trend that I would like to keep an eye on:
1) How soon will widespread same day delivery become logistically possible and cost-effective?
2) In what format will same day delivery manifest itself? Will retailers build more DCs, or will retailers collaborate with physical stores or carriers?
3) Which retailer or carrier will win the race to same day delivery, and how long will the resulting competitive edge last?
4) If same day delivery is implemented on a large-scale basis, how will consumers’ shopping habits change, and what effect will it have on physical retail stores?
However, as with most things, only time may tell. As a customer, I can only hope that same day delivery becomes possible sooner rather than later.


Herb Shields

Monday, 28-04-14 10:32

Very interesting article. Some detailed information that you usually don't see addressed.


Mariana Masso

Sunday, 27-04-14 17:28

Delivering on the same day a customer orders sounds ideal; however, retailers have to consider many other issues. Ordering through the internet, and having delivered on the same day or picking up on the same day seems the ideal for the customer; however, how efficient is it for the retailer. Every retailer would have to build large distribution centers, as Amazon, to meet demand on time. With this huge distribution centers, retailer have to keep in mind costs. It not only costs more to set up more warehouses, but also keeping inventory. Retailers will have to forecast demand of online sales accurately in order to have sufficient inventory to meet demand. In my opinion, same day delivery works for commodity products and specialized retailers, for example grocery. Having a same delivery on a department store for example, will increase costs very high. A retailer who wants to change to this model, should know very well their market. If people prefer to see the product and try it on before buying it; this model will not work. It is important for the retailer to know the market, and realize that they will have a competitive advantage over their competitors with this new business model. It is also important to have an elaborate contract with the customer, with clauses explaining any problems if the product is not delivered on time. The retailer should look at its geographical location, and consider any risks, before submitting themselves to this type of business. The contract should emphasizes on any type of natural disaster or any force majeure to secure themselves from losses of not delivering on time.


Kyle Meyer

Sunday, 27-04-14 17:06

Very insightful article. Big data and its role in supply chain processes has become an incredibly important tool for businesses. Information gathering and synthesis of that data can certainly transform the demand planning and customer service side of CPG businesses. Furthermore, big data is evolving the delivery process as well. Telematics systems in trucks are providing critical route planning and delivery data to managers allowing more efficient delivery of products. As easy as it is to be "overloaded" by big data, knowing what data to look for and making educated decisions with the data will allow companies to streamline their supply chains.


Caleb Martinez

Tuesday, 22-04-14 19:41

The fact that passenger airlines are switching to widebody airplanes shows that they are focusing their market and profits on passengers, as they should be. They are not trying to compete with air-cargo carriers. I believe that air-cargo carriers should continue to improve their methods as well just as the passenger segment has. The passenger airlines are simply adjusting to their markets demand for more passenger space. The air-cargo carriers will just have to keep researching and developing their side of the market to better fit the needs of their cargo consumers.
It is however interesting that the passenger airlines can still have a small nitch market within the air-cargo market with such little costs for them. That does hurt the air-cargo carriers, but does not necessarily mean they are doomed.


Robert Bowman

Tuesday, 22-04-14 12:27

@bruce barnett, Science never ceases to question everything. But at least 97 out of 100 scientists agree about the existence of man-made climate change. There's nothing "false" about this conclusion. It's time to move past that debate and start doing something about this critical issue.


bruce barnett

Tuesday, 22-04-14 08:36

Before one attempts to justify Climategate aka AGW...anthropogenic global warming, one first needs to verify "misleading facts" so we all avoid international environmental extortion which is what this concept leads too. Those who fell in this pit of nonsense should first look at what those misleading facts that gang is pushing & ask a simple question...why was historical temperature data falsified ? That should end the conversation. climate theory is based on deliberate deception on unproven climate hypothesis being sold as science. None of the claims are supported by "independent" verified scientific analysis & the motive is to force fear (a common stunt). This is nothing less than a cheap stunt to end around the goal of centralized one world govt. as if you need any example, just look what centralized govt in Europe has produced. If that's not enough, venture back to 1993 & the club of Rome where this is outlined with the goal of global govt or verify the statement of prof Dan Botkin...."to get society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of catastrophe". Earth does not maintain a static climate, its constantly changing & influenced by solar radiation, moons gravitational pull,cosmic rays, tectonic plate movements, effects of the gulf stream & emissions of volcanic eruptions. Sea levels have been rising approx 1 foot per "century" since the last major ice age due to gradual expansion of water as solar radiation warms & expands the volume of the oceans. While on the subject, why not mention the Boston Globe (Ross Gelbspan) who advised journalist not to report arguments by climate skeptics. Could this strangely be connected in the 1994 UN human dev report....mankind's problems can no longer be solved by national govt....what is needed is a "world govt". UN intergovernmental panel (Johnny Houghton)..."unless we announce disasters no one will listen". And then that infamous Albert Gore ..."the debate is over...the science is settled". Then one must ask Albert about his GIM (generation investment mgt) to manage carbon trading how in the world would Albert arrange such a convenient myth ? Gore can't debate his critics as he has nothing to stand on & Albert is part of the flat earth groupies. His polar bear scam failed to mention their population has risen 500% but he only spoke of the (4) that drowned. Lets not forget the Arctic ice stunt....its expanding & thicker, that might have something to do with their boat that recently was frozen into the ice in the last several months & had to be rescued at tax payer expense. In other words, the info you are feeding has been "cooked" to support a predetermined conclusion. How can you...Rob Bowman defend a biased science that legitimizes false theory? As the author of this piece, you should be ashamed. Bottom line direction is population limitation. Before anything is "settled" as Albert stated, there first has to be science & science does not support this nonsense, especially when temperatures have been falling. Science never ceases to question, global warming aka climate change aka whatever it will be this month. Besides, what's up with the name changes?


Robert Bowman

Wednesday, 09-04-14 00:29

@chris knox, I didn't say that Atlas Air has been in bankruptcy during the economic recovery. Just that it had filed for Chapter 11 protection, from which it did in fact emerge in 2004.



Sunday, 06-04-14 21:05

Lots of opportunity for those considering a career in Supply Chain or who have a strong background in Supply Chain already. Regardless, clients and candidates alike need to partner with a strong recruiter to make sure the match is right on both sides.


Chris Knox

Sunday, 06-04-14 11:01

There is a mistake in this article. Atlas Air has not been in bankruptcy during the economic recovery. It went into bankruptcy in 2004. 2010 was the most profitable year ever for the company. Furthermore, last year during the cargo slump that this article discusses, Atlas Air made $97 million in profits.



Friday, 04-04-14 23:52

A few words for our belly-cargo messiahs: lithium batteries, flammable liquids, flammable solids.

The predicted demise of the freighter is a bit premature. Slow growth isn't the same as no growth.


arthur girouard

Friday, 04-04-14 22:19

How much did UPS or FED EX pay you to publish this article?

For the sake of brevity and argument, what did UPS/FEDEX net for the quarter? It is all about contract negotiations.

Artie G.



Monday, 31-03-14 09:31

True. One of the issues, however, is security. The more belly cargo, the more opportunity to damage a jet full of passengers.

Through security checks for belly cargo may slow down turnaround time for expensive planes.


Sam W.

Saturday, 29-03-14 10:13

I am all for increased use of intermodal freight. Trucks don't pay nearly enough for the roads they use or the road damage they cause. They pay only pennies per mile. They are involved in 3,900 deaths per year, and something like 60,000 injuries. Trains use only 25% of the fuel, and polute only 25% as much as truck freight. Let's get the long haul trucks off the road and on to rail cars to save wear and tear on highways, stop wasting fuel, and save lives.

Railroads pay their way, while the highways are paid more and more by sales taxes, bonds, and the general funds from the US treasury. States are raising all sorts of non-user taxes. Fuel taxes haven't kept up, so trucks are getting a huge handout. Stop this sort of highway robbery!

If we simply would charge trucks for their actual road use, the shippers would use more rail.

Instead of subsidizing the entire trip for a truck, let's just subsidize them to and from the intermodal yard. Let the railroads make a profit hauling them, and keep them of the roads. We will all benefit from reduced accidents, deaths and injuries, highway congestion, road wear, and environmental damage.



Tuesday, 18-03-14 09:45

I must have missed the part where they say that container haulers...mainly o/o drivers will see an increase in rates! I mean they are building ports in Mexico and widening the Panama Canal and dredging the water ways around Savanna and all this preparation for intermodal expansion. They've even raise the bond for freight brokers to cut out the riff raff that violate the laws. And the main companies that have rates so cheap...JB Hunt...Swift...Hub....Schneider get top billing of gratitude? Well maybe that's what i took from some that article (just me). But what about all the stealing these agents do to the drivers? I mean the rates are horrible and let alone honest. We never get to see the original invoice and they tell you they're paying you 70%. But 70% of what? After everybody gets thru pinching off of the original invoice rate that you never get to see, you don't know where those figures they want to pay you comes from! Not to mention all of your detetion...hazmat pay...back haul pay (JB Hunt)...and other stuff..load locks...scale weights...tolls. Don't get me started on this raggedy eqpt we have to deal with..chassis...recap inner tube tires. We have to be mechanics, electricians, body work swear! We make this look easy but its not by a long shot! Plus the crazy hours we keep. We do more before 6am than most people do all day! I don't have time to list all the pros and cons but i can say that we need regulation of some sort on these rates and transparency from the agent on what moneys are really being paid from the broker. Ooops..gotta go turn this empty in and do my next load. This ain't over yall...stop pulling on the cheap and do the math!



Wednesday, 05-03-14 12:59

There are qualitative factors to take into account here. As Bowman mentions, the Chinese, along with people in a variety of nations, remain consumers of status. The iPhone in China is seen as a symbol of unintelligible wealth at 4988 yuan ($792 USD), while the ordinary Chinese person carries a Samsung or Nokia, costing between 950-2500 yuan (roughly $150-400 USD). Without the upper hand on price, American manufacturers will have to rely on their brand notoriety and product quality in order to compete in the market. Additionally, in a study by MillwardBrown (find it here:, analysts found that the Chinese brands with the fastest growth are market-driven brands, rather than state owned enterprises. The fast growth indicates that this type of business model and brand management is successful for Chinese businesses. Such success will make it even more difficult for American manufacturers to gain a foothold in the Chinese market.

I agree with Bowman’s concluding statement on globalization blurring the lines of geography and national brand association. However, I wouldn’t discredit neo-colonialist and competitive attitudes to keep this blurring at bay. If this is the case, I could foresee future advertisements promoting brands by identifying their origin nations.



Wednesday, 05-03-14 11:23

Through social media and advertising through newer, more innovated channels, companies are now able to segment their customers into more specific target groups. They do not have to be clueless about what their customers are like since they now can see full well what it is their customer base is made up of. Consumers share very detailed and personal feelings or needs on their choice of social media giving companies the ability to know more precisely exactly what to provide for their consumers. This allows companies to be able to come up with better relating designs of new products as well as more accurate forecasts on products and thus saves them unnecessary overage costs. This will also save them money on advertising since they don't have to be so broad on who to target and can address their marketing directly to their segmented target. However, I agree and think that the biggest downfall of social media for companies is all the negative publicity that can be shared for others to see when a bad experience or defective product comes about. An actual example of this that I saw was when a college organization ordered over 20 boxes of pizza from Dominoes. When delivered, at least half of the boxes were smashed in and in bad condition, making the pizzas looked deformed and smudged. Later that night a member of the organization posted on Twitter saying "Dominoes not coming in clutch" with a picture of the smashed pizzas. In order to fix the problem and avoid bad publicity, Dominoes promised the member free pizza next time the organization had a similar large sized order (in order for everyone that saw the bashing tweet to see their company responses as well). Companies should just be aware of the negative effects of social media as well as the many benefits that it can bring.


Kyle Meyer

Wednesday, 05-03-14 02:17

Retailers are in a particularly difficult position as they must forecast demand as accurately as possible, fulfill the orders as accurately as possible, and get the orders to the consumers as quickly as possible. Furthermore, clear communication with parcel delivery services will be something that is emphasized in upcoming years after consumer backlash of parcel services from this previous holiday season. I am anxious to see how new technology and automation will shift retailer's processes in years to come! Thank you for sharing!


Kyle Meyer

Wednesday, 05-03-14 02:13

I really enjoyed this article because it very clearly discusses how retailers face the challenging and unpredictable holiday season. Retailers are in a particularly difficult position as they must forecast demand as accurately as possible, fulfill the orders as accurately as possible, and get the orders to the consumers as quickly as possible. Furthermore, clear communication with parcel delivery services will be something that is emphasized in upcoming years after consumer backlash of parcel services from this previous holiday season. I am anxious to see how new technology and automation will shift retailer's processes in years to come! Thank you for sharing!



Wednesday, 05-03-14 00:02

It is interesting how this article mentions that corporations have the burden to act like law enforcers with their suppliers. Quality starts from the beginning of the supply chain. Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly important that companies’ suppliers are following through with their quality and worker safety requirements. Loyal employees are those that feel appreciated within the company; they deliver the highest quality. In order to have loyal employees, the Chinese government should not only increase factory wages but should also make them an asset for the company. They should enforce better working conditions and create work incentives to keep employees motivated. In addition, companies should try to maintain a transparent supply chain which will strengthen the relationship between the company and its customers.



Tuesday, 04-03-14 23:48

It's interesting to read that a lot of companies have been searching to source elsewhere outside of China. The lead times it takes for freight to come to America from China are surmountable to about 25 days. Whereas in Mexico it could only be 5. I personally would starting a full supplier evaluation in Mexican manufacturers, if there's a to be a serious resurgence in sourcing strategies among companies.



Tuesday, 04-03-14 19:05

I agree with the case for free trade. Globalization is an inevitable aspect of our economy today. To stay competitive with foreign companies, the United States needs to foster international relationships. Free trade will enable US companies to source raw materials at a low cost and to sell globally at a competitive price. An example is the defense industry, in which budget cuts have reduced the number of contracts with the US Department of Defense, the number one customer for US defense contractors. Major players in the US defense industry are now turning to the global market for business. Free trade partnerships will minimize political barriers and ease the relationships made between US contractors and foreign buyers.



Tuesday, 04-03-14 10:49

As sales peak and social media plays an important role, retailers are struggling to meet the demand of the consumers. Forecasting demand with data and analysis is essential. However, it is important for the retailer to have a very good relationship with their supplier, to be able to meet demand. Establishing a good relationship means the supplier can be asked in peak times for more than what was ordered. Usually companies don't like to overstock, as it might come with a lose; therefore, the supplier should have low lead times, helping the retail restock in peak sales. The supplier should be very responsive and flexible in their production process. Being responsive and providing the best quality will help the retailer meet demand. Due to the impact social media is making the supplier needs to be integrated with the retailer.


Mariana Masso

Tuesday, 04-03-14 10:30

As sales peak, the challenge of having inventory on stock becomes a problem for many companies. Marketing and social media has caused many customers to be aware of many products and to get feedback on them. It is substantial for the retails to forecast, accurately using data and analysis. It is also important for the retailer to have a good relationship with their supplier, and to have a low lead time to be able to stock up inventory as soon as possible. Establishing a good relationship with the supplier enables the retailer to meet the demand of their customers. The supplier should be responsive to meeting demand and flexible to the wishes of the retailer. The product should be at the best quality and delivered on time. Therefore, with these new trends in social media creating impact on demand, retailers should have reliable suppliers that can meet their needs in peak sales.


Leslie Cameron

Monday, 03-03-14 21:51

This is very interesting. I think this is a really great example of the government imposing regulation without understanding the consequences, and adversely affecting a group they were intending to benefit. This makes me really curious about the underlying economies of scale for intermodal vs traditional trucking.


ken brown

Friday, 28-02-14 12:05

The trucking rates are so low that the co.(s) are forced to hire new drivers all the times as soon a people find out what can make in this industry they leave and get other jobs. All new drivers to the US. and Canada should run with a more exp. driver for one year. Most truck drivers are doing other jobs because of low pay both too drivers and truck owners. If there was a true shortage trucking rates would go up to the point that drivers would make a fair wage and be paid for dock time. Many smaller trucking co. would plate more trucks. Many farmers used to trucking as well, but the trucking rates today can make more money in Canada running more land and or hogs instead. Many farmers in Canada are paying over $20.00 per hour for good help and hiring ex truck drivers to do farm work. In Canada you can make as much money in 8 months as driving truck 12 months. The farm employee(s) get half wages for the other 4 months from the gov. This brings a good farm worker wages and EI. to app.$72,000 per year in western Canada.


stephen webster

Wednesday, 26-02-14 20:13

The truck driver shortage was caused by too many small co.(s) and owner op. leaving this industry in 2009 to 2011 . These people have got other jobs as welders and equipment op. One former truck driver makes the same in 44 hours putting up bins as in 70 hours driving truck. His truck has sat in my yard for the past 3 years. He was waiting for the rates to go back up as he likes to drive truck but has 2 girls to support.



Monday, 03-02-14 14:16

This article provides an interesting take on the pros and cons of using the internet for retailers. Though retailers who are adept at using the internet to promote their products may have an upper-hand, there are many challenges in using such an unstable source for both data analysis and forecasting. The challenge lies most in integrating social media trends into the supply chain and using these trends to forecast demand. The article mentions the unanticipated success of a particular item, and the potential viral impact of a company's mess-up. Additionally, the use of online retail can provide excess store-front costs, which companies like Amazon avoid and have the upper hand. All in all, though social media can help stores if used correctly, it is a rapidly changing and highly volatile data source and can be hard for companies to integrate.


John Licht

Monday, 27-01-14 16:48

AASHTO has been forecasting this development for several years. It now is occurring.



Trevor Rahill

Friday, 27-12-13 14:52

The technologies exist already to ensure that customers can monitor the performance of their suppliers but I think the problem is that both sides of the supply chain would rather deal in vagueries and conjecture rather than undeniable facts that have to be dealt with or suffer the consequences of lack of action.


Steven Smith

Monday, 09-12-13 10:23

The US Government also has some responsibility here in creating an economic and regulatory environment in the US that would encourage manufacturers to build their factories in the US. Creating an improved business climate in the US would likely "force" other countries to improve working conditions in order to be competitive. Unfortunately, our government appears to be driven by what is politically expedient rather than what is the right thing to do.



Sunday, 08-12-13 07:08

Greg Chalkley correctly listed "Management Commitment" as an essential aspect of a good international trade compliance program. With out buy in and support from management, especially the executive level, an international trade compliance program is pretty much dead in the water. With the current economic slump, most executives and managers have wrongly turned a blind eye to international trade compliance, as they see it as a cost and they are preaching the focus on increasing sales or reducing operating expenses. If the business relies on international trade, they are only asking for a disruption of their business.


Kevin Chang

Friday, 06-12-13 23:52

Great article, I especially agree with your statement that cloud-stored data should be available, recoverable, and secure. IT security is definitely an important consideration for any company. No matter how accurate, extensive, or useful the data you've gathered is, if you are unable to adequately protect and access it, your effort is wasted. For any company, moving data to the cloud is a decision that should be made carefully, and shouldn't be made for the sake of being "technologically adept".


Mike Chavez

Thursday, 05-12-13 11:37

With autonomous motor vehicles just a few years away from volume production for consumer vehicles, I did research into the implications of the technology on the trucking industry.
The problems related in this article are easily mitigated (if not completely circumvented) by taking advantage autonomous vehicles and incorporating them into transportation companies.
The driving hour restrictions will be circumvented while simultaneously increasing roadway safety dramatically! With no need to hire drivers, the diminishing labor pool will no longer become a factor. Instead, the initial investment to compete in the industry will rise with the cost of the technology.
The technology will revolutionize the industry, and the effect will cause the current economic forecast to do a complete 180 as truck transportation becomes increasingly more efficient, timely, reliable and affordable.
As can be expected, there are still hurdles to overcome, the largest being state laws. Unlike consumer vehicles, freight trucking inevitably crosses state lines. Currently only a few states have passed legislation to allow the operation of autonomous vehicles on public roadways. Until all states are on board with the technology, manual drivers will remain an issue for the industry.


Alana Marcum

Wednesday, 04-12-13 15:32

Interesting article. The U.S. Cellular example nicely demonstrates the benefit of more sophisticated planning tools. Given the short life-cycle of mobile phones and huge peak in demand in the early stage, another important consideration not addressed in the level of information sharing between the phone manufacturers and cellular company. Both companies could stand to benefit by potentially integrating inventory tracking systems or sharing real-time information so as to avoid lost sales and management inventory.


Alejandro Flores

Wednesday, 04-12-13 14:16

A topic of discussion in my procurement class has been on the issue of CSR. The question we've had to answer is, "How far does your responsibility go?" A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that focusing on the bottom line is what makes a company successful but social media has redefined the success of a business because it has allowed consumers to monitor where and how their purchases are sourced. It means that a corporation's responsibility does not end on the first or second tier of the supply chain, but extends all the way to the purchasing of raw materials. The greater the reach of a corporation, the greater the responsibility. It is these businesses that have the resources to implement sustainable practices that can lay the groundwork for those smaller or competing businesses.


Alejandra Montes

Wednesday, 04-12-13 03:39

Surprising to see that a company you would expect to have an easy time supplying large retailers also must deal with a large complexity, despite the fact that the products are slightly differentiated. By realizing the different needs within several products, no matter how similar, a company can become more efficient and cater specifically to what changes in demand they see approaching. Interesting to note that 'value-chain segmentation' is something we discussed and recommended when studying the Sport Obermeyer case, without knowing the technical term for it. There, they also had to separate each product and understand the different product cycles of each and the best approach to take when sourcing and manufacturing it.


Diana Cannon

Wednesday, 04-12-13 01:12

We have been talking about sales and operations planning (S&OP) in one of my classes and I am excited to see that what I have been learning in class is actually beneficial in the real world. Sales, marketing, and supply chain do need to work together in order to make sure demand is met and the company is going in the right direction from both ends of the supply chain. However, when I go to the store and look at products like Clorox, I am often baffled by how many choices there are and while this can be a good thing, I feel like I have information overload and just end up picking one at random. But I guess the main point for supply chain management and the company as a whole is that the products are available and demanded.



Tuesday, 03-12-13 21:55

Data security is something we recently discussed in my procurement class at the University of Texas. It seems that this subject is one of the least discussed, from my experience, in the classroom or corporate world. However, for a supply chain management professional, it is a very important concept because not only does your company's information need to be protected, but so does your supplier's, your consumer's, and your employee's. Intellectual property and process information is at stake every time an employee sends out an e-mail or does work on a laptop during the flight. Data security is one of the least controllable variables since there are so many avenues for information to be leaked, but that is precisely why companies need to concentrate on it.


Sherlley Loo

Tuesday, 03-12-13 17:09

Thank you for this article. There is no question that variety in Consumer Goods is important not only to stand out among competitors to consumers but also to expand into new markets. For example, top cosmetics and beauty CPG company L’Oreal’s portfolio is constantly changing. It can introduce new products—but at the same time, the new additions to the portfolio would add cost and complexity. Therefore, it would be in the company’s best interest to remove products to maximize overall gains in the company portfolio. At this point, the big question is “which SKUs should be removed?” The growing variety of SKUs increases the difficulty to accurately forecast demand for a product. I agree that it is vital to the success of company for the supply chain managers to be cross-functional and “speak multiple languages.” This way, the managers will be able to communicate with sales and marketing, finance, and manufacturing. The goal is to have improved profit-and-loss performance and maximize profits and provide a product desirable to consumers.

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