Afternoon Coffee: Commodity Risk Management, Oracle Buys Eloqua, Helium Shortage

A not-so-sweet commodity risk tale...
In $18 Million Theft, Victim Was a Canadian Maple Syrup Cartel -- It was an inside job of sorts. Thieves with access to a warehouse and a careful plan loaded up trucks and, over time, made off with $18 million of a valuable commodity. The question is what was more unusual: that the commodity in question was maple syrup, or that it came from something called the global strategic maple syrup reserve, run by what amounts to a Canadian cartel.

Measuring marketing effectiveness.
Oracle to Buy Eloqua in $810 Million Deal -- "Eloqua's leading marketing automation cloud will become the centerpiece of the Oracle Marketing Cloud," said Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development at Oracle. Eloqua has a history of losses and has warned it may not be consistently profitable in the future.

"A global helium shortage has turned the second-most abundant element in the universe (after hydrogen) into a sought-after scarcity."
A Helium Shortage Leads to Fewer Balloons in the Sky -- ne chain of party supply stores in Texas and Oklahoma was forced to make a cut worthy of Scrooge: no more balloons donated to charity events. A gated community on Lake Erie in Ohio that had handed out balloons to children at a Fourth of July parade for decades did not give out a single balloon this year. And a longtime tradition at University of Nebraska home football games -- releasing up to 5,000 red balloons after the Huskers score their first touchdown -- was downsized this season to a modest 2,000.

"The year of the network."
Overarching Theme for 2013: This will be the Year of the Network -- Professor Hau Lee said that competition is supply chain versus supply chain. With today's prevalent business model of brand owners embracing trading networks of outsourced manufacturing and distribution, one could argue that it's now trading network versus trading network. The secret to success here is how well brand owners and their trading partners can collaborate--moving beyond the archaic one-to-one manual sharing of spreadsheets to achieve one-to-many and many-to-many visibility based on real-time information across a network that provides a single source of truth.

- Sheena Moore

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