Author Archives: Sydney Lazarus



Viscose Suppliers to H&M and Zara Linked to Severe Health and Environmental Hazards

Zara and H&M are among the fast fashion giants that have been found to source viscose from manufacturing sites whose processes pose serious health and environmental dangers, according to a new report from Changing Markets Foundation. When the foundation visited 10 such sites in China, India and Indonesia, it found that untreated hazardous waste was leading to severe air and water pollution, and for people who lived near the manufacturing sites, physical and mental disorders.

‘Or Accept the Consequences’: Advice for Women in Supply Chain from Dr. Lisa Ellram and Dr. Wendy Tate (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this two-part interview, Dr. Lisa Ellram, distinguished professor of supply chain management at Miami University, and Dr. Wendy Tate, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, talked to me about the challenges that women working in supply chain face and how different professionals they’ve known have dealt with the challenges – from learning how to play golf to taking on extra responsibilities. This second half of the interview covers the difficulty of changing traditional work cultures, the subtlety of modern-day workplace challenges, and advice that the two professors give their female students.

Getting Ahead by Playing Golf: Dr. Wendy Tate and Dr. Lisa Ellram on Challenges Faced By Women in Supply Chain (Part 1)

This past spring, I talked to Dr. Wendy Tate, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, to find out why female student enrollment in the university’s supply chain program had been dropping significantly. The conversation eventually led to the topic of both real and perceived weaknesses of female professionals in supply chain. Tate introduced me to Dr. Lisa Ellram, distinguished professor of supply chain management at Miami University. The two of them recently talked to me about the challenges that female professionals in supply chain face and how different women they know have tried to deal with these challenges to varying degrees of success.

MBO Partners’ Latest Report on U.S. Freelance Economy Shows a Wage ‘Barbell Effect’

Freelancers, contractors, contingent workers, gig workers, independent workforce. However you prefer to call this segment of the workforce, more than 40% of U.S. working adults are currently freelancers or have worked as a freelancer in the past. That share is expected to increase to cover half of the U.S. adult workforce, according to MBO Partners’ 2017 State of Independence in America Report, its seventh annual study of the U.S. freelance workforce.

Tell the CEO: Strategic Sourcing and Procurement’s Role in Business Success

According to a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, the role procurement and sourcing play in defending organizational cybersecurity is but one sign that the function has ceased to be simply a back-office operation. And yet, a previous HBR Analytic Services survey of 376 senior executives found that companies are not much inclined to devote advanced technological resources to non-customer-facing functions, including procurement and sourcing.

Must-Watch Films and TV: Recommendations From and For Procurement Professionals

A few months ago, we published a post on book recommendations for procurement and supply chain practitioners. Textbooks they were not: I solicited recommendations both inside and outside Spend Matters for books that have relevant takeaways for procurement, even if they are about, say, tulips (that would be Mike Dash’s “Tulipomania”). Today we’re back with another round of recommendations, this time in the film and TV show category. The gist remains the same: What films and TV shows, while not nominally about procurement or supply chain, nevertheless contain pertinent lessons?

Are Your Supply Chain Peers Already Implementing Blockchain?

Last summer, our sister site Trade Financing Matters’ David Gustin wrote: “I guess someone must have told ‘American Banker’ and many other publications [that] you put blockchain in the title and people will at least open the article.” We admit to having no shortage of enthusiasm for writing about blockchain technology and its exciting implications for supply chains here on Spend Matters. As we wrote back in 2015, “Certainly you’ve heard of bitcoin. But do you know about blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin? If not, you should. We believe it has the potential to be one of the top technologies in the supply chain.”

Afternoon Coffee: Walmart Workers to Deliver Packages, Economic Effects of U.S. Climate Accord Withdrawal

Walmart is seeking to cut costs on "last-mile" deliveries by asking its employees to deliver packages to customers' homes. And we've all read about Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement by now. One immediate effect of the Trump administration's climate pact announcement has been falling oil prices, due to expectations that the U.S. will worsen the current global oversupply of oil. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Baidu Partners with Car Parts Supplier Bosch, Will Ivanka Trump Shoes be Made in Ethiopia?

Huajian International, whose factories make shoes for Ivanka Trump and other designers, aims to outsource jobs to Ethiopia, as more Chinese factory workers speak up about long hours and low pay. And Chinese web services company Baidu just announced a partnership with car parts supplier Bosch on driverless vehicle technology. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Switzerland Again Tops FM Global’s 2017 Resilience Index, But Rankings Have Shuffled

Switzerland has again taken the top spot on the FM Global Resilience Index, which ranks 130 countries and territories according to their resilience to supply chain disruptions. This fourth annual report, released alongside an interactive graphic, cites cyber attacks, natural hazards and supply chain failure among businesses’ most urgent risks today. The no. 1 country may have stayed the same as 2016, but a bit of shuffling took place throughout the list.

Afternoon Coffee: Lystable Rebrands as Kalo, Activists Investigating Ivanka Trump Supplier Are Now Missing

Freelancer collaboration platform Lystable has officially rebranded as Kalo, and it has received financial backing from PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel. “The name change and rebranding seem to reflect a shift in focus from just freelancer management and control to the enablement of teams and collaboration,” said Andrew Karpie, research director of services and labor procurement at Spend Matters. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in procurement and supply chain.

Afternoon Coffee: Suppliers Take Hit in Retail Industry Shake-Up, Bosch Causes BMW Production Slowdown

The retail industry shake-up has often left suppliers hanging in terms of payment. In contrast, e-commerce is thriving. UPS and S.F. Express, the biggest Chinese package-delivery company, have partnered to take advantage of the fast-growing direct retail market between the U.S. and China. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.