Author Archives: Sydney Lazarus



About Sydney Lazarus

Editor-at-Large - Spend Matters | Sydney is editor-at-large at Spend Matters, where she writes on a variety of supply chain and procurement-related topics. Her reporting interests include labor conditions, corporate social responsibility, and women and millennials in supply chain. Like most of her editorial colleagues, Sydney is an alum of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, and a couple places where she chose to be published anonymously.


U.S. Apparel Industry Scrambles to Diversify Sourcing Strategy in Wake of Escalating U.S.-China Trade War

apparel

For many U.S. companies in the apparel industry, the old sourcing strategy of “made in China” is turning into “China plus Vietnam plus many,” with emphasis on the many. As Washington and Beijing continue to one-up each other’s tariff threats, the prospect of a looming trade war is driving U.S. apparel companies to further diversify their sourcing strategy and shift production away from China. While China remains the top sourcing destination for the U.S. apparel industry, the country now accounts for 11%–30% of companies’ total sourcing volume, compared to 30%–50% in the past.

The Amazon Prime Effect: Rising Expectations for E-Commerce Delivery and Fulfillment

If the 100 million-plus shoppers who pay $119 a year for fast shipping via Amazon Prime are any indication, a smooth and expedient delivery and fulfillment process is crucial to e-commerce success. And expectations are rising. According to a recent survey of 3,000 online shoppers from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., younger generations are particularly critical, with less than half of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 saying that they receive their orders on time and in perfect condition. These findings are published in a new report from Radial, “The Everyday Essentials of Successful E-Commerce Fulfillment.”

Are Companies Doing Enough to Prevent Software Supply Chain Attacks?

cyber attack

Software supply chains are at ever higher risk of cyberattacks, a recent report from the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has warned. With seven significant events reported last year — compared to four between 2014 and 2016 — 2017 “represented a watershed in the reporting of software supply chain operations.” NCSC notes that “software supply chain infiltration already threatens the critical infrastructure sector and is poised to threaten other sectors.”

A.T. Kearney’s 2018 Reshoring Index: Has the Reshoring Trend Reversed?

Toyota supply chain

Harley-Davidson was in the news last month when it announced that it would be shifting some production overseas as a result of the E.U.’s planned retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. The American motorcycle manufacturer is also closing its Kansas City factory and opening a plant in Thailand, decisions that were spurred by sluggish domestic sales and the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As it turns out, Harley-Davidson is hardly alone. Since 2013, A.T. Kearney has been tracking reshoring, and its 2018 Reshoring Index shows that the practice has not taken hold.

The Rise of the Social Enterprise (Part 3): Are Humans and Robots Smarter Together?

Robots are not our overlords (yet), but they will be our colleagues — if they aren’t already. According to Deloitte’s survey of 11,070 business and HR professionals around the world, the findings of which are published in the colossal 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 47% say that their organizations are already undertaking automation projects. Twenty-four percent are using artificial intelligence and robotics to perform routine tasks, 16% are using automation to augment human skills, and 7% are restructuring work altogether.

The Rise of the Social Enterprise (Part 2): Why Corporate Citizenship is Crucial

As the nature of work changes, so too does our understanding of careers. This is one of the most important trends covered in Deloitte’s 100-page 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report. While 84% of respondents who took part in Deloitte’s survey deemed the ability to build a 21st-century career as “important” or “very important,” only 37% think they are ready to do so. Part 1 of this series covered C-suite, contingent workforce and compensation trends. Today’s post will discuss four more trends in human capital: corporate citizenship, corporate wellness, longer careers and the redefinition of the career itself.

U.S. Companies Improve Working Capital Performance — But Is It at the Expense of Suppliers?

finance

U.S. companies’ working capital performance is at its strongest since 2008, according to The Hackett Group. However, this is in large part a result of companies shifting their working capital burden on to their suppliers by extending payment terms. The average days payable outstanding in 2017 was 56.7 days, 3.4 days more than in 2016. This data comes from The Hackett Group’s 2018 U.S. Working Capital Survey of the 1,000 largest non-financial companies with headquarters in the U.S.

The Rise of the Social Enterprise: Working Toward a Symphonic C-Suite (Part 1)

marketing procurement

As the concepts of the workforce and the workplace shift, the concept of the business itself may be changing as well, Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report suggests, giving rise to what the report’s authors call “social enterprises.” A social enterprise is an organization “whose mission combines revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network,” the authors write. “Today, successful businesses must incorporate external trends, perspectives and voices by maintaining positive relationships, not just with customers and employees, but also with local communities, regulators and a variety of stakeholders.”

Penn State’s Undergraduate Supply Chain Program Again Tops Gartner’s 2018 Rankings

Michigan State University

Pennsylvania State University’s supply chain program has once again taken the top spot in Gartner’s 2018 rankings of the top 25 undergraduate supply chain programs in North America. But other rankings have seen some shuffling. Rutgers University and Auburn University were ranked second and third this year, while Michigan State University’s supply chain program, previously ranked second, has fallen to the fourth spot.

GAO: Majority of Companies Can Now Determine Origins of Their Conflict Minerals

conflict minerals

For the first time, more than half of companies filing conflict minerals reports are able to determine the source of these minerals, according to a Government Accountability Office report on conflict minerals disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2017. Last year, 53% of the companies were able to report whether their conflict minerals — tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold — came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or one of the nine neighboring countries.

Risk of Slavery, Trafficking and Labor Abuse in Supply Chains Expected to Increase

As manufacturing becomes increasingly automated, the risk of slavery, human trafficking and labor abuse in supply chains is also expected to rise, according to Verisk Maplecroft’s 2018 Human Rights Outlook. The report presents five issues that will pose “significant challenges to the reputations, operations and supply chains of multinational companies.” Automation tops the list, with an estimated 56% of jobs in Southeast Asia’s key manufacturing hubs potentially affected. Compliance, certification, threats to human rights defenders, and investor expectation for businesses to take up social responsibility round out the list.

Trade and Geopolitics Top U.S. Businesses’ Global Expansion Worries, Survey Finds

sustainability

Geopolitical uncertainty, trade disputes and compliance issues are top of mind for U.S. businesses with an eye on global expansion, whether that’s opening new international offices, expanding the supply chain or acquiring non-U.S. businesses. These findings come from a recent study by Tipalti and Censuswide Research, surveying more than 500 decision-makers at mid-sized U.S. businesses on challenges they’re facing in during international expansion efforts.