Author Archives: Sydney Lazarus



Fish Fraud, Mislabeled Sushi and Supply Chain Traceability

sushi

Nowadays one doesn’t have to be a coffee snob to appreciate a single-origin brew, not when even Starbucks is bandying around words like terroir. The same goes for so-called bean-to-bar chocolate. For years now, businesses and consumers have pored over the provenances of foodstuffs with a fervor that used to be limited to wine. Seafood may be getting there, too, albeit slowly. Imagine ordering from a menu where each seafood dish comes with a note on where it came from.

Supply Chain Management Salaries Down from 2016 in Logistics Management Survey

salary

The median salary of supply chain managers/directors dropped to $117,000 from $129,000 last year, according to Logistics Management’s latest annual survey of logistics and supply chain salaries. The survey results are based on 687 qualified respondents, 55 of which were supply chain managers/directors. Median salaries for employees whose primary job function is supply chain management fell to $110,000 from $120,000 in 2016.

Conflict Minerals Update: Perspectives on the SEC’S Latest Move

mining

Last Friday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it is scaling back the more costly parts of its conflict minerals rule. As indicated in Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, companies are required to disclose whether their products contain tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG) sourced from the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where large shares of mining profits go to various armed rebel groups.

Outsourcing Flights: Was the United Airlines Fiasco Also a Supplier Management Mishap?

People have pointed fingers at United for pulling passengers off after they have boarded; at the security officers who didn’t think it inappropriate to drag a 69-year-old man by his hands; at the passenger himself for not complying with airline policy — but who reads those policies when booking tickets, anyway? But our question is this: How much of the blame also goes to Republic Airline, the regional partner that operated the flight?

Commodity Price Uncertainty is the No. 1 Concern for Global Energy Leaders, New Report Finds

wind power

New technologies such as renewable energies and energy efficiency rank high in impact on priorities for global energy leaders, according to the World Energy Council’s eighth and latest annual report, The World Energy Issues Monitor 2017: Exposing the New Energy Realities. The report surveyed more than 1,200 energy leaders (CEOs, ministers, experts) in 95 countries on the issues that keep them “up at night.” One of the biggest, as shown in the upper right quadrant of the chart below, is commodity prices.

Attention Supply Chain Interns: 3 Pieces of Career Advice from “30 Under 30” Winner Kiara Conde

Today’s spotlight is on Kiara Conde, a transformation analyst at Shell who started as an intern at the company in 2012. Five years later, Conde is a campus ambassador to her alma mater, the University of Houston, and the co-founder of an internship program. What helped her nomination stand out in this year’s “30 Under 30” competition, however, was when she took advantage of historically low oil prices to deliver millions of dollars in bottom-line savings for Shell. Conde shared her thoughts with Spend Matters on having a work-life balance, millennials in the workforce and — attention, interns — three pieces of work advice for young professionals who want to stand out from the crowd.

Why Is There a Dearth of Female Supply Chain Students? A Conversation with UT-Knoxville’s Wendy Tate

When I wrote to Dr. Wendy Tate, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, asking her to give a piece of advice for women working in supply chain for an International Women’s Day-themed article last month, she gave five. “I could probably go on for a very long time,” she wrote back. “This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and I spend a lot of time with women students going into supply chain positions!”

Something strange has been happening to the highly regarded supply chain program at UT-Knoxville. Over the past few years, the program has seen a significant drop in the number of female students, even though overall enrollment is as high as ever. I talked to Dr. Tate recently to find out why, as well as learn about how young women can succeed in supply chain and her thoughts on the conventional wisdom regarding women’s supposedly innate professional qualities.

Afternoon Coffee: Hyundai and Kia to Recall 1.5M Vehicles, Amazon Goes on Hiring Spree

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors plan to recall nearly 1.5 million vehicles in the United States and South Korea due to an engine defect, Reuters reports. And new research from CoStar Group found that more than 10% of U.S. retail space (1 billion square feet) may be closed, converted to other uses or renegotiated for lower rent in the near future. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Tin Supply Chain Abuses, Commodities Traders Look to Blockchain

Tech companies may be stepping up their monitoring of conflict minerals, but they are overlooking human rights abuses in their supply chains in countries such as Myanmar, Colombia and Bolivia, according to new research. And Société Générale and the private equity firm Mercuria Investment Co. are considering using blockchain to deliver liquefied natural gas, following a successful delivery of crude oil that was run entirely on a blockchain platform. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest procurement and supply chain news.

Bad Procurement: A Roundup of Recent Procurement Scandals

Procurement scandals haven’t been a priority coverage area on Spend Matters, but that may change soon. Monday's Afternoon Coffee column covered the news, broken by the New York Post, that the chief procurement officer for New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been fired for allegedly soliciting bribes from a contractor. There is of course a “lady friend” involved in this saga too, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself. But this got us wondering: How does this compare with other procurement-centered crimes? Here is a roundup of recent scandals, some more salacious than others.

ISM/ThomasNet “30 Under 30” Winner Michaela Romanias on the Importance of Resilience and Taking Initiative

webinar

This month, we are running Q&As with a few of the winners of this year’s ISM/Thomasnet.com 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program, which puts the spotlight on the some of the most talented young people working in supply chain. Today’s Q&A is with Michaela Romanias, an asset scheduler at DuPont who graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2012 with a degree in supply chain and information systems. In between juggling big responsibilities at work and planning for her early April wedding, Romanias managed to find time to talk to us about how a school assignment led her to study supply chain, what she wishes she knew at the beginning of her career, and the millennial question.

“Do It” — ISM/ThomasNet “30 Under 30” Megawatt Winner Dan Kaskinen on Supply Chain Careers

Earlier this month, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and Thomasnet.com announced the winners of their third annual 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. This year’s Megawatt Winner title went to Dan Kaskinen for his work in reducing efficiency, standardizing processes and realizing $3 million in savings at Sonic Automotive, where he worked as a strategic sourcing manager until February. (Kaskinen has since moved into another strategic sourcing role at Premier Inc.) Kaskinen participated in a Q&A with Spend Matters recently to talk about the appeal of working in supply chain (hint: the key word is exposure), career zigzags, disruptive tech and more. A voracious reader, Kaskinen also shared with us the one book that has had the biggest effect on his career.