Dr. Laura D'Andrea Tyson, business and economics professor at Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, delivered the keynote presentation at the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, the other week. The key question: when is the new May 2000 coming (i.e., major economic reversal)? Let me be clear that Dr. Tyson didn’t come across as bullish. In fact, she raised several points of concern. Here are my notes from her speech, with my own thoughts added, spanning topics from Europe to China to Japan -- as well as interest rates, supply chain risk and other macroeconomic variables. Ultimately, our supply chains (and top line) are only as strong as the weakest links.more ▸
A recent study shows that a substantial number of employees go to work under the influence of pot. About 10 percent admit to having done so, and about 5 percent don’t rule out doing so again in the future! However, taking these results at face value, as you can see, employees even take illegal drugs while at work (some of the funniest examples may be in the Comedy Central series ) – and as more and more states make these legal, what is the impact on the supply chain?more ▸
Today we kick off the first post in a detailed conversation between a consultant, a friend and an imaginary client, in which they discuss lean manufacturing – and that’s just scratching the surface. Guillermo Perez, the consultant and author of this conversation, is a dear friend of mine who currently dedicates his time to advising companies and practitioners on lean manufacturing. Without further ado, we bring you “La Magia de la Manufactura Esbelta.” Click below to read the full article in Spanish.more ▸
For the first time, FedEx sets the bar, but will UPS follow? Since 1998, UPS has been playing "leader," setting yearly shipping rates, with FedEx left to play the "follower" role. My, how the tables have turned. Doug Caldwell from AFMS Logistics takes us through the current landscape, detailing the context behind FedEx's move, its new rates – and how USPS is getting hotter on the ground game.more ▸
Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Jim Haller, program director of transportation services at NPI, a spend management consultancy, focused on eliminating overspending on IT, telecom and shipping.
It’s no secret that the United States Postal Service has been on a mission to grow its parcel business. But the rate cuts that went into effect on Sept. 7 may be one of its most aggressive moves yet. The pricing changes affect two Priority Mail offerings – Commercial Base and Commercial Plus – and spotlight USPS’s increasing focus on attracting large e-commerce customers. For customers shipping at least 50,000 parcels a year, price cuts could be more than 50 percent.
As one would expect, UPS and FedEx are none too happy, especially after they’ve just announced they will charge shippers by dimensional weight for all package sizes come 2015. Documents filed by UPS and FedEx with the Postal Regulatory Commission claim the USPS is using its near monopoly status to gain more commercial business, which is an interesting claim considering many shippers have voiced their own frustration over duopolistic behavior from UPS and FedEx throughout the years.
Over the last five years, the USPS has grown its parcel business by 20 percent, earning status as a viable option. While UPS and FedEx continue to increase margins with price increases and high fuel surcharges, the USPS is playing the game differently.more ▸
I had an opportunity to perform (a minuscule amount of) voluntary work helping sort clothes donated for the over half a million displaced people in India alone when the tsunami struck the Indian Ocean in December 2004. My time spent volunteering piqued my interest in disaster relief supply chain management that non-profit/non-government organizations adopt and the constraints they face, which helped me with some valuable lessons.more ▸
Earlier this month, Spend Matters published a story highlighting Auto News’ coverage of supply chain and procurement localization at Magna International. On the surface, supply chain localization seems simple – work with local suppliers in the areas where you do business globally. Supply chain localization is far from easy – in fact, its requirements and practices are often incongruous with some procurement and supply chain trends leading to greater centralization of efforts and management.
Moreover, without the right structure and design – not to mention technology – the supplier localization efforts can overwhelm individuals (e.g., category managers) tasked with global oversight of specific sourcing and related supplier management efforts.
So what enablers can procurement and supply chain organizations turn to as they move toward localization given this context? There's a bunch. Read the full post to find out what they are.more ▸
Auto News recently reported that Magna International, one of the top three auto suppliers based in Canada, has been rethinking its supply chain of late, noting that “local strategy and efficiency improvements as key cost-saving measures within its supply chain.” In particular, supply chain localization was one of three trends within Magna’s supply chain identified by Carrie Van Ess, vice president of procurement for the Americas, at a recent industry briefing. Van Ess said a new supply chain model is emerging in which “goods are produced, sold and consumed in the same geographic region,” according to the article.more ▸
Zara, that darling of the fashion world with the most innovative speed-to-market business model, invented the concept of “fast fashion.” The company has received heaps of praise for its innovations that have allowed it to reach more than $20 billion in revenue (see here, here, and here). And, let’s face it, the clothing chain has a lot to offer, particularly if one craves the latest looks. I have shopped there many times. But I can’t say that I will again because of a recent “blunder.”more ▸
Continuing on with “Best Of” Week on Spend Matters, here are some must-read posts from our sister site, Trade Financing Matters. I asked David Gustin to pick a few that are most pertinent to Spend Matters readers or hold most sentimental value. Read on to see what these are!more ▸
En los últimos meses, se ha escuchado mucho hablar acerca del “Big Data” que no es más que la gran cantidad de datos que se generan en las transacciones comerciales del día con día y que mediante el uso de herramientas analíticas permite identificar relaciones que a simple vista eran difíciles de encontrar. Así por ejemplo, se puede identificar la edad, el género, el perfil socioeconómico y la frecuencia de compra del consumidor de un cierto producto o servicio, lo que permite que las empresas sean más precisos en su publicidad, políticas del precio y manejo de inventarios en la búsqueda de un alto nivel de servicio.more ▸
Should you be worried about Ebola? What can you do about this issue, and similar illnesses that might disrupt your supply chain and/or put your employees and suppliers at risk? On this week's Ask the Expert webinar, on Thursday 8/14 from 10-10:30am Central, Spend Matters VP of Research Thomas Kase will provide an overview of the issue and possible ways to improve your understanding of the level of exposure – as well as ways to better alert employees and third parties when needed. We’re also pleased to have a special guest joining Thomas: Heiko Schwarz, Managing Director of riskmethods. riskmethods is a German firm focused on global supply basic risk visibility and mitigation. Spend Matters Plus and PRO members, click on through to register for this special event!more ▸