The Supply Chain Category

The Role of Logistics in Reviving Retail Markets [PRO]

Everybody knows about “bricks and clicks” in the supply chain, but I have a question: Can the clicks save the bricks for those who’ve been getting Amazoned? In other words, does an increasingly fragmented and tech-enabled market for logistics services have the right “stuff” — the information-based mortar to put traditional retail’s bricks back together? While Amazon’s vertical integration has experts predicting a knockout blow to competitors, across the supply chain the industry’s largest players are getting even larger and they’re learning how to counterpunch.

Amazon has single-handedly accelerated the evolution of logistics from a retail and distribution standpoint. But Wal-Mart is no slouch either, even if it’s generally a step behind. Together, their demand and requirements for ever-increasing service levels have quickly reshaped the logistics services landscape, redefining what’s possible not only for their own businesses but for all businesses across industry. Yet the mega players aren’t just in the retail end of the supply chain. Contract manufacturers are going big and going digital (e.g., Flex’s foray into incubating supply chain startups like Elementumand Jabil, too). Carriers are also supersized, with FedEx and UPS are expanding their digital capabilities, and DHL is doing some extremely innovative work in supply risk management that we’ll be featuring soon in an upcoming PRO series. The logistics market is a very interesting ecosystem for the broader supply chain because logistics is like the circulatory system in an animal — and it’s critical to support all the animals big and small, not just the gorillas.

New Report: Are Our Supply Chains Less Responsible Than We Think?

hidden workers

Corporations are becoming wealthier. As of last year, 69 of the world’s 100 biggest economic entities are not nations but businesses, an increase from 63 in 2015. Can it be argued that those behemoth private sector corporations should be held to stricter procurement regulations and transparency, more like, dare one say, public procurement? This is a question that arises from the findings of a recent report from The Economist Intelligence Unit on supply chain responsibility.

Building Supply Market Intelligence: Which Data Sources are the Best?

Often, it’s all about how quickly one can digest something. No, I’m not talking about Joey Chestnut’s eating-champ prowess. I’m talking about market intelligence. In a procurement professional’s day-to-day, that sentiment has certainly become more widespread than ever. In fact, with time at a premium, the majority of procurement pros — from junior buyers all the way up to CPOs — are faced with this issue every day. However, it can pay dividends to approach supply market intelligence in a strategic way.

Supply Chain Visibility: Big Brother Shippers and Truckers Need a Prenup

trucking

Over the last several weeks, I have watched five supply chain visibility product demos from very different and successful solution providers — each focused on track and trace capabilities designed to benefit freight shippers — who explained to me that knowing the exact location of a shipment has become an industry requirement. Yes, I raised my hand and asked “why,” because watching an icon move on a map, while cool, just didn’t strike me as essential. As I learned, Wal-Mart and Amazon, once again, are responsible for the shift.

Japan: High Employee Bonuses in Manufacturing Until Inflation Picks Up

Spend Matters welcomes this guest contribution from Irene Lauro, senior economist at IHS Markit.

In Japan, labor shortages and rising productivity are not leading companies to increase ordinary wages. Signs of a Japanese economic recovery have started to appear in rising corporate profits and falling unemployment. A meaningful pickup in wage growth, however, is not in the cards, as corporates are reluctant to lift ordinary earnings because of uncertainty about the economic outlook.

ICYMI: What Have You Always Wondered About Procurement (But Were Afraid to Ask)?

The Spend Matters editors have been busy working through reader questions these past two weeks. Our recent submissions run the gamut from how to implement supplier relationship management to what professional skills will be most in demand in the supply chain and procurement field to, er, prank questions from our own colleagues. You might be thinking, “But hang on! What’s all this? Can I submit a question? Is this a new feature?” Yes and yes! In case you missed it (this is peak vacation time, after all), earlier this month we launched Ask Spend Matters, where you tell us what procurement questions to investigate, and we report out the answer in the form of an article.

Blame the Supplier: A Roundup of Recent Supply Chain Scandals

Makeup for tweens is controversial enough on its own, but when asbestos is involved, national news headlines follow. ABC11 reported this week that asbestos was found to be present in the “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” sold at Justice, a national retailer of girls’ apparel. Asbestos fibers, once inhaled, remain in the lungs permanently. As Sean Fitzgerald, the director of research at the lab where the investigation was conducted, told ABC11, children “could die an untimely death in their thirties or forties because of the exposure to asbestos in this product.”

Healthcare Needs More Mud: A Supply Chain Perspective

If ever a layman’s view of the holy war over healthcare reform had a chance to be heard, well, as a guy who’s covered the space for the better part of a decade, here goes nothing. (My disclaimer: I hold both political parties in equal contempt.) From a supply chain management perspective, there’s more fat on the healthcare bone than Arby’s latest pork belly sandwich. Origins of that old adage “doctors don’t make good businessmen” have roots in many places. But their collective decision to fully outsource their procurement and supply chain management needs (in fact, to establish healthcare’s group purchasing organization oligarchy) may be the quintessential example.

A Look at Industrial Buyer Trends: E-Marketplaces, Mobile Apps and Supplier Selection

distributor

Traditional distributors still command the biggest percentage of industrial buyer spending, but competition is firing up, according to a recent UPS study of industrial products buyers and their behaviors and preferences. The study found more that industrial buyers than before are spending their money with non-traditional suppliers by buying through an e-marketplace or straight from the manufacturer.

The Hyper-Personalized Supply Chain is Coming: Are You Ready?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jim Wetekamp, chief executive officer of BravoSolution .

The concept of the demand-driven supply chain has been around for a decade or more. For supply chain organizations in consumer-centric markets, the model requires the ability to ramp production up and down based on demand fluctuations in short cycles. Think that change was a roller coaster ride? Well, fasten your seat belts.

“Buy Online, Pick Up in Store” Services Increasingly Popular Among Consumers

JDA Software Inc. released Monday its 2017 survey on U.S. consumer attitudes toward in-store shopping and e-commerce. With no one batting an eye over free two-day shipping anymore and drone deliveries on the horizon, it’s no wonder that only 54% of the 1,000 consumers JDA surveyed said they prefer to shop in a physical store. In other words, nearly half of shoppers prefer to make purchases online or through a retailer’s mobile app. Interestingly, this pattern was consistent across age groups.

Eaze: On-Demand Cannabis Delivery to Your Home

In the past month or so, Spend Matters has featured a number of articles about the fast-growing cannabis industry and supply chain. It’s complex, but the cannabis industry is not what it used to be. While the earlier articles have focused on procurement and supply chain processes and technology, there is another area of the business that was not covered: on-demand home delivery. Over the past two years, a number of startups have emerged to provide the platform/app-based service — think of it as a Grubhub or DoorDash for pot, instead of food. The list includes companies like Nugg, Speed Weed and grasp.it, but perhaps the most recognized — and most well funded — is Eaze.