Supply Chain Article

Brandon Cornuke’s picture

By: Brandon Cornuke

Manufacturers work hard to minimize disruptions to their operations and invest significant resources to minimize production risk. They also are under constant pressure to find new ways to deliver more value to their customers. Sustainable business growth is critical to delivering this value. Many achieve that sustainability through experimentation.

But innovation and experimentation involve risk, which could lead to wasted resources, not meeting expectations, or a lack of return on investment. Sometimes precious resources will be devoted to experiments that will not work out. But just as there is the risk of failure, there is risk associated with not being innovative as well. For instance, the business may not stay competitive.

Manufacturers can reduce their innovation risk by linking initiatives to the unmet needs of their customers. They need to anticipate how their customers’ needs will change in the future.

Rick Gould’s picture

By: Rick Gould

As the world enters the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis remains the biggest long-term threat facing humanity, according to the Global Risks Report 2022. Extreme weather due to climate change is seen as the second most serious short-term risk, with biodiversity loss coming in third.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Earth’s temperature has increased by about 1°C since pre-industrial times. This massive accumulation of heat has caused the unusual abundance of flash floods, melting ice caps, superstorms, droughts, heat waves, and catastrophic forest fires that marked 2021.

Faced with this reality, governments are encouraged to think more broadly and create policies that shape the agenda for the coming years. Now more than ever, standards need to be part of a coordinated multistakeholder response to ensure the transition to net-zero economies.

Eric Pauley’s picture

By: Eric Pauley

Organizations’ failure to properly manage the servers they lease from cloud service providers can allow attackers to receive private data, as research my colleagues and I conducted has shown.

Cloud computing allows businesses to lease servers the same way they lease office space. It’s easier for companies to build and maintain mobile apps and websites when they don’t have to worry about owning and managing servers. But this way of hosting services raises security concerns.

Each cloud server has a unique IP address that allows users to connect online and send data. After an organization no longer needs this address, it’s given to another customer of the service provider, perhaps one with malicious intent. IP addresses change hands as often as every 30 minutes as organizations change the services they use.

Marc Lepere’s picture

By: Marc Lepere

As the war in Ukraine rages, finance professionals on Wall Street and in Europe recently attracted outrage by suggesting that investing in arms manufacturers should be treated as ethical investing. In the fight against tyranny, they argued that such an investment “preserves peace and global stability” and defends “the values of liberal democracies.” As such, it belongs in the increasingly lucrative investment category known as ESG, or environmental, social, and governance.

ESG is viewed as a mark of approval for socially conscious investing. If you tick a box that says you want your pension or savings to be invested ethically, whoever looks after your money will put it into ESG funds—meaning funds that hold only companies with an ESG rating.

Tinglong Dai’s picture

By: Tinglong Dai

Francis Fukuyama, the U.S. political scientist who once described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the “end of history,” suggested that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might be called “the end of the end of history.” He meant that Vladimir Putin’s aggression signals a rollback of the ideals of a free Europe that emerged after 1991. Some observers suggest it may kick off a new cold war, with an iron curtain separating the West from Russia.

As an expert in global supply chains, I think the war portends something else: the end of the global supply chains that Western companies began to build after the Berlin Wall fell more than three decades ago.

Georgia Tech News Center’s picture

By: Georgia Tech News Center

With the United States’ semiconductor chip shortage likely to continue well into 2022, a Georgia Tech expert predicts that the U.S. will need to make major changes to the manufacturing and supply chain of these all-important chips to stave off further effects, including making more of them here at home.

Madhavan Swaminathan is the John Pippin Chair in electromagnetics at the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also serves as director of the 3D Systems Packaging Research Center.

As an author of more than 450 technical publications, and holder of 29 patents, Swaminathan is one of the world’s leading experts on semiconductors and the semiconductor chips necessary for many of the devices we use every day.

“Almost any consumer device that is electronic tends to have at least one semiconductor chip in it,” Swaminathan explains. “The more complicated the functions any device performs, the more chips it is likely to have.”

Some of these chips process information, some store data, and others provide sensing or communication functions. In short, they are crucial in devices from video games and smart thermostats to cars and computers.

Jonathan Gilpin’s picture

By: Jonathan Gilpin

The sheer scope of public-sector organizations’ requirements means many rely on the global supply chain. This involves buyers across the world procuring both goods and services from suppliers in destinations throughout the world. A global supply chain has benefits, many associated with price, but there are also fairly obvious associated risks.

In this article, we delve into some of the different facets of global supply chain management.

What is a global supply chain?

Thanks to globalization, it should come as no surprise that supply chain management has undergone many changes in recent years. Global supply chains not only span countries but also continents, and exist to source goods and services to supply the home country. Global supply chains also involve the spread of materials and other resources, together with processes, information, and skills, throughout the world. Usually, the supply chain involves production in a country where costs are lower for a buyer in a wealthier country.

Managing an individual supply chain involves almost every business activity, including but not limited to marketing, manufacturing, purchasing, logistics, finance, and personnel.

Gary Steinberg’s picture

By: Gary Steinberg

Disruptions in the global supply chain have led to a new dynamic for many small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs)—the need to be more strategic about “second sourcing” and reshoring. The biggest increase is in what’s referred to as second sourcing, which adds redundancies such as a second source of a supply to minimize risk while increasing options. But supply chain experts also are seeing an interest in relying long-term on domestic supply sources.

In one recent example, a manufacturer was paying $5,000 per roll for material and shipping from China. But delays in shipping forced it to use air freight instead of ocean freight, which raised the cost of shipping alone to $7,500. A traditional tactical approach of reducing shipping costs is not enough to address the potential risk for that manufacturer. The manufacturer is now using supplier scouting to reshore that base material and source it domestically. The SMM realizes that a more integrated approach to its supply chain will help its business planning.

V R Vijay Anand’s picture

By: V R Vijay Anand

As the world moves toward a new, post-pandemic normal, industries must leverage digital transformation at an accelerated pace. This is already happening. According to IBM, 67 percent of manufacturers have accelerated digital projects since Covid-19.

Although improved operational efficiency is typically the reason for these changes, manufacturers should capitalize on the convergence of Industry 4.0 and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals to improve their sustainability credentials. Data hold the key to reducing manufacturing’s waste problem.

Sébastien Breteau’s picture

By: Sébastien Breteau

Although previous industrial revolutions were driven by steam machines and the dawn of electricity, the unfolding fourth industrial revolution is being powered by digital technologies, such as cloud computing, machine learning, and the internet of things. Accompanying the fourth industrial revolution is Quality 4.0, a recently coined term referring to the rapid changes in value-chain performance excellence we’re seeing amid digital transformation.

Notably, it’s the greater availability of data that’s pushing Quality 4.0 forward. As the global economy becomes increasingly digital, metrics are all the more critical for establishing quality standards and ensuring smooth operations. Companies that effectively manage data points across the supply chain—ranging from their suppliers to customers—will gain a significant advantage in driving Quality 4.0, and thus performance excellence.

Syndicate content