Supply Chain Article

Amitrajeet Batabyal’s picture

By: Amitrajeet Batabyal

Arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity, said former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Globalization, the international trade in goods and services with minimal barriers between countries, may seem inevitable as the world’s economies become more interdependent.

Properly regulated, globalization can be a powerful force for social good. For wealthy nations, globalization can mean less expensive goods, additional spending, and a higher standard of living. For those who live and work in poorer nations, globalization can lead to greater prosperity with the power to reduce child labor, increase literacy, and enhance the economic and social standing of women.

Multiple Authors
By: Sridhar Kota, Glenn Daehn

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed glaring deficiencies in the U.S. manufacturing sector’s ability to provide necessary products—especially amidst a crisis. It’s been five months since the nation declared a national emergency, yet shortages of test kit components, pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, and other critical medical supplies persist.

Globalization is at the heart of the problem. With heavy reliance on global supply chains and foreign producers, the pandemic has interrupted shipping of parts and materials to nearly 75 percent of U.S. companies.

Jennifer Mallow’s picture

By: Jennifer Mallow

Covid-19 has led to a boom in telehealth, with some healthcare facilities seeing an increase in its use by as much as 8,000 percent. This shift happened quickly and unexpectedly, and has left many people asking whether telehealth is really as good as in-person care.

During the last decade, I’ve studied telehealth as a Ph.D. researcher while using it as a registered nurse and advanced-practice nurse. Telehealth involves the use of phone, video, internet, and technology to perform healthcare, and when done right, it can be just as effective as in-person healthcare. But as many patients and healthcare professionals switch to telehealth for the first time, there will inevitably be a learning curve as people adapt to this new system.

Shobhendu Prabhakar’s picture

By: Shobhendu Prabhakar

Although remote inspection has been a topic of discussion in the oil and gas industry in the past, it has recently been getting more attention during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many oil and gas operators, as well as engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractors and suppliers have come forward to discuss this topic with an open mind and explore possibilities. Remote inspection is perhaps the need of the hour, but it can also be the future of inspection.

What is remote inspection?

Remote inspection is an alternative to an onsite physical inspection in which the person performs inspection activities remotely using sophisticated technological tools. It’s many benefits include:
• Elimination of personnel risk exposure to hazardous conditions and dangerous tasks in harsh environments
• Global collaboration and optimization of workforce use
• Inspection cost reduction
• Real-time feedback
• Flexibility
• Eco-friendly by helping to reduce overall global carbon footprint

Success factors for remote inspection

Vision
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?
—Henry David Thoreau

Katie Myers’s picture

By: Katie Myers

Freight trucks account for 23 percent of U.S. transportation. Transportation is the No. 1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in America. The country’s freight industry is in no position to ignore its impact on the environment and the greater good.

We can break down the trucking industry’s environmental impact further. Each market segment emits the following amount of carbon emissions every year:
• Truckload (TL): 836 million tons of emissions
• Partials: 722 million tons of emissions
• Less-than truckload (LTL): 342 million tons of emissions

Fortunately, at least one logistics provider is committed to reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. Flock Freight is transforming the $400 billion freight landscape by eliminating inefficiency and waste through green shipping practices.

Emerson Grey’s picture

By: Emerson Grey

It’s Sunday night, and you decide to make a quick run to the grocery store. You grab five bananas—one for each breakfast of the work week. Then, at home, you immediately throw two of the bananas into the trash.

Who would buy fresh food and throw 40 percent of it away? Americans do, on average, every day. This 40 percent represents the overall rate of food waste in the United States. That amount of waste is the same whether you throw the bananas away immediately upon returning from the supermarket or let them brown and attract fruit flies next to the toaster. And the problem isn’t just at the consumer level; farmers, grocers, restaurants, and other businesses where food waste is rampant are huge contributors as well.

Benjamin Kessler’s picture

By: Benjamin Kessler

The full economic impact of the pandemic has yet to be felt. However, it seems beyond dispute that Covid-19 and globalization don’t mix well. Of course, all economic activity is suffering in this worldwide recession—but the global breadth of business may experience an especially acute shrinking effect. To cite just one grim projection, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting a 12-percent contraction in global trade this year, more than double the already cataclysmic 4.9-percent negative growth prediction for the world economy as a whole.

The proximate causes for this are widely known: the unhappy coincidence of China being both the virus’s apparent country of origin and epicenter of global production for countless multinational corporations, the cessation of global travel, etc. Far less clear, at this stage, is what all this means for global business strategy. Should companies keep a low profile and hope for globalization to rebound, or prepare for hasty repatriation?

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

The old picking methods of paper, pick-to-light, and voice-picking are almost impossible when employees must practice social distancing, use PPE (personal protective equipment), and avoid contact that could potentially exacerbate the spread of Covid-19. One viable solution is pick-by-vision, which both reduces potential contamination and dramatically increases productivity.

Even during the pandemic, the issues of product-picking accuracy and productivity does not magically evaporate. A pick-by-vision system simplifies the workflow and makes it more efficient. Benefits include saving time, reducing the error rate, creating a low-fatigue operation, and strict process control to optimize the picking processes.

Douglas S. Thomas’s picture

By: Douglas S. Thomas

The cyber world is relatively new, and unlike other types of assets, cyber-assets are potentially accessible to criminals in far-off locations. This distance provides the criminal with significant protections from getting caught; thus, the risks are low, and with cyber-assets and activities being in the trillions of dollars, the payoff is high.

When we talk about cybercrime, we often focus on the loss of privacy and security. But cybercrime also results in significant economic losses. Yet the data and research on this aspect of cybercrime are unfortunately limited. Data collection often relies on small sample sizes or has other challenges that bring accuracy into question.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

While sales of products like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and even home appliances have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, auto sales have experienced the opposite. Through March, April, and May 2020, total vehicle sales in the United States fell to levels not seen since the Great Recession a decade ago. Demand crashed as millions of commuters suddenly found themselves working from home or laid off, and consumers responded predictably to the economic uncertainty by putting off expensive purchases such as new cars, trucks, and SUVs.

But with the lockdowns gradually lifting across all 50 states and life returning to a more normal pace, auto dealers are feeling cautiously optimistic that sales will pick up again and increase throughout the summer months. The bigger question is whether the rest of the year can make up for the springtime slide.

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