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APICS Supply Chain Management Now

APICS Supply Chain Management Now gives exclusive commentary from APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE. This weekly e-newsletter offers insights into current events and supply chain, logistics and operations management topics and how they all relate to the APICS body of knowledge.

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  • Panama Canal Expansion Equals Trade Expansion

    Jun 24, 2016
    The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World include The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Turkey, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Iraq. The modern world has its own wonders. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Panama Canal is one of those wonders. Its expansion will open June 26, and The Wall Street Journal reports that this improvement is critical to Western trade in the economic long run. The canal accommodates about one-third of Asia-to-Americas trade but required infrastructure upgrades to keep up with the latest shipping trends.
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  • Recruiting the Right People for the Right Jobs

    Jun 17, 2016
    I’ve had many conversations recently about the same theme: Supply chain and manufacturing offer great career opportunities. But how do we attract more people to these areas? We at APICS are not alone in this quest. I know this discussion is happening at many different employers, suppliers, and affiliated associations. Now, the topic has attracted the attention of mainstream media. Last week, The Wall Street Journal featured the article “How Manufacturers Are Recruiting Millennials.”
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  • Recalls: Not What They Used to Be

    Jun 10, 2016
    Water heater, car steering wheel, and frozen peas: These seemingly disparate things have recalls in common. And, according to The Seattle Times, they are just a few examples of the thousands of recalls manufacturers have issued in the past year. “The deluge shows no sign of slowing,” writes Stacy Cowley. “Across almost every product category, the scope and complexity of recalls are on the rise.”
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  • 3-D Printing Hits on All Fronts

    Jun 03, 2016
    3-D printing already has started shaking up the engineering, design, and manufacturing fields, and now it could reshape the distribution industry as well. Two major developments last month are changing the way products are produced and shipped to customers— potentially condensing the entire supply chain, according to Trucks.com.
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  • New Ideas for Team Building

    May 27, 2016
    The headline “How Coty Reinvigorated Its Supply Chain,” encouraged me to read with keen interest last week’s article in Harvard Business Review. Coty is a global beauty company, and its fragrance and color cosmetics portfolio includes such well-known brands as Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Nautica, Sally Hansen, and others.
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  • Better Relationships for Your Bottom Line

    May 20, 2016
    Trust and positive relationships with suppliers lead to more than general goodwill for automakers. According to Planning Perspectives President John W. Henke Jr., it can mean winning a supplier’s newest technology and most innovative designs, plus getting the best prices. This week, The Detroit News highlighted the results of the 2016 North America Automotive OEM Buyer-Supplier Study, conducted by Planning Perspectives.
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  • All Aboard the Rate-Hike Express

    May 13, 2016
    Company decision makers whom rely on railroads to ship their goods are finding that their prices are increasing even though freight volume is decreasing. Bloomberg reported last week that all major North American railroads increased prices in the earlier part of 2016, but freight is the lowest it has been since 2009.
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  • RFID Meets Big Data

    May 06, 2016
    It sounds like a joke: What do you get when you combine radio frequency identification (RFID) with big data? For Johnson Controls, an auto parts maker, that winning combination enabled the firm to buy fewer $150 containers and $1,500 racks. Last week, The Wall Street Journal highlighted how the company is working to keep its expensive boxes and racks from disappearing.
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  • Truth in Transparency

    Apr 29, 2016
    It’s been three years since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that killed 1,135 garment workers when an eight-story building collapsed. The tragedy pushed company leaders to seek greater transparency in their supply chains. It pushed consumers to think about where their goods come from and the definition of supply chain itself. This week, Reuters asked in its headline: “Three Years After Rana Plaza Disaster, Has Anything Changed?”
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  • Apple: A Sustainable Example for Supply Chains

    Apr 22, 2016
    Supply chain transparency is becoming more important to business leaders and consumers, both of whom increasingly are concerned about working conditions, human rights, and environmental preservation. Apple, a company well known to both groups, recently released its “Supplier Responsibility 2016 Progress Report,” which highlights the tech company’s rigorous push for corporate social responsibility standards. Based on the firm’s success, other companies should “take note, and look for ways they can improve their supply chain sustainability to stay competitive,” writes Jessica Lyons Hardcastle for Environmental Leader.
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  • Automotive’s New Power Source

    Apr 15, 2016
    With its strong industrial and economic force, the automotive sector plays a dominant role in the world’s business. This week, Slate ran an article highlighting how Tesla is disrupting automotive norms and experiencing rising success.
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  • Fighting for In-Demand Supply Chain Executives

    Apr 08, 2016
    The war for talent might be shifting from the boardroom to the courtroom, according to an article published last week in The Wall Street Journal. Amazon.com is suing a former employee, Arthur Valdez, for taking the chief supply chain officer job at Target. “The e-commerce giant was joining a growing trend in corporate supply chains: fighting back on executive poaching,” Loretta Chao writes.
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  • Tackling the VUCA Market with Tenacity

    Apr 01, 2016
    Supply chain managers love predictability. Unfortunately, today’s global market is anything but—it’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous). Companies in all industries have to carefully strategize to be ready for changes in the market and keep everything moving forward.
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  • Reality TV Starring Supply Chain

    Mar 25, 2016
    Over the years, we have connected many mainstream media articles to supply chain. Television shows have been a different story. But with the premier of “Billion Dollar Buyer” on CNBC, network executives and audiences might be discovering what we at APICS have known all along: Supply chain is entertaining.
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  • Using Constraints to Your Advantage

    Mar 18, 2016
    Although some might view constraints as limitations, others believe that constraints can enhance innovation. That’s what Chris Denson, director of Ignition Factory at OmnicomMediaGroup, asserts in a recent Forbes article. “The more limited you are, the more creative you have to be,” he says in the article. “Time constraints eliminate second guesses. Constraint is a unifier.”
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  • Crafting a Sustainable Market

    Mar 11, 2016
    Who knew that when I was enjoying my Bell’s Oberon beer that I was enjoying the benefits of sustainability as well as a terrific beer. Although sustainability might just be a facet of corporate social responsibility for some, craft brewers are looking to sustainability technology to solve some of their common business challenges. For these small, independent, and sometimes family-owned businesses, efforts in this area are primarily about finding workable solutions that save energy and other resources, with returns on investment being secondary, according to MiBiz.
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  • Mineral Supply Chains Going Conflict Free

    Mar 04, 2016
    Finally, some good news about tin, tungsten, and tantalum. These minerals often are considered conflict minerals because rebel groups and factions of the Congolese Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) benefit from illegally trafficking these materials. However, last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that conflict-free mineral exports are rising. In short, companies are buying fewer minerals connected to militia groups in the DRC.
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  • Following the Candy Trail

    Feb 26, 2016
    Like many of you, I’m sure, I like to indulge in the occasional Snickers bar. Unfortunately, consumers in Europe and parts of Asia have to put that type of enjoyment on hold for a little while, as Mars, Snickers’ parent company, issues a candy recall.
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  • World Economy Defies Easy Analysis

    Feb 19, 2016
    The world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk, announced earlier this week that it had earned “significantly lower” prices for moving containers during 2015 than 2014, and it reported a $2.5 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2015. US railroads also are reporting lower profits. The Financial Times suggests that falling prices could be a sign of global trade’s lackluster state.
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  • Investing in the Future

    Feb 12, 2016
    Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Urban Assembly for Global Commerce (UAGC) in New York’s Harlem borough. I was invited to participate as part of an APICS collaboration with SCM-STEM, an emerging partnership with Intel, Arizona State University, Michigan State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to provide content and support for K–12 programs that create awareness for careers in supply chain.
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