APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain management.

Generic Drug Group Creating Warning System for Shortages

by APICS Staff | N/A 2011 | 11 | 24

Makers of generic drugs will collaborate with distributors, wholesalers, and other partners to create an advance-warning system that would signal when certain medicines are in short supply, reports Reuters. The system, based in the private sector, will augment an existing warning tool used by US health officials, says Ralph Neas, head of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPA), an industry trade group.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), early notification enables companies to respond to imminent shortages by ramping up production to boost supplies. These warnings prevented 137 shortages in two years. But the FDA does not have the authority to force a manufacturer to report supply disruptions unless it is the sole producer and the drug saves lives. Most drug shortages do not fall into this category.

"[The FDA doesn't] have the analytical background with respect to the private sector," Neas says. This statement echoes a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, which says the "FDA's ability to respond to drug shortages is ... constrained by its lack of systematic data, limited resources, and an absence of performance measures." An FDA representative says the agency has just learned of the GPA's proposal and will evaluate it carefully.

Investors Eying Hardware, Not Software, Start-Ups

Bucking past trends that favored software over hardware, many investors and venture capitalists are banking heavily on new companies offering devices such as cameras and clocks, the Wall Street Journal reports. Whereas in recent years, entrepreneurs shunned capital-intensive equipment to back warehouse-free websites, entrepreneurs now are backing physical devices that take advantage of rapidly improving software and hardware, such as robots, health monitors, and personal electronics.

The Journal points to start-ups such as camera maker Lytro and a company called Square, which makes a tool for accepting credit card payments on a smartphone. Combined, the companies raised more than $135 million this year in venture capital. "I never thought I would invest in a camera company," venture capitalist Marc Andreessen says. He adds that small companies now have access to off-the-shelf components, which makes products easier and cheaper to build. These products also contain sophisticated software that is "not easily clonable."

But some experts say there still are high barriers to producing hardware and new companies underestimate challenges such as inventory forecasting. Companies just starting out run into traps such as shipping too soon and lacking the experience to find the best suppliers, says Tony Fadell, formerly an executive at Apple. Meanwhile, some new hardware manufacturers look to third-party support to manage their supply chains.

Survey: 85 Percent See Manufacturing Coming Back to States

According to a survey conducted by executive recruiting firm Cook Associates Executive Search, 85 percent of manufacturing executives see the possibility of some areas of manufacturing operations returning to the United States. Overseas costs were the major factor for 37 percent of respondents, with 19 percent citing logistics and 36 percent citing other reasons, including economic and political issues, quality and safety concerns, patriotism, and overseas skills shortages for technical manufacturing processes.

Respondents identified the primary forms of manufacturing returning to domestic shores as low-volume, high-precision, high-mix operations; automated manufacturing; and products that require technology improvements or innovation. About 3,000 manufacturing executives were polled, mostly in small to midsize companies in the United States.

Lack of Smash Holiday Toy Leaving Retailers Unhappy

The Christmas holiday is rapidly approaching, and this year the toy industry has no smash hit, reports the New York Times. As a result, many retailers are being careful not to repeat the mistakes of last year. "As retailers look at consumer confidence numbers, they are skeptical about consumers' willingness to spend this holiday season, and they are trying to avoid getting caught with too much inventory," says Josh Green, chief executive of supply chain data company Panjiva.

According to a survey by UBS and America's Research Group, more than 50 percent of parents feel there is no must-have toy this year, and more than 33 percent say it is hard to find toys and gifts because nothing is new. It appears that retailers have cut down on toy purchases overall, as imports of toys in August and September dropped by 9.8 percent compared with last year, according to an analysis by Panjiva. "Couple that with the increase in shipments of the classics, and it's a sign that regardless of the talk, when retailers are actually placing orders, they're doing so with a very classic mind-set," Green says. 

e-News Solutions

Don't forget to register for upcoming APICS CSCP exam dates

  • Registration now open
  • Exam window: December 3, 2011-January 14, 2012

Note: Your eligibility application must be completed two weeks prior to exam registration. Apply for eligibility now. Already eligible? Don't delay: Register today. Learn more.

Save the date: Events to keep your eye on

Mark your calendars! It's time to start getting ready for the 2012 APICS conferences. Visit apics.org/events for information.

  • 2012 APICS Asia Supply Chain & Operations conferences
    April 2-3, 2012
    Seoul, South Korea

    April 5-6, 2012
    Shanghai, China
  • Best of the Best S&OP conferences, presented by APICS and IBF 
    May 10-11, 2012
    London, England 

    June 14-15, 2012
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Hilton Chicago
  • 2012 APICS International Conference & Expo 
    October 14-16, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Colorado Convention Center

Volunteer for 2012 APICS committees

Apply today to be a volunteer and play a pivotal role in shaping the future of APICS.

As the global leader and premier source of the body of knowledge in operations management, including production, inventory, supply chain, materials management, purchasing, and logistics, APICS is calling for volunteers to serve on its 2012 committees. 

Committed, active, and talented volunteers are at the heart of what makes APICS successful and are essential to achieving the APICS mission to enable our community of members, affiliates, and customers to lead in the global marketplace.

Volunteering for APICS provides a variety of opportunities to lead, learn, and guide the APICS body of knowledge. Committee success depends on a strong partnership between volunteer leaders and staff members with clear roles and responsibilities. APICS committees are strategic in nature and function in alignment with the APICS strategic plan. 

You are invited to apply to volunteer with APICS in 2012. Applications are due before December 14, 2011. If you prefer, download a volunteer application form and fax it to +1-773-639-3076 or email it to chays@apics.org

Now available! Purchase APICS supply chain risk and supply chain strategy folios 

Assess risk, develop your organization's supply chain strategy, and understand how you can successfully implement or grow your organization's sales and operational planning process with APICS folios.

$19.95 APICS member
$39.95 nonmember

New! APICS Supply Chain Strategy Folio: Make the Most of Supply Chain Strategy
Understand challenges and identify areas where senior management and operations management can work together to maximize the effectiveness of your supply chain strategy. Access this APICS folio to delve into critical supply chain functions and tasks that may not be effectively supporting your supply chain strategy.

New! APICS Supply Chain Risk Folio: Protect your Business with Risk Management
Mitigate and anticipate supply chain risks at your organization-from rising and falling demand to natural disasters, market uncertainty, and varying levels of trust among supply chain partners. Purchase this APICS folio to identify tools to deal with risk at your organization.

Don't forget to access
APICS S&OP Folio: How to Be an S&OP Champion
Predicting the future generally is thought impossible; yet, S&OP users seek to do just that by strategically directing businesses to achieve competitive advantage. Purchase this APICS folio to understand how you can enable your organization's bottom-line effectiveness with S&OP.

Access New APICS career development resources
Introducing APICS career packs. Use APICS career packs to understand your career path and next steps, evaluate candidate qualifications, or establish consistency across your organization's hiring.

Free! APICS member
$29.95 nonmember

Individuals seeking to advance in one of the career pack job title areas can evaluate their knowledge and skills, plan their next steps, and identify areas for improvement and growth.

Hiring managers seeking qualified candidates can identify specific knowledge, skills, and experience required when evaluating prospective employees and building job descriptions.

Organizations interested in developing their workforce can create consistency and establish required competencies for individuals in each of the career pack job title areas.

APICS career packs:

For each job title, APICS career packs compile essential information to help you understand the job role, including

  • career path information
  • core competencies required of qualified candidates
  • job descriptions and keywords
  • how to use job titles and descriptions.

Download the APICS members-only report 2011 S&OP Practices and Challenges and purchase the APICS Folio: How to Be an S&OP Champion 

Predicting the future generally is thought impossible; yet, S&OP users seek to do just that by strategically directing businesses to achieve competitive advantage, and-more and more-are expected to do so to enable their employers' bottom line profitability.

Supply chain professionals: Take the APICS CSCP Learning System Free Demo today

By earning the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation, you will demonstrate significant commitment to your profession and your career, distinguish yourself as an industry expert, and excel with your newly acquired specialized knowledge. 

Upcoming Webinar

APICS Vendor Webcast: Manage What Matters
January 31, 2012
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET
Register now.

Webinars On Demand Available

APICS Extra Live: Real-World Strategies for Improving Operational Efficiency
Watch the webinar now.

APICS Extra Live: Racing Toward Operational Success with Kaizen
Watch the webinar now.

APICS Extra Live: The People Factor in Supply Chain Excellence
Watch the webinar now.

APICS Members-Only Webinar: Operations Management Résumé Benchmarking Survey Résumé Structure and Organization
Watch this webinar now.

APICS Extra Live: Advancing Your Supply Chain with Foreign-Trade Zones
Watch this webinar now.

APICS Extra Live: Merchandising for a Lean Supply Chain
Watch this webinar now.

APICS Extra Live: Keep Projects Flowing with Visual Project Management
Watch this webinar now.

APICS Members-Only Webinar: Résumé Formatting Best Practices

Watch this webinar now.

Download the APICS Exam Pass Rate Report
The report details the 2010 average pass rates for all APICS CSCP and CPIM exam modules taken internationally and in North America. This valuable report helps you understand how your colleagues performed on APICS certification exams and provides information on

  • how the pass rates are monitored
  • how the cut score is determined
  • how the courseware aligns to the exams.

Click to download the report.

Take the APICS CSCP Learning System Free Demo to get started on your way to earning the APICS CSCP designation.

APICS CPIM exam study options

APICS offers a variety of study options to help candidates prepare for the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) exams and enables them to choose the option that matches their preferred learning method.

Instructor-led courses

For students who learn best in a classroom-based environment, there are instructor-led courses.

Find courses at your local APICS chapter or find an APICS partner outside North America to find courses in your area.

Online certification review courses

Online courses are ideal for professionals who enjoy taking a structured class, but need more flexibility.

Other APICS self-study options

APICS offers a wide variety of tools for candidates interested in studying on their own, including the

  • APICS CPIM Exam Content Manual
  • APICS CPIM practice questions
  • APICS CPIM study notes.
See a list of self-study tools.

All comments will be published pending approval. Read the APICS Comment Policy.


  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.