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Toyota and Other Japanese Carmakers on a Rebound

By APICS Staff | 12 | 15 | August 07, 2012

Japan’s top automakers, including Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, are once again posting strong sales and profit numbers, reports the New York Times. It is a sign they have weathered the disasters of 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami created chaos at facilities throughout Japan, while flooding in Thailand’s manufacturing centers paralyzed production lines. Prior to these disasters, the global financial crisis and large, heavily publicized recalls for Toyota made business difficult for the carmakers.

While a strong yen depresses some Japanese bottom lines, the restoration of severed supply chains and built-up demand means carmakers are regaining lost ground in markets including the United States. Domestically, government incentives on fuel-efficient cars also are boosting demand.

In Portland, Oregon, ports are preparing for a large increase in Japanese auto imports. This year, Toyota alone intends to build a record-breaking 9.76 million cars. Its net profits are about $3.71 billion from April to June, as it sold nearly double the cars from the same period in 2011. But some question whether automakers can maintain the upswing. “They’re at the peak of their momentum, but for quite transient reasons,” says Takaki Nakanishi, auto analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Tokyo. “Japanese automakers still face tough conditions and competition, and a slowdown is likely in the second half [of 2012].”

Companies Vulnerable to Supply Chain Information Risks

Supply chains are now an integral part of many businesses and a significant competitive advantage, which makes them targets for hackers and data thieves, says Michael de Crespigny, chief executive of the Information Security Forum, a not-for-profit information security and risk management organization. His group has begun a project to examine how collaboration and intelligence sharing can enable organizations to ensure supply chain information is secure, reports the Financial Times. The goal is to develop a security framework to provide companies with a degree of assurance on how their data are protected.

People in the developing field of supply chain risk management tend to focus on physical security and risks. However, information security may be as valuable as physical products and even more essential for the supply chain to function. Yet this aspect of supply chains is typically addressed less vigorously, says de Crespigny. However, a report by the World Economic Forum, an independent, nonprofit global business advisory firm, identified shared data as the second largest supply chain vulnerability, second only to reliance on oil.

Supply chain information sharing and security is complicated by a profusion of standards and guidance, says de Crespigny. Materials published by international standards organizations vary in scope, purpose, and level of detail. Additionally, little of this material is cross-referenced or mapped. As a result, supply chain partners find it difficult to communicate clearly about information and its protection. The goal of the Information Security Forum is to provide a common framework to communicate requirements and measure performance.

3-D Production Modeling Enables Better Visualization at Chrysler 

Workers at a Chrysler facility in Indiana are using a new manufacturing process that adapts three-dimensional techniques to save costs making transmissions, Reuters reports. The preproduction modeling system enables visualization of all aspects of a factory, including people, parts, and equipment. The production aspects can then be tested virtually to see how they work together.

As a result of 3-D modeling, waste and worker injuries due to repetitive motion will be reduced. Cost savings likewise will be significant, says Brian Harlow, head of Chrysler’s powertrain operations in North America. Already, the portion of engineering costs to total costs are reduced to 3 percent from 4 percent.

The 3-D process enables engineers to simulate production with greater accuracy than two-dimensional modeling. “We can address issues before they ever become a problem on the plant floor,” Harlow says. Engine facilities throughout the United States and Mexico will adopt the imaging techniques. 

e-News Solutions

2012 APICS International Conference & Expo

October 14–16, 2012
Denver, Colorado, USA
Colorado Convention Center

Registration for the 2012 APICS International Conference & Expo is now open. The conference will be held October 14-16, 2012 in Denver, Colorado, USA. The theme of APICS 2012 is Elevate supply chain performance: Value creation through market alignment and integration.

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Supply Chain Council Executive Summit
September 18-20, 2012
Indian Wells, California, USA

This year's executive summit will include topics that supply chain executives have expressed as major impactors on their decision-making. The effects these decisions have had on their professional development as an executive and the evolution of their organizations will be incorporated into the sharing.

The event will include several personal interview format sessions throughout the program so that the audience can have the opportunity to hear more detail about the speakers' accomplishments

View the conference website.

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  • a combination of risk sessions at future educational events including the APICS International Conference & Expo, APICS Supply Chain Asia Conference, or Best of the Best S&OP Conference
  • APICS Risk Management Seminar (7 hours)
  • pre-approved risk management education sessions at partner events.

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

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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
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