A new study reveals that companies such as Intel, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple are trailblazers in ceasing the use of conflict minerals in their supply chains, Reuters reports. These include materials such as tantalum, tin, and tungsten found mainly in eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These materials tend to be obtained using slave labor, and the profits finance wars not only in the Congo but in other parts of Africa.
The report comes from the Enough Project, the human rights arm of the Center for American Progress, a nongovernmental public policy think tank. The group rates companies based on efforts to trace the sources of their materials, the presence or absence of supply chain audits, and steps toward developing an international conflict-free certification. Intel, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple are highlighted for moving forward on developing solutions in spite of legislative hurdles, as well as supporting programs to enable a clean minerals trade. Meanwhile, the report notes SanDisk, Philips, Sony, Panasonic, RIM, and AMD have made improvements by engaging in supplier surveys, joining a smelter audit program, and practicing due diligence.
The report also criticizes certain companies for falling behind industry leaders in solving the problems of conflict minerals. For example, it singles out Nintendo as making no efforts to audit its supply chain or to take conflict minerals out of its consumer electronics.
"One Ford" Initiative Hindered by Global Variability
Ford is on a mission to standardize the way it makes cars in all parts of the globe with the goal of improving efficiency and reducing costs, the Detroit Free Press reports. However, regional differences are unlikely to ever disappear, and this means higher costs. For example, in Canada, there are ongoing negotiations for a new labor agreement, and in Europe, factors such as overcapacity and political inertia have led to more than $1 billion in losses.
Still, Ford is embarking on a strategy it calls “One Ford,” which is expected by 2015 to lower manufacturing investment costs by 8 percent annually, as well as boosting the number and types of vehicles produced per facility by 25 percent. It is intended to support Ford’s largest expansion in 50 years, which includes nine facilities in Asia.
The company is challenged because it cannot equalize all costs, especially in Europe and Canada. “Canada is, unfortunately, one of the most expensive places in the world to manufacture vehicles,” says John Fleming, head of global manufacturing. He says the situation, in part, is due to higher wage bases in Canada. The Canadian Auto Workers union disagrees with some of Ford’s wage assumptions, however, and says a strong Canadian dollar makes many of Ford’s fixed costs appear greater.
Despite its current labor issues, Ford still sees robust profits in Canada. By contrast, in Europe, where the car industry has a greater surplus in capacity than any other part of the world, Ford’s year-to-date sales are the worst in 17 years. Analysts advise the carmaker to close at least one facility. Fleming says the company is examining solutions that don’t involve shutting down a factory.
Ultimately, Ford’s goal is that all of its facilities can make different types of vehicles, retool quickly, and adjust to demand.
Losses Blamed on New Supply Chain Management Software
Just days after the iconic black taxicabs made by Manganese Bronze were featured in the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics, the company has displayed major losses and a significant drop in share price, reports a Wall Street Journal blog. According to Manganese Bronze spokespeople, the culprit is the supply chain management software system adopted in 2010, when Manganese began moving some production to China. It seems the system misrepresented inventory, underestimating losses by $6.1 million.
The company began using the software system in August 2010 “to manage its increasingly global supply chain,” says a company statement. At the same time, the automaker shifted some parts manufacturing to a Chinese facility. The move was part of an effort to stem losses and declining sales.
Manganese says that old data, including transaction and ledger histories, were not processed correctly in the new software system, and the errors were not detected for two years. “The fact that they are blaming a system they implemented two years ago is troubling,” says Gartner analyst Mike Uskert. It means Manganese has issues with data government and improper testing. Adopting new technology while maintaining data integrity is a familiar problem to most industry leaders, but two years is an exceptionally long time to resolve those challenges, Uskert says.
Properly testing new applications should involve a comparison of automated reports with a manual count of inventory items. Physical audits should continue beyond integration to ensure the new system stays accurate as the complexity of the supply chain grows. “When you expand into a global scale, the complexities are significantly larger,” Uskert says.
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.
Visit the APICS 2012 website and register today!
Introducing the APICS Risk Management certificate
APICS now offers a comprehensive, forward-looking program that will prepare you to lead risk management activities or participate in the development of global risk mitigation strategy. The APICS Risk Management certificate validates that you have received 12 educational contact hours in core and elective risk management topics.
Obtain the hours necessary to earn the certificate by attending the Risk Management learning path at the 2012 APICS International Conference & Expo (5 hours) and participating in one of the following to complete the remaining 7 hours
- 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.
Attend the APICS Risk Management Workshop before APICS 2012
Attend a special risk management workshop on the Friday before APICS 2012 at the conference site and receive seven participation hours. Complete the remaining five hours required to earn the certificate by attending all sessions on the APICS 2012 Risk Management learning path.
Register today. (Note: Registration for this workshop is separate from registration for the 2012 APICS International Conference & Expo)
APICS Principles and Practices of MRP for the Manufacturing Planner seminar
This APICS Principles seminar, presented in collaboration with the APICS Chicago chapter, is designed to assist beginning as well as experienced planners using a material requirements planning (MRP) system to acquire a firm understanding of the principles and functions of MRP.
The seminar includes an in-depth review of the role and activities performed by the MRP planner. Performance measurements used to determine the effectiveness of the MRP in priority management are also discussed.
Friday, September 28 | 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. CT
APICS Corporate Office
8430 W Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60631 USA
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.
Webinars On Demand Available
APICS Extra Live: Creating Strong Relationships Between Manufacturers and Distributors
Watch the webinar now.
APICS Extra Live: Solving Supply Chain Disruptions--Beyond the tactical
Watch the webinar now.
Watch more APICS webinars on demand.
Explore APICS folios
Assess supply chain risk, develop your organization’s supply chain strategy and sustainability, and understand how you can successfully implement or grow your organization’s sales and operational planning process with APICS folios.
$19.95 APICS member - Save 50%
APICS Supply Chain Sustainability Folio: Uncovering the Triple Bottom Line
Supply chain and operations management professionals are increasingly called on to carry the torch of innovation to reduce costs, demands on resources, and waste; while increasing the reuse of existing assets, and enabling lean operations. Employing sustainable practices is critical to meeting these business needs.
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.
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.
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 APICS career development resources
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
- 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.
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.
For students who learn best in a classroom-based environment, there are instructor-led courses.
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.