News Landing Page

APICS News

Deadline Looms for Conflict Minerals Reporting

By APICS staff | 13 | 22 | November 19, 2013

In May of next year, new rules part of Dodd-Frank financial reform will require US companies to disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals, materials sourced from areas such as those controlled by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the Wall Street Journal reports, even using the best software available, manufacturers are years away from the degree of knowledge required to declare their supply chains “conflict free.”

Businesses challenged the rules in the courts, which may have further delayed companies in compliance efforts. Many organizations took a wait-and-see approach, hoping the requirements would be overturned, says Howard Heppelmann, general manager at PTC, a supply chain software provider. However, after a federal district court shot down those hopes in July, many companies are scrambling, Heppelmann says.

Supply chain software, including that made by PTC, enables companies to track which of their hundreds of suppliers use minerals associated with conflict areas, including tantalum and tungsten. The software automatically requests suppliers provide documentation on where the minerals were obtained. However, the trouble is many suppliers can’t-or won’t-track their origins, says Bill Olson, director of sustainability and stewardship at Motorola Mobility. “They are concerned that if people know where they get their ore from, their competitors will go to the source and cut them out of the supply chain.”

Swiss Ruling Enables Swatch to Cut Back  

A recent court ruling in Switzerland will allow Swatch Group, the world’s largest watchmaker, to cut back component sales to competitors, Fortune reports. The company holds a near-monopoly on the manufacture of precision mechanics. Smaller manufacturers of timepieces require that Swatch supply them in order to be able to claim “Swiss-made.”

The court ruling “will put a lot of small companies in great pain,” says Giselle Rufer, chief executive of watchmaker Delance. Her company may be forced to scramble to find new suppliers and stockpile components, which would tie up working capital. Smaller watchmakers are forced to consider whether they can invest in their own manufacture, consolidate into larger groups, or look into becoming supplied by China.

A spokesperson for Swatch, Beatrice Howard, says the court ruling is “a positive, albeit tentative, first step toward finally making it clear to all the brands and groups in the Swiss watch industry that they have to invest in their own mechanical movements and assume the associated industrial risk themselves.”

Auto Parts Suppliers Turn to High-Tech for Higher Margins

Companies in the auto industry are shifting away from producing low-margin components, such as steering wheels, ball bearings, and spark plugs, and instead focusing on technologically complex products to stay ahead, the Wall Street Journal reports. The trend is in “active safety products,” including adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning systems, front and rear cameras, and technology that enables a vehicle to react to unexpected obstacles.

“We went from 119 different product lines to 33 that were relevant and what the world cared about,” says Rodney O’Neal, chief executive of automotive components manufacturer Delphi. “Active safety will drive a huge change for Delphi. It is our fastest-growing product line.” He adds that his company and other parts manufacturers are staying firm on prices and moving from other past practices such as filling orders even when it means losing money. He says he wants his business to move away from manufacturing commodities.

Auto parts in the United States are experiencing a renaissance, a stark difference from the situation four years ago, when the government offered a line of credit to the industry while banks refused to lend. Many manufacturers are trading near record share highs and raising full-year forecasts. “Barring any unforeseen event, we see stable growth in the vehicle production range,” says Tim Leuliette, chief executive of Visteon, a global auto parts supplier. “I don't think profit margins for auto suppliers are peaking. I think they will continue to grow.”

e-News Solutions

Upcoming Webinar

APICS Vendor Webcast: The Journey to Supply Chain Metrics That Matter, sponsored by Logility
December 5, 2013 | 11:00 a.m.-noon ET

Webinars On Demand Available

APICS Extra Live: Operating Plans that Really Work 
Watch the webinar now.

APICS Vendor Webcast: Are Spreadsheets Sabotaging Your Forecast? [Sponsored by Logility]
Watch the webinar now.

Watch more APICS webinars on demand.

Upcoming APICS conferences, seminars and workshops

Learn more about the APICS seminars.

NEW: Access the APICS Project Management Folio

  • Explore ways project management can help achieve strategic goals.
  • Discover steps to avoid project management pitfalls.
  • Access best practices that maximize the impact of project management.
  • Examine ways to use project management to break down silos.


FREE!
 APICS members | $19.95 nonmembers

APICS folios are now a FREE benefit for APICS members

APICS folios provide a go-to resource on a variety of industry topics and trends. Grounded in research to keep supply chain and operations management professionals ahead of the game, APICS folios cut through the clutter and bring you best practices, how-to steps, and practical advice that give you and your organization a competitive advantage. APICS members now have free access to APICS folios as an added benefit to your APICS membership. FREE APICS member | $19.95 nonmember

Current APICS folios

Visit apics.org/folios to download yours today.  

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.

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.

Comment

  1.