Officials in the United Kingdom are fearing their food supply is an easy target for criminals to infiltrate, the Financial Times reports. Chris Elliott, professor and director at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, commissioned to write a report by the UK government, says the food and drink industry is vulnerable to criminals looking for huge profits and there is a "worrying lack of knowledge" about how severe the infiltration can be.
Elliott urges that measures to prevent food crime are essential, including finding experts to head a central food crime authority to gather intelligence, perform tests, and coordinate efforts throughout the government. "Criminal networks have begun to see the potential for huge profits and low risks in this area. The food industry and thus consumers are currently vulnerable," Elliott says. He also is concerned with the significant "casual dishonesty" in the meat industry.
Elliott's 48 recommended proposals are being criticized for falling short of fully taking on the big retail meat and dairy providers. Additionally, critics say a food crime unit will be ineffective without significant financial resources to enforce existing legislation, as food inspectors and auditors are already stretched to the breaking point.
GM Departure Clears Path for Toyota’s Australian Exit
As General Motors (GM) shuts down its two Australian plants in 2017, it will leave Toyota as the sole auto manufacturer there, the Wall Street Journal reports. But, the Japanese automaker has given indications that time is running out for the company's Australian operations.
"We will now work with our suppliers, key stakeholders and the government to determine our next steps and whether we can continue operating as the sole vehicle manufacturer in Australia," Toyota executives write in a letter. They say GM's decision to leave may have a domino effect, causing many Australian suppliers to go out of business due to falling demand. This could in turn lead to higher prices of auto parts and labor, making it less profitable to stay in Australia.
Tony Abbott, Australia's prime minister, is hoping to entice Toyota to stay in the country. "We want Toyota to continue," Abbott says. His administration has been criticized for not taking decisive action to prevent the closure of GM's factories. Abbott is pledging to support the workers at Toyota's Holden plant in the form of research and development and education. "We will not let these people down. Our job now is to build on our fundamental strengths," he says.
Five Holiday Shipping Tips for Small Businesses
The holiday season is a critical time for retailers, small businesses in particular. Strategies that can help companies keep up with holiday orders while staying within shipping budgets are essential. Entrepreneur interviews Curt Barry, CEO of operations and fulfillment consultant F. Curtis Barry & Co., and highlights five tips for the small retailer looking to meet its fulfillment goals.
1. Conduct drills. Time how long it takes to perform certain tasks, such as packing a box. This can help to identify areas that need to run smoother. Documenting processes will help when workers need to be shifted around or if new people are brought in.
2. Assess the space. Can items be stored differently? Can equipment be used more efficiently? Take packers' needs into consideration and make sure popular products are close by to reduce time.
3. Coordinate processes with software. Some software packages can be tailored to meet small businesses' needs. Features of some products available today include managing multiple carriers with a single interface, generating labels and packing slips, and month-to-month subscriptions so businesses can pay for support only when they need it.
4. Talk to carriers. Some carriers offer flexibility in pickup times, which is valuable in high-volume periods. Some big shippers, including UPS and FedEx, provide resources specifically designed for small businesses and can even offer the services of logistics experts.
5. Get creative. Test out new, cutting-edge services for same-day shipping in certain markets. "Crowdshipping," for example, is an emerging delivery method that uses local couriers, often nonprofessionals, to provide same-day service on demand.