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Thinking Supply Chain

Insights, analysis and ideas to advance your supply chain.
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  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Cars and Cartels: Ethics and Supply Chain Professionals

    Trust is at a low ebb for some in the European auto industry. Various automakers are facing investigations and fines for excessive diesel emissions. Investors are nervous about expensive R&D bets made on electric battery powertrains and SUV designs. On top of this, the German Federal Cartel Office reported making major raids on six automakers and parts suppliers on June 23, 2016 as part of a large steel price-fixing cartel investigation.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Businesses Everywhere Could Learn from German SMEs

    You may never have heard of the companies Rimowa, Jungbunzlauer, or Strama-MPS, but an August 12 Harvard Business Review article by Winfried W. Weber suggests that these and other small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Germany could teach a few things to companies all over the world seeking to endure in good economic times and bad.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Autognostics: The Rise of “Self-Aware” Digital Supply Chains

    Building self-managing networks seems like a modern solution to overcoming complexity that scales beyond human comprehension. The Internet is a common example. But human beings have actually been building complex, self-managing networks for a very long time—even before computers.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Boosting E-Commerce

    Walmart Stores Inc. this week agreed to pay $3.3 billion for Jet.com, a year-old online retailer. The Wall Street Journal reports this is the largest-ever purchase of a US e-commerce startup, and a LinkedIn Pulse article digs into the reasons why.
  • Posted by
    David K. Peterson
    Senior Consultant Logistics Management Institute

    A Holistic Approach to Complex Systems Support

    Did you turn on a light, ride a train, or drive a car today? I’m guessing you probably did. And, while doing these activities, did you think about what it takes to ensure your electricity works, keep your train operating on time, or deliver your car to your local dealership so you could buy it?
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Pedaling Toward the (Supply Chain) Finish Line

    Business and bicycling: It’s not often that those two things are mentioned together. However, this week, Quartz ran a story advising businesses to learn from British Cycling and how it seized an opportunity to get more women involved in the sport.
  • Posted by
    Jennifer K. Daniels
    Vice President, APICS Marketing

    New Logistics Certification from APICS

    Earlier this month, APICS launched the definitive global standard for logistics best practices, the APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD) credential program, which will elevate knowledge and skills in logistics, transportation, and distribution practitioners.
  • Posted by
    Jennifer K. Daniels
    Vice President, APICS Marketing

    Why Marketing Your Supply Chain Matters

    Marketing isn’t just for the marketing department or your company’s marketing people. In fact, the marketing you can do is probably much more interesting to the people who matter a lot to you – prospective employees.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Transparency’s Downsides

    It’s the solution we hear over and over again for many of our supply chain challenges: transparency. Transparency for suppliers, transparency for customers, and transparency for colleagues are all made out to be the ultimate answer. However, in his July 21 Harvard Business Review article, David De Cremer challenges that idea. He warns that transparency might not be the “universal solution—and may even create new problems.”
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Out of sync: The US industrial recession and consumer spending

    2015 saw the beginning of a decline in US industrial output. By February 2016, US industrial production had fallen five times over six months. Capacity utilization fell to 75.3%—4.7% below long-term historic averages.
  • Posted by
    Laurie Denham
    Senior Director of Academic Relations

    Millennials Blazing Trails in the Supply Chain Industry

    The supply chain industry is an avenue full of career opportunities that can make a global impact. From supply chain to distribution and logistics, many young professionals are unaware of the career paths available in the industry
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 19

    In the previous blog we examined in close detail the differences between material requirements planning (MRP) and distribution requirements planning (DRP). It was stated that at first glance, it appears that DRP is very much like MRP.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Collaborating for Success

    Shipping demand and prices for 2016 remain sluggish, experts say, leaving smaller third-party logistics (3PL) providers challenged and larger companies shopping for potential acquisitions. According to JOC.com, Echo Global Logistics is an example of a fast-growing logistics company that is expanding through acquisition.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Will the next 15 years be a logistics golden age?

    Logistics professionals help keep the world running in ordered motion. Their vision and imagination continually solve daunting challenges of time and space, yet forecast trends for the years 2016–2030 reveal a wave of change, which will test those talents.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Ramping Up after a Downturn

    The oil and gas industry is readying itself for a comeback. According to The Wall Street Journal, after two years of oil slump, there is a slow recovery happening. However, this recovery might be encumbered by labor shortages, equipment that has sat idle too long, and cash availability.
  • Posted by
    Elizabeth Rennie
    Managing Editor, APICS Magazine

    What’s Your Motivation?

    APICS magazine has changed quite a bit in the 12 years that I have been an editor here. As the supply chain field has transformed and advanced, many subjects that once dominated our pages have evolved into different methodologies and solutions; others simply dwindled in popularity.
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 18

    In the previous blog we introduced the DRP grid. It was stated that the advantage of DRP is that it not only generates planned DOs when demand exceeds supply, it also places these planned DOs in the requirements row of supplying facilities.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Selling E-Commerce in Africa

    In Lagos, Nigeria, curbside salespeople used to offer anything from plantain chips to mobile phones. In fact, street trading and street hawkers are a cultural tradition in this largest city in Nigeria. In a June 30, 2016, New Yorker article, Jake Bright describes these merchants and Jumia, the company that might change commerce as Nigeria, and perhaps even Africa, knows it. Jumia is branding itself as the “largest e-commerce platform in Africa.”
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Forecasting Brexit’s Logistics Implications

    Just about a week ago, the world received the news that citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) voted to withdraw from the European Union (EU) by a narrow margin of 4 percentage points. Now, after months of speculating whether or not Brexit could be a reality, the business world is forecasting how Brexit will affect global commerce. Shortly after the Brexit vote announcement, The Wall Street Journal published an article about how this political move will influence the European supply chain.
  • Posted by
    Hans Ehm

    Bringing SCOR to Singapore

    A daylong educational forum in Singapore in July will introduce the SCOR model to supply chain professionals representing some of the world’s largest and most recognized semiconductor and electronics companies. The event is the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association 2016 Forum titled, “Supply Chain Metrics and Measures: Applying the SCOR Model to Modern Challenges.”
  • Posted by
    David F. Ross
    Senior Manager, Professional Development

    What is “push” and “pull” distribution?” – Part 17

    In the previous blog we introduced DRP by reviewing the definition from the APICS Dictionary. It was stated that because of the differences in replenishment lead times, DRP was the best choice when the supply source is a company plant.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Brexit: What Does this Mean for Supply Chain Professionals?

    Last week, UK citizens voted to leave the European Union (EU) with the passing of a referendum known as Brexit—British Exit. The tidal wave of reaction and speculation which followed the announcement signals far-reaching effects from this historic change, and many supply chain professionals are asking, “how does Brexit impact my supply chains?” While I can’t answer that directly, I can provide a framework for developing an answer.
  • Posted by
    Abe Eshkenazi
    APICS CEO

    Panama Canal Expansion Equals Trade Expansion

    The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World include The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Turkey, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Iraq. The modern world has its own wonders. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Panama Canal is one of those wonders. Its expansion will open June 26, and The Wall Street Journal reports that this improvement is critical to Western trade in the economic long run. The canal accommodates about one-third of Asia-to-Americas trade but required infrastructure upgrades to keep up with the latest shipping trends.
  • Posted by
    Jonathan Thatcher
    Director, APICS SCC Research

    Can Your Supply Chain Keep Up?

    According to a Reuters report, Target is cracking down on suppliers to better compete with Amazon and Walmart. Target’s new policies, which took effect May 30, require suppliers to provide a single day arrival date for shipments to Target's warehouses and do away with delivery “grace periods.” Suppliers who fail to deliver on time will be charged late fees of 5 percent of the order cost, an increase from their previous 1 percent to 2 percent.
  • Posted by
    Jennifer K. Daniels
    Vice President, APICS Marketing

    A Winning Way to Market your Supply Chain (Hint: get a little help from your friends!)

    A highlight of the annual Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference is the release of the top 25 supply chain list that ranks the best supply chains. (BTW, it was satisfying to see that 50% of the companies on the 2016 list work with APICS!) Winning an award presents a great opportunity to do some marketing, and that got me thinking that supply chain organizations should do more to market themselves.