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Leading the supply chain conversation


Join the supply chain conversation with Sharon Rice, executive director of the APICS Educational and Research (E&R) Foundation. Explore topics including the role of supply chain planning in corporate success, how sustainability and corporate social responsibility enable the bottom line, global supply chain risk management, and more. Comments are welcome. 

    Find, Frame, Focus

    by Sharon Rice, APICS E&R Foundation Executive Director | Mar 19, 2013

    I drink fair trade coffee. Until this weekend, I never thought too much about it. On Saturday I started reading The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership, by Cathy A. Trower. Richard Chait, professor emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes in the foreword that governance practiced at the highest level allows boards to “find, frame, and focus on matters of paramount importance to the organization’s current and future welfare.” That got me thinking.


    I googled “supply chain governance” and the most prominent results were related to the fair trade coffee movement. The fair trade movement began in the 1960s as a way to create supply chains in which small producers could receive a fair price on their labor. In 1988, an organization based in the Netherlends created a labeling standard for coffee produced by supply chains meeting certain fair trade standards. In 1998 the German organization FLO began to administer a supply chain certification process. This certification process is an interesting example of supply chain governance.


    I am sure there are many other examples of third-party organizations involved in some form of supply chain governance. Yet I wonder if supply chain governance, like most governance, often takes the form of a contract between parties? These relationships are likely to be quid pro quo rather than based on a shared set of standards outlining common values and purpose. If we elevate supply chain governance to finding, framing, and focusing on the issues that matter most to successful relationships between suppliers and producers, will we elevate the performance of the supply chain?


    How do you define supply chain governance? What examples can you share so that others may learn? Can any readers illustrate how excellent supply chain governance leads to excellent performance and results?

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APICS Events


Smartphones a Boon for RF Chip Suppliers

by APICS staff | N/A 2013 | 13 | 5
Smartphones a Boon for RF Chip Suppliers

Samsung, Apple, and other manufacturers seem to constantly be adding new features to their lineups of smartphones. The radio frequency (RF) technology in the devices also is increasing, which is boosting manufacturers and the supply chains for these components, Reuters reports.

“The RF content in handsets continues to go up,” says Stewart Stecker, portfolio manager at asset management firm AlphaOne Capital. “That’s good from an immediate to longer-term perspective for the entire RF supply chain.”

Modern phones make use of 4G technology, which requires a higher number of RF chips in a phone. The global market for 4G components is estimated to nearly double this year, according to a report by Infonetics Research. According to Reuters, suppliers of RF chips that diversify their client base and provide components to more major phone manufacturers are in the best position to take advantage of increased demand.

UK Manufacturers Get More Women in Board Positions 

Women comprise more board roles at manufacturing organizations than other top companies on the London Stock Exchange, according to a new report. The report, "FTSE 100__Women in Manufacturing," is published by EEF, a UK-based manufacturing, technology, and engineering group. It notes that of the 309 manufacturing board seats in the top 100 companies, 59 are held by women__or 19 percent compared to 17 percent across all industries.

The report also notes the manufacturing industry faces a shortage of female engineers, warning that the United Kingdom will struggle with increasing the number of women in senior positions unless action is taken. Only 6 percent of British engineers are women, up 1 percent from 2008. This figure is dwarfed by other European countries, such as Sweden with 26 percent, Italy with 20 percent, and Spain with 18 percent. According to the report, the disparity stems in part from failure to encourage young women to study science-related topics.

India Facing Skills Mismatch Crisis

India will have a shortage of more than 103 million skilled infrastructure workers, including about 35 million in the auto industry and 33 million in construction, the Washington Post reports. In technology, on the other hand, the shortage will only be about 5 million. The reason for this is a mismatch of required skills and the professional goals of India's young people.

As higher education extends into towns and villages across the nation and college enrollment skyrockets, students tend to pursue white-collar fields seen as respectable, including medicine, teaching, business management, and engineering. However, this means they are running ahead of the skills India will need during a decade of economic transition.

"What we have is a whole lot of people with degrees in hand but no relevant skills," says Dilip Chenoy, head of the National Skill Development Corporation, a government-private partnership.

Meanwhile, a survey of more than 2,800 Indian students by the University of Pennsylvania found that student aspirations are misaligned with the needs of the Indian economy. While construction and automotive will need the greatest number of skilled workers over the next decade, "only a very small proportion" of students want to work in those fields.

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