Aberdeen council bosses are preparing a formal bid for free port status with the aim of creating thousands of jobs and pulling in international investment for the Scottish city.
A free port is a zone within a country that is treated, for customs purposes, as an independent jurisdiction, with goods manufactured, imported and exported in the zone exempt from normal tariffs and customs duties. Bristol is another contender for one of the six free port statuses to be allocated later this year in England and Scotland. There are concerns that free ports can facilitate money laundering and tax evasion.
Food safety company Neogen Corporation has entered into a partnership with San Francisco and New York-based Ripe Technology to bring blockchain to its food safety diagnostics and animal genomics processes. The companies believe the two technologies will form the basis for advanced data-driven decisions for its customers. Blockchain has the potential of linking, for example, the genomic profile of a dairy cow with the feed the animal eats, its medical history, barn environment, and the quality of its milk.
The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has relaxed regulations that previously prohibited carriers from working together on certain matters without the scrutiny of the FMC. The so-called TradeLens Agreement, which came into effect on 5 January, authorises the parties “to cooperate with respect to the provision of data to a blockchain-based, digitised global trade solution that will enable shippers, authorities and other stakeholders to exchange information on supply chain events and documents.”
TradeLens, an open and neutral solution underpinned by blockchain technology launched in 2018 by Maersk and IBM, has grown to include more than 100 participants and has processed over ten million shipping events to date. Authorities and organisations that have recently joined TradeLens include the Indonesia Customs and Excise Department of the Ministry of Finance, CAI MEP International Terminal in Vietnam, Jordanian Customs and CSX, a leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation.
Some two dozen companies in the industry, including drug manufacturers, distributors, retailers and delivery firms, have created the blockchain-based MediLedger Network, to track prescription drugs across the supply chain “to better halt the flow of counterfeit medicines”. Among the 24 participating companies are Amgen, FedEx, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, AmerisourceBergen Corp, Sanofi, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart.
The World Health Organization estimates that counterfeit medicines worth approximately £61 billion are traded annually. These medicines, however, have no active ingredient at best, or can be outright harmful to human health because of contamination. The core function of the MediLedger Network is to validate the authenticity of drug identifiers throughout the supply chain, the MediLedger report said. This can all be done without any proprietary data being shared openly on the blockchain or ever leaving a company’s control
US carrier Delta Air Lines and HSBC UK were named as major winners of the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Stop Slavery award, while Aldi UK scooped the Goods and Service Firms award, in recognition for cleaning up high-risk supply chains and requiring suppliers and other partners to be trained in slavery awareness and laws.
According to the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO), about 25 million people globally are estimated to be trapped in forced labour. Supply chain laws are often regarded as toothless, with experts calling for harsher penalties.
A group of blockchain security companies have founded the Ethereum Trust Alliance (ETA) to create a security rating system for smart contracts. While the public Ethereum blockchain may be immutable, hackers can exploit bugs in smart contracts. As of August 2019, it was estimated that at least £286 million had been lost as a result of smart contract vulnerabilities.
The ETA believes that a Moody’s-style rating system for smart contracts could address cyber-security concerns. The ETA’s remedy to this problem is a registry that it would create, where anyone could query the security rating of a smart contract.
by Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
The Procurement function has become a critical player in the process of Digital Transformation, acting as a trusted advisor to the business.
As companies continue to overhaul outdated processes and implement new technology, the need to manage change has never been more apparent. Procurement needs accessibility to data to operate at the board level and fulfil the demands placed upon it.
But as procurement continue to help all levels of an organisation, what about the function’s own Digital Transformation?
Surprisingly, procurement has largely been left behind in a world of digitalisation. While other departments have advanced and thrived with specialist tools, a reluctance to replace legacy systems has seen Procurement struggling to keep pace.
However, ‘best of breed’ solutions are providing a vital shortcut for Procurement.
They are paving the way to deliver on the failed promises of legacy systems and addressing the challenges stemming from the use of emails and spreadsheets. This allows procurement to efficiently operate at the highest level while mitigating supply chain risk, managing data compliance and saving on costs.
Market Dojo are the pioneers of on-demand eProcurement software, supporting 150+ clients worldwide in evolving their procurement processes. Their on-demand offering allows companies the flexibility of using their tools as and when required for eSourcing and supplier engagement.
Market Dojo’s CEO Alun Rafique highlights some thoughts to consider when tackling Digital Transformation.
“Technology implementation projects should be primarily viewed through the lens of change management. Revolutionary ideas are good and needed, but changes should be made in an evolutionary manner through incremental steps”.
In other words, supporting the use of ERP systems with ‘best of breed’ ensures real value is achieved at every stage. ‘best of breed’ solutions are no longer a bolt-on or adjunct to ERP solutions, but a core part of the final ecosystem.
Market Dojo believes in a better way to manage data, mitigate risk and deliver real value through accessible software. Implementing a tool such as Market Dojo can generate a far quicker ROI at a fraction of the cost.
Market Dojo believe Procurement should have access to the same everyday tools as you would find in sales and finance. The vision of a ‘Procurement CRM’ is unique and set to take the procurement function by storm.
by Alun Rafique, CEO and Co-Founder, and Nick Drewe, COO and co-founder, Market Dojo
Can Market Dojo help your procurement processes? Book a demo today.
Consumers, now more than ever, expect their products to be of top quality, responsibly sourced, environmentally friendly and, of course, competitively priced. This trend has put a significant amount of pressure on the industry to change its entire sourcing and manufacturing operations. In order to keep up with consumer’s demands, retailers, vendors and factories have all collectively invested billions of dollars into their quality and compliance operations every year. Unfortunately, few organisations have been able to obtain the type of returns on investments that they’d been hoping for.
Most players in the industry, including some of the largest and most forward-thinking ones, have continued to direct their resources towards outdated manual processes that have seen little true innovation in decades. Heads of quality and compliance around the world manage and continue to expand teams of people who rely on pen and paper, Excel and email, or limited in-house solutions to carry out the core activities of their day-to-day.
Organisations of all sizes in the industry suffer from a lack of standardisation. The large global companies find that their regional teams all operate in slightly different ways, often using their own tools that they’ve built from scratch, and into which each invest significant duplicate efforts to maintain. The discrepancies in how each regional office operates makes it incredibly hard for these organisations to gain aggregate insights from their collective efforts. The relatively small factories also suffer from this since they find that their internal teams must follow varying reporting methods and need to use different tools of collaboration to work with different clients. This ultimately leads to a significant investment for all organisations in their data collection and operational efforts, with diminished returns due to the lack of standardisation and duplicated efforts.
There are major issues with efficiency as well. On the field, inspectors can spend anywhere between one and a half to four hours a day simply keying in inspection data they’ve found on the production line into Excel or PDF files. Many inspectors who finish their last inspection at a factory late in the afternoon may decide to type up and email their reports the following day. Then, due to time differences between sourcing headquarters and factory locations, these reports don’t make it to the eyes of the correct person on time for them to be able to make critical decisions to move the business forward.
Thanks to the power of automation and artificial intelligence, business leaders can dedicate fewer resources to low value-added manual work such as generating reports or reviewing inspection booking information, and instead have their quality teams focus on higher value-added activities.
The lack of standardisation and efficiency combined lead to a poor allocation of resources within the industry. In order to keep up with production expectations, many organisations simply scale up unequivocally ineffective processes and, in so doing, further entrench themselves in a trap of low returns. Instead of doing this, some industry leaders have identified that the best way to move forwards is to completely revolutionise the status quo by turning to more advanced technologies that can completely disrupt today’s working model. These innovators have led their organisations through the adoption of specialised cloud-based and mobile technologies, artificial intelligence and powerful automations in order to take their operations to the next level.
The adoption of digital platforms that allow for the centralisation of all core quality and compliance operations has allowed certain organisations to begin to reap benefits incredibly fast. Bringing all regional offices onto the same platform to conduct their operations ensures that each team member across the world executes their activities in a way that allows for their data and reporting to match that of their global counterparts. For factories and vendors, the fact that more and more of their clients are turning towards the same platform implies that they can start interacting with each of their clients in the same way, and thus have data from each of those interactions aggregated and actionable for them.
The benefits of efficiency are also almost immediate for adopters of these types of technologies. Thanks to the power of automation and artificial intelligence, business leaders can dedicate fewer resources to low value-added manual work such as generating reports or reviewing inspection booking information, and instead have their quality teams focus on higher value-added activities.
Due to this evident opportunity for improvement, technology companies have come to the table to provide all-in-one solutions that provide all the impacts business leaders should be looking for. Inspectorio, a quality and compliance platform powered by artificial intelligence, is currently taking the industry forwards by providing the best solutions to deliver on the impacts mentioned. Inspectorio allows retailers, vendors and factories to execute all of the activities that are core to their interactions such as inspection bookings, inspection report generation, CAPAs, environmental, social and technical audits of facilities and more, all in one platform. Then, beyond allowing for the seamless digitisation of these important activities, Inspectorio takes things a step further by providing robust automations that take care of many of these activities in a second rather than hours. Inspectorio allows users to automatically generate inspection reports, confirm or waive inspections bookings based on the criteria within the booking, allocate quality resources to the right facilities based on risk and more.
The extensive adoption of Inspectorio by thousands of organisations including some of the largest retailers and vendors in the world has allowed the company to amass significant amounts of data with which they’ve been able to power their artificial intelligence offerings. For example, Inspectorio uses machine learning to dynamically generate predictive risk profiles for factories. These predictions of risk are then used in the system to automatically make business decisions such as whether to confirm a booking or what type of inspections procedure a facility should be subject to. By leveraging artificial intelligence in this way, companies can move from being reactive to proactive in how they manage their operations. It allows them to seamlessly allocate their resources toward the operations that matter much more efficiently, mitigate risk and, ultimately, significantly increase the return on their quality and compliance investments.
The quality and compliance industry is ready for change. After decades of seeing money poured into the industry with little to no tangible benefits to show for it, it’s time for technology to provide departments with the tools they need to succeed. Companies such as Inspectorio have shown that the technology is here, and their proven track records with some of the largest companies in the world have proven that it works. So now it’s just a matter of time before more and more business leaders decide to take the step forward and adopt the tools that’ll finally provide the ROI that quality and compliance needs.
by David Klein, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Fernando Moncayo, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Inspectorio and Lien Nguyen, Quality Assurance Auditor
For more information click here.
Your guide to the latest research and whitepapers
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) proposes 12 principles of supply chain control and oversight to help mitigate the threat of attacks.
The first group of principles help identify what needs to be protected and why – you need to know your suppliers and the effectiveness of their current security arrangements. The second group tells you how your business can gain and maintain control over its supply chain. You need to ensure that your suppliers understand their responsibility in keeping you secure, as well as their fulfilling these responsibilities. It’s also essential to build assurance activities into your supply chain management, such as your right to audit, as well as security requirements including penetration tests, external audit or formal security certifications.
You need to establish KPIs to measure your suppliers’ performance, then review to see whether they have acted on any lessons learned. Finally, security in the supply chain has to be a sustained effort to safeguard your extended business perimeters in the long term. If you give incentives to your suppliers to improve their system, you are more likely to form steady, long-lasting partnerships. More here.
A new report from McKinsey demonstrates in charts and numbers the common wisdom that doing business globally is getting more precarious.
Against the backdrop of US-Chinese trade regulations, the setback of Brexit looks like a mere glitch. The drawn-out withdrawal process has at least given businesses plenty of time to prepare for Brexit, and many have already adopted strategies: for example, establishing extra warehouses in the UK, changing transport routes or relocating some of their facilities to mainland Europe to minimise disruption due to potential delays.
Relocating to Southeast Asian countries is a strategy that many companies with trade links in China pursue, but on the whole the supply chain impact of the US-China trade dispute and the consequent imposition of tariffs is seen as a more profound and systemic threat than Brexit. Companies on top of their game tend to have permanent supply-chain risk-management teams and processes in place, with communication between supply chain and risk management teams and other functions being well established. The high-level impact calculations they make enables them to better prioritise the risks they are exposed to. The classification of risks into groups according to their manageability and predictability – black swan events, for example, having high impact and being hard to foresee – can be helpful when defining response strategies.
Better planning of the digital transformation process, and a better understanding of smart technologies and their benefits, could bring better results in smart supply chain deployment, a new report from PA Consultancy finds.
The survey shows that the two leading drivers for businesses to embark on a smart supply chain journey are cost-cutting and customer behaviour and preferences – although there is considerable variance by sector – with improving quality coming third.
There are plenty of entry points for digitalisation along the supply chain, ranging from demand forecasting at the planning stage and quality improvement and maintenance in production, to enhancing integration with suppliers, automating order fulfilment and warehousing and personalising customer service. The three most popular digital technologies chosen to drive transformation in terms of deployment and active use are mobile technologies, cloud computing and robotics and automation, with IoT platforms well below ten per cent.
The report also underscores the short time period between companies developing an “appetite” for making their supply chain smarter and the actual “action” or adoption of technologies. It argues for the inclusion of an “archetype” phase that the company must identify as applying to itself (for example, whether it is performance-led, agility-led or connectivity-led) “to unlock wider business transformation and greater value opportunities.”
More than half of participants in the PA survey reported that they are either looking to transform their businesses along these archetypes, or picking and choosing elements from them. The report also contains a number of case studies, where you can learn how successful early adopters leveraged one or a combination of these three archetypes.
Source: Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
The Apla X-Reg e-voting solution helps public and private companies, partnerships, fund administrators and others to improve the efficiency and transparency of their internal decision-making workflows and the engagement practices of investors and shareholders.
It is the perfect tool to help listed companies, fund administrators, custodians and other intermediaries comply with the mandatory requirements of the EU Second Shareholders Right Directive. Apla X-Reg is also the only all-in-one software solution that integrates legally binding e-voting and e-signing tools, stakeholders’ registers, share classes and attributable voting rights, access control to meeting documents, notifications and messengers.
We deploy next-generation blockchain technology to secure the authenticity, integrity, transparency, traceability and immutability of users’ transactional data, such as e-voting, e-signing, and other transactions.
For more information, click here.
The digital age has seen many new entries our everyday vernacular, from “world wide web” to “quantum computing”, from “big data” to “omni-channel”, and where one man’s “pivot” is another’s “disruption”. We have all become technophiles to some degree, whether by visible enthusiasm or simply through our everyday practices.
Today, we all carry what were once defined as “supercomputers” in our pocket or handbag. By virtue of our personal devices and small-screen dependencies, we are all connected. The internet is rarely more than an arm’s reach away, and we are essentially walking, talking components in the internet of things.
We play our part – and indeed we literally are a constituent part. Each of us, in essence, is now also a “digital thing”.
The IoT is really a bundle of ideas and conceptual possibilities that arrives ahead of any later reality. Like most ideas, particularly those in the technology space, it is presently a half-invention – partly happening, but mostly yet to happen, an idea that invites others to latch onto and riff off. Sometimes the invitation inspires, and mainstream embrace follows, sometimes the ideas don’t take hold.
But the term IoT isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, we’re only on the cusp of it becoming truly realised and part of our daily lives. Once just a shorthand for “things” such as smart fridges able to text you a reminder to buy more milk, the IoT is now a means to evolve the World Wide Web into a truly physical-digital operating system.
That might sound grandiose, so let’s anchor ourselves with a quick, simple and accessible definition from Wikipedia:
“The internet of things (‘IoT’) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”
If you can tag any physical item with a “unique identifier” – and if that tag or “label” can transmit and connect to the internet – then the “internet of things” moves from concept to reality in a single step.
What does this then all mean, both in literal and far-reaching terms?
A printed piece of paper, either applied to a product or integrated into a piece of packaging, has the potential to now also be an IoT-enabler. Take our historic understanding of what a printed paper label actually is, but build in a microchip and antenna. Immediately, the “label” becomes the thread by which any physical item can be cloud-connected.
Simply, the right kind of label can make almost any physical thing part of the IoT – and it’s when you then consider all this through the lens of production, manufacturing, ingredients, retail, consumer experience and global supply chains, that things become eye-opening.
“I worry about the gaps. The passages of time that are unknown. A consignment arrives in the dock, could be sitting there for an hour, five, a day, before then being loaded for the next leg of its journey. What happened in that gap? Maybe nothing. But it’s unverified. The fear is anything from theft to contamination. I don’t want to trust and hope. I want certainty. I want a logistics solution that removes doubt. No more gaps, no more unknowns.” – Helen Priestley, Summer 2019
A prediction: the next term to cross the divide and become a matter of mainstream concern (and mainstream parlance) is “supply chain”.
We might recall supply chains as fleeting moments in an economics or geography class, long since cranially filed away as relating to “global manufacturing practices”. But the doors get blown off the filing cabinet the moment you consider the truly big issues and global concerns of our times. Sustainability, ethical sourcing, corporate responsibility, brand safety and product integrity are vast, complex, down-the-rabbit hole concerns. But they could be addressed through a combination of old-fashioned supply chain best practices combined with intelligent labels, transforming the supply chain into an IoT ecosystem that can be tracked, traced, interrogated and held to account.
While supply chains have typically been somewhat “behind the curtain” concerns, it doesn’t mean they should be hidden from view or accountability. And now they don’t have to be. Digital innovations can now make direct customer engagement a more profound reality. Intelligent labels suddenly serve as a portal into richer consumer encounters, from branded content to value-based experiences, where the possibilities are arguably limitless.
Intelligent label technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) make it possible for global supply chains to be sustainable and trusted by design. They also make it possible for the “who, what and where” of every physical product to also become data-points of irrefutable fact and absolute visibility. Where, for example, proof of provenance, or proof of ethically sourced materials and manufacture are assured through a guaranteed data trail.
Bemoaning our changing times and decrying that “progress” feels like we are only going backwards can feel like a familiar narrative, but it’s not always the full narrative. Amid the uncertainty and naysaying, there can be assurances and the building of a post-doubt age. Where technology, in the right hands, finds a way.
by Hannah Bernard, Global Marketing & PR Director, Intelligent Labels, Avery Dennison
About Avery Dennison
Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE: AVY) is a global materials science company specialising in the design and manufacture of a wide variety of labelling and functional materials. The company’s products, which are used in nearly every major industry, include pressure-sensitive materials for labels and graphic applications, tapes and other bonding solutions for industrial, medical and retail applications, tags, labels and embellishments for apparel, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions serving retail apparel and other markets. Headquartered in Glendale, California, the company employs approximately 30,000 people in more than 50 countries. Reported sales in 2019 were $7.1 billion.
Learn more at www.averydennison.com
Base Erosion and Profit Shifting 2.0 or BEPS 2.0 is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) project on addressing the tax challenges of the digital economy. In 2018 the UK, US and India advocated for different approaches to modifying existing international tax conventions. (The UK emphasised the importance of user participation and contributions, such as for transport, accommodation, and e-commerce platforms, as well as for online advertising business models built around free services.) The discussions at the OECD/G20 level to reach a consensus are grouped around two pillars: the first establishes a new allocation of taxing rights through a new nexus and new profit allocation rules, while the second addresses the remaining BEPS issues, introducing measures to ensure a minimum level of taxation.
The blockchain, originally a type of distributed public ledger, is a growing list of records called blocks which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. The strongest use-cases for its private or permissioned version are supply chain tracking and smart contracts – computer protocols intended to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract.
CIPS or the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply is a UK-based global professional body working for excellence and professionalism in the purchasing and supply professions.
Businesses and people wishing to trade must use an Economic Operator Registration and Identification, or EORI number, in all customs procedures when exchanging information with customs administrations. An EORI number is mandatory if an individual is engaged in import and export of goods under a transit process. Following a Brexit outcome of any kind – whether a trade agreement or no deal – businesses that import or export goods within the EU will need an EORI number. To find out how to get one click here.
GPS spoofing is an attack in which a radio transmitter located near the target is used to interfere with the legitimate GPS location data that the target receives. The attacker can transmit no data at all or could transmit inaccurate coordinates.
Maritime cyber-risk refers to the extent to which a technology asset could be threatened by a potential circumstance or event resulting in shipping-related operational, safety or security failures as a consequence of information or systems being intercepted or compromised.
RIP stands for returnable industrial packaging and includes reusable pallets, racks and containers designed for use by manufacturers and their customers in a tight shipping loop. To avoid loss resulting from missing or damaged RIP, it needs to be tracked in a similar fashion to other assets of the business. As RFID, the most common technology leveraged to do so, is costly and takes a long time to implement, businesses increasingly turn to IoT-enabled networks to track their RIP.
Stock visibility in supply chain management means that the retailer has full knowledge of where its products are in real time. Stock visibility is key to high stock accuracy, agile order fulfilment and efficient omnichannel marketing.
A supply chain attack damages an organisation, sector or entire industry by targeting the less secure elements of its supply chain. Typically, the victims are small businesses that provide products and services to larger firms.
Today’s supply chains face both age-old risks and brand-new ones spawned by digitalisation. Some of them are known risks and are therefore measurable and manageable, while others are unknown and hard or impossible to predict. The risks supply chains are exposed to range from economic and political ones to sustainability hazards and cyber-threats. To deal with risks in a structured way, businesses need to build their own supply-chain risk-management frameworks with scores based on three aspects of each identified risk: the likelihood of the risk materialising, its impact on the organisation, and the preparedness of the organisation to deal with that risk. The risk avoidance approach aims to eliminate a certain risk altogether, while risk mitigation is about reducing the likelihood of the risk occurring and/or decreasing the negative impact it has on the organisation.
TLC or total logistics costs are the range of costs associated with logistics including transport and warehousing, as well as inventory carrying, administration and order processing costs
A transport management system or TMS is specialised software for planning, executing and optimising the shipment of goods. With a TMS you can find and compare the rates and services of carriers available to ship an order, book the shipment, and then track its movement to delivery in real time.
Virtual warehousing is the provision of on-demand storage space for the short to medium-term by those who possess underused storage facilities, via a digital platform.
Source: Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
What lessons can be learned from an industry that’s turning itself around through modern practices and smart supply chains?
We find ourselves in a state of complete flux: legacy IT systems, which seemed so capable a few years ago, are rapidly becoming obsolete, and new industry players are disrupting old models of working, changing the rules and transforming the landscape of competition. As a result, customer expectations are constantly shifting as they demand digital and hyperconnected experiences. Because of this, the IT function is under unrelenting pressure to deploy leading-edge capabilities such as data analytics, advanced cyber-security and automated processing in an effort to keep up.
Leading decision makers in sourcing, supply chain and logistics need to be prepared for what’s to come as technological advancements and ever-changing consumer habits force companies to adapt, survive, and thrive. The integration of one real-time system will benefit organisations with increased productivity, scalability, speed and cost-competitiveness. The digitisation of corporate business processes will make your business more accurate and shorten lead times during the production and distribution cycles.
The fashion industry remains one of the worst environmental offenders, without doubt – although many manufacturers can be accused of making the same mistakes. However, emerging technologies are helping to realise a whole new set of capabilities and business models that can help this sector embed sustainability into the very core of the value chain, from product ideation through to after-care. While many companies recognise the importance of sustainability for their business, they often don’t know where to start. Ultimately, if you are to become truly sustainable, your practices must go beyond PR spiel, and sustainability must be positioned at the very centre of all you do, in a manner that remains commercially viable. With a fragmented and non-digital supply chain this will be much harder to change, so traceability, enabled by tech such as blockchain, is going to make a gigantic impact.
For too long academia has focused on theory over practice, but that is changing. Consumer-focused industries are moving at a blinding pace, from supply chain digitisation through to retail trends. They are looking specifically at how to attract and maintain a strong consumer relationship resulting in a profitable business model. The realisation that the academic community must shift to better prepare students for positions in this new and very real world is evident, and so the focus of some institutions is shifting towards skill-based education. The retraining of “other-skilled” individuals is equally important as new training is to the “less experienced” youth. In today’s world, age is but a number – you will be judged on your merits.
This is a practice that is perhaps more applicable, though not unique, to the fashion industry. US and European mass-market brands were rushing to move as much production to Asia as possible in order to gain a cost advantage. Some of them have successfully done this, ensuring high quality, speed, and compliance, and have been able to deliver quality products to consumers at the best price. This mindset is changing, mainly because of the unit-cost adjustment that has gone in line with regional socio-economic developments. Increasing nearshoring (production sites closer to the end-consumer) and more automated production models will make you more sustainable, certainly, but will that result in less profit?
Over the last 20 years there has been an ever-increasing demand for greater speed and variety, but at a lower cost and with a more environmental outlook. Deploying digital technologies and advanced processes within product creation is a start, but once the product leaves the factory how are you going to achieve the kind of connectivity, transparency and consumer satisfaction that will set you apart from your competition?
Unless you realise the end-to-end potential, you will never achieve the kind of ROI you, or your organisation, need to succeed.
If you are in the fashion, apparel or footwear industry then you might want to have your say in these important discussions at one of our events – click here for more details or for more information, you can contact us here.
by David Wilcox, Head of Communications, PI Apparel
Supply chain events, expos and get-togethers to add to your calendar
Future logistics, made possible
11 March 2020,
This event offers an introduction into how cutting-edge technologies such as AI, big data and robotics can transform and future-proof logistics. Click here for more details.
Supply Chain Conference
17-18 March 2020, London
The Supply Chain Conference brings together some of the world’s expert practitioners so that you can learn from their examples of best practice. To see speakers and register click here.
Supply Chain Risk Management
23-27 March 2020, London
This seminar aims to demonstrate how to apply useful tools and techniques to successfully manage supply chains to reduce costs and improve service levels. Click here for more details.
3rd Annual Pharma Supply Chain and Security World
1-2 April 2020,
London Stadium, London
The annual Pharma Supply Chain and Security World Summit returns to London for the third time, aiming to help you optimise your supply chain challenges to ensure an agile, responsive and streamlined supply chain. There’s also a focus on drug counterfeiting, which is not only a global public health risk, but also harms product quality, brand integrity, the economy and even national security. Click here for more details.
The National Procurement Summit1 July
More than 1,000 procurement directors, sourcing directors, senior management and supply chain directors, 30 speakers and 30 exhibitors will convene to meet with suppliers and keep up-to-date with the latest industry innovations, best practices and new technology solutions. Click here for more details.
Source: Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
Supply chain affects your company’s bottom line, making the need for a global standard framework incredibly important.
Supply chain functions have traditionally been siloed, used by organisations as a wait-and-see tool instead of leveraged as a key part of the overall business strategy.
Over the past decade, that mindset has changed. Supply chain is no longer a back-office function that flies under the radar. It’s a front-facing, strategic necessity and a competitive differentiator that’s become part of the corporate business model.
Because of this potential, effective business leaders are investing in supply chain optimisation. But before you can improve your supply chain strategy in both the short and long term, you must understand why supply chain matters, why a supply chain global standard is important and why you should prioritise an ethical supply chain.
We know that business success hinges on ethical, economic and ecological operations. Are you aware of the critical role supply chain plays in each?
According to a recent survey conducted by the Association for Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management Review and Loyola University, 83 per cent of supply chain professionals consider supply chain ethics extremely or very important. Consumers feel the same way – they insist products be made ethically, with appropriate human rights and labour practices. That ethical behaviour extends to responsible marketing and sales engagement. Supply chain professionals have high visibility across organisational sectors, allowing them to more quickly identify possibly unethical areas. Empower your supply chain employees to communicate with these various functions to be as proactive as possible.
Customers expect transparency from board members and corporate leadership. Business integrity is vital – just one crisis can damage a company’s reputation, harming sales and stock prices. Supply chain professionals help avoid those missteps – as Supply Chain Dive notes, “Their direct access to a wide range of practical market intelligence […] creates the perfect opportunity to be internal company advisers” on both micro and macro levels.
According to Nielsen, 83 per cent of millennials, 66 per cent of Gen Xers and 62 per cent of baby boomers have a strong desire for customers to implement sustainable, environmentally friendly practices. Yet a recent Deloitte survey found only 14 per cent of respondents said improving or protecting the environment was an organisational priority. These practices almost entirely revolve around supply chain. From suppliers using greener forms of travel for their goods to distribution optimisation, supply chain professionals have insight into the agility, cost and flexibility of business operations. They can strategise to ensure environmental compliance.
But just knowing that supply chain is essential isn’t enough. You must invest in your organisation and empower employees to take action. However, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Corporations need a consistent global standard for evaluating their supply chain organisations. With a global framework in place, you’ll know how your company stacks up against competitors and in the eyes of consumers.
Enter the ASCM Enterprise Certification and Standards.
ASCM Enterprise Certification is the first corporate supply chain designation that evaluates an organization’s supply chain across ethical, economic and ecological dimensions. By offering key considerations for specific areas of supply chain processes, ASCM Enterprise Certification empowers organisations, improving results and competitiveness.
With ASCM Enterprise Certification, you can demonstrate to your customers that your organisation excels in the three pillars. You’ll see results in your bottom line, too.
by Abe Eshkenazi, Chief Executive Officer, Association for Supply Chain Management
Group CEO at CIPS Malcolm Harrison on how strong leaders should have “ethics plus” at their core, and how they can lead their organisation to a position of strength and longevity.
You could be forgiven for thinking that, with recent political and economic upheavals, environmental disasters and the rapid spread of Covid-19 threatening our health and supply chains, we are operating in an age of extremes. In the World Economic Forum 2020 report on risk, an important source of information for risk mitigation for leaders, the top three risks listed as “likely” were extreme weather, climate action failure and natural disasters. However, the impacts on particular businesses are more difficult to predict.
Strong leaders in procurement and supply management can drive significant change in their organisations, but they are working in a landscape that is increasingly difficult to understand and to forecast. The speed of change in business has introduced more volatility, turning old ways of working upside down. When I started in procurement, there were only two goals for a leader in procurement and supply management – continuity of supply and delivering value across the supply chain. Now it is about managing risks, corporate reputation, being the best customer and being open to investment opportunities. Value will always include business growth, increased innovation, digitalisation, sustainable supply chains, the development of new supply markets and increased social value – all challenging the skills, experience and abilities of professionals to their limit.
Uncertainty affects a leader’s ability to forecast potential outcomes – a core skill for any CEO leading their organisation to a position of strength and longevity. Though a level of uncertainty in the business world has always existed, there are always new situations to consider and react to, so no leader can remain complacent for long.
Complexity is another challenge. Whether it is highly technical IT solutions or developing new relationships with stakeholders or suppliers, leaders need to unravel and make sense of complex projects while juggling multiple priorities.
Adding a cloud of ambiguity around trade deals means many leaders are struggling to make the right decisions and create the most effective plans for their business.
As these pressures heighten, it may be tempting to cut corners. But, as any credible leader knows, keeping integrity and transparency at the core of any decision-making is the strongest way forward. In fact, responsible procurement is a reputational and economic imperative. I call this “ethics plus”, where day-to-day business decisions are made, almost without thinking, with a focus on doing the right thing. This would include issues around modern slavery, environmental sustainability such as climate change, labour conditions among suppliers, or socially inclusive opportunities.
We always challenge our procurement leaders to keep improving by becoming chartered, to demonstrate they have the latest insight and the most up-to-date skills, and implement the most ethical practices. That strict adherence to ethics also includes paying suppliers on time. The Small Business Commissioner recently published a report on Bombardier Transport UK, highlighting the company’s unacceptable practices such as paying SME invoices up to 223 days late. The commission is getting tougher on larger corporates dragging their feet on responsible payment, which is a welcome development. Poor payment practices have a knock-on effect and impact everyone. But good procurement and supply chain practice should not need a gun to the head. Compare and contrast this to Rio Tinto’s commitment to pay its small suppliers within 20 days and it proves that, with focus and commitment, ethical treatment of suppliers can be achieved.
Lastly, one of the trends in business I have seen recently is all about “superforecasters”. These are individuals who excel in the art and science of forecasting future business challenges. These superforecasters are not necessarily experts in their field, but they have the ability to predict the disrupting events that blindside businesses. For me, good leaders have the same skills.
Like a superforecaster, strong leaders gather as much insight as possible about their business, customers, global risk and opportunity. They get into the habit of keeping these worst-case scenarios uppermost in their minds and prepare for them. They develop and support their teams to increase capabilities. With some intellectual humility they are brave enough to change course when the need arrives.
We may be suffering from the effects of uncertainty at the moment, but like any terrain, formidable leaders can conquer these challenges with the right knowledge, the right equipment and the right skills. Armed with an inquisitive and decisive attitude, and influential and persuasive skills, a strong procurement and supply management leader can steer not only their teams but their organisation to success.
by Malcolm Harrison, Group CEO, CIPS
Maritime organisations are often reluctant to report cyber-attacks for fear of reputational damage. But now an anonymous reporting system, set up by UK-based maritime membership organisation the CSO Alliance to ensure anonymity and confidentiality, is making strides towards addressing this problem, according to this piece in shipping journal Lloyd’s List. The piece includes an overview of the International Maritime Organisation’s guidelines to maritime cyber-security risk management, which indicate the importance that shipping companies understand the nature and volume of these cyber-attacks and, in turn, raise their preparedness and do their part to mitigate the risk of subsequent events.
Cyber-security portal TEISS’s Anna Delaney talks to information security expert Bridget Kenyon about how businesses can incorporate third-party screening processes into their supply chain in this video. Instead of scrutinising their suppliers themselves or hiring someone to do the job for them, argues Kenyon, they can certify for an internationally recognised framework such as ISO27001. By doing so they can establish a list of security measures of their own, which, in turn, can be communicated to their customers and suppliers through the same framework. Implementing schemes such as this is essential to not just feeling instinctively safe in cyber-space but also being assured that all necessary criteria of security are met by business stakeholders.
Virtual warehousing can provide those looking for storage space with on-demand, short-to-medium-term options, but it can also benefit those with underused facilities. Shared-user sites have existed to offer short-term, flexible storage for some time, but the process of finding and organising shared use has been mostly manual. Meanwhile, storage and transport access platforms connect buyers and sellers of warehouse space, with integrated transport and other core logistics services. Download logistic firm Wincanton’s guide to virtual warehousing here.
Thanks to changing geopolitical, tax and trade trends in global trade, businesses trading in the Asia-Pacific region will need to adopt new strategies prioritising supply-chain resilience, argues an article from EY on decentralised supply chains. In addition to the American-Chinese trade standoff and the disputes between Japan and South Korea, BEPS 2.0 and the consequential tax regulations also act as disruptive forces to trade in the region.
One way of making businesses more resilient is to move them out of mainland China into other countries such as Vietnam, Thailand or Mexico. But relocation in itself won’t necessarily solve everything. Future supply chains will also need to be “decentralised, yet interconnected, ecosystems facilitated and underpinned by technology enablers such as data analytics, machine learning and the use of artificial intelligence.” Companies will need to possess greater planning and management capabilities executed in real time, while technological evolution may result in less pressure to co-locate resources.
With increasing consumer awareness of provenance and sustainability, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is faced with a growing demand for transparency in its food sourcing.
Until recently, the global nature of supply chains and data silos have adequately provided the farm-to-fork visibility consumers increasingly insist upon. Private, permissioned blockchain, however – where users are verified before they can join the network – preserve a permanent and immutable trail of all transactions taking place across the supply chain. Blockchain will have an important role to play in real-time risk mitigation too. The blockchain’s in-built proof mechanism ensures that data cannot be altered or tampered with, providing a single source of truth on the product’s history. Read the full article in Supply Chain Digital.
A Forbes article by Bill Connerly argues that the Covid-19 outbreak is having a more damaging effect on supply chains than economists’ analyses would suggest. Most purchasing managers try to have multiple suppliers for any given component, or at least one supplier with multiple plants in different parts of the world, but it is often unclear whether these multiple suppliers all use the same component produced by the same factory. It seems that the fall in demand that an epidemic brings about can be overshadowed by the disruption that it can cause to global supply chains.
Thanks to warehouse automation, workers can be moved from dull, dirty and dangerous physical jobs to more interesting ones. However, a recent report issued by the University of California Labor Center in October points out the downsides to warehouse automation. Even though the most physically demanding warehouse jobs will get removed, expected workload and new performance assessment methods are likely to increase the stress that will come with the new jobs.
Instead of upskilling, the report actually expects existing roles to be deskilled, with decision-making tasks previously performed by humans taken over by machines, thus changing the quality and composition of surviving jobs for humans. And with continued growth in demand, the report doesn’t envisage aggregate employment levels drop in the warehousing industry over the next five to 10 years.
Source: Zita Goldman, Business Reporter