Focused on supplier risk issues for business leaders

Archive for May, 2010

Supply Chain in China? Proceed with Caution

May 28, 2010 | Comment (1)

If you’re considering doing business in China, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes with Kevin O’Marah’s new blog post, “Six Reasons to Worry About China in Your Supply Chain.”

After carefully making the point that it’s China’s government –and not its people –that is the root cause of the problems, O’Marah outlines a half dozen reasons why anyone who is thinking about major investments in China needs to proceed with caution.

Weigh the pros and cons carefully, he explains, because doing business in China is definitely a mixed bag.

There’s no doubt that China offers some significant advantages. “China is a great market to sell into and a fantastic source for everything from steel to t-shirts,” O’Marah says.

But, there are considerable risks, as well. Capricious trade rulings, rampant IP piracy, product health and safety concerns… the list goes on and on. In short, China can be a supply chain professional’s worst nightmare. From O’Marah: (more…)

Information Collection by Google Highlights Vulnerability of Data Networks

May 27, 2010 | Comment (1)

How secure is your data network? Are you satisfied that both your business and personal information are adequately protected? Can you ever feel completely satisfied about that?

The latest news about Google’s penchant for data collection underscores just how vulnerable our networks can be.

In case you missed the story, Google is in hot water for mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks.

In a blog post at its website, Google admits that while it was gathering data for use in location-based products like Google Maps for mobile, it inadvertently collected samples of private, non-password-protected information, as well. The data was collected in all the countries where Street View information has been catalogued, including the United States and parts of Europe.

The company says it never used that data in any Google products. Plus, as Google explains it, any information collected was typically only snippets –because the Street View cars gathering the data are “on the move” and use WiFi equipment that automatically changes channels roughly five times a second.

Still, I’m not sure I find that particularly comforting. For me, the questions at the heart of the matter are: How and why was Google collecting the data in the first place? Here’s the company’s response: (more…)

Walmart Wants to Take Over Delivery of Products from Suppliers

May 26, 2010 | Comment (1)

Walmart believes it can ship and transport product more efficiently than its suppliers can, and so, the company is looking to take over delivery service from many of the manufacturers that provide goods to its U.S. stores.

According to an article at Bloomberg.com, Walmart  is currently negotiating this new plan with its suppliers. The company intends to increase the use of contractors, as well as its own private fleet of trucks, so that it can pick up products directly from manufacturers and transport the goods to its distribution centers and stores.

Of course, improved delivery efficiency has multiple benefits for Walmart, including lower supply chain emissions and reduced supply chain costs. These benefits will, in turn, translate into lower prices for Walmart shoppers, says Kelly Abney, Walmart’s vice president of corporate transportation in charge of the project.

And I assume Walmart is hoping aggressive price reductions can reverse months of slowing U.S. sales.

But, how will this plan affect suppliers? (more…)

New Fuel Efficiency Standards for Big Trucks

May 25, 2010 | Comment (1)

President Obama has signed a memorandum ordering federal agencies to prepare plans for the first fuel efficiency standards ever established for big-rig trucks.

Specifically, the memorandum orders the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish greenhouse gas emissions standards for commercial medium- and heavy-duty vehicles beginning with model year 2014. The goal is to issue a final rule by July 30, 2011. (more…)

PwC Study: More Than One-Third of Employees Chose Work-Life Balance as Prime Objective, Over Salary

May 24, 2010 | Comment (1)

Confirming results of an earlier study, a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that employee morale and loyalty are still quite vulnerable as companies with tight budgets continue to ask over-stretched workers to do more with less.

PwC conducted the survey in early 2010, and a total of 5,746 employees from 113 countries participated. The survey results –compiled in a report titled Managing Tomorrow’s People: Where will you be in 2020? –suggest that employees’ attitudes may be changing to reflect a growing concern for work-life balance and business ethics. For example, the data showed that: (more…)