vechainThere’s plenty of volitility in the standard international monetary market where exchange rates can vary based on any number of factors. And the recent enormous swings in the value of the most visible crypto currency, BitCoin, are enough to drive money managers running from the concept. But let’s not get confused between crypto currencies, blockchain, and speculation.

sustainability 0When we hear about ‘sustainability’ the idea immediately conjurs up images of green trees and recycled paper. And that’s pretty much been the focus of sustainability initiatives around the world for years. But recently the term has become much broader both in ways people think about sustainability and supply chain sustainability, software is helping address the issues.

qrcodeBar codes have been with us for a while now and their application makes tracking products and processing sales simple. For grocers it has meant the demise of the label gun and the need to update price stickers every time costs changed. But the traditional bar-type label has been supplanted by the higher density QR code that can store much more information in smaller spaces and now a new innovation lets suppliers put code directly on edible products.

Supply Chain TechnologyYour supply chain has changed over the last couple years. Chances are that you’ve made technology improvements on your end but even if you haven’t changed a thing, some segments of your chain have changed and while each tech improvement likely made a positive change for the company that implemented it, you may not be getting any of the benefits. Here are the technologies that are creeping into the supply chain and what you should look for so you might be able to leverage those improvements for your own benefit.

tax cuts and jobs actThe TCJA or Tax Cut Jobs Act of 2017 is in full swing as companies try to first understand its short term and long term implications on their operations and then apply the advantages to their businesses. The Institute for Supply Chain Management (ISCM) conducted a survey of manufacturing and non-manufacturing companies to assess how much executives understood about the TCJA and how they envision its affects on their companies.

Amazon Go TAThe first consumer available Amazon Go store opened and every grocery cashier is looking at their paycheck. Well that’s probably an overstatement and in fact Amazon has been testing its Go concept on its own employees since December of 2016 and in development and internal testing for about five years, so the concept is far from new. And while the general news is all about consumers being able to walk out the door without saying hi to a cashier the real story is all about inventory and supply.

amazon wristManaging orders in a fast moving environment can lead to some unusual (and sometimes strange) conditions. And when conditions are extremely time sensitive even the position of a worker’s hands can make the difference between delivering the order and missing. And that’s the issue Amazon seems to be tackling with its latest patent.

The relationship between supplier and customer is critical to both parties. But it most often falls on the customer to manage that relationship because while the supplier has plenty at stake, the customer has their own customers to consider. And if the product being delivered to the end customer falls short of expectation in any way, the customer will be the first to feel the impact. Supplier relationship management (SRM) is no longer just a ‘feel good’ part of the business. It’s critical and is being treated as such, and automated to a large extent. Having fast and accurate evaluation of supplier performance and acting in positive ways to either assure stability or taking quick action to avoid problems needs to be at the top of the list for companies that want to assure the best results for their own customers Here are four areas to pay attention to when managing the SRM.

technologiesTechnology can be a tremendous help in getting our products to market and there are plenty of technologies finding their way into both the supply chain and the products traveling along the paths to market. The initiatives and purposes these technologies address are all initially aimed at solving problems but like all well-intended technologies some are bound to be subverted and cause unintended consequences. Here are a few current technologies that should be watched with an eye toward caution.

reverse logistics minThe retail industry faces a growing challenge in managing the billions of products consumers return every year. These returns can result in both financial losses as well as potential negative environmental impact such as waste. With the increase in online shopping, return rates have increased exponentially. As painful as it is for retailers, returns have been absorbed as a cost of doing business and until recently, the environmental impacts have been ignored.