Supply Chains in Advanced Markets Should Become More Agile, Says Atradius

Atradius, a consultancy specializing in trade credit insurance, surety and debt collections, maintains that the global economy has continued to gain momentum over the past months, with a 3.1% expansion projected for this year.

Higher inflation, falling unemployment, and strengthening Purchasing Manager Indices (PMIs) all suggest higher GDP growth in advanced markets.

Atradius analysts observe that the U.S. economy leads this trend while the recovery in the eurozone becomes increasingly entrenched. The outlook for emerging markets is also brighter, as Brazil and Russia are emerging from recession, and access to finance remains favorable. While the global economic outlook is more robust than in previous years, political uncertainty remains a downside risk to stability.

However, the main challenges to the global outlook – the threat of deflation, negative bond yields, austerity, and low commodity prices – are slowly phasing out.

Global trade is supporting this recovery. After a 1.3% expansion in 2016, trade growth (12-month rolling average, y-o-y) has picked up to 3.3% as of July 2017. The stronger-than-expected expansion is being driven by intra-regional trade flows in Asia and strong import demand from North America.

Despite political uncertainty, most high-frequency indicators point to sustained growth: the global composite PMI posted held steady at 54 in September, pointing to a solid and stable rate of expansion. This has motivated some dramatic upward revisions of trade growth forecasts in 2017. The WTO raised its 2017 forecast for merchandise trade growth to 3.6% from 2.4%.

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Could Your Supply Chain Be The Weakest Link In Risk Management?

Supply chains are a vital component of every organization’s global business operations and the backbone of today’s global economy. However, security chiefs everywhere are concerned about how open they are to an abundance of risk factors. A range of valuable and sensitive information is often shared with suppliers and, when that information is shared, direct control is lost. This leads to an increased risk of its confidentiality, integrity or availability being compromised.

Data Protection

Security is only as strong as its weakest link. Despite organizations’ best efforts to secure intellectual property and other sensitive information, limited progress has been made in effectively managing information risk in the supply chain. Too often data breaches trace back to compromised vendor credentials to access the retailer’s internal networks and supply chain. Mapping the flow of information and keeping an eye on key access points will unquestionably remain crucial to building a more resilient information.

Take a moment and think about this: Do you know if your suppliers are protecting your company’s sensitive data as diligently as you would protect it yourself? This is one obligation you can’t outsource because, in the end, it’s your liability. By looking at the structure of your supply chains, determining what information is shared and accessing the probability and impact of potential breaches, you can balance information risk management efforts across your enterprise.

Organizations need to think about the consequences of a supplier providing accidental, but harmful, access to their corporate data. Information shared in the supply chain can include intellectual property, customer-to-employee data, commercial plans or negotiations and logistics. Caution should not be confined to manufacturing or distribution partners. It should also embrace professional services suppliers, all of whom share access, often to your most valuable assets.

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Risk management in an evolving global supply chain

Risk management in an evolving global supply chain

The festive season has ended, and the retailers can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Their busiest time of the year means their operations have had to be resilient and robust. The supply chain is at the heart of this and it has been used to plan the Christmas period for months. But what lies at the success of this supply chain and what lessons can be learned?

Managing a supply chain in today’s global economy is fraught with difficulties. Supply chain managers have to maintain a balance of cost, agility, and sustainability, as well as manage the logistics and the manufacturing footprint. All these issues come with their own problems, but overall the trade-off is cost versus risk.

To strike a chord between cost and performance, supply chains have to be inventive. That means essentially going out into new markets, using new local suppliers, and accessing new customers. Invention comes at a cost, as these are new, unexplored areas of risk. So risk management is an important part of supply chain management in a global context.

As organisations strive for new opportunities for a more effective supply chain, so risks are more prominent. Who is that new local supplier? Can they be trusted with your product? The new country you’re now operating from – what are the geographical risks? The political risks? The legal risks?

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Balancing Financial Settlement and Inventory Levels Remain Key Concerns For Supply Chain Managers

Balancing Financial Settlement and Inventory Levels Remain Key Concerns For Supply Chain Managers

U.S. companies made only marginal improvements in their ability to collect from customers and pay suppliers in 2013, while showing no improvement in how well they managed inventory, according to the 16th annual working capital survey from REL a division of the Hackett Group, Inc.

“For inventory, the global marketplace has made issues like demand planning more important than ever before,” says Analisa DeHaro, Associate Principal for REL. “Companies need to factor in lead times that may not have been an issue when manufacturing was done closer to home. The best companies are becoming more savvy about this, and are more effectively balancing the various elements of inventory management.”

The amount tied up in excess working capital at nearly 1000 of the largest public companies in the U.S. is over a trillion dollars, according to the REL research.

The U.S. economy was slow but stable, with gross domestic product increasing by 3.2 percent in 2013. But at the same time, the REL research found that gross margins decreased by 0.3 percent, indicating that companies are spending more internally to generate revenue.

The researchers also found that companies are continuing to borrow, using low interest rates to improve their cash position, with cash on hand increasing by 12 percent, or $110 billion. At the same time, companies continued to ramp up capital expenditures, which have risen by 43 percent over the past three years.

The value of total net working capital rose by 3.2 percent in 2013, and days working capital improved by less than 1 percent. While days sales outstanding and days payable outstanding improved only slightly, days inventory on hand showed no change at all.

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