Commentary: Managing risk in the global supply chain

The World Economic Forum defines global risk as an uncertain event that, if it occurs, can cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries within the next 10 years.
Global supply chains create both opportunity and risk. Some of the macro issues we face both in day-to-day operations and future planning include cybersecurity, terrorism, climate change, economic instability, and political discord.
More specific to executives who manage global supply chains, risk is more apparent, and on a micro-basis potentially more consequential in the short term, in areas such as but not limited to reducing spend, leveraging sourcing options, creating sustainability, political and currency instability, government regulations in the U.S. and abroad, trade compliance management, free trade agreements, energy costs, and what the incoming Trump administration will mean for global trade.
Since the recession in 2008-2009, we have witnessed a serious uptick in companies worldwide reviewing their operational exposure and then creating risk strategies in managing these vulnerabilities. Risk exposure can negatively impact margin, profits, growth strategies, operational stability and personnel maintenance.
For companies operating in global supply chains the risks are vast, convoluted and often unanticipated. As a result, we tend to be unprepared for the impacts.

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How Does Big Data Analytics Help in Decision Making

Staying ahead in the game is paramount for any business organization to survive in this competitive world. The future poses challenges that need tackling in the present. Every decision made today has a significant impact on the future of that organization. The rate at which a company responds to challenges in the present and the future is what determines their rate of success. Data Science and Big Data analytics can help organizations in decision making and drive the company to a realistic future.

The Deciding Factor

It is paramount for businesses to understand the big data concept and how it impacts the organization activities. Discussed below are ways in which Big Data facilitates faster and better decision making;

Accelerating Time-to-Answer

The time cycle for decision making is decreasing rapidly. Companies have to make decisions more quickly in this period than in the past. Accelerating decision-making time is crucial for the success of any organization. The use of Big Data doesn’t change the urgency of decision making. Big Data analytics mitigates.

Customer reaction to a product is an important factor to consider when making a decision. Using data resources to understand the preferences of customers is one way of pointing out gaps existing in the market. However, the problem is how do you integrate and act in real time? The key is to know how to combine Big Data with your traditional Business Intelligence to create a more convenient data ecosystem that allows for the generation of new insights while executing your present plans.

Accelerating your time-to-answer is crucial for customer satisfaction. For example, if your answer time is usually in minutes, Big Data can reduce it to seconds. If it takes weeks for a client to have their problem tackled, then reducing it to days is more convenient for your customers. Customer retention is critical to the success of your organization.

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To Woo Apple, Foxconn Bets $3.5 Billion on Sharp

The Apple iPhone transformed the technology industry by popularizing the smartphone and blazing a path to a mobile future. But to do it, the company needed an important ally: a penny-pinching Taiwan-based factory operator named Foxconn.

Employing hundreds of thousands of workers at vast facilities in mainland China, Foxconn figured out a way to assemble the iPhone at a cost low enough that middle-class Americans could afford it. The business offered low profit margins, but the work buffed Foxconn’s financial results and cemented its status as the world’s largest maker of hardware for companies like Apple and Sony.

Those relationships are now shifting — and Foxconn is betting heavily to keep up.

On Wednesday, Foxconn said it had struck a deal to acquire control of the Japanese screen maker Sharp for $3.5 billion, after weeks of negotiations and high-profile setbacks.

The deal, for a 66 percent stake in Sharp, is intended to make Foxconn a more attractive partner for Apple. The American technology company uses Sharp screens, which could give Foxconn added leverage in dealings between the two.

The screen is an especially lucrative piece of the smartphone, costing as much as $54 each, according to estimates by the research firm IHS. Sharp provides roughly 25 percent of the iPhone displays, IHS said.

Still, the Sharp purchase will saddle Foxconn with an ailing business that will take considerable money and effort to turn around, some analysts say. Reflecting those problems, the purchase price is $2 billion lower than a deal the two sides struck just last month, after Sharp disclosed the potential for costly problems — nearly $3 billion in potential liabilities — down the road.

But Apple has been diversifying its supply chain, giving some production contracts to other assemblers and component makers. And Foxconn is grappling with China’s rising labor costs and a slowdown in the global smartphone market.

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