US Supply Chains More Vulnerable to Climate Risks

US Supply Chains More Vulnerable to Climate Risks

Lack of preparation currently leaves supply chains in Brazil, China, India and the US more vulnerable to climate risks than those in Europe and Japan, according to a report by CDP and Accenture.

Supply chain sustainability revealed: a country comparison also finds suppliers in China and India deliver the greatest financial return on investment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate the strongest appetite for collaboration across the value chain.

The research is based on data collected from 3,396 companies on behalf of 66 multinational purchasers that work with CDP to manage the environmental impacts of their supply chains. They account for $1.3 trillion in procurement spend, and include organizations such as Nissan and Unilever.

Analysis and scoring of suppliers’ climate change mitigation strategies, carbon emissions reporting, target setting, emission reduction initiatives, climate risk procedures, uptake of low-carbon energy, and water risk assessment efforts, as disclosed by suppliers to CDP, were used to create a sustainability risk/response matrix that shows how well prepared suppliers across 11 major economies are to mitigate and manage environmental risk in their supply chains.

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Elemica Discusses 10 Top Supply Chain “E Lessons Learned” in 2014

Elemica Discusses 10 Top Supply Chain “E Lessons Learned” in 2014

Elemica, the leading Supply Chain Operating Network provider for the process industries, discusses lessons learned in 2014 that will deliver value to a company’s supply chain, better positioning businesses to champion their marketplace in 2015. Companies that use these lessons learned to implement evolving practices and gather metrics across supply chain processes will capture new market opportunities and mitigate risk, significantly reduce operating costs, and improve their customer service capabilities.

“2014 was a year of economic growth for many industry sectors, yet there is still room for improvement, especially if a company is on a continuous improvement journey,” said Ed Rusch, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Elemica. “We’ve put together these ‘E Lessons Learned’ from real customer experiences, industry analyst expertise, and our own involvement with peers to help businesses grow and move forward in the New Year.”

  1. Ecosystem – Supply Chains are becoming more of an ecosystem rather than disparate parts, enabling accountability, visibility and agility.
  2. Experience – With customer requirements ever changing downstream, process manufacturers are deploying more sophisticated strategies to keep customer service levels high without resorting to piling on the cost in terms of buffering stock.
  3. Extend – Instead of focusing inward on the company itself, outside-in supply chains put the customer first.
  4. Expectation – Unmet expectations occur when companies attempt to force trading partners to collectively adopt a single standard. Integration across the varied, distributed, and complex needs of thousands of individual trading partners and their respective enterprises, without requiring any of them to change the way they do business, is a reality today.
  5. End-to-End – The process industries are moving away from a manufacturing focus to more of a supply chain view linking supply with demand.
  6. Exponential – The network effect builds when the capability to do more with more makes all the existing participants better off.
  7. Engage – Build better relationships with B2B Social.
  8. Ease – Business Networks enable companies to find common ground with their customers.
  9. Expose – Bring risk and variability to the forefront or expect surprises.
  10. Envision – Master Data Management (MDM) creates a single view of the business.

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THE CHRISTMAS SUPPLY CHAIN: MORE ‘HO HO HO’, LESS ‘OH NO NO’

THE CHRISTMAS SUPPLY CHAIN: MORE ‘HO HO HO’, LESS ‘OH NO NO’

In the United States the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. Originally it earned its name because of the disruption caused by the post holiday crowds. Lately, however, Black Friday earns its moniker because it’s the day when U.S. retailers supposedly hit profitability for the year. Falling as it does in late November it’s become the busiest shopping day in the American calendar.

Managing seasons and public holidays is a never-ending task for retailers. If there isn’t a public holiday then there will be a new season starting, or another one wrapping up with a sale.

Of all these special events, Christmas is undoubtedly the most important, and puts enormous pressure on supply chain managers to ensure products are available and that everything moves smoothly through the season. After all, it is the weeks just before Christmas that, in many retail sectors, determine a business’s financial health; John Lewis, for instance, reportedly generates 80% of its annual profits during Christmas period.

The challenges that retailers face during Christmas naturally vary according on the sector and from company to company. For many specialty retailers, having to cope with long lead times, Christmas challenges centre around estimating the season’s demand both well in advance and accurately; not an easy task. For grocers the problem is less about lead times and longterm forecasting but more the sheer volume of everything, which requires careful capacity planning and good execution. Lastly there are those retailers for whom Christmas is a nonevent – in fact, one that might even cause sales to drop as customers spend their pennies elsewhere.

Yet while plenty has been written about the Christmas retail season and pages are devoted to analysing Christmas successes and failures, there’s very little been published about the underlying supply chain challenges. So, to address this deficit, here is an overview of the Christmas-related hurdles that supply chains face, with some suggestions on how to tackle them.
Supply chain problems are generally most readily solved one at a time, by continuous improvement of the process, and not by trying to fix everything at once.

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Five New Supply Chain Risks and Regulations

Five New Supply Chain Risks and Regulations

Supply chain risk is a major issue, and new sources continue to pop up. Adverse weather, natural disasters and factory fires have historically grabbed the attention of CPOs, but there are other risks procurement leaders must be aware of that are just as hazardous. The world of procurement is constantly changing, and supply chain managers must be on top of their game. Here are 5 new threats that you might not be ready for:

1. Financial Fraud

Financial fraud can come in the form of collusion, poor monitoring of employee expenses, or misconduct from the vendor, including falsified labor and inflated bills. Did you know that less than one-third of executives are utilising data-analytics tools that can detect fraud or vendor waste?

2. Cybersecurity Threats

Many companies have lax procedures in protecting critical data, leaving businesses vulnerable to attacks that could harm customers, operational processes and brands. Even if you have security measures in place, the suppliers you work with may not.

3. Supply Chain Management Regulations

New rules and regulations continue to pop up in the supply chain, and companies need to be ready to disclose information about their sourcing and supply chain practices. For example, the Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act requires companies to file annual reports with the SEC, disclosing efforts to address specific human rights risks in the supply chain.

4. The Talent Gap

Baby boomers are retiring and there are few up and coming procurement gurus to take their place. CPOs are scrambling to find a solution to this problem, as the implications of this issue are likely to last for at least a decade.

5. Rising food costs

Droughts are worsening across the United States, increasing food prices and ultimately raising the cost structure for many firms. Overall food prices are expected to increase by 2.5-3.5 percent this year, with fruit up 3.5-4.5 percent and vegetables up 2-3 percent.

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The Higher Stocks Go, The More Important Risk Management Becomes

The Higher Stocks Go, The More Important Risk Management Becomes

Summary

  • With “new high” showing up in market reports on a frequent basis, it is prudent to nail down equity risk management plans.
  • Economic and central bank signals are quite a bit different in the United States and Europe, making seat of the pants allocation decisions more difficult.
  • Rising inflation in the United States could bring correction/bear market plans into play in the coming months.

Financial Markets Are Complex Organisms

Just as the human brain is an extremely complex organ, the financial markets have an almost infinite number of factors that ultimately determine the value of our investment portfolios. Therefore, it is unlikely that “figuring it out as we go along” will produce favorable investment outcomes. In the present day, there are numerous and somewhat conflicting signals. On the bullish end of the spectrum, growth in the United States appears to be picking up and the Fed has been extremely accommodative. However, the economic bears can point to low inflation in Europe (fear of deflation) and rising prices in the United States that may force the Fed’s hand.

Investors Need A Consistent Approach

While we are not brain surgeons, our guess is that surgery involves somewhat of a “flow chart” or “if, then” approach. For example, if bleeding needs to be contained, then there are specific steps to address the unfavorable situation. An investment risk management plan works in a similar manner by having specific and executable strategies that follow an “if the market does this, then we will do this” script. A recent bullish example surfaced on June 8 as observable evidence began to surface in equities favor. The evidence allowed for a prudent “bump up” to the growth side (SPY) of our portfolios.

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Leverage cloud financial intelligence systems with AWS

Leverage cloud financial intelligence systems with AWS

The use of cloud financial intelligence systems, typically from cloud financial management system providers, offers insights into cloud usage. Cloud financial management providers, such as Cloud Cruiser and others, can tell you how effective the cloud platforms are in delivery of services. This includes how each service tracks back to cloud resources that support the services, as well as who is consuming the services and by how much.

However, the true value of these systems is not the simple operational cost data that they are able to gather and report on — it’s the ability to leverage deeper analytics to determine usage patterns, and how those patterns will behave over time. This means you have the ability to better understand how your AWS instances (and other cloud services) were put to use in the past, and more importantly, how they will be leveraged in the future, including the ability to properly estimate cloud resource utilization in the context of complex and widely distributed architectures.

It’s all about the ability to make the most out of data from multiple components of the architecture, not just AWS. Most enterprises that deploy cloud-based systems do so using either public and private clouds within a multi-cloud architecture, which may also be mixed with traditional (or legacy) systems. This makes the financial tracking much more complex, but also much more valuable.

For example, a production management system may leverage core storage services from AWS, session management services from their OpenStack private cloud and core database services using a traditional Oracle database running in their data center. Thus, the cloud financial management system needs to gather information for many different system components, including the private and public clouds , as well as the local database. System owners can use this information to determine the amount of resources consumed, as well as patterns of consumption over time. They have a complete picture as to how a holistic system is functioning, including cloud and non-cloud components.

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The economics of adultery

The economics of adultery

The financial crisis of 2008 may have driven many people to betray their wedding vows, according to data from Ashley Madison, an unusual and apparently very popular dating Web site for those seeking extramarital relations.

Ashley Madison has expanded rapidly, but 2008 was a banner year for the company. According to the site, membership swelled 166 percent worldwide that year and 192 percent in the United States, compared with average yearly growth of 50 percent worldwide and 71 percent domestically since the site’s launch 12 years ago. Each month, around 130 million people around the world visit Ashley Madison.

Analysts at Ashley Madison found evidence of a relationship between the economy and infidelity when they examined user data in individual states. They compared the change in the number of employed people in each state with the growth in Ashley Madison’s membership there. The tentative conclusion: People who’ve lost their jobs might be more likely to cheat — or, at least, are more likely to sign up for an adultery dating site.

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A Harvest of Company Details, All in One Basket

A Harvest of Company Details, All in One Basket

Trolling government records for juicy details about companies and their executives can be a ponderous task. I often find myself querying the websites of multiple federal agencies, each using its own particular terminology and data forms, just for a glimpse of one company’s business.

But a few new services aim to reduce that friction not just for reporters, but also for investors and companies that might use the information in making business decisions. One site, rankandfiled.com, is designed to make company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission more intelligible. It also offers visitors an instant snapshot of industry relationships, in a multicolored “influence” graph that charts the various companies in which a business’s officers and directors own shares. According to the site, pooh-bahs at Google, for example, have held shares in Apple, Netflix, LinkedIn, Zynga, Cisco, Amazon and Pixar.

Another site, Enigma.io, has obtained, standardized and collated thousands of data sets — including information on companies’ lobbying activities and their contributions to state election campaigns — made public by federal and state agencies. Starting this weekend, the public will be able to use it, at no charge, to seek information about a single company across dozens of government sources at once.

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Why Google Flu is a failure: the hubris of big data

Why Google Flu is a failure: the hubris of big data

People with the flu (the influenza virus, that is) will probably go online to find out how to treat it, or to search for other information about the flu. So Google decided to track such behavior, hoping it might be able to predict flu outbreaks even faster than traditional health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Instead, as the authors of a new article in Science explain, we got “big data hubris.” David Lazer and colleagues explain that:
“Big data hubris” is the often implicit assumption that big data are a substitute for, rather than a supplement to, traditional data collection and analysis.

The problem is that most people don’t know what “the flu” is, and relying on Google searches by people who may be utterly ignorant about the flu does not produce useful information. Or to put it another way, a huge collection of misinformation cannot produce a small gem of true information. Like it or not, a big pile of dreck can only produce more dreck. GIGO, as they say.

Google’s scientist first announced Google Flu in a Nature article in 2009. With what now seems to be a textbook definition of hubris, they wrote:
“…we can accurately estimate the current level of weekly influenza activity in each region of the United States, with a reporting lag of about one day.”

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Aspiring for a start-up?

Aspiring for a start-up? Here are golden rules of money management

Here are some golden rules to manage your financials when you wish to begin with your own start-up:

  1. Pre- startup phase
  2. Startup phase
  3. Post funding/exit

Here are some tips and tricks to go forward with:

  1. Take insurance
  2. Renting is better
  3. Go debt-free
  4. Fix the loan

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