Join the Conversation

  • We’ve set up community blogs to stimulate conversation on a variety of global trade and logistics topics. We invite you to jump in and contribute to these on-going discussions.

    Here a list of the latest posts:
  • Help Your Suppliers, Help YourselfApril 22, 2014By Diane Palmquist

    Economic downturn, increased pressure to cut costs, and an incentive to “get creative” when it comes to optimizing the cash conversion cycle have created a culture where tight-fistedness is a virtue. Unfortunately, certain types of penny-pinching, though delivering short-term benefits, have dangerous consequences for the supply chain. By extending payment terms or perpetually making late payments, manufacturers risk putting their suppliers out of business. It’s shortsighted. And the root of the problem is that manufacturers…

  • Out of the Way, Henry Ford: Customization is King in Today’s Consumer Driven WorldApril 17, 2014By Bryan Nella

    Mass customization is defined in Wikipedia as the ability to produce goods and services to meet individual customers’ needs with near mass production efficiency. The value comes by company-customer interaction at the design and production stage to create custom products at the cost and quality of mass-produced goods.

    Picture Henry Ford’s assembly line humming along, but at the front of the line is a computer screen. A consumer selects a type of widget, style, size, color,…

  • The Fast Fashion RaceApril 15, 2014By Leela Rao

    Fast fashion has become one of the biggest buzz words to hit the retail industry. Fashion brands like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 have set the stage for this business model, where designs move quickly from the catwalk to the retailer, in an effort to constantly churn out the latest fashion trends. So why is fast fashion all the rage now?

    For one thing, the prospect of getting the latest trends so quickly was simply unavailable…

  • 5 Things to Know About the New Retail CFOApril 10, 2014By Leela Rao

    Corporations are becoming more complex. Growth is impacted by an ever-broadening scope of issues and constituents beyond customers, employees, and investors. Suppliers, regulations agencies, foreign governments, and even the local communities in which overseas factories are based are all involved in the success or failure of growth initiatives. It’s only natural for the roles of senior leadership to evolve within this rapidly shifting business landscape.

    Companies can no longer successfully operate in silos, and C-level executives…

  • We Need to Talk. The Top 10 Hot Supply Chain Topics of 2014April 8, 2014By Laura Dambrosio

    As we’re ramping up for our annual supply chain conference, there’s been a lot of discussion over the hottest topics in the industry this year. From building interactive track sessions and working with our customers to identify the trends they care about, we’ve come up with the following list of the most important areas of supply chain conversation today.

    Assurance of Supply – Why alignment with suppliers is needed across corporations to…

  • Traditional ERP vs. Cloud: When Does Each Make Sense?April 1, 2014By Laura Dambrosio

    Companies from all industries–manufacturing and retail–are looking to the supply chain to gain an edge on the competition. They’re doing things like expanding to new markets, moving to new sourcing locations, and building new supplier and partner relationships that will increase the efficiency of their supply chain operations.

    In the midst of all this, however, there are some tough choices to be made about technology investments. Supply chain execs want to deliver on the bottom line,…

  • Is Your Supply Chain Prepared for Another Strike?March 25, 2014By Greg Kefer

    In just a few months, shippers could be facing one of the greatest supply labor-related chain interruptions since the 2002 negotiations on the West Coast. With the ILWU west coast longshore contracts ending June 30, importers and exporters must plan for unpredictability and supply chain disruptions. Companies will have to prepare for work slowdowns, potential union strikes, and employer lockouts. Already the strike at Port Metro Vancouver has had an impact on inventory levels…

  • Why Retailers Come Undone When They Go GlobalMarch 18, 2014By Leela Rao

    For retailers, the question is no longer whether they should enter new markets, but how they can do it effectively. Global expansion heightens brand equity with consumers when a domestic label is seen on the streets of fashion hubs like Paris, Tokyo, New York, and London. The growing number of shoppers demanding sought-after foreign brands, coupled with greater disposable incomes in certain economies, a pressing need arises for retailers to grow globally. And for publicly…

  • ERP Is Not Enough: Why Supply Chains Need Newer TechnologyMarch 11, 2014By Diane Palmquist

    As you know, we’ve been monitoring the conversation about ERP’s place in the global company. The topic has heated up lately with a trio of Forbes articles by Lora Cecere on Supply Chain Insights. Cecere has also published an in-depth report on the topic called Supply Chain Visibility in Business NetworksThe report connects the dots between supply chain performance and IT strategy, saying “A key component on delivering on the agility promise for line-of-business leaders is…

  • Seen and Heard at Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)March 9, 2014By Leela Rao

    Speakers and spectators flock to RILA to hear about the pressing issues in the retail industry, and to find out whether any of their problems were tackled by competitors. Read on to find out which software solutions were used to combat challenges related to CRM and omnichannel, and who’s winning the war on private label and global expansion.

    Here’s a list of the key conversations we heard at RILA that made our ears perk up:

    Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali,…