Thursday, January 9, 2014

Update for week ending January 10, 2014

Remind me again when the first day of Spring is? March 20th? It cannot come soon enough. Having grown up and lived my entire life here in the US South, I am not use to temperatures hovering just above 0 degrees as highs for the day. Neither it seems my cat, Major Tom, who now spends his time on the bed with the electric blanket on.

Honestly, anything below 70 degrees fahrenheit is just plain cold!! Sure enough though when July comes and the 100+ degree temperatures set in I'll probably complain about that.

So, how is everyone? Me? not surprising, it's been busy, here. I'm devoted 100% to a consulting project at the moment. Yes, the Express report is delayed again because of that. Sorry, but it just means when we do publish it, it will be that much better.

I finished up on the GLM lite earlier this week and that's been delivered to subscribers. Our graphics expert reformatted the presentation and it looks much nicer now. This weekend I'll work on the North America version.

As for briefs, I did 3 - one on issues with the Panama Canal, 2014 Supply Chain Outlook and one on the Cambodia garment workers' strike. Writing on what 2014 may bring to supply chain was kind of tough, to be honest with you. Economically, I don't expect much change from 2013. I do think e-commerce will be a big factor but not just B2C. I think as economies improve, focus on B2B activity will increase. Technology will play a major role in all of this. Speaking of technology, mobile devices are transforming everything - not only in B2C but also B2B - inventory management, route management, track and trace etc. Expect this to grow. Because of this, improving visibility will be a focus for many companies.

I posted the Cambodia brief on the blog because I find it very interesting how the retail supply chain is so dependent on low labor costs. I think these companies need to rethink their supply chain. Is it really worth moving production to such countries as Cambodia and Bangladesh knowing that workers are paid little or are working under deplorable standards? Surely other components of the supply chain can make up for this? Maybe there is something after all to all of this "onshoring", that is bringing manufacturing closer to the customer. I believe a more responsible supply chain is needed in not only retail manufacturing but all types of manufacturing.

Off my soap box now. I do have a confession to make, this week I learned a valuable lesson in working with my team. Many of you know I live in the US but the rest of the team is in the UK. Perhaps a good way to describe what is going on is a quote from Oscar Wilde, "Two nations divided by a common language".  So, something I will be working on - fixing that divide.

With that, I wish you a wonderful weekend. Rain is coming for Saturday but it looks like I may be able to go walk around or up Stone Mountain on Sunday.

Thank you for reading the blog.

Take care,