Alibaba is striving to increase gross merchandise volume by 40% next fiscal year to $1.4 trillion and have over 1 billion annual active customers in China by 2024, with a global customer goal of 2 billion by 2036, according to the company's annual report. Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang wrote that he expects to achieve these goals by investing in digital logistics and e-commerce, as well as cloud computing.
MSC Industrial Supply will continue expanding its reliance on e-commerce despite a year-over-year decline in online sales during the most recent quarter, President and CEO Erik Gershwind says. An increase in offline janitorial and safety sales contributed to that decline, the company says.
Distributors can increase profits by making small price increases, centralizing purchasing and standardizing prices so that contracts and websites align, write Jonathan Bein and Ian Heller of Distribution Strategy Group. "You can't eliminate channel conflict, but you can minimize situations where your web pricing is better than your contract pricing," they write.
Manufacturers of liquid soaps and hand sanitizers are turning to new packaging strategies and urging consumers to reuse hand pumps. The problem is a shortage of the pumps to meet demand that's surging due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Manufacturers should be using product information management systems for better results with B2B e-commerce, says Karie Daudt of Perficient Digital. In an interview, Daudt also explores what manufacturers are doing to deal with the pandemic, including upgrading their order management systems for a fuller view of supply chains.
Manufacturers can help relieve stress on their suppliers during the pandemic by opening lines of communication to keep them apprised of invoice status, writes Tradeshift executive Tony Alvarez. "If they understand what's happening with their invoices and exactly when they'll get paid, they can plan their own cash flow with more confidence," he writes.
Implementing a Lean 6S system can greatly improve productivity by bringing order to tools, parts and consumables. Jim Laprade, general manager for Applied Maintenance Supplies & Solutions, examines the six elements of 6S: "safety, sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain."
Management at the highest levels must fully commit to achieve an effective automation safety strategy that spreads across the entire organization, advise experts Doug Fagaly and Lee Schulte. They review other necessary elements and how to implement a comprehensive plan beginning with an assessment of risks and how each should be handled.
Companies such as Schneider Electric, PepsiCo and L'Oreal are using close connections with suppliers to continue to advance sustainability objectives during the pandemic. One goal is to ensure that suppliers survive the strains of unusual events, providing lessons in resiliency that can also be applied to climate change disruptions.
Company officials must think about cybersecurity as a supply chain issue as employees operate out of home offices with unsecured technologies and cybercriminals launch attacks on supply chain partners, write university professors Daniel Pellathy and Ted Stank. They urge executives to mitigate these vulnerabilities by working together with crucial suppliers to evaluate risks and set up protection.
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