The American Logistics Aid Network is responding to areas threatened by fire in California. The nonprofit organization works to coordinate relief needs through supply chain professionals including for storage, equipment and logistics.
After acquiring HiTouch Business Services in June and Essendant in September, Staples will continue to seek dealer partnerships that allow the company to offer improved services and more value for customers, says chief executive Sandy Douglas. "We believe that the capabilities we are building at Staples -- good procurement, low costs, great products, technology and services -- can be used to significantly empower dealers towards a more innovative business model," he adds.
An economic recession is inevitable, and distributors can be preparing now by reviewing employee performance, implementing strong budget controls and being honest about their finances, Frank Hurtte writes. It's also time, he writes, to take stock of inventory, adjust pricing and invest in worthwhile technologies.
Streamlined tracking, fast asset transfers and a high degree of internet of things connectivity are just a few of the functions blockchain can bring to supply chain operations, writes Evident Proof founder Adrian Clarke. Clarke suggests using cryptocurrencies and smart contracts to demonstrate the technology's financial benefits.
Manufacturers can bolster revenue, build brand loyalty and gain greater control of their margins by selling to customers directly via e-commerce, writes Brightpearl CEO Derek O'Carroll. To do this, automate the fulfillment process, view retailers as partners instead of competitors and use data to understand customers.
Environmental assessment plays a key role on the manufacturing floor, where a whole-picture understanding can make or break a project, Darryl Seland writes. Seland gives an example from the US-Soviet Union space race, where the US invested time and energy in a gravity-defying pen, when a pencil would have sufficed.
Security tools with artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities can't build a resilient network on their own, but they are increasingly useful for threat detection and response, says John Tolbert, a lead analyst at KuppingerCole. ML tools, he says, are great for anti-malware applications, threat hunting and firewalls.
Time-to-recovery, time-to-survive and other new key performance indicators are strengthening supply chain resiliency in a time of high disruption. PwC principal Brian Dunch says the first step is to implement broad performance-based KPIs and recommends using the Supply Chain Operations Reference model as a starting point.
The industrial internet of things would greatly benefit from advances in wireless-connectivity technologies, yet investment and research in the area is severely lacking, according to ABI Research. "Wired technologies are simply not adequate to address all the multifaceted needs of the varied devices that will make up the IIoT," ABI Senior Analyst Andrew Zignani says.
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