The Coronavirus Is Infecting Global Supply Chains

The Coronavirus Is Infecting Global Supply Chains

As you read this post, the coronavirus will have upended more business activity than reported in this article.

British Airways, Air Canada, Apple, Starbucks, Ikea, and other international, corporate giants have already frozen some of their operations in China as the coronavirus claims more lives and increases business risk as well as uncertainty. The crisis highlights the role of China as an engine of global economic growth. Foreign companies’ investment concentration in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, challenges the notion of an easy pullout. In the same vein, the travel restrictions placed on Chinese citizens underscore Chinese tourists’ economic impact all over the world.


Video Spotlight: Business Impact of Coronavirus


This post is based on The New York Times article, Coronavirus Outbreak Tests World’s Dependence on China, by A. Stevenson, January 29, 2020, and the YouTube video, Coronavirus to Pose a Threat to Global Supply Chains: Economistby BNN Bloomberg, January 29, 2020. Image source: Mick Ryan/Cultura RF/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does halting manufacturing in China affect economic growth in the United States?

Guidance: US manufacturing firms with production facilities in China may have a lower output and therefore productivity. Furthermore, their sales Continue reading

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Considering the Coronavirus Impact on Apple’s Supply Chain

Considering the Coronavirus Impact on Apple’s Supply Chain

February 7, 2020

The deadly coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China in December of 2019 may negatively impact Apple’s business. China is Apple’s supplier as well as a strong retail market.

Apple has to prepare for disrupted operations in manufacturing, retail businesses and iCloud data centers as Chinese employees and consumers choose to stay away – or are required to – in order to avoid spreading the virus.

This is the first in a series of posts on OM in the News looking at how supply chains are affected by the coronavirus. 


Video Spotlight: How the coronavirus outbreak could affect the economy


This post is based on the IB Times article, Here’s How Coronavirus In China Could Impact Apple’s Business, by Julio Cachila, January 28, 2020, and the YouTube video, How the coronavirus outbreak could affect the economy by CNBC Television, January 22, 2020. Image source: lzf/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the challenges of managing global operations for Apple as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus in China?

Guidance: The challenges include labor unavailability, reduced sales, production halts, product shortages, and new product delays.

2. How does the coronavirus outbreak affect Apple’s supply chain?

Guidance Continue reading

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Keeping an Eye on Supply Chain Trends in 2020

Keeping an Eye on Supply Chain Trends in 2020

February 6, 2020

The growth of online shopping has exerted new pressures on supply chain managers.  The outlook in 2020 is the increased application of technology to achieve faster and smarter performance in the supply chain.  This must be accomplished without raising costs or reducing variety and, at the same time, address the growing pressure for greener methods.


Video Spotlight: The Future of Supply Chain


This post is based on the Supply Chain Brief article, Top Five Supply Chain Trends to Watch in 2020, by Joe Harris, January 7, 2020; the Fortune article and video, Delivery Is Getting More Complex, but Will Soon Be Faster and Cheaper, by Hamid Moghadam, September 1, 2017; and the YouTube video, The Future of Supply Chain, by KPMG US, August 22, 2019. Image source: Design Pics / Kelly Redinger.

Discussion Questions:

1. What role will technology play in the years ahead, in improving supply chain performance?

Guidance: Technology will play multiple roles, including automating warehouse functions, artificial intelligence for warehouse planning and design, developing pre-fill order solutions to accelerate delivery, and designing packaging for material reduction, reuse and/or recyclability.

2. What consumer expectations are driving these changes in supply chain Continue reading

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