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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Party Continues for Fiesta China

Party Continues for Fiesta China

November 9, 2019

The Homer Laughlin China Company (HLC) of Newell, West Virginia, navigates a tough business environment to maintain its iconic Fiesta brand as the last large commercial pottery maker in the U.S..

Despite strong competition from China, Mexico, and India, affordable pricing, and a heavily manual manufacturing process, HLC has diversified its business into 60% consumer market and 40% food service industry.

The company also started its own online sales 10 years ago.

As a result, HLC is able to remain competitive with its top quality Fiesta China carrying the made-in-America credentials since 1871.


Video Spotlight: How Fiesta Dinnerware Is Made


This post is based on the Forbes article, The Family-Owned Company That Makes FiestaWare Counts On Diversification And Online Sales For Growth, by Jim Vinoski, October 24, 2019, and the YouTube video, How Fiesta Dinnerware Is Made, by Insider, September 9, 2018. Image source: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the challenges of the commercial pottery industry in the U.S.?

Guidance: The challenges include strong foreign competitors from China, Mexico, and India on labor costs, strong local competitions with 30+ pottery makers, price competition, and a heavily manual manufacturing process.

2. How did Homer Laughlin Continue reading

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E-Commerce Laws in India Limit E-tailers Like Amazon

E-Commerce Laws in India Limit E-tailers Like Amazon

February 9, 2019

Two American companies will be affected adversely by India’s e-commerce investment rule, effective February 1st, 2019.

  • Walmart cannot sell products via Flipkart in which it has 77% equity interest.
  • Amazon cannot make deals with sellers to sell exclusively on their platform.

The rule protects India’s small retailers and traders at the expense of large online retailers’ operations in India.


Video Spotlight: Here’s why India is a huge threat for Amazon and Walmart


This post is based on the Reuters article, U.S. voices concern as India’s e-commerce restrictions hit Amazon, Walmart – sources, by Aftab Ahmed, Aditya Kalra, and Nandita Bose, January 24, 2019; and the YouTube video, Here’s why India is a huge threat for Amazon and Walmart, by CNBC Television, February 1, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock/xtock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why did Walmart and Amazon decide to operate as online retailers in India?

Guidance: They wanted to tap into India’s booming e-commerce market and attract India’s growing population of tech-savvy shoppers with low-cost strategies.

2. What are the global operational risks for Walmart and Amazon?

Guidance: The global operational risks include tougher scrutiny of foreign business players, trade/investment policy that adversely affects foreign business Continue reading

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