Chocolate Companies Lack Traceability on Child Labor

Chocolate Companies Lack Traceability on Child Labor

July 2, 2019

Nearly 20 years have passed since the world’s largest chocolate companies, including Mars, Hershey, and Nestle, promised to reduce or eliminate child labor from their cocoa supply chains.

However, today, there are over two million children working in the cocoa industry in West Africa, where about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown.  Chocolate companies still struggle to trace their supply chains back to the individual farms where cocoa comes from, despite spending large amounts of money to try to improve living conditions, access to education, and farming techniques in the area.

That lack of visibility is what makes it difficult for them to verify that the cocoa they purchase has not been grown or harvested with child labor.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Washington Post article, Cocoa’s child laborers, by Peter Whoriskey and Rachel Siegel, June 5, 2019; and the YouTube videos, The Harsh Realities of Child Laborers in the Cocoa Industry, by Annenberg Media, November 4, 2016, and Tackling child labour on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast, by SABC Digital News, Continue reading

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iPhone Production Doesn’t Have To Stay In China

iPhone Production Doesn’t Have To Stay In China

June 30, 2019

The China-U.S. trade war has disrupted traditional supply chains with threatened (and partially implemented) tariffs on hundreds of Chinese exports.  The 25% tariff would impose a severe tax on Apple’s iPhone, its “most profitable product”.

Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as the Taiwan contract manufacturer Foxconn, is the primary partner for Apple products.  According to their semiconductor division chief Young Liu, Hon Hai has sufficient production capacity outside China (estimated at 25%) if Apple asks its partner to relocate production outside of China.

Such a relocation for final assembly is described as “easy”, but not so the full production of components that go into the final product.  It would likely mean moving other assembly from non-U.S. companies back into China.  Currently, Foxconn is testing quality for mass production of the iPhone XR near Chennai.  Further, there is the future prospect of the Wisconsin plant to further diversify some aspects of the iPhone production.

To date, Apple has not announced any plans for such a change in its production strategy, but further uncertainty regarding the tariffs could change that.


Video Spotlight: Apple Doesn’t Need to Make All iPhones for U.S. in China


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Demand for BK’s Impossible Whopper Strains Supply

Demand for BK’s Impossible Whopper Strains Supply

Burger King’s pilot of the Impossible Whopper spread rapidly from St. Louis to three more cities.

This plant-based patty from Impossible Foods has the consistency and flavor of a traditional hamburger.  Burger King has already experienced product shortages in its test markets.

Increasing demand for its plant-based burgers has already led Impossible Foods to add a third shift and build a second production line.


Video Spotlight: Trying Burger King’s Impossible Whopper


This post is based on the CNN article, Burger King is bringing the Impossible Whopper to three new cities, by Danielle Wiener-Bronner, May 14, 2019; and the YouTube video, Trying Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, by CNET, April 1, 2019. Image source: Foodcollection

Discussion Questions:

1. Which inventory management system would be helpful at Burger King to better manage the Impossible Burger product?

Guidance: Students will likely choose the fixed-order quantity system with safety stock.  However, this is a chance to discuss whether this new product is a fad.  Should inventory be managed differently or not?

2. How can Burger King create a competitive advantage with the Impossible Whopper, given that other fast food chains are already sourcing from Impossible Continue reading

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