Border Politics Disrupt Mexico-U.S. Supply Chain Movements

Border Politics Disrupt Mexico-U.S. Supply Chain Movements

April 20, 2019

President Trump’s threat to close the Southern border has disrupted supply chains as delays are building for commercial vehicles crossing the border, especially northbound.

Delays of ten hours above normal are reported, and the threat of a total closure is accelerating efforts by shippers in Mexico to get goods loaded and moving.  This, in turn, accelerates the congestion at the border, made yet worse by the reassignment of 750 Customs and Border Protection Agents.

The threat of a border closure- despite assurances it is not imminent- is intended to pressure Mexico to do more to constrain the flow of refugees to the border.  At the same time, the re-negotiated NAFTA deal is pending a House vote, adding further to uncertainty.


Video Spotlight: Ripple effects of a potential Mexico border shutdown


This post is based on the Industry Week article, Mexico Border Wait Times Spike, by Michael Hirtzer and Thomas Black, April 8, 2019, and the YouTube video, Ripple effects of a potential Mexico border shutdown, by USA Today, April 3, 2019. Image source: Rouzes/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What uncertainties are shippers facing on cross border movements between the U.S. and Mexico?

Guidance: The Continue reading

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Strengthening the Supplier Relationship

Strengthening the Supplier Relationship

February 24, 2019

What are your thoughts on supply chain finance (SCF) programs? In these programs, companies extend access to low-cost capital to their suppliers.  The goal is stronger suppliers, with higher production volumes and better production capabilities. The end result is a stronger supplier relationship.

This post is based on the Supply Chain Brain article, Three Cost-Effective Reasons to Invest More in Your Suppliers, by Nathan Feather, February 11, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock / Ieva Geneviciene.

Discussion Questions:

1. Do a quick web search of a retailer such as Wayfair or IKEA. How would a supply chain finance program improve supplier relations?  Be specific in naming suppliers. (This activity may require a web search of several of the suppliers to the retailer firm chosen).

Guidance: Students choose a retailer and then research at least one supplier to the retailer.  Have students describe how a supply chain finance program would increase production and/or improve production capabilities for the supplier that would benefit the retailer.

2. Why would a supplier be hesitant to accept a supply chain finance program arrangement from a major retailer?

Guidance: Students should consider the risks of being so tightly aligned with any Continue reading

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New Player in Food Blockchain

New Player in Food Blockchain

January 27, 2019

The World Wildlife Fund-Australia has distributed a supply chain tool using blockchain that can help make tracking of food items transparent.  The tool uses QR codes that are distributed to client corporations to facilitate tracking.


Video Spotlight: Bait to Plate: Using Blockchain in the Tuna Industry


This post is based on the Coin Telegraph article, WWF Launches Blockchain Tool to Track Food Along Supply Chain, by William Suberg, January 17, 2019; and the YouTube video, Bait-to-Plate: Using Blockchain in the Tuna Industry, by WWF-Australia, July 31, 2018. Image source: Westend61/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does this supply chain tool for WWF-Australia promote social responsibility for corporations that choose to participate? How does this encourage non-participating firms to join the WWF-Australia supply chain tool?

Guidance: The first part of the question is to stimulate a review of the Triple Bottom Line.  The challenge will be focused on the second question posed.  Ask students to consider what pressures a non-participating firm may face in the long run, assuming the QR system becomes more commonly accepted by major food suppliers.  How else can non-participating firms be encouraged to participate in this system?  Are there Continue reading

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