Product counterfeiting and piracy are pervasive across almost all countries and industries. In total, this black market is expected to represent $991 billion of the global economy by 2022.
Since the 1990’s, when little-known clothing retailer Zara announced it could take a garment from concept to rack in just 15 days, “fast fashion” has captured the minds of consumers. Brands like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 peddle cheap clothing—and they win huge market shares by getting it to market in time for buyers to keep up with volatile trends. However, this dynamic industry is now facing the same challenges as some traditional retailers—unsold inventory and profit losses. How can fast fashion take its supply chain into the future to stay in business?
While traditional retail isn’t dead, e-commerce sales are here to stay. Last mile service use has increased 50% since 2016, and even established brick-and-mortar chains are adopting their own immediate fulfillment services to have more control over delivery. Businesses are recognizing that being able to get their products to doorsteps at the customer’s convenience is what will make or break them.
US manufacturing activity dropped slightly in March. According to a report by the Institute for Supply Management, factory owners are increasingly concerned about how new trade restrictions levied by the Trump Administration will affect them. Specifically, these new set of tariffs could mean raised operating costs, as well as retaliatory measures from other countries, which could shrink the markets for many goods. We’re taking a look at what the new tariffs mean for supply chain, and how businesses can protect their interests.
How the groundwork was laid for heightened trade tensions
Transportation companies, e-commerce goliaths, and tech startups worldwide are testing drone and droid deliveries with an array of products, from fast-food orders to consumer goods. How will these emergent technologies affect supply chains?
In 2006, lithium-ion batteries consumed only 20% of the global cobalt supply. Ten years later, that number has more than doubled. It’s expected that market demand for the metal will increase to more than 120,000 tonnes per year by 2020 — 60% of which will account for battery production alone. As a finite but clearly valuable resource locked mostly in countries with difficult-to-track labor standards, cobalt’s supply chain has fallen under intense scrutiny in recent months, and companies are rushing to get their share.
Digital transformation involves the strategic overhaul of business activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage the opportunities made available by new technologies. Two cutting-edge technologies being implemented today are the Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing. Now beyond the point of being mere buzzwords, these technologies are actively transforming the landscape of logistics and manufacturing networks across the globe.
They don’t seem too similar, but data centers could benefit from supply chain management.
Last week Facebook revealed that it will be building a new data center — its ninth in the US — in Atlanta, Georgia. The $750 million investment will run completely on renewable energy (most likely solar). It’s not hard to imagine how much power the information of 2.2 billion users might require, and renewable options cut costs in the long-term.