Will Roadie provide an alternative cost effective delivery model ?

An article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Technology Bubble? Ask Waffle House” (February 24, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/technology-bubble-ask-waffle-house-1424754062?cb=logged0.0031108735129237175) describes an alliance between Roadie (a technology startup) and Waffle House (a 24 hour restaurant). Under the agreement, Waffle House’s 1750 stores will serve as pickup and drop off points for college students who will use the Roadie app to accept and complete deliveries along routes they are already driving. The delivery person gets 80% of the fee, with insurance and photographic evidence of delivery included. Will such use of third party spare delivery capacity provide a cost effective delivery alternative to UPS, FedEx and USPS ? How will dealing with security concerns, timeliness of delivery, tracing impact the costs for Roadie ? Will drivers be able to earn a sustainable income stream to incent them to be available when required ?

Posted in Capacity, Collaboration, Cost, delivery, Ecommerce, Operations Management, retailers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding USAID’s supply chain based on available data

A paper to be presented by A Iyer and G Berenguer uses the dataset provided in section j9 in this site The data provides delivery costs and flow paths from suppliers to country locations by product, by path (direct from supplier or through warehouses in Singapore and Netherlands) and by delivery mode.  It provides information regarding product consumption, ordering and delivery lead times.  An important question analyzed is alternate ways to operate the supply chain and associated managerial changes to implement these alternatives.  Which of the issues i.e., forecasting, budget availability, lead times and customs clearance times based on mode, worries about shrinkage of inventory would you except to be the dominant issue to manage in the USAID supply chain ? How can one use observed performance by country to generate ideas for improvement across countries ?

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Will coordination between e-commerce retailers and carriers ensure on-time deliveries this Holiday season?

An article in the Wall Street Journal (October 1, 2014) titled “UPS, FedEx Want Retailers to Get Real on Holiday Shipping” describes pleas by the carriers FedEx and UPS to ecommerce retailers to stagger their promotions, avoid promising free overnight shipping, move sales to earlier in December and provide volume projections.  This is is response to the close to 2 million packages that did not arrive on time last year. But competition among retailers is bound to push deals until the very last minute on December 23, with volumes forecasted to increase by 14% this year.  Will threats to stop pickups once capacity limits are reached by carriers be sufficient to manage this year’s package volume surge ? Can customers be enticed to order early with appropriately chosen discounts rather than wait until the end ? Can “marketing and logistics be expected to work closely” this Christmas to enable it be a profitable holiday in addition to be a high package volume event ?

Posted in Capacity, Collaboration, competitiveness, consumer, Cost, delivery, Ecommerce, retailers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The impact of California’s rules for a “Made in USA” label

An article in the Wall Street Journal (October 1, 2014) titled “‘Made in USA” Spurs Lawsuits” describes the California Law that even one rivet in a product with such a label that is not made in the USA constitutes false advertising.  Basketball hoops with just a few bolts and net imported, USA made helium tanks shipped with imported balloons, rubber rings and light bulbs in Maglite flashlights – are all termed a violation in California even when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) permits the label on all products that are “virtually all” made in the USA.  Is California’s 100% requirement a reasonable requirement to ensure that the intent of the label is satisfied and the benefits accrued only to manufacturers who comply? Will the impact of California’s stringent requirement be a decrease in the number of US manufacturers if they cannot get the market benefit of such labels ? Should states be required to generate consistent requirements for labeling so as to eliminate the ambiguity in Federal labeling laws ?

Posted in California, Capacity, consumer, Cost, Global Contexts, labeling, Liability, Made in USA, product, Supply Chain Issues | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Auto Demand and supply mismatch worries impact platinum prices

An article in the Wall Street Journal (September 29, 2014) titled “Platinum Skids on Car-Demand Worries” describes the recent price drop for platinum and traces the volatility of prices of the metal recently.  A strike in a South African mine created supply worries and drove up prices. But the flat to declining demand for autos in Europe and Japan, a sector that accounts for 38% of world demand for platinum, along with steady exports from Russia have created worries of oversupply, thus driving prices down. Will the low prices for platinum create a demand for the metal as investors switch from gold to platinum ? Will its use in the auto industry increase from countries like China ? Or will mines decrease their output to get the system back in sync ?

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Conscious Supply Chain Management at H&M

A report in Sustainable Brands (http://tinyurl.com/qg5gtn7) titled “H&M Unveils Conscious Denim, Signs Agreement for More Conscious Supply Chain Management” describes initiatives with the International Labor Organization (ILO), Solidaridad and Jeanologia to audit its water use, energy consumption, working conditions, fair wages, “capacity development for social organizations and skill development across the supply chain”. Garments produced will also have a Clevercare label to urge consumers to save water and energy during use. Is H&M’s focus on the entire supply chain, from production to use, a harbinger of the future for apparel supply chains ? Will the company be able to get its customers to pay a premium to cover the costs for these initiatives ? How might H&M be able to maintain a competitive advantage for its garments developed with a conscious supply chain given that the capability is obtained by working with known nonprofit entities whose services are available to all ?

Posted in Collaboration, competitiveness, consumer, Cost, Supply Chain Issues, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Adjusting distribution centers for omnichannel success at the retailer John Lewis

An article in CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly (Quarter 2, 2014) titled “A Supply Chain Redesign for Omnichannel success” describes changes to the distribution center at the retailer John Lewis to ensure omnichannel success – a 7.2% sales increase in the 2013 season over the 2012 season with a 22.6% increase in online sales. The changes include reducing the number of distribution centers, coordinating the click and collect (at the store) with store shipments to ensure a smooth flow, and merging all items in an order to ensure the customer gets to pick up the entire order in the 41 retail locations. Given that the flows to the store are batched boxes or pallet loads while customer orders are for eaches, will the merging of these flows generate efficiency ? Should customers be encouraged get deliveries directly in their homes instead of store pickup to increase system efficiency ? Or will store sales increase as customers stop by to shop in the store when they come to pick up online orders ?

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