Hauling New Treasure Along the Silk Road (NYT)

Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley electronics company, has pioneered the revival of a route famous in the West since the Roman Empire. For the last two years, the company has shipped laptops and accessories to stores in Europe with increasing frequency aboard express trains that cross Central Asia at a clip of 50 miles an hour.

Under Armour’s vision for future manufacturing: make local for local

Under Armour plans to start developing and perfecting technologies next year to enable a “local for local” model, building on systems it already uses to make its Speedform running shoes in a lingerie factory. Want to show that if they can make something as labor-intensive as a $25 T-shirt or a $100 pair of shoes in Baltimore, you can effectively make anything anywhere.

Home Depot Supply Chain Deals with Omni-Channel (SCDigest)

Home Depot Integrates Its Two Supply Chain Networks to Address Order On-Line, Pick Up In Store. Items are Shipped from Three Fulfillment Centers to Existing Cross Dock Networks, Merged with Regular Merchandise Headed to Stores

China’s Strategy in U.S. Car Market: Make Parts First (WSJ)

Chinese car companies do make and sell cars in markets such as Russia, Egypt, Ukraine and Thailand. But the Chinese government’s big thrust is to subsidize its auto industry’s move into parts. In its latest guidelines for China’s auto industry, in 2009, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic-planning agency, required the country’s auto-parts makers to go all out to enter the global purchase network.

Why Airbus Built a U.S. Factory (Bloomberg)

Airbus, which sells lots of planes to U.S. airlines, is opening its first plant in the country today. This is a big shift from a decade ago, when it seemed as if all supply chains were going to go through China. It may even help explain the manufacturing slowdown in China, MIT engineering professor and supply-chain expert David Simchi-Levi wrote in the Harvard Business Review earlier this month.

Companies Struggle to Comply With Rules on Conflict Minerals (NYT)

A complex provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law requires companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals “necessary to the functionality or production” of products they make or contract out for manufacturing. Conflict minerals are tantalum, tungsten, tin or gold mined from ore, and extracted in Congo or nine surrounding countries, including Angola, Rwanda and Sudan. Minerals from the countries, long mired in civil war, violence, acts of rape and the use of child soldiers, appear in a variety of products. Tantalum, for example, allows Apple’s iPhone to maintain an electrical charge. Tungsten permits the filaments in General Electric light bulbs to get hot enough to emit a bright light without melting, and tin gives party balloons their special sheen.

You Can’t Understand China’s Slowdown Without Understanding Supply Chains(HBR)

The last few weeks have brought news of turmoil in China, including currency devaluations, an economic slowdown, and a stock market plunge. Most economists, including those at the the IMF, think it is premature to talk about an economic crisis. While I agree, I nonetheless believe that the slowdown is due, in part, to an acceleration of “near-shoring,” the practice of producing closer to the customer.

The Experts’ Choice of the Top Online Logistics Resources

This blog is mentioned as one of the top blogs in Experts’ Choice: Logistics and Supply Chain Blogs

Behind Deadly Tianjin Blast, Shortcuts and Lax Rules(NYT)

The catastrophe in Tianjin at the Rui Hai warehouse has stunned a nation inured to living with one of the worst industrial safety records in the world. The company exploited weak governance in one of the party’s showcase economic districts and used political connections to shield its operations from scrutiny.

Wal-Mart pushing back inventory to Distribution Centers (WSJ)

The retailer is holding goods longer at distribution centers, increasing flexibility and trying to meet e-commerce competition and the changing consumer expectations.

The African Startup Using Phones to Spot Counterfeit Drugs

A Ghanaian entrepreneur thinks he has the answer to Africa’s fake medicine problem – MPedigree sells software that manufacturers use to label individual packs of medication with a random 12-digit code hidden under a scratch-off panel on the packaging. When a person buys medicine, she can text the code to MPedigree for free and get an instant reply telling her whether the product is authentic. Today, MPedigree says it has labels on more than 500 million drug packets. Clients include the drug companies AstraZeneca, Roche, and Sanofi.

Chinese Textile Mills Are Now Hiring in Places Where Cotton Was King

Textile production in China is becoming increasingly unprofitable after years of rising wages, higher energy bills and mounting logistical costs, as well as new government quotas on the import of cotton. At the same time, manufacturing costs in the United States are becoming more competitive.

The Evolution Toward Software-as-a-Self-Service

Software-as-a-Self-Service envisioned as the ability for a shipper to visit a website, enter their credit card information, go through a setup wizard, and within an hour or two be up and running with a TMS. If done right, this self-service approach would enable solution providers to reach, in a more scalable and cost-effective manner, all of those SMB companies currently using spreadsheets and fax machines to manage their transportation operations.

Why Sustainability Meant Opportunity to Innovate for Nike

Nike identified water inadequacy and resource cost volatility among the risks, opportunities and challenges surrounding its business. This became the driving force behind the forging of the relationship between Nike and Dutch award-winning startup DyeCoo, a Dutch company that launched the world’s first ever industrial dyeing machine that uses high pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) as a replacement for water to dye polyester. The CO2 used in the process originates from other industrial sources and is 95 percent recyclable. On top of that, the technology uses less chemicals and about half the energy of conventional dyeing techniques.

Inventory Management in the Age of Big Data (HBR)

We are on the verge of a major upheaval in the way inventory is managed. This revolution is a result of the availability of the huge amounts of real-time data that are now routinely generated on the internet and through the interconnected world of enterprise software systems and smart products. In order to make effective use of this new data and to stay competitive, managers will need to redesign their supply-chain processes.

SanDisk’s Journey to Supply Chain Excellence (Forbes)

Sandisk improved its supply chain through deployment of vertically integrated sourcing, reduction in variability, manufacturing flexibility analysis, postponement, customer segmentation and other modern supply chain concepts.

Camper successfully applies Operations Rules concepts

Camper’s journey to supply chain success was achieved by implementing the manufacturing 2-flexibility and push-pull concepts developed by David Simchi-Levi.