Unilever Finds That Shrinking Its Footprint Is a Giant Task (NYT)
Unilever’s sustainable living plan pledges to cut the company’s environmental impact in half by 2020, it also vows to improve the health of one billion people and enhance livelihoods for millions, all while doubling its sales. None of this is easy to achieve. In broad terms, sustainability means meeting the needs of today while preserving resources for tomorrow. But selling more products means consuming more energy and more natural resources. However, Unilever’s factories are emitting 37 percent less emissions than in 2008, even while producing more goods. Waste going to landfills is down 85 percent. At the same time revenue is up 22 percent, though profits are up less.
The Shape of ‘Things’ to Come (Inbound Logistics)
As sensors, communications systems, and analytics solutions all become cheaper, faster, and more capable, many more things will start talking to one another via the Internet. Supply chain operations are already part of that exchange.
TPP intends to spark a boom in trade in services, but it will take time
TPP is about opening up trade for services industries so that one day they may be as efficient and as globally integrated as manufacturing is today. TPP is a step toward that ideal, but just one of many that are needed. This process was slow for manufacturing as many pieces had to fall in place. For most of industrial history, countries traded raw materials or finished goods, with the process of turning the one into the other located entirely within a single country, and often within a single factory. From the 1980s, however, a large and rapidly growing share of trade consisted of “intermediate goods”. Rather than produce a computer from scratch in one country, for example, a tech firm would source components from several different countries, bring them together in yet another country for assembly, and then ship the completed good to consumers around the world. The great supply-chain revolution was slow in coming, however. Tariff rates fell precipitously from the 1940s to the 1980s, by which time the duties imposed on most goods traded between rich economies had fallen to negligible levels. The shift to container shipping, which made transit by sea much faster and more reliable, was largely over by the early 1980s. From 1950 to 1985 the cost of a long-distance phone call dropped dramatically. Yet it was not until the 1990s that the supply-chain boom really got going, abetted in part by China’s economic opening.
ERP vs. Best-of-Breed is History
A business support platform is an integrated solution that supports end-to-end business functions such as supply chain management or retail operations. Like an ERP, it is a totally integrated solution operating off of a single data model and data management structure, but without the burden of all of those back office systems like accounting or general ledger. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, it is a very focused, in-depth solution for a particular area of the business. Like Best-of-Breed systems, a business support platform has deep fit-for-purpose functionality, but in an integrated platform rather than as standalone systems. Thus, a business support platform has the best of both options without their downsides.
The technology behind bitcoin could transform how the economy works (Economist)
The “blockchain” technology that underpins bitcoin carries a significance stretching far beyond cryptocurrency. The blockchain lets people who have no particular confidence in each other collaborate without having to go through a neutral central authority – it is a machine for creating trust. The technology has other related applications such as bank and property ledgers. But it can also be a solution for safely tracking the “internet of things” through distributed registers.
The Slower You Shop, the More You Spend (WSJ)
If you sit down in an Origins store, you’ll probably spend about 40% more than you would standing up. This type of insight, backed by data, is behind a change going on at retail. Stores are trying to slow down the shopping experience, a movement known as “slow shopping.” Adherents believe that browsing in a store should be a leisurely and enriching experience that’s not overtly focused on buying something. To entice shoppers to spend more time, boutiques and national chains are adding libraries, art installations, performance spaces and cozy lounges to encourage shoppers to hang around and enjoy themselves.
Whole Foods makes big bet on tech (Fortune)
Whole Foods is tackling the last frontier—merchandising and supply chain. Having a better handle on inventory management and sourcing means the company can feed that information back to shoppers. The system will have the potential to capture hundreds of attributes on every product—everything from a unit measure and weight to the metrics used in the company’s responsibly grown program, such as water usage. When it comes to traceability for consumers, the new platform could mean identifying something as specific as when your vegetables were harvested. Fpr suppliers, Whole Foods will also be able to send information on how products are selling and provide insight into trends.
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.