February 2018 Archive

February 20, 2018
In Cutting Time to Market, Toy Companies Try On Fast-Fashion’s Approach (WSJ)

Toy companies are mimicking the moves of fast-fashion retailers as they scramble to produce toys and games tied to the swift rise and fall of trends driven by social media.

February 11, 2018
Rising Hummus Prices? Blame a Drought Half a World Away (NYT)

Insufficient rains in India have resulted in several years of poor harvests of chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus. The country, by far the world’s largest producer of chickpeas, mostly grows the legume for domestic consumption. But worse-than-expected harvests mean that it has had to buy more chickpeas from growers elsewhere, putting pressure on supplies worldwide and driving up prices. Those limited supplies of chickpeas have combined with rising demand for hummus in Britain to send prices higher. Average prices for the dish at supermarket are 12 percent higher than a year ago. That is significantly more than grocery price inflation of 3.6 percent, and overall inflation of 2.7 percent. It is the latest example of weather leading to poor harvests in one part of the world, and resulting in shortfalls and price rises at supermarkets far away.

February 6, 2018
Companies Everywhere Copied Japanese Manufacturing. Now the Model Is Cracking (WSJ)

Just-in-time may be losing just a bit of its luster. Recent scandals at a range of Japanese manufacturers and suppliers have left cracks in the country’s reputation for flawless manufacturing and efficiency, threatening to accelerate an erosion of Japan’s global market share for factory-made goods and undermining management principles that have guided businesses and supply chains world-wide.