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Trends and Issues in Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is constantly evolving and there are always new trends and issues that are of interest. The articles and links here will help you to understand the latest trends and issues in supply chain management.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
The first use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) was documented in the 1940’s by the British Royal Air Force to identify aircraft in World War II and was part of the refinement of radar. During the 1960’s RFID was first considered as a tracking solution in the commercial world. This article looks at the benefits of RFID and its advantages over using barcodes.

Professional Supply Chain Certification
The Institute of Supply Management offers three certifications for supply chain professionals. the Certified in Supply Management (CSM), the Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). This article examines these certification programs.

Project Management Certification
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is an organization that is dedicated to the education of project managers so that they have the skills necessary to perform the tasks required of them. One way in which the PMI does that is to offer globally recognized credentials that certify project management expertise. This article looks at the certification offered by the PMI.

Supply Chain Management Certification
Supply chain management professionals are actively pursued by companies in the US and globally. In recent years companies looking to hire staff for supply chain positions are looking favorably at candidates with supply chain certification. This article examines some of the educational options that supply chain professionals can choose from.

Pick To Light Warehouse Systems
Companies that operate fast moving and complex warehouses are constantly looking at technology and processes that increase the efficiency of the warehouse. By implementing a "pick to light" system, accuracy and productivity can increase significantly. This article examines the basics of light-directed systems and the advantages they offer.

Pick To Voice Warehouse Systems
Companies that operate fast moving and complex warehouses are constantly looking at technology and processes that increase the efficiency of the warehouse. By implementing a "pick to voice" system, accuracy and productivity can increase significantly. This article examines the basics of voice directed systems and the advantages they offer.

Pallets
Pallets make the logistics world go round. The pallet is found in almost every warehouse and without it the transportation of goods would be significantly harder, and much more costly. The wooden pallet, now joined by the metal and plastic pallet, will hold the raw materials that are used in manufacturing, the finished goods sold to customers, and then start all over again. This article looks at the history of the humble pallet.

Metal Pallets
Pallets are used by companies all over the world to move materials from one location to another and to store material in warehouses. Traditionally these pallets have been made of wood, but more recently some companies are looking to pallets made of other material to overcome some shortcomings that traditional wood pallets have. This article examines the benefits of the metal pallet.

Nearshoring
The term nearshoring covers the situation where a company moves some or all of its operations from to a neighboring country from a nation located on another continent. Much of the current nearshoring publicity has been related to companies moving some of their manufacturing operations from China or India to countries closer to the US, such as Mexico.

Plastic Pallets
Every company that moves items such as raw material or finished goods uses a pallet and material handling equipment to move those items. Pallets are used in every nation and in every warehouse. The majority of those pallets are made from wood, but the plastic pallet is becoming more popular. This article looks at the advantages of using plastic pallets.

Industrial Robots
Manufacturing can be a very labor-intensive process. However, with advances in technology and especially in robotics, some manufacturing processes require less employees, are more efficient, and can operate twenty-four hours a day without breaks. Companies that can afford industrial robots see a dramatic rise in production, higher throughput, and increased profitability.

Counterfeit Products
The US government is very concerned about the influx of counterfeit items and the effects they have on the economy. The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that counterfeit items can cost the US economy some $200 billion and $250 billion per year. In terms of jobs, the Chamber of Commerce believes up to 750,000 jobs have been lost or at risk due to counterfeit items.

Standard for Wood Pallets
Wood pallets have traditionally been the way in which material is moved from vendor to customer and then onto the consumer. The wood pallet sits in warehouses and stores throughout the world. In the US there are millions of pallets in use every day and the vast majority is made from wood. For the manufacturer of the wood pallet there are voluntary guidelines and this article looks at these standards.

Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)
As most multinational corporations try to ensure that they are corporately responsible, they look to international organizations that are involved in improving the lives of workers across the world for guidance. One of those organizations is the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).

Euro Pallets
Pallets are everywhere. They are used in the supply chain to move raw materials and finished good, while billions of dollars of merchandise sits on pallets in tens of thousands of warehouses around the world. The pallet that most of us know is the traditional wooden pallet that is seen in warehouse stores such as Costco and Ikea. This article looks at the euro pallet and its use in Europe.

Higher Education In Supply Chain Management
With companies investing ever greater resources in their supply chain there is a distinct trend to have the best and brightest employees managing those supply chains. In the past companies have employed staff with various levels of education that covered a wide range of subjects. Higher education in supply chain management is becoming more important and this article looks at current trends.

Inventory Shrinkage
Inventory shrinkage is most often thought of as result of shoplifting, but that is not completely true. A large portion of inventory losses are due to theft by a company’s own employees, through either theft, embezzlement, collusion with vendors, administrative errors, or vandalism. This article looks at the reasons why inventory shrinkage occurs.

GS-1 Global Traceability Standard
The GS-1 standard is important in the food supply chain. Companies want to be able to track their products through the various stages of their supply chain and be able to trace the item no matter what company or location the item is located. This article describes the elements of the GS-1 traceability standard.

Radio Frequency Identification
Supply chain management is investing in RFID as it can give them advantages in visibility of their products through the supply chain. The benefits are seen as improving on other methods of visibility such as EDI, bar coding and Advance Ship Notifications (ASN).

Emerging Economies For 2011
There are a number of other economies that are currently emerging and depending on their attractiveness to foreign investment and manufacturing prowess; any of these could change the overall landscape of world economies. This article discusses the reasons why these countries are the top ten emerging economies for 2011.

Supplier Audits
The retail industry uses suppliers all over the world and in many countries workers experience difficult working conditions and often exploitation. Global retailers have adopted a code of conduct that suppliers must adhere to, but often the auditing process is flawed and suppliers can circumvent the process.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) covers a wide range of environment, health and safety management issues. A major concern is the protection of employee’s health in the workplace, and that is addressed with an increasing amount of federal and local legislation. Also, companies are becoming more concerned with the environment in their communities and where they do business.

Global Supply Chain Trends Survey
With responses from over 300 international supply chain organizations, the sixth annual global supply chain survey has highlighted the trends that will be seen in the coming years. The article reviews some of the highlights of the survey from growth of India and China, to the popularization of environmental sustainability.

Trends in Sales and Operations Planning
Sales and Operations Planning is an area where companies are sometimes using methodologies that were developed years ago or are on the cutting edge of new S&OP thinking. This article discusses the current S&OP trends being adopted by leading companies.

Greener Methods to Load Trucks
SC Johnson has adopted a number of best practices in their supply chain and one of them was a Truckload Utilization Project. This article examines the program and how in 12 months, the company eliminated 1,882 tons of greenhouse gases.

Supply Chain Predictions for 2008
This article reviews some of the predictions that AMR research have made for supply chain advancements in 2008.

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