Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bringing Slavery in the Supply Chain to Light

hile human trafficking and slavery are criminal offenses, they still persist. In fact, our global economy tends to foster these crimes by keeping that labor component within the supply chain out of sight from the consumers of the final products. Now, lawmakers are betting that transparency, first on a state level, and, possibly, on a federal level, may help solve the problem.
On September 30, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Senate Bill 657, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (S.B. 657). It requires businesses that operate in California to disclose what efforts they take to purge their supply chains of human trafficking and slavery. For the electronics industry, with its deep roots in the Silicon Valley, this is significant news, and it may be the seed of a bigger change.

Read more in

Transparency Combats Human Trafficking & Slavery in the Supply Chain

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When efficiency, algorithms, and labor laws collide

Timeclock Wikipedia Commons
Flexibility is considered a virtue and an essential component an agile organization which can respond to changing needs in real-time. However, when that type of flexibility comes at the expense of employees, the company may not only be crossing the line of ethics but of law.

On April 10, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman directed his office to send a letter (posted by the Wall Street Journal) to 13 major retailers.  What Gap Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew Group Inc., L. Brands, Burlington Coat Factory, TJX Companies, Urban Outfitters, Target Corp., Sears Holding Corp., Williams Sonoma Inc., Crocs, Ann Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc were all asked were to account for questionable scheduling practices known as “on-call” shifts.


Read more in 

The Legal Limits for On-Call Shifts

Thursday, May 7, 2015

IoT to boost supply chain to the tune of $1.9 trillion

"We're all connected" served as the tagline for New York Telephone back in the last century.  That was way before people envision the level of connection made possible by the Internet of Things.  We've come a long way and will go much further, according to the forecast of a recent trend report from DHL and Cisco on the positive impact IoT will have for supply chains.
Read more in 

IoT to Deliver $1.9 Trillion Boost to Supply Chain

Big data alone is not enough for an agile enterprise

Ever get a promotional email or ad that has no relevance to you? We all have, and it’s usually due to the marketing algorithms used to analyze big data inputs responding incorrectly to the wrong signal. For example, eBay started applying algorithms to the tags used to track customers in 2007 to measure the relevance of search results on its site. After a couple of years of success, the results became less accurate and seemed more random and arbitrary. The algorithms no longer worked because one of the tags had shifted. Events like that one resulted in customers seeing search results or receiving marketing emails that made no sense to them.
“The algorithm is not a human brain and doesn’t realize that the parameters have changed when tags change,” Ratzesberger observed. If a change is made to a variable, everything “downstream” from that variable must change, too, or the complex results can backfire.

The solution to this entire problem of achieving agility at scale is the Sentient Enterprise, a concept that Ratzesberger developed with Dr. Mohan Sawhney, a professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 
Read more here