Apple Lines Up New Supply Chain Partners for iPhone, iPad

Now that the iPhone 4 has landed on the Verizon network, demand for the popular smartphone is sure to increase. With Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market, as well as its leadership in tablet computers, the company is focused on refreshing its products in order to maintain its strong market positioning.

As a result, supply chain sources indicate that Apple has already lined up four new component suppliers for the iPhone 5, the latest in the line of iPhones scheduled to launch summer of 2011. Considering the overwhelming demand for the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, supply chain partners will have to prove their worth.

According to the Taiwanese trade publication, DigiTimes, Apple is also bolstering its printed circuit board supply chain as it prepares for the next iPad release. Apple once relied on just three printed circuit board suppliers to meet manufacturing demand for the iPad; the company has now boosted that number to seven.

This growth in the company’s supply chain efforts shouldn’t be a surprise for the industry, given that Apple sold 14.8 million iPads in 2010. According to the DigiTimes, the company is scheduled to begin small volume shipments next month, with a full-blown launch in April. As the company sets its sights on a refresh cycle, a spring launch will be perfectly timed to meet strong demand.

Always focused on innovation and improving upon successful products, Apple has some new ideas for the iPad 2, including a thinner design. The manufacturing will be the same unibody design the company uses for the MacBook and will feature an LCD backlit display, Facetime video chat support and a front-facing camera. The iPad 2 is also expected to be powered by multimode chips from Qualcomm and to run on GSM and CDMA-based networks.

Canadian Innovation Gets Boost from Supply Chain Partnerships

Canadian manufacturers looking to stay competitive will need to focus on cost and risk mitigation, according to a recent survey from KPMG LLP. The report says that they should find new ways to compete with their global counterparts when faced with the reality of a strong Canadian dollar and lower cost jurisdictions.

Cost is a key factor in addressing supply chains, according to one executive. He also stated that they are looking at their entire supply chains to establish partnerships and generate efficiencies. Canadian companies should enlist multiple strategies to remain competitive, including a focus on innovation and product development.

The survey conducted among executives in Canadian manufacturing showed a number of differences between how Canadian manufacturers and their global counterparts approach their supply chains. In fact, 60 percent of Canadian executives shared that they have been forced to develop new business models to reduce supply chain risk. Only 43 percent of global manufacturers have reported the same.

The survey also found that global manufacturers are prepared to accept and manage more risk to achieve lower costs, improve efficiencies, and access innovation. Canadian manufacturers prefer to avoid high-risk jurisdictions that would provide competitive opportunities.

Canadian businesses have traditionally been very conservative and more risk averse. However, if they want to succeed with increased globalization and a strong Canadian dollar, manufacturers should develop strategies to drive innovation at home and through collaborative partnerships with supply chains abroad.

Logistics are largely fulfilled by Canadian manufacturers at home and in the United States, while global manufacturers look to new low-cost districts such as China and India. To help spur growth in Canadian manufacturing, drastic changes may have to be made.

Rapid Ratings Turns to Supply Chain Risk Management Expert

Rapid Ratings is making some internal changes as part of its strategy to improve its supply chain offerings. The company has added Rose Kelly-Falls, a respected supply chain risk management expert, to expand its supply chain risk management services to corporations and financial institutions.

Rapid Ratings is also expanding its operations, opening a new office in Indianapolis at the Purdue Research Park of Indianapolis. Supply chain professionals throughout the financial services industry rely on Rapid Ratings to assist in monitoring the risks of public and private companies with which they are doing business.

James H. Gellert, chairman and CEO of Rapid Ratings believes the company will benefit significantly from the addition of Kelly-Falls as she offers extensive knowledge regarding the implementation of best practices for mitigating risks within the supply chain. As a former Rapid Ratings user, Kelly-Falls brings valuable insight for clients seeking to better understand and mitigate the risks involved with their overall supply chain.

Gellert also highlighted that the company has a strong client base in the Midwest and the expansion to the Indianapolis market will continue to support the company’s strategy for growth. In addition, the location of the Purdue Research Park offers an extensive network for potential collaborations and partnerships.

Rapid Ratings operates as an independent ratings, research and analytics firm focused on managing risk for companies worried about the health of their supply chains. With superior analysis generated with unbiased, forward-looking tools, companies can make comprehensive decisions to move the focus of the company in a positive direction. The company’s proprietary ratings have been proven effective and are in use by Fortune 1000 companies for complete supply chain management.

JDA Reshapes Supply Chain Management

There has been considerable interest growing in the cloud computing space as companies throughout the global marketplace are discovering the benefits of software deployed as a service. The economic downturn certainly helped to spark interest, but the benefits delivered in the cloud go beyond mere cost savings.

For manufacturers, new challenges are emerging everyday and those players who once had the luxury of lengthy implementations are now facing tighter budget restrictions and intense pressure from customers to speed delivery. As a result, supply chain management solutions that deliver faster time-to-value and a lower total cost of ownership are in high demand.

Manufacturers seeking to streamline the entire supply chain often access physical computing resources and connections through the Internet. Partners in the supply chain often share information through these methods in order to keep processes running smoothly and waste minimized.

As the focus has moved to the cloud, however, mission-critical business applications are increasingly being access through Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. Companies of all sizes are leveraging the power of moving these applications to the cloud, enjoying the benefits to the bottom line as a result of the impact on the supply chain.

By moving application portfolios into the cloud, manufacturers can enable all members in the supply chain real-time access to information that can impact the supply chain. In other words, any problem along the supply chain can be communicated to all members, as well as constant updates and expected resolutions. This helps to keep the problems confined to one area as other supply chain members can make the necessary adjustments when problems occur.

JDA Software is helping to reshape supply chain management by offering robust solutions that perform in the cloud. This approach not only ensures all members of the supply chain are perfectly aligned; it also extends additional capabilities to these members, without significant costs.

Brightpoint Expands Optimizes U.S. Supply Chain Network

Supply chain solutions provider for the wireless industry, Brightpoint Inc., has announced the addition of three new Centers of Excellence in the United States. Metropolitan Indianapolis, Indiana serves as home to two of the centers, with the third located in Reno, Nevada.

The opening of these centers was possible with the purchase of a 533,000 square foot facility in the AllPoints Midwest business park in Plainfield, Indiana, and another 200,000 square foot facility, to support the expanding reverse logistics services offering provided by Brightpoint. The 264,000 square foot facility in Reno, Nevada is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2011.

Brightpoint expects that the addition of these Centers of Excellence will enable the company to increase its existing operational footprint in the U.S. market. The investment in these facilities was driven by the company’s planned growth and the anticipated need for increased capacity to respond to the demands of customers.

With these facilities and the recently purchased properties in Tennessee and Texas, Brightpoint can now offer more than 2 million square feet of supply chain logistics and distribution services facilities within the United States. This space should enable Brightpoint to meet the forecasted demand and expand its portfolio of offerings.

The company also aims to improve operating efficiencies by eliminating capacity constraints and the risk of business interruption with geographically diverse locations. Brightpoint’s plans for an optimal supply chain network to deliver freight management services will build on this strategy.

J. Mark Howell, President Brightpoint Americas shared in a company statement that the addition of these facilities will provide the necessary infrastructure to support the company’s increasingly sophisticated services offerings. Howell believes the company will be better positioned to deliver value to customers and investors with its extended real estate investments and current business model.

2010 Green Supply Chain Awards

Supply Chain and Social Responsibility were the focus of 2010 Green Supply Chain Awards which took place a few weeks ago. The awards recognize companies that put emphasis on sustainability when it comes to supply chain strategies.

The list of green vendors is comprehensive with several top of the line vendors in the mix; proving that the ‘green supply chain’ can help businesses optimize their operations, while still being eco-friendly. In fact, corporate responsibility and the green supply chain are slowly becoming the norm in the manufacturing industry. As evidenced by the recent trend of small to midsized companies being subjected to trade barrier blockage due to emerging rules and regulations. In short, social responsibility efforts are on the rise.

“The purpose of [the Green Supply Chain Awards] is to highlight a range of strategies and solutions that companies are employing to incorporate sustainability into the supply chain,” said Andrew K reese, the editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “Our readers can use this information as a baseline to assess the clarity and content of the sustainability and related supply chain management goals and strategies, implementation measures taken and performance results to date.”

The nominees were selected based on standout projects to incorporate sustainability in customers’ supply chains.  Recipients of the green supply chain nominations varied from logistics and transportation companies to healthcare and pharmaceutical enterprises.

Past nominees were chosen for proactive action where suppliers avoided costly disruptions and companies that introduced mobile based communications systems to reduce paper bills. The example of past green supply chain nominees prove that seeing sustainability as a risk management tool can be relevant throughout the supply chain.

The importance of the green supply chain has never been more relevant. Not only is being green socially responsible, green supply chain software can also help lower an enterprise’s overall risk through streamlined operations.

IBM Supply Chain Software Drives McKesson’s Success

Businesses with a supply chain are infamous for having a surplus of tracking issues. The Supply Chain is a complex infrastructure to monitor and manage, without the proper software. If enterprises wish to optimize their supply chain, they should seek a solution that streamlines picking, tracking shipping, transportation, assembly and delivery, among other things.

McKesson, the pharmaceutical distribution conglomerate, has implemented IBM’s Supply Chain Sustainability Management Solution, to help streamline the operational processes of their supply chain. IBM’s Supply Chain Sustainability Management Solution is a web-based SaaS that has modules to determine the emissions and distribution costs of any number of variables.

IBM’s Supply Chain Solution also has modules that help weigh the costs and benefits of various ways to store pharmaceuticals. For example, the system can help McKesson decide whether to cold-store insulin or vaccines in one central refrigerated storage facility or if operating cold rooms at a number of warehouses would be optimal. IBM’s Supply Chain Software can also help determine what transportation routes would be efficient and budget-friendly based on traffic patterns and time.

McKesson was IBM’s first Supply Chain Sustainability Management Solution’s user, but soon the IBM Supply Chain SaaS will be available through IBM’s Global Business Services.

McKesson is seemingly satisfied thus far, Don Walker Senior VP of McKesson explains: “IBM has given us the tools we need to weigh the environmental and financial effects of actions we may take in our supply chain. This system will be valuable to any business seeking ways to achieve both their financial and carbon reduction goals.”