Some time ago, I showed that a combination of correctly spelled English words (“word level”) does not automatically generate a good sentence (“sentence level”). This time, I will broaden the scope even further by discussing the “paragraph level”. With respect to paragraph structure, several languages are less restrictive than academic English. I often observe that speakers of these languages mistakenly transfer the freedom of their own language to texts written in academic English. A paragraph almost always starts with a topic sentence, which expresses a single controlling idea. This sentence is followed by supporting sentences, which explain the idea of the first sentence. A paragraph typically ends with a concluding sentence, which summarizes the current paragraph and/or transitions to the idea of the next one. The web page of the Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides further information on paragraph writing, including examples.
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) “is an international, not-for-profit organization providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information”. Written by Accenture, the CDP Supply Chain Report 2014 has now been published. Its subtitle, Collaborative Action on Climate Risk, indicates the direction of the report’s journey. Indeed, the report, which is based on data collected from 2,868 companies responding to a supplier information request in 2013, builds on “a wealth of data on how suppliers and their customers are collaborating to drive down carbon emissions, mitigating water risk, seizing opportunities, and building revenue and brand along the way”. It turns out that “[s]uppliers report that both climate risk and opportunity are at high levels” and that “consumers are becoming more receptive to low-carbon products and services”. Moreover, suppliers “realized savings of US$11.5 billion from emissions reduction investments [...], down from US$13.7 billion in 2012″.
In his recent Nature article, Climate Economics: Make Supply Chains Climate-smart, Anders Levermann argues that supply chains need to adapt to extreme weather. He discusses this topic in the following guest post.
Extreme weather events are likely to intensify the more greenhouse-gases we emit – and these extremes are more than just a local risk. Links in global economic chains and world markets mean that flooding or heat-waves in one place can have repercussions elsewhere. Extreme rainfall and typhoon Yasi paralyzed the world’s fourth largest coal exploration site in Australia in 2010/11. Coking coal prices went up by 25% in 2011. In order to estimate the impact of climate change on our society we need to understand both future weather extremes and our global economic network. In Potsdam we recently set up a website to collect and analyze this data. Everyone can register and contribute expertise. In a similar fashion as Wikipedia we hope to gradually generate a global community that creates a system of checks and balances to obtain an up-to-date database of high quality and detail to induce a global adaptation of our supply chains. For news follow @ZEEANit on Twitter or register at zeean.net.
Anders Levermann is a physics professor for the dynamics of the climate system and co-chair of the research domain Sustainable Solutions at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Levermann, A. (2014). Climate Economics: Make Supply Chains Climate-smart. Nature, 506, 27-29 DOI: 10.1038/506027a
Risks related to business interruption and supply chains are the principal risks faced by global companies, the new Allianz Risk Barometer 2014 finds. According to the report, losses related to business interruption and supply chains “account for around 50-70% of all insured property losses, as much as $26bn a year for the insurance industry based on 2013 data”. Paul Carter, Global Head of Risk Consulting, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), asks: “There is a need to examine beyond the identification of so-called ‘critical’ suppliers. How do these companies manage their own supply chain exposures?” Other top global business risks are natural catastrophes, fire/explosion, changes in legislation/regulation, and market stagnation or decline, the research finds. The survey “was conducted among risk consultants, underwriters, senior managers and claims experts in the corporate insurance segment of both [AGCS] and local Allianz entities”. Download the full report: Allianz Risk Barometer 2014 (PDF).
This video covers ethical issues associated with the assignment of academic authorship. It is part of a video series, developed by the Ethics Education Committee of the Academy of Management.
In a previous post, I presented a discussion about the relationship between transaction cost economics (TCE) and supply chain management (SCM), which was started by Williamson (2008) and continued by Zipkin (2012). This discussion called attention to several theoretical gaps at the TCE/SCM interface. In their 2012 article, Supply Chain-Wide Consequences of Transaction Risks and Their Contractual Solutions, Wever et al. argue that “a shift [is needed] within the TCE literature from a focus on bilateral transactions, to examining transactions within a supply chain context”. They present five models which “(1) provide justification for moving the TCE framework beyond the dyad; and (2) explain the implications of the shift toward an extended TCE framework for the (optimal) use of supply chain contracts”. It turns out that supply chain members need to take into account both transactions on the supply side and transactions on the demand side, as only this can reduce exposure to transaction risks.
Wever, M., Wognum, P.M., Trienekens, J.H., & Omta, S.W.F. (2012). Supply Chain-Wide Consequences of Transaction Risks and Their Contractual Solutions: Towards an Extended Transaction Cost Economics Framework. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 48 (1), 73-91 DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-493X.2011.03253.x
A Munich court is currently hearing a case that involves several members of a supply chain: (1) Alfred Ritter, a manufacturer of chocolate (“Ritter Sport”), (2) Symrise, Ritter’s supplier of piperonal, an aromatic compound, (3) Stiftung Warentest, an influential consumer organization, whose verdicts frequently lead to an increase or decrease in sales in Germany, and (4) the end consumers. Stiftung Warentest conducted tests on Ritter’s hazelnut chocolate. They argue that piperonal, a vanilla flavoring, cannot be gained in a natural way and is, thus, falsely labelled by Ritter as a “natural flavor”. According to Symrise, “[t]he piperonal contained in this flavor is not ‘chemically’ manufactured, contrary to the statements made by Stiftung Warentest”. The court’s decision will be announced on January 13th. The case has confused consumers and influenced their shopping behaviors in the important winter season. It demonstrates that reputation is a strategic asset and reputational dependencies exist in the supply chain.
Update (2014-01-13): Alfred Ritter won the dispute against Stiftung Warentest.
Theory-building empirical research needs formal conceptual definitions. Particularly, such definitions are necessary conditions for construct validity. But what is a “good” formal conceptual definition? In his seminal JOM paper, A Theory of Formal Conceptual Definitions: Developing Theory-building Measurement Instruments, Wacker (2004) presents eight rules for formal conceptual definitions: (1) “Definitions should be formally defined using primitive and derived terms.” (2) “Each concept should be uniquely defined.” (3) “Definitions should include only unambiguous and clear terms.” (4) “Definitions should have as few as possible terms in the conceptual definition to avoid violating the parsimony virtue of ‘good’ theory.” (5) “Definitions should be consistent within the [general academic] field.” (6) “Definitions should not make any term broader.” (7) “New hypotheses cannot be introduced in the definitions.” (8) “Statistical tests for content validity must be performed after the terms are formally defined.” These rules are explained in detail in Wacker’s article. I am convinced that Wacker’s rules lead to better measurement instruments.
Wacker, J.G. (2004). A Theory of Formal Conceptual Definitions: Developing Theory-building Measurement Instruments. Journal of Operations Management, 22 (6), 629-650 DOI: 10.1016/j.jom.2004.08.002
As I have highlighted in a recent post (Interesting × Important = Impact), research needs to be impactful. But how can research impact be measured? IJPDLM has now published an article by Rao, Iyengar and Goldsby that answers exactly this question: On the Measurement and Benchmarking of Research Impact among Active Logistics Scholars. The authors compare “several commonly used measures of research impact to identify one that best normalizes for the effect of career stage”. One of these measures is the h-index. However, early career researchers are put at a relative disadvantage, as the h-index can only rise with time. This has led to the h-rate, which divides the h-index by the academic age of the scholar. Based on bibliometric data, the authors find that “[t]he h-rate provides the most appropriate basis for comparing research impact across logistics scholars of various career stages” and they provide benchmark h-rates for scholars to identify their research impact.
Amazon is testing delivery packages using drones. Is this the future of logistics?