Archive | February 2016

How Many Slaves Work For You?

When we buy our new shirt, phone or coffee, we rarely think about slavery in the global supply chains of these products. Slavery? In the 21st century? Isn’t slavery a thing of the past? Well, it might surprise us, but slavery still exists and it exists in almost every global supply chain. It has been estimated that 200,000 child slaves work in Ivory Coast alone, that a large proportion of coltan that is used for the capacitors of our phones is mined by slaves, and that the cotton we need for our clothes is often picked by children. The Slavery Footprint online tool answers the following question: “How many slaves work for you?” Based on research data and the data you enter in a short survey, the tool estimates the answer for you. After having taken the survey, you will most likely be quite surprised about how many slaves are involved in the supply chains of your products.

2016 SCM World University 100

This week, SCM World have published their “SCM World University 100” ranking, which aims to list the best business schools for supply chain talent worldwide. According to this ranking, the top 5 universities worldwide are: (1) Michigan State University, (2) Penn State University, (3) University of Tennessee, (4) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and (5) Arizona State University. I am very pleased that Copenhagen Business School’s SCM program was selected as one of the top 10 programs in the EMEA region. The ranking is based on survey data collected from more than 2,000 supply chain professionals during the last couple of months. In the survey the participants were asked: “As a marker of supply chain talent, please select your top three universities.” Hereby, the respondents could select from a list of 192 universities that are known to offer supply chain management within their business programs. But be careful: Always keep in mind that there are both intended and unintended consequences of such rankings.

Supply Chain Integrity: Protecting Our Blind Spots

Research on supply chain risk and resilience has focused a lot on accidental disruptions, caused for example by an earthquake or the fire at a supplier’s plant. A sometimes overlooked element of supply chain risk management are disruptions that are caused by malicious intent, for example fraud. Indeed, due to their complexity, modern supply chain systems have become vulnerable to deliberate harm. A recently published report by Zurich Insurance Group and SICPA, titled Supply Chain Integrity: Protecting Companies’ Blind Spots, is focused on such types of risk. The authors argue that “companies can increase their ability to safeguard against deliberate supply-chain ‘infiltration,’ such as that caused by counterfeit or tampered products”. In their study, they “offer numerous recommendations and examples gathered in interviews with government and industry experts, enforcement specialists, risk managers and executives at large corporations”. I believe this report makes an important contribution to widen our understanding of supply chain risk and resilience.

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