Global Supply Chain Review: March 2017

Interest rates, automation, and manufacturing guide this month’s Global Supply Chain Review. We’re here to provide the highlights and open the door to productive dialogue among supply chain leaders, no matter where they are in the world.


U.S.: Automation continues expanding beyond the manufacturing sector, shaping how the on-demand and sharing economies function. This month, Uber’s self-driving car trials were put on hold for assessment in the wake of an accident between one of its driverless cars and a manned vehicle. The accident occurred in Arizona, and analysts are asserting this as a minor setback that provides further data about the safety of driverless over manned vehicles. Trials will undoubtedly resume, leaving supply chain managers to plan in advance for how autonomous vehicles might change other industries.


Britain: Brexit continues to dominate all fields, as England gets closer to its divorce from the EU. Some officials are pressing for a rapid departure in the hopes that England can establish a free trade deal. While financiers have a more positive outlook on the situation, manufacturers continue to raise concerns about whether changes to import and export will cut into their bottom line.


Mexico: As if in defiance of the new U.S. administration, Mexico’s economy has entered a promising trend. Rebounding from dips in January, manufactured exports are now on the rise. Agricultural production is also increasing, and Mexico has suggested that a reduction in U.S. corn imports might be in order.


India: The quality and cost of drugs is a concern worldwide, and India will initiate a new electronic platform to monitor its own drug supply chain. The hope is that with companies reporting all steps in their drug supply chains, the government can identify problems and inefficiencies, and can ensure higher quality and lower cost medications.


South Korea: Following the impeachment of its president, South Korea is now looking to the future. To what extent will a new leader be able to smooth over relations with China and the U.S., its most important trading partners? Currently, growth is at a record slow rate, and the nation is struggling to provide sufficient employment to its millennial population.


Russia: Industry leaders have recently turned to Russia as a case study for troubled supply chains. Findings suggest that while the nation’s wealth and size will continue keeping it at the center of the global economy, studies also reveal that its supply chain requires significant updates. Among the major issues in Russia’s spread out geography are infrastructural problems that slow down or destabilize supply chains.


China: While Uber struggles with management and political issues in the U.S., Chinese ride sharing leader Didi is confronting new regulatory limitations of its own. Analysts for both companies have commented that restrictive regulations also hinder the development of emerging automative technologies as well as the growth of the sharing economy. China must find a balance between laying important regulation, and ensuring that those rules are shaped by new innovation rather than stifling those developments by cramming them into the old rules.


Japan: Japanese corporate culture may be on the verge of major change. Long known for its top-down conservative structure, the nation’s companies are taking a cue from Silicon Valley: introducing activity-based offices, standing desks, and open spaces rather than private offices. The benefits? Industries that thrive because they harness the energy, innovation, and new ideas that emerge from collaboration.


Singapore: Seeking to escape several years of weak productivity, Singapore is enhancing its relationship with France. Together, the two nations will join forces to expand and support research and development across technology and science fields. Supply chain leaders are poised to provide the infrastructure needed for the distribution of newly developed products in healthcare, aerospace, and finance.


Brazil: In the wake of a bribery scandal, Brazil has declared that it will suspend the expansion of meat plants. The world’s largest exporter of beef, Brazil has shaken the EU’s trust in the quality of exported meat following the exposure of bribery that covered unsanitary and unsafe production conditions. 21 meat packing plants are currently under investigation and banned from exporting.

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