Global Supply Chain Review: November 2016

The year winds to a close, and the global supply chain collectively considers the stories and questions that have shaped the past year and may shape the opening months of 2017…

Germany: The field of shipping has radically changed following the bankruptcy of Hanjin this year. But Hanjin ships being stuck in port are no longer the news, as Danish Maersk is set to buy German line Hamburg Sud. How will the consolidation affect global shipping?


Myanmar: Diplomatic snarls have increased the difficulty in producing and shipping tin from the region. The product’s scarcity will affect multiple companies and industries outside Myanmar, including companies such as Tiffany’s, Starbucks, and Apple. As the holidays approach, questions emerge about how sanctions and ethics violations will contribute to these and other companies abilities to meet consumer demand.


U.K.: For once in a long while, not Brexit. This month’s passage of the Investigatory Powers Bill raises intense questions about citizens’ right to privacy, governments’ right to information that may or may not prevent terrorist activity, and where information and technology companies fit within the equation.


U.S.: In the post-election atmosphere, numerous economic and political stories have shaped supply chains and logistics. Among them, the auto industry that faced devastating struggles during the Great Recession has reported record breaking sales this month. To what extent does this growth suggest logistical success or consumer confidence across the board, and how long will it last?


India: Setting its sights on the emerging economy, Apple has announced plans to set up a distribution center in India. The logistical consolidation aims to ensure common pricing for on and off line sales, in addition to giving the company greater control over the supply chain.


China: The ambitious Silk Road plan will place a $35 billion investment in developing infrastructure throughout China and Pakistan, developing an easier path for supply chains throughout a broad and diverse region. What capacity does it have to alter global supply chain and economics?


Mexico: Growth. Specifically, the GDP expanded even in the face of predictions that it would contract.


Colombia: Supply chain ethics are always a concern, and the “blood gold” originating in Colombia has become a problem for multiple organizations outside the nation. Companies buying in good faith – the fields ranging from automobiles to smart phones – are discovering that the tainted product has infiltrated their supply chains. So what happens next?


Samoa: Automotive and tech innovator Tesla has developed advanced solar power and battery storage to address the island’s logistical challenges in regard to energy. While the development increases consistency of power and results in increased independence for the island, we should ask how the technology could be expanded to effect other areas of the world.


Ecuador: Joining Latin American nations Colombia and Peru, the nation gains access to trade with the EU in the wake of Brexit. Global trade in some regions continues to expand, while other regions express an increasing desire for insularity in trade.


How have these and other stories affected your supply chain? Find us on Twitter to discuss.

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