The ripple effect of supply chain disruption
We reported several times last year on the West Coast Port labor disputes and mentioned that the damage resulting from the delays would only be known with time. Well that “time” has passed and a report released this week focused specifically on the impact these labor disputes had on the state of Washington. The study, commissioned by the Washington Council on International Trade, revealed that Washington businesses suffered a loss of nearly $770 million as a result of the labor strikes. The food and agriculture industries were hit the hardest during the lengthy wage, benefits and pension negotiations. The study found that the amount of loss due to delays totaled $345 million. Another $21 million in additional costs were accumulated due to extra warehouse and trucking costs. Apples alone created a loss of $95 million as 200,000 to 300,000 boxes per week could not be sold.
Even though port activity returned to a normal state in early 2015, Washington businesses are just now starting to grasp the devastating impact these port disputes had on operations. The international trade council warns that these losses are only short term consequences, and that longer term impacts are expected. One long-term aspect is supplier relationship management. As a result of the labor strikes, hay buyers, for example, were forced to look to Japan and Korea as alternative sources. Will Washington hay exporters be able to win their business back in the future? Only time will tell.
Read more on the study results here.
Ford doubles down on sustainability
It was announced this week that Ford will be joining the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC). The EICC is a nonprofit group of over 110 electronics companies focused on improving environmental, social and ethical conditions along their global networks. Approximately 15% of coalition members are Ford suppliers. With its increased focus on smart mobility, connectivity and autonomous car technologies, Ford sees its membership in the coalition as a natural progression in its quest for sustainable operations.
As a member of EICC, Ford will be required to identify and audit at least 25% of its high risk facilities and suppliers. It has also pledged to align its own operations with coalition standards. While Ford is the first automaker to join the EICC, 17 other sectors are represented in the group. By holding each other accountable, each company involved hopes to come away with more sustainable and environmentally friendly operations.
Read more on Ford’s new commitment here.
Supply Chain talent development options on the rise
If you are interested in being a part of global networks and influencing how products move from raw materials to end-users, a job in logistics and supply chain management might be right for you. As the need for talent within the industry grows, programs for developing that talent are also becoming more abundant. Most recently, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College opened a new facility to help train more workers in the fields of supply chain and logistics management. The cry for talent from firms across the globe is being heard and addressed. This particular project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Amy Waldbillig, Cincinati State’s vice president for workforce development, is responsible for identifying trends regarding workforce needs for businesses, and supply chain management apparently topped that list. Training within the new facility will span across various logistics functions including robotics, wireless and mobile tracking, warehouse management systems and forklift driving. The new logistics center will serve as a very useful supplement to the college’s existing supply chain program.
Read more about this project here.
Have a great weekend!