September 1, 2017

Along with being one of the most groundbreaking trade pacts in history, the North American Free Trade Agreement is also considerably controversial. NAFTA has especially faced criticism recently, leading representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to meet and discuss the future of the deal. This video looks at how NAFTA currently impacts supply chains in North America and how changes to the agreement could affect commerce.

Questions:

  1. What do American opponents of NAFTA want to change about the deal? Continue reading
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August 17, 2017

momoneympproblemzAfter its founding in 1892, General Electric spent decades growing into one of the country’s most successful companies. It continued to expand in the years following World War II, only this time GE began thinking globally rather than domestically. The company built its first international supply chains by establishing manufacturing centers in industrialized nations like France and Japan. By the 1990s GE moved on to developing economies like India and China where the company could produce items like jet engines Continue reading

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June 15, 2017

tupalo-zara2017 has not been a good year so far for many retailers. Chains like J.C. Penney and Sears plan to close hundreds of locations while J. Crew has posted 11 consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales. But as these formerly powerful brands struggle, the Spanish fashion giant Zara is thriving like never before. This week its parent company Inditex announced that first quarter sales jumped 18 percent to $733.3 million. Plus, total sales for Zara topped out at $6.3 billion, Continue reading

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April 28, 2017

Today’s globalized supply chains depend on enormous shipping boats to ferry cargo from one end of the world to the other. It wasn’t always this way, though. This video takes a look at how standardized containers aboard gigantic vessels have transformed logistics since the 1970s.


Questions:

 

  1. How did containerization make shipping more efficient?
  2. Why are supply chains and logistics so important to modern companies?

 

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March 16, 2017

CostasParisFor centuries, ships used wind-catching sails to travel all over the world. Then the steam engine arrived during the industrial age and changed maritime transportation forever. Of course, the massive engines in today’s vessels rely on petroleum for power, presenting a number of potential problems. Along with environmental issues, big tankers also cost a fortune to fuel. For instance, the Danish shipping firm Maersk Group spends $2.1 billion per year on fuel costs.

To reduce this enormous expense, the company Continue reading

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March 2, 2017

Supply chain management is an incredibly complex process involving dozens of companies stretched across thousands of miles. This video takes a look at the shipping firm Flexport and how they simplify “freight forwarding” for businesses transporting goods from China to the U.S.

Questions:

 

  1. How does Flexport improve the process of freight forwarding?
  2. Why is international supply chain management so complicated?

 

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November 3, 2016

DanPhifferSince its founding in 1973, the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia has strived to make quality goods in an ethical manner. This combination of strong values and superior products has allowed the company to grow into an $800 million brand. But over the years Patagonia has run into a number of roadblocks in their quest to “build the best product” and “cause no unnecessary harm.” For example, in 2010 an animal rights group revealed that the company had been buying goose Continue reading

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October 25, 2016

MicheleM.FIsraeli entrepreneur Yekutiel Sherman had a great idea for a product: a selfie stick that folded seamlessly into the back of a smartphone’s case. He spent a year carefully designing his idea, producing prototypes and securing small investments from family and friends. By December 2015 Sherman launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to finish funding the item, now called Stikbox. But while the project immediately attracted investors, his popular crowdfunding campaign also caught the attention of Chinese bootleg manufacturers. Within Continue reading

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September 23, 2016

Although drone deliveries are still a few years away from becoming a reality, automated machines are already having a big impact in other parts of the supply chain. This short but visually rich video takes a look at the robots made by a company called Symbiotic and the ways that they have streamlined operations at a grocery warehouse.

Questions:

  1. What makes Symbiotic’s robots more efficient than human workers?
  2. Will worker robots from companies like Symbiotic eventually replace human labor?
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September 8, 2016

MichaelBentleyAlmost 95 percent of all manufactured goods arrive at their destinations in shipping containers. These freight boxes often begin their journeys aboard enormous cargo ships that transport items around the globe. Normally this process is simple enough: a ship pays a docking fee upon arrival along with additional charges for unloading and container storage. In the case of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Company, however, this common process has been halted. After filing for bankruptcy protection last week, ports across the Continue reading

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