October 1, 2021

For months, supply chains across the globe have become highly disrupted due to a multitude of factors related to the pandemic. From closed factories and clogged ports to a shortage of shipping containers, supply chain snags are harming small businesses and could possibly affect the flow of goods during the Christmas season. And in the immediate term, shipping issues are contributing to rising inflation which then leads to price increases, something that has been felt by consumers across Continue reading

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September 17, 2021

Crocs clogs debuted in 2002 and quickly became a hit with consumers who wanted colorful and leisurely sandals to wear around the house. But soon backlash began to build against this funky foam footwear, as Time magazine in 2010 named Crocs one of the worst inventions ever. Then the pandemic descended on the world and many people stuck in their homes suddenly realized the benefits of wearing inexpensive and comfortable clogs. As a result, Crocs expects sales to increase by Continue reading

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September 10, 2021

Although demand for wine from California’s Napa Valley has never been higher, supply is low across the region after years of drought, wildfires, and then the pandemic disrupted production. This video looks at the inflationary pressures currently weighing on winemakers as they consider whether or not to raise prices on the latest vintages.

Questions:

  1. What inflationary factors are driving winemakers to raise prices on their products?
  2. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages for businesses when they raise prices?
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September 1, 2021

Over the course of the pandemic, problems with global supply chains have affected companies both large and small, leading some to reconsider their relationships with international manufacturers. Many other businesses are waiting for their products to arrive after weeks or even months of delays. For instance, the toy maker MGA Entertainment said its stock of Rainbow High dolls has been held up overseas due to a shortage of shipping containers. As a result, the company will likely not Continue reading

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August 26, 2021

For years now, many consumers have made an effort to cut down on their use of plastic bags by relying on cotton totes instead. Along with being better for the environment than non-biodegradable, single-use plastic, cotton bags can also serve as walking billboards for any organization that places their logo upon them. As a result, these totes can be spotted in stores the world over, emblazoned with branding from supermarkets, magazines, charities, and radio stations. 

But while cotton bags Continue reading

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August 10, 2021

For decades, many American companies have relied on facilities in Southeast Asia to manufacture products that are then shipped over for dometic sale. Along with reducing production costs, firms also saved on inventory space through “just-in-time” ordering that allowed them to quickly bring in materials from overseas when necessary. But while relying on long-distance industrial suppliers has always been risky, the worst case scenario for this approach became a reality during the pandemic.

The global economy nearly shut down for Continue reading

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June 22, 2021

Last month, we looked at how the global shortage of microchips has severely restricted production of everything from video game consoles to dog washing stations. This video examines the manufacturing process for these precious components and explains why semiconductor production cannot be easily increased. 

Questions:

  1. Why is it difficult for manufacturers to speed up production on microchips and semiconductors?
  2. What are some possible solutions for increasing global microchip production?
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At the beginning of the year, we looked at how an explosion in demand for consumer electronics led to a shortage of microchips across the globe. This semiconductor shortfall has continued in the intervening months and its impact has spread across numerous industries. Along with preventing carmakers from installing vital microchips in vehicles, the shortage has also hindered production of iPads, farming equipment, and even dog grooming machines. 

“This particular problem affects all aspects of manufacturing, from little people Continue reading

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January 14, 2021

At the start of the pandemic, auto companies anticipated a drop in car sales that indeed lasted throughout spring and summer of 2020. As a result, manufacturers cut back on orders of expensive items like microchips while demand remained low. By the end of the year, though, auto sales bounced back quicker than expected, which sent car companies scrambling for supplies. But try as they might, none of the major firms could seem to secure the microchips they needed for Continue reading

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November 19, 2020

Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched earlier this month and is expected to be one of the blockbuster products of the holiday season. This video looks at the evolution of the console throughout the years and how it became a central focus of Sony’s business.

Questions:

  1. How did the PlayStation help Sony transition from a consumer electronics manufacturer into a gaming company?
  2. Why did Sony decide to focus closely on the gamer market for future generations of the PlayStation, and how did they accomplish this task?
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