January 20, 2023

This video dives deep into the story of M&S Schmalberg, the last artificial flower factory in the U.S. that crafts beautiful blossoms by hand. Located in the heart of Manhattan, this family-owned business serves everyone from top fashion designers and celebrities to individual clients with personal projects in mind. The video below delves into the history of M&S Schmalberg and its artisanal production methods while also examining the rise and fall of the American artificial flower industry over the span Continue reading

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January 13, 2023

Last week, we looked at how bad weather and an overloaded scheduling system led to disastrous consequences for Southwest Airlines as it canceled more than 13,000 flights over the holidays. But while this disaster could at least be partly blamed on a rough winter storm, airports had no such excuse on Wednesday when a computer outage led to another massive wave of cancellations and delays. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a damaged database file corrupted the agency’s system Continue reading

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November 30, 2022

The National Retail Federation says that customer returns are increasing across the industry, driven primarily by online returns that have more than doubled in the last few years. Contrary to what many consumers may think, these products don’t simply boomerang back onto store shelves. As the video below shows, returned items take a complicated journey from warehouse to warehouse that frequently ends either at a secondary resale center or a landfill.

Questions:

  1. Why do many returned products end up in Continue reading
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November 11, 2022

The New York bakery Junior’s has been selling enormous cheesecakes to customers since 1950, but 2022 has probably been the toughest year for the company since its founding. Along with examining how a cream cheese shortage and skyrocketing ingredient prices have threatened Junior’s bottom line, this video also examines the company’s history and the intricate production processes for its many baked goods. 

Questions:

  1. How have rising ingredient costs affected Junior’s business? 
  2. What role does automation play at Junior’s Continue reading
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November 2, 2022

The Mississippi River serves as one of the nation’s most vital supply routes, with slow-moving barges carrying everything from agricultural products to oil and building materials. Due to a drastically dry spring and summer, however, the river is running too low at some points to allow vessels to pass through. This video looks at how plummeting water levels on the Mississippi are disrupting the plans of farmers and manufacturers who rely on the river to get their goods to market. Continue reading

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October 19, 2022

On a stretch of highway near Phoenix, property developers have constructed dozens of industrial warehouses with millions of square feet in storage. These enormous Arizona facilities are attracting big companies like Amazon, UPS, Walmart, and many more tenants that are looking to avoid California supply chain bottlenecks. This video looks at the reasons why some businesses are starting to center their logistical operations in the American Southwest.

Questions:

  1. What are the benefits and drawbacks for companies that use storage facilities Continue reading
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September 7, 2022

Last week, California’s legislature passed a bill that will bring sweeping changes to fast food chains operating in the state. After being signed into law by the governor on Monday, the new legislation effectively sets a minimum wage for the industry while also establishing new safety and anti-discrimination requirements. California will create a 10-person council composed of restaurant workers and employer representatives along with two state officials, who will all review pay and safety standards across the state’s restaurant industry. Continue reading

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August 31, 2022

Earlier this year, we looked at how the nationwide shortage of baby formula was poised to continue for months after Abbott Nutrition shut down a Michigan plant in February. An inspector from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) discovered a leaking roof in the facility, pools of water on the floor, and cracks in production equipment used to produce the brand Similac. FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf described the conditions as “egregiously unsanitary” while acknowledging that the federal agency should Continue reading

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August 26, 2022

Global supply chains have been all out of sorts since the start of the pandemic, but for the most part traffic and delays have been isolated to ports on the Pacific. As the video below explains, though, bottlenecks have now moved to East and Gulf Coast ports that are unprepared for this influx of ships and container boxes. 

Questions:

  1. What are some reasons why shipping traffic and delays have moved from Pacific ports to East and Gulf Coast ports? Continue reading
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June 22, 2022

Americans traveled in droves over the busy Father’s Day and Juneteenth holiday weekend, leading to widespread delays and cancellations at airports despite the best efforts of carriers. All told, airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights over the weekend while almost a third of all arriving flights on Friday were delayed. Travelers experienced similar moments of chaos at airports over Memorial Day weekend, reflecting an industry struggling to return to normal after the pandemic.

According to airlines, poor weather and high Continue reading

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