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About the Author

Simon Ellis — Practice Director, IDC Manufacturing Insights

Simon leads the Supply Chain Strategies practice at IDC Manufacturing Insights, specializing in advising clients on supply chain network design, global sourcing, transportation, and logistics. With over 25 years of experience in industry, working across all major areas of the supply chain, Simon most recently was the Supply Chain Strategy Director for Unilever North America. Simon has a BA degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia University.

Guest Post: The Convergence of Modern Trade

Convergence of Modern Trade

In a prior job, I worked for a company that had global reach, yet struggled sometimes to properly span the varied forms of ‘retail’ that characterize emerging versus mature economies. The answer, in part, was to recognize that there are two fundamentally different kinds of trade: modern and traditional. Modern trade is what those of us in mature economies take for granted – large, sophisticated retailers with modern stores, processes and technology. In a modern trade environment, wholesale distribution fills a niche of smaller independent retail, as well as filling shorter turn around supply needs (mainly supplying small retail), external partners must have broad coverage, and infrastructure (roads, warehouses, etc.) are generally not limitations. » Read More

Guest Blog: 3PLs — Not Just Product Movers Anymore

Adapting service to handle data and communications requirements

Like all businesses, transportation companies must manage risk, enhance the customer experience, and ensure operational excellence. Like other business segments, they balance cost, product and services quality/safety, and customer service. But a fundamental shift is underway for third party logistics (3PL) providers. Customers still expect them to offer product-related services. But now, they are also demanding information-related services—a change that has crucial ramifications for the 3PL market and the companies they serve. » Read More

Guest Blog: Growing Importance of Supply Chain Traceability

Supply Chain Traceability

On January 4, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 2751, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which puts legislation in place to help companies modernize the food safety system to better prevent foodborne illness and allows businesses to respond more efficiently and effectively to outbreaks. This is perhaps the most significant development in recent history in terms of the role that the U.S. government—and governmental regulation more broadly—will play in traceability in the manufacturing space. » Read More