St Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, Flanders, is one of the world’s 14 official Trappist beer producers. Buyers can purchase a crate of its Westvleteren beer for around €45 (£40), around €1.80 per bottle.
Trappist monks do not profit from the sales of their beer
As a rule, the monks ask customers not to sell their product to third parties. The abbey’s sales have traditionally been limited to private customers who order by phone before collecting a maximum of two crates in person.
But profiteers have been ignoring their “ethical values” for selling the brew, forcing them to go online to dampen demand on the black market.
The prospect of future disruptions in the supply chain brings diverse risks to the operation of businesses, especially to inventory management. The approaching Brexit deadline raises the imminent question how businesses can effectively continue to finance and distribute their inventory within the European continent.
While the renegotiation of the U.K.-EU relationship will most likely take several years, European distributors have to assess their current inventory management to mitigate future disruptions.
European distributors have to assess their current inventory management to mitigate future disruptions
There is no doubt that the political landscape will continue to change, and this goes hand-in-hand with a growing trade volume due to the growing e-commerce market. In order to serve the European Market effectively, managing the availability and allocation of inventory becomes vital to reduce overall costs, improve cash flows, and bring more agility to supply chain operations.
Amazon has slipped down a list of companies ranked by customer satisfaction after consumers were asked to consider ethics when rating brands.
The online retailer, which became the world’s most valuable listed company earlier this month, had taken the top spot in the last six published biannual UK Customer Satisfaction Indexes (UKSCI). But it slipped to fifth place, with a score of 85.4 out of 100, after the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) added new categories, including an ethical dimension to the poll of 10,000 consumers.
Amazon has previously faced high-profile criticism over the working conditions experienced by its employees and its relatively meagre tax contribution in the UK.
For companies that rely on suppliers for critical raw materials, components, or services, there is tremendous dependence on those suppliers to meet the requirements and expectations of the company’s customers and other stakeholders.
One viable strategy that can be used for eliminating this reliance is a supplier buyout, the company buys its supplier. While this may be viewed as extreme, today we are seeing this approach used across a spectrum of businesses and industries.
Lower costs and greater margins
In the case of some companies and some of their most critical and/or risky suppliers, it may be in the company’s best interest. Potential benefits can include lower costs and greater margins, increased quality control, improved logistics and transport, and timely and accurate information flow. Combined, these benefits create a competitive advantage. Acquiring a supplier also results in diversification as the company branches out into new products or services.
A significant added value is the resulting improvement in business continuity management and resilience
A significant added value is the resulting improvement in business continuity management and resilience. Vertical integration eliminates some risks and provides greater control of managing those that remain. The purchasing company now controls the business continuity management system of the former supplier and can set continuity requirements for tier suppliers. The risk of being second, third, or fourth in line when there is a shortage of a critical raw material or component is eliminated. This approach is an even greater benefit when there is no alternate supplier.
Two sides of the coin
Yet, as with almost everything in business – as in life – there are two sides of the coin to be considered. Does the company want to take on the risks that will come with an acquisition? Is the company prepared for diversification? Will the result be a less agile organization? A deep dive into the costs vs. the benefits of any acquisition is a must. Acquiring a company requires a significant investment, and financial benefits are not often realized in the short term.
Avoid the old view of a them against us approach. How about working together instead?
The reality is that for many companies purchasing even their most critical suppliers and other supply chain links is not a viable option, and not every supplier is interested in being purchased. In those instances, there are many other effective ways to protect a company’s supply chain, and the most effective of these is partnering with suppliers and developing collaborative, mutually beneficial relationships. In these partnerships, supply chain continuity challenges cannot only be resolved by cooperative planning and response, they can often be prevented with collaborative mitigation. Avoid the old view of a them against us approach. How about working together instead?
A win-win for all concerned
Take a more strategic, not a reactive, approach to supplier management. Provide your suppliers with knowledge about your company, its products and services, how it functions, its business continuity management system, your expectations of them, ethical and sustainability standards, and future plans. At the same time, seek to learn the same information about your suppliers. Build a mutual understanding of upstream, internal, and downstream risks that threaten the supply chain. While this approach does require an investment of resources, the return is long-lasting, trusting relationships that, over time, will lead to a more effective supply chain, a win-win for all concerned.
In most cases, while the customer is at risk from its supply chain, the suppliers are equally at risk from their customers
If purchasing suppliers is not in your company’s future, strive to establish and create improved working partnerships with suppliers and all other links in your supply chain to better understand each other’s risk management challenges and capabilities and to collaborate on business continuity strategies and plans. Customer-supplier relationships are interdependent. In most cases, while the customer is at risk from its supply chain, the suppliers are equally at risk from their customers. In ideal supply chain relationships, both customers and suppliers seek to build a connection and communication channels that allow the open exchange of information. This includes collaborative efforts to lower costs, improve quality, mitigate supply chain risks, and provide mutual assistance at the time of an actual disruption or disaster.
Strategic approach to Supply Chain Continuity
Begin by ensuring that suppliers know and understand your business continuity goals and requirements. Take a collaborative strategic approach to supply chain continuity. Host or attend a supply chain continuity training where suppliers’ continuity and supply representatives join their counterparts from your organization to learn, brainstorm, and begin the process to build mutually beneficial supply chain continuity strategies to better manage risks that pose a threat to the supply chain. Don’t overlook other supply chain links such as logistics, transport providers, outsourcing companies, and contractors.
Don’t overlook other supply chain links such as logistics, outsourcing companies, and contractors.
Participate in one another’s business continuity exercises. Strive to mutually design resilient supply chain strategies. Everyone wants to operate profitably in today’s supply chain environment, and every link in the chain has a vested interest in improved business continuity capabilities that reduce unnecessary and potentially lengthy business interruptions. When there is a stronger, more resilient supply chain, everyone benefits.
Although any move to a partnering approach to building relationships and working with suppliers and other supply partners, compared with the more traditional dictatorial and adversarial tactics, may well require a significant shift in mindset for some, it will benefit the customers and the suppliers and their stakeholders – and create more resilient organizations.
It’s that time again. Today is Black Friday, the biggest sales event of the year, as Britain’s retailers stack high and sell low before Christmas. Sustainable Development Goal 12 (sustainable consumption and production patterns) seems all but forgotten for the time being.
This must be a sustainability professional’s worst nightmare: watching a retail brand’s CSR and resource efficiency progress take a hit from sales and marketing teams that are ultimately encouraging consumers to buy goods beyond the point of necessity. Indeed, Brits are expected to collectively spend £10.4bn during the Black Friday sales, up 3.1% on 2017.
But for how much longer can this business model based on aggressive discounts be profitable and sustainable for high-street retailers in its current form? My answer – and hope – would be not for much longer at all.
In the last six years, David Duncan has been on a buying spree. This Napa Valley-based winemaker and owner of Silver Oak Cellars hasn’t been splurging on fast cars or vacation homes, though.
He’s been buying up vines — close to 500 acres in Northern California and Oregon. It’s been a tough process, at times: He almost lost one site to a wealthy Chinese bidder. It was only when he raised his offer by $1 million that he clinched the sale at the last moment.
As Mr. Duncan realized, this market faces what might seem an enviable problem: a surfeit of demand for its limited supply. The challenge the winery will face over the next decade is not marketing, or finding customers, but finding enough high-quality raw materials to sate the looming boom in demand.
Deforestation and forest degradation are ravaging our planet, threatening biodiversity and contributing to climate change havoc and global warming. As consumer awareness grows, so too does the demand to know the origins of wood in the products they buy.
A new ISO standard for tracing wood back to its sources will help to provide this information.
ISO 38200, Chain of custody of wood and wood-based products, specifies the requirements for a chain of custody of woodWith many players in the wood supply chain, and many different types of wood, tracing its origins to legal sources is complex. A robust method of traceability, therefore, will help businesses favour timber that comes from legal sources, thus enabling the industry to grow. ISO 38200, Chain of custody of wood and wood-based products, specifies the requirements for a chain of custody of wood and wood-based products that allows users to trace the origins of wood and wood products every step along the supply chain.
This new International Standard lets users determine if the material is “verified”, for which evidence of compliance with the requirements of a due diligence system can be provided.
As a member of the EU, trade between the UK and the continent has been relatively simple: free movement has enabled EU-based supply chains to operate without tariffs, bottlenecks or delays at the border to consider – but in six months that will change.
Preparing for Brexit without any concrete or specific guidance from the government is a significant challenge, and all firms who rely on imports and exports to and from the EU must prepare for a range of wildly varied scenarios.
From ‘no deal’ to a positive outcome for UK trade to the possibility of a People’s Vote that may or may not include the option of undoing the whole process, it is impossible to know what form a supply chain framework will take in six months’ time.
The Canadian federal government hopes that cannabis legalization will eliminate the black market, but not everyone wants to get out of the illegal pot business. The National Post spoke to people involved in the black market — from growers and dispensaries to a pot lounge owner — to find out what they plan to do when recreational marijuana becomes legal on Oct. 17.
On the laid-back and picturesque Gulf Islands in B.C., cannabis has become an entrenched part of the local economy, alongside the thriving arts, organic farming and yoga industries.
For the past 13 years, Sarah (the Post agreed not to use her real name) has carved out a living as a small-scale grower of craft cannabis products. She relishes the close relationship she’s formed with local customers, who include everyone from cancer patients to recreational users and dispensaries.
“It’s kind of like how you hope business could be,” she says. “It feels like I’m providing a helpful service that I really believe in.”
Business interruptions and disasters are more complex and unpredictable than ever. There is an increased understanding that it is a necessity to fully involve the entire Supply Chain in the Business Continuity Management System of an organization.
Customers expect products and services to be delivered as agreed upon. Fully including the Supply Chain in the company’s Business Continuity Management System helps safeguard the ability to meet those expectations.
Introducing BCM-SCC Supply Chain Continuity training
This two-day training will allow participants to explore and understand the ways Supply Chain Management and Business Continuity Management need to work together to create a more resilient organization.
This training is fully compatible with Business Continuity Management best practices and internationally recognized standards ISO 22301 (Societal security – Business Continuity Management Systems – Requirements), ISO 28000 (Specification for Security Management Systems for the Supply Chain) and ISO 31000 (Risk Management – Guidelines, provides principles, framework).