Tag Archives: trends

technology

Avnet Offers Insights on 2014 Global Supply Chain Trends

As the calendar turns from business management planning to implementation and execution for 2014, global technology distributor Avnet, Inc. offers insights into trends that will influence the global supply chain in the new year and beyond. With a supply chain ecosystem spanning more than 300 franchised suppliers and 80 countries, Avnet helps its global customers navigate the changing global supply chain landscape to decrease lead times and improve time to market.

According to Capgemini Consulting’s 2013 study,1 55 percent of companies surveyed recognize that supply chain management can be a source of competitive advantage. Further, collaboration with supply chain partners results in a supply chain that allows companies to outperform the competition.

“As our global customers examined their financial performance last year, many experienced the positive value that a fully integrated and globally coordinated supply chain has on their business,” said Lynn Torrel, senior vice president global supply chain and strategic accounts at Avnet. “Collaboration is one of the most critical elements in an effective supply chain, and we expect to continue to see more companies fully integrate their supply chains throughout their extended network of suppliers and customers. Although we anticipate several factors to influence supply chain management this year, we also expect that those who employ a systematic approach to orchestrating their business ecosystem will continue to achieve the maximum financial impact.”

Avnet’s supply chain experts have identified several factors to consider when implementing a fully integrated supply chain this year. These include:

  • Risk Management – Despite a growing awareness of supply chain risks and the importance of mitigating them, few organizations employ a comprehensive risk management strategy. As margins for error in the supply chain become slimmer, more organizations will realize they have the power to mitigate the impact of many supply chain disruptions. Proactively assessing potential risk and developing a risk management strategy is critical to a company’s ability to continue to manage supply to meet demand, as well as the expectations of business stakeholders, regardless of the economic or environmental challenges.
  • Counterfeiting – Members of the electronics supply chain have become more proactive in their efforts to ensure part authenticity and guard against counterfeiting, and industry initiatives and certifications have helped crack down on counterfeits. While the war on counterfeits will continue, technology manufacturers will be better equipped to combat these issues as tools to help identify parts that could cause disruption to the electronics supply chain become more pervasive.
  • Big Data – Business applications of big data analytics will continue to expand from demand-related sales, marketing and customer service and manufacturing, into more supply side areas such as procurement, inventory management, and supply risk management. Implementation and the impact on supply chains will be slow, yet steady this year.
  • Manufacturing Strategies – While many companies are considering reshoring and near shoring strategies, few have relocated their manufacturing operations. As labor rates normalize around the globe, and more powerful tools in network design and analytics become available to better manage supply chains across multiple regions and product segments, reshoring and near shoring will become more actionable. As organizations focus more on the customer experience, regional markets, value density of goods, and risk mitigation strategies, the benefits of reshoring and near shoring become more evident.
  • Segmentation – As customers continue to diversify their manufacturing strategies, so does the need for segmenting their supply chains based on multiple end-to-end metrics such as cost, expected service levels and both manufacturing and final delivery locations. Segmentation is key to customer satisfaction, yet it is not yet ingrained into the end-to-end view of most organizations’ supply chains. This often overlooked strategy can help manufacturers develop a greater understanding of the costs associated with delivering products to different customer sets around the globe.
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Those Who Don’t Know You Are More Likely to Retweet

Big news can spread like wildfire via Twitter, but did you ever think about why certain people choose to retweet? A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows — if someone doesn’t know you well, then he or she is actually more likely to retweet something significant you say.

“We found that people with weak ties, such as those who only have a one-way relationship on Twitter – who don’t both follow each other – are more likely to retweet,” explains Assistant Professor Zhan Michael Shi of the W. P. Carey School of Business, one of the paper’s authors. “We believe the retweeters are sharing the information because they think it will boost their reputation and influence by providing something new. People with stronger ties might not retweet because they believe their followers already know the details and/or they may have communicated with each other in other ways.”

The new research by Shi and his co-authors, Professor Huaxia Rui of the University of Rochester and Professor Andrew Whinston of the University of Texas at Austin, will be published in the academic journal MIS Quarterly in March. For their study, they put together a complex program utilizing 20 computers over 140 days. They were able to follow the progress of certain tweets for five-day periods and see whether the Twitter relationships between the author and retweeters were strong or weak. It’s believed to be the first information-systems study using publicly available Twitter data to explore how people voluntarily relay information.

For example, the paper mentions a famed tweet in 2011, when a highly placed official in Washington said, “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama bin Laden.” That tweet was sent out more than an hour before the White House officially announced the event. By the time the presidential announcement was made, tens of thousands of Twitter users had already spread the word, even though most of them didn’t know anyone directly involved.

“Twitter is incredibly popular and fast-growing as a social medium, with more than 500 million registered users worldwide by April 2012,” says Shi. “It’s a combination of a broadcasting service and a social network, so our results aren’t necessarily translatable to more pure social networks, such as Facebook. However, we think the new information is going to be very useful to people like social-media managers and marketers trying to understand how information is spread via social-broadcasting networks like Twitter.”

Among the results: Those with a two-way Twitter relationship are only 6-percent likely to retweet a remark like the ones of the median quality these researchers studied. However, one-way followers are 9.1 percent likely to tweet it. That’s a boost of more than 50 percent.

The full study can be found online at http://misq.org/content-sharing-in-a-social-broadcasting-environment-evidence-from-twitter.html?SID=86knf65su27v98u9npsa31heh3. More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the W. P. Carey School’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com.

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Survey reveals trends in employer health plans

In spite of the passage of health care reform efforts, health care costs will continue to increase for both plan sponsors and their employees, according to the bagnall company, an Owner-Member Firm of United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s largest independent benefits advisory organization. Preliminary results released by UBA from its 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey, the nation’s largest health plan survey with 17,905 plans from 11,711 employers — and the only one of its kind to offer local benefits benchmarking capabilities — show some startling trends in employer health plans.

The bagnall company can provide employers with a benchmarking report for their region, industry and size, so businesses can determine which types of plans are most popular in their industry, which plans are being phased out, average employee costs and participation, and many more pieces of highly relevant information that can help with price negotiation and communications of their benefit plan to employees.

One trend that stands out in this year’s survey shows that consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) in the U.S. experienced a decline in the percentage of plans offered for the first time since 2007. CDHP growth stagnation is a critical trend that businesses should consider when making health plan purchasing decisions. Though CDHP plans are popular in some regions of the country (particularly the Northeast), the 2012 Health Plan Survey’s closer look at why some areas have a high occurrence of CDHP plans, along with surprising findings on the lack of savings with CDHP plans, arms smart employers with key data that might lead them to reconsider offering them.

Other key national statistics from this year’s Survey results:

* Clients of UBA Owner-Member Firms average renewal for all plan types increased by 5 percent; about ½ the current trend.
* PPO plans have nearly two-thirds of all enrolled employees (61.7 percent).
* The average monthly employee contribution for plans with contributions for all plan types is $126 for single and $494 for family.
* The average employer contribution to a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) was down from 2011 for a single employee and up for a family. Employer health savings account (HSA) contributions continued to decline.
* Four-fifths of all wellness plans (81 percent) offered a health risk assessment.
* As a direct result of PPACA changes, 91.7 percent of all plans now offer an unlimited lifetime maximum benefit compared with 81.3 percent in 2011 and just 16.1 percent in 2010.
* Less than half (48.0 percent) of all covered employees also elected to cover their dependents, a decline of 1.9 percent.

As health care plan offerings and the federal regulatory environment become more complex, benchmarking data such as the 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey have become increasingly critical for employers looking to manage their health care benefit programs effectively.

“The intent of the survey is to provide employers of all sizes with the data they need to manage their health care benefit programs effectively,” says Mark Bagnall, president, the bagnall company. “Employers will find the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) Health Plan Survey provides contains more participants and data in their category than other industry survey. For employers with fewer than 1,000 employees (which represents more than 99 percent of the employers in the U.S.) and for employers who have operations in multiple locations, this survey is the only source of reliable regional – and in many cases, state – health plan benchmarks by size and industry.”

With more Owner-Member Firms located in virtually all U S markets, UBA uniquely provides employers of all sizes the data they need to remain competitive in their local markets. The 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey won’t be available to the public until Nov. 1. Employers can get inside access to the hundreds of thousands of pages of granular state, regional and industry data through a benchmarking report offered by contacting the bagnall company.