Green China

on Saturday, June 30, 2012

The growth of China into an economic world power has been both exciting and concerning to the rest of the developed world for a number of reasons.  All of this growth can come at a high price in a number of areas from labor rights to infrastructure development.  However, one of the most visible and widely recognized byproducts of the explosive growth that China has experienced over the last few decades has been its toll on the environment of the country.   Approximately half of the country’s rivers are too polluted to use for drinking water, and 20% are so toxic they can’t be used for any purpose, including industry and farming. More than 300 million people lack access to safe water in China as well. Less than 60% of sewage is treated before being dumped into waterways.

Ma Tianjie, the director of the Greenpeace campaign against toxic waste states that Chinese environmental health and safety (EHS) laws have come a long way and are presently fine.  The issue is with enforcement.  Having the right laws in place is an important step, as they didn't even exist or were ineffective at one point in time.  The 10% year over year economic growth China has enjoyed for decades owes a large part to the "pollute first, ask questions later" laws that had been in place.  Chinese leaders are beginning to understand now, however, that this can't continue on its current path.  China doesn't have the luxury that the US did during the industrial revolution.

In the past few years, China has taken huge steps towards improving the environment.   Green practices have been touted as part of the Communist Party’s aim to build a “harmonious society”. The Government aims to have China generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, up from 7% in 2005. The country already has more renewable-energy capacity than any other.  China is even targeting a 40-45% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions as a proportion of its GDP by 2020.

According to Green Biz, companies themselves are also beginning to take matters into their own hands in areas where the laws or enforcement of the laws haven't caught up yet.   By implementing EHS practices commonly seen in the US at their Chinese facilities, supply chain and manufacturing operations stay ahead of the curve.  This provides a number of benefits for the company.  First, it facilitates commonalities and synergy between Chinese business practices and other Western country business practices.  Second, it ensures long term sustainability of the company's presence in China.  It also provides great public relations, and helps the local wildlife and human populations in the area.  

Green supply chain and business practices in China have come a long way towards catching up with the power of the Chinese economy.  Once they do, it will ensure that China's unrivaled growth can continue for decades.

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Gearing Up for the MLB All-Star Game 2012

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In less than two weeks, baseball fans will head to Kansas City, Missouri’s Kauffman Stadium for the MLB All-Star Game and events. As a Phillies fan, there is one thing that I’m almost certain of…Cliff Lee will not be selected as an All-Star this year. The rosters will be announced tomorrow (Sunday, July 1st) which will allow Aramark, the retail provider for the game, to start customizing player T-shirts that will be available for sale at the stadium. The Kansas City Business Journal reports that Aramark expects the customized T-shirts to be the hottest selling item during the event.

As of yesterday, Aramark had not yet finalized the printing arrangements and still needs to award the printing services to a vendor. Regardless, Aramark’s first order should be available for pick up on Monday. As an alternative to customized hats, machines will also be available onsite that are capable of adding All-Star Game patches to game hats people wear into the stadium. This is the first year this is being offered as part of the fan experience.

In addition to the branded merchandise, Aramark will also be serving up some special All-Star menu items. According to the Journal, “Erin Wishon, Aramark’s executive chef for Kauffman Stadium, said menu development for the All-Star Game started in January. ‘We wanted to showcase local flavors that people expect when they come to Kansas City,’ Wishon said.

The event sounds like one to look forward to. Enjoy what’s to come on July 10th even if you are just tuning in like me. Play Ball!
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Is the End Near for the Crackberry?

on Friday, June 29, 2012

Once referred to as the "Crackberry", it is clear that RIM’s Blackberry devices have lost its appeal. More and more users are switching to smartphones and the company is suffering financially. While some analysts are not convinced that this is the end of the Crackberry era, others do believe it is. If asked this question seven years ago, the answer would be no. When walking down the street or at the grocery store, it would unusual to not see someone typing away on a Blackberry. Fast forward to today. According to CNN, RIM stock prices have dropped 70% over the last year and reported a first quarter loss of $518 million. But how could this have happened?

Over the last few years, society has become more gadget-obsessed. More and more people are switching over to smartphones where you can listen to music while playing all sorts of addictive games. These new vibrant devices, especially the IPhone, have made the Blackberry appear boring and uneventful. While still appealing to business professional, RIM failed in staying ahead of the competition and appealing to other consumer markets. When the company finally created a touchscreen Blackberry, the Apple IPhone was already in its second generation and had caught the attention of many former Blackberry users.

Adding to the unattractiveness of Blackberries, the operating system isn’t the best. RIM has been in the process of updating its operating system with the hopes of increasing sales. Unfortunately, they have to push the launch of this system back another year and may have to push it back another full year after it was originally expected. Also, had RIM opened its operating system to other phone manufacturers, it could have seen the success that Google did after unveiling its new Android operating system.

Even as RIM tries to expand their product portfolio by entering into the tablet market, they still have not seen the same financial success they did years ago. There are loyal Blackberry owners who do not see themselves switching their devices anytime in the near future. However, as smartphones continue to evolve, the Blackberry may soon be extinct.
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MIG Real Estate acquires luxury apartment community

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MIG Real Estate acquires luxury apartment communityMIG Real Estate recently expanded its business by making an acquisition of a 330-unit luxury apartment building in Austin, Texas.

MIG is attempting to increase its presence in Texas. A press release from the California-based real estate investment company noted that a number of Texas cities have appeared consistently on Forbes' annual list of America's fastest-growing cities. In addition to Austin, these cities include Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

"We continue to identify areas of major growth for investment, and Texas seems to be home to several of the markets experiencing the greatest economic growth," said Greg Merage, CEO of MIG Real Estate. "The significant job growth and diminishing vacancy in the Austin market, as well as demand for quality rental housing in the southern submarkets, made the acquisition of The Cottages a perfect fit for us."

The property is located in an area where rental rates are expected to increase by an estimated 8 percent within the next year.

MIG also recently acquired Whynhaven at Willowbrook, which is a multi-family residential community in Houston. The acquisition displays MIG's current investment strategy, which focuses not only on Texas, but other states in the Sunbelt and western United States.
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Sony completes partial acquisition of EMI

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Sony completes partial acquisition of EMIThe Federal Trade Commission recently announced that Sony and other investors have completed a deal to buy a part of EMI Group Ltd., further transforming an industry that has seen its supply chain significantly transformed as music delivery has gone digital.

The British music company, which manages the rights to songs of popular artists such as Amy Winehouse, Regina Spektor and Rihanna, now will be handing over the music publishing side of the business to Sony.

The joint venture between the Sony Corporation and the Michael Jackson estate, and several other companies with interest in the music company, offered $2.2 billion in the deal in November for EMI Music Publishing, but there is no word of the final price of the acquisition.

The deal was cleared by EU regulators in April with pending conditions. Universal Music Group also has a pending deal to purchase the rest of EMI, which was placed on sale last summer by Citigroup.

According to reports, Sony is also looking to make an acquisition of Gaikai streaming video game service, which would change the PlayStation business significantly.
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Wine merger completed

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Wine merger completed A merger in the wine world points to how interconnected the global industry has become. Foley Family Wines New Zealand recently announced that it has signed a conditional agreement to merge with The New Zealand Wine Company, to be completed once the pending conditions are met.

The Foley Family Wines company was established by Bill Foley in 1996 following the acquisition of Lincourt Vineyards in California's Santa Ynez Valley. Since then, the company has been a major producer and marketer of some of the world's greatest vineyards. The current acquisition is being undertaken in part from a supply chain management perspective, to increase supply.

"This merger is a key component to our New Zealand strategy," Bill Foley said. "The strong growth of our New Zealand wine brands, along with a couple of short vintages has left us challenged to meet our demand. With this plan we will gain much needed supply, as well as the Grove Mill, Sanctuary and Frog Haven brands to add to our robust portfolio."

The deal will give FFWNZ access to more than 494 hectares of vineyards in Marlborough.

According to Reuters, U.S. industrial executives are looking for smaller acquisitions now in order to drive growth when major economies are in a slow growth phase.
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Darden improves supply chain to save money

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Darden improves supply chain to save money Darden Restaurants, which works with chains such as Olive Garden and Red Lobster, recently transformed its supply chain methods in order to save million of dollars.

The new supply chain management being implemented by the company will increase automation and institute other electronic solutions with the goal of better managing its food orders, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The company spends more than $3 billion on food and supplies, the Sentinel reported, and with the new technology being used, is expected to save at least $45 million a year as a result of lower prices and less wasted food.

"They can use some of that cost savings to pass onto the consumer, not taking prices up as much as they might need to to cover some of the inflationary pressures we're seeing," said Steve West, a restaurant industry analyst for Investment Technology Group.

A recent National Hog Farmer article showed that supply chain communication in the meat industry can drive positive change and improve customer service and the quality of the food being served.
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That Hotel is "Macspensive"!

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My wife and I love to travel. We have a tight budget and always use various travel sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, and Priceline to find the best bang for our buck on hotels and airfare. When planning for our trip we both go on-line and look at places we want to stay. Almost every time she comes up with nicer, more expensive hotels and I usually pick somewhere less expensive and closer to our budget. I always just assumed that was due to the cheapskate in me, and most of it probably is. However, according to Orbitz, there may be another reason for that.

The reason? Well, she’s a Mac, and I’m a PC – have been for a long time and probably will be for a while to come. Orbitz confirmed recently that the company is experimenting with showing different, and sometimes costlier, hotel options to Mac users than PC users. By tracking people’s on-line activities from their site, Orbitz has found that people who use Mac computers spend 30% more a night on hotels. They found that Mac users are 40% more likely to book a 4 or 5 star hotel than PC users as well as spend on average $20 to $30 more a night than their PC counterparts. Furthermore, when Mac and PC users book a room at the same hotel, Mac users are more likely to stay in a more expensive room.

This sort of data mining is becoming more and more popular as on-line retailers are trying to better understand buying habits and identify new ways they can monitor users’ browsing data to help boost on-line sales. More and more, Orbitz, and other on-line retailers, are using so-called predictive analytics to guess future shopping preferences for customers and target those believed to have the highest “lifetime value.”

According to a recent study by Forrester Research, almost half of retailers said users of tablets, specifically iPads, tend to place bigger on-line orders than users of laptops and desktops. Furthermore, shoppers on iPhones outspend shoppers using Android or Blackberry devices. The study also found that the average household income for adult owners of Macs is $98,560, compared to the average PC household with only $74,452.

I am sure many other companies have already begun to utilize the same data mining techniques to identify preferences for car rentals, flights, and a ton of other products. I think I will stick with my PC and (try to) spend less.
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New pediatric surgery chief appointed at children's hospital

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New pediatric surgery chief appointed at children's hospital The Nationwide Children's Hospital recently appointed Gail Besner as the chief of Pediatric Surgery.

With hospitals and medical facilities looking for more efficiency in supply chain management, Besner could bring fresh and innovative ideas to improve cost savings without compromising patient's care.

Besner is also the director of the pediatric surgery residency program and principal investigator in The Research Institute at Nationwide.

“Nationwide Children’s is home to one of the very first and most distinguished training programs in pediatric surgery in the U.S. and the position of chief of pediatric surgery has been held by some of the finest pediatric surgeons in the world,” said R. Lawrence Moss, surgeon-in-chief at Nationwide Children’s. “We recently completed an extensive national search for our next Pediatric Surgery chief, a process which attracted interest from a spectacular group of candidates."

A rural hospital in California recently saved $1.2 million in its first year of teaming up with a supply chain improvement alliance, which is improving the financial state of the hospital in addition to maintaining patient care.
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Denim company optimizes supply chain operations

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Denim company optimizes supply chain operations Jeanswest, a leading denim manufacturer, recently chose a supply chain optimization company to operate its new distribution center.

The new distribution center will be in Melbourne, Australia. Jeanswest wanted a warehouse management system that could manage its inventory better than the previous methods. The company also wanted to increase utilization in the distribution center and support new business processes, which is possible through a supply chain optimization company that can improve the operations of the company.

"We have been extremely satisfied with what the solution offers and the type of improvements it can deliver from a supply chain optimization perspective," said Andrew Grant, general managers of IT & Logistics at Jeanswest Corporation.

Jeanswest will also be allowed to implement its ability to facilitate data exchange with suppliers globally.

Itella Logistics also recently opted to team up with a supply chain optimization company to support its regional logistics services operation. Itella Logistics is a Finland-based operator of logistics services in Northern Europe and Russia.
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UPS simplifying healthcare supply chain

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UPS simplifying healthcare supply chain Millions of pharmaceutical supplies and medical equipment products are mailed daily, with a significant dependence on United Parcel Service Inc., making the company a key player for many supply chains. In addition to the company ensuring safe delivery of products to companies, the delivery giant also has its own team of pharmacists.

UPS' company pharmacists fill 4,000 orders a day for insulin pumps and other supplies from customers of Medtronic, one of the leading medical device companies in Minneapolis.

The process of filling the orders involves logging into the Medtronic system, filling the orders with devices stocked on its site and shipping them to patients, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Medtronic system is one example of the increasing reach of companies such as UPS, FedEx and DHL, which are all diving deeper into the supply chain business.

Considering healthcare supply chains are becoming more complicated as a result of an increasing number of vaccinations and medications being sent to emerging markets, ensuring the safety of pharmaceuticals is at an all time high.

"If you're a medical company, logistics isn't your core expertise," said Kevin Sterling, a freight-transportation analyst with BB&T Capital Markets who was quoted by the WSJ. "They're saying, 'Let someone else deal with those headaches.'"

According to Jeff Hubauer, general manager of UPS' insulin delivery business, healthcare companies are beginning to outsource logistics more in order to compete with manufacturers of generic medicines, according to the Journal. Those companies are now looking for ways to cut costs from operations to give them the opportunity to focus on product development instead.

The Wall Street Journal reported that demand for cold-chain services is also expected to increase 16.9 percent to reach $7.5 billion in revenues in 2013, which will be a significant increase from the $6.5 billion reported in 2010, according to Pharmaceutical Commerce, an industry publication.

FedEx HealthCare Solutions saw a double-digit increase in 2010, according to Jenny Robertson, spokeswoman for the delivery company.

Even as freight companies are looking to define niches within the healthcare supply chain, medical technology companies are looking to further define their niches within the global industry. According to a recent report published by analytics firm Axendia and co-sponsored by PwC US, medical technology companies are looking to increase their businesses globally by taking advantage of specific international markets. The companies are developing strategies to explore emerging markets and implementing custom made supply chain strategies.

"Globalization is the byword for medical technology companies these days - and for most companies going 'global' means going to emerging markets. However, succeeding in emerging markets is not simply a matter of expanding operations into these countries," said Wynn Bailey, pharmaceutical and life sciences advisory services partner, PwC. "Leading companies are developing tailored supply chain strategies that are designed to respond to the unique needs and expectations of each particular market, thereby giving them the best chance to succeed in realizing their growth ambition."
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Fushi Copperweld enters merger agreement

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Fushi Copperweld enters merger agreement Fushi Copperweld Inc. recently announced it has entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with certain companies and a global capital group, Abax. The news relates to global commodities and conductors supply chains, as Fushi combines copper and steel to create its conductors and other products.

The merger agreement includes a decision that each share of the company's common stock issued and outstanding before the merger will be converted into the option to receive $9.50 in cash without interest.

"The Special Committee undertook an extremely thorough and comprehensive review of the offer presented by Mr. Fu and Abax to ensure that the interests of all Fushi shareholders not participating in the buyout proposal were best served," said Jack Perkowski, chairman of the special committee. "With the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors, we established the credibility of the offer, including the availability of committed debt financing from China Development Bank Corporation Hong Kong Branch."

The merger is currently subject to approval by the company's shareholders.

Fushi Copperweld ended June 28 down 0.15 points on the NASDAQ, showing news of the merger didn't have an immediate positive effect on the company's outlook.
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Supply chain requires business skills

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Supply chain requires business skills Those who work in the supply chain industry are required to have a diverse skill set, but according to industry experts, business skills are key.

Aston Business School, located in Birmingham, England, recently joined Electronic Components Supply Network to launch a Certificate in Management program that will aim to introduce students to new and improved business thinking, tools and techniques, according to Electronics Weekly.

“An organization’s success also relies on the management expertise to bring a product to market and lead a commercially successful business, which involves proficiency in the key management disciplines,” said Adam Fletcher, ECSN chairman. “Accordingly we saw the need for a comprehensive program for members: to create, develop and promote the executive management skills necessary to develop the successful industry leaders of the future."

Students interested in supply chain careers may be interested in a recent IndustryWeek article that provided tips on how to survive in the supply chain management industry. For example, the news source said agreeing on a baseline exchange rate of an initial price quote can have a beneficial impact on a company that is looking to expand its business internationally.
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Troubled solar manufacturers look to second half of 2012

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Troubled solar manufacturers look to second half of 2012According to a report recently released by Solarbuzz, the leading factors that influence the solar industry supply and demand - module production and market demand - are predicted to come within 8 percent of the second half market demand of 17.2 gigawatts.

Burdened by an oversupply of product, the market for solar panels and other components has favored buyers in the past 18 months. As U.S. manufacturers have struggled to remain competitive in the face of cheap product from China, the U.S. Department of Commerce recently instituted anti-dumping tariffs. However, with consumer demand surging globally, some manufacturers are hopeful entering the second half of the year.

"The solar industry has been suffering from a significant imbalance between supply and demand for over 18 months, causing severe price erosion and reducing corporate margins," said Michael Barker, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. "However, confidence in strong market demand during second-half 2012, together with prudent capacity utilization, will provide solar market leaders with increased visibility ahead of 2013 strategic planning."

Demand for solar energy globally is expected to exceed 30 gigawatts in 2012, which is an 8 percent increase year-over-year, according to Solarbuzz. Still, supply may outstrip demand for solar panels through 2015, according to a report in Forbes.
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Medical clearance received for increased catheter size

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Medical clearance received for increased catheter size A 2012 BCC market research report showed that the global market for catheters was an estimated $21.2 billion in 2011. The global market for the medical device is expected to increase to more than $32 billion in 2016. Helping to meet the growing demand for this device, TriReme Medical developed a catheter with a larger matrix size, which was recently cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.

The TriReme Chocolate balloon catheter is now approved for use in treatment of lesions in diameters from two to four millimeters and in balloon lengths up to 120 millimeters. A catheter is a hollow tube that can be inserted into blood vessel, duct or body cavity to drain and infuse fluids.

"This latest regulatory approval broadening the available size matrix of the Chocolate PTA Balloon marks yet another important milestone for TriReme Medical," said Eitan Konstantino, president and CEO. "There is more to come; our goal is to provide a broad range of innovative tools to improve outcomes in patients suffering from complex vascular disease."

TriReme is a private company based in California and Singapore.
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Money Advice Just For You

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I recently came across an article discussing the “best” money advice when it comes to your personal finances, but some of these strategies require some outside the box strategies. Here are the 7 strategies outlined.

1. Open more credit cards – The article recommends opening more credit cards to spread out the debt and potentially improve your credit score. For example, if you have “one card with a $10K limit and $8K balance you utilization of the credit amounts to 80%, but if you open 5more cards with a $10K limit now your utilization is 16%”. While in the long run, this can improve your credit score slightly this can be very dangerous. The method I have learned is that if you open a credit card, you should be able to pay it off when the bill comes in. If you are considering the method of opening more cards I hope you are a disciplined person, because having more cards leaves you very tempted to spend more money.

2. Stop Avoiding Income Tax – You can fund your 401k and IRA with pre-tax money, but eventually you will have to pay tax when you withdraw from these accounts for retirement. Experts indicate that as people get closer to retirement today they “have no intention of retiring with far lower incomes than they currently enjoy” and that thanks to our national debt today, tax rates may not be as low as they are today. The article recommends investing some of your funds into a Roth account (investing after tax dollars that can be withdrawn tax free).

3. Skip the college fund – Look for other options when considering a college fund for your children. In can be difficult in today’s economy to save money in a college savings plan, and save for the emergency fund, and be able to pay for everyday living. Rather than putting your extra money in a college savings plan, the article recommends putting money into your retirement fund. You cannot borrow for retirement but you can borrow money for other things like college. Also, don’t forget your kids can contribute to their own college funds. Look for scholarships, they take a loan for their own education, and get a part time job.

4. Don’t Refinance – If you refinance your 30 year mortgage because you’re moving from 5% to 4% for another 30 years. Think again. Even though you may be saving in your payment keep in mind you will be starting over for another 30 years so in the long run you could pay more in interest because you are extending the time of the loan.

5. Don’t just ask you insurance agent for advice – Insurance agent = salesperson. Keep in mind if you ask your insurance agent for advice they can end up selling you more insurance than you need. Figure out the coverage you really need and then shop around like you normally would for a larger ticket item. It can’t hurt to see what other providers are offering and if you want to stay with your agent now you at least have some leverage.

6. Obsessed over a raise – Getting a raise can be great in these economic times, but keep in mind you have to pay tax on that raise. You may think a raise is going to help you lower your monthly expenses, but in the long run the best way to lower your expenses is cut costs through thing like coupons and eating in.
7. Pay more for your car – If you thinking about getting a car think twice about the loan you select. If you can afford to pay more on your monthly payment for a shorter timeframe at a lower interest rate, do it. According to this article you will end up saving money (est. $1K or more depending on the car) in the long run. Also be careful of leasing over buying. With a lease it may seems like a great deal but keep in mind you will probably end up going over your miles, you can be charged with additional fees, and most importantly you don’t own the car.
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SIP Voice Service: It's Time

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We have been hearing about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for
a long time.  But it has not been until the last few years that companies really began to implement it.  
This was primarily due to ever-decreasing local/long distance usage rates on TDM; there was never a 
significant return on investment for many organizations, especially when considering the potential costs of roll out and risks associated with a young technology.  The investments a few years ago could have been significant for many organizations.  Potential network upgrades (to MPLS) to support SIP, which in most cases would require new hardware.


But that has all changed and SIP is becoming more and more commonplace.  Many organizations have 
upgraded their networks as a matter of course in the past few years and are now "SIP ready." Carriers 
have continued to develop their solutions and have gained experience rolling out and supporting service 
to customers.  Despite this, see many of our clients struggle with decisions about rolling out SIP 
because of the challenges they have in considering SIP for their company which include:


  • Understanding existing costs and comparing them to the SIP marketplace
  • Comparing various SIP offerings that may not have "apples-to-apples" cost structures
  • Comparing various SIP offerings in terms of technology, flexibility, security and support
  • Understanding the potential ways SIP can play a role in the organization's infrastructure (small or large)
  • Identifying a non-disruptive deployment plan
  • Managing working with one or more carriers and one or more internal teams (telecom and IT) to develop and roll out a solution
Overcoming these challenges can yield significant benefits, though:  

  • Simpler voice and data network construct
  • Simpler invoicing
  • Simpler management
  • Greater trunking efficiency
  • Free calling over the network between locations (and in many cases, between organizations using the same carrier/solution)
  • Low usage rates
  • Excellent flexibility for growth and shrinkage of requirements
  • Lays the groundwork for Unified Communications (UC)
  • And many more, but let's set those aside for another article

For help with identifying if SIP can help your company save money and improve communications, visit www.sourceoneinc.com

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Ohio businesses integrating into shale supply chain

on Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ohio businesses integrating into shale supply chainBusinesses in Youngstown, Ohio, have recently realized the benefits of being a part of the shale energy supply chain.

According to local NBC affiliate WFMJ, the Ohio Shale Coalition recently stated the shale industry is going to invest billions of dollars into Ohio, and a Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber seminar focused on helping businesses take advantage of the supply chain resources that are available to them.

"Many businesses will be able to take advantage of this and if we're going to have the full force of the economic effect of this, we need to make sure that all Ohio businesses that want to participate have the tools to participate," said Linda Woggon, executive director of the Ohio Shale Coalition, to the source. "You want people that can get to you fast, get the product to you fast, the service to you fast, so I think the opportunities for the Ohio supply chain are immense."

The shale industry is new to the state of Ohio and business owners in the area are interested in knowing what is required to be included in the supply chain.

According to a recent report by consultancy Oliver Wright, 35 percent of senior supply chain executives said that having a market-driven supply chain is one of the most critical issues for their businesses to reach success.
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Sequential Brands announces acquisition of DVS

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Sequential Brands announces acquisition of DVS Sequential Brand Group recently announced an acquisition of DVS brand from DVS Shoe Company. The deal was estimated to be more than $8 million.

SBG owns, promotes and licenses a portfolio of consumer brands including William Rast and People's Liberation. The company is now entering into the action sports consumer sector with the acquisition.

"This is the first of many acquisitions for Sequential," commented William Sweedler, co-founder of Tengram Capital Partners and chairman of Sequential Brands Group. "With the addition of the DVS brand, we enter a new consumer sector that diversifies our business model and strengthens our company."

DVS is one of the leading international brands in the action sports industry that has significant brand recognition around the world. Elan Polo International is one of the partners of the company, which uses input from some of the best athletes in the world.

North American mergers have increased, according to Ernst & Young,which found deals in the second quarter increased by 10 percent from the previous three-month period, signaling cost savings around the country.
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Haggen Inc. to streamline supply chain

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Haggen Inc. to streamline supply chainHaggen, Inc., one of the leading independent supermarket chains in the Pacific Northwest, recently teamed up with the Park City Group to help improve its customer service through supply chain management solutions.

The Park City Group is a leader in consumer good supply chain technology and will provide solutions to help Haggen cut costs by increasing the efficiency of its supply chain with a focus on areas such as inventory management and reducing operational labor.

“The purpose of our technology is to improve sales and reduce out of stocks, with a focus on delivering the right product to the shopper in the right place at the right time," said C.J. Gabriel, Jr., president & CEO of Haggen & TOP. "We accomplish this by significantly enhancing collaboration between the retailer and suppliers. Retailers like Haggen that take action first have a major advantage versus their competitors and will be better able to take advantage of the current and future economic environments.”

Park City will help Haggen increase its visibility with inventory on shelves in its facilities and improve the stock of the store based on consumer demand.

Finding the right partner can make a big difference in terms supply chain and procurement costs. A California hospital recently managed to save $1.2 million in its first year of being in partnership with a healthcare alliance, improving its supply chain management after aligning with a group.
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MDA acquires Space Systems

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MDA acquires Space SystemsMacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, one of the leading providers of essential information solutions, recently announced that it acquired complete control of Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

MDL acquired the the global market leading provider of commercial communications satellites for $875 million. SS/L is located in Palo Alto, California, and serves a global customer base. The acquisition will make MDA a significant player in commercial communications and give the company "critical mass in the U.S. market," according to a press release.

"Space Systems/Loral's business is fundamentally driven by the worldwide demand for television, digital audio, broadband internet, mobile communications, and voice telephony," said Daniel Friedmann, MDA's president and CEO. "Billions of people around the world depend on these services and demand continues to increase. By acquiring one of the major companies that enable these essential communications services, MDA will move immediately to the forefront of this growing business."

The acquisition will give MDA a chance to meet its goal of gaining a larger and stronger presence in the U.S. market while increasing cost savings.

American Fortune Mergers and Acquisitions CEO Brian Mazar recently identified some keys to prepare an owner before selling a business, which included documenting all company procedures and eliminating liabilities or liens, as well as resolving any outstanding litigation.
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Commodities to break record

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Commodities to break recordAccording to the country's Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, commodity export volumes are expected to increase drastically in the next year in Australia, reaching a record $209 billion.

Despite the volatility of the market and the increase in some commodity prices, export volumes will climb significantly, with exports of iron ore expected to increase 9 percent from last year and aluminum, nickel and zinc also being expected to experience jumps, the Herald Sun reported.

"High prices for many base metals in the preceding few years provided incentives for producers to mine progressively lower grade ores and deposits that are technically more difficult to mine," stated an official from the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, according to the Herald Sun. "If prices continue to fall, the higher extraction and refining costs will cause a number of mines to become unprofitable and shut down. This in turn will lead to a reduction in supply, which will provide some support for commodity prices."

In the United States, the price of one commodity - corn - is rising. The country is now dealing with a shortage of corn, following stifling weather conditions, making supply an issue for farmers in the Midwest region of the country and forcing them to explore cost savings methods.
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Pentagon targets supply chain for savings

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Pentagon targets supply chain for savingsAccording to a report released by Deloitte Consulting LLP, military spending on maintenance of equipment, supplies and transportation is estimated to be close to $150 billion, causing some to research how those costs could be cut and the money reallocated for other areas.

Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek, director of the Defense Logistics Agency in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, stated that saving money spent on military operations is tough, according to National Defense magazine.

“Our theme for the [fiscal year 2014] program budget review is to reduce cost and improve support,” Harnitchek told reporters on June 27 at a breakfast meeting, adding that bloated inventories will be cut before they target cutting staff for savings.

Over the next five years, Harnitchek has directed the Defense Logistics Agency to cut $10 billion in costs, which he says will be a challenge, National Defense stated.

Military deployments will not be figured into the cost savings.

According to a poll recently conducted by business consultancy Oliver Wight, a market-driven supply chain is a significant concern for businesses. The Pentagon may not have to be responsive to a consumer base in the way a retail operation might, but it faces many of the same challenges confronted by businesses. Overbuy of supplies and overspending on fuel could be two issues addressed to achieve the ambitious agenda, according to the write-up in National Defense.
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Commodities futures up as weather threatens growers globally

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Commodities futures up as weather threatens growers globallyThe Standard & Poor's GSCI gauge of 24 commodities recently increased 0.8 percent to 577, being sparked by cocoa and sugar, which experienced jumps in stocks.

Cocoa and sugar were forecast to struggle as a result of the wet weather in West Africa hurting the crops, driving futures up, according to Reuters.

According to an AccuWeather report cited by Reuters, rain across the Ivory Coast, which is the largest area for cocoa growers, and also affecting Nigeria and Cameroon, is expected to be 0.2 inches to 0.7 inches daily.

Raw sugar futures also increased, ending June 27 up more than 4 percent recently following concern about near-term supplies in Brazil, which is the top growing country for sugar.

Bloomberg recently reported that corn is seeing an increase in futures, jumping 2 to 4 cents a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on June 27 following hot and dry weather conditions in the Midwest region of the United States that threaten the crop.
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California hospital saves money by joining healthcare alliance

on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

California hospital saves money by joining healthcare allianceEl Centro Regional Medical Center recently saved $1.2 million in its first year of being in partnership with a healthcare alliance, illustrating that such a relationship could be beneficial to a medical center's supply chain.

Small, independent rural hospitals are in need of financial security, considering many are facing state and federal funding cuts. Supply chain management has become more important to companies looking to achieve this goal of security.

"We signed a simple agreement that did not tie our hands," said Tony Hinds, senior director of ECRMC supply chain management. "It offered us better pricing in return for aggregating our volume with Adventist Health. It's a no-brainer - if you want a seat at the table, if you want to be heard, if you want to be a part of the decision-making process, and if you want to save a lot of money."

The Adventist Health Materiel Management Affiliate Program team leaders help affiliates by communicating with them on a regular basis to analyze spend for savings and consult on other supply and procurement issues, such as contracting.

HealthCareITNews.com recently quoted a supply chain expert, recommending IT systems support maximum flexibility for hospitals to see the most benefit.
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Cincinnati hospital reduces healthcare-associated infections

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Cincinnati hospital reduces healthcare-associated infectionsAnderson Hospital and Mercy Hospital-Clermont Health in Cincinnati recently reported exceptional results from their new strategies to reduce healthcare-associated infections by using a product that includes service documentation technology.

The hospital recently implemented a new technology that uses ultraviolet light to eliminate harmful bacteria, becoming the first hospital in Ohio to use the disinfection equipment called the Intelligent Room Sterilization system.

"We already do a tremendous job of reducing the risk of infection to our patients, but we want to do everything we can to provide an even safer environment," said Gayle Heintzelman, site administrator at Clermont Hospital. "The results clearly show that this system makes a difference. Not only are we able to improve the cleaning process with IRiS, we are able to do it while still providing the same high level of service our patients have come to expect."

The IRiS system is distributed by Medline, one of the leading providers of healthcare solutions, which makes supply chain and logistics easier for companies. One useful component of the IRiS product is a system that automatically tracks where, when and by whom the product was used. Utilization tracking not only helps with compliance and management issues, but provides useful data to streamline and economize procurement.

The Washington Regional Medical Center was recently recognized for its supply chain management, proving hospitals are becoming more conscious of savings.
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Corn supply diminishing from heat

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Corn supply diminishing from heatHeat in the American Midwest is affecting more than the people who have to cope with high temperatures -- crops in the region are also suffering.

Corn supplies in the United States are declining at the fastest pace since 1996, affecting the world's largest harvest for the third year in a row, according to Bloomberg News.

“We have a potential disaster developing for the U.S. corn supply,” said Peter Meyer, the senior director for agricultural commodities at PIRA Energy Group in New York, who cut his corn crop forecast after surveying fields in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio last week. “This year may be the worst yet.”

Stockpiles were close to 3.168 bushels on June 1, which is 47 percent less than the number on March 1, according to Bloomberg data compiled from 22 analysts' average estimates.

While supplies diminished, corn improved 17 percent this month to $6.4825 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, and it trailed only wheat and natural gas out of the 24 commodities on the Standard & Poor's GSCI Spot Index, which decreased 3 percent.

According to The Associated Press, farmers were able to get an earlier start this year because of the mild winter, leading to some hope for the most bountiful crop since 1937.
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Pharmaceutical company shifts focus

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Pharmaceutical company shifts focusAMAG Pharmaceuticals recently announced several changes to its supply chain management strategy that the company is hoping will reduce its operating expenses.

The company is now focusing on advancing its product Feraheme, which is used for the treatment of anemia in adult chronic kidney disease patients. AMAG is shifting to an outsourced manufacturing model in an effort to reduce internal development expenses, which will entail closing a manufacturing facility in Massachusetts.

“The decision to eliminate positions is never easy and I want to thank the impacted individuals who have contributed greatly to AMAG over the years,” said William Heiden, president and chief executive officer of AMAG. "Today’s announcement signals a continuation of AMAG’s transformation into a highly focused, commercially oriented specialty pharmaceutical company."

Heiden also said the company will look to launch its products in international markets even as it curtails certain activities in the manufacturing and development spheres.

According to an Accenture report, more pharmaceutical companies have trimmed operational expenses to cut costs during the economic downturn, due in part to rising R&D costs that have prevented lucrative innovations.
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Pharmaceutical supply chains combat counterfeiting

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Pharmaceutical supply chains combat counterfeitingA recently released report from GBI Research showed that pharmaceutical companies are looking to crack down on fake drugs and increase their profits while paying more attention to their supply chains.

The report, called "Pharmaceutical Supply Chain in the U.S. - Advances in RFID and ePedigree Systems to Limit Drug Counterfeits," described the importance of companies having a strategic supply chain management system in place to maximize profitability as well as customer safety. For example, radio-frequency identification technology enables better tracking of drug shipments and makes counterfeiting more difficult, improving outcomes both from a bottom-line and patient health perspective.

Companies are also looking to employ third-party companies to handle logistics in order to improve flexibility when demand is fluctuating. According to a PharmaBiz.com summary of the report, this outsourcing means that when drug demand drops, pharmaceutical companies will be able to reduce their order volume as opposed to shuttering or transitioning internal production facilities.

A recent report from PwC US stated that medical technology companies are looking to acquire greater visibility into global supply chains to reduce risks, leading more businesses to look at customized strategies to best serve niche or local markets.
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Strategic Sourcing in Every Day Living

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Every week I balance my checkbook, check my accounts online, and put change in my piggy bank. I then try to think back about what I purchased that week that cost so much money.  Most people do not think about the small change and under five dollar purchases they make almost every day…but this can really add up.  It is only June but I have decided to make some financial resolutions to cut costs, save money, and put more dollars in the bank.

Here are two immediate strategies that can be used to cut costs.

Using Coupons at the store (not only the grocery store):

Everyone is aware that food markets of all types accept coupons.  There are many retail stores that do as well including department stores, hardware stores and home furnishing stores to name a few.  Sometimes you can use more than one coupon at a time and expired ones too.  A perfect example is Bed Bath & Beyond; you can use as many 20% off coupons as you have products and they never expire.  Yes they have a date on them but the store always accepts them.  Unfortunately they only let you use one of the $5 off coupons.  There are some other stores that may say you cannot use multiple coupons but I always ask them to try anyway.  You would be surprised how many registers are able to process them.

I do a lot of clothes shopping at Macy’s but most of the time you have to use your Macy’s card to make the purchase.  I definitely do not want to add anything else to my credit cards but if it is a really expensive purchase, you can always make a payment to the card immediately after purchasing the product.  Sometimes there are coupons that can be used with any payment.  Kohl’s for example gives you Kohl’s cash and you do not need a Kohl’s card to use it.  Also, if the coupon expires, it never hurts to present it anyway.  Most of the time no one looks at the date and the system accepts it anyway. 

Stop Going Out to Lunch:

I go out to lunch with co-workers almost every day and it is expensive.  A sandwich and drink from most places around can be anywhere from $7-$12 if you are lucky, and I am not referring to fast food places like McDonalds.  For this amount I can buy some lunch meat, bread, fixings, salad, chips, drinks, and other tid bits and have enough food for two weeks.  I am not saying I will never go out but let’s be honest; I never just eat out either.  There is always a run to the mall or store and picking up something I really don’t need coupons or not.  Having food in the office allows me to enjoy my break without having to rush, catch up with some gossip, and save some money for more important purchases. 

You would be amazed with how much money you have after a month of not going out.  Based on my calculations it is over $2,000 per year.  If I really make an effort and use my couponse I can save an additional $3,000 on clothes.  WOW!  Now I can take that European vacation I have been planning for the past 3 years.
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FDA approves Dune Medical Devices

on Tuesday, June 26, 2012

FDA approves Dune Medical DevicesDune Medical Devices recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its MarginProbe System for use in breast cancer surgery. Use of the system could potentially improve patient outcomes while cutting costs for hospitals.

The FDA's Advisory Panel voted 10-1 in favor of the system that is an alternative to traditional surgery methods. The application for approval was submitted by the medical device company in April 2011 after reviewing data from a study conducted with 600 patients in the United States.

According to a Dune press release announcing the MarginProbe approval, about 30 to 60 percent of breast conservation surgery patients undergo additional surgeries as a result of doctors failing to achieve negative margins. The MarginProbe system is designed to reduce the number of follow-up surgeries by improving initial surgery results, adding efficiency to the hospital system and improving quality of care.

"We are very pleased with the panel's positive decision on the MarginProbe System for use in the U.S.," said Dan Levangie, Dune's chief executive officer. "We believe that the MarginProbe System will give surgeons a powerful tool in their fight against breast cancer and provide women a substantially better chance of avoiding additional surgeries. We will work closely with the FDA to complete the approval process and intend to launch the MarginProbe System in the U.S. immediately thereafter."
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Dupont Hospital hires new COO

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Dupont Hospital hires new COO Dupont Hospital officials recently announced a new chief operating officer has been hired to provide oversight of support and ancillary services, such as biomedical engineering, at the Fort Wayne, Indiana, hospital.

Bonnie Hanson will take over the reigns as the new COO, coming from Southwest Healthcare System in Murrieta, California, where she has been an associate administrator since 2010.

"We feel extremely fortunate to attract such a well-rounded team member to Dupont Hospital,” said Chad Towner, CEO of Dupont Hospital. “Bonnie clearly stood out from her competition during our search and we are very excited to add her to our administrative team.”

Hanson was also an associate administrator in two HCA hospitals after completing her Bachelor of Science in health promotion and disease prevention studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Hanson may find her job overseeing operations is made easier by Fort Wayne's location, as she will have plenty of options to procure products that are manufactured locally. Indiana has recently improved its position in the healthcare supply chain, leading the United States in life sciences jobs and growth, according to a  Battelle/Biotechnology Industry Organization report. The number of bioscience jobs has grown by 14 percent since 2001, and the state is a national leader in medical devices and equipment, as well as bioscience distribution, which includes biomedical equipment and supplies and drugs and pharmaceuticals.
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Report: Medical tech companies look to form customized growth strategies

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Report: Medical tech companies look to form customized growth strategies According to a recently published study co-sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers US and released by Axendia, medical technology companies are looking at new methods to increase their visibility globally, finding an approach that does not cater to all markets but specializes to serve niches.

The customized growth strategies being explored by companies are aiming to penetrate emerging markets, tailoring business to unique local market needs. Challenges facing companies have been found to limit the businesses' promotions and visibility in globalized manufacturing and distribution chains.

The report is called "Walking the Global Tightrope: Balancing the Risks and Rewards of Med-Tech Globalization," and reveals the results of a survey of 125 executives from medical technology companies, including makers and distributors of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical products and devices, in 16 countries.

"Globalization is the byword for medical technology companies these days - and for most companies going 'global' means going to emerging markets," said Wynn Bailey, pharmaceutical and life sciences advisory services partner, PwC. "However, succeeding in emerging markets is not simply a matter of expanding operations into these countries. Leading companies are developing tailored supply chain strategies that are designed to respond to the unique needs and expectations of each particular market, thereby giving them the best chance to succeed in realizing their growth ambition."

The survey provided an in-depth look into the sourcing, manufacturing and distribution of medical technology products, showing the ups and downs of supply chain management.

According to the report, nine out of 10 executives who were surveyed expect their business to grow globally in the next three years. Eighty-eight percent also reported they expect increased sales in the BRIC nations (Brazil, India and China) and other emerging markets compared with 69 percent who expect increased sales in the United States and other developed markets.

A majority of the executives surveyed lack confidence as a result of low visibility and control over their global and outsourced operations. The report showed that 59 percent of those surveyed are worried about their company's ability to maintain consistent quality standards across internal and external sites.

Companies are beginning to look at technology as the best option for increasing visibility into their supply chains, but have not yet reached their full potential in leveraging tech for this purpose.

"The reliance on IT systems to help medical technology companies integrate across their organizations and achieve global visibility will succeed only if these systems are shared across the extended value chain of customers, the company, the company's suppliers, and their suppliers' suppliers," said Bailey. "These systems need to meet the bar of producing high-quality, actionable data. Companies need to implement risk management and supplier relationship management systems that can bridge organizational boundaries and improve quality and reduce risk."

The study also includes a plethora of strategies for medical technology companies to think about implementing in order to manage the challenges of conducting business in the global and networked environment.

"We believe the automobile industry, which has developed marketing and product distribution strategies tailored to different local markets and implemented effective cross-border supplier control systems, may offer examples of leading practices for other technology-based industries," said Daniel Matlis, president of Axendia. "Medical technology companies should seek to benchmark themselves, not only against their peers but against other industries."

When it comes to taking advantage of technology to improve supply chain positioning, companies should also keep sustainability issues in mind, according to a recent article on the website TriplePundit. To really track their sustainability profile, companies increasingly will need to bring their suppliers into their green initiatives, so to remain globally competitive, suppliers will need greater transparency on these issues, and appropriate software systems can help in this effort.
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Business growth enablers: E-invoicing and the value of Automated Invoice Processing solutions

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At our company, we are well aware that the world of corporate treasury services is constantly changing, payment collection and accounts payable operations have become more strategic among corporations as executives realize the potential value that can be generated by improving their cash and liquidity management. More and more, we are brought onto these types of initiatives; where regardless of their nature, the goals are almost always the same: increasing cash flows, streamlining processes and creating value while maintaining regulatory compliance.

Within this environment, a trending topic these days is E-Invoicing. Although electronic invoices (e-invoices) are not a new conception, it’s only now that they have started to trend and demonstrate their value to procurement executives in companies of all sizes. Much of this value is driven by two critical factors unlike some years ago they are present today: low-cost technology applications or “apps” and social networks.

When speaking about apps, the first underlying advantage when processing E-invoices throughout these applications is that it allows buyers and suppliers boost their efficiency by accelerating the resolution of discrepancies and minimizing errors generated during the manual processing of hundreds of invoices.

But this is only the starting point; the real value of e-invoicing comes from automating its processing. Think about the average time it takes to process a single invoice, 30 or 20 days, maybe 15 if you’re very efficient? Well, the reality is that with today’s overwhelming flows of information, many purchasing professionals consider this time and energy a total waste of valuable resources spent on validation, authorization and remittance tasks. Automated invoice processing solutions, such as cloud-based web platforms let companies run the same processes with little effort and minimum cost to clear and authorize invoices as fast as the same day.

This is where social networks come into play; at corporate levels, companies relate to their clients and supplies in the same manner individuals do on Facebook and Twitter; because of this, social networks have had a profound impact on changing customer service expectations, increasing flexibility and enhancing communication and transparency. The fact that these platforms are so versatile these days has had a direct impact on the flows of information among corporations forcing them to expedite their operations and incorporate user friendly applications to their processes. E-invoicing and invoice automated processing systems have incorporated these features, which allow companies interact and process their payables with all their suppliers around the globe with much more efficiency.

But beyond the creation of efficiencies, the strategic value of this practice is embedded in the expedited invoice validation (for payment). Let’s look at the process more closely: because e-invoicing reduces errors by cross-referencing the invoice parameters against contract information and purchase orders, the invoice is validated faster and discrepancies are addressed punctually which normally results in earlier payment. If your company has been wise to negotiate early payment discounts, this means more tangible money or capital for the company and faster cash collection.

And if this is not enough to compel your company to consider implementing e-invoicing best practices; you may want to start thinking about the advantages of reducing your overpayment and (therefore) costs associated to recovery claims and dispute resolution processes, which I’m sure are far from cero, and let’s be serious, with the economy these days who wants to be sitting on a stack of invoices while others “just hold onto the cash for a little longer”?
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Washington Regional Medical recognized for supply chain management

on Monday, June 25, 2012

Washington Regional Medical recognized for supply chain management Washington Regional Medical Center in Northwest Arkansas recently was recognized for its success in improving its supply chain management while maintaining excellence in patient care.

The medical center was honored by VHA Inc., a national healthcare network. Washington Regional was one of nine healthcare organizations across the country that were honored with a Supply Chain Management Excellence Award at VHA's Annual Leadership Conference recently in Denver.

According to one of the hospital's executives, the supply chain efficiencies were realized through better collaboration among stakeholders.

“We established a committee aimed at proactively reviewing the proposed purchase of new technology or new supplies in a collective and collaborative manner,” said Jack Morris, Washington Regional vice president of logistics. “Committee members represent various departments and bring the hospital’s clinical, financial and compliance needs together in the final decision.”

Other hospitals around the country are streamlining supply chains by implementing more electronic management. According to the Healthcare Supply Chain Association blog, embracing ecommerce for pharmaceutical and medical device procurement is a highly effective way for providers to cut costs.
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Microcatheter granted FDA approval

on Friday, June 22, 2012

Microcatheter granted FDA approvalSurefire Medical, a pharmaceutical and hospital equipment company, recently received FDA 510(k) FDA approval for a high-flow microcatheter the company manufactured.

The medical device will be used to provide therapy at a higher infusion efficiency than traditional microcatheters. The expandable tip on the microcatheter allows the device to expand in reverse flow and collapses in forward flow, achieving an average infusion efficiency of 99.1 percent compared with 72.8 percent for traditional catheters.

"Working with key interventional radiologists, our research and development team has created a highly trackable, sleek microcatheter designed to accommodate smaller vessels and selective procedures," said Jim Chomas, CEO of Surefire Medical. "The addition of the Surefire High-Flow Microcatheter will enable physicians to treat more patients with addressable disease."

The initial Surefire Infusion system has been used in 68 top-tier hospitals in interventional procedures to treat primary and secondary liver cancer.

BeckersASC Review recently suggested making sure that devices used in hospitals be reviewed extensively from a cost perspective. New and higher-end equipment - of which this new catheter is an example - could be worth a higher cost upfront to ensure a longer lifespan.
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"Green" Trucks use gas...Natural gas!

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In an effort to present an ethical and forward-thinking corporate image, many organizations have looked towards their supply chain as an area where "Green" improvements can be made, and touted in the marketplace. While many of these initiatives are driven purely from a marketing standpoint, where the goal is simply to do something environmental, the introduction of trucks powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) has become the focus of an environmental move that could significantly impact US energy consumption, and the economy as a whole.

The endeavor to replace gasoline/diesel components of transportation networks took a great leap forward as Shell has announced plans to develop and operate a network of no less than 200 service stations in a partnership with Travel Centers. This is very important to the viability of this venture, and developing the infrastructure required to support "green" trucks.

But is natural gas all it’s cracked up to be?

It’s “Clean”… or is it?
New research by the Environmental Protection Agency--and a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full "life cycle" of gas production--is casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change. While the gas certainly is the cleanest fossil fuel to utilize, the pollutants emitted during the extraction process are often not taken into account when studies of the environmental effects are conducted.

It's Domestic...
It’s hard to argue with that. Reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil is one of the leading arguments of natural gas advocates. There is an abundance of natural gas in North America, but it is a non-renewable resource, the formation of which takes thousands and possibly millions of years. Therefore, understanding the availability of the country’s supply of natural gas is important as we increase our use of this fossil fuel.

Regardless of the environmental impacts, the use of LNG is bound to increase, as a low cost alternative fuel. The real question that remains is how this resource will be controlled, and how long it will take providers such as Shell to hop on board, and begin developing the infrastructure necessary to truly make this a real substitute for oil.
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The BRIC, the MIKT and the Next Eleven – The New Generation of Strategic Sourcing and Near-shoring Destinations: Part 2 – Russia. (In Spanish)

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As I presented on the first part of this blogging series, member countries of the BRIC and MIKT have recently gained relevance and momentum as their economies consolidate by successfully opening their markets to the globe while stabilizing growth and attracting new capitals. However, the alleged promising economies are also facing challenges in the social, political and environmental arenas that can negatively affect their potential. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these “new lands of promise”, starting with a BRIC country: Russia.

Aunque Rusia es una de las economías emergentes mas prominentes actualmente, no se habla mucho de las bases que sustentan su competitividad ni los retos que enfrenta como atractivo a la inversión de capitales extranjeros.

La realidad es que en los últimos años, Rusia ha alcanzado solidez en términos económicos y financieros, resultado derivado del alza a los precios del petróleo y el gas natural, commodities en los que Rusia sustenta la mayor parte de su economía. En el primer cuatrimestre del 2012 el Producto Interno Bruto de Rusia se expandió hasta en 4.5% anual después de haber observado un crecimiento del 4.7% en el periodo anterior. La industria de los combustibles fósiles en Rusia ha alcanzado tal magnitud que el año pasado el país supero a Arabia Saudita como el principal productor de petróleo.

Aún cuándo el desarrollo económico en Rusia ha disminuido en relación a años anteriores a la crisis global del 2008 cuando Rusia alcanzó hasta 7% de crecimiento, la nación sigue observando un desarrollo por encima de otras economías emergentes como lo es Brasil y manteniendo la tasa inflacionaria a niveles por debajo del 4%; que incluso esta por debajo de muchas economías desarrolladas.

Sin embargo, la realidad es que una economía tan dependiente de los combustibles fósiles es extraordinariamente vulnerable a la volatilidad de los precios de estos índices. El modelo económico ruso depende en gran medida de los niveles de consumo de estos combustibles y esta poco fundamentado en la inversión de infraestructura y el flujo de capitales extranjeros. Actualmente, Rusia esta situado como uno de los países peor calificados para hacer negocios, lo cual esta reflejado directamente por la misma dependencia en un solo sector productivo.

La solución más efectiva se derivaría de reformas económicas sustanciales que fomenten y retengan la inversión de capitales y diversifiquen el modelo de sustentabilidad económica que actualmente rige al país. Una de estas reformas implicaría generar mayor transparencia y acceso a la información publica de modo que la inversión extranjera tenga claridad en como se invierten y manejan los capitales, lo que haría mas eficientes y mas claros los procesos burocráticos y consolidaría la confianza de los inversionistas al menos en algunos sectores industriales de esta economía.

Finalmente, Rusia tendría que reducir su dependencia en el sector energético y enfocar esfuerzos en la retención de capitales asignados al desarrollo de infraestructura. Esto reduciría en buena medida la volatilidad de su economía y prevendría caídas importantes como la que se vio en el 2009 cuando su PIB se contrajo hasta en un 7% debido a la baja demanda de petróleo y derivados.

Actualmente, Rusia ofrece un alto retorno a la inversión debido al alto riesgo que representa, sin embargo, en un clima global actualmente adverso al riesgo, los flujos de inversión tienden a moverse a modelos económicos mas estables en los que la transparencia y la gobernabilidad corporativa sustentan la confianza en la inversión. Irónicamente, para Rusia, el primer paso a la consolidación es su diversificación.
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Suggestions for purchasing medical equipment

on Thursday, June 21, 2012

Suggestions for purchasing medical equipmentBeckersASC Review recently provided tips to consider when purchasing ophthalmic surgical instruments.

The surgical equipment industry has undergone significant changes in the past five years, Beckers stated. Some changes, such as greater instrument specialization, are related to the products themselves, while other changes, like wider adoption of efficient online ordering, are related to the purchasing process. Despite these changes, the basics remain the same. Hospitals need to procure high-quality instruments that will not compromise patient safety.

The first thing to consider, the source suggested, is up-front versus long-term savings. Hospitals might purchase a cheaper product initially, but end up with faulty equipment, forcing the organization to spend twice as much to replace the equipment.

Also, if a price is too good to be true, it probably is, the source cautioned. Low-priced surgical instruments are often of poor quality. When some companies offer discounted prices for their equipment, it could also indicate that child labor was used in the manufacturing process. To determine whether a price is reasonable, Becker's suggested looking into the cost of raw materials needed to manufacture the instrument.

In addition to the points raised by Becker's, those responsible for hospital purchases might look at a recent Healthcare IT News article that detailed how a Texas hospital streamlined its supply chain. That article stressed the importance of capturing data about utilization to cut down on unnecessary orders.
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Schizophrenia drug approved

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Schizophrenia drug approvedSunovion Pharmaceuticals Canada recently announced the drug Latuda was approved for the treatment of adult patients who have been diagnosed with acute schizophrenia.

The drug was approved by Health Canada after 48 clinical studies that involved more than 2,900 lurasidone-treated subjects.

"We are pleased that Latuda has achieved this significant milestone," said Douglas Reynolds, president of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. "More importantly, Latuda will provide patients in Canada suffering from schizophrenia a new option that can help support their treatment goals for this serious and complex disorder."

Schizophrenia drugs have been at the center of concerns regarding international pharmaceutical supply chains. In 2007, the British Department of Health discovered the country's supply chain had been compromised with counterfeit drugs. "All of Europe is on edge," the Orange County Register stated after the discovery of counterfeit Zyprexa, a leading schizophrenia drug, in the British supply.

The Register cited statistics from a 2005 FDA airport search, which found that 85 percent of drugs labeled "Canadian" were actually from other countries.
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Valeant Pharmaceuticals to make acquisition

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Valeant Pharmaceuticals to make acquisitionValeant Pharmaceuticals, a multinational pharmaceutical company, recently announced that it has agreed to acquire OraPharma, a specialty oral health company.

Valeant will acquire the company from Water Street Healthcare, a private equity firm.

"We are excited to enter a new attractive market segment with an already established sales infrastructure focused entirely on the dental community," said J. Michael Pearson, chairman and CEO of Valeant. "We believe that this market segment has similar characteristics to the dermatology, podiatry and ophthalmology markets and should offer us the opportunity to cross-sell some of our current products, most notably our new topical prescription cold sore medication, Xerese."

The transaction is not expected to be completed until the end of June, but will include a total consideration of $312 million.

Valeant also recently announced the successful syndication of $600 million of incremental term loans under its senior secured credit facilities, which will mature in 2019.
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Dalton Pharma Services enters agreement with pharmaceutical company

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Dalton Pharma Services enters agreement with pharmaceutical companyCanada-based Dalton Pharma Services recently entered into an agreement with Clarity Pharmaceuticals, a company based in Sydney, Australia, that focuses on developing radiopharmaceuticals using technology from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization and the University of Melbourne.

"Our expert capabilities in the manufacture of complex chemical products, including conjugation under sterile cGMP conditions and our strength in aseptic filling, solidified the manufacturing agreement," said Peter Pekos, CEO of Dalton. "We are excited to have the opportunity to work with Clarity in bringing this breakthrough imaging technology from a research setting to the drug development industry. Adding Clarity to our growing list of strategic relationships with innovative clients is an important milestone for Dalton."

The partnership is a strategic move from a supply chain perspective. Dalton will supply Clarity with both manufacturing and analysis services, including chemistry manufacturing and asceptic fill/finish services.

According to Matt Harris, managing director of Clarity, the agreement is part of the company's plan to make its diagnostic tools "quickly available to the pharmaceutical development industry."

Dalton recently received Good Laboratory Practices Certification from The Standards Council of Canada.
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