July 2012
Two deals closed by healthcare players in the southern USTwo players in the healthcare industry in the U.S. South recently closed deals. In one case, the deal will impact hospital staffing, and the other will more directly affect the supply chain for medical products.

Accountable Healthcare Holdings Corporation, which provides quality healthcare staffing solutions, recently became a more formidable company in the southeastern U.S. market by acquiring First Choice Staffing Solutions.

First Choice Staffing Solutions is a private company that specializes in delivering skilled healthcare professionals to medical facilities around the Central and South Georgia areas. The company is based in Macon, Georgia.

First Choice Staffing is Accountable Healthcare Solutions' third acquisition this year. The company has acquired so many other companies in order to stay on task to implement its plan to increase the number of startup offices.

"I am extremely pleased to close the acquisition of First Choice which has a stellar reputation in the market which they serve," stated Robert J. Adamson, Chairman & CEO of Accountable Healthcare Holdings Corp. "The owners will stay on after the acquisition and Accountable plans to add resources to facilitate growth of the business. First Choice will be rebranded to Accountable Healthcare Staffing."

The state of Georgia has more than a 150 general hospitals and hundreds of healthcare facilities, making the acquisition by Accountable Healthcare Holdings a profitable business move that could generate cost savings and make physicians' job easier. The acquisition also gives AHS a way to expand and grow its business outside of Georgia.

"We are very excited to be part of the Accountable Healthcare Staffing family," said Vic Rowan, CEO of First Choice Staffing Solutions, LLC.  "This will no doubt allow us to offer our clients an array of services to meet their needs, while offering more opportunities for our nurses to help them meet their career goals."

AHS has more than two centuries of experience between the executive management and branch teams, who provide quality healthcare staffing solutions in the Georgia area. The company is the fastest growing healthcare staffing agency in the country and has gained a positive reputation in Boca Raton, Florida; Clearwater, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Portland, Oregon; East Brunswick, New Jersey; Houston, Texas and Macon, Georgia.

Roper Industries acquires Sunquest
Roper Industries also recently announced a complete acquisition of Sunquest for an estimated $1.42 billion, according to The Associated Press. Roper Industries is a medical and industrial equipment maker based in Tucson, Arizona, and Sunquest, which designs hospital software, is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida.

"Sunquest meets all of Roper's key acquisition criteria and is an ideal fit with both our medical and software platforms," said Roper chairman, president and CEO Brian Jellison in a statement recently.

According to Roper officials, Sunquest will continue to operate under its own name and market products and services under its current brand name. Sunquest is owned by groups including Huntsman Gay Global Capital and Vista Equity Partners. The president of the company stated that the acquisition will provide the company with the finances and strategic resourcing that is necessary to increase the number of products and the quality of the materials and services being offered by the company.

The acquisition will reportedly take 30 days to become official. Following the acquisition, Roper's earnings increased 8 percent to $114.8 million, or $1.14 per share, from $106.3 million just a year earlier.
Cisco acquires NDS Cisco recently announced a complete acquisition of NDS Group Ltd., which is known for being a leading provider of video software.

The definitive agreement was announced almost five months ago by Cisco, which is an industry leader in the telepresence space. The new partnership will create efficiencies that should allow for better supply chain management, speeding product development.

"The addition of NDS' leading software solutions and systems integration expertise play a key role in accelerating the Cisco Videoscape platform aimed at delivering better-than-being-there entertainment experiences," said Jesper Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of Service Provider Video Technology Group. "Through our combined expertise, we look forward to providing the next-generation TV experience that is more immersive, engaging and social, while helping to create new revenue opportunities for our service provider customers."

Cisco expanded its footprint in the global video market following the acquisition of NDS, further advancing its service provider presence and re-establishing customer relationships.

Shares of Cisco increased 1.2 percent on July 30, with the company ending as one of the top gainers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Drew Marine acquires complete control of Chemring The supply chain for marine rescue products will be affected by a deal that recently went through. A previously announced acquisition of Chemring Group PLC's maritime interests was recently completed by affiliates of J.F. Lehman-owned Drew Marine.

Chemring was acquired for cash consideration and will now be renamed Drew Marine Signal and Safety under Drew Marine's ownership. Following the acquisition, DMSS will be a leading supplier of marine distress signals, such as handflares, manoverboard buoys, line-throwers and other products that are used for rescues.

The brands that will manufacture the rescue devices include Pains Wessex, Comet, Aurora and Oroquieta. All of the products will be manufactured in Bremerhaven, Germany; Pamplona, Spain; and Lara, Australia. Despite having different manufacturing plants, the company will continue to have a headquarters in the U.K. city of Hampshire.

"On behalf of all of our global employees, I am extremely pleased to formally welcome the outstanding management and employees of DMSS to the Drew Marine family," said Len Gelosa, president and CEO of Drew Marine. "The acquisition of DMSS's market leading brands and technology fits perfectly with our strategy to expand our FSR capabilities and provide essential safety and rescue products to the global maritime industry."

Drew Marine describes itself as one of the global leaders in technical solutions and services to the marine industry. The company focuses on products in water treatment, fire, safety & rescue and refrigeration and sealing products, in addition to other services.

Financing for the acquisition was supplied by BNP Paribas Securities Corporation and mezzanine financing was provided by affiliates of Babsen Capital.

"The acquisition of DMSS represents a major milestone for Drew Marine," said Louis Mintz, partner of DMSS. "DMSS is a highly complementary fit with Drew Marine and has many of the characteristics J.F. Lehman & Company seeks in acquisition candidates - leading market positions, blue-chip global customers, established brands synonymous with quality, recurring and regulatory-driven demand and a strong track record of performance. We expect to leverage all of these attributes and pursue new opportunities for growth."

Rescue products have been found to be profitable of late. Marine Products Corporation recently announced a 32.2 percent increase in net sales, proving the market is improving for the services and products the company offers.
Simplifying the medical and dental supply chain A supplier of titanium alloy long products called Dynamet Inc. is preparing for a session that it will sponsor, which will highlight the current challenges and future trends of the international medical industry.

The 28th annual conference and exhibition was organized by the International Titanium Association and will be held from October 7-19 at the Hilton Atlanta.

"Titanium companies that focus on research and development, innovation and cost reduction will be in the best position to participate in a medical device market that has good fundamentals in place to represent strong demand for many years to come," said Thomas Zuccarini, Dynamet manager of medical and consumer markets and sales administration.

Speakers will provide insight into the industry and how companies in the titanium global supply chain are preparing themselves for longevity and sustainability in the medical sector.

According to Zuccarini, trends are moving more toward active lifestyles and adopting titanium to control healthcare costs.

The global dental equipment market will be worth approximately $6.1 billion by 2016, according to a recent report.
Verdugo Hills may merge with USC medical center Hospital mergers can create cost reductions through supply chain efficiencies, leaving all parties better off. However, a merger situation in California is causing some contention. Verdugo Hills Hospital recently entered into merger discussions with USC's Keck Medical Center, according to officials.

The board of directors from Verdugo Hills voted for the two medical facilities to merge at a June meeting, according to hospital spokeswoman Celine Petrossian, who was quoted by the Los Angeles Times. The Verdugo Hills Hospital is on the border of Glendale and La Canada Flintridge and hopes to have a deal completed with USC by the end of the year.

Glendale Adventist Medical Center made its desire known to partner with Verdugo Hills first, and released a statement recently that its medical center would've been a better partner as a result of having several doctors who work at both hospitals.

“We are very disappointed in this decision,” said Kevin Roberts, president and chief executive of Glendale Adventist, in the statement. “We have a deep knowledge of local healthcare needs and a long history providing high-quality healthcare to the residents of Glendale and the Foothill communities.”

Last year, Keck Hospital and the entire Keck Medical Center of USC recorded a total revenue of $1.82 billion, according to the American Hospital Directory.
FDA announces proposal for unique device identification system The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently proposed a unique identification system for certain medical devices, potentially impacting both the vendor and buyer sides of the healthcare supply chain.

A report from 1999 showed that an estimated 100,000 people die annually as a result of medical errors that could be avoided if certain preventative measures were taken, which led to a law being created and finally implemented in 2006 that led to pharmaceutical products being labeled with scannable labels, according to Becker's ASC Review.

"At that time, the FDA and center of radiological health wanted to do the same for medical devices but realized there was no standard out there," said Karen Conway, executive director of industry relations at GHX, who was quoted by Becker's. "That's what led to the inclusion of the language in a 2007 act mandating the FDA establish this unique device identifier system; the FDA has been working on developing this rule for five years. I think it's a good thing they have looked at this really carefully."

The Federal Register began a 120-day comment period on the proposed rule that will gauge feedback from those who are involved in the process of establishing the new system that's expected to improve the supply chain. Becker's pointed out that the pharmaceutical scanning system has not caught on, with fewer than half of U.S. hospitals employing it. The comment period is intended to strengthen industry buy-in of this new system.

According to Conway, the FDA is allowed to control whether suppliers put the bar codes and identifiers on, but it must also deliver value to the physicians and other healthcare professionals. She suggested several things to know about the newly proposed rule and how providers can use the UDI system to their advantage.

Tracking implants

The system will allow medical facilities to track implants, allowing them to document what implants are used and how patients respond to them. Orthopedics cases are especially in need of more attention. In recent years, providers were presented with or caused complications related to standard devices such as metal-on-metal hip replacements, which could be addressed if the tracking system is adopted.

"If you have a specific UDI for a hip implant and captured it in the patient's electronic medical record, surgeons can see in advance exactly what kind of implant is already there," said Conway. "Additionally, if a patient is in the ambulance and being transferred to the ER, physicians should be able to see whether the patient has a specific kind of implant so they are more effective in the procedural suite. We don't have that capability with each case yet."

Improving the supply chain
According to Conway, managing the supply chain will be made easier through the new system, as providers will be able to tell how much they are purchasing and what products they're using to cut back on wasteful spending.

"There are several benefits from supply chain efficiency," said Conway. "For example, by capturing data on consumption, versus the more traditional focus on how much product is ordered, providers can help reduce the amount of product that might expire before use."

While this tracking technology could have a transformative impact on the healthcare supply chain, it is not the only development that could have a profound effect. According to Becker's, focusing on entrepreneurial manufacturers with FDA-approved products is one of the popular trends in the medical device industry. There has been a shift from internal new product development in larger companies to sourcing opportunities across the country, which could have a major impact on the healthcare industry.
MEDNAX announces acquisition MEDNAX, Inc., a national medical group specializing in anesthesia as well as neonatal, material-fetal and pediatric services, recently announced its acquisition of Anesthesia Medical Alliance of East Tennessee.

AMAET is a physician group that is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, which provides anesthesia services for 16 practice locations throughout the East Tennessee area. In the 11 years since its founding, the company has grown to include 45 anesthesiologists and about 160 anesthetists, who provide their services to a wide range of specialties, including obstetrics.

AMAET is an important healthcare provider in the region, serving three hospital-based pain practices as well as three medical centers and eight Ambulatory Surgery Centers.

"Our longstanding relationships with the area's hospitals and surgeons, combined with American Anesthesiology's commitment to delivering the highest quality patient care, will be an asset to the communities we serve," said Tucker Gentry, partner at AMAET.

Many healthcare organizations have turned to mergers as a means of improving supply chain efficiencies and reducing costs, as the turbulent economy has created instability in the sector. According to the Kansas newspaper the Wichita Eagle, Via Christi Health recently announced that it would merge two of its divisions, which would affect 30 physicians who approved the merger on June 30.
Grain harvest decrease in Australia Western Australia is seeing a decrease in the amount of grain the area is producing, with yields dropping by a possible 40 percent as a result of dry weather.

Western Australia is the country's biggest grain growing region, according to Bloomberg. Frost has also threatened the health of the crops in the area.

The 2011-2012 season saw a bumper crop in the region, with 15 million metric tons of grain produced, according to Bloomberg. In contrast, this year's crop could be as little as 9 million tons, according to grain operations manager Max Johnson, who was quoted in the article. Johnson said the majority of the crop - between 65 and 70 percent - would be wheat.

“We need an extended rainfall all the way through the end of September to even try and get it back on track,” Johnson said by phone from Perth on July 27. “We’ve seen frost after frost after frost all the way over the Wheatbelt that has retarded growth or put it in dormancy. That’s hurting us.”

Corn is also decreasing in production as a result of the dry weather in the Midwest area of the United States, which is causing prices to increase across the country and has had supply chain repercussions, with corn imports from Brazil on the rise.
Sandoz completes acquisition of Fougera Pharmaceuticals Sandoz recently announced that it has completed an acquisition of U.S. dermatology company Fougera Pharmaceuticals for more than $1.5 billion on a cash and debt-free basis.

Sandoz is the second-largest generic pharmaceuticals company in the world, offering its own versions of medications that are not patent-protected. Fougera's focus is dermatology, particularly topical medications.

Fougera's New York facility will become Sandoz's new global dermatology center. Fougera had net sales of $429 million in 2011 in the United States, and Sandoz pointed to its success in a statement announcing the deal. In particular, Sandoz underscored the product diversification the deal would bring, as well as Fougera's strong supply chain.

"We are pleased to combine Fougera's strong portfolio and pipeline of dermatology medicines with Sandoz's existing global leadership positions in biosimilars and generic injectables, ophthalmics and antibiotics," said Sandoz's global head Jeff George. "This will significantly enhance the range of affordable, high-quality medicines that Sandoz can offer to patients and payors in the U.S. and around the world."

Creams and ointments are Fougera's most well-known products, and it has a strong reputation both for development of pharmaceutical products and manufacture of those products.

The market for generic pharmaceuticals grew significantly between 2009 and 2011, and reached $2.1 billion in 2011, according to IMS figures cited in the Sandoz release.

"We welcome Fougera into Sandoz and Novartis and we look forward to working together to meet the needs of all our stakeholders," said Don DeGolyer, president of Sandoz US. "Sandoz and Fougera share a strong culture based on quality, excellence, and a determination to succeed in the interests of the patients we serve."

Employing about 700 people in the United States, Fougera represents a significant acquisition for Sandoz, but it will continue to operate as a separate entity from a legal standpoint.

Par Pharmaceuticals also recently announced its has agreed to be acquired for about $1.84 billion in cash by the private investment firm TPG. The acquisition needs the approval of a majority of Par's outstanding stock.
Medifocus Inc. acquires Prolieve Medifocus Inc., a company that has technology to target and treat tumors in combination with chemotherapy or radiation, recently announced its acquisition of all of Prolieve business assets from Boston Scientific Corporation.

Prolieve is a product used to treat prostate enlargement known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is very common in men older than 50. Weak urinary stream, the inability to urinate and frequent urgency are symptoms of BPH.

Prolieve is a device that is patent protected. It is used to relieve symptoms of BPH, utilizing intra-cavitary catheters to provide a combination of microwave heating and balloon dilatation of the prostatic urethra.

"The purchase of the Prolieve business assets is a significant business enhancement event for Medifocus," said Augustine Cheung, founder, president and CEO of Medifocus. "With Prolieve, Medifocus now transforms from a development stage cancer treatment medical device company to a mature medical treatment systems and devices company with a revenue-generating commercial product for treatment of BPH and an innovative focused-heat breast cancer treatment system in advanced phase III clinical development."

The BPH drug market accounts for more than $8 billion and is growing. Patients are being treated for BPH with Prolieve in urological offices throughout the United States. Prolieve treatment is also utilized by physicians who use Rocky Mountain Mobile Services, which is a nationwide mobile service provider and part of the asset purchase.

"Using the Prolieve technology platform and the APA focused-heat platform, the company is well positioned to develop a rich pipeline of minimally invasive and side effect-free focused-heat treatment systems and devices for cancer and other diseases," said Cheung.

The current Medifocus management team played a key role in the development of Prolieve. After the deal with Boston Scientific, Medifocus has gained total control of Prolieve hardware inventories as well as the intellectual property portfolio associated with Prolieve.

Mergers and acquisitions can be highly beneficial from a supply chain management perspective, as they can create cost reducing efficiencies. However, some of the benefits can be eroded if the deals are not executed well. Watson Pharmaceuticals recently reported a second quarter loss of $62.2 million after charges related to a pending acquisition of Actavis, which is an international generic drugmaker.The company had earnings of $52.7 million for the same period last year, according to New Jersey news source the Star-Ledger.
Japan tightens pharma supply chain margins Pharmaceutical companies have had to improve operational efficiency and rationalize their sourcing and distribution in Japan as a result of the country's aging population, drug price changes and patent expirations, according to a new report from GBI Research.

The recently released report showed that Japan's supply chain participants are still following a traditional supply chain model, in which drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies are only distributed through wholesales to patients from retailers. However, a price quotation system that led to heightened competition among wholesalers led to an industry-wide reorganization in which the number of wholesalers dropped significantly. Monopolization is now an issue, as only four wholesalers dominate the market.

While there are fewer wholesalers in the country than in the past, affecting pricing and profit margins, drug manufacturing has also suffered, impacting distribution. Government regulations that are unfriendly to foreign drug makers have led to an insular supply chain that was severely crippled by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Since then, according to the GBI report, manufacturers have instituted changes to ensure continued production in the event of a disaster, improving supply chain stability.

The report keys in on the main trends impacting the pharma supply chain in the near-term as it grapples with these issues. An abstract states, "Globalization, free trade agreements between countries, growing demand for secure packaging, and M&As are some of the key drivers for the Japanese pharmaceutical supply chain."
PDIC approves bank merger The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation recently approved a merger of the Philippine National Bank and Allied Banking Corporation, solidifying a deal that has been pending for several years.

According to the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, PNB received the authority from PDIC recently, but the approval is still subject to conditions and the deal has not received final word from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Board.

“We received today an advice from the PDIC granting consent to the proposed merger of PNB with Allied Bank with PNB as the surviving entity,” said the bank’s corporate secretary, Doris Te.

The merger has been pending because of the delays in the completion of Allied Bank's divestment of 28 percent equity share in the Oceanic Bank.

PNB has been in the integration process with Allied since 2009 while the company waited for regulatory approvals. Since the proposed merger was announced in 2008, both banks have made progress in areas related to strategic sourcing and spend management by synchronizing their IT systems, aligning their products and processes and working together on HR development, according to the PDIC.

Shareholders of California United Bank and Premier Commercial Bancorp recently approved a merger of the two companies in a deal estimated to be worth $38.2 million, according to the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
Huntington Memorial Hospital improves supply chainHuntington Memorial Hospital, a community-focused regional medical center in California, recently implemented changes in order to put the patients first while improving the quality of the service it provides.

The hospital - a 625-bed nonprofit - is implementing cost savings measures related to procurement and management of supplies. To do so, it will implement new technology, updating its wireless capabilities and introducing more mobile devices to increase automation and efficiently track inventory.

"Huntington Hospital is renowned for delivering exceptional healthcare to the community, so it is critical that we partner with a technology provider that shares a deep understanding of the industry and its direction," said Debbie Tafoya, chief information officer of Huntington.

Technology updates of the type undertaken by Huntington can make hospital processes both more efficient and more eco-friendly by reducing the production of paper waste. The White House recently praised successful efforts by hospitals to reduce their environmental footprint. The program, called the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, included two panel discussions on sustainability and transforming the supply chain.
Scientists using supply chain waste as carbon source University of York scientists are attempting to turn one man's trash into another man's treasure. The scientists at the university are leading a major network supported by the European Union that will explore methods of utilizing supply chain waste from food industries and using it as an alternative carbon source through sustainable chemical technologies.

York's Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence recently won a European Co-operation in Science and Technology grant to run the network. The center launched the Biowaste Industrial Symbiosis Network at a Technology Fair in Santa Clara, California.

The network is coordinated by Lucie Pfaltzgraff, a PhD student at the university. The network includes engineers, chemists, biotechnologists and food technologists from the education sector and industry.

“We want to bring about a critical mass of researchers and stakeholders to harness the potential of food supply chain waste as an alternative carbon source to produce commercially viable chemical commodities," said James Clark, director of the University of York's Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence. “As well as harnessing skills and expertise that cross scientific borders, covering biology, chemistry, biotechnology and food science and technology, the network will include experts in environmental and economic assessment. The EU support we are receiving is an acknowledgement that food supply chain waste is an important area of scientific study that has potential to change significantly the way we live.”

The program aims to transform food supply chain waste into an alternative carbon source for bio-chemicals, bio-materials and bio-fuels by fostering collaboration among relevant research groups worldwide. The process will overcome technological barriers and seek ways to move beyond composting, anaerobic digestion and other methods of recycling and transforming food waste.

The researchers are currently focusing on the potential uses of citrus residue and coffee waste, in addition to pea pods and cashew shells.

The network already includes academic institutions from China, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Greece and Finland.

This network is far from the only program that is focusing on eco-friendly applications and best practices supply chain management.

StopWaste, a program run by an Oakland-based agency, has run an initiative called Use Reusables to help more than 200 companies in California to adopt sustainable practices in the supply chain in order to reduce waste. The program, which focuses on the benefits of using green packaging and shipping materials, will be implemented nationwide with a $499,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to GreenBiz.com.
Once again, Walmart leverages its significant buying power to move suppliers to cut costs and produce an economic product for diabetic consumers.  Walmart's ReliOn brand sells ReliOn Prime Meters for $16.24 and ReliOn Prime blood sugar test strips for $9 per 50 strips.  Compared to OneTouch's Ultra Smart monitoring System at $32 per unit and OneTouch's UltraSmart InDuo test strips for $46.95 for $50 strips, ReliOn is the unmatched brand in cost savings. 

Diabetics are encouraged to test their blood sugar routinely to ensure that their blood sugar levels remain within specific ranges.  Early detection to increased blood sugar will allow a diabetic to take corrective or reactive responses which can save further complications and even the human life.  With the escalating Health care costs and the economic downturn, many consumers have opted out of health care or skimped in replenishing test strips.  Walmart's low cost diabetic solution will allow consumers to manage their condition.  An average diabetic test their blood sugar three times daily.  By switching to ReliOn from another branded meter and strips, the consumer can realize over $840 in savings a year. 

As Walmart continues to target areas of opportunity for cost savings in different market sectors, their buying power will be the key leverage to motivate suppliers to find creative and sustainable cost savings strategies.  With the uncertain and changing time, staying with the status quo business models may not ensure longevity.  The adage "No more business as usual.." may be the key to continual success.
Auto supply chain to expand in AlabamaThe automotive industry has experienced an uptick the past year after the recession crippled the economy in the United States and caused many Americans to avoid purchasing a new vehicle. With advancements being seen in the market, the auto supply chain is expanding. One community that is benefiting is Hanceville, Alabama.

According to The Associated Press, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley recently announced that automotive supply company Zero RPM is planning to expand its operations by hiring almost 50 new workers.

The company manufactures mitigation systems for cars, which are battery packs that power the electronic and air conditioning systems even when a vehicle's engine is not running.

The governor announced the expansion of the automotive supply company at Wallace State Community College, where the company's headquarters are in a business incubator, according to the AP. Currently, the company has eight workers, but in a few months the expansion is expected to bring another 46 members to the staff.

The auto industry is beginning to target younger drivers as a result of older generations holding on to their vehicles longer. Companies are using technology and modern designs as attractions for this youthful demographic.
Price of food being increased due to droughtThe U.S. government recently said that it expects the record-breaking weather to increase prices for groceries next year, including milk, beef, chicken and pork, reported The New York Times.

More than 88 percent of the U.S. crop of corn, which is a staple in the world of processed foods and animal feed, is now being affected by the drought, the Times stated. Corn is the nation's leading farm export, but the drought could lead to a lower supply and higher prices, which will create significant ripples throughout many supply chains.

Government officials are looking for Congress to pass a disaster relief program, which has so far been unsuccessful.

“I’ve been urging the House of Representatives to get a bill to the floor and get it voted on so they can conference with the Senate and get a farm bill passed,” said Thomas Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, who was quoted by the Times.

Soybeans are also a crop in trouble, but soybean futures recently jumped 3 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Oclaro completes merger with Opnext Oclaro, Inc., an optical communications and laser solutions company, recently announced a complete merger with Opnext, a global leader in the design and manufacture of optical modules, components and subsystems.

The company will continue operations under the Oclaro name, but revealed a new logo and brand identity. The merger promises to create significant supply chain efficiencies that will make the combined entity a major player in the industry.

"The new Oclaro boasts one of the broadest and vertically-integrated product lines in the industry," said Alain Couder, chairman and CEO, Oclaro. "Our vision is that the power and speed of light will change the way we live and work. By transmitting data over fiber at increasing speeds, our customers have made possible new and fast growing applications such as social networking, video streaming, and cloud computing."

Healthcare and consumer electronics are two of the industries that are benefiting from optics innovations, according to Couder.

Shareholders were urged a week ago to approve the proposed merger between the two companies, which required a quorum to close .
Electronic Arts announces mergerElectronic Arts recently announced the merger of two renowned mobile video game design studios. IronMonkey and Firemint recently combined forces to form Firemonkeys.

The two company have entertained more than 50 million players in 2012 with mobile games that include "Flight Control," "SPY mouse" and "Real Racing" from Firemint, and "Mass Effect Infiltrator," "Dead Space" and "The Sims FreePlay" from IronMonkey.

"Both of these studios have produced award-winning games and we believe combining the incredible talent pool in Melbourne, as well as leveraging the EA brand, sets us up for further success in the mobile arena," said Tony Lay, general manager of IronMonkey.

The two studios are based in Melbourne, Australia, and have developed mobile games for more than a decade. The deal makes Firemonkeys Australia's largest game development studio, and the merger points to the cost reduction benefits that can stem from a partnership. Lay will act as the general manager while Firemint's Rob Murray will be the executive producer. In an interview with MCV, they stressed the deal will allow for a more flexible human resources structure that will improve the company's competitiveness.

Last quarter, Electronic Arts missed its projected estimates by one cent, coming in at 5 cents per share for net income, but analysts are expecting profits to increase by 105.9 percent versus last year, according to Wall Street Cheat Sheet.
Supply chain models could benefit from modern technologySupply chain partnerships are meant to implement productive collaboration between vendors and businesses, but a number of factors can prevent this from occurring.

One of the aspects of supply chain models that often prevents a true collaboration is the set up of most management systems, which hides information from some users in the system, according to a recent EBN article.

Management often uses an electronic data interchange system for supply and demand transactions, sending information that is visible to only those who are involved. Transparency is also reduced when information is managed in a silo format to keep competitors from being able to see pricing information.

Cloud technology could resolve some of these issues, enhancing collaboration by improving data sharing protocols, according to EBN. By setting up specific parameters within a supply chain management program based in the cloud, a company could make it easy for vendors to see when a needed order can't be fulfilled, for example, leading to more efficient resolution of that potential source of supply chain trouble. At the same time, the vendors would not be able to see certain information, such as prices, that would negatively impact competitiveness.

Informed decision-making is a key element of effective supply chain management, according to Material Handling & Logistics. Cloud-based systems could aid in making decision-making more timely, data-driven and strategic.
Below is a guest blog entry written by Darnell George.

The effectiveness of traditional performance management techniques has become a hotly debated topic in recent years, and experts' opinions on the best evaluation techniques have never been more varied than they are now. As the modern workplace has evolved, the old once-a-year performance review has become viewed by many as ineffective and outdated. In its place are new evaluation methods, often coupled with technology.

Still, many companies – particularly, large employers – use annual reviews as a way to evaluate employee performance and set goals for the coming year. Trendy start-ups and smaller companies may eschew formal review programs altogether.

Neither method has proven particularly effective. As Dave Johnson writes for CBS Money Watch,

“I’ve yet to see a solution that really works for employers – one in which both employees and managers feel confident that good performance is rewarded and promotions aren’t awarded arbitrarily.” 
To create effective assessment programs, business owners and managers must find ways to modernize their performance management techniques. Here are five tips to help make your employee review process a success:

 Go Into the Cloud

Many companies are turning to performance management tools such as Cornerstone OnDemand learning management system software to provide constant evaluation. This tool is a cloud-based system that resembles a social media site. Each employee has a profile, and performance goals are clearly stated in the application. Feedback is provided to employees and managers on a regular basis.

Feedback between an employee and manager can be private, or responses can be shared throughout the network. This performance management plan is often used in conjunction with a more formal annual review.

Clearly Define Expectations

One of the issues with annual assessments is that employees are evaluated on relatively vague points about their performance. As a result, employees earning positive reviews don’t know what they’ve done right, and those that receive negative feedback aren’t clear on where they’re falling short. Sarah Fister Gale, writing for Workforce.com, explains that defining key competencies and behaviors for each employee is crucial, so they understand exactly what is expected.

“These competencies should include the five or six qualities that define success for every member of the organization, as well as job-specific skills and responsibilities for each individual,” says Gale. “This process should occur as soon as a person is hired, and should be revisited annually.”

Set a Concrete Schedule for Evaluations

Though traditional performance management methods are quickly becoming antiquated, annual reviews are still a practical choice, due to time restraints. No matter how often you plan to schedule formal reviews, set deadlines for managers to meet with their employees. This deadline is often recommended to coincide with the updating of the company’s annual business plan.

To make the most of formal meetings, more informal measures should be taken throughout the year. This can mean quick emails or conversations about a project well-done (or poorly implemented).

 Be Honest

Managers have a responsibility to review employees honestly. This means ensuring that top performers know their current methods are effective. Conversely, employees that are under-performing need to understand what could be improved.

 Use What You’ve Learned

The evaluation shouldn't end with the manager. Assessments can be a valuable tool in planning future business goals. Additionally, written performance reviews should be shared with the company's Human Resources department, as the information is invaluable to their process.

Darnell grew up in New York and has an appreciation for gourmet cuisine. He loves writing almost as much as he loves eating.
BuyersMeetingPoint.com recently featured Source One's Procurement Value Survey in a post entitled "How is Your Procurement Group Perceived Internally?"  Kelly Barner lists the topics highlighted in the survey which include reporting, available resources, perception and utilization of procurement, and performance metrics. 

Kelly goes on to say:

"All participants in the survey will receive a copy of the final report – a significant opportunity to benchmark your organization against other procurement groups. If that wasn’t enough incentive to participate, all respondents get the chance to be entered into a drawing to win a Google Nexus 7 Internet tablet."
Click here to participate in this survey. 

Not only is this a hot topic right now, but it is extremely important to procurement groups who are looking to implement new initiatives within their organizations.  The results from this report will provide incredible insight into how procurement is perceived currently and may spark inspiration to improve those perceptions.  The report created from this survey will be available to all participants.
Drought hurts agriculture supply chainA widespread drought across the country has had a detrimental effect on crops, which has been reflected through the agriculture supply chain, also struggling lately.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the country's drought is one of the most serious the country has had in the past 25 years, according to Healthcare Finance News. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack described the severity of the drought recently in a press briefing in which he revealed 78 percent of the country's corn crop and 77 percent of the soybean crop are in drought areas, which is having a hugely detrimental effect on supply.

“The prices were reflecting ample supplies going in this year so I think a lot of people got caught short, expecting to be able to obtain supplies much cheaper as the harvest went along,” said Mike Zarembski, a senior analyst at OptionsExpress by Charles Schwab, who was quoted by HFN. “Unfortunately, this drought hit starting six weeks, eight weeks ago here in the Midwest and it has completely devastated - especially the corn crop is really going to be hard hit this year.”

Smithfield Foods, one of the world's largest pork producers, recently announced that it is planning to import corn from Brazil due to effects from the drought and increasing costs.
Company turns to Brazil for cornCosts in the United States are beginning to increase drastically for feed grains, which is having a detrimental outcome on the livestock and meat industry. This spike in prices can be attributed in large part to a severe drought affecting the Midwest, and has prompted supply chain management decisions regarding alternative sourcing options.

Smithfield Foods Inc., one of the world's largest pork producers, recently announced that it will begin importing corn from Brazil, which is a reflection of the rising costs in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company will use the corn in its hog-raising operations, a Smithfield spokeswoman recently confirmed after the Financial Times reported that companies including Smithfield had arranged to have Brazilian corn shipped to the East Coast, the WSJ reported.

"There's never been this big of a difference in price," said Paulo Molinari, a consultant at Brazil's Safras & Mercado, according to the Journal. "Brazilian corn is almost always at the same level as in the Gulf of Mexico, if not higher."
Heatwave affects European commoditiesEurope is facing extreme heat at the same time that the United States is suffering through a historically bad drought, meaning that major corn-producing regions will be unable to supply the crop at normal levels, according to Bloomberg News.

Heatwaves in southern Europe withered the corn crops and reduced yield, negatively affecting the region, which according to Bloomberg produces 16 percent of global exports.

“Everyone is looking to the U.S., but clearly in Europe we’ll need to import a lot of wheat and corn,” said Cedric Weber, the head of market analysis at France's Offre et Demande Agricole, which advises about 5,000 farmers on sales. “That’s just adding to the problems we’ve got everywhere.”

Temperatures have been about 5 degrees above normal in the areas around the Mediterranean and Black Sea, U.S. government data shows, according to Bloomberg. Temperatures are pushing 95 degrees Fahrenheit in these areas. This is 3 degrees higher than the danger threshold for corn, which is reaching the kernel-producing pollination phase of growth this time of year.

The drought in the United States has impacted the supply chain already, with some U.S. companies turning to Brazil for feed grain, the Wall Street Journal reported.
White House recognizes successful hospitalsThe White Council on Environmental Quality recently brought together healthcare organization executives and policymakers to discuss the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, which aims to cut healthcare costs, reduce facilities' environmental footprint, and improve patient care.

Hospitals around the country are looking for ways to improve their supply chain management as part of these efforts. More than 10 leaders from the health and environmental sectors engaged in two panel discussions at the White House event, entitled "Fostering a Culture of Environmental Sustainability" and "Healthier Hospitals Initiative: Transforming the Supply Chain."

"By implementing the challenges put forth by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, enrolled hospitals are working to improve the environment, the health of our patients and to lower costs," said Gary Cohen, president of Health Care Without Harm and founder of HHI. "The Initiative is leading the healthcare sector in reducing bottom-line costs."

The supply chain component of the initiative focuses on procuring "environmentally preferable" products. The demand for these products appears already to be affecting suppliers. A recent Healthcare Packaging article focused on a trend toward greener packaging in the medical device and pharmaceuticals sectors.
Joe Payne will travel to Washington, D.C. for the National Association of College and University Business Officer's Annual Meeting, held July 28-31 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.  The event consists of educational sessions categorized into tracks including Advancing with Technology, Cultivating Leadership, Financing the Enterprise, and Serving the Student. The event schedule also allots time for committee and membership board meetings as well as an exhibition hall where hundreds of exhibitors and attendees can discuss the issues facing the higher education industry today.

As it is the 50th Anniversary of NACUBO, there will be special events featured at the conference including the opening event featuring The Newseum, an experience that offers five centuries of news history along with live entertainment and refreshments.  On the last night of the conference, NACUBO will host an official anniversary celebration.

If you would like to meet up with Joe at this event, please contact mmiller@sourceoneinc.com.
Interested in attending?  Visit the NACUBO Annual Meeting website for registration details.

Earlier today, Source One announced a new survey meant to help us establish the perceived value of Procurement teams to their organizations. Unfortunately, the hyperlinks to that survey in that announcement were not functioning. We have correct this issue, and those links are now working correctly.

We apologize to anyone who may have tried to access the survey and reached a dead page.

Click here to take the Procurement Value survey now, and get a chance to win a Google Asus Nexus 7 Tablet.
By participating in this survey, you will help us develop information and a white paper that will show procurement professionals how your departments are viewed internally in comparison to peers in the industry.  Additionally, we will provide information on the ways that other companies measure savings goals and performance evaluations.
Fuel cell stack supply chain to reach $2.2 billionAccording to a recent report from Pike Research, the complete fuel cell stack supply chain was only worth a little more than $200 million in 2011, but by 2017 the figure is expected to increase to $2.2 billion.

"The development of a thriving supply chain for fuel cell technology is not a given," says research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. "While the focus of R&D in the fuel cell industry has expanded to include deployment and performance issues, such as durability and startup time, the supply chain has been assumed to be able to meet demand when and as needed. This could be a dangerous assumption as the industry continues to expand."

Though Europe will likely see the most significant growth, supply chain growth will be seen in this sector globally, as long as investments in capital equipment can occur, Adamson added.

Retailers have recently begun to sell micro-fuel cell products from Horizon Fuel Technologies, which manufacturers MiniPak, the world's lowest-cost fuel cell power product, according to a July 24 release.
Source One has developed a new survey to measure the perceived value of procurement departments within companies today.  Procurement has traditionally been viewed as a tactical department developed to help companies run their day-to-day operations.  Some companies, however, have recognized the possibilities of procurement as a strategic partner to help develop and reach business goals.  This survey was created to gather information regarding the view of internal procurement departments and evaluate how they are valued, currently.

A report and statistics will be developed from the survey results and will be available to survey participants.

By completing this survey, participants will have an opportunity to receive a copy of Source One's report and will also have the chance to be entered into a drawing to win a Google Nexus 7 internet tablet.

Big data analysis becoming more usefulLogistic managers are receiving information "every time a sensor is pinged or a barcode is scanned," DCVelocity recently noted, creating a wealth of information about how products and raw materials move through a supply chain. The data is being used to streamline operations and create a more efficient supply chain.

According to DCVelocity, there are a number of operational areas where "big data" analysis can be helpful to the supply chain, including radio-frequency identification, which can track a product's location at any point in time. The analysis could lead to drastic changes in supply chain execution to facilitate more efficient delivery. However, more information about consumer behavior will also impact supply chain management in the near-term.

While computers have collected this data for some time, technological advancements are making it increasingly easy to sort through a large amount of data to determine what consumers are purchasing and how often they are purchasing these items.

"Think of pulling information from texts like e-mails or comments left on a warehouse management system," said Aditya Naila of DreamOrbit, one of the vendors developing this kind of software. "Because this is unstructured data, traditional tools couldn't make much of them."
United Way merges with Hands on Greater PortlandIn the world of for-profit corporations, mergers often streamline supply chains by creating synergy between companies with complementary strengths. The same principle can be seen at work in the nonprofit world as well. United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, one of the largest fundraising organizations in the Portland, Oregon, metro area, recently merged with Hands On Greater Portland, which is one of the most successful volunteer organizations in the city.

Keith Thomajan, president and CEO of United Way, announced the merger to board members recently and stated the merger was strengths-based, resulting in a powerful nonprofit presence in the region, according to Portland Business Journal.

“This merger gives us the horsepower and reach to move Portland/Vancouver metro region to the front of the pack nationally, both for total number of volunteer connections and also in terms of innovation and impact,” Thomajan said in a press release.

The merger is expected to eliminate close to $200,000 in administrative expenses and cement Portland's reputation as a city that is filled with people willing to volunteer, the Business Journal stated. The two companies began talks four months ago when Andy Nelson, the former executive director of Hands On, left to take a position with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Columbia Northwest organization.

The merger of Stateline United Way and United Way of North Rock County was recently made official, increasing the organization's reach in the southeastern Wisconsin area.
Healthcare industry looks to implement sustainabilitySustainable practices are being considered more seriously in the healthcare packaging sector in order to build cost savings into the industry.

The industry is considering lowering the weight and using fewer package materials, as well as revamping facilities management and packaging processes, in order to cut costs without compromising integrity, according to Healthcare Packaging. Of course, leading healthcare companies are also interested in more eco-friendly practices that fit into their overall mission of promoting health and well-being.

"Medtronic is serious about sustainability," Chris Bagozzi, manager of sterile packaging development for Medtronic Spinal and Biologics, told Healthcare Packaging. "We recognize the critical interdependence between human health and the environment. Our well-being ultimately depends on the health and resources of the planet."

Bagozzi added that the company is continuously looking for ways to reduce its environmental impact as part of an overall risk management strategy, and to maximize customer satisfaction.

Healthcare Packaging also described efforts undertaken by Johnson & Johnson and Covidian Surgical Solutions, and pointed to some novel packaging solutions creating more sustainable products and supply chain practices. For example, Bayer eliminated cartons in favor of selling unpackaged bottles of pills, with drug information contained in an adhesive booklet.
Serialization to improve healthcare supply chain Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are beginning to implement global strategies to alter supply chain operations following the counterfeiting and theft of products.

Bill Fletcher, a managing partner at Pharma-Logic Solutions, recently delivered the message that companies should take action on this front, speaking at Mettler Toledo's Pharma Exchange, which is an education-focused event that that was attended by more than 80 suppliers in Chicago on July 10 and 11, according to Healthcare Packaging.

Fletcher discussed serialization, which includes three components: e-pedigree, track and trace and authentication. The products e-pedigree will indicate its origination point, track and trace will make its route from source to final destination visible, and authentication will be the final step that confirms legitimate delivery, the source stated.

According to Fletcher, a serialization strategy doesn't have to be extensive or complex. Many other industries have experienced success by implementing basic serialization for brand protection, recalls and other purposes.

The Supreme Court recently upheld a mandate to extend healthcare to Americans, which is predicted to have a huge impact on the supply chain related to drugs and other healthcare products. Companies preparing for an upswing in business as the law takes effect and more people seek healthcare may find this is the logical time to implement a serialization program.
Dartmouth Medical Center opts for invoice processing software Brainware, a provider of intelligent data capture and enterprise search solutions, recently announced that Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center plans to implement Brainware Distiller to increase its "efficiency, visibility and productivity in accounts payable automation."

Brainware won the 2011 Paystream Advisors Technology Excellence Award for Healthcare Supply Chain. Dartmouth-Hitchcock is entering a growth period and is implementing the solution to improve visibility and increase efficiencies related to invoice processing and overall document management.

"As healthcare providers across the country seek to drive resources out of their accounting departments and into the treatment facilities where they're most needed, Brainware continues to demonstrate its powerful capabilities for creating scalable, out-of-the-box automation efficiency," said Carl E. Mergele, general manager and executive vice president at Brainware. "We're proud to welcome Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center as the latest provider to choose Brainware."

Dartmouth-Hitchcock comprises hundreds of physicians, specialists and other care providers who work to meet the healthcare needs of patients across the country.

Tris Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company, also recently strengthened its supply chain in order to support new products the company is introducing to the market.
Pearson seals deal with Author SolutionsPearson, one the world's leading learning resources companies, recently announced it has acquired Author Solutions, Inc. from Bertram Capital.

The deal is reported to be for $116 million in cash and is expected to position the company's Penguin imprint as a leader in the fast-growing segment of the publishing industry: self-publishing. As noted by Penguin's chief, the rise of self-publishing has fundamentally altered the supply chain for books.

"Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry over the past three years," said John Makinson, Penguin's chief executive. "It has provided new outlets for professional writers, a huge increase in the range of books available to readers and an exciting source of content for publishers such as Penguin. Noone has captured this opportunity as successfully as Author Solutions, which has rapidly built a position of world leadership on a platform of outstanding customer support and tailor-made publishing services."

Makinson added that the acquisition will give Penguin the ability to fully participate in the fastest growing area of the publishing economy while acquiring customer acquisition and data analytics capabilities.

Pearson also recently acquired GlobalEnglish for $90 million in cash, continuing the company's efforts in becoming a bigger player in the market for business English products.
Lobster supply chain taking hits The lobster supply chain was recently highlighted in a Morning Sentinel article, and the Maine newspaper described how the seafood passes from lobstermen to wholesale dealers and retailers before reaching restaurants and grocery store tanks.

According to Dane Somers, executive director of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, moving lobster may seem simple, but is complex when considered globally.

Somers reported that once expanding outside of the local market, shipping costs, duties and other fees may be added, which is leading to some lobstermen complaining that they aren't receiving enough to cover their costs but are just breaking even.

The lobstermen are feeling a pinch due in part to a glut of soft-shell lobsters on the market and in part because the industry cannot adjust to the ebb and flow of supply and demand. When the season to catch lobsters hits, fishermen must take advantage, and if demand is weak it can lead to a gross oversupply, as lobstermen try to make up for falling prices by catching and selling more product. Widening the market may ease the situation, the Morning Sentinel reported, and the industry is also planning an aggressive marketing campaign to spur demand.

Lobster is not the only food product seeing some supply chain issues. Drought conditions in the Midwest have threatened the U.S. corn supply in recent weeks as well.
Warehousing critical in supply chainCompanies sometimes forget how important warehousing is to their supply chain operations. Regardless of whether an enterprise is a small business or a large corporation, warehousing is a key component of effective supply chain management, according to a recent article in Materials Handling World.

Gideon Hillman, supply chain expert, wrote in MHW that the warehouse in the supply chain is similar to the heart in the human body.

The heart is a vital organ to the body functioning, and similar to warehousing in the supply chain, it operates as a pump. If the heart becomes clogged, the whole system shuts down, and the same holds true for warehouses.

According to the source, the warehouse needs investments in equipment, processes, systems and resources and strategy to ensure proper functioning given the overall business distribution model.

One task that sometimes gets carried out at the warehouse level is packaging. Business leaders looking to streamline their packaging processes might be interested in "Packaging Solutions Throughout the Supply Chain," which was recently made available by Fast Market Research, answering the demand from many companies for solutions to reduce environmental impact in these stages of the supply chain.
TPG, Par Pharmaceuticals may merge Par Pharmaceuticals Companies, Inc. recently announced it entered into a merger agreement with an affiliate of TPG for an estimated equity value of $1.9 billion.

TPG cited Par's strong supply chain as incentive for the deal, in which shareholders of Par will receive $50 per share of common stock, which represents a premium of 37 percent over the closing share price on July 13.

"We are excited for the opportunity to invest in Par, a leading generic pharmaceutical company that has a long track record of success via its focus on complex products and its strong, diversified product pipeline," said Todd Sisitsky, partner at TPG. "The company is positioned to benefit from the strong macro trends of a greater focus on cost effective healthcare solutions and the increasing demands from an aging population. We look forward to partnering with this talented management team to continue developing an attractive platform for expansion."

The deal is still not completely done. The close of the deal is conditioned on the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of Par Pharmaceuticals' outstanding shares, clearance under an antitrust act from 1976 and other conditions.

The board of directors at Par was recently placed under investigation for potential breaches of fiduciary duty in relation to this agreement, which could affect the deal.
Apple's U.S. supply chain growing Apple users may believe that most of the products from the company are manufactured overseas, but this is not the case, according to a recent report on the company's supply chain posted to the AppleInsider blog. In fact, crucial parts of the iPhone and iPad and other Apple technology are manufactured in the United States.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook recently stated that ARM processors are built by Samsung in Austin, Texas, and Corning Gorilla Glass for the mobile devices is made in Kentucky.

Some of the most prominent chip manufacturers that do business with Apple, such as Texas Instruments and Avago Technologies, have increased the supply of Apple products that are made in the United States.

According to an industry contact who spoke with AppleInsider, many of the companies are expanding their U.S. production as a result of orders from the large electronics manufacturer that keeps seeing record breaking sales. And these sales have not been limited to the United States. Apple sales have recently increased in Iran, according to the Oman Tribune. Apple products are banned under U.S. sanctions, but Iranian retailers source the sought-after products via underground supply chains running through the Middle East.
Supply chain impacted as businesses question outsourcing strategies Manufacturing companies have been sending their production operations overseas for years due to lower costs associated with having products made in other countries.

Despite the low costs of manufacturing in these countries, many companies are now realizing that the perks and cost savings they once enjoyed from shipping production operations to different countries are disappearing.

"Many manufacturers underestimated the offshore impacts of long lead times and high inventory costs," said David Johnston, senior vice president, supply chain, of JDA Software. "They are now discovering that maintaining service levels, in addition to the inventory and logistics buffering costs necessary to support the long-distance supply chain, far outweigh any labor cost advantages. In addition to higher than anticipated overall product costs, offshore production also introduces a latency lag in bringing new products to market and responding to market trends."

While bringing production back home could reduce costs by increasing supply chain efficiency, technology also offers a way to forge stronger ties among the geographically distant nodes of a supply chain. Some companies are beginning to use social media technology for supply chain management, which has proven to be helpful in forging strong business-to-business relationships among companies and their vendors, according to IT World Canada.
FDA Safety and Innovation Act secures supply chainPresident Obama recently signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which is a piece of legislation that will increase the safety and security of the drug supply chain in the United States.

The newly signed legislation will also level the playing field in order to hold all drug manufacturers to the FDA's inspection standards and enhance the quality of pharmaceutical products while providing affordable generic drugs.

Global pharma company Mylan applauded the new law, saying it fits with Mylan's mission to set higher healthcare standards while providing 7 billion people with safe drugs.

"Mylan has long been a passionate leader and advocate for many of the key provisions included in this important piece of legislation that will help enhance our nation's drug supply chain, and we applaud the extraordinary efforts of the many in Congress who helped craft and pass this vital law in a bipartisan fashion," said Mylan CEO Heather Bresch.

Pharmaceutical supply chains are also combating counterfeiting, which undermines the safety of the worldwide pharma supply chain and has been increasingly problematic of late, according to recent report from GBI Research.
Altra Holdings announces Lamiflex acquisition Altra Holdings Inc., a leading global designer, producer and marketer of a wide range of electromechanical power transmission products, recently announced it acquired 85 percent of privately held Lamiflex do Brasil Equipamentos Industriais. Massachusetts-based Altra describes the acquisition as being motivated by supply chain management issues as it seeks to expand its global reach.

Lamiflex is known for being one of the leading Brazilian manufacturers of high-speed disc couplings and providing engineering solutions for several industries, including oil, gas and power generation.

"Expanding our reach in emerging geographies is a key component of Altra's strategic plan, and the acquisition of Lamiflex provides us with an important growth platform in Brazil," said Carl Christenson, Altra's president and CEO. "Lamiflex is a well-known supplier of high-quality coupling products to the Brazilian marketplace. The acquisition will provide Lamiflex with the resources required to continue its growth initiatives while, over time, serving as a launching platform for several other Altra businesses."

Acquiring Lamiflex is a part of Altra's plan to acquire assets in specific regions that offer significant long-term growth profiles. Brazil is one of the quickly emerging world economies identified by the BRIC acronym, along with Russia, India and China. Altra already has facilities in Pune, India, and in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

Altra also recently announced partial redemption of more than 8 percent of Senior Secured Notes from The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company.
Succeeding in supply chain managementSupply chain management is becoming more important among companies around the world as businesses expand and capital is tight.

The recession has placed companies in the United States in financial binds, which has led to cost reductions through better management of supply chains, but the issue might be even more pressing in developing economies, according to a recent Bangkok Post article.

Southeast Asia is facing greater challenges to match new investments with effective supply chain and logistics management to make sure companies are competitive and achieving sustainable growth.

According to a recently released report from Accenture entitled "A Survey of Executive Issues 2011," talent is a significant concern for many executives. Six of the top 10 business problems cited by executives were found to be supply chain talent-related. Specifically, companies are looking for "supply chain master" who combine hard and soft skills that enable them to manage vendor relationships successfully while crafting strategies to increase supply chain efficiencies.

Companies are also beginning to bemoan a lack of supply chain training and education infrastructure in economies that are emerging, the Bangkok Post stated.

Material, Handling & Logistics provided a few tips for companies that are sourcing overseas. These tips included paying higher freight costs to achieve more consistent delivery times and consolidating shipments of supplies from various vendors in the same country.
Companies using IT to reduce supply chain risksAccording to a recently released survey by KPMG, almost 75 percent of companies score poorly when it comes to leveraging their supply chain data to improve operations and achieve cost savings while mitigating risk, the Financial Times reported.

Companies are prioritizing supplier risk management as a result of the high-profile supplier failures that have occurred recently, in addition to the current troubled state of global markets.

According to Financial Times, companies will have to empower procurement professionals to act as central coordinators that balance a company's systems and technology in order to better manage supplier risk.

"The ability to make better use of technology will therefore be a critical imperative for procurement departments who - to date - have been largely hampered by a lack of proper IT agility which, in turn, has directly impacted their ability to either capture accurate and timely data or feed it into the organization's management information process," the FT article stated.

Next-gen computing technology is not only creating a more data-driven supply chain, but a more globalized marketplace - and this too affects procurement. Supply & Demand-Chain Executive reported that globalization opens up new possibilities in supply chains, which could be implemented by companies to simplify their business operations.