October 2021

Just as there's no single solution to the nation's supply chain frustrations, the infrastructure's current condition is due to a variety of factors. The leading one may be what's happening at shipping ports. From a dearth of chassis to a shortage of workers, the ports are gummed up from border to border, particularly on the West Coast.

To ease the strain, the president of the United States has decided to keep America's largest ports open around the clock.

Speaking from the White House during an afternoon press conference on Oct. 13, President Joe Biden said the Port of Los Angeles will remain open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Traditionally, our ports have only been open during the week, Monday through Friday, and they're generally closed down at nights and on weekends," Biden explained, per Yahoo News. "By staying open seven days a week through the night and on the weekends, the Port of Los Angeles will [remain] open over 60 extra hours."

Biden added that doing so will nearly double the number of hours that the port was open in the first half of 2021. More time to get work done leads to more time for goods to get offloaded and shipped to their intended destinations.

40% of shipped goods come through ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
A substantial amount of freight passes through the Port of Los Angeles. Combined with the Port of Long Beach, approximately 40% of the goods shipped from overseas come from these two ports alone.

Will extending the hours of operation at ports course correct the supply chain?Will extending the hours of operation at ports course correct the supply chain?

The president's announcement comes as retailers, manufacturers and other producers prepare for the all-important holiday shopping season. Due to the ongoing shortage of truck drivers, a low worker participation rate and many job opportunities that remain unfilled, consumers are left wondering whether their planned purchases will be available for them to buy. And if they are in stock, it's possible that they may not arrive in a timely manner.

Biden said keeping the ports open 24/7 should help to improve conditions by allowing for more movement and overall access.

"This is a big first step in speeding up the movement of materials and goods through our supply chain. And now we need the rest of the private sector chain to step up as well."

Walmart, Home Depot to extend work hours
Several major organizations are doing just that. In addition to Walmart — the world's largest retailer and employer — entities like Home Depot, UPS and FedEx are expanding the number of hours they operate, CNBC reported. Other companies staying open for longer or extending their operating hours include big box retailer Target and consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung.

During his speech, Biden noted that in the days and weeks ahead, he will leverage every available additional federal resource to further reduce the bottlenecks affecting the supply chain.  However, experts say that it may take some time for the White House's plan to start paying dividends, largely due to the backups that will need to work their way out.

While there may be a certain magic to manufacturing processes — where baseline materials are used to create the items bought and sold in stores — producers are not magicians. In order to make something, they need the core ingredients. In short, they can't make something out of nothing. 

This is a conundrum producers in many industries are facing. Due to a host of problems affecting the supply chain, the gaming consoles, toiletries, automobiles and hot tubs that are typically well stocked are on back order. Manufacturers don't have the building blocks to create what consumers want.

The best way to maintain ongoing supply is by maintaining an ongoing relationship with your suppliers, whether that comes through price negotiation, supplier diversification or other methods. Let's go over a few of them:

Build a rapport
Presumably, suppliers have several different clients that require the same elemental materials to produce their goods. To compete with those other clients, the supplier needs to think of you as someone who is interested in buying before their other customers, especially when there's a shortage issue.

The best way to achieve this status by building a rapport with the supplier. Whether it's through light-hearted conversation or ongoing communication via multiple methods, regular interaction creates the bonds that are fundamental to supplier-producer relationships.

Value creation is crucial to supplier-producer relationships.Value creation is crucial to supplier-producer relationships.

Create value for your supplier
The most important interest in business-to-business relationships is self-interest; a supplier has to know what's in it for them to hold their materials for you. This is more easily accomplished when they have understanding of how they're putting themselves in a better position by selling to you. As Harvard Business Review points out, this may be done by opening your supplier up to new and untapped customers or markets, reducing risk and increasing predictability. In other words, if they know you're interested in buying after so many days or weeks, they'll be more inclined to sell to you than someone else who is more sporadic.

Do your research
The key to any supplier-producer relationship is honesty, but if you're brand new to a particular industry or are unfamiliar with the jargon, a supplier may be more interested in selling to someone who has more experience, for the reasons listed above (e.g. it could lead to additional business opportunities through networking). 

Doing your homework can help make you more of an authority. You can do this by leaning on your other business relationships or simply through your own readings and research.

Diversify your suppliers
Establishing a solid base of suppliers accomplishes a few things. For one, if your preferred supplier is out of the material you need, your fallback may have what you need. Secondly, knowing more than one supplier helps with price negotiation. If one is selling for less, you can either buy there or allow a higher-cost supplier to match the price.

Additionally, having multiple suppliers will give you a general idea of their actual costs. This way, you can decide if what they're selling is truly worth your buying it.


The job market has changed radically in the last four years. It’s now a candidate driven market and Procurement leaders consistently name skills shortages as one of their top challenges. The inability to attract and retain Procurement talent holds companies back, It stagnates growth, market share and revenue. There's a serious shortage of skilled talent searching for a job. That said, there no such shortage of competitors vying to hire them before your firm has the chance.

Many recruiters are asking themselves: How do I stand out and differentiate Myself from the rest?  

Rule number one is to know your industry. This is why it is paramount to have an industry focus and a niche. Without industry knowledge, your credibility goes out the window. And although recruiting is a big world, your reputation -positive and negative- travels fast.  

Whatever position you’re staffing, whatever industry you’re supporting, the actions listed below will help you separate yourself from the others and can turn you from a recruiter into a “power broker.”  

Pick Up the Phone

After you finish a search, pick up the phone and speak to the candidate using a list of position-specific questions. If you can’t reach them, don’t forget to leave a detailed voicemail. If the candidate is a good fit, email them the job description and invite them to connect on LinkedIn. Make sure you use this email to set up a more formal conversation as soon as possible. Figure out when, how and where you can best reach them. I know people don’t always read their emails, but who doesn’t at least get an alert when they’ve received a new message? 

Follow Up

You should make calls to your submittal pipeline at least every other day. It’s not a lot of work, but most recruiters won’t make this effort to keep in touch with their candidates. In many cases, a candidate won’t hear back from their recruiter until they’ve received an interview request. Others will have to wait until they’ve been turned down. A minimal amount of effort to remind a candidate that you’re still alive and working on their behalf can yield significant returns by ensuring candidates stay engaged and accept offers when the time comes. Letting your candidates know they’re valuable builds loyalty and helps you distinguish yourself as a dependable advocate. In a market flooded with recruiters, you’ve got to earn this distinction. Put yourself in their shoes. If you put yourself out there and engaged a recruiter, you would expect – and deserve – that level of attention.

Know the Role

As a recruiter, your subject matter expertise is everything. It’s how you build your reputation and it’s how you deliver results. You have to know enough about the job, company and industry in question to provide details you wouldn’t find on a listing. It’s possible that a candidate could look great on paper but ultimately prove a terrible culture fit. Your insights should help empower you to quickly and confidently make these assessments. The only way you can gain these insights is by conducting research and asking the right questions of the hiring manager. Cover your bases because a bad fit will not look good in the eyes of a client or a candidate.  

It sounds simple, and the reality is that it is simple. Know your industry, stay consistent, follow up and know the role for which you are recruiting.  In a saturated market, you need to remember and excel at the fundamentals in order to distinguish yourself. 


Retailers and truck drivers have an interdependent relationship: Retailers rely on truckers to sell product to consumers; truckers rely on retailers to actually transport goods and fully leverage their capabilities. But with the driver shortage plaguing the supply chain and adding to the lengthy delivery delays that already exist, both groups of professionals are at a crossroads, and consumers may bear the brunt of the fallout through price increases and seemingly never-ending inventory crunches.

As a result, they're calling on lawmakers and championing some of the current efforts aimed at resolving these issues so the economy doesn't suffer.

Among the ways legislators are taking matters into their own hands is by adjusting commercial driver's licensing regulations. In several states, residents cannot apply for a CDL until they reach the age of 21. Others enable 18-year-olds to get CDLs, but these young drivers aren't permitted to drive over state boundaries.

New York set to give those under 21 access to CDL
New York is on the cusp of changing its existing CDL law via a bill awaiting Governor Kathy Hochul's signature. Having passed both the House of Representatives as well as Senate, the legislation will enable 18- to 20-year-olds to apply for a CDL permit so they can become licensed to drive. Currently, they must wait until their 21st birthdays.

Trucking is a significant contributor to the Empire State's economic health and longevity. According to the Trucking Association of New York, around 292,850 residents are employed by the industry, or what amounts to 1 in 28 jobs. Furthermore, even though trucks represent just 6% of vehicles miles traveled there, the sector pays $1.3 billion in annual federal and state roadway taxes.

Originally introduced by State Senator Tim Kennedy and co-sponsored by Sens. Michelle Minchey and Jessica Ramos, the bill's implementation can't come soon enough for retailers, several of which have made orders to their suppliers in advance of November and December. Many suspect that the supply chain issues will become that much more apparent when more people are buying and shelves aren't as restocked as quickly given the bottlenecks.

Washington and other state lawmakers are using legislation to bring solutions to the supply chain.Washington and other state lawmakers are using legislation to bring solutions to the supply chain.

Supply chain resolution first order of business for port envoy
The White House is also using what levers of influence it can deploy toward improving the supply chain. In August, President Joe Biden appointed John Porcari as port envoy to the United States. Porcari's primary mission will be to smooth out the supply chain challenges that are affecting ports, motor carriers and retailers.

The National Retail Federation lauded the appointment in a press release from David French,  who serves as NRF's senior vice president of government relations.

"NRF is encouraged by the Biden administration's action on this critical issue," French said. "We look forward to working with Envoy Porcari, Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg and the full Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to mitigate these challenges, particularly in advance of the upcoming holiday season, so that retailers can ensure consumers can access the products they want and need in a timely manner."

French added that everyone who depends on the supply chain must work together to build one that is more sophisticated and sufficiently improved for it to operate more efficiently and nimbly.

From cryptocurrency to mobile wallets to smartphone devices, digital payment options run the proverbial gamut for both business owners as well as consumers. In addition to the legacy methods, like cash, check and credit cards, buyers in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer spaces don't lack for options when it comes to how they spend their money.

As even more payment solutions come to the forefront, Americans appear increasingly willing to adopt methods that aren't designed for pants pockets.

That's according to a newly released poll from Aite Novarica Group. The survey, which questioned 383 respondents, sought participants' opinions on some of the newer payment options that are either in place, in development or in their seminal stages.

For example, over two-thirds of respondents said that they were either "very interested" in using smart home devices, "extremely interested" or were already using them to make certain kinds of purchases.

Vast majority of Americans leverage AI regularly
Smart home devices and assistants have fast become a multi-billion dollar market, with the likes of Google (Home) Amazon (Alexa) and Apple (Siri) having their own iterations. Three years ago, over 85% of Americans were using some kind of artificial intelligence product on a regular basis, according to a Gallup poll. It's risen since then.

They're also utilizing wearables. Approximately 17% of adults in the Aite Novarca Group survey said they paid for items using things like their watches, rings and bracelets, while 33% indicated they were "very interested" in taking advantage of this technology.

Smart watches are among the digital payment methods Americans are using or want to at some point.Smart watches are among the digital payment methods Americans are using or want to at some point.

Some are willing to be implanted with a payment device. Indeed, as many as 45% of respondents said they had at least some level of interest in having a chip physically inserted underneath their skin, allowing them to pay for things with a wave of the hand or scan.

London-based startup says it has the first microchip implant device
While microchip implantation remains somewhat controversial, the technology exists. According to Notes from Poland, a company called Walletmor says it's developed the world's first microchip implant device, which the startup says is capable of storing encrypted data to make the buying process more secure.

Wojciech Paprota, who founded the London-based technology company, told Notes from Poland he thinks this method will take hold; it's just a matter of time.

"I believe that one day implants will be as popular as payment cards," Paprota predicted.

He further stated this payment option will help to diminish identity theft and enable adopters to more effectively protect their finances.

David Shipper, a strategic advisor for Aite Novarica's retail banking and payment division, indicated the market will be the ultimate determinant of whether this technology — or some other one — goes mainstream.

"Regardless, as contactless acceptance grows and digital card issuance with push provisioning to a digital wallet becomes more common, the availability and use of alternative payment form factors will likely increase as well," Shipper said.

It may be a while before consumers warm up to the idea of implants; nearly 60% in the aforementioned survey said they weren't interested.

Plenty of organizations are paying increased attention to working capital strategies. But pursuing any strategy without a clear eye on outcomes can lead to trouble, and working capital is no different.