Last Month's Top News
1. IBM acquires cloud operator Emptoris
IBM announced a definitive agreement to acquire Emptoris Inc., a provider of cloud and on-premise analytics software that brings more intelligence to procurement and supply chain operations with spend, supplier and contract management for Smarter Commerce.
Emptoris is based in Burlington, Mass. with offices in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia, India, Brazil and China, with more than 350 customers in 75 countries. Emptoris’ global client base includes spans multiple industries including consumer products, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, chemical/oil/gas, utilities, construction and industrial manufacturing.
The acquisition is the latest addition to IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, launched in March 2011, which is aimed at helping companies respond to shifting customer buying patterns.
2. Supply Chain sources confirm iPad 3 production dates
According to unnamed supply chain sources cited in DigiTimes, Apple is planning on releasing the latest installment in its popular iPad series of tablets within the next two to three months.
Supply chain sources are confirming that production volume will be slightly under 10 million units during the first quarter of 2012, while an additional four to five million next-generation iPad tablets are projected to be produced during Q2.
While the iPad ‘3’ news seems cut and dry, there are a growing number of conflicting reports surrounding Apple’s plans. The Mac Observer has written several stories on the topic, which include iPad 3 screen resolution figures from 2048 x 1536, while others sources say a 7” screen with the current 1024 x 768 resolution is a possibility.
3. European rail execs meet over freight corridor
In the type of meeting that could have mimicked a scene from The Godfather, four CEOs of major European rail companies met in Berlin, tasked with working out details on international freight rail lines.
DB Schenker Rail (Germany), TX Logistik (Germany), SBB Cargo (Switzerland) and BLS Cargo (Switzerland) – presented their requirements for the development of the European rail freight transport corridors defined by the European Commission.
Under the impulse of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), the four companies agreed on a joint position which will be actively promoted to policymakers and national infrastructure managers.
4. Outsourcing continues to increase in China
There are certainly a number of risks when outsourcing to China, but that hasn’t stopped a plethora of companies from making the rapidly growing nation a preferred outsourcing destination.
According to analyst firm Everest Group, China’s business process outsourcing has nearly tripled since 2007, growing from $1.2 billion to $3.5 billion in 2010. Everest cites that 65 percent of that total is IT outsourcing services. That total and growth officially makes China a mature market for offshore IT outsourcing services.
5. RIM writes of $485M worth of overstocked inventory
Research In Motion, the manufacturer of the struggling BlackBerry phones and PlayBook tablets, is writing off much of its unsold inventory to help fight a slipping profit margin.
RIM is taking a pre-tax charge of $485 million off of its taxes to account for the slipping value of its PlayBook tablets, which recently saw its price drop from $500 to $200.
6. FedEx delivers two giant pandas to Scotland
The FedEx Panda Express landed in Edinburgh International Airport, transporting two giant pandas direct from China.
7. Afghanistan’s first rail line nears completion
Freight rail operations in Afghanistan are expected to start soon after the first train made its journey from Hairatan to Mazar-i-Sharif.
8. Global healthcare BPO market to reach $330B by 2016
The global healthcare BPO market continues to grow over 20 percent each year, and will reach $330 billion in four years.
9. IKEA switches from timber to cardboard pallets
Eco-friendly pallet switch is also expected to pay financial dividends to IKEA, which is making the switch from wooden to corrugated cardboard pallets.
EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”