Intel pledge to cut conflict minerals praised by GXS
The announcement by of Intel’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich that his company will work to cut all conflict minerals from its product has been hailed as “an inspiration to the industry” by another top industry insider.
Mark Morley, Director of Industry Marketing for Manufacturing at American multinational b2b integration company GXS, praised Intel Corporation – the largest computer chip maker in the world – following the declaration by Krzanich during the pre-show keynote for the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
Conflict minerals can appear in the raw mineral supply chain. Minerals like gold and tungsten are used in electronics manufacturing are mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighbouring countries, with the trade often controlled by armed groups.
The drive to eradicate them was given a boost when Krzanich, in Las Vegas early January, said: “Two years ago, I told several colleagues that we needed a hard goal, a commitment to reasonably conclude that the metals used in our microprocessors are conflict-free.
"We felt an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain to ensure that our business and our products were not inadvertently funding human atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Even though we have reached this milestone, it is just a start. We will continue our audits and resolve issues that are found."
He said Intel had achieved a critical milestone and the minerals used in microprocessor silicon and packages manufactured in Intel's factories are "conflict-free" as concluded by third-party audits or direct validation by Intel's supply chain organization.
Mark Morley said: “Intel’s pledge to make chips free of conflict minerals, serves as an inspiration to the industry.
“In addition to the moral imperative, it will soon be a legal requirement in the United States when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act comes into effect in May.
“The new law means that any company submitting filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission must confirm there are no conflict minerals in their supply chain.”
The DRC has been plagued for years by regional conflict and Intel's policy move is in response to increased international pressure for technology firms to investigate the sources of their raw minerals.
A source of funding violence for armed groups includes the trade of mineral products from the DRC. Some of these so-called ‘conflict minerals’ are in many kinds of products, including electronics.
Intel has implemented a process within its supply chain organization to validate that its sources – the smelters that provide tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold used in microprocessor silicon and packages manufactured in Intel factories – are not inadvertently funding this conflict in the DRC. Krzanich challenged the entire electronics industry to join Intel in its efforts.
Morley argues that a strong supply chain is essential for companies to rid their products of conflict minerals, saying that companies will need to have “have full visibility of their extended supply chain, and up-to-date contact information for every company they deal with across the globe to be sure that they have eradicated conflict minerals from their supply chains.”
He added: “An effective community management platform will be vital to ensure that companies can adhere to government legislation like the Dodd-Frank law”
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.