Microsoft tells suppliers it must provide parental leave
Over the next 12 months Microsoft...
Microsoft has told all companies involved in its supply chain that they must provide employees paid parental leave.
Over the next 12 months Microsoft will work with its U.S. suppliers to implement this new paid parental leave policy. It will require that suppliers offer their employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, up to $1,000 per week.
This change applies to all parents employed by our suppliers who take time off for the birth or adoption of a child. The new policy applies to suppliers with more than 50 employees and covers supplier employees who perform substantial work for Microsoft.
This minimum threshold applies to all of our suppliers across the U.S. and is not intended to supplant a state law that is more generous.
Microsoft will work with our suppliers to understand the impacts of this change, and we will make these changes in a thoughtful way, the company said in a statement.
“We appreciate that this may ultimately result in increased costs for Microsoft, and we’ll put a process in place for addressing these issues with our suppliers. Our first step will be reaching out to our suppliers to discuss the impact of this policy change,” it said.
“The case for paid parental leave is clear. Studies show that paid parental leave enriches the lives of families. Women who take paid maternity leave are more likely to be in the workforce a year later and earn more than mothers who do not receive paid time off.
“Employers who offer paid time off for new mothers experience improved productivity, higher morale and lower turnover rates.
“And, paid parental leave is not solely a benefit for women. Data from California’s paid family leave programme shows that men take paternity leave at twice the rate and for longer periods of time when the leave is paid.”
Just 13% of private sector workers in the U.S. have access to paid parental leave. And the lack of access to parental leave cuts broadly across professions – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22% of professional positions and 7 to 8% of workers in service and maintenance jobs have access to paid parental leave.
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”.