Obama plans drive to halt outsourcing
Outsourcing is shaping up to be a hot topic in the 2012 United States presidential race, with incumbent Barack Obama making moves to slight his Republican counterpart (whoever he/she may be).
Obama pledged Saturday to make the federal government more domestic business friendly, promising to soon release a new tax code that would provide incentives for companies to bring jobs back into the U.S.
Obama also said that tax breaks will be eliminated for companies that do not follow his plan on ‘insourcing.’
The president displayed a handful of common consumer goods at his weekly address, including a pair of boots, socks and a candle – all manufactured in the United States – to drive his point across.
“I’ll make sure you’ve got a government that does everything in its power to help you succeed,” Obama said.
SEE OTHER TOP OUTSOURCING STORIES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
Details were vague in Obama’s outsourcing announcement, but the move appears to be a swipe at corporate America and possible 2012 opponent Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts who oversaw the outsourcing of thousands of jobs in his work with the private sector.
While the move is undoubtedly a good sign for U.S. business, the supply chain implications of such a move would be vast. For starters, insourcing jobs from foreign countries would require corporations to pay significantly higher wages to workers, wages that companies are certainly going to balk at initially.
It’s likely the GOP will point out these flaws in Obama’s plan in the coming days. But one thing is clear: outsourcing is going to be a point of major discussion in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
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”.