Reuters report suggests US manufacturers avoid China
Here’s a scenario: your company invests in a new industrial copier, making your old one obsolete. You’re debating between throwing out the mammoth machine in your industrial park’s dumpster, or taking it apart with a baseball bat Office Space style.
You might not want to throw out that machine quite yet, however. While most companies will just throw out that old copier or fax machine, some American manufacturers are shipping second-hand machinery to China to make a quick profit out of nothing.
American manufacturers are looking for anything these days to gain an edge, and recycling old machines while turning a profit looks like a good place to start. China is snapping up used machinery to bolster its fast-growing economy, but some American manufacturers are refusing to sell machines to a country that could one day turn around and push them out of business.
According to a report on Reuters, Bob Chesebro’s Wisconsin sock factory refuses to sell his used machines to China, instead it's throwing his used equipment away as scrap metal in the dumpsters behind his plant.
“We have taken the view that if we sell these machines, we’re just going to put them in the hands of people who will compete against us,” Chesebro told Reuters.
So it all depends on where your ethics stand. While selling used machinery to China can make for a quick buck, doing so could eventually add competition to your market.
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”.