- China’s Next Target: U.S. Microchip Hegemony
Today, the industry is riven by a nationalist battle between China and the U.S., one that reflects broad currents reshaping the path of globalization. Washington accuses Beijing of using government financing and subsidies to try to dominate semiconductors as it did earlier with steel, aluminum, and solar power. China claims U.S. complaints are a poorly disguised attempt to hobble China’s development. Big U.S. players like Intel Corp. and Micron TechnologyInc. find themselves in a bind—eager to expand in China but wary of losing out to state-sponsored rivals.
- Does 99.5% planned uptime = 99.5% actual uptime?
There are 744 hours in a 31-day month. Without digging further into how the vendor calculates the uptime percentage, it would be natural to do simple math and quickly determine that .005 downtime equals four hours per month. This seems very reasonable, on the surface, but remember math is tricky and the vendor controls the math. Some vendors calculate their uptime percentage as:
Actual Hours System Up divided by (Hours in the Month minus Planned Downtime)
The key question to ask is “how much planned downtime do you have in any given month?” You will find a wide array of answers to this question. For example, one leading vendor plans for 40 hours of planned downtime a month to apply patches, fixes, and general system maintenance. The very reasonable four hours of allowed downtime in their marketing equation equals 44 hours, or almost two days, of actual downtime a month. Very tricky!
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- This is how Travis Kalanick is plotting his comeback as Uber CEO
Some company executives are concerned that Mr. Kalanick could use a SoftBank investment to dilute other shareholders’ stakes while he continues to buy stock back from employees in a bid to amass power. And aligning with Masayoshi Son, the founder and chief executive of SoftBank, could provide Mr. Kalanick with a key ally, especially if Mr. Son seeks to appoint new board members who favor Mr. Kalanick’s return as chief executive as part of an investment.
- Supply chain’s continuing image problem
And this is making recruitment a challenge. DHL surveyed over 350 supply chain and operations professionals in the five major regions of the world as a basis for its research. Fifty-eight percent of the companies surveyed said that it is hard to find potential employees who possess the right combination of tactical/operational expertise and professional competencies such as leadership and analytical skills.
Although supply chain managers are aware that their jobs require taking on a more strategic role, that perception does not seem to be shared by job candidates or even internally at managers’ own companies. According to the DHL report, almost 70 percent of surveyed companies said that their search for supply chain talent is hampered by a “perceived lack of opportunity for career growth” and the “perceived status of supply chain as a profession.” This same misconception is also an internal problem, according to the survey. Only 25 percent of survey participants agreed that their own companies view supply chain as equally important as other disciplines.
Photo: Bryan Minear