Tag Archives: China

News You Can Use: 8/16/2017

  • 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.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-next-target-u-s-microchip-hegemony-1501168303

  • 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!

    http://www.cio.com/article/3209041/cloud-computing/does-995-planned-uptime-995-actual-uptime.html

  • Kristi Hedges: “The Inspiration Code: How The Best Leaders Energize People
  • 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.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/4045787/this-is-how-travis-kalanick-is-plotting-his-comeback-as-uber-ceo

  • 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.

    http://www.supplychainquarterly.com/news/20170728-supply-chains-continuing-image-problem/

Photo: Bryan Minear

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News You Can Use: 7/12/2017

  • China’s All-Seeing Surveillance State Is Reading Its Citizens’ Faces

    China is rushing to deploy new technologies to monitor its people in ways that would spook many in the U.S. and the West. Unfettered by privacy concerns or public debate, Beijing’s authoritarian leaders are installing iris scanners at security checkpoints in troubled regions and using sophisticated software to monitor ramblings on social media. By 2020, the government hopes to implement a national “social credit” system that would assign every citizen a rating based on how they behave at work, in public venues and in their financial dealings.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-all-seeing-surveillance-state-feared-in-the-west-is-a-reality-in-china-1498493020

  • Ira Glass on structuring stories, asking hard questions

    I’ve said this many times in many places, but the structure of stories on our show in this kind of narrative journalism is there’s plot and then there are ideas. And those are the two elements that you’re constantly monitoring to know whether or not you’ve got them. And in part I feel like when people hear that they don’t even know exactly what is meant by that. All plot is is a series of actions where one thing leads to the next—sort of like this thing led to this next thing, led to this next thing, led to this next thing, led to this next thing, and then some of the things in this list can be, “And then he said this to me, and as a result, I said this back to him, and then he said this back to me, and then I got angry and I stormed out and I wrote a bill saying…” What you want is one thing leads to the next leads to the next leads the next and the reason why we do that is because once you have any sequence of actions in order of like, this happened and then this happened and this happened that creates narrative suspense because you wonder what happened next.

    https://www.cjr.org/special_report/qa-ira-glass-turnaround-npr-jesse-thorn-tal.php

  • Act Like the Leader You Want to Be
  • There’s Now a Name for the Micro Generation Born Between 1977-1983

    So here it is, according to Dan Woodman, an associate professor of sociology at The University of Melbourne: Xennials.

    The idea is there’s this micro or in-between generation between the Gen X group – who we think of as the depressed flannelette-shirt-wearing, grunge-listening children that came after the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – who get described as optimistic, tech savvy and maybe a little bit too sure of themselves and too confident.

    http://didyouknowfacts.com/theres-now-a-name-for-the-micro-generation-born-between-1977-1983/
    While I agree that the generation I grew up with does not fit with GenX or Millennials, I hate that name.

  • If You’re a Top Performer, Get on Your Coworkers’ Good Side

    The study, led by Elizabeth Campbell of the University of Minnesota, and published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, looked at several hundred stylists working in a wide variety of salons—chosen because they represent a socially dynamic environment where colleagues have to work individually and interdependently in order to succeed. They found that peers were far more likely to speak ill of top performers and try to damage their reputation. Furthermore, the more collaborative the environment, the more peers tried to drag down top performers.

    http://lifehacker.com/if-youre-a-top-performer-get-on-your-coworkers-good-si-1796716739

Photo: Trinity Kubassek

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China: Bust or Boom?

sn_china_Travel Coffee Book

China is a country that captures imaginations and can fill the role of the exotic destination, land of adventure and opportunity, and in some cases, it can be painted as a villain.

As Americans, we bemoan the loss of manufacturing and scowl at the influx of affordable gadgets and exploding hover-boards that have flooded into our homes. We fret over Chinese businessmen coming into this country and snapping up all of the available real estate:

Between 2010 and 2015, Chinese buyers put more than $17bn into US commercial real estate, with half of that spent last year alone. Unlike many countries, there are very few restrictions on what foreigners can buy in the US.

But during the same period at least $93bn went into US homes. And in the 12 months to March 2015, the latest period for which relatively comprehensive data could be gathered, home purchases totaled $28.5bn.

China’s economic advancement has come at a cost to the country and its 1.35 billion people. This post highlight some of those issues to give my readers a better understanding of difficulties China will face in the coming years.

Population

Everyone knows that China has an enormous population, but you might not be aware that 194 million people in China are over the age of 60. That is close to 15% of their population.

You might say to yourself, 15% doesn’t sound too bad. From a percentage view, the United States has a similar age distribution.  However…

Until last year, China had a population control methodology in place that limited couples to only one child. The policy started in 1978 and impacted an entire generation of Chinese families.

Thanks to modern medicine, people are living longer. China is no different.  But the unintended consequence of the population control measures and people living longer is that China doesn’t have enough people to care for their elderly population (yes, that is ironic)

This dynamic is called the 4-2-1 problem: 4 grandparents, 2 parents, all being looked after by 1 child who is also the person who is expected to earn an income.

Another interesting wrinkle in the 4-2-1 problem is the lack of brides. Due to the one child policy and China’s cultural preference towards male children, there are almost 40 million men in the country that will remain bachelors:

Today, an estimated 35 to 40 million women are “missing” from China’s population. For years, demographic experts have predicted the huge surplus of young men would cause a rise in sexual violence and social instability. Now the first generation of children born since 1980 has reached marriageable age, and problems such as bride-kidnapping and forced prostitution are soaring.

The bachelors in areas like Da Xin are the least likely of all to find love. As the gap between rich and poor widens in China, uneducated rural men have little means of upward mobility. “I don’t have any money to move away to look for a wife,” says Jin. “I must stay here to work our land and support my elderly mother.”

Think about these 30-something men (basically men my age) who work all day, not to come home to a wife or child (and a reason to get up everyday and go to work), but to their aging parents and grandparents. Knowing that the only way to change things is to abandon their family.
sn_china_paygap_rural_urban

Working Conditions

Some people do leave their villages and their families in the hopes of finding better jobs and better romantic prospects.

Manufacturing represents 44% of China GDP and is supported by an estimated 100 million workers. In the video above, you can see hundreds of people waiting outside the factory every day with the hopes of finding work inside the plants.

sn_china_employ_manufacturing

Once they do get jobs, employees might find themselves working 12 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week, and living in cramped dorm rooms.

The conditions became so bad at some factories that administrators had to put up nets to prevent employees from jumping off the buildings:

The Foxconn suicides occurred at the so-called “Foxconn City” industrial park in Shenzhen, China. The 18 attempted suicides by Foxconn employees resulted in 14 deaths—the company was the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer at the time. The suicides drew media attention, and employment practices at Foxconn were investigated by several of its customers, including Apple and Hewlett-Packard (HP). Foxconn is a major manufacturer that serves high-profile consumer electronics firms such as Dell, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, and Sony.

Chinese workers are concluding that perhaps factory work is not for them and are shunning that life:

Finally, many first-generation migrant workers have worked in the cities for 10-15 years, yet they are still denied entitlement to any social benefits. While government policies now require employers to pay benefits for their employees, implementation is still at a primitive stage and differs vastly across the country. Naturally, migrant workers would prefer to work in regions where social-welfare policies are better implemented.

In addition to potentially poor and cramped working conditions, Chinese workers are also rejecting factory work due to the health issues…

Environmental Problems

Why has the rest of the world outsourced their manufacturing to China? Yes the labor is cheap and (mostly) abundant, but they are also very lax in their regulation of pollution.  Yes, our beloved gadgets are a result of some very toxic manufacturing processes.

So toxic in fact, that many employees have been poisoned:

In mid-July, Long found herself unable to move her legs. “I was just lying on my bed all day and needed help to eat,” she says. Long ended up in a hospital in Guangzhou with more than 30 other Fangtai Huawei workers. Doctors found they’d been exposed to n-hexane, presumably in the “banana oil.” It’s an industrial solvent that causes neurological damage at just 50 parts per million. Workers using it are supposed to wear respirators and operate in a ventilated area. As treatment, Long endured daily injections—she says they “hurt more than anything else in the world.”

Not only does making the stuff cause pollution, but keeping the lights on at all of these manufacturing cities takes energy… lots of it.  And like many other countries (including the United States), China’s primary sourcing of energy is burning coal

sn_china_energy

Burning coal is dirty (as seen in the video above)

China’s apparent demand for crude oil will reach 550 million tonnes (11 million barrels per day) and apparent demand for natural gas will hit 205 billion cubic meters, Nur Bekri, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), said, according to Xinhua.

Electricity consumption will rise to 5.7 trillion kilowatt-hours and coal consumption will be 3.96 billion tonnes.

Burning coal and running factories is such dirty business that China has a tendency to shut down production when visitors arrive. They shut down factories for the Beijing Olympics, and they are planning to do so again for the G20 Summit in September.

Since this is a supply chain focused webpage, I am curious to see how the supply chain will be impacted by this production shut down. If you think you could be impacted, check to see which of your suppliers (n-Tier) are receiving goods from the affected region (especially from chemical, electro mechanical, building material, and pharmaceutical industries).

Conclusion
This is not a condemnation of China. America has a long and horrible history of mistreating workers and our natural resources:
sn_cleveland_river_fire
Cuyahoga River Fire (Cleveland), 1952

In the coming years, Americans won’t be moaning about China taking their jobs, because the Chinese don’t want them. Those jobs will taken by automation and robots.

There is actually an opportunity for America to re-emerge as a manufacturing leader, but powered by the same robots and AI that will replace Chinese workers.

China is at a critical point in their own history: they have a massive population with needs that are going unmet and they don’t have the infrastructure in place to address those needs. Additionally, the poor treatment of their own natural environment is going to lead to even more medical and social distress.

As the country grows and becomes more connected with the rest of the world, the people who are making the stuff you love, are going to want stuff to love for themselves. It is already happening.

China is going to grow and evolve regardless of what I type here.  But will the country continue to be the hands and feet of the global economy or will they clean up their cities, open their borders (for workers and for brides), and create something new?

It is going to very interesting to see how this plays out.

Note: Here is the Fair Labor Report referenced in the video.

Photo: Travel Coffee Book

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News You Can Use: 5/25/2016

sn_conference_Benjamin Child

  • The Future Of HR And Why Startups Shouldn’t Reject It

    A recent Motherboard piece took a look at the impact of no HR on company culture. It found that women are more often than not the most vulnerable employees due to startups’ lack of HR and general anti-harassment procedures. The article states, “Ultimately, these structural issues contribute to one of the greatest systemic problems facing working women today: barriers to advancement, known to many as the glass ceiling.” And over the years some of the biggest tech startups have had accusations of harassment levied at them.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/3059673/the-future-of-hr-and-why-startups-shouldnt-reject-it

  • Go Deep and Go Wide with Procurement Analytics

    Data unification is a two-step process that catalogs all data sources and uses that information about data to build a global reference that shows how all of the data relates to the questions at hand. This resource is typically built through a combination of machine learning and smart sourcing of human experts, and provides three clear benefits: making exponentially more data available for analysis, eliminating the biggest contributor to analysis time overhead – data preparation, and building in repeatability so any analysis that has been done can be rerun at anytime with no repeat of the data preparation.

    http://www.procurementleaders.com/blog/my-blog–guest-blog/go-deep-and-go-wide-with-procurement-analytics-617110

  • A 40 Hour Work Week . . . Really?

    Of course, I’m being a fit facetious here but I don’t think it’s all that far from the truth. Here’s a shocking business statistic: if you or anybody on your team wastes just one hour per day — and please understand that I’m also guilty of this — it equates to six weeks of wasted time per year! Isn’t that incredible? That’s a lot of vacation time. My advice: just work hard when you are at work. Of course, we all need some down time to handle personal matters but do so sparingly because you can’t get those hours back.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/272480

  • Call me crazy (regarding conference calls)

    A conference call is over when someone uses one of the many conversational gaps, false starts, or “No, you go” truces to suggest that perhaps for clarity we should put our ideas in writing. As if to say, “Yeah, I guess flip-flops weren’t a good choice for this 5K run.” Acknowledging that we’ve engaged in the discourse equivalent of a toddler’s squiggle drawing. Hinting that next time we play Marco Polo we could try a swimming pool instead of the Indian Ocean.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/16/hang-up-the-conference-call

  • Want to Improve Your Decision-Making? Shut up for 10 days.

    Insight meditation, also known as vipassana, is a method handed down by Gautama Buddha himself to his followers. Insight meditation focuses on maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, without judgment. Students first take a vow of silence. They then enter into a daily routine of sitting for as many as 11 hours per day, renouncing all other religious or ritualistic practices, eating only vegetarian fare and not speaking except during a short Q&A session with the teacher.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275536

  • How AI And Crowdsourcing Are Remaking The Legal Profession

    “If you were to download everything in the PACER system, it would cost you hundreds of millions, if not more,” says Lewis of Ravel Law, which has found an alternative by partnering with Harvard Law School to digitize its archive. “They’ve made an effort to collect every … court decision from every state and federal court over the last 200 years,” Lewis says. Ravel collects new information in real time. “The courts themselves are doing a much better job of pushing out today’s law,” he adds. Ravel has published the complete case law for California and New York. It aims to offer all U.S. federal and state law online by mid 2017, for free.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/3059725/how-ai-and-crowdsourcing-are-remaking-the-legal-profession

  • The Chinese Millennials

    We have heard the stories of changing and increasing wages. The migrant workforce in China’s eastern coastal cities is also changing. Today, young people coming to the factory towns from rural China are less open to the long working hours, constant overtime and poor working conditions. Today’s Chinese Millennials stand apart from their parents and grandparents. They have many new economic opportunities, they are focused on the present, they are interested in more work/life balance, and they have become conspicuous consumers.

    http://www.scmr.com/article/the_chinese_millennials

Photo: Benjamin Child

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News You Can Use: 1/27/2016

sn_fire_Tirza van Dijk

  • Outside-In Issues are Shaping Modern Procurement — Is Your Organization Ready?

    One has to remember that stagnant GDP growth, rising inflation, steady or increasing unemployment, rising inequality between the rich and poor and an increasing need for resources in greatly limited supply are creating a perfect economic storm that will sink any company not ready to compete in the global marketplace that has taken hold in most large economies. Value chains are becoming bifurcated and turned on their heads. Consumers want local and they want global on demand. Products need to come from everywhere and go to everywhere, be compliant with local and foreign regulations, be produced in a socially responsible fashion and be sold through the appropriate digital channels. And this all has to be done by Monday morning at 9 am.

    http://sourcinginnovation.com/wordpress/2016/01/20/outside-in-issues-are-shaping-modern-procurement-is-your-organization-ready/

  • The Most Damaging Thing an Employer Can Say to an Employee

    There’s one thing a manager should never say to an employee: you will not move up here.

    http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/254262

  • Better Intel Through Better Info: Why CPOs Should Focus on Information, Not Technology (Part 2)

    If you want to solve this problem of better intelligence through better information, you can’t just outsource it away. There is nothing wrong with setting up a center of excellence (CoE) for supply market intelligence and using it to parse out intelligence requests from stakeholders via category managers to low-cost third parties. But it’s only a temporary fix. You need to get your procurement information management capabilities understood and improved so that you’ll be able to take advantage of the massive and diverse forms of digital assets that are getting built out.

    http://spendmatters.com/cpo/better-intelligence-through-better-information-why-cpos-should-focus-on-information-not-technology-part-2/

  • I am just going to leave this one right here…
    DONALD TRUMP SAYS HE’D GET APPLE TO MAKE ITS PRODUCTS IN AMERICA

    Of course, even if Trump is elected president, it won’t happen. There are a number of reasons why Apple can’t or won’t bring its manufacturing jobs to the US:

    Legal reason: For starters, there is no U.S. law that can force an American company to make its products in America, notes Engadget. Any attempt at passing such a law would be vigorously opposed by virtually every U.S. company, Constitutional scholars, and likely, even most Republicans in Congress.

    China reason: Then there is China, which is increasingly becoming Apple’s most important sales territory in the world. No tech company wants to annoy China, the country with the largest amount of consumers on the globe. Can you imagine how China would react if Apple said it was moving Chinese manufacturing jobs out of the country? If it wouldn’t ban Apple’s products outright, it would almost certainly levy draconian import taxes on them, making them so expensive for consumers that Apple’s sales in China would nosedive.

    Cost reason: Another reason Apple would probably never move all of its manufacturing jobs to the U.S. is because it would increase the cost of its products all over the world. Wages are higher in the U.S. than in other countries where goods are manufactured and those wage hikes would almost certainly be passed on to the consumer in the form of more expensive iPhones and iPads.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/3055611/fast-feed/donald-trump-says-hed-get-apple-to-make-its-products-in-america

  • From chaos to control — The benefits of better contract management

    Rob Woodstock, Accenture managing director, operations strategy for UK and Ireland, says the same lesson is true for all organisations. And while procurement has been successful in creating savings during sourcing and tendering, better management of contracts represents an untapped opportunity to improve performance.

    Additionally:

    This fragmented, complex picture of contract management can mean organisations miss opportunities to save money and face increased legal risks, Woodstock says. It also leads to difficulties understanding the pricing schedules across multiple contracts. “Even for those that are available, a large number are out of date,” he says, adding that there is often no visibility as to when contracts come up for renewal.

    http://www.procurementleaders.com/blog/my-blog–guest-blog/from-chaos-to-control–the-benefits-of-better-contract-management-594920

  • For you procurement nerds out there… there very first purchasing manual ever:

    The Handling of Railroad Supplies — Their Purchase and Disposition, written way back in 1887 by Marshall M. Kirkman and printed by Chas, N. Trivess, has the basic definition of the requirements of a purchaser down flat…

    Google Books: Handling of Railroad Supplies

Photo: Tirza van Dijk

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