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More colleges offering MicroMasters programs


Many colleges and universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University, are offering blended programs called MicroMasters in areas such as supply chain management and entrepreneurship. The degrees cost less than other graduate programs but still require students to complete some courses on campus.

Health systems use supply chain management to improve quality


Johns Hopkins Health System and Allegheny Health Network created Nobilant, a supply chain company that enlists clinicians to vet purchases of products and services to control nonlabor spending. Nobilant asserts that good supply chain management can improve quality of care.

BASF making its supply chain more digital


BASF is undertaking multiple methods for improving supply chain management, including "the use of modern methods and technologies for smart data analytics," said executive Ralf Busche.

Advice from a financial supply chain expert


Because financial supply chain management requires in-depth knowledge of the organization, its units and their functions, making changes can be a "daunting" process, says Roddy Martin of Oracle. "One component in this transformation that must not be underestimated is the need for leadership and management of the changes involved, which will often drive new ways of working, and will require new systems and capabilities," Martin says.

Amazon shipping growth could "destabilize" industry, expert says


The growth of Amazon's shipping operations may pose a significant threat to FedEx and UPS. "Amazon's market entry strategy has pretty much been 'I'm going to come in and I'm going to beat you to death with low prices.' ... If Amazon follows that tactic, they would destabilize this industry rather quickly," said Robert Lieb, a professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University.

Supply chains embrace, benefit from IoT


British organization Eye For Transport says 41% of supply chain management officials are already using internet-of-things technology. "Fundamentally, IoT is allowing businesses to collect significantly more external and internal data and integrate it into their risk-assessment analytics," says Haley Garner, research head at the company.

Target taps ex-Apple exec to manage changing supply chain


Target has named former Apple executive Benjamin Cook as senior vice president of global logistics, inventory allocation and replenishment, marking the latest move in the retailer's efforts to adjust its inventory mix to accommodate growing online sales. Cook's resume includes supply chain management stints at Home Depot and Kimberly-Clark.

Financial tech's effect on the supply chain


Financial-technology companies are changing the role and function of the global supply chain by altering payment structures, write Dale Rogers, Rudolf Leuschner and Thomas Choi. "Traditionally, supply chain management has been about sourcing, making, and delivering," they argue. "Now, it's about 'funding' -- using the supply chain as a source of inexpensive capital."

Automation is fundamental to the supply chain's future


Machine learning will play a major part in supply chain management and demand forecasting in the near future, Chris Cunnane writes, citing a recent talk from the ToolsGroup Supply Chain Transformation conference. Speakers like ToolsGroup CEO Yossi Shamir say the use of learning machines will help sort data streams from a broad range of sources to deliver more effective analysis and greater forecast reliability.