14 articles

Setting a Course for Viable Sustainability

Pitting economic concerns against environmental challenges is hardly a zero-sum game.

Some 90 percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea. Ships also account for about 3 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Furthermore, this GHG figure could grow by a minimum of 50 percent and perhaps as much as 250 percent by 2050 if no action is taken to curb emission levels. Projected […]

Solving the Soft Skills Gap in Supply Chain Management

A focus on technology has left workers and key companies short of abilities critical to organizational success.

Managing supply chains more than ever is about managing technology. The rise of tools such as predictive analytics, the Internet of Things and blockchain places greater demand on supply chain professionals for the technical skills to understand and apply the dizzying array of new technologies in modern business. In the rush to keep up with […]

Bracing for the Next Brexit

Did your business drop the ball on a Brexit contingency plan? How to prepare for the next global disruption.

The repercussions of Brexit, Britain’s momentous decision to exit the European Union, will reverberate across the globe for some time. But one striking conclusion from the many analyses of the June vote is that companies were not prepared for this game-changing event. “Businesses were largely taken by surprise by [the] vote to leave the EU […]

The Power of Resilience

A Q&A with Yossi Sheffi on how the best companies manage the unexpected.

In his new book, “The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected” (MIT Press), MIT professor Yossi Sheffi explains why modern vulnerabilities call for innovative processes and tools for creating and embedding corporate resilience and risk management. Sheffi spoke with Longitudes editor Samantha Slappey. Samantha: Your book is titled “The Power of […]

Creating Supply Chains that are Resilient

We have experienced a global financial crisis, various natural disasters and there are rising concerns over global warming, aging populations and cyber vulnerabilities.

The monstrous 8.6-magnitude earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan spawned a tsunami that surged 4 kilometers inland, obliterating towns and farms across a huge swathe of the Japanese countryside. As I describe in my new book The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected (MIT Press, October 2015), that earthquake took […]

Greek Crisis Underlines the Importance of Risk Management

How can companies shelter their supply chains from market storms?

No one knows for sure how Greece’s financial crisis will impact the global economy over the long-haul. However, what companies can expect is instability in some form or other, such as volatile prices and fluctuating currency values within the Eurozone and beyond. Companies have developed financial hedging tools such as long-term, fixed-price contracts with suppliers […]

It Takes More Than an “Uber” Prefix to Reinvent a Business

A new generation of apps is changing the trucking industry.

The success of the taxi-like Uber service has spawned many start-up attempts in related (and other) areas. In fact, it seems that any time a new app puts service providers in direct contact with customers, the service involved becomes an “Uber” activity. But the Uber moniker does not necessarily mean that a new business model […]

Speed Bumps on the Road to Vehicle Automation

Many obstacles stand in the way of self-driving vehicles.

The tragic loss of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps has galvanized discussions about pilotless aircraft, and whether we have the technology to safely replace humans with computers in the cockpit. In broad terms the answer is yes, we do have the technology, but of course the route to full automation in passenger planes […]

Six Ways to Kill Innovation

How organizations can lift the roadblocks to new ideas.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently described the demand for iPhones as “staggering” after divulging that the company sold 74.5 million units in the holiday quarter even though it raised the price of this iconic product. Sales in the period amounted to more than 34,000 phones per hour flying off the shelves around the clock, The […]

Measuring Supply Chain Success

Traditional performance indices may not be as effective as we thought.

Comparing your company to industry leaders is a popular way to benchmark the organization’s performance, and there are plenty of industry indices out there that rank companies according to various measures of excellence. In the supply chain domain the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 index is one of the most closely followed indices. But do […]

Networks: The Rising Market Goliaths

Globe-spanning networks are redefining the rules of competition.

Many of the large companies that dominate world markets owe their strength and continuing growth to their underlying structure: a formidable network. Such networks have special economic characteristics which provide competitive advantage. We are surrounded by networks: social networks, airline networks, highway networks, wireless networks, and numerous others. These entities contain points (“nodes”) connected by […]

How $7 Can Change U.S. Transportation

It’s time for a European-style gas tax in the U.S.

There is no easy way to present this idea, so I’ll go right ahead and state it plainly. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d impose a hefty gas tax on Americans. And by “hefty” I mean of the order of 50 percent to 70 percent. I would also require a different money allocation […]

Can a Watch Change the World?

How Apple's future-facing watch could have ripple effects far beyond tech

Since the launch of the Apple Watch with much fanfare this month, there’s been a lot of talk about how the device will carve out a viable niche in the consumer electronics market. Another, potentially bigger picture talking point is how Apple’s latest gizmo has the potential to spur significant growth in the ecosystem of […]

MOOCs are Here. Education Will Never be the Same.

In 2012, Battushig Myanganbayar became one of 340 students to earn a perfect score in the sophomore-level MIT course Circuits and Electronics, reported by The New York Times. What is remarkable about this – aside from the student’s exceptional grade – is that the 15-year-old boy was living in Mongolia at the time and was […]