For the most part, increased mobility and connectivity is good for organizations. IBM’s analytics has prevented food spoilage and possible counterfeits with real-time actionable insights. However, as IoT software make its way into wearables and equipment, what is the liability? In this piece, we will discuss the ethics of smart technology in supply chain.

Ethics of Wearables and Equipment Upgrades

Here are some examples of equipment upgrades and wearable technology receiving backlash:

  • Extreme monitoring infringing on well-being: Amazon has patented wristbands that track warehouse workers’ movements. Critics suspect with this technology may give too much power to corporations, including micromanaging breaks.The OR Blackbox is another IoT device that has garnered fears despite its ability to help surgeons save lives. It tracks surgeons’ movements and gives instant correctional feedback, preventing major accidents. The main criticism involves the liability (and nerves) this could create for surgeons.
  • Microsoft employees against weaponizing AR: Microsoft employees have created a petition to sever a $4790 million contract with the US Army for training and combat.
  • Liability in creating smart consumer products: Nike released a line of smart sneakers. Despite claims of strong cybersecurity measures, there’s no doubt the more wearables can track the user, the higher the risk is for hacks. In early 2018, Under Armour’s app MyFitnessPal compromised email addresses and passwords, while the fitness tracker Strava gave away U.S. military bases.

A Calendar for Supply Chain: Lessons Learned from 2018

Gung Hay Fat Choi – China Closes for the Holidays
Lunar new year begins on the new moon and that appears between January 21 and February 20 of every year. This is the biggest celebrated holiday in China and even the government closes for family reunion.

  • Factories workers are going on holiday – Millions of workers return to their hometowns and celebrate with family members. When they return, they often take this time to negotiate a raise or find better opportunities.
  • If you import from China, avoid making last minute orders – Prior to CNY, avoid making deposit payments. Some factories close down after the new year and a significant percentage of workers don’t return to the factory.
  • Get friendly: Regular customers are prioritized – Sales agents won’t refuse orders despite the inevitable delays. Regardless of the order they come in, large orders from regular customers will be prioritized. In addition, the relationship with the customer based on gifts, restaurant meetings and greetings will be taken in account.

Halloween Pop-Up Stores Hurts Retailers

  • Spirit Halloween eats everyone’s candy
    Brick-and-mortar costume stores expect Halloween to be the cash cow of the months, but with pop-up stores they are under threat.

Black Friday- Diffusing Crowds

  • eCommerce up 23% in 2018
    Online sales exceed expected growth with a record $6.22 billion in online sales. Retailers have built easier mobile experiences to facilitate these transactions.
  • VR Training for Crowd Control – Walmart has sent 17,000 Oculus Go headsets to 4,700 U.S. stores to prepare their retail staff for the rush of Black Friday.

New Year Unresolved Gifts

  • Return of the unwanted gifts –  After holiday shopping’s peak season, warehouse space shrinks from all the returns. Every year almost $100 billion worth of holiday gifts are returned, and customers want their money back quickly. On-demand warehousing is an option for purchasing warehousing in emergency situations.

Season for Green

While scientists are investigating plastic-eating enzymes, supply chains are cleaning up their act. Germany is switching to renewable energy , and Hyundai is developing hydrogen-fueled engines for its vehicles. As organizations and individuals, there are ways big and small to reduce your carbon footprint.

Here are some startups that can help your organization manage supply chain impact:

  • Keep track of your water sources: Aquyltics is a cloud-based platform that makes it easy for organizations to monitor their water sources. Organizations looking to invest in environmentally friendly water sources can use Lotic Labs.
  • Reduce corporate waste streams: Waste Less Living analyzes sources and outflows, implements company composting, and facilitates event waste management. For e-waste reduction, Homeboy Recycling helps companies and individuals responsibly recycle.

What do you think about these topics? If you have ideas on what you’d like to see or a case study you’d like to share, let us know!