This Week in Logistics News (August 22-26, 2016)

It’s the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, and like millions of other Americans and foreign tourists, my family and I spent our vacation visiting several parks over the past week, including the Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion (with stops in Sedona, Lake Powell, Lower Antelope Canyon, and Hoover Dam along the way). Words and photos cannot fully capture the sights and sounds and wonders of these parks, but here are a few photos nonetheless:

Needless to say, with today being my first day back from vacation, getting back into the swing of things is going very slow, but at least it’s Friday and I have the weekend to get caught up on things — and to get back on the bike saddle and resume my training for our Logistics Leaders for Type 1 Diabetes Cure team ride, which is just a few weeks away.

Now, here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week.

Last week, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, Target announced that it was “pulling thousands of items off its shelves and cutting ties with Welspun India Ltd. after an investigation determined Welspun had used non-Egyptian cotton for about two years.” Other retailers, including Walmart, J.C. Penney, and Bed Bath & Beyond have launched their own investigations too. Here are some additional details from the article:

Welspun says it has commissioned an accounting firm to review its supply chain.

In October, [The Cotton Egypt Association] said it had discovered the genomic fingerprint for Egyptian cotton and launched a crackdown to combat knockoffs using DNA testing…DNA testing, however, isn’t widespread, said a spokesman for Cotton Inc., which represents U.S. cotton producers and importers. That has left manufacturers and retailers mostly dependent on following the raw material through a complex supply chain. Each stage of a cotton product’s production, from yarn making to fabric cutting, often happens in a different country.

This is yet another example of the challenges and complexities involved in achieving timely, accurate, and complete supply chain visibility — and a reminder that implementing supply chain visibility software is not a silver bullet solution. As I’ve said many times before, despite all the buzz about supply chain visibility software, it’s a worthless investment if companies don’t also invest the time, money, and resources to see and walk their supply chain, from start to finish, with their own eyes and feet. Simply put, achieving true end-to-end supply chain visibility takes considerable more time, money, and resources than many companies are investing today — and it also takes a more enlightened approach to supplier selection and management.

For related commentary, see Made in “I Really Don’t Know” and Still Don’t Know How Many Slaves Are In Your Supply Chain?

That’s all the time and mental energy I have for today. Have a happy weekend.

Song of the Week: “Sedona” by Handmouth