In a regular Friday spot, this is the Reading Room, a weekly roundup of what we’ve been reading, watching and listening to. You can see these updates even more regularly if you follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter.
While the fast-moving news around coronavirus or COVID-19 continues to occupy headlines this week, the supply chain and manufacturing industries are starting to wonder what the outbreak will mean in the medium and long term. The quick answer seems to be that medium-term impact is substantial and in the long term some real questions need to be answered around how supply chains and manufacturing footprints are designed and managed in the future. We are already seeing impacts with key industry events in China being rescheduled, aviation and travel industries being damaged, and companies issuing earnings warning relating to COVID-19.
- For example in Supply Chain Dive, we see that “Under Armour forecasts up to $60M revenue hit from coronavirus disruptions”, and they are not alone in providing such warnings.
- According to Reuters, “Apple warns sales to fall short of target due to coronavirus impact”. Apple Inc. warned on Monday it was unlikely to meet its March quarter sales guidance set just three weeks ago as the world’s most valuable technology firm became one of the biggest corporate casualties of China’s coronavirus epidemic.
- Also in Supply Chain Dive, we read, “Maersk lowers volume expectations with coronavirus recovery path uncertain”.Maersk CEO Søren Skou pointed out on the call that the outbreak affects not just ship traffic but Maersk’s considerable logistics and terminal business in China.
- Meanwhile Forbes contributor and Fictiv CEO, Dave Evans, states that “Coronavirus Shows That Supply Chains are Outdated and Unfit For Modern Manufacturing”., adding, “the recent coronavirus outbreak is another example of how easily traditional supply chains can be quickly and dramatically disrupted, exposing the risk inherent in what is clearly an outdated and unreliable model. In a world where markets and supply chains are global, there must be a better way.”
- Also in Forbes, Ed Garsten suggest, “Coronavirus Exposes Auto Industry’s Lack Of Plan B”. Inadequate backup plans and limited supply chains have put the automotive industry in an especially tenuous position for surviving the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to two analysts studying the situation. Should the situation extend close to the first day of Spring, the effects of that lack of preparedness could become especially acute.
- It is worth checking out the insights from my favorite supply chain guy, round table on this very topic with Akhil Oltikar of Omnics. You can also see Ron talking about Vietnam as a manufacturing location. . He was also gracious enough to take part in several video interviews and shows at APEX 2020, including a
In non-COVID-19 news:
- IndustryWeek suggests that “Humans Are Underrated”. The next 50 years will marry the adaptability and context awareness of humans with the strength, precision, computing, and sensing capabilities of robots.
- WIRED Magazine covered the latest news from Jeff Bezos, with the headline “With a $10 Billion Fund, Jeff Bezos Can Control the Planet’s Future”. The Amazon CEO’s pledge will fundamentally reshape the fight against climate change, whatever Bezos ultimately decides to do with it. Interestingly the initial announcement was made on Instagram.
- Also in WIRED, “Airbus’ Maveric Brings B-2 Bomber Style to Passenger Jets”. Starting with the small-scale model Maveric, the planemaker says this new design could produce major efficiency gains. Check out some of the cabin ideas possible with this different body shape.
- According to EE Times Editor, Barb Jorgensen, “ ”. AR/VR is so important to the manufacturing industry that Flex has adopted it as one of six key pillars of its Industry 4.0 strategy. The company’s focus includes enhancing its global manufacturing processes and delivering customer solutions through M2M communication; smart automation and robotics; augmented/virtual reality; 3D manufacturing; simulation and visualization and business intelligence.
- And how about this in electrek for a teardown. “Tesla has ‘6 years lead over Toyota and VW’ in electronics, says new Model 3 teardown” A new Tesla Model 3 teardown ordered by the Nikkei Business Publications came to the conclusion that Tesla is “6 years ahead of Toyota and VW” when it comes to electronics.
Podcast of the week: As someone who is “blockchain-curious”, I enjoyed ECIA podcast on “The Channel Channel”, where ECIA’s VP Don Elario discusses IBM’s blockchain solutions for the electronics industry and Christophe Begue provides an update on how the industry is adopting IBM’s TradeLens and Trust Your Supplier, as well as some insights into how some companies are leveraging Blockchain to create new business offerings.
Video of the week: So many to choose from this week. The full list of APEX video is live on the, as are numerous APEX videos from other outlets.
Read more, watch more, hear more, know more – that’s the SCOOP!