How to Make Money in Plastics Recycling

2016-Convention-Brochure-Cover-233x300by Pamela J. Gordon, CEO at Technology Forecasters Inc. and Senior Consultant at Antea Group

The device on which you are reading this blog (or on which you printed it) likely contains plastic, in addition to some precious and non-precious metals. When that device reaches the end of its life, you have two types of options, I learned from the Circular Economy Executive Education Course I’m taking. Continue reading

The Electronics Supply Chain Can Thrive in the Circular Economy

circular-economy(Part 1 of 3)

By Pamela J. Gordon, Technology Forecasters Inc. CEO and Antea Group Senior Consultant

One of my happiest moments on the job since joining TFI’s services with those of Antea Group, a Circular Economy 100 member, was upon hearing that Antea Group fast-tracked my enrollment in a Circular Economy Executive Education Course. Being a long-time proponent of designing electronic products to consume minimal materials — therefore reducing costs and environmental harm–I am eager to bring insights and recommendations to the electronics supply chain about thriving in the Circular Economy.

The six-week course started last week. Come along with me in this 3-part blog post to consider what you and your team can do differently — starting today — to successfully meet some of the “rules of engagement” in the Circular Economy. Continue reading

Unite EHS and DfE at Tech Companies

Photo of Pamela J. Gordon

Now follow TFI CEO Pamela J. Gordon and her new Antea Group colleagues on LinkedIn and Twitter.

At one month into TFI’s and Antea Group’s alliance — as we rapidly introduce TFI clients to Antea Group’s deep EHS (environment, health, and safety) expertise and Antea Group’s clients to TFI’s product DfE (design for environment) expertise — it’s clear to see that Tech Companies that have unified EHS and DfE leadership enjoy business and environmental advantages over those that still manage each in separate silos.

I’ll share examples of “unified” versus “in silos” practices, but first you might wonder, why were EHS and product DfE ever apart in the first place? Continue reading

Mexico’s Booming Automotive Electronics Industry Necessitates a Parallel Boom in EHS & Sustainability

Image: http://2016electriccars.com/2016-fiat-500e-review-and-price/

Car image: http://2016electriccars.com/2016-fiat-500e-review-and-price/

By Pamela J. Gordon

In one month alone — August 2015 — automakers produced nearly 300,000 vehicles in Mexico, exporting 80% of them. This production level is 7.7% higher than in August 2014. In fact, 30% of Mexico’s exports are automobiles. (Source: AMIA, Mexican Automotive Industry Association)

For the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) sector in Mexico, these market statistics get even more attractive — given that the share of autos’ electronics is increasing faster than the overall value of auto content. But are Mexico’s Environment, Health, Safety (EHS) and Sustainability practices keeping up with its impressive automotive electronics growth? Continue reading

In the Competition for Best Sustainability Practices, Tech Plays a Key Role

The Jadraas 200MW wind farm in Sweden. Credit: Arise

The Jadraas 200MW wind farm in Sweden. Credit: Arise

by Pamela J. Gordon

With the potentially pivotal UN Climate Change Conference just weeks away, I’m seeing more and more governments — large and small — lead sustainability practices by example: Continue reading

Klafter and Gordon on Climate Change Solutions in the Electronics Supply Chain

Klafter-Gordon webinar photosby Pamela J. Gordon, CEO, Technology Forecasters Inc.

This week Flex VP Corporate Social & Environmental Responsibility Bruce Klafter and I co-presented on EBN’s webinar “Climate Change Mitigation: How the Electronics Supply Chain Can Do So — Profitably.” When viewing it, you’ll find encouragement in our messages and recommendations about the electronics industry’s ability to take immediate and business-sound action to slow Climate Change. Continue reading

Cisco, Flex and TFI discuss Climate Change and the Tech Industry

globe-climate-change-140051by Pamela J. Gordon

Isn’t it time that we in the Tech Industry talk openly about Climate Change? Joe Johnson from Cisco, Bruce Klafter from Flex (Flextronics), and I think so. We will do so during two webinars, produced by EBN, on Aug. 26 and Sep. 30, 2015, at 10:00am Pacific Time.

The pair of webinars is entitled, “Climate Change: The Latest Stats & Strategies for a Changing Tech Industry.” You can register for webinars, for free.

Just to warn you — the webinars will not be for the timid or idle. Joe, Bruce, and I will each present clear reasons why Tech companies and their supply chains need to understand and take action on Climate Change. By “action,” we refer to a combination of reducing risk as business conditions change, and realizing new business opportunities through new products and practices.

You can get a sense of the topics by reading two recent EBN articles: “Escalating Climate Change on the Electronics Industry’s Agenda” and “Climate Change in Electronics: Immediate & Practical Preparations & Solutions.”

Give the articles a read if you have a few moments, but for sure give a listen to the webinars, and ask questions of Joe, Bruce, and me.

In fact, if you have questions to ask or comments to make ahead of time, feel free to post them here.

West Coast Port Headaches: Your Contingency Plan?

Port of Oakland, California.

Port of Oakland, California. Photo by Jonathan Gilbert

By Jonathan Gilbert, TFI Senior Logistics Consultant

Contingency Planning in the Supply Chain — Are You Prepared?
Labor issues at Long Beach and Los Angeles ports are causing major headaches for supply chain managers. Again.

A volatile labor environment, record-setting volumes, and ever-larger container ships are delaying ocean freight, especially at our already strained West Coast ports. Shippers may have sighed in relief when the February 2015 ILW slowdown/lockout issue was resolved, but who thought we would be facing the same issue again just two months later?

In April, a Teamsters-affiliated group, Justice for Port Truck Drivers, called for a strike vote. Drivers ratified the strike, launching a job action that may restrict flows at the nation’s two largest ports for the second time in 2015.

How did we get here? And why do we keep coming back? Continue reading

Product Designers’ Shotgun Wedding to Supply Chain

Hands Forced by Environmental and Worker Protection

TFI's hands-on workshop in Design-for-Environment, held at Creation Technologies' Silicon Valley facility

TFI’s hands-on workshop in Design-for-Environment, held at Creation Technologies’ Silicon Valley facility

By Pamela J. Gordon

For 20 years, consultants (I among them) have attempted to wed product companies’ Design functions to the Supply-Chain side of the business. We’ve educated executives about achieving cost savings and faster-time-to-market through having designers work closely with supply-chain professionals — early in design cycles — on the availability and reliability of parts and materials. “The old practice of ‘throwing the design over the wall to manufacturing’ is over,” we’d implore.

In all of those years, many executives have casually listened, and some have actually strategically aligned the two functions. These days, however, permanently joining Design and Supply Chain is a necessity owing to customers’ increasing demands for environmental and worker responsibility, along with numerous countries’ regulations enforcing them. Product Designers have no choice but to engage Supply Chain to ensure that products are hazardous-substance free, supply-chain workers are treated fairly, and products are responsibly recycled. Continue reading

Regional Manufacturing: from Philosophy to Practice

Photo of Craig Carlson, Outerwall

Craig Carlson, Outerwall

(Third in TFI’s “Supply-Chain Rescue” series)

An interview with Craig Carlson, Director, Commodity Management & Contract Manufacturing, at TFI client Outerwall

by Pamela J. Gordon, TFI CEO

Moving supply chains closer to end customers — for cost savings and customer responsiveness — is one of Craig Carlson’s passionate philosophies.

Though many other supply-chain managers have regional-manufacturing philosophies, they’ve candidly admitted that they (1) fear broaching to their executives alternatives to China, or (2) have achieved little movement of their company’s overall supply chains. Continue reading