Insights

The Smart Cube publishes thought leadership aimed at providing greater perspective, a unique viewpoint, and actionable insight. We constantly research different functions, topics, and industries to address the opportunities and challenges that business leaders face around the world. Browse our library — blogs, Cubisms articles, whitepapers, presentations and videos — packed with insight to help move your business forward. 

Verizon–AOL Deal: Creating New Sources of Revenue

Verizon–AOL Deal: Creating New Sources of Revenue

In 2014, the telecom, media, and technology sectors witnessed mergers and acquisitions totaling ~$296 billion by value. The latest in this series of M&As is a deal between two US-based players—Verizon and AOL—wit [...]

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What Can the Pharmaceutical Sector Learn from Other Sectors?

What Can the Pharmaceutical Sector Learn from Other Sectors?

With the expiry of a few major patents, strict regulatory compliance requirements, and dipping sales, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies are facing an unfavorable external environment. Experts feel that inefficient supply [...]

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Necessary Evil: Regulatory Compliance in Pharmaceutical Industry

Necessary Evil: Regulatory Compliance in Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry operates in one of the most regulated and dynamic environments, with changes regularly effected by regulatory authorities, the most prominent among them being the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a [...]

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New Gateway: Capgemini Buys Out IGATE

New Gateway: Capgemini Buys Out IGATE

On April 27, 2015, global information technology (IT) company Capgemini announced plans to acquire competitor IGATE in a deal worth $4 billion. Speculations regarding IGATE’s sale were rife since November 2014, when the pre [...]

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Why Supplier Risk Management is Still the Big Thing?

Why Supplier Risk Management is Still the Big Thing?

Supplier Risk—for most organizations—is no longer a buzzword or an emerging trend. It is a real and constant concern. Nowhere is this more evident than for the food and retail industries, where what started with the h [...]

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Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent Merger: United We Succeed, Divided We Fail

Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent Merger: United We Succeed, Divided We Fail

  On April 15, 2015, telecom equipment makers Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent announced plans to join hands. According to FY2014 revenue figures, the merged entity—Nokia Corporation—will be worth ~$27.5 billion1 and have [...]

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Procurement Policy and Practice: An Evolving Landscape

Procurement Policy and Practice: An Evolving Landscape

In a January 2015 report, The Smart Cube discussed key trends in corporate procurement practices, including managing increasing procurement-related risks, establishing alliances with key suppliers, and leveraging data analytics. [...]

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Emerging Technologies Driving Innovative Marketing Strategies in Retail

Emerging Technologies Driving Innovative Marketing Strategies in Retail

The global marketing landscape is constantly evolving due to emerging technologies. As a result, marketers need to ensure that they are in line with the latest high tech trends that will have a strong impact on their industries. W [...]

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What’s Trending in Renewable Energy?

What’s Trending in Renewable Energy?

The landscape of the energy industry is changing. Renewable energy, once considered an alternative form of energy, is fast gaining mainstream acceptability from customers as well as financiers. Renewable energy providers are expe [...]

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FedEx to Acquire TNT Express: Will the Industry Follow Suit?

FedEx to Acquire TNT Express: Will the Industry Follow Suit?

Global M&A activity gained significant pace over 2014, rising 47% Y-o-Y, according to a Fortune article. However, for the transportation and logistics sector, 2014 was a lackluster year, with M&A value and volume figures [...]

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End of EU Milk Quota Regime: What’s in it for Buyers?

End of EU Milk Quota Regime: What’s in it for Buyers?

Effective from April 1, 2015, the EU abolished its milk production quota policy—imposed on members and individual dairy producers since 1984—sparking fears of a repeat of the notorious “milk lakes and butter mou [...]

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Supply Chain Optimization: The Reverse Logistics Way

Supply Chain Optimization: The Reverse Logistics Way

If the world were an ideal space for sellers, all products manufactured would find their way into the hands of consumers, have unlimited shelf life, and never disappoint consumers. Also, consumers themselves would be rational dec [...]

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Mac and Cheese with a Side of Ketchup: An Analysis of the Kraft-Heinz Merger

Mac and Cheese with a Side of Ketchup: An Analysis of the Kraft-Heinz Merger

In March 2015, Kraft and Heinz announced their definitive agreement to merge into the Kraft Heinz Company (Kraft Heinz). Under the terms of the agreement, Kraft shareholders will own a 49% stake in the combined company, whil [...]

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Impact of the Rising Apprehensions Around Bab-el-Mandeb

Impact of the Rising Apprehensions Around Bab-el-Mandeb

  On March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabian forces launched air strikes against Houthi insurgents in Yemen. This sent shivers down the spine of the global economy on account of the important trade flow through this region—specif [...]

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Cotton Prices at a Five-Year Low: The Chinese Connection

Cotton Prices at a Five-Year Low: The Chinese Connection

Cotton prices have hit a five-year low, touching 67.4 cents/pound in January 2015, as per the “A” Index Cotton Price, which is considered a proxy (by the National Cotton Council of America) for world cotton prices. Ch [...]

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Uncertain Times: How Can Analytics Help You Combat Purchase Price Variance?

Uncertain Times: How Can Analytics Help You Combat Purchase Price Variance?

Risks related to procurement are on the rise, with volatility in commodity prices likely to be the norm in the coming years. The economies of the world are increasingly becoming interconnected, and prices of key commodities are no [...]

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Made in Vietnam: Rising Dominance of the Vietnamese Manufacturing Sector

Made in Vietnam: Rising Dominance of the Vietnamese Manufacturing Sector

  Slowing economic growth, rising wages, increasing complexity of supply chains, and the growing sophistication of consumers is reducing the advantage in manufacturing that China has held for so long. In this context, The Sma [...]

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Procurement Technology Trends

Procurement Technology Trends

Over the years, procurement has evolved from being a cost center to a value-generating activity—technology being a key driver for this change. Compared to a few years ago when procurement professionals primarily focused on [...]

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Tech Companies Eyeing Healthcare

Tech Companies Eyeing Healthcare

In a different time, in another place, Persian poet Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi wrote “What you seek is seeking you.” Centuries later, these words are echoed in today’s healthcare technology landscape. Gone are the [...]

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Global M&A Outlook and the Impact of Two Mega Packaging Deals

Global M&A Outlook and the Impact of Two Mega Packaging Deals

2014 was a busy year in the M&A space, with the strongest activity since 2007. According to Dealogic, an international financial software company, global M&A deal value was pegged at $3.6 trillion in 2014, a 26% Y-o-Y incr [...]

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Marketing Collateral in the Digital Age

Marketing Collateral in the Digital Age

Marketing collateral refers to various media that support the sales and marketing of a company’s products and services. It is typically used after a company has made initial contact with the consumer through advertising or o [...]

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Trends Shaping the Media and Entertainment Space in 2015

Trends Shaping the Media and Entertainment Space in 2015

Over the last few years, digital media has proved its supremacy over traditional media such as printed newspapers and magazines. And, as we enter 2015, characterized by shifting consumer spending and behavior, and an ever-increas [...]

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Evolving Nature of Customer Service

Evolving Nature of Customer Service

Technology has revolutionized, and continues to transform, customer service and engagement into an evolving and malleable space. Along with catering to queries over telephone or email, customer service executives engage via a ran [...]

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How Are Companies Reacting to an Ebb in Copper Prices?

How Are Companies Reacting to an Ebb in Copper Prices?

  Copper prices have nosedived to a five-year low, with the London Metal Exchange (LME) spot price for the reddish brown metal falling to a daily average of $5,490/MT on January 26, 2015—a level last seen in July 2009 ( [...]

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Drought in Brazil, Energy in Tumult

Drought in Brazil, Energy in Tumult

Brazil has been experiencing its worst drought in more than eight decades. This has had a strong negative impact on its hydropower generation capabilities, which the country is highly dependent on for electricity needs. According [...]

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The Divorce of the Swiss franc from the Euro

The Divorce of the Swiss franc from the Euro

  By removing the currency ceiling of 1.2 Swiss francs per euro on January 15, 2015, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) not only broke its three-year relationship with the euro, but also left global financial markets and businesse [...]

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End of the Oldest Monopoly: A Reason to Worry or Rejoice?

End of the Oldest Monopoly: A Reason to Worry or Rejoice?

In November 2014, the Chinese government decided to end its monopoly on edible salt production and distribution starting in 2016, similar to Japan’s move in 1997. China is the largest producer and consumer of salt globally [...]

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Procurement Policy: Today and Tomorrow

Procurement Policy: Today and Tomorrow

An organization’s procurement function is fast becoming a key component of its overall strategic approach for top line growth. In addition, Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) are increasingly being given a seat at the strateg [...]

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Trends in Pharma Packaging

Trends in Pharma Packaging

The pharma packaging industry, though mature, is undergoing a sea of change. The progress of this industry is tied to innovations. Evolving consumer needs, novel medicines, advancing technology, increasing cost pressure, stringen [...]

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Trends Shaping the Electronics Industry.pdf-1

Trends Shaping the Electronic Industry

The global electronics industry is witnessing a sea of change on the back of changing consumer needs and technological advances, which have shifted the industry’s focus to innovative products such as wearables, 3D printers, and ul [...]

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Trends Shaping the Retail Industry.pdf-1

Trends Shaping the Retail Industry

Changes in the retail industry are being driven by numerous factors, such as changing consumer behavior, technological advancements, and a growing focus on cost competitiveness. Companies are thus resorting to various strategies i [...]

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Internet of Things: Changing the Playing Field

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network within the existing internet infrastructure that connects physical objects (that have wireless connectivity capabilities) with one another. With the global IoT market forecast to grow fr [...]

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Customer-centric Innovation: Reaching beyond voice of customer

Customer-centric Innovation: Reaching beyond voice of customer

In today’s competitive, dynamic, and consumer-dominated business environment, organizations and brands are continuously looking to innovate and reinvent themselves to stay afloat. As a result, their R&D spend has grown s [...]

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Analytics Owner -- One or Many?

Analytics Owner -- One or Many?

The debate on centralized vs. decentralized procurement—one of the most critical business functions at present—has been going on for a long time. Though both have their share of advantages and disadvantages, companies [...]

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Adieu to 2014 from The Smart Cube

Adieu to 2014 from The Smart Cube

As we bid farewell to 2014, we would like to thank all of our readers for encouraging us to continue to share our insights on topical market issues, trends, and the latest happenings in business. While the world has been characte [...]

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The Future of Premium Rate Services: Not So Premium Anymore

The Future of Premium Rate Services: Not So Premium Anymore

Premium rate service, or PRS, is an information or entertainment service, such as horoscope services, customer support, directory service, and adult chat, which can be accessed through a phone (mobile and landline) and billed thr [...]

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The Story of Vegetable Oils in 2014

The Story of Vegetable Oils in 2014

  Prices of vegetable oils have been falling steadily over the past four years, after peaking in 2011. As evident from Figure 1, prices of palm oil—the most widely consumed vegetable oil, expected to account for ~35% o [...]

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California

California's Worst Nightmare in a Century

California, the state which houses the Salad Bowl of the World (city of Salinas), has been reeling under extreme drought conditions since 2012. According to the US Drought Monitor, as of November 25, 2014, 55% of the state was un [...]

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How is Your Company Reacting to Spiraling Coffee Prices?

How is Your Company Reacting to Spiraling Coffee Prices?

In July 2014, The Smart Cube published a report on the expected volatility in global coffee prices in 2014. As can be seen from Figure 1, the composite price of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) rose to a peak of 170.6 c [...]

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Pharma M&A Cover

Niche Targets - Rewarding M&A Strategy for Pharma Giants

It’s an ideal time for pharmaceutical giants to target specialty companies in order to secure their long-term growth. The industry is witnessing shrinking R&D pipelines, declining R&D productivity, and eroding revenue due to the n [...]

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Will rubber prices continue to nose-dive?

Will rubber prices continue to nose-dive?

  "Rubber is the biggest loser among major commodities this year.” – Bloomberg (September 2014)

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Iron Ore Miners Feel the Pinch of an Extended Price Slump

Iron Ore Miners Feel the Pinch of an Extended Price Slump

Iron ore, a majority of which is employed in steel manufacturing, is a naturally obtained resource. Its prices are in free fall—nose-diving to a five-year low of $69.8 per tonne as of November 21, 2014. As indicated by Figur [...]

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Pharma Industry Grappling with Price Wars

Pharma Industry Grappling with Price Wars

“Competition related to diabetes drug prices in the US will hurt sales next year. Many are entering this field and trying to gain market share. This affected prices this year…and the full-year impact will be realized [...]

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Bitcoin and the Age of Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin and the Age of Cryptocurrency

The fall in Bitcoin prices in 2014 has been almost as dramatic as the massive surge in prices toward the end of 2013. Between the first week of November 2013 and December 2013, prices swelled from ~$200 to ~$1,240. This literally [...]

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If the weather siblings strike…

If the weather siblings strike…

El Nino and La Nina, the weather siblings, are notorious for stimulating price fluctuations across commodities, from copper to coffee and palm oil. Weather conditions favoring El Nino have led to the closure of the November&ndash [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_Cover

Cubisms Vol 4 No 2

In our second issue of Cubisms in 2014, we cover a range of topics across several industries. Looking back at the year, it has been marked by various complexities - from geopolitical developments and economic shifts at a macro lev [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_AsAService

IT-as-a-Service Model: What's Next

Cloud computing is no longer considered a "nice to have" component of a corporate IT platform. Nowadays, it's a strategic imperative. There are several platforms available that enable businesses to reduce capital investments in IT [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_GlobalDefense

Will India Fuel Global Defense Industry Growth?

As military spending decreases in Western countries, will there be stronger market opportunities in the East? We present an analysis of India’s role in the global defense industry, the country’s key strengths, and the roadblocks i [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_EUChemicals

Preventing Another European Dinosaur: Assessing the European Chemical Industry and Its Path to the Future

Is the European chemical industry losing its luster because of expensive feedstock and the EU's energy policy? The Smart Cube presents an overview of the industry's waning competitiveness -- based on structural challenges, manufac [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_FleetManagement

Fleet Management - A Fleet-footed Future

How can companies leverage the power of analytics to address the nuclear issues in fleet management? With advanced analytics and telematics technologies, businesses are moving away from traditional analytics tools—which provide a [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_Shrinkage

How to Prevent Losses from Shrinkage

Shrinkage is the loss of inventory (leading to revenue loss) between point of manufacture and point of sale. And retailers have always faced the challenge of preventing shrinkage-related revenue losses. Find out what companies are [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_ConsumerInsights

Consumer Insights - What Do You Need to Know?

Today, with new technologies and platforms allowing brands to remain connected with consumers, there is an over abundance of data available for analysis. The challenge no longer lies in collecting data on customers, but rather in [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_TBTJ-V2

Evaluating the 'Too Big to Jail' Dilemma: Considerations and Implications for the Global Banking Industry

First the banking industry was "Too Big to Fail" (TBTF), a dilemma that we explored in our previous edition of Cubisms. And now, it appears that TBTF has evolved into a "Too Big to Jail" dilemma. We present an assessment of the US [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_TransportCosts

Using the Power of Data Analytics to Cut Growing Transportation Costs

How can organizations ride on the back of data analytics to lighten their burden of increasing transportation costs? We look at the key drivers of rising costs and how data analytics can help reduce these expenditures while also i [...]

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Cubisms_Vol4No2_LeanAndGreen

Lean and Green - An Evolving Philosophy for Efficient Resource Management

With the advent of stricter environmental regulations, carbon footprint mapping, and increasing public interest in the environment, companies must do a better job of not just being "lean" but also being "green". We look at how com [...]

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The Nagoya Protocol Enters into Force - Are you Prepared?

The Nagoya Protocol Enters into Force - Are you Prepared?

The Smart Cube’s previous update on the Nagoya Protocol was on October 2013. At the time, it had received ratifications from 19 countries; it required 50 ratifications for it to come into force. The protocol, which seeks fai [...]

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Partnering with Competitors to Reduce Logistics Costs

Partnering with Competitors to Reduce Logistics Costs

In February 2015, French food giant Danone will share its Gunma Prefecture (Tokyo) distribution facility with one of its competitors––Yakult, the probiotic drink behemoth. The companies engaged in a similar manner in [...]

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Potential Impact of Pesticide Bans

Potential Impact of Pesticide Bans

The two-year ban on neonicotinoids pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiametoxam)—which came into effect on December 2013, and restricts their use for seed treatment, soil application, and direct application on be [...]

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The Global Retail Theft Barometer

The Global Retail Theft Barometer

The Global Retail Theft BarometerTM is a comprehensive report on the cost of shrink. Using statistical research based on shrinkage (loss of inventory), it helps retailers benchmark their performance against averages for specific [...]

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Trends Shaping the Automobile Industry

Trends Shaping the Automobile Industry

Tightening regulations, increasing competition, changing consumer needs, advancing technology, and growing focus on cost have triggered changes in the global automobile industry in the recent past. As global auto giants revisit t [...]

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Will Ebola Impact the Global Economy, Businesses, Trade and Supply Chain?

Will Ebola Impact the Global Economy, Businesses, Trade and Supply Chain?

The 2002–2004 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused a global panic, particularly due to its high mortality rate of 12%. The economic impact of the epidemic was estimated at $11 billion. The more recent [...]

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Top Trends in Global Packaging Industry

Top Trends in Global Packaging Industry

Have you noticed the not-so-evident shorter Coca-Cola PET bottles? Perhaps not. Though minuscule, the reduction in bottle cap and neck height offers cost savings of 7–10% per bottle. Coca-Cola is not the only marketer to [...]

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Who Moved My Patent? The Battle of Patent Infringement

Who Moved My Patent? The Battle of Patent Infringement

Increasing competition and consumer expectations—along with the unbound imagination of the human mind—are time-agnostic drivers of innovation. In today’s technologically dynamic age, product launches are increa [...]

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Evolving Future of Media Buying

Evolving Future of Media Buying

Have you ever wondered how organizations find the right audience, through the right vehicle, and at the right time? It’s through media planning and buying. 

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R&D Restructuring Underway at Pharma Giants

R&D Restructuring Underway at Pharma Giants

In October 2014, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical announced plans to redirect R&D efforts and funds from noncore therapeutic areas (oncology and women’s health) to its core areas—central nervous system and respira [...]

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From

From 'Made in China' to 'Made in Mexico'

'Made in China' has for long symbolized China’s image as one of the largest economies worldwide and its dominance as a low-cost sourcing destination. However, this trend started suffering a setback in 2010. Rising costs (la [...]

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Driving Innovation through Procurement

Driving Innovation through Procurement

“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” – Michel Porter (1980)

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Procurement Intelligence: Should-Cost Modeling Drives Stronger Profitability

Procurement Intelligence: Should-Cost Modeling Drives Stronger Profitability

Over the last 20 to 30 years, the procurement and supply chain space has substantially evolved and the executives running procurement organizations have, in turn, adopted far more progressive and sophisticated tools and approaches [...]

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Virtual Payments: A Boon for Procurement

Virtual Payments: A Boon for Procurement

Over the last couple of years, late payments have become a matter of concern for companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In FY2014, European firms wrote off ~$465 billion of debt due to the late payment or non-p [...]

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Potential Impact of Plunging Crude Oil Prices

Potential Impact of Plunging Crude Oil Prices

In 2013, crude oil catered to ~33% of the global energy needs—the highest among all energy sources. Indeed, it is the lifeline of the global economy. However, over the past couple of years, the dependence on this lifeline h [...]

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The Food Industry Supply Chain: Thoughts on Supplier Quality

The Food Industry Supply Chain: Thoughts on Supplier Quality

The ghosts of the 2013 horse meat scandal had not even been properly laid to rest, when a new food supply scandal came to the fore in China earlier this year. A sting operation by a Chinese television channel showed workers mixing [...]

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Impact of Scottish Independence

Impact of Scottish Independence on its Economy, Businesses, Trade and Supply Chain

We examine the possible impact of Scottish independence on the country’s economy, currency, trade scenario and key industries—in a nutshell, aspects that can impact the procurement strategies of a plethora of businesses globally.

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From Super Pharma to Specialized Pharma

From Super Pharma to Specialized Pharma

Multinational companies in the pharma industry, including GSK, Novartis, and Pfizer, are increasingly divesting their noncore businesses to concentrate on their core competencies. But why?

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Recent Airline Accidents and the Implications

Recent Airline Accidents and the Implications

Have you been skeptical about air travel recently? Do you feel anxious boarding flights these days? If you answered yes, it’s not surprising. In the last six months, the world has witnessed five major airline disasters. A p [...]

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Patent Cliffs: 2014 – 2015

Patent Cliffs: 2014 – 2015

Over the past century, Loss of Exclusivity (LOE) has emerged as a major concern for the pharmaceutical industry. In 2012, when the first patent cliff threatened the pharma ecosystem, experts authored numerous strategies (in the f [...]

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Labor Shortage Rattling US Oil & Gas Industry

Labor Shortage Rattling US Oil & Gas Industry

Almost a year ago, we talked about the global shortage of skilled workers in various industries, including oil & gas, construction, and manufacturing, most of which are still experiencing workforce crises. However, the situa [...]

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E-book Industry: Present and the Future

E-book Industry: Present and the Future

The e-book phenomenon has taken a toll on print books, publishers, and retailers, and has compelled them to critically examine their business models to align them with the fast-changing industry. In the age of e-books, the follow [...]

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Palm Oil Prices: A Slippery Turf Ahead

Palm Oil Prices: A Slippery Turf Ahead

After hitting rock bottom in November 2012, palm oil prices revived in 2013. Production in Indonesia and Malaysia, which together control about nine-tenths of the global production, entered a low output cycle that triggered the re [...]

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How Will Russia’s Food Import Ban Affect You?

How Will Russia’s Food Import Ban Affect You?

In February 2014, Ukraine witnessed widespread civil unrest against the then-President’s––Viktor Yanukovych––signing of an economic and political association agreement with Russia, and refusal to sign [...]

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Cocoa Butter Prices Soar as Asia Craves Chocolate

Cocoa Butter Prices Soar as Asia Craves Chocolate

Most of us know cocoa butter as the delicious-smelling and creamy-textured vegetable fat that is used in our personal care products and chocolate bars. For confectionary manufacturers, however, this dreamy foodstuff is fast becomi [...]

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Managing Geopolitical Risk for Supply Chain Continuity

Managing Geopolitical Risk for Supply Chain Continuity

It has been a century since the First World War started in Europe. Hardly a few eye witnesses are alive to recount horrific war stories. However, our generation is fairly aware of what the war led to, thanks to on-screen depicti [...]

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Mobile RTB – A New Weapon in the Advertiser’s Arsenal

Mobile RTB – A New Weapon in the Advertiser’s Arsenal

If you are in any way related to advertising, you might have heard of mobile real-time bidding (RTB). This newest weapon in the marketer’s arsenal is being touted as a complete game changer. Marketing research company eMarke [...]

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Four-Year Itch: Are Sugar Prices Finally on the Rebound?

Four-Year Itch: Are Sugar Prices Finally on the Rebound?

The sugar industry has witnessed a fourth consecutive season of large global surplus since 2010–2011. Hence, global sugar production is likely to grow at a sluggish pace in the current marketing year, signaling the end of t [...]

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How to Choose and Measure the Value of a Celebrity Endorsement

How to Choose and Measure the Value of a Celebrity Endorsement

Consumers are exposed to thousands of advertisements. Every brand attempts to capture their attention, informing them about its products or services. Advertising plays a pivotal role in creating awareness and differentiating a com [...]

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European Public Procurement Directives

After introducing the EU Late Payments Directive in 2013 to combat late payments in commercial transactions, the European Commission (EC) has also revised public sector directives. With these revised directives, which were publish [...]

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2014 World Coffee Prices: One Roller Coaster Ride

2014 World Coffee Prices: One Roller Coaster Ride

In early 2014, there were telltale signs of a storm unsettling global coffee production, anticipated to result in skyrocketing prices. The fears were not without reason—Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer, is f [...]

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EU Sulfur Directive – A Wake-up Call

EU Sulfur Directive – A Wake-up Call

January 1, 2015—a date that shipping companies operating in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and the English Channel will be dreading. The EU Directive 2012/33/EU on sulfur, which comes into force from this date, require [...]

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Impact of Bitcoin on  Retailers

Impact of Bitcoin on Retailers

In continuation to the previous post on Bitcoin, this blog goes a step further and analyzes its impact on retailers. Although credit cards are still the most preferred form of online payment, Bitcoin is increasingly gain [...]

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Cost-to-Serve: Gaining Visibility into Unprofitable Products and Customers

Cost-to-Serve: Gaining Visibility into Unprofitable Products and Customers

WHAT IS COST-TO-SERVE? In today’s business environment, bottom-line profit makes more difference than top-line sales. Although most companies follow rigorous cost management practices, the primary focus is to generate highe [...]

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Impact of Climate Change on Global Economy

Impact of Climate Change on Global Economy

In the past decade, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, drought, etc., have not only become more ferocious but also more unpredictable and erratic. In a short span, the world has stood witness to the most powerful hurricane ever to hit t [...]

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Impact of Climate Change on Global Economy

In the past decade weather patterns have not only become more ferocious but also more erratic. The unpredictability of extreme weather is a challenge that most companies are yet to address.

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Procurement in the Age of 3D Printing

Procurement in the Age of 3D Printing

The world is flat. Really? While Thomas L. Friedman may have had his supporters, flatness as an attribute lost its value. And it seems to have lost its value in the world of printing, which is moving from 2D to 3D. 

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The Merger of Equals: Publicis–Omnicom. The Failure and the Aftermath.

The Merger of Equals: Publicis–Omnicom. The Failure and the Aftermath.

“I think it will be a very long time before we try to do a merger of equals again.”

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Activist Hedge Funds are Back with a Bang!

Before the 2008 financial crisis, hedge fund activists were making the headlines quite regularly. However, the burst of the credit bubble and the resultant financial crisis brought a brief end to the activist hedge fund wave. The [...]

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Turning Around a Luxury Brand

What characteristics of a brand define it as luxurious? How do brands maintain an emotional connection with their target audience in challenging economic times? The Smart Cube looks at 4 luxury brands and how they adjusted their b [...]

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An Introduction to the World of Gamification

Wanna play? Learn how fun and addictive elements of games can be used in business for customer engagement, product development, innovation, employee training, health and more.

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Target 20/20: The EU and Renewable Energy

A look at EU member states and how likely they are to achieve their objectives by 2020: a 20% decrease in EU’s carbon emissions and a 20% increase in the share of renewable energy across the region.

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Key Trends Shaping the Cleantech Sector

Four underlying trends are expected to influence the cleantech sector during 2014-2015. The sector—which includes renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage, sustainable transportation, and recycling—relies on advanced tech [...]

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Municipal Bankruptcies in the US: An Impact Assessment

A look at the Muni bond market and how major credit events will impact the space. In the fixed income world, municipal bonds are typically seen as an attractive alternative to treasury bills (T-bills). The Muni bond market, valu [...]

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Procurement Through the Cloud

Cloud computing is widely known for its ability to scale and provide computing features in a cost effective manner. It has had a remarkable impact on global delivery processes, hosting, and computing across industries and function [...]

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The Dodd-Frank Act & Too Big To Fail

Too Big to Fail (TBTF) is the belief that certain financial institutions cannot fail due to their sheer size. Financial communities across the world ascribe great importance to these institutions and believe that they will be ulti [...]

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Shale Gas Exploration

Among the various available energy sources, shale gas has witnessed the maximum traction and has emerged as one of the most promising alternatives to traditional energy sources. This article provides a brief history and overview o [...]

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The Game of Speculation

What causes fluctuations in commodity prices? Is it led by changes in market fundamentals or is it the result of speculative trading? And once you know, how do you develop a strategy to ensure effective risk management? The Smart [...]

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Cubisms Vol 4 No 1

Our first issue of Cubisms in 2014 includes a range of topics across several key industries. And as with all of our previous publications, we hope our ideas and insights help you think of new and innovative ways to approach your b [...]

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The World of Pharma in 2014 – Serialization, Regulations, and Rising API Costs

The World of Pharma in 2014 – Serialization, Regulations, and Rising API Costs

Over the past decade, the life sciences industry has undergone a sea of change, with a major impact on the industry ecosystem. Patent cliffs, regulatory changes, restructuring of governing bodies, and blockbuster draught—th [...]

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Five Trends Shaping the Energy Sector in 2014

Five Trends Shaping the Energy Sector in 2014

Energy is the backbone of any economy, making it imperative for decision makers to understand the sector’s dynamics for both short- and long-term planning. In an effort to help our clients stay on top of these dynamics, we [...]

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Chemical Industry Outlook 2014 – Poised for Growth; Structural Realignment to Continue

Chemical Industry Outlook 2014 – Poised for Growth; Structural Realignment to Continue

Widely used in a variety of products, chemicals are an essential part of modern life. In fact, the global chemical industry is mammoth and growing—global chemical output, valued at $171 billion in 1971, is estimated to ha [...]

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Four Key Trends Influencing the Global Insurance Sector in 2014

Four Key Trends Influencing the Global Insurance Sector in 2014

The global insurance industry has experienced a rough patch over the past few years due to volatile financial markets. Improvement is expected but will be challenged with low interest rates, evolving regulations and complex produc [...]

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Rising Stockpiles Weigh Down Aluminum Prices

Rising Stockpiles Weigh Down Aluminum Prices

Aluminum is the second-most widely used primary metal after steel. The metal, which is used to manufacture diverse products, from soda cans to cars, high-speed trains, and airplanes, recorded the lowest prices in the last four yea [...]

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The Impact of the Philippines’ Typhoon on Global Trade & Economy

The Impact of the Philippines’ Typhoon on Global Trade & Economy

The Smart Cube helps companies globally ensure they have optimal supply chain, sourcing and operational efforts in place and are prepared for what the future holds, which can sometimes be an unknown, such as an unexpected natural [...]

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World Coffee – Slithering Prices, Brewing Trouble

World Coffee – Slithering Prices, Brewing Trouble

Perhaps everyone enjoys waking up to their favorite cup of joe. Its aroma and caffeinated kick has had coffee drinkers in its thrall since its inception. However, the addictive nature of caffeine and the demand from consumers hav [...]

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‘Patent Cliff’: Shift in R&D Patterns of Big Pharma Companies

‘Patent Cliff’: Shift in R&D Patterns of Big Pharma Companies

Despite reaching its peak in 2012, the impact of a ‘patent cliff’on revenues is still being felt by pharma majors, with an estimated $170 billion worth of products scheduled to go off patent annually by 2015. While pat [...]

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The Smart Cube Risk Appetite Index - Currency Volatility in Emerging Markets

The Smart Cube Risk Appetite Index - Currency Volatility in Emerging Markets

The year 2013 has been quite interesting for currencies. While its initial months were dominated by movements in the yen, the summer was marked by movements in emerging market (EM) currencies.  Currency trading so far has bee [...]

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Impact of the Nagoya Protocol on the Global Economy

Impact of the Nagoya Protocol on the Global Economy

Genetic resources derived from plants, animals, and microorganisms are used to develop many commercial products such as drugs, food products, beauty products, and specialized chemicals.

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Impact of the Nagoya Protocol on the Global Economy

What would happen if companies were required to share their revenues with countries that source natural ingredients used in their products? It's an idea called the Nagoya Protocol and it's close to ...

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Principal Component Analysis

Principal Component Analysis

Data forms the core of any analytical exercise and it is often considered that the more data one has, the better it is! But is that always the case?

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EU Late Payments Directive

Introduction of the EU Late Payments Directive, which aims to combat late payments in commercial transactions, has created a stir among companies across Europe. Most EU countries have enacted laws to implement the directive, which [...]

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When Interest Rates Turned Negative in Europe

When Interest Rates Turned Negative in Europe

At the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monthly press conference on 2 May, president Mario Draghi surprised the markets by commenting that the ECB is ‘open minded’ and studying the case for negative interest rates. [...]

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Report on the Global Shortage of Skilled Workers

Where in the world are the skilled workers? Browse this report to see where the global economy is experiencing a skilled labor shortage, the key drivers behind the lack of skilled workers and its ...

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Is Bitcoin the Future Digital Currency?

Is Bitcoin the Future Digital Currency?

Bitcoin is a frontrunner in the race for digital currency. With a market capitalisation of about $1.2 billion in August 2013, the Bitcoin currency network is gaining new followers every day who believe that it will change the wor [...]

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Revisiting the Brick and Mortar vs. E-commerce Debate: Friends or Foes?

Revisiting the Brick and Mortar vs. E-commerce Debate: Friends or Foes?

It is well understood that the rapid growth in internet adoption, increasingly sophisticated web commerce technologies as well as the increasing penetration of tablets, smart phones and other assorted computing devices have tran [...]

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EU Emission Trading System: Trouble in Paradise?

EU Emission Trading System: Trouble in Paradise?

What is the EU emission trading system?

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The Smart Cube 10-Year Anniversary

2013 marked The Smart Cube's 10-year anniversary. Learn what has made the firm the success it is today--delivering value, delivering insight, and helping clients make better decisions.

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Examining the Growth Potential of Coffee in India and China

Examining the Growth Potential of Coffee in India and China

China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, have traditionally been tea drinkers. In 2011, their per capita annual coffee consumption was a mere 25 and 80 grams, compared to 12.3 kg in the largest European natio [...]

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Japan, Methane Gas, and Energy Independence

Japan, Methane Gas, and Energy Independence

In Q1 2013, the world’s energy landscape witnessed a potential game-changing development. Japan extracted methane gas from deep-sea deposits of methane hydrate in the Nankai Trough, 50 miles south of Atsumi Peninsula.

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Monetary Transmission: The Bank of Japan’s Weakest Link

Monetary Transmission: The Bank of Japan’s Weakest Link

The newly appointed Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda shocked the market by announcing the “massive” monetary easing at his first policy meeting on April 4, 2013. Consensus expectations before the BOJ p [...]

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Are Turnkey Models the Future for the Telecom Sector?

In response to one of the industry's most challenging business environments, telecom providers have looked to Managed and Professional Services. How has this model evolved and what drivers are propelling this evolution?

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The Importance of Coal to the Chinese Economy

Coal has played a key role in China's economic development in the past decade. As of December 2012, China has been the largest producer and consumer of coal worldwide. We examine the evolution of China's coal industry and where it [...]

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Could Asia Pacific be the Saving Grace for the Airline Industry?

Despite adverse economic conditions in the recent past, the airline industry globally has proven to be resilient. After a short downturn, the industry recovered quickly and, in fact, grew moderately. While the mainstay markets (Eu [...]

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Corporate Governance and Transparency for Chinese Companies

Globalization has led to an increase in the scale and complexity of Chinese corporations. A natural follow on has been the demand for improved and more transparent corporate governance.

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U.S. Major League Sports: Industry Economics and Investment Considerations

Are U.S. major league teams good investments, or are they only for affluent individual investors following a personal dream of owning a sports franchise? While ownership of sports teams certainly has novelty, glamour and a passion [...]

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Machine-to-Machine Technology – The Next Big Thing?

M2M technology has evolved to provide customized solutions to organizations across a range of industries. While the market is set to grow globally, where does this growth lie and what challenges should new entrants into the market [...]

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Emerging Trends in the Consumer Packaged Goods Space

Very few industries today are as global and multifaceted as Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). Organizations within this industry are extremely responsive to consumer demands and largely operate in a business environment that is highl [...]

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Cubisms Vol 3 No 1

The latest insights around current market issues and industry trends. This issue spans the globe and crosses industries to look at how consumers, the economy, the political environment, technology and suppliers are driving busines [...]

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SmartCube's Omer Abdullah on Black Swan Events

MetalMiner's Lisa Reisman spoke with Omer Abdullah, co-founder/managing editor of The Smart Cube, about how companies can mitigate risk posed by black swan events.

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Changing Dynamics in the Shipping Industry and the Impact on Procurement

Gautam Singh, co-founder and CEO of The Smart Cube, discusses the insights he will share during his presentation at the Procurement Leaders Forum in Vienna on 23 October 2012.

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The Smart Cube Overview

The Smart Cube is a global professional services firm that specializes in delivering custom research and analytics services to corporations, financial services and management consulting firms

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Is Plastic Electronics the Next Game Changer for the Consumer Electronics Industry?

The electronics industry has come a long way since the invention of transistors, semiconductors, and integrated circuits. Current advancements in substances used in manufacturing electronic components, such as plastics, are set to [...]

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The Impending Patent Cliff: Reversal of Fortune or Future Opportunity?

Today, lifecycle management has become critical for the continued growth of pharmaceutical companies. Charting a comprehensive lifecycle management strategy (pre-launch, peak and maturity) to harvest financial and clinical rewards [...]

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The Premium Beauty Care Industry: Emerging Markets

Developing global markets have been the buzz in the beauty and personal care industry for some time. Yet few have explored the dynamics that define these emerging beauty markets. The Smart Cube’s exclusive analysis highlights emer [...]

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The Complicated Nature of Tin Among Marketers in the Food Industry

A decline in the tin market over the last four-to-five months due to excess capacity has led to the idling of 70 percent of Indonesian capacity (the largest exporter of tin). This may affect the supply of tin in the future and pri [...]

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Five Game-changing Factors of the Palm Oil Industry in 2013

Five Game-changing Factors of the Palm Oil Industry in 2013

Palm oil, the most popular vegetable oil globally, is used in a wide range of food (such as margarine and ice cream), non-food products (such as shampoos, soaps, and cosmetics), and biofuel production.

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Iron Ore – Prices Losing the Sheen of Yore

Iron Ore – Prices Losing the Sheen of Yore

Iron ore, the second most traded commodity in the market after crude oil, is the primary source of iron for the world's iron and steel industries. Between June and September 2012, spot prices for iron ore declined from around $140 [...]

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Regression: The Backbone of Econometrics

Regression: The Backbone of Econometrics

In the current business environment, decision-making relies more than ever on data analytics. Although this is typical in the data analytics area, it is now more common across all business functions. A trader, for example, wi [...]

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Is Social Class Segmentation the Perfect Score for Marketers?

Is Social Class Segmentation the Perfect Score for Marketers?

According to a recent study carried out by BBC Lab UK in cooperation with, amongst others, Manchester University and the London School of Economics, the social class system in the UK has grown from three to seven. The traditional [...]

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The Global Outsourcing Challenge

An overview of the outsourcing industry and the key criteria to use when evaluating a partner with off-shore capabilities.

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Are Uranium Prices at a Critical Tipping Point?

Are Uranium Prices at a Critical Tipping Point?

Uranium, a radioactive material, is used as a fuel by nuclear power plant operators. It currently produces 18% of the world’s electricity. Known to be an efficient energy source (a kilogram of uranium produces 50,000 kwh of [...]

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The Digital Evolution Among the BRIC Countries

The Digital Evolution Among the BRIC Countries

With surging broadband penetration and rising consumer demand for smartphones and tablets, the music industry stands at a critical crossroad—deal with declining physical format sales and different forms of online piracy.

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Stem Cell Research – Unleashed Potential for Pharmaceutical Companies

Stem Cell Research – Unleashed Potential for Pharmaceutical Companies

Despite scientists’ best efforts to utilize technologies to uncover treatments for life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia, heart diseases and neurogenerative disorders, cures have yet to be found. However, in recent yea [...]

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Currency Wars – A New Paradigm in the Global Economy

Currency Wars – A New Paradigm in the Global Economy

Recent efforts by the Japanese government to weaken the Yen, in order to revive the domestic economy have led authorities in South Korea, Russia, Norway, China, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden and some Eu [...]

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An Apple® Smart TV?

An Apple® Smart TV?

While the current wave of innovations in the smartphone and tablet market keep the market buzzing, many are wondering what’s next for the high-tech industry. One recent trend that many manufacturers and retailers are countin [...]

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Rising Prevalence of Diabetes in Emerging Countries: Implications for Pharmaceutical Companies

Rising Prevalence of Diabetes in Emerging Countries: Implications for Pharmaceutical Companies

The increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), has been a cause of concern for emerging countries on account of a combination of genetic, social and economic factors. Diabetic p [...]

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The ‘Mature Consumer’—How Can Brands Engage with Them?

The ‘Mature Consumer’—How Can Brands Engage with Them?

In the coming years, the world is expected to witness a tectonic demographic shift. The number of people aged 60 and above is expected to reach two billion by 2047—a change that is likely to have a long-term impact on busine [...]

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Plummeting Polysilicon Prices: What Does it Mean for Solar?

Plummeting Polysilicon Prices: What Does it Mean for Solar?

Energy crisis has been the topic of discussion for many years now. Supply constraints, burgeoning demand, and the continuous surge in energy prices serve as constant reminders that the need to explore newer sources of energy shoul [...]

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Free e-invoicing: The Road Ahead

Free e-invoicing: The Road Ahead

Electronic invoicing or e-invoicing refers to transmission of invoices over the Internet. It offers a number of benefits to organizations, including streamlining of accounting processes, reducing paper volume, offering higher rece [...]

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Betting on Abe-nomics?

Betting on Abe-nomics?

The Liberal Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has come to power with a bold economic agenda. They want the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to reverse the appreciation of the yen and bring the country out of the decade and a [...]

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Corporate Governance and Transparency for Chinese Companies

This presentation, given by The Smart Cube Director, Gavin Rankin, at the Deutsche Eigenkapitalforum in November 2012, addresses the inherent conflict between the interests of company management and ...

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Changing Dynamics in the Global Steel Industry – The Trend Towards Short-term, Flexible Contracts

Changing Dynamics in the Global Steel Industry – The Trend Towards Short-term, Flexible Contracts

The global steel industry is undergoing a major structural shift in contract structures across its supply chain. This process started in March 2010, when steel manufacturers were forced by iron ore suppliers to move away from a fo [...]

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The Economic Environment: Challenge or Opportunity for Procurement?

The Economic Environment: Challenge or Opportunity for Procurement?

The effects of the recession and continuous economic uncertainty have caused cost cutting and cost saving to become the primary concerns for C-level executives. Tougher sales and constrained margins mean that businesses need to co [...]

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Rejigging Manufacturing–Moving Supply Closer to Demand

Rejigging Manufacturing–Moving Supply Closer to Demand

The advent of globalization over the last few decades and the emergence of a ‘flatter’ world have led to Asian economies emerging as major manufacturing hubs that cater to global corporations. Across the world, compani [...]

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The Widening Scope of Spend Analysis: Procurement to Finance

The Widening Scope of Spend Analysis: Procurement to Finance

Spend analysis is the process of collecting, cleansing, classifying, enriching, and analyzing expenditure data. In the past, spend analysis was primarily conducted to analyze procurement spend. However, of late, because of its man [...]

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Treading the Path of Developed Economies: Paradigm Shift in Indian Healthcare

Treading the Path of Developed Economies: Paradigm Shift in Indian Healthcare

In October 2012, the Health Ministry of India announced its plans to ban branded drugs to curtail the rising cost of healthcare and promote healthcare affordability. This is closely on the lines of the Obama administration’s [...]

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Response Modeling in Loyalty Analytics

Response Modeling in Loyalty Analytics

Statistics indicate that consumer participation in reward programs is on the rise across all demographic segments. What can retailers do to ensure campaigns effectively incentivize customers and maximize ROI? Incorporating respons [...]

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Outsourcing and its Impact on the Procurement Organization of the Future

This presentation was delivered to Chief Procurement Officers and senior procuremet executives at the 2012 Procurement Leaders Forum in Boston. The topic addressed the future of outsourcing and how it will impact the procurement f [...]

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Survey Analytics - The Elusive Key Drivers

Survey Analytics - The Elusive Key Drivers

To maintain and improve brand visibility, it is critical for companies to measure and monitor customer satisfaction at regular intervals. This is primarily done through customer surveys, which are administered through pen and [...]

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Changing Dynamics in the Shipping Industry - Opportunities for Procurement Today

This presentation was delivered to Chief Procurement Officers and senior procurement executives at the 2012 Procurement Leaders Forum in Vienna on October 23. Co-founder and CEO of The Smart Cube, ...

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Introducing The Smart Cube Risk Appetite Index (RAI)

Introducing The Smart Cube Risk Appetite Index (RAI)

The Smart Cube (TSC) recently developed a new index to measure the appetite for risk in the global financial system. Using a basket of variously weighted inputs, adjusted regularly to track importance, TSC’s Risk Appetite I [...]

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Emerging Supply Chain Risks in the Pharma Industry: Why Must This Issue be Addressed?

Emerging Supply Chain Risks in the Pharma Industry: Why Must This Issue be Addressed?

Logistics accounts for 45–55% share of the value chain of a drug. Tied in with associated complexities around sourcing and manufacturing, supply chain management (effective or otherwise) clearly has a strong bearing on the t [...]

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Special Purpose Acquisition Companies: Key Parameters Investors Should Assess at Various Investment Phases

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies: Key Parameters Investors Should Assess at Various Investment Phases

Hedge funds and institutional investors have been investing in numerous vehicles that are unavailable to retail investors, such as private equity investment options. Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) is an option that [...]

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Cubisms Vol 2 No 2

This issue of Cubisms touches on opportunities as well as issues to think through and resolve, explored from different vantage points. We look at the “Global Population at 7 Billion” (with its requisite implications) and then dive [...]

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The World Reaches 7 Billion People: A Look at the Numbers and its Implications

In 2011, the world population reached 7 billion, and each year it increases by 80 million people. We look at the numbers and pose several key questions, such as, is there a fundamental change to be expected in the global economy?

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Key Trends Across the Pharmaceutical Value Chain

One of the most significant shifts of recent times has been the rapid reorganization of the pharmaceutical industry. The complex, moving environment has been termed as 'a period of disruptive innovation.' Given this environment, w [...]

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Investor Insight: Special Purpose Acquisition Companies

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) enable secondary market investors to participate in a PE-type investment scheme. This article will assist investors in evaluating investment opportunities in this instrument.

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Solar Power: A Snapshot Look at Four Key Markets

For quite some time, the human race has acknowledged the importance of solar energy and has always looked for ways to harness its power. The adoption of solar power is increasing but is the outlook for the industry a rosy one? We [...]

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The 'New' Independent Single Woman in the US

Massive demographic and socio-economic changes are underway in single women aged 25-35, driving radical new changes to attitudes and behaviors. The new reality requires new strategies. Marketers have seen young single women throu [...]

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"Showrooming": An Emerging Trend in Shopper Behavior

The boom in smartphones and tablets has led to the rise of a new behavior called "showrooming" among shoppers. As the shopper walks the store and evaluates products, she can look to find a better deal online from the store's compe [...]

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Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Risk Management

Logistics accounts for 45-55% share of the value chain of a drug, leading players in the pharmaceutical space to undertake a range of strategic initiatives.

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Global Business Toolkit - Porter's Five Forces for Polystyrene

The Porter's Five Forces Tool is a framework for industry analysis and business strategy that identifies and analyzes 5 critical competitive forces that shape any given industry, allowing the analyst to determine an industry's wea [...]

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Cubisms Vol 2 No 1

In this issue, we tackle some of the most important topics on the minds of executives – from social media and its implications for functions as diverse as marketing and procurement, to growth opportunity areas – both in terms of t [...]

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The iPad - A Disruptive Technology and its Impact on Business

By the end of 2010, the iPad had defined the tablet market and captured approximately 95% share of the nascent category, with 15 million units sold.

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Technological Convergence: A Snapshot Perspective

An overview of the convergence across different platforms, products and capabilities.

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The Premium Beauty Care Industry in Emerging Markets

The Smart Cube identified beauty care markets likely to exhibit accelerated growth over the next decade by analyzing changes in GDP per capita and the current demographic makeup.

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Real Option Analysis: A Multi-faceted Approach to Efficient Capital Budgeting

ROA is an active investment approach that captures the value of management flexibility in response to changing market conditions such as changes in operating costs, prices of goods produced, prices of raw materials, cost of capita [...]

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Change in the Middle East And North Africa

The recent civil unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has, for obvious reasons, attracted significant attention globally. With countries across the globe still working to recover in the aftermath of the 2008–09 [...]

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Is the Manufacturing Sourcing Model Changing?

Emerging markets in Southeast Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe have become attractive manufacturing locations for many industries, primarily because of their cheap labor and FDI- friendly environment. Governments in these f [...]

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Beyond BRIC: Opportunities in Global Markets for Premium Beauty & Personal Care

Beyond BRIC: Opportunities in Global Markets for Premium Beauty & Personal Care

For global beauty and cosmetics companies, emerging markets present an attractive target as consumers yearn for luxury products and premium brands. Developing global markets have been the buzz in the industry for some time – [...]

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Cubisms Vol 1 No 2

Whether it is the outlook for the real and precious metals (a core topic for Emerging Markets), the nuclear energy debate in Germany, rising food prices globally or the significance of cloud computing, our analysts take a fundamen [...]

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The Cloud and Corporate Computing Capacity

Cloud computing is defined as a system where scalable and elastic IT capabilities (both hardware and software) are provided as a service to multiple customers using Internet technologies. In other words, think of it as a service s [...]

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Success in Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) activity is par for the course in the corporate world these days. Over the last several decades, there has been a consistent increase in both the number and value of transactions taking place, not on [...]

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Africa – A Closer Look

Africa is a continent that evokes a wide range of perspectives, from the cultural to the political to the economic. In all of these different, yet interrelated ways, it is clearly a force to be reckoned with.

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Nuclear Energy in Germany

Nuclear energy has been heralded by many as one of the most important solutions to the growing energy demands of the world, particularly given concerns regarding increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the rising price of oil. The [...]

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4 Key Trends Influencing Automotive Procurement

Few industries today are as global, interrelated and complex as the automotive sector. As the automotive sector has emerged from the Great Recession, it is now beginning to work within a radically transformed environment. We have [...]

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Delinquency Modeling Using Survival Analysis

Applying Survival Analysis thinking to model the predictability of delinquency of loans can provide lending institutions with fundamental insights, to decide whether or not to sanction loans and, if so, then how much.

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Retailing Fundamentals: Understanding the Concept of Market Basket Analysis

An introduction and practical use of a technique that discovers relationships between products purchased. Market Basket Analysis uses consumer transaction data to study buying patterns and exploring the possibilities (and probabil [...]

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The Outlook for the Brazilan Real

Recent oil discoveries, the hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, as well as improved sovereign ratings from credit agencies, have firmly placed Brazil as a ‘must-have’ investment in every emerging market focused po [...]

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Precious Metals – The Outllok for Silver and Gold

Recent oil discoveries, the hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, as well as improved sovereign ratings from credit agencies, have firmly placed Brazil as a ‘must-have’ investment in every emerging market focused po [...]

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Understanding the Recent Growth in Food Prices

Waves of snowstorms, droughts, and floods – all part of the changing climate – significantly damaged food crop yields in 2010. Moreover, adverse weather is increasingly likely to hamper food production during 2011 as well.

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Copper - Primer & Outlook

Copper is regarded as the most valuable of primary base metals, barring nickel, even though it is not the largest base metal market in the world. It is considered a barometer for the state of the economy, given its significance in [...]

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The Supply Challenge - Four Key Challenges for Supply Chains in 2011 and Beyond

If there is a truism in supply chains, it is that there will always be a set of core ‘traditional’ challenges that organizations will continue to face going forward (in good times and in bad). These include stringent cost pressure [...]

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6 Key Actions - Aligning Supply Chains with Corporate Strategy

The supply chain and procurement executive(s) has a ‘seat at the executive table’. To illustrate its potential impact from a pure economic perspective, where else in an organization does one executive have the ability to influence [...]

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The Key to Establishing Procurement’s Credibility within the Organization

The last two decades have seen a sea change in the Procurement function’s (and the Procurement executive’s) standing within the organization. No longer the proverbial ‘back water’ department, Procurement now occupies an important [...]

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Is There Any Value in Forecasting?

Year after year, as companies navigate their way through annual business planning cycles, executives and analysts alike work tirelessly to try and predict how the next fiscal year will unfold, making a range of decisions from wher [...]

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The Evolving Model for Professional Services

These days, companies aren’t questioning whether to outsource as much as they are pondering how best to go about it. Although (at times) still the proverbial hot potato fraught with workforce issues, political quagmires, and publi [...]

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China and Its Influence on the Global Rare Earth Metals Market

Take an even a cursory look at any major business media today and China’s influence in the minerals and metals commodity markets is inescapable. Next to oil, minerals and metals are arguably the most important commodities for glob [...]

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Cubisms Vol 1 No 1

This issue covers a host of topics from strategy to procurement to marketing and the financial markets that address areas of relevance to business and professional services practitioners around the world. Feature articles cover th [...]

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The Evolving Digital Marketing Landscape

Digital Marketing (DM) represents an enormous opportunity for marketers to complement (and, in many cases move beyond) traditional ‘offline’ marketing tools to redefine how they interact with their customers.

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Rethinking Satisfaction Survey Analytics

The core objective of the traditional customer satisfaction survey is to gauge the consumer’s overall satisfaction levels (or perceived satisfaction) with a given brand or a product. To make this information actionable from a mark [...]

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What's Next for the Chinese Yuan

On February 17th, in a significant announcement by Chinese authorities, plans to allow domestic trading of Yuan options against other currencies from April onwards were rolled out, with the fundamental aim of assisting Chinese exp [...]

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Whither Goest The Mobile App?

Whither Goest The Mobile App?

Since it launched its ‘App Store’ in July 2008, Apple has revolutionized the mobile applications (mobile apps, for short) space and started a phenomenon. Although mobile apps have existed for years through companies su [...]

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Iceland

Iceland's Volcanic Ash Cloud and its Impact on Global Trade: A Primer

The volcanic eruption in Iceland has led to a crisis not only for the European air transportation industry, in particular, - disrupting air travel and air cargo operations across northern Europe – but also global commerce ov [...]

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Is There Any Value in Forecasts?

Is There Any Value in Forecasts?

With most companies either in or rapidly approaching their business planning cycles, executives and analysts alike are hard at work trying to predict how the next fiscal year will unfold, making a range of decisions from where bes [...]

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Making Sense of Brand Extensions

Making Sense of Brand Extensions

The subject of brand extensions has been around for decades - and marketing executives have engaged in heated debates about pros and cons of such tactics, and how far such extensions can be taken. Nowhere has this debate been more [...]

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Asset Bubbles and Bursts: The Re-emergence of Rational Valuation

Asset Bubbles and Bursts: The Re-emergence of Rational Valuation

Aswath Damodaran, the famed NYU finance professor and High Priest of quantitative valuation, shares a lot with Edward Altman, his equally famous colleague at NYU. (Damodaran penned "Investment Valuation: Tools and Techniques for [...]

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"Is it Safe?" The Outlook for Investment in Emerging Markets

"Is it Safe?" The Outlook for Investment in Emerging Markets

There’s a classic scene in the 1976 hit movie, The Marathon Man, in which Laurence Olivier, playing a skilled dentist who is also a Nazi war criminal, is torturing a young Dustin Hoffman. Using his medical know-how and some [...]

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Beyond Politics: Do Job Creation and Outsourcing Go Hand in Hand?

Beyond Politics: Do Job Creation and Outsourcing Go Hand in Hand?

This weeks announcement between Dr Pepper Snapple and HCL Technologies has us thinking about how the practice of Outsourcing has been changing in recent years. Traditionally viewed as simply a means of cost arbitrage (effectivel [...]

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Awaiting The Green Revolution...

Awaiting The Green Revolution...

At a recent address to the NYU Money Marketeers, a New York-based association of financial market participants, Kenneth Volpert, head of the Fixed Income Group at Vanguard, reviewed just how far and how fast the credit markets had [...]

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The (Ir)rationality of Markets

The (Ir)rationality of Markets

The Financial Times recently reported on a recent survey by the British Chartered Financial Analyst Institute of its members, which found that an increasing proportion believed that markets did not behave rationally:

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Rethinking the Corporate Ladder

Rethinking the Corporate Ladder

Periods of economic upheaval tend to see organizations rethinking their relationship with their employees. Some of this is driven by the employer (see the 'rightsizing' that has taken place over the last year), but others are driv [...]

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Are We Not Taking Enough Risk...?

Are We Not Taking Enough Risk...?

...At least when it comes to Innovation and the Venture Capital community? In times of trouble, organizations tend to do two things - 1) Conserve cash and 2) Focus on what you know. This makes perfect sense for most corporates bu [...]

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Making Sense of Supply Chain Risk

Making Sense of Supply Chain Risk

The last 12 months has undoubtedly been one of the most turbulent periods in economic history, with industries (and their constituent companies) across the globe experiencing levels of uncertainty that were unfathomable a mere 24 [...]

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Rethinking China Outsourcing?

Rethinking China Outsourcing?

It's amazing what a few short years will do to a country's rock star status.

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Surviving the Storm: Value Creation in the US Auto Parts Sector

Surviving the Storm: Value Creation in the US Auto Parts Sector

In a period of unparalleled economic turbulence, perhaps no industry has been more severely impacted than the US Auto Parts industry. The sector, in tandem with the Big 3 Automakers, has been facing severe financial distress over [...]

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The Credit Crunch and Outsourcing

The Credit Crunch and Outsourcing

The recent tumult in the markets - and its reverberations from Wall Street to Main Street - have made the business news channels compulsive viewing for executives across the globe. One group of professionals that have been keepin [...]

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The Smart Cube Financial Services Survey : Implications of The Credit Crunch

The Smart Cube Financial Services Survey : Implications of The Credit Crunch

Listen or read any news site or publication over the last several months and talk of the economy is never far behind. Recession or no recession, individuals and corporations alike are clearly acting as if we are in one. Housing fi [...]

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Offshoring – Taking its place within the Management Toolkit

Offshoring – Taking its place within the Management Toolkit

One of the most intriguing findings from our recent Financial Services survey related to the impact of offshoring (and outsourcing*) on the financial job market – both in recent years as well as today. All in all, 70% of rec [...]

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Is Corporate America Outsourcing Itself Out of Opportunities to Cultivate Future Leaders?

Is Corporate America Outsourcing Itself Out of Opportunities to Cultivate Future Leaders?

These days, companies aren't questioning whether to outsource as much as they are pondering how best to go about it. Although still the proverbial hot potato fraught with workforce insecurities, political quagmires, and public rel [...]

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The Asia vs. the West Business Debate: A Study in Strategy Contrasts

The Asia vs. the West Business Debate: A Study in Strategy Contrasts

“We don’t try to grab market share quickly by competing on price. That’s not a long term, sustainable growth strategy.”

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Survey: Global Manufacturers Staying Put in China

Survey: Global Manufacturers Staying Put in China

In the aftermath of the recent recalls of tainted and toxic China-made products, more than a few have speculated that manufacturers who have outsourced production operations there are no doubt rethinking their sourcing strategies [...]

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