Andeavor received a tax benefit of $918 million in the most recent quarter ended Dec. 31, with a total profit of $879 million.
MRC Global increased sales by 25.6% from a year earlier, marking the third consecutive quarter of a year-over-year sales gain of more than 20%. The company made a profit of $35 million on $903 million in total sales after posting a loss a year earlier.
Distributors will have to adapt to an on-demand mindset just as consumer brands have, writes Bridget McCrea. Distributors can experiment in a number of ways, including using independent contractors for same-day deliveries and charging an annual fee for customers who want the option of immediate service.
Collaborative robots are becoming more flexible, a useful quality for small- and medium-sized manufacturers, says Jim Lawton of Rethink Robotics. Cobots have the potential to alleviate the problems caused by worker shortages, he says.
Nearly all executives responding in NewVantage Partners' annual survey acknowledge the importance of a data-driven culture, but most haven't successfully made the shift, write Thomas Davenport and Randy Bean. "The keys to success are to determine how your firm should respond, assign clear responsibilities for data strategy and results, and then move ahead to execute the needed changes in a systematic and effective fashion," they write.
The lead time for toy production is shrinking as social media trends drive children's preferences, which can benefit smaller companies and has led Mattel and Hasbro to create quick-innovation teams. MGA Entertainment moved its L.O.L Surprise! toy line from creation to distribution in 18 weeks, and one of those toys became 2017's top revenue grosser.
The Charter of Trust global alliance is intended to "develop and continuously improve coordinated strategies and shared standards to protect critical infrastructures, public facilities and private companies," writes Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser. A unified front to assure data protection is critical because cybersecurity attacks can endanger people, he writes.
Internet of things technologies are enabling supply chain managers to apply manufacturing-based strategies such as statistical process control, lean and Six Sigma to the supply chain. "Instead of relying on large amounts of safety stock, companies can use the data from an IoT tracking system to run lean, distributing inventory efficiently without sacrificing risk tolerances," writes Rob Stevens, Tive's chief revenue officer.
Data should be encrypted whether it's idle or being transmitted, and encryption keys themselves need protecting, writes Oz Mishli of Unbound Tech. Cloud services are leading to new ways of protecting encryption keys.
Businesses that extend integrated business planning principles throughout the supply chain will benefit from the ability to plan prescriptively, according to Stuart Harman of Oliver Wight Asia Pacific. Prescriptive analytics differ from descriptive and predictive analytics by providing insight into the viability of potential choices.
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