A world of innovation – supply chains at work

7 October 2016

Supply Management takes a look around the globe to highlight where supply chains are making a difference...


Manhole covers will be used to predict floods in a collaboration between equipment maker Meidenmsha and waterway expert Nihon. Japan gets heavy rain 232 times a year and by fitting a chip to manholes, councils can real-time access to data so they can determine areas at risk of flooding.


A digitally-powered solar-powered cold store, made by Danish company Unicool, is helping farmers keep their products in villages and reduce wastage. In neighbouring Tanzania, up to 75% of food is wasted because it starts to rot in transit before it reaches the marketplace.


The international airport in Ashgabat, the capital of the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan, has just opened a $2.3bn terminal in the shape of a flying falcon. The capital is famed for its idiosyncratic architecture – the state publishing house’s head office is in the shape of a book.


Invented at the University of California, San Diego, the Benthic underwater microscope is the first such device to be able to take images of the sea floor. Named after the ocean’s deepest layer, the Benthic, it is being used to understand – and conserve – the world’s coral reefs.


Germany’s DB Cargo has run the UK’s first zero carbon train journey by helping to fund an environmental project in Rwanda to offset emissions. DB calculated the cost of compensating for the emissions from a journey from Germany to London and invested that amount in firewood stoves for families in Rwanda.


The world’s first electric highway for trucks is being tested on a 1/2m stretch of road near the city of Gavle, north of Stockholm. The trail lets Scania trucks draw power from overhead lines, much like trams. When connected, the trucks produce zero emissions.

South Korea

Ulsan, the city where Hyundai Heavy Industries is based, is about to become a test bed for the 3D printing of shipbuilding parts. South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will invest a large chunk of its budget in researching the development and manufacture of 3D printed ships.


In the capital Santiago, a government scheme offering start-ups $33,000 in capital and easing regulations has stimulated the growth of a tech sector known as ‘Chilecon Valley’. Among the successes is Biofiltro which has developed an organic waste water-treatment technology.


Crunching the numbers

5.1 days

The average time it takes to the top 238 American retailers to fulfill an order, according to a survey by Internet Retailing, a dramatic improvement on the 8.3 days in 2014. Best Buy’s typical delivery time was just 3.3 days.


The amount that Lithuania’s Ministry of Defence may have overspent on kitchen utensils for its armed forces. The Lithuanian Procurement Office found that sometimes the ministry was paying eight times the market price. President Dalia Grybauskite has urged defence minister Juozas Olekas to resign after these revelations.


The number of elephants lost between 2007 and 2014 in 15 African countries, according to a survey by the Great Elephant Census. The results suggest that more than 350,000 savannah elephants live in Africa but their number is declining at a worrying 8% a year.


Nations with most sheep

China 134m

India 74m

Australia 68.1m

Iran 54m

Sudan 52.m

Nigeria 35.5m

Source: Knowsheep eu

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