Guess the Apple Tablet [updated]

Is this what the Apple Tablet will look like?

Probably the most hotly anticipated new technology right now is the “Apple Tablet”.  The tech blogs and mainstream media are slathering with excitement about the next Apple game-changer.  Apple in its usual style have remained totally mum about the product so there are some wild ideas about the product and its features.

So I’ve decided to run a bit of a competition.  Who can best guess the features and specifications of the product (if it even exists)?

Use the comments to add your ideas.

What will it look like; what OS will it run; what will be its feature apps; what connectivity will it have; what type of display; what other feature do you think it will have; how will it be used?

And the big one… What will it be called?

The winner will be judged after the official launch (probably 27th January) by me and will get bragging rights for the next week.

[Update]  Check out Walt Mosspuppet’s review of the tablet… classic

Merry Xmas

I wish you all a very relaxing and joyful festive season and a prosperous New Year.

See you next year.

Is Reverse Logistics the right name?

Jim Tompkins from Tomkins Associates has an interesting post regarding the terminology we use for services supply chain.

He makes the very good point that “Reverse Logistics” is often used to describe processes that are actually NOT the forward logistics process in reverse.  I suspect that this is one of the reasons that there is so little recognition and understanding of the concept.

When many folks see the term “service supply chain,” they automatically think “reverse logistics.” But lately, I have come to the conclusion that this is a case of bad terminology. For example, if you ask a child what reverse logistics is, he or she may say that it is logistics done in reverse.

But really, this is not the case. Product isn’t going in a backward direction – back up through the supply chain. It’s not like pressing rewind and seeing a product moving backward to its original state before it was created. On the contrary, it’s more like when you come to a fork in the road and have to decide which path to take.

The fork represents the place and time in the supply chain when a company has to decide what to do with

  • Servicing the products they have previously sold
  • Retrieving the products they previously sold
  • Retrieving inventory from the field – whether it’s returned, recalled, overstock, etc.

Service supply chains represent the options (or paths) for handling these product flows.

Unfortunately, I’d have to say that “service supply chain” is also not the most ideal terminology (although I struggle to come up with a better one).

Jim also goes on to discuss the challenges facing the services supply chain currently (especially in light of the economy).

  • The low degree of outsourcing being done in service supply chain functions;
  • Inadequate management involvement in the process;
  • Lack of sound forecasting techniques for service parts;
  • The amount of wasted effort in the company processes; and
  • Inefficient and ill-suited IT systems to manage service supply chain activities.

I would add that the effect of the routing of management staff has left the traditional decision-makers in this field either out of a job or powerless.  That will be the legacy of this era.

I’m dismayed at how “senior” NZ management of  international companies are unable (or afraid?) to make relatively minor decisions relating to our local market.

Having said that, the opportunities presented by this market far outweigh the threats as far as Service Plus is concerned.  Outsourcing to reduce costs, appointment of new partners, competitors closing down, etc are all working in our favour.

What do you think?  Is there a better term for “Reverse Logistics” or “Services Supply Chain”?  Are there smart ways to deal with the issues facing our industry?  Feel free to comment.

Join us in Vegas!!!

Las Vegas promises the opportunity for NZ reverse logistics companies to be recognised on the world stage

I’ve booked my trip to Las Vegas for the Reverse Logistics Association International Conference.  I think this will be a great opportunity to evaluate international trends in the industry and meet with the true movers and shakers.  At this stage it appears that only Service Plus and one other NZ company are attending so I’d urge anybody involved in the Reverse Logistics field in New Zealand to attend.

For more information click here.  To register, click here.

I’d love to see a strong NZ contingent as per the Singapore event in September.  New Zealand has an opportunity to be a leader in this field.  We’ve got some great experience at handling logistics in a remote and less populous location.  The result is that New Zealand companies and executives understand how to collaborate and make the best use of scarce resources.  This is valuable knowledge when it comes to reverse logistics.

If you’re interested in the event and would like to find out more, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch.

I’m “Waving”

I’ve just been invited to join the Google Wave preview.  Many thanks to @Tikotex who invited me.

My address is nz.sam.williams@googlewave.com so if anyone else using wave out there wants to get in touch, please do so.

Australia announces new waste and recycling policy

 

peter-garrett

Peter Garrett's recycling policy will be boon for the reverse logistics industry in Australia... not to mention environmentally revolutionary

Peter Garrett, the Australian Environment Minister has announced their new National Waste Policy, with specific focus on Televisions, Computers, and Tyres.

 

The policy includes a landmark scheme for recycling computers and televisions, with householders able to drop off used computers and TVs for recycling free of charge, Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced today.

“Under the new product stewardship scheme, 80 per cent of all TVs and computers are expected to be recycled by 2021,” Mr Garrett said.

80% is an admirable target, and I feel it should be achievable with good industry participation.

The Minister said Australia produced 43,777,000 tonnes of waste in 2006-07 – a 31 per cent increase in five years – and with waste levels projected to continue to grow, national leadership in this critical issue was overdue.

“It has been 17 years since these issues were looked at in a national context and we now have a clear path for future action and a huge step up on existing efforts.”

The National Waste Policy sets out a comprehensive agenda for national coordinated action on waste across six key areas:

  • Taking Responsibility
  • Improving the Market
  • Pursuing Sustainability
  • Reducing Hazard and Risk
  • Tailoring Solutions
  • Providing the Evidence

“This is a fundamental shift in our approach to waste complementing broader action on climate change and sustainability. It will lead to less waste and better management of waste as a resource, to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits, while ensuring that we continue to manage waste in a safe and environmentally sound manner,” Mr Garrett said.

The Minister said the new approach had been developed in consultation and with the support of industry as well as key non-government organisations and he acknowledged their involvement and support in negotiating these crucial breakthroughs.

Computers & televisions

Mr Garrett said the first areas of waste targeted for action will be computers and televisions.

“Ministers today agreed to a groundbreaking product stewardship framework through which computers and televisions will be the first products regulated.”

In 2007-08, 16.8 million televisions, computers and computer products reached their end of life, with 84 per cent sent to landfill. Only 10 per cent were recycled.

“If Australia were to continue without any form of product stewardship scheme, projections suggest that approximately 44 million televisions and computers would be discarded in 2028.

“Backed by Commonwealth legislation, a new industry-run national collection and recycling scheme for this growing mountain of electronic waste will be up and running in or before 2011.

“This is a major development in one of our fastest growing areas of waste which sees for the first time computer and television manufacturers taking national responsibility for managing e-waste, and it will be done at minimal cost to consumers,” Mr Garrett said.

“The National Waste policy specifically provides for accreditation of industry led schemes, helping to strengthen the arm of industry leaders who want to drive action that sees manufacturers take responsibility for their products when they reach the end of their life.

It’s critical that any scheme involves industry organisations rather than simply forcing them – as I’ve mentioned in other articles, industry stands to benefit hugely from successful recycling schemes.  Government can simply serve to create a framework and standards.

“Computer and television importers and manufacturers are working with Government to take responsibility for their goods, from cradle to grave.”

The Government will provide support to the industry-led collection and recycling scheme by ensuring industry non-participants comply with the same standards as industry members voluntarily participating.

This will ensure that free-riders are unable to gain a financial advantage over those companies that willingly contribute to recycling their own products.

Under the new product stewardship framework there is provision for mandatory, voluntary and co-regulatory schemes. Industry and community organisations that run voluntary schemes will be able to gain accreditation so that the community knows that what they recycle through these schemes will be reused or recycled in an ethical and environmentally safe way.

Great stuff!

What do you think?  Should New Zealand implement a similar policy… or maybe piggyback off the Australian system?… or will industry seize on the benefits of recycling and avoid the necessity of legislation?

How recycling programs are evolving from cost reduction to environmental benefits

 

tv landfill

ModusLink PTS Aftermarket recycle components from TV sets to refurbish others

Mark Solomon from DC Velocity reports on ModusLink PTS Aftermarket; an organisation that recovers components from damaged television sets and uses them to refurbish other sets.

 

I’m not sure that I agree with Mark when he says companies have “formulated their recycling strategies with more thought to cost than to environmental impact”.  In my experience (within the technology industry), recycling has been seen as a significant expense.  IT companies have tended to view recycling as either something that is required by law, or as something to market as being a “good corporate citizen”.

However, Mark makes good points and his article is enlightening.

For the first time, companies are getting serious about the environmental implications of their recycling efforts—and with good reason. The right program can yield greater efficiencies, improved profitability, and the goodwill that comes with being seen as a good corporate citizen. The wrong approach can lead to higher costs, reduced productivity, increased legal exposure, and a tarnished image that takes years to overcome.

Organisations with honest and effective recycling programs are now being seen as leaders and are reaping the benefits from responsive customers.

By moving reusable parts into the recycling process at the proper time, companies can reclaim base metals and other components that can then be used for repair and refurbishment. This saves on the cost of buying new parts and is also good environmental practice, experts say. “Overall lower inventories decrease the impact of warehouse energy use and emissions, and bring back some value through reclamation of usable materials,” consultants Kevin Steele and Emily Rodriguez wrote in an article that appeared in Reverse Logistics magazine in the summer of 2008.

One of the concerns that manufacturers have with refurbishing equipment is that it erodes sales of their new products.  I will be interested to see how organisations combat this in coming years.  In particular, it may well be possible for companies to make more margin from the sales of refurbished equipment, than from new.  Additionally, refurbished equipment may be shipped off to developing companies where customers are more willing to accept “slightly soiled” product.  If that allows a lower price point, the manufacturer may penetrate the market whilst maintaining a strong mix of new product in developed markets… and give their green credentials a boost.