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A new report says that Apple tiger teams involving hundreds of employees are working on reexamining the company’s supply chain – all the way down to screws and plastic inserts.
The goal is to ensure backup suppliers for every component, as well as to reduce dependence on China …Apple tiger teams
The term “tiger teams” was first coined way back in 1964 to describe cross-disciplinary teams brought together to take an aggressive and rapid approach to problem-solving – where no potential solution is off the table, and no respect need be shown to past ways of doing things.
The most famous example was the Apollo 13 troubleshooting team, originally named the White Team, and later renamed the Tiger Team. They were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for saving the astronauts aboard the module.
It’s common for these teams to report directly to very senior execs, and in Apple’s case, Bloomberg reports that CEO Tim Cook has direct involvement.Reducing dependence on China
We’ve been warning for many years about both the need and the difficulty of reducing Apple’s dependence on China, but the pandemic made even clearer the risks of the company having most of its manufacturing eggs in one basket. COVID-19-related disruption at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant was estimated to have cost the company a billion dollars per week.
During Cook’s recent visit to China, he praised the “symbiotic relationship” the company enjoys with the country – while his tiger teams were hard at work to reduce the extent of it.
Even as Cook was smoothing things over in Beijing, Apple executives were hard at work developing ties to other countries to lessen reliance on the country, according to multiple people familiar with Apple’s operations […]
Apple’s efforts center on India as a location for production of iPhones and accessories, Vietnam for AirPods and Mac assembly, Malaysia for some Mac production, and Ireland—where suppliers currently build the relatively easy-to-produce iMacs—for a range of simpler products. Managers in Apple’s operations department have instructed employees to focus on sourcing additional components and locating production lines outside China for more new products coming in 2024.Backup suppliers
Apple has always liked to have multiple suppliers for as many components as possible. This lessens the risks of relying on a single company, and also enables the iPhone maker to play multiple suppliers against each other in order to negotiate the best possible terms.
But the pandemic made backup suppliers even more important, and today’s report says that the company is now taking this to new levels of detail, within China as well as outside it.
It has expanded the efforts of these teams, which set up shop in suppliers’ factories in China and other countries, assess facility maintenance schedules, and assemble more extensive lists of backup suppliers for every component, right down to screws and plastic inserts. The company is working to improve its forecasts, component by component, to better anticipate potential shortages.Fear of Chinese retaliation
While the tiger teams are geared to rapid change, there are hurdles to be overcome – including retaliation by the Chinese government, or push-back from Chinese consumers.
Apple’s leadership is concerned that China might retaliate if it moves too much capacity to other countries, or transitions too rapidly. Customers in China could turn against US-designed products amid heightened nationalism. The company also has concerns about its ability to ensure high standards of quality in Vietnam and particularly Malaysia, given the current state of the manufacturing industries in those countries.
The full piece is worth reading.
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The Covid-19 pandemic helped organizations to identify various weaknesses in their supply chains. Supply chain networks are rife with repeatable, process-oriented, and error-prone tasks, ranging from manual documentation errors to picking and stocking errors, shipping and receiving errors, and much more. In the post-pandemic world, supply chain leaders are making more efforts toward eliminating these weaknesses and improving their supply chain operations.
Automation is an effective way of enhancing existing supply chain processes and introducing new ones. AI and other automation technologies are on the list of the top disruptive technologies that will impact supply chains by 2025 (Figure 1). that Gartner expects supply chain autonomy in 10+ years with hyperautomation initiatives in the supply chain. As a result, organizations need to focus more on automating their operations to overcome the weaknesses in their supply chains and remain competitive.
This article explains 3 areas of supply chain automation to guide organizations toward supply chain resilience and autonomy.Figure 1. Top disruptive technologies impacting supply chains of the future
1. Warehouse automation
McKinsey states that even though distribution centers are improving warehouse job attractiveness, employing and retaining warehouse workers is still difficult. Reports also suggest that pandemic significantly impacted the labor supply in the warehousing industry and suggest that this shortage will continue during 2023.
Warehouse automation can help supply chain leaders overcome the shortage issue. Furthermore, warehouse operations include repetitive tasks such as inventory management, supply chain tracking, and doing high-risk tasks, such as operating heavy equipment. Automating such tasks can enable companies to achieve more productivity, worker safety, sustainability, and lower costs.
Even though many businesses (80%) have still not implemented warehouse automation in any way, studies suggest that the warehouse automation market size will double to $30 billion by 2026 (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Global warehouse automation market size from 2012 to 2026
In 2023, warehouse automation will be a prominent trend in the supply chain and logistics industry; therefore, leaders need to consider it an essential element for a sustainable warehousing future.Warehouse Automation Examples 1. Supply chain tracking
Supply chain tracking refers to ensuring that your shipments are both sent and received on-time. On the supply side of the equation, shipping your customers’ orders out as soon as possible increases their loyalty and satisfaction. And on the production side of the equation, the timely receiving of intermediary goods will ensure an uninterrupted and on-schedule manufacturing process.2. Demand/Supply planning & Inventory automation
New sophisticated technologies like Woodman’s badger robots and AI-powered demand forecasting solutions help supply chain leaders automate their inventory operations to minimize the occurrence of out-of-stock or overstock situations.3. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) / Autonomous mobile robots (AMR)
AMRs add intelligence, guidance, and sensory awareness to conventional AGVs. This allows them to operate autonomously and collaboratively around humans. AMRs address the limitations of traditional AGVs and make them better suited to complex warehouses and collaborative activities.
Watch how Ocado, a UK-based technology company, revolutionizes the grocery sector through its warehousing automation systems.
UCBOS can help you incorporate customized automation solutions in warehouse management and other supply chain areas with its no-code supply chain platforms.
Read how UCBOS helped a company from the hospitality sector automate its asset management processes.
2. Back-office automation
Back-office tasks can significantly benefit from automation. For example, supply chain management processes contain various documents such as delivery orders, dock receipts, bills of lading (B/L), and sea waybills. Employees in the supply chain department continuously store and process these documents for various reasons, yet, this is a time-consuming, manual task that inhibits businesses from reaching operational excellence.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) and optical character recognition (OCR), businesses can achieve nearly end-to-end document automation (involving tasks like data capture, understanding information on the document, and sending the document to the relevant person).
Robotic process automation (RPA) can also be used to improve supply chain back-office tasks. According to a survey done on organizations from around the world, 44% of the participants expect RPA to have a significant or moderate impact on supply chains by 2023. They also stated that a careful implementation of RPA can have significant and positive effects on supply chain productivity and efficiency. Therefore, supply chain leaders need to start focusing more on implementing RPA in their supply chain back-office operations.
See how DHL leverages RPA to improve its back-office tasks
3. Transport automation
Road transportation is the most used mode of logistics in the world. Almost all the products in your kitchen cabinet are brought through road logistics. Currently, the road transport industry is facing a shortage of truck drivers, and predictions indicate that this shortage will worsen in the future.
Transport automation is a way out of this truck driver shortage crisis. More supply chain leaders are focusing on this solution and investing in transport automation solutions. The autonomous vehicle market is projected to rise from $1.6 billion in 2023 to $11 billion by 2028. Autonomous things such as autonomous trucks and drones can be used to transport supplies in the network.Transport automation examples 1. Amazon
Amazon is making substantial investments in autonomous self-driving truck systems and trucks to get ahead of the curve and overcome the driver shortage issue.2. Tusimple
Tusimple, an American trucking company, has completed 550 miles of driverless trucking and pans to expand its business by 2023.3. DHL
Since drone technology enables faster, low-cost, and no-human contact delivery, it is gaining momentum in the post-pandemic last-mile delivery sector. While many unrealistic pilots of drone technology can be seen in last-mile delivery, DHL’S Parcelcopter is ready to successfully mainstream drone technology in last-mile delivery.4. Nuro
Nuro is a startup building autonomous self-driving delivery vehicles. Nuro is designed for the last-mile delivery of groceries, food, consumer products, and packages. Their custom-designed R2 vehicles don’t have passenger seats; instead, they are optimized for deliveries and safety, which means they’re small, narrow, use electric motors, and have pedestrian-protecting features.
Watch the video below to see how self-driving trucks are revolutionizing the logistics industry by providing cost-effective, fuel-efficient, and sustainable logistics solutions.Further Reading on automation:
You can check our comprehensive and data-driven lists of supply chain software and suites. And if you still have more questions on supply chain automation, don’t hesitate to contact us:
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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Biotraq started to develop QualTrack™ in 2023, a platform that predicts, controls and alerts on the status of high-value products sensitive to their environment all along the supply chain. Biotraq was created with the vision to feed and look after 10 billion people in 2050 as there is no choice but to reduce losses in the Supply Chain. So, the company’s original mission statement was to develop a new cold chain, smart, safe and sustainable to help food industrials reduce avoidable waste. Interestingly, the first clients using Biotraq technology were all from the pharma world, showing that the company’s value proposition could apply to many other industries. Today, Biotraq addresses producers, whatever their industry, that can’t afford to lose their products, as they are highly sensitive to their environment, rare or just invaluable. With the company’s “tech for good” vision, Biotraq believes in the positive impacts of technology to make industries more proactive, flexible and transparent. Indeed, Biotraq still supports strongly the UN sustainable development goal of halving global food waste by 2030.The Brain Behind Biotraq
The company is led by Olivier Duchesne De Lamotte, CEO. After 22 years of heading investment teams in financial markets, Olivier decided to act on fighting food waste, a subject he always had in mind following a summer internship in Africa at the age of 21. Convinced about the potential of technology for good, he co-founded Biotraq with the aim to propose an easy-to-use solution for improving the safety and quality of products with real-time monitoring. With strong financial knowledge, Olivier has also developed cutting-edge expertise in the logistics sector which makes him aware of client needs.Smart Technologies with Validating Effects
The use of IoT solutions around the world has led to a massive collection of heterogeneous data. Without relevant analysis, this data has no added value. By remaining agnostic about sensors, Biotraq selects the most relevant ones for customer needs (data precision, battery life, communication network, price, etc.) and offers high added value services. With Biotraq’s artificial intelligence approach and mathematical models, the company supports decision-making optimization and provide real-time recommendations to its clients. Also, Biotraq has developed SMAQ, the first ever smart-contract for blockchain that validates the transition from one logistic phase to other thanks to a certified quality level. Biotraq acts as a 3rd party oracle, pushing products quality and safety calculations to blockchains for all stakeholders: B2B supply chain operators (producer, logistician, distributor), regulators and insurers, as well as end-consumers.Disruption Unleashing Factual Potential
Olivier believes that disruptive technologies are the necessary add-ons to unleash the true potential of IoT that allows IoT innovation to have a greater impact on operational activities. The multiplication of connected devices associated with data analysis, artificial intelligence and automation allow industries to have better control, much-improved risk-management through predictive actions and automated decision-making tools all along with their processes.Innovative Offerings Driving Improved Supply Chain
Also, QualTrack™ is a modular and interoperable platform that does not depend on a specific technology and stays open to IoT innovation. The company can, therefore, propose to customers a data analytics service on top of their own sensors’ infrastructure. From the outset, Biotraq has built a strong ecosystem. Based in Paris Station F and Rungis, the largest fresh food market in the world, Biotraq has developed closed links with leading-edge French universities such as AgroParisTech and Telecom ParisTech (R&D collaboration agreement), collaborates with IBM Food Trust and is a member of two competitiveness clusters Vitagora and Nov@log.Awards and Achievements
Among the awards Biotraq has received, some significant ones are mentioned below: • 2023: Best startup to invest in ‘Tech and IoT’ category according to Challenges economics magazine. The company has been recognized as the carrier of a real citizen and ecological commitment. • 2023: Coca Cola’s Favorite Prize at the CES Las Vegas. • 2023: Carrefour’s Favorite Prize for the Hello Tomorrow Challenge. Client’s feedback: “Biotraq’s innovative offer helps us to improve the tracking of our products to the end-consumer. Today, not only we know exactly where the products are but also in which conditions and we can instantly react in case of an emergency. As simple and easy-to-use, Biotraq’s solution allows us to increase our safety level, reduce losses and propose high added-value delivery service.”Going Beyond the Challenges
In the beginning, industries were not ready to use Biotraq’s data-driven solution as IoT technology was not sufficiently deployed, particularly in mobility. This led the company to a lot of market evangelization and low income. Biotraq’s first challenge has been to hold long enough to go beyond this phase and convince about its vision and start clients’ traction. Another major challenge was to move from the food sector (Company’s DNA) to other industries. Biotraq’s first MVP was only food-waste oriented, with a safety approach. It was therefore quite complex albeit useful. So, the company developed a new plug-and-play user-centric solution for every industry: QualTrack™. Oliver said that beyond the financial challenge inherent to any businesses, Biotraq must find the right resources to cope with the constant and rapid evolution of IoT solution if it wants to stay as innovative as desired to be.Looking to the Future
Oliver feels tomorrow’s IoT will have to process a huge amount of data efficiently and effectively. Enterprises will have to get the data to the right place, analyze it in the right context and provide the right information to the right people. In many cases, these actions will have to be taken in real-time or near real-time. Intelligent systems will have to determine which data to process locally and which must be routed to centralized facilities. To do this, it will not be enough to automate the process, but it will require a high degree of autonomy in which the machines will decide themselves how to proceed in a wide range of circumstances. To put it shortly, IoT will become Internet of Everything with decentralized intelligence directly at the sensor level.
With iOS 12, Apple launched a new Screen Time functionality for monitoring device and app usage. As part of that, TechCrunch reports today that Apple is cracking down on third-party screen time trackers in the App Store with stricter reviews and in several cases, removal from the App Store.
What’s important to note is that these applications had not been using any official, Apple-approved frameworks or methods for tracking screen time. Instead, they relied on combinations of VPNs, MDM solutions, and background location functionality. In some cases, they create privacy concerns for Apple and the end-user.
TechCrunch outlines several applications affected by Apple’s crackdown on screen time workaround apps. One such app is Mute, which publicly announced its removal from the App Store in October, while another is the three-year old screen time app Space, which was removed in November.
Several other applications were also reportedly removed from the App Store or had updates rejected, but did not want to be publicly named. In most cases, developers were told they were in violation of an Apple Store guideline related to location functionality:
Some of the developers, we understand, were told they were in violation of App Store developer guideline 2.5.4, which specifies when multitasking apps are allowed to use background location. Specifically, developers were told they were “misusing background location mode for purposes other than location-related features.”
Other apps were cited for violation of a different guideline related to how they implemented public APIs.
However, it hasn’t been all bad news for some of these screen time applications. Both Space and Mute, after going public about their removal from the App Store, were contacted directly by Apple for additional details on user privacy and how they use location-based services. In the case of both, the apps were reinstated to the App Store.
The Apple reps asked the companies about how they handled data privacy, and reminded them they have to have a customer-facing feature that requires location-based services in order to legitimize their use of such an approach, they reported.
“We are of course hugely grateful that Apple has chosen to continue to allow our business to operate,” said Space CEO Georgina Powell.
Not all applications have had such luck, though, including OurPact and ACTIVATE FITNESS. Both of these applications were informed by Apple that they could no longer use MDM – mobile device management – technology for building screen time functionality.
Amir Moussavian, CEO of OurPact parent company Eturi, said the following in a statement to TechCrunch:
“Our team has received confirmation from Apple that managing application access and content outside of iOS Screen Time will not be permitted in the Apple device ecosystem. It’s incredibly disappointing that Apple is choosing to dissolve the iOS parental control market at a time when childhood and adolescent screen time management is finally being understood as a necessity.”
Other applications, such as Kidslox, haven’t been completely removed from the App Store yet, but instead Apple is rejecting recent updates to the apps. Kidslox CEO Viktor Yevpak accused Apple of “systematic destruction” of the third-party screen time management industry in a blog post.
But sources familiar with Apple’s thinking dismissed this as being some sort of targeted crackdown against third-party screen time apps. Rather, the pushback developers received was part of Apple’s ongoing app review process, they said, and noted that the rules these apps violate have been in place for years.
Apple has a history of going against applications that mimic built-in iOS functionality, but whether or not that is actually what’s going on here is unclear. The timing of the crackdown on APIs used by third-party screen time apps, which is just months after the introduction of the first-party Screen Time feature, is certainly suspicious.
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What is Microsoft Teams?
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Microsoft Teams is a productivity and collaboration tool that integrates into the larger Microsoft 365 platform. It has features for communicating with organizations, private chats with individuals and groups, video meetings and conferences, etc.Is Microsoft Teams free? How to download the Microsoft Teams app
How to create a Team
Nick Fernandez / Android Authority
The first thing you need to do (unless you’re joining an existing team) is creating a team. Even if you are joining a company team, you may want to make another one to chat with groups of friends.
Open the Teams tab on the left-hand side.
Choose whether to Build a team from scratch or pull in contacts from an existing group or team.
Select privacy settings: Private, Public, or Org-wide.
Enter a name and description.
Once in the team, you’ll see the main team chat with a list of channels below. Channels are group chats around a single theme. You can also have private chats with individuals or groups.How to start and pop out a chat
Channels are great for sharing information with your entire team, but chats are the better option for quick questions to colleagues. They’re private, easy to keep organized, and much more likely to get a response than a channel post.
Here’s how to start a Microsoft Teams chat:
Open the Chat tab on the left-hand side.
Enter the person’s name and write your message.
Hit the send arrow.
Open the Calendar tab on the left-hand side.
Enter the details of your meeting.
You can also create a meeting from a channel, automatically inviting all channel members. If you’re having trouble finding a suitable time, you can check the scheduling assistant tab at the upper part of the screen to see the invitees’ schedules. You can create and share a Teams meeting link if you like.
Open the Calendar tab on the left-hand side.
Adjust your video and audio settings.
How to share your screen in a meeting
Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority
Sharing files in a Microsoft Teams channel is great, but you need to share your screen in a meeting if you want to run through it in person. Teams make it easy to do this. It even has built-in integration with PowerPoint for easy business presentations.
Select the screen, window, or document to share.
A red border appears around the content you’re actively sharing.
How to change your Teams meeting background
Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority
In the current era of telecommuting and working from home, it’s likely that your home office isn’t exactly the most professional environment. This is usually fine, but you might want something discreet for client meetings or video conferences with your boss. That’s where Microsoft Teams virtual backgrounds come in.
There are two ways to change your Teams meeting background: One with a simple blur or one with a background image. Both take just a few seconds to set up. Not all hardware supports this, so you may need to upgrade your camera if the option doesn’t appear.
You can change your background before or after a meeting starts, but the steps are pretty much the same:
Select Show background effects.
Choose a blurred background or virtual background image.
If you add your own image, make sure it’s sufficiently high quality, or it may look too blurry. For business use, you should also avoid using copyrighted photos or imagery.
Yes, Teams is HIPAA and GDPR compliant, but administrators may need to take some extra steps. An Office 365 E5 business subscription includes access to the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center, which provides a host of tools for data management. Learn more here.
Yes, Teams has a few trivia games available as apps. A few popular options are Kahoot! and Quizlet. You can also play Pictionary using the whiteboard feature.
Yes. You can find both Debian (.deb) and Red Hat-based (.rpm) distributions on the official download page.
Yes, but you need to set it up in Outlook. Your Out of Office status will carry over to Teams, but your message will appear under your profile instead of an email reply.
Yes, Teams is a part of Microsoft 365 and is included in all subscription plans.
All Microsoft Teams meeting recordings are stored on OneDrive and SharePoint.
Speaking to TechCrunch today, Apple has shared an official statement regarding the decreased performance of iPhones with older batteries. While Apple’s response doesn’t offer much that’s new, it does reveal that the company plans on rolling out the battery stabilizing feature to more iPhones. TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino shares a thorough look at this situation with some actionable feedback for Apple.
Earlier this week, Geekbench developer John Poole shared detailed test results of the iPhone 6s and 7 as he looked further into the performance/battery age issues that gained a lot of attention on Reddit.
Poole concluded that the decreased performance was a combination of new features rolled into iOS updates and battery age. He also shared the concern that Apple has created a third state of iPhone performance without any notifications for users, noting that the feature was most recently applied to the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2.
In today’s TechCrunch report, Matthew Panzarino shares an official statement from Apple, but first shares some good reasons why Apple isn’t trying to “force customers to upgrade their phones by making their old phones run slower.”
It would be beyond stupid and incredibly shortsighted for Apple to do this and, if it was actually true, would likely lead to tangles of a governmental and legal nature that no company like Apple would ever want to happen.
Instead, Apple is focusing attention on smoothing out the very high and quick peaks of power draw that can cause problems with older batteries.
As for Apple’s statement, there isn’t much new, but it did confirm it has plans to roll out the same battery saving/performance reducing features in the future.
Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.
Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.
Panzarino notes that Poole’s tests and charts seem accurate and that Apple hasn’t denied any of the results. However, he mentions that benchmark testing will naturally induce more peaks and valleys in performance, and that this is a battery chemistry issue, not an Apple specific one.
When it comes to what Apple can improve, Panzarino thinks the company can find a better balance in how much information it gives users and that this controversy may have been much less of an issue if Apple had been more transparent upfront.
Conversely, he mentions the issues of giving too much information to consumers.
If you give a user enough rope they will hang themselves, so to speak, by replacing batteries too early or replacing phones that don’t need replacing.
Here are his ideas for Apple moving forward:
The point at which iOS will tell you that your battery has gone to hell is currently very, very conservative. Perhaps this can be set to be more aggressive. Then, of course, users will complain that Apple is cash grabbing on battery replacements but humans will remain humans.
It’s clear that people just didn’t understand that protecting an iPhone with an older battery was going to directly affect performance. Perhaps this is a failing of Apple messaging or a failure of myself (and other journalists) in not explaining it as clearly as possible.
How about you? Would these proposed changes satisfy you? Or are you interested in a different approach?
Apple could’ve avoided iPhone battery backlash if they were more upfront with users: Expert from CNBC.
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