John Deere’s demand forecast in limbo amid trade uncertainty

John Deere is optimistic that the fundamentals underlying the agriculture economy remain strong, but the company is in limbo gauging demand for replacement equipment until the U.S. and China reveal an outcome of the trade war.

Investor Communications Manager Brent Norwood said on the company’s recent earnings call that Deere expects sales growth in the U.S. and Canada this year could be flat, or it could be up to 5%. The wild card is trade uncertainty. 

On the call, analyst and executives discussed whether the changes to trade flows occurring in response to the changing tides of tariffs may be permanent, even if the trade war subsides. “We’ve always said, the trade routes will be realigned and the trade flows will readjust and it’s going to be bumpy when that happens for a couple of years,” CFO Raj Kalathur said.

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Chipotle’s supply chain turnaround is in full effect

Chipotle has built a new supply chain team and made several operational changes in order to stage a comeback after the restaurant chain’s food safety issues reappeared in the form of a norovirus outbreak in August, which reportedly sickened 700 people

Carlos Londono, the new head of supply chain, was tapped for the role in the spring of 2018. “Our new supply chain team is now fully in place and we set to find efficiencies later in the year by strategically reviewing this sourcing of all of our ingredients,” CEO Brian Niccol said on a recent earnings call.

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How Bulletproof brews a transparent coffee supply chain

The supply chain has never been so marketable. Same-day delivery, 2-day shipping, recyclable packaging, sustainable sourcing, free trade, free returns — they all endear consumers to one product or retailer over another. But few brands are fundamentally built on the quality of their supply chain.

Enter Bulletproof. 

“We do definitely sell the supply chain and the purity of the products,” Keith Bone, VP of supply chain, quality and regulatory operations at Bulletproof 360, told Supply Chain Dive. “The simplicity of the products that we’re making and selling is a key component of the success we’ve seen to date.”

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Farmers can ship and haul with new digital booking tool

Indigo Agriculture, a seed technology company and grain transaction marketplace, has launched an automated freight brokerage platform exclusively for dry, bulk agricultural goods, according a statement on the company’s website

Growers can choose Indigo Transport when they accept a bid for their grain in the digital platform, turning over the arrangement of the pickup to Indigo. Carriers register on the platform and choose loads based on location, price, destination and company. Indigo claims to have thousands of carriers already vetted and registered.

The service is currently restricted to corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and other non-grain, dry bulk commodity freight that can be transported via hoppers. Indigo’s statement indicated freight options will expand in the future. 

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Investors demand McDonald’s, Chipotle de-risk meat supply chains

A coalition of 80 investors representing $6.5 trillion in assets under management sent letters to five major quick-serve restaurant groups today demanding an explanation for how they will de-risk their meat and dairy supply chains by March 2019, according to a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive.  

The letters — sent to Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Restaurant Brands International (owners of Burger King), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Wendy’s Co. and Yum! Brands (owners of KFC and Pizza Hut) — are part of a campaign led by sustainability nonprofit Ceres, and Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR), an investor group that works to end factory farming. 

“Other high-emitting industries, such as cars or oil and gas, are beginning to set clear yet ambitious climate targets, making animal agriculture one of the world’s highest-emitting sectors without a low-carbon plan. A failure to tackle these major environmental problems in corporate supply chains puts the long-term financial sustainability of these household names under threat,” said Jeremy Coller, Founder of FAIRR and Chief Investment Officer of Coller Capital in a statement.

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3 predictions for blockchain in the supply chain in 2019

When the supply chain conversation turns to blockchain, the laundry list of capabilities and benefits is often preceded by the word “could.”

The technology is here. We understand what an immutable ledger could do for supply chains, but widespread adoption is still in the distance.

In early 2018, a Gartner survey put the number of CIOs (across all industries) with actual blockchain implementation at their organizations at 1% globally; 8% were experimenting, and 77% weren’t interested.

Further, the Gartner Hype Cycle predicts the time for larger, focused investments in blockchain will begin in 2022 and large-scale, global value-add won’t begin until 2027.

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The hemp supply chain has a rare chance to get traceability right

The farm bill rarely makes everyone (or anyone) completely happy, but one small group of farmers is ending the year on a high note.

Hemp is now legal at the federal level, after President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law yesterday. This means hemp and its derivatives are no longer classified as a controlled substance and can legally be regulated by state and tribal governments.

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