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Harvard Business Review on Managing Supply Chains by Harvard Business Review

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The Transparent Supply Chain

by Steve New

THE ORIGINS OF A COMPANY’S products used to be pretty murky. Beyond the supply chain function, virtually no one cared. Of course, all that’s changed. Consumers, governments, and companies are demanding details about the systems and sources that deliver the goods. They worry about quality, safety, ethics, and environmental impact. Farsighted organizations are directly addressing new threats and opportunities presented by the question, “Where does this stuff come from?”

Consider the trouble an opaque supply chain can cause. Most iPhone owners probably don’t think about the provenance of their devices, but worker suicides at Foxconn, one of Apple’s major Chinese suppliers, forced the company to pull the ...

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