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CIO - The vendor Panjiva may not be a household name in the U.S. yet, but its revolutionary supply-chain data-analysis service monitors and tracks the flow of products that the average American knows very well.
Want to know how Snuggies are faring this season, or how the Toy Story or High School Musical franchises are doing this year, or if the U.S. is importing more chocolate than six months ago? Panjiva has a proprietary app for that.
For instance, Panjiva analysis from the fall unearthed a sizeable, year-over-year increase in "hand sanitizer" shipments to the United States, offering evidence of the manifestation of escalating H1N1 fears. (See Nothing Says Happy Holidays '09 Like Purell!)
How does Panjiva generate its data? Its "intelligence platform," based on natural-language processing algorithms, analyzes a host of public and proprietary supply-chain data sources, such as shipping records and U.S. Customs data. The goal: Provide sourcing and procurement execs with "credible and valuable knowledge about suppliers and manufacturers around the world," states the company. Too often, Panjiva contends, "supply chain and global production executives responsible for finding the right factories, negotiating costs and avoiding costly supply chain disruptions have been 'flying blind.'"
U.S. companies that maintain vast global supply chains and sourcing partners need this type of a risk-management contingency-planning capability. Threats are everywhere: a shrinking, unstable pool of suppliers to source from; Chinese manufacturing partners out to steal intellectual property; the disastrous effects of the "cheaper, faster, better" supply chain mantra; long-standing and basic fraud and theft risks; good old-fashioned tainted goods; and even preparing for the "Oprah Effect" (good luck on that one).
In addition, supply-chain visibility will become even more critical as companies continue on their green paths to reduce their global carbon footprints- a complicated, expensive and uncertain endeavor for most companies. ( Even for Wal-Mart and its suppliers.)
For this upcoming holiday season, Panjiva data analysis shows several early winners and losers: Snuggies and Zhu Zhu Pet shipments are off the charts, showing huge year-over-year increases, as are Toy Story-related goods. (Note to kiddos: Coal shipments are up 6 percent year over year; there's still time to be nice!)
Who's suffering the holiday blues, when compared with 2008 import data? Last year's top sellers Hannah Montana and High School Musical merchandise took a dive. Both saw a rapid decrease in U.S. import shipments (90 percent and 95 percent, respectively), according to Panjiva data.
For the next month, Panjiva is allowing free searches using its Trends service. For instance, you can see how the once insanely-popular Nintendo Wii is doing this year. (Hint: Plenty of Wii consoles still available.)
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