The Dark Side of Global Supply Chains: Amazon fights back!

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Yesterday, Amazon announced some new initiatives to combat counterfeiting, as discussed in WSJ:

Amazon’s Project Zero Aims to Help Brands Target Scammers

I was very excited to read about them, and also provide my thoughts to the Associated Press.

Here is the AP article that came out today:

Amazon, wrestling with counterfeits, seeks to crack down

 A prediction of mine:

On-line retailing will become “trust-based competition.”

You may recall that I first wrote about Amazon and Counterfeits a few months back, around October 2018. (I have just updated that post here.)

I started to think about the dark side of global supply chains a few years back.

Like a Pink Floyd song from The Dark Side of the Moon, it is all about Money.

My favorite Pink Floyd songs are from The Wall: Another Brick on the Wall.

My IIT-Madras classmates still poke fun at me — 35 years later! — on how I played these songs over and over again.

This type of research topic was a significant departure from my previous work in Enterprise Inventory Optimization (EIO) — a term we coined for the market we created (in 2000) through SmartOps — having worked with more than a hundred Fortune 500/Global 2000 companies across a variety of industries and on several continents.

Working with Soo-Haeng Cho (and PhD students), I looked at two topics:

  1. Combating Strategic Counterfeiters
  2. Combating Child Labor

We used Game Theory as the modeling framework to understand what measures are likely to be effective, and also be aware of situations when they may have unintended consequences and backfire.

This type of mathematical analysis too was a departure for me as my typical papers develop and implement  “decision support tools” to operate supply chains more efficiently: provide a higher service level with lower inventory investment, for example, at Deere and Caterpillar.

Combating these dark forces are of paramount importance.

See this article from the Atlantic (on fakes listed on Amazon) that I was reminded of when I saw NBC Nightly News some time back.

And this one from The Guardian is on child labor in fashion supply chains.

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