Tag: Technology

Imagine you and your significant other finally carved out some time for a vacation getaway. You did your research—booked flights, picked a few promising restaurants, dug up your favorite fanny pack—and now it’s time to find a place to stay.

You’ve heard a lot about Airbnb, so you decide to give it a try. After some deliberation, you’ve both agreed on a place within walking distance of all the local attractions, so you send a request to the owner.

But after a couple hours, you get a message from Airbnb saying that your request has been denied without explanation. For a significant number of Airbnb users, this scenario is all too real.

Dennis Zhang

Dennis Zhang

In the Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation’s latest video, Dennis Zhang, Olin assistant professor of operations and manufacturing management, discusses the topic of racial discrimination on peer-to-peer platforms.

According to Zhang, Airbnb requests made by accounts with distinctly African American names were 19 percent less likely to be accepted compared to other accounts. However, if those accounts have additional review data (i.e., at least one positive or negative review), all accounts are equally likely to be accepted.

Zhang believes that people require a bit more information to nudge them in a non-discriminatory direction. He thinks that if Airbnb offered more information within the platform, it would reduce the likelihood of discrimination by those looking to rent out their space.

Zhang goes on to mention that platforms conducting business via peer-to-peer transactions face a higher likelihood of discrimination. He says that discovering how discrimination happens on those platforms is a critical step to ensuring equal consumer treatment. Zhang’s research emphasizes the importance of information, and hopes it will be effective in the fight against discrimination.

[RELATED: Airbnb nondiscrimination policy may backfire]


Musicians without borders at Mastercard event: Greece and Olin.

Musicians without borders at Mastercard event: Greece and Olin.

Musicians connected across hemispheres, from a stage in Greece to Frick Forum at Olin Business School. Students examined the first purchases ever made by refugees in Lesbos—thanks to Mastercard technology.

These scenes and others were part of a heartstring-tugging, space-bending event hosted Oct. 12 throughout Olin’s atrium. During the event, the technology company used its worldwide support of refugee services to demonstrate the power of its technology—and encourage students to give the company a look as they complete their business school education.

Mastercard memorialized the event and WashU’s place in it with a three-minute video that outlined the program and its connection with students, technology, and refugees halfway around the world.

“How can Mastercard compete with tech companies like Google for top tech and engineering students?” the narrator says at the video’s opening. “We decided to play by our own rules and set out to make students not just see, but feel the impact they could make at Mastercard.”

The event opened with a four-minute film about the refugee crisis in Lesbos and how prepaid card technology helped provide resources to refugees. Students could stroll the Olin atrium and view an exhibition entitled “My First Purchase,” showing some of the purchases refugees there had made with the help of Mastercard technology.

Later in the event, students watched a concert live-streamed from Greece, overlaid with performers in Frick Forum accompanying the musicians across the sea.

“I felt like I was almost in Greece on the other side,” said one student.

The event closed with a panel discussion featuring Nina Nieuwoudt, Mastercard’s vice president, product management; Michael Fracarro, Mastercard’s chief human resources officer; Kelly Joscelyne, Mastercard’s chief talent officer (and the program moderator); Todd Milbourn, Olin’s vice dean; and Edgar Aguilar, Mastercard’s executive vice president, information technology and human resources.

“We’re keeping families together even when they’ve been torn away from their home country,” Nieuwoudt said.


Jorge Calvo, Professor of Operations Strategy at GLOBIS University Management School and former President & CEO of the Global Supply Chain Management Division of Roland DG Systems, recently sat down with the Director of The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation, Panos Kouvelis, to talk about Industry 4.0 and its implications on the future of global manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 was a term coined to describe a program to support the local industry in Germany and France. It is considered to be the fourth major phase of the industrial revolution, characterized by its use of emerging technologies to enhance manufacturing techniques and supply chain processes.

In his experience, Calvo has found that there are two different approaches within the scope of Industry 4.0: the German approach, focusing on machine-to-machine production practices and supply chain management (i.e., the “smart factory” and the Internet of Things), and the Japanese approach, which focuses on cloud-based technology designed for process optimization through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


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John Stroup, President & CEO of Belden Inc., explains the major global trends driving investment in automation for manufacturing. Some factors contributing to automation’s increased adoption are rising labor costs, the need for increased productivity, and changing consumer behaviors.

Automation enables manufacturers to become better at producing to meet consumer demand because it significantly shortens changeover, resulting in greater flexibility. Stroup goes on to explain that, due to rising labor costs in Asia, many manufacturers are moving production to the United States and using automation to replace human labor. Productivity is more elusive than ever in the current post-recession landscape, which increases the need to focus on maximizing productivity and ROI.

All of these factors are generating a great deal of interest in the adoption of automation in manufacturing—a process Stroup says will be “evolutionary, not revolutionary.” Stroup estimates automation adoption will reach 74% in 6-10 years. The automotive industry is already at that mark.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


One of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry is reducing operating costs, and one area of opportunity for cost savings is through the supply chain. In part two of our interview with Jean-Claude Saghbini, Chief Technology Officer at Wolters Kluwer Health (and formerly of Cardinal Health), we focus on technology implementation in the healthcare supply chain. Be sure to check out part one of our interview with Saghbini.

Saghbini explains that although the push to utilize RFID and other inventory management technology initially came from early adopters, he is coming to find that the implementation of such resources is becoming necessary to manage all healthcare networks as they continue to grow. He finds that one of the key benefits realized by hospitals investing in new technology is significant cost savings via inventory reduction. Oftentimes, the reduction in inventory can be as high as 20-25%, which translates to millions of dollars. He also notes a decrease in expiration rates, better product tracking to patients, and an increase in patient safety resulting from enhanced technology utilization. All of these factors can add up to a 150-300% return on investment annually, not just for hospitals, but for device manufacturers as well.

Saghbini also talks about the benefit of RFID’s ability to integrate data across an entire healthcare network (for example, electronic medical records and hospitals’ material management systems). He is also exploring ways to leverage RFID in ways that allow communication with near-field communication in patients’ cell phones. If the two similar technologies are effectively integrated, it would allow the healthcare supply chain to be tracked all the way to the consumer.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and download our app on iOS or Android for access to exclusive content and events!


• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


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