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Experts expect self-driving cars to bring many benefits, mainly reducing the number of lives lost each year in motor vehicle crashes. Use of the vehicles is also expected to change the lives of the elderly and the disabled, as well as ease both road congestion and pollution.


When Uber picked Pittsburgh as the inaugural city for its driverless car experiment last fall, many people saw the move as the next critical step for autonomous cars—and Pittsburgh’s mayor was thrilled. As time has passed, however, enthusiasm has waned, now offering perhaps a cautionary tale for other cities and makers of autonomous vehicles.


“You can either put up red tape or roll out the red carpet,” Bill Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh, said last September. “If you want to be a 21st-century laboratory for technology, you put out the carpet.”


Fast forward to the present, and Pittsburgh residents and officials alike say Uber hasn’t lived up to its end of the deal. As a recent New York Times article points out, chief among Uber’s perceived transgressions are that the company originally pitched the idea that driverless test rides would be free but the company started charging for those rides. It also withdrew support from Pittsburgh’s application for a $50 million federal grant to revamp transportation. What’s more, Uber hasn’t created the jobs it proposed in a struggling neighborhood that houses its autonomous car testing track.


Mayor Peduto was initially proud of his relationship with Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, but as CNN Money noted last month, the “bromance” has hit a rough patch. Indeed, Peduto didn’t get any commitments in writing about what Uber would provide for Pittsburgh, and that became an issue in Pittsburgh’s Democratic mayoral primary—with Peduto’s challengers criticizing his relationship with Uber and one calling the company a “stain” on the city, the New York Times reports.


The deteriorating relationship between Pittsburgh and Uber may be a warning for other cities, especially as local officials in other cities consider rolling out driverless car trials from Uber, Alphabet’s Waymo and others. Towns like Tempe, Ariz., have already emulated Pittsburgh and set themselves up as test areas for self-driving vehicles. Furthermore, municipalities increasingly see the experiments as an opportunity to remake their urban transportation systems and create a new tech economy.


That may prove to be the case, and yet the situation in Pittsburgh does illustrate how private-versus-public interests can clash. The lessons are college course level “101,” Linda Bailey, the executive director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, says in the New York Times article. Uber “is a business, and they want to make money,” she says. “With Pittsburgh, we learned we need to present the city’s needs upfront.”


Uber, which still has allies in Pennsylvania’s state and county government, told the New York Times in a statement that it has created 675 jobs in the greater Pittsburgh area and has helped local organizations, including a women’s shelter. The company is “proud to have put Pittsburgh on the self-driving map, an effort that included creating hundreds of tech jobs and investing hundreds of millions of dollars,” the statement continued. “We hope to continue to have a positive presence in Pittsburgh by supporting the local economy and community.”


Mayor Peduto still maintains that Uber and other self-driving car companies remain crucial to Pittsburgh’s ability to break from its steel industry past. He also says he is now talking to Ford, which is investing $1 billion in a Pittsburgh-based driverless technology company, Argo AI, about signing commitments on data sharing and work force development. Ford declined to comment.


What are your thoughts on the relationship between companies making self-driving cars and municipalities? Can what happened in Pittsburgh be simply attributed to not getting commitments in writing or is it more a case of one party failing to live up to another’s high expectations? Then again, is it both?

Two new reports this week have me thinking about gender earnings inequality and how that wage gap has an impact on women and their families. For instance, regardless of whether they are married or single, mothers have substantially lower earnings than fathers, with a slightly narrower gap for married mothers, according to new research.


The analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) found that married mothers earned 73.3 percent of married fathers’ earnings ($44,000, compared with $60,000), while single mothers earned 70.7 percent of what single fathers earned ($31,100, compared with $44,000) in 2015. The analysis was released on Mothers Equal Pay Day (May 23), the day symbolizing how far into the year mothers must work to earn what fathers earned in the previous year, the institute notes.


“Mothers work, just as fathers do, but they earn much less for their efforts,” says IWPR Program Director for Employment & Earnings Ariane Hegewisch. “Discrimination and the lack of a proper work-family policy infrastructure increase inequality and harm not only mothers, but also their children, partners and communities.”


The impact of this earnings inequity accumulates over a lifetime and into retirement, says IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. “Rather than formulating tax plans and government budgets that would exacerbate inequality, policymakers should focus on improving the economic fortunes of many American families by addressing gender inequality in earnings,” Hartmann says.


I was also interested to learn this week that while women CEOs are earning more, there are still very few of them. The median pay for a female CEO was $13.1 million last year, up nine percent from 2015, according to an analysis by executive data firm Equilar and The Associated Press. By comparison, the median pay for male CEOs was $11.4 million, also up nine percent.


However, the number of women in CEO roles has barely budged. Just six percent of the top paid CEOs in the U.S. last year were women, according to the analysis, a slight increase from about five percent in 2015 and 2014.


The highest paid woman was Virginia Marie “Ginni” Rometty, chair, president and CEO of IBM, bumping Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer from the top spot. Rometty earned $32.3 million last year, a 63 percent jump from the year before, mainly due to $12.1 million in stock option awards she didn’t receive in 2015, according to the Equilar and AP analysis.


Mayer earned $27.4 million last year, making her the second-highest paid woman, but she may be out of a job after Yahoo Inc. completes the sale of its websites and email services to Verizon Communications Inc., the report notes. Third on the list is Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo Inc., who earned $25.2 million, up 13 percent from 2015. She was followed by Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who earned $22.4 million.


To calculate pay, Equilar added salary, bonus, perks, stock awards, stock option awards and other types of compensation. The firm only looked at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index which filed proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and May 1, 2017. The analysis also only included CEOs who have been in their roles for at least two years to exclude sign-on bonuses. Of the 346 CEOs in that group, just 21 were women.


Janice Ellig, co-CEO of executive search firm Chadick Ellig, says “unconscious bias” in the workplace keeps women from getting opportunities which will put them on track for top roles. Companies need to “start recognizing that gender inequality exists,” says Ellig, who is also chairperson of the Women’s Forum of New York.


“If you don’t recognize a problem, you can’t solve a problem,” Ellig says.


What do you think about gender earning inequality? Do you think women are paid less than male counterparts? If so, what do you think would help solve the problem?

Drug use in the American workforce, fueled by illicit drugs, reached the highest positivity rate in 12 years, according to an analysis of more than ten million workforce drug test results by Quest Diagnostics, a provider of diagnostic information services. The annual Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index found that overall positivity in urine drug testing among the combined U.S. workforce in 2016 was 4.2 percent, a five percent relative increase over last year’s rate of 4.0 percent, and the highest annual positivity rate since 2004.


“This year’s findings are remarkable because they show increased rates of drug positivity for the most common illicit drugs across virtually all drug test specimen types and in all testing populations,” says Barry Sample, PhD, senior director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions. “Our analysis suggests that employers committed to creating a safe, drug-free work environment should be alert to the potential for drug use among their workforce.”


For instance, the positivity rate in urine testing for cocaine increased for the fourth consecutive year in the general U.S. workforce and for the second consecutive year in the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforce—such as pilots, bus and truck drivers, and workers in nuclear power plants. Cocaine positivity increased 12 percent in 2016 in the general U.S. workforce, and seven percent among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers.


“Once again, the DTI statistics reveal the on-going threat to workplace safety posed by substance abuse,” says Matt Nieman, General Counsel, Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace and Principal at law firm, Jackson Lewis P.C. “While the national dialogue swirls around marijuana and opiate issues, we find cocaine—a substance with well-established dangers—continuing its troubling upswing not just in the general workforce, but in safety-sensitive jobs with federally-mandated testing. That positive test results for cocaine persist, let alone are increasing, should serve as a reminder to employers and employees that there is no substitute for vigilance in any effective effort to thwart the potential impacts of workplace substance abuse.”


Marijuana positivity continued to climb in the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforce and general U.S. workforces as well. In oral fluid testing, which detects recent drug use, marijuana positivity increased nearly 75 percent. Among the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforce, which only uses urine testing, marijuana positivity increased nearly 10 percent, the largest year-over-year increase in five years.


Interestingly, in Colorado and Washington, the first states in which recreational marijuana use was legalized, the overall urine positivity rate for marijuana outpaced the national average in 2016 for the first time since the statutes took effect. The increase was more pronounced in Colorado, which increased 11 percent, than in Washington, which increased nine percent.


Amphetamines, including amphetamine and methamphetamine, positivity continued its year-over-year upward trend, increasing more than eight percent in urine testing in both the general U.S. and federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforces compared to 2015. Throughout the last decade, this rise has been driven primarily by amphetamine use, which includes certain prescription drugs such as Adderall.


Finally, after four straight years of increases, urine testing positivity for heroin in 2016 held steady in the general U.S. workforce while it declined slightly among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers. Prescription opiate positivity—including hydrocodone, hydromorphone and oxycodones—declined in urine testing among the general U.S. workforce. This may be due to efforts of state and federal authorities to more tightly control prescribing opiates.


What are your thoughts about increasing drug use in the U.S., and in the workplace? Secondly, do you think it’s more difficult to hire prospects who can pass required drug tests?

Since business executives increasingly consider risk from cyber-attack, natural hazards and supply chain failure to be key business vulnerabilities, those criteria have been added to an on-line index that analyzes 130 countries’ overall enterprise resilience to disruptive events. The 2017 Resilience Index from insurance provider FM Global may be used to help business executives site facilities, select suppliers, evaluate established supply chains and identify customers which may be vulnerable, according to the firm.


As in past years, users of the index may investigate quantified resilience drivers related to each country’s economic strength, risk quality and supply chain condition. Those drivers are: productivity, political risk, oil intensity, exposure to natural hazard, natural hazard risk quality, fire risk quality, control of corruption, quality of infrastructure and quality of local suppliers. However, this year, the index also includes inherent cyber risk, which reflects a country’s vulnerability to a cyber-attack and its ability to recover; urbanization rate, which serves as a proxy for stress on water supplies, power grids and other infrastructure which would be exacerbated by natural disasters such as windstorms, flood and earthquakes; and supply chain visibility, which reflects the ability to track and trace consignments across a country.


“Our clients have found the index valuable when making important decisions about their properties, business strategies and supply chains,” says Bret Ahnell, executive vice president at FM Global. “We upgraded the index this year to reflect escalating threats that may make a lasting impact on business performance. We will continue to improve the index and make the data publicly available to any business….”


I was interested to read, for example, that regarding natural disasters, Sweden has above-average resilience due, in large part, to its lower-than-average exposure to hazards such as windstorms, flood and earthquakes. At the other end of the spectrum, for example, flood-prone Bangladesh, a major manufacturing hub for apparel and textiles, ranks toward the bottom of the index for resilience to natural disasters.


The index is primarily known for its ranking of countries in overall enterprise resilience. Switzerland, coming as no surprise, is ranked first this year in overall enterprise resilience—as it has annually for five years—primarily reflecting high scores for its infrastructure, local supplier quality, political stability, control of corruption and economic productivity. Like many countries, Switzerland is exposed to inherent cyber risk. However, that driver has gradually improved over the past five years, bringing Switzerland in line with most European countries.


The U.S. is divided into three regions, and those, along with Mexico and Canada, are collectively classed as North America. The U.S. regions and Canada are all in the index’ top 20, Mexico is not. Comparatively ranked economic and supply chain drivers cause Canada and the U.S. territories to rank similarly, with the data pointing to poorer results in almost all drivers for Mexico. This aggregate impact pulls the overall Mexico results down (as distinct from one or two drivers with unusually low scores).


With all three factors (economic, supply chain, risk quality) repeatedly ranking poorly, Haiti has been ranked last in the index of countries. Specific drivers—including natural hazard exposures, local standards and corruption—all serve to increase the country’s risk. Although Haiti’s inherent cyber risk is somewhat low, that really is just a reflection of low Internet penetration within the country.


What are your thoughts on resilience to disruptive events? Does a country’s resilience—or lack of resilience—factor into risk mitigation initiatives?

The so-called “ransomware” cyberattack which paralyzed computers at factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in countries around the world, has dropped in intensity today, although experts warn that new versions of the virus could emerge.


The cyberattack has hit at least 150 countries since Friday and infected 200,000 machines, according to European law enforcement agency Europol. The “WannaCry” worm locks users out of their computers and demands that victims pay hundreds of dollars to regain control of their information. Cybersecurity experts say the worm affects computers using Microsoft operating systems and takes advantage of a vulnerability in the software to spread the infection.


WannaCry is particularly malicious because it takes just one person to click on an infected link or email attachment to cause the virus to spread to other machines on the same network. Infected computers are frozen and display a big message in red informing users, “Oops, your files have been encrypted!” and demands about $300 in online bitcoin payment. Victims have only hours to pay the ransom, which rises to $600 before the files are destroyed.


Just who is behind the attack is still unknown. However, Europol warns that paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that users will get everything back. And giving the hackers what they want proves the worm is effective, the agency said.


“As a result, cybercriminals will continue their activity and look for new ways to exploit systems that result in more infections and more money in their accounts,” Europol said in a statement.


The agency said Monday that “very few” people have paid the ransom. Experts say the attackers have made just over $51,000.


The cyberattack seems to have been stopped by an anonymous researcher, who goes by the name “MalwareTech”, who found an unregistered domain name in the ransomware and bought it for $10.69. Then, he or she explained in a blog post over the weekend, they pointed the domain to a sinkhole, or a server that collects and analyzes malware traffic. What they didn’t realize was that the domain was actually a kill switch—a way for someone to take control of the ransomware.


Experts now urge organizations and companies to immediately update older Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows XP, with a patch released by Microsoft Corp. to limit vulnerability to a more powerful version of the malware. Microsoft distributed a patch two months ago that protected computers from such an attack, but many organizations may have missed it among other updates and patches.


In the meantime, as CNN reports, Microsoft’s top lawyer said Sunday that the on-going cyberattacks, which experts call the largest in history, should be a “wake-up call” for governments—especially the U.S. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer, said Sunday in a blog post that Microsoft, its customers and the government all share the blame.


Smith said Microsoft has the “first responsibility” to address the problem. But he also placed fault in national governments. The security flaw that hackers used to launch the attacks Friday was made public after information was stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency, which routinely searches for flaws in software and builds tools to exploit them.


“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Smith posted, while adding that “repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.” Smith further wrote that “an equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.”


The government isn’t legally bound to notify at-risk companies, and that’s wrong, Smith posted, before explaining that it is Microsoft’s position that cyberattack protection is a “shared responsibility” between companies and customers. He said tech companies, customers and the government need to “work together” to protect against cyberattacks.


“More action is needed, and it’s needed now,” Smith posted.


What are your thoughts on ransomware attacks and potential impact on supply chains? Do you believe tech firms, the government and private companies should work together to protect future cyberattacks?

Manufacturing is now seen by Americans as an industry which plays a vital role in safeguarding U.S. economic prosperity and maintaining their quality of life, according to the 2017 Manufacturing Perceptions Survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The study found more than three-quarters (76 percent) of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. should invest further in the manufacturing industry.


“More people understand modern manufacturing is high-tech,” says Seema Pajula, and vice chairman, & U.S. Consumer & Industrial Products Managing Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “They expect jobs to involve innovation and advanced technology in the future, which is progress for the industry in realigning the image of what modern manufacturing looks like to the general public.”


Among the study’s findings of note are that among those surveyed, 83 percent believe U.S. manufacturing is critical to economic prosperity, 81 percent believe trade and export of American manufactured goods benefit the U.S. economy, and 76 percent believe the U.S. should invest more in manufacturing. The survey also found that Americans believe future manufacturing jobs will be more high-skill, less manual labor—with 88 percent of the respondents saying they expect future manufacturing jobs will require a higher level of technical skill, and 77 percent expect manufacturing jobs will require less manual labor. Furthermore, 81 percent of respondents believe that future manufacturing jobs will be more clean and safe due to automation and reduced manual labor.


Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents believe the U.S. manufacturing industry is already high-tech, up from 43 percent in the 2014 survey.


“Helping Americans’ perceptions of manufacturing catch up with reality is a vital step in addressing the skills gap, as the U.S. manufacturing industry continues to create diverse jobs involving advanced technologies and innovation,” says Michelle Drew Rodriguez, senior manager, Deloitte Services LP and manufacturing leader for Deloitte’s Center for Industry Insights. “The demand for these high-skilled positions is expected to soar over the next decade with 3.5 million manufacturing jobs becoming available between 2015 and 2025 as the industry evolves and baby boomers continue to retire.”


In thinking about future growth of the industry and demand for skilled workers, it’s sobering to read that although 67 percent of the respondents said they believe manufacturing jobs are interesting and rewarding, only half believe a career in manufacturing provides good pay relative to other industries. Fueling that apprehension are concerns about job security and stability, and a weak career path.


Then again, it’s encouraging to learn that American parents and Americans with high manufacturing familiarity are nearly twice as likely to encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career than non-parents and those with low familiarity. What’s more, Americans have expressed interest for programs that focus on hands-on skills development like internships, apprenticeships and certification on manufacturing skills as possible ways to attract talent to manufacturing. Indeed, 67 percent of the respondents said they believe internships and apprenticeship programs would increase interest in manufacturing careers.


What are your thoughts about manufacturing in the U.S. and the future of manufacturing jobs? Do they survey findings mirror your beliefs?

COSCO Shipping’s container ship Development set a record last week as the largest vessel to cross the expanded Panama Canal. This week, it set another record as the largest container ship to arrive at the Virginia International Gateway terminal in Portsmouth at the Port of Virginia—and is the largest ship ever to call on the United States’ East Coast as well.


“This is what we have been preparing for: the talk is over, the big ships are here,” Virginia Port Authority Executive Director and CEO John F. Reinhart said, the Newport News Daily Press reports.


The Neopanamax vessel is 1,200-feet-long and 158-feet-wide, which is the length of one Eiffel Tower or eight Statues of Liberty. The ship can carry the equivalent of 13,092 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), containers that are 20 feet long. The Development’s capacity is 3,000 TEUs larger than the previous largest ship to call on the Port of Virginia.


“You see that?” Gov. Terry McAuliffe asked attendees of the milestone celebration, the Newport News Daily Press reported. “You know what that is? That’s money.”


The Port of Virginia made a $670 million investment to increase overall annual throughput capacity by 40 percent, or 1 million containers, by 2020. That investment and work made it the first East Coast port to have 50-foot deep channels in 2007, and a study is under way to dredge to 55 feet to draw even more business, the Suffolk News-Herald reports.


It appears that investment is paying off as the port authority also announced it’s now part of the loop for the new Ocean Alliance’s South Atlantic Express weekly shipping service connecting Hong Kong and China to the East Coast via the expanded Panama Canal. Carrier members of the Ocean Alliance, comprised of COSCO Shipping, CMA CGM, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line, agreed to pool ships and share space on them to take advantage of economies of scale to help customers with efficiency, says Jacky Wang, executive vice president of COSCO Shipping in North America.


Another benefit for Port of Virginia customers is that the port is the first U.S. East Coast stop on the South Atlantic Express service, meaning product gets out faster. Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., are the next stops on the route before ships head back to Asia. About 1,500 containers were loaded on and off the Development Monday before the ship was due to leave for Savannah and Charleston, Port Authority spokesman Joe Harris said.


“The message to [shippers] is: bring it on,” Virginia Port Authority Board Chairman John G. Milliken said, the Newport News Daily Press reports. “Anything you want to send, we can handle.”


Notwithstanding, ports along the U.S. East Coast have also set tonnage records this year. The Ports of Savannah, Charleston and Virginia, for example, have seen strong performance in particular, due in part to the investments they have made to accommodate larger vessels passing through the expanded Panama Canal.


As for the canal itself, larger ships are increasingly making the passage through the expanded canal, and it appears shipping traffic will only grow. Indeed, more than 1,200 Neopanamax vessels, an average of 5.9 vessels per day, have passed through the canal. Panama Canal Authority Administrator Jorge L. Quijano has said the Canal Authority projects cargo volumes through the canal to increase by 10 percent to 12 percent this year, as well as continuous growth in coming years, as the shipping industry emerges from its downturn.


What are your thoughts on larger ships visiting East Coast ports? Will it have an impact on your company’s supply chain?

Cargo theft continues to be a pervasive issue. Indeed, cargo theft recording firm CargoNet logged 836 cargo theft incidents in 2016 worth an estimated $172.9 million. Those thefts accounted for more than half of the 1,614 total freight-related thefts in North America, which includes tractor and trailer theft and supply chain fraud.


“It’s a known fact that high-value shipments are targeted well in advance by organized theft rings,” says Thomas Neumann, security manager at UPS Capital, in a UPS-sponsored article on the Wall Street Journal’s website. “They typically have a buyer in place to fence the stolen merchandise, which makes recovery even more difficult.”


There is an interesting dichotomy here: Executives know their businesses must protect vulnerable high-value products throughout the supply chain, even when the products are sitting “securely” inside a warehouse. However, unfortunately, many businesses take these risks for granted, rather than take advantage of available solutions that may mitigate risk.


In fact, roughly two in three executives describe their effectiveness at managing supply chain risk as “low” or “don’t know,” according to UPS. What’s more, UPS notes, few have assessed their end-to-end logistics risk in any way. That risk can prove costly: companies which had a major supply chain disruption often see sales drop significantly and operating income decline.


Consider high-tech cargo thefts, for instance. Despite being one of the most protected product categories, electronics accounts for nearly one in six cargo thefts in the U.S. The average loss is worth more than $370,000, making electronics the category with the highest average loss value in 2016, UPS reports. TVs, computers, mobile phones and other personal devices are targets of choice, since a stolen device can easily be resold for up to half its retail value in cash.


“Many of these high-value cargo thefts are carried out by organized criminal gangs, whose tactics are constantly evolving,” Scott Brown, Industrial Sectors and Multinational lead at AIG Client Risk Solutions, says in the article. These gangs may use portable 3D printers to create counterfeit security seals, jamming devices to interrupt the signal emitted by cargo tracking devices, even fake drivers or phony trucking companies to fraudulently pick up high-value loads. “Shippers and carriers stand a good chance of becoming just another statistic in the loss column if they don’t manage their risk of cargo theft effectively,” Brown says.


To mitigate the risk of loss for high-value goods, it’s recommended that companies take a “layered” approach which minimizes gaps in security with several layers of defense. Consequently, a lapse or weakness in one layer doesn’t easily allow a threat to become a loss. UPS notes that layers may include the use of:

  • Quality and prescreened carriers experienced in moving commodity-specific products,
  • Security partnerships with logistics partners, suppliers and experts, including law enforcement and insurance partners,
  • Visibility and tracking systems,
  • Physical security, such as advanced seals, immobilization devices and armed guards,
  • Defined cargo handover process to prevent fraudulent pickups, and
  • Contingency planning for security alerts or unforeseen incidents


Finally, the last line of protection should be some type of insurance to mitigate the financial impact in the event of a loss, according to UPS. Many executives believe their companies are covered by standard carrier liability, but reimbursement may be far short of the price of the goods. Then again, others believe the business owner’s policy covers losses, but they may be shocked to find there are limitations or that the company may be dropped after multiple claims. The best approach, UPS believes, is a cargo insurance policy designed specifically for the business, based on risk tolerance and supply chain characteristics.


Is cargo theft prevalent in your supply chain? What steps do your company, or suppliers, take to prevent this type of theft?