Technology is changing how companies do business

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

In the fast-paced world of modern business, technology plays a crucial role in shaping how companies operate. One area where this impact is particularly significant is in the organization of production chains—specifically the way goods are made and distributed.

A new study from the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business advances understanding of the U.S. production chain evolution amidst technological progress in information technology (IT), shedding light on the complex connections between business IT investments and organizational design.

Advances in IT have sparked significant changes in how companies design their production processes. In the paper “Production Chain Organization in the Digital Age: Information Technology Use and Vertical Integration in U.S. Manufacturing,” which published April 30 in Management Science, Chris Forman, the Peter and Stephanie Nolan Professor in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and his co-author delved into what these changes mean for businesses and consumers.

In running a manufacturing plant, a key decision is how much of the production process is handled in-house and how much is outsourced to other companies. This decision, known as vertical integration, can have big implications for a business. Advances in information and communication technology, such as those brought about by the internet, shifted the network of production flows for many firms.

Forman and Kristina McElheran, assistant professor of strategic management at University of Toronto, analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data of over 5,600 manufacturing plants to see how the production chains of businesses were affected by the internet revolution. Their use of census data allowed them to look inside the relationships among production units within and between companies and how transaction flows changed after companies invested in internet-enabled technology that facilitated coordination between them.

The production units of many of the companies in their study concurrently sold

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A Financially Independent Stock Trader Shares 2024 Investment Advice

Erik Smolinski is fascinated by markets.

“I watch them all the time,” the 33-year-old investor told Business Insider.

Since he started trading as a teen in 2007, he’s only posted two negative years: his first two years. Between 2018 and 2022, he returned 24.6% on average, which BI verified by looking at screenshots of his summary statements. The S&P 500 index averaged nearly 12% over the same period.

His strongest year was 2023 when his return on invested capital was 243%. “The actual total return on the account for 2023 was 118%,” noted Smolinski, who attributes the triple-digit return to finding “distinct arbitrage opportunities.”

Active trading isn’t for everyone, and experts agree that the everyday investor looking to build long-term wealth should stick with a less risky passive investing strategy.

Smolinski, however, prefers the active approach. The financially independent Marine vet has time to study the market — and is genuinely curious. He uses resources like thinkorswim, Financial Juice, Benzinga, and Barchart.com.

“But most of the research I’m doing is done through my own dataset,” said Smolinski, who procures stock market data from Cboe and queries it in Python. “I essentially create a data stack that I can test ideas with.”

How he’s investing in 2024: Betting on small caps

According to Smolinski, “We’re in a market scenario that has the potential to provide life-changing, generational wealth.”

The way he sees it, the Fed is eventually going to pivot to cutting rates after hiking them aggressively in recent years and then keeping them high to fight inflation. That would be great for small-cap stocks, which are conventionally more desirable when rates fall because they are more sensitive to domestic borrowing costs and consumer spending.

“I would bet dollars to donuts, small caps are going to skyrocket,”

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Province announces $3.4M+ in local business development funds

Northern Development minister made several funding announcements during a visit to Greater Sudbury on April 15

Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford announced more than $3.4 million in business development funding during a visit to Sudbury on April 15. 

The funds flow from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), which Rickford chairs.

The PC minister spent the day touring six expanding local businesses with other members of the NOHFC board of directors.

Rickford also used the occasion to announce that the NOHFC is holding its first board of directors meeting in a First Nations community on April 16, as the board will be meeting at Atikameksheng Anishnawbek near Naughton, west of Sudbury. 

Rickford said the NOHFC fund has provided money for the following business expansion projects:

  • $1 million for Walden Welding and Mechanical Inc. – a custom welding and millwright mechanical services company – to build a new facility and purchase equipment;
  • $897,728 for Equipment North Inc. – a supplier, manufacturer and servicer of heavy industrial equipment – to construct an additional workshop and purchase equipment;
  • $781,368 for Morin Industrial Coatings Ltd. – an industrial surface treatments services company – to construct an additional workshop and purchase equipment;
  • $376,991 for Fuller Industrial Corp. – a designer, supplier and servicer of engineered piping systems – to purchase equipment
  • $303,356 for Skyline Helicopter Technologies – an aircraft repair and services company – to renovate its existing hangar and build an extension onto it, construct a new helipad and purchase avionics equipment;
  • $132,874 for Memory Gardens Pet Crematorium Inc. – a pet cremation services provider – to build a new facility and purchase equipment.

Rickford said in each case, NOHFC provided up to 50-per-cent funding with each expanding business required to invest in the business as well.

“They demonstrate how our investments

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