11 Most Interesting Gadgets from Inpex 2017

This year, I had the pleasure of judging Invent Help’s Inpex 2017 Conference, full of up and coming inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. It was a packed few days with lots of exciting insight into new trends in various consumer, retail and business markets. Below are some highlights of the unbelievable number of new products presented at the show.

Sakury

Sakury

Sakury works on the theory that the loss of silica, a key mineral that binds water in your skin, can be added back into your skin, reversing any present signs of aging, and preventing further damage. Once a week, after washing your face and while your skin is still moist, simply rub the pad in circular motions all over your face and neck for 60 seconds. Perfect for any skin type or condition and naturally anti-bacterial, this could be the end of creams, mists, peels and acids meant to reverse the signs of dry skin and aging.

Leverpresso

Leverpresso

This mini lever espresso maker is perfect for your gourmet on the go caffeine needs. Leverpresso offers function and stylish form to the travel espresso maker market with a range of retro colors. If you can’t look good while sipping your espresso, what’s the point?

Sandits

sandits

According to the company’s website, Sandits are the “newest, easiest and most convenient way to sand, polish, smooth and remove rust, paint, tarnish or corrosion”. These tiny but mighty little tools resemble a cotton swab so that they can reach small and difficult spaces with their marine-grade epoxy secured grits. Great for wet or dry applications and can be used on a variety of materials including wood, metal or plastic. They can even be used for manicure maintenance in a pinch!

Kenda

An ingenious innovation from an international exhibitor for the common bicycle tire that distributes weight without using spokes and is more shock absorbent. Think of the time you could shave off your weekly rides with these!

Hyndsight

Invented by a collegiate crew (rowing) athlete to provide forward looking video while riding backward through a combination of camera and connected monitor. HyndSight is now being used for waterskiing and even for equestrians to monitor their horses during transport and has the potential for application in many outdoor sports.

SunBlok

The SunBlock is a new twist on sun block application with a handle that allows you to reach those hard to get areas. Perfect for solo days in the sun.

GCSports

This is the perfect stadium chair that allows fans to store their personal items off the ground while providing comfort during any sporting event. The storage bag is connected to the bottom of the seat and hangs behind the users legs for easy, yet out of the way access to personal items.

The Delivery Safe

This lockable device protects valuable items shipped to homes or businesses that may be temporarily unattended. Especially good during the holidays when theft is at its height, the mail carrier simply places items in the bag and closes the lock. Run errands, sleep in and never worry about theft from your doorstep again.

A Better Button

This button is more than an extender, it provides a way to fasten pants for people with arthritis. The front holds the appearance of a button, but on the back, it is a simple key slide fastener.

PanWaffle

No more deciding between our two favorite breakfast cakes, the Panwaffle is an all-in-one item that gives you the best of both worlds in no time flat! 

The SUB

The Sound Utility Block promises to “make your kitchen hip again” by combining the likes of a knife block, speaker and iPad holster into your daily cooking routine. Use one device to play music, stream TV and movies or listen to music while you chop, sauté and pan fry away.

Let us know your favorite inventions you saw at Inpex 2017 in the comment section below!

The Trump Effect: What the New Administration Means for China Sourcing and Supply Chains

Americans and the global community alike are paying close attention to the news coming out of Washington DC as a very populist Trump administration kicks into high gear. Sweeping changes are already taking place across domestic and international policies. Although it’s still too early to understand what the Trump presidency will fully entail, the new administration has made strong statements about some of the changes it intends to make – many of which will have a significant impact on global manufacturing and supply chains.  What does all of this mean for businesses that either use a China outsource manufacturing strategy or plan on establishing one? To find out, let’s take a glimpse into how the ‘Trump Effect’ is re-shaping US-China trade policy, tax codes, and international relations.

1) Trade Policy

Since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, there’s been a lot of buzz in the news regarding withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Larger than NAFTA, the TPP is a free trade agreement among the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations including Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore in the South China sea. The agreement did not include China. A major reason for this was to balance the dominance of international trade coming from China.

“Withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership”

It was also seen by many as a move by former President Obama to counter the influence of China. After taking office, President Trump wasted no time removing the U.S. from the TPP deal. The president stated that the deal was a “potential disaster for our country”. By eliminating U.S. participation in the TPP, Trump has promised to pursue individual trade deals with Pacific Rim nations. This type of bi-lateral approach will also have its own set of opportunities and challenges, but it’s still too early to make predications as to what will happen next.

A move towards this type of protectionist trade policy could bring headaches for companies that manufacture and assemble in China. Under such conditions, the cost of sourcing from China will likely rise, while finished goods and components are at risk of being stranded overseas. Simultaneously, it’s possible for export sales to China to slow or even stop as new barriers to free trade emerge and trade negotiators readjust their positions. Although Trump’s goal is to boost America’s economic independence and create more jobs on the domestic front, U.S. manufacturing plants are likely to utilize an automated production strategy as robotics become increasingly common.

Ultimately, global supply chain systems will be forced to adapt quickly for survival in an environment that is becoming increasingly protectionist in nature. Businesses with the ability to act quickly and forge new trading relationships that drive economic benefits to the U.S. may be able to strengthen their position in the marketplace. Businesses engaged in global sourcing will need to re-assess their supply chain network structure and pay closer attention to geo-political risk factors.

“Levy 45% Tariffs on goods imported from China”

Another aspect of trade policy that has been a huge talking point of President Trump, is to levy 45% tariffs on goods imported from China. This is another form of trade protectionism in part of the same effort to protect American workers and return manufacturing jobs to the U.S., but there’s a slew of potential consequences of imposing high tariffs on the largest trading partner of the United States. The American Chamber of Commerce in China stated that Beijing has prepared to retaliate in the event Trump moves forward with measures to restrict Chinese imports.

If not settled through negotiation, it has the potential to spark a trade war with China that could have dire consequences to U.S. manufactures. A tariff on Chinese goods may also lead to higher prices and lower margins for U.S. firms. This is especially true for American companies that source component parts for tech manufacturing. Many trade experts dismiss Trump’s tough talk as bluster that will give way to more pragmatic concerns. Until then, the world is closely waiting to see if the President’s actions will match his words.

2) Tax Policy

Another defining element of President Trump’s agenda is changing America’s corporate tax rate. With the third highest corporate tax rate in the world, the President has proposed a major tax cut for U.S. businesses that would bring the current rate of 35% down to 15%. If this new tax policy becomes a reality, it may lead to on-shoring of U.S. manufacturing and supply chain operations that have been outsourced to other parts of the world for decades, in particular, China.

“Lower the business tax rate from 35% to 15%”

There is a lot of uncertainty and risk mitigation taking place as companies wait to see a final outcome. In the meantime, businesses are beginning to take more consideration towards the prospect of re-shoring their manufacturing and supply chain operations.

Efforts by companies to circumvent America’s high corporate tax rate over the years has led to a separation of intellectual property from physical products and have left sales hanging overseas. The proposed change in the U.S. corporate tax rate could create an environment where businesses select manufacturing location based on the best fit for customer markets and key stakeholders, rather than tax optimization. This could benefit supply chains causing a simplification of network design in the areas of sourcing, planning, and product development.

3) US-China Relations Under President Trump

Depending on the news media outlet, talks of the future US-China relationship range from doomsday predictions to milder hums of a functional, yet tension filled relationship between the two nations. There is no doubt, the world’s most important bilateral relationship is poised to receive a major stress test.

A more aggressive stance with China on trade and issues like the South China sea risk the stability of an already strained relationship with an authoritarian government and culture that also has its own brand of nationalism. Military intervention aside, China has limited opportunities for retaliation, but could act by buying less American branded goods which could be a serious upset to American industry.

In the event that US-China relations take a sour turn, China’s biggest source of recourse would be to disrupt US-China supply chains by halting exports of crucial materials or components. On the flip side, this could also damage China’s reputation of being a reliable supplier. One thing is for sure, the two nations are undeniably intertwined through trade and commerce. It’s to the advantage of both to strike a balance through negotiation that can advance the economies of each country.

While the Trump effect is bound to be a disruptive force for China sourcing and supply chains, it could also bring opportunities for businesses that are well informed and able to mitigate geo-political risk factors. Fortune favors the bold and it has never been more true for businesses with the ability to exercise flexibility in their supplier relationships and agility to re-organize and build amongst offsets.

While free trade deals are unlikely to survive and future tariff and tax policies remain ambiguous, there could be opportunities to harness this new environment in a variety of ways that is mutually beneficial to U.S. businesses and Chinese manufacturers.

Michelle Scheblein is head of content development at BaySource Global. She has a B.A. in international business from the University of South Florida and has studied, worked, and traveled throughout China. She can be reached at mscheblein@gmail.com