Tag Archive: Supply Chain Briefing

Amazon and Whole Foods

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Amazon hit the news big time with the purchase of Whole Foods. It even got my mom’s attention, and she asked the store manager if they would continue to exist. He assured her that they planned to stay. It just so happens that I spoke on the Amazon Effect at the Future Ports Annual Conference and at an IOT (internet of things)/ Supply Chain Data event almost immediately after the announcement. We had some fascinating discussions at the IOT event about Amazon and their strategy and impacts. Certainly this move will shake up traditional retail grocery stores! Are you thinking…
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Fully Autonomous Vehicles Will Be Here by 2020

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Autonomous vehicles seem to arise at every corner. Last week, I heard a presentation on autonomous vehicles by the executive VP of Hyundai, and earlier this week, I participated on a panel at Future Ports Annual Conference with a Caltrans researcher on autonomous vehicles. What is clear is that self-driving cars are going to occur. There is substantial testing, money and efforts going into the development of autonomous vehicles. Amazon, Uber, UPS….all the big names are investing. Certainly, this new technology will revolutionize the trucking and transportation industry. What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise? Start by not burying your…
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Top Importers & Exporters… E-Commerce Impacts

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According to the Journal of Commerce, the top importers were impacted by e-commerce and that trend is expected to continue. Imports grew by 8% last year (2.2 million TEU) whereas exports grew by 3% (just under a million TEU). The rankings are showing signs of a shakeup with the surge in e-commerce and Amazon. In 2016, Walmart rated #1, Target #2 and then Home Depot and Lowe’s as #3 and 4. For example, the retail industry woes are highlighted by Sears and Walmart. Sears sales slid by almost 10% whereas Macy’s slid almost 4% and Payless filed for Chapter 11 protection…
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Amazon Is Going to Australia!

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Amazon has announced plans to go to Australia in a big way — of course! This has many Australian retailers unnerved while simultaneously providing Amazon with a new beachhead for its global distribution network. And, it appears as though Amazon might have a supportive regulatory environment for testing deliveries via autonomous drones and road deliveries since there are vast remote areas for potential deliveries. It certainly seems like Amazon is a company to watch… I asked my Australian consulting colleagues about this announcement, and their response was “Bring it on!”. Retail prices have been higher for quite a while and…
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Why Care About Rail?

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This past weekend, my APICS (premier association for supply chain and operations professionals) Inland Empire chapter had its spring executive panel and networking symposium on the topic of “Disruptive Innovations in Logistics”. We had an amazing panel of experts covering trucking, rail, import/ export, distribution and policy. It was clear that rail can have a profound impact on logistics, and there is much more involved in rail than obvious at first glance. For example, Union Pacific (represented on our panel) and BNSF are the two core freight rail lines supporting the U.S. There is an amazing amount of disruption and innovation going…
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Reshoring Gains

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According to Industry Week and the Reshoring Initiative, after two decades of job losses, we have turned the corner. In 2014, we had a net gain of 10,000 reshored jobs. And, clearly, this is picking up steam especially as we are in the thick of 2017. According to the article, South Carolina is the top winner thus far, followed by Michigan and California (surprising; however, since Boeing is the 3rd largest reshoring company, it makes sense), Kentucky and Texas. Walmart and Ford were the top two reshoring companies. There is certainly a buzz with reshoring and near-sourcing. We’ve received calls from several potential…
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Duke University & CFO Global Outlook Survey Suggests Optimism

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According to CFO, Duke University and CFO Global Business Outlook Survey suggests strong optimism! In fact, the survey’s optimism index for the quarter jumped to 69 (on a 100-point scale) which is the highest level in 14 years. This is also significantly higher than the long-run average of 60. Businesses are optimistic. 61% plan to increase their payrolls this year and 4% wage hikes are expected. Even more noteworthy is that capital spending is expected to increase by 6% vs. a median of 3% and a flat/negative spend in 2016. Are you ready? What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise? Good…
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Manufacturers Upbeat but Worry About Skills Gap

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According to Industry Week, the Fed’s survey of the economy expressed optimism; however, it also noted that labor markets are tightening. Since I’m also embarking on refreshing my 2013 Skills Gap research report, thus far, I’ve noted the same concerns for high-skilled positions. I hear far less conversation about lower-skilled positions when it comes to availability (instead I hear about minimum wage concerns); however, the vast majority of my clients require higher-skilled positions. In these cases, it is not always easy — or even attainable — to find the resources needed on a timely basis. What are you doing to get…
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Is Digitization Hype?

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Well, let’s start with a definition of digitization. According to CIO.com, McKinsey defines it as technologies that virtualize and automate products, services and supply chains. We certainly hear about digitization in the news frequently; however, according to McKinsey, even though CIOs embrace it, digitization is a slow-moving process. On the other hand, don’t see this as an opportunity to take a break. According to McKinsey, 49% of the leading companies are investing in digital more than their counterparts do, compared with only 5% of digital laggards. Perhaps it is an opportunity to leapfrog the competition? What Should We Consider and/or…
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Trump’s Major Increase in Defense Spending and Related Impacts

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Trump has proposed a rather dramatic increase in defense spending. His proposed $20 billion boost in military spending isn’t pocket change and will have a dramatic ripple effect on manufacturers across-the-board. It doesn’t matter what gets approved in the end — the direction is clear. How will defense spending impact your business? Waiting for final approval before considering how to leverage this opportunity seems foolhardy! FYI I love the picture below as it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite shows, JAG. What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise? When military spending increases, defense-related manufacturing booms. It…
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