Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Jan. 13, 2011
Trucking Numbers Down but not Out; Import and Export Prices Surge; Oil on March Again; Kroger has UPC Tunnel Vision
The reduction in the number of US trucking operations from the start of the recession to the end of 2010, according to data reported this week the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of trucking "establishments" tracked by the BLS dropped from 119,664 in 2007 to 117,583 in 2008 and 113,068 in 2009. The latest data available for 2010 places the number of trucking operations at 110,727. Our view: it could have been worse.
Rise in import prices in 2010 excluding energy, according to data released this week by the US Labor Department. That's the largest jump since 2007. Amazingly, US export prices jumped even more, up a robust 6.5%, the largest one year jump on record since the metric was first calculated in 1983.
Scan rate in the 7-month old pilot of an intriguing new UPC scan tunnel unveiled by grocery giant Kroger at the National Retail Federation (NRF) show in New York City this week. Named "Advantage Checkout," the system uses multiple image scanners to look for UPC codes or alphanumeric data from multiple angles, has very high throughput capability, and just might revolutionize retail checkout processes. (See New Kroger Bar Code Scan Tunnel Could Revolutionize Retail Checkout.)
Decline in crude US oil inventories in terms of barrels last week, according to the Dept. of Energy, a key factor in the price of light, sweet crude rising to about $92 a barrel by end of day Wednesday. That represented a fresh two-year high, as oil continues its march to more than $100 per barrel, according to many predictions.