Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of July 7, 2011
Mexican Stand Off Ends; SABMiller's Variable Vortex; US Foreign Investment Headed the Wrong Way; Sulfur Cancels Out CO2?
Number of years the battle over allowing Mexican truckers has been going on, since the NAFTA agreement was signed in 1996, a treaty that included that right as part of its language. Under the agreement announced this week, the US will reinstate a pilot program for Mexican truck certification that was introduced under the Bush administration – and defunded by an angry Congress in 2009. Mexico, in turn, will immediately drop half of the tariffs on about 100 US products, with the rest to be removed when Mexican trucks actually start rolling across the border.
The combination of variables in the supply chain planning models initially developed for production planning processes at SABMiller using new optimization software for its South African operations, according to a presentation last week at the SAPICS conference there by . The explosion of variables - and complexity - came as the team tried to more and more precisely capture every decision factor. It turned out in the end that simpler was better, and SAB reset, broke the models up into smaller pieces, and eliminated variables that really had little impact on the final plan, to great success. (See
SABMiller Finds that Less is Sometimes More When it Comes to Supply Chain Planning System Success.)
The gap between what US companies invested overseas versus what foreign companies invested in the US last year, according to just released government figures for 2010. The actual figures were $351 billion invested by US companies abroad last year, versus $236 billion foreign investment in the US. That latter figure is well below the $310 billion of foreign investment in 2008. The gap is yet another factor in low economic and job growth, as foreign investment spurs both. When more investment flows out of the US than flows in, however, it means the benefits are relatively not favorable for the US.
The amount of growth in Chinese coal consumption from 1998-2008 as it built many new power plants to literally fuel its rapid economic growth, a level which a new study claims is the reason that despite big increases in CO2 emissions during this period that global temperatures stayed flat. The new paper from the National Academy of Sciences is making big news in providing an answer to counter global warming skeptics, saying the sulfur released by China and some other Asian countries has a cooling effect acted as a counterforce to CO2's upward pressures, canceling each other out. We're dubious. (See
Flat Temperatures Globally from 1998-2008 Despite Rising CO2 Levels Can be Explained by Cooling Effect of Chinese Sulfur Emissions)