Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of July 28, 2011
IKEA Says Yes to Factory Union; Department Stores Drive Inventory Down; Penn State Number 1, but not in Football; Ocean Charter Rates Well Down
Number of Yes votes this week in favor of forming a union at IKEA's only US manufacturing facility in Danville, VA versus just 69 No's, meaning the union vote prevailed. As is frequently the case, IKEA may be getting a union because they deserve one, as workers complained about low wages, discrimination, long working hours, eliminated raises, frenzied pace and mandatory overtime.
The reduction in inventory levels when measured as Days Sales Outstanding in the multi-line retail (mass merchants and department stores) segment from 2005 to 2010, as those retailers were one of just a few industry sectors to show consistent inventory declines over the period, along with restaurants chains and chemical companies. See Inventory Performance by Industry 2005 to 2010.
Decline since April in the cost of chartering a containership, according to data this week from the Howe Robinson Container Index, which tracks charter rates for a range of vessels. That is not only a negative economic sign from an overall perspective, but is especially so since the charter rates are falling in the midst of the peak season for ocean shipping.