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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Sept. 29 , 2011


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Sept. 29, 2011


A Lot Still Made in the USA - for Now; Quick Fill Ups for Fuel Cell  Fork Trucks; Commodity Prices Tumbling; Truckers Planning Accessorial Strategies



The share of manufactured goods consumers in the US that are made in the US, according to a recent article in the Strategy + Business magazine published by the consultants at Booz & Company, according to unspecified government statistics. That's probably a higher share than many would have guessed, but is at a key inflection point, the article says, with the potential to rise to as high as a 95% share - or see a deep plummet to as low as just 40% of goods consumed in the US made here, with many implications for employment, innovation, and more.




Time in minutes it takes to refill the hydrogen in a fuel cell used to power a lift truck in a DC or factory, according to Ernst Baumgartner during an interview last week with SCDigest. Baumgartner heads of the fuel cell program for lift truck maker Crown Equipment Corp. near Dayton, OH. That gives it a big advantage over traditional battery technology, for which companies must often buy multiple batteries for multi-shift operations given the long charging time. Costs are still much higher for fuel cell-powered vehicles, but large government subsidies available through at least 2016 and green supply chain goals means there is often a good business case, Baumgartner says. See full article and video here next week.


The approximate drop in the Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index representing a basket of different commodities so far in September, as concerns about the overall economy, what looks like a stall in China's growth especially, and a strengthening US dollar have combined to push prices down. That puts the index down almost 10% from the beginning of the year, even after the sharp rises in most commodities during the Spring period. That's good news for companies that had been hurt by rising input costs. Metals are down especially hard, oil less so but still well down, and agricultural goods down but by lesser percentages. Food inflation is still a threat.



Number of truckload carriers that plan to increase their use of accessorial chargesto drive revenue in their next rounds of negotiations with carriers, according to a new study by the analysts at Transport Capital Partners. Those accessorial fees include detention charge and fuel surcharges, and mileage standards (e.g., from shortest miles to actual miles driven). Shippers, get your negotiating hats on!

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