Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Jan. 26, 2012


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Jan. 26, 2012


Apple Polishes its Supplier Practices; Robots and Software, not Humans; Kohl's Fulfilling Dot Com Strategy; Freight was Really Moving in 2011


$3.3 Million

The amount of cash Apple was successful in returning to workers in its extended supply chain who had come from other countries to work in factories in places like Singapore and Malaysia - and were subjected to excessive employment fees to land those jobs. Apple forced its suppliers to refund the extra charges to a large number of workers. All part of Apple's powerful new Supplier Progress Report. See Apple's Groundbreaking Moves to Audit its Extended Supply Chain for Compliance to its Supplier Code of Conduct.




Rise in US spending on capital goods - manufacturing equipment and software - since mid-2009, according to an article last week in the Wall Street Journal. That is among the highest levels on record coming out of a recession. Private sector jobs have grown just 1.4% over the same period, which may be more than just a coincidence. The drivers of this capex spending? Historically low interest rates and the tax incentives in 2011 that allowed the full investment to be written off in one year, plus what one MIT economist said was a "pent-up potential for labor savings that hadn't been harvested until the recession."


Number of distribution centers dedicated to its e-commerce channel that retailer Kohl's will have in its network, after announcing that the fourth dedicated facility will open this summer in DeSota, TX. The building will cover about 950,000 square feet, and employ more than 400 associates, Kohl's announced this week. The company has 9 other traditional, store-focused DCs in it network. The company says its e-commerce sales were up by more than 50% in 2010, and are expected to top US$1bn in the current fiscal year.



Growth in trucking freight volumes in 2011, according the American Trucking Associations (ATA) most recent Freight Tonnage Index report for December, capping off the year. That was the highest level of freight volume growth in 13 years, according to the ATA. A lot of that gain came late, with December tonnage up 10% year over year. Good news for carriers and a positive sign as a whole for the economy, but not necessarily for transportation managers, who have already seen tight capacity and higher rates over the past year.