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Supply Chain by the Numbers
   
 

- June 23, 2016 -

   
  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of June 23, 2016
   
 

Major Acquisition in the Materials Handling Industry; Direct Foreign in US Manufacturing Soars; Oil Gains Global Energy Market Share for First Time in Years; Call Center Soon to be Manned by Robots

   
 
 
 

$3.25 billion

That's how much German fork truck and robotics maker Kion is paying to acquire US-based automated materials handling provider Dematic, a company once perhaps more famously known as Rapistan. The takeover creates a group with close to 30,000 employees and more than $7.6 billion in annual sales. While we are still "sorting" through the details and assessing the impact on the market, it seems likely this is simply a move by Kion to expand beyond its more commoditized fork truck business to the systems type solutions sold by Dematic. It is also a sign of the increasing globalization of the materials handling system market, which not long ago was more regional in nature. Kion has a bridge load to get the deal going, which is expected to close in Q4, but must come up with more permanent financing eventually. Kion says it sees growth opportunities in China and North America. More on this soon from SCDigest.

 
 


 
 
 

$348 Billion

That was the amount of direct foreign investment in the US in 2015, according to a new report from the Commerce Dept. That is a new all-time record, and up substantially from about $160 billion in 2014, and just $50 billion in 2003. A similar total is expected for 2016. That investment was mostly from European countries, and was largely focused on manufacturing, where some 70% of the investment was made. The general economic weakness on much of the international scene is actually helping the US, whose slow-but-steady economic growth helps makes a better investment case than many other big countries can offer, especially when low energy costs and other potential benefits are factored in. One in seven U.S. private-sector jobs is tied to foreign investment, according to a report released Monday from the Organization for International Investment, which represents international companies that do business in the US. By contrast, direct foreign investment in China was $175 billion last year, according to a new analysis by the UN.

 
 
 
 
 
32.9%

That was oil's share of global energy consumption in 2015, according to the just released and always interesting BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Not only is that the top energy source globally in percentage terms, it is up slightly from its share in 2014 - the first time oil's share has increased since all the way back in 1999. Coal's share is falling, but is still solidly in second place. Renewable energy sources in power generation continued to increase in 2015, reaching 2.8% of global energy consumption, up from 0.8% a decade ago. Renewables accounted for 6.7% of global power generation, as China (20.9%) and Germany (23.5%) recorded the largest increments in use of renewables. Globally, wind energy (up 17.4%) remains the largest source of renewable electricity (52.2% of renewable generation), with Germany (53.4%) recording the largest growth increment. Solar power generation grew by 32.6%, with China (69.7%), the US (41.8%) and Japan (58.6%) accounting for the largest increases. China overtook Germany and the US to become the world's top generator of solar energy.

 
 
 
 

1.2 Million

That's about how many workers are employed in call center jobs for Western companies in the Philippines, making it a substantial component of the country's total workforce, bringing in some $21 billion in revenues to the country. Of course, all those jobs were created in the past couple of decades, as companies in developed countries outsourced and offshored their call center jobs to much lower costs nation such as the Philippines and India, infuriating many customers at the same time as service deteriorated. But now, those outsourced jobs themselves are in danger from technology, as "robots"
and artificial intelligence may enable computers to handle jobs now requiring human, the Wall Street Journal reported this week, perhaps in less than five years. Will you still be able to hit "0" enough times that you can get to a human being after the robots move in? We doubt it.

 
 
 
 
 
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