Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct. 6, 2016 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Oct. 6, 2016

What Companies Did What at CSCMP 2016? New Jersey Hiking Diesel Taxes Big Time; Interest in Highly Automated DCs Growing; NRF has Bullish Forecast for 2016 Holiday Spend



That's how many different non-vendor companies contributed to last week's annual CSCMP conference in Orlando by making either a presentation or participating in a panel discussion, according to exclusive analysis by SCDigest. That was down just slightly from the total of 59 companies in 2015. By "non-vendors," we meant that our excluded presenters from 3PLs, consulting and technology firms, academics and others that have different motives for being part of the action - and sometimes pay for the opportunity to present. Intel clearly led the way in 2016, with four total participations, including three full-on presentations. Coca-Cola Refreshments and Mondelez International both participated in three sessions. SCDigest has been tracking this for several years, and you can find our numbers on CSCMP participation for 2016 and across2014to 2016 here: What Companies Contributed to CSCMP 2016?



44.5 Cents

That will soon be the new tax on diesel fuel in the state of New Jersey, up substantially from the current rate of 17.5 cents, in a deal just reached in the state's legislature. The tax on regular gasoline will also rise substantially, to 37.5 cents from 14.5 cents currently. Both of those new tax rates are before Federal taxes on each gallon of fuel. The idea is to raise money for the state's infrastructure, and is expected to raise some $2 billion annually. The impact on consumers is supposed to be muted by a small reduction in the state's sales tax rate as well as a reduction in the estate tax - but the only sweetener for truckers is that the tax will be phased in over two years. The American Trucking Associations has long been calling for an increase in fuel taxes to support road building, but New Jersey truckers are complaining that legislators think they can just pass the higher fuel costs on to shippers. We say fuel up in Philadelphia.


That's how much a company called Symbotic claims its highly automated case picking system can reduce DC labor costs, as SCDigest reported this week. That as the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Target stores is deploying the system at a new DC in California, rather than using its usual facility design. The system uses robots to depalletize incoming receipts, which are then conveyed to a high density storage system called "The Box," which uses shuttles to put away and pick carton at high rates of speed. Special software then combines with more robots to build the "perfect" outbound pallet. What is especially interesting is that the Symbotic system was developed by Rick Cohen, CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers, to automate that company's own DC operations, but is now marketing the solution to other retailers and wholesalers. There are other providers out there providing similar systems, and though the costs are steep, interest does seem to be growing. See Interest in Near Fully Automated Distribution Centers.



That is the level of growth the National Retail Federation forecast this week for total holiday season retail sales in 2016, up from 3% in 2015. If accurate, that rise would be slightly higher than the post-recession average of 3.4% since 2009 (the numbers all include the effects of inflation). However, at this same point last year NRF predicted growth of 3.7%, when 3% turned out to be the real number. Separately, the International Council of Shopping Centers forecast a 3.3% spending increase at physical stores, compared with a 2.2% gain in sales last year. The NRF also projected that non-store sales, including purchases made on-line but also through other channels such as catalog, will increase between 7% and 10% to as much as $117 billion. Of course, on-line only sales have been increasing 15% or so year over year for many quarters in a row, and we would expect that trend to continue in the holiday season. An NRF executive also noted that lower prices lately have allowed shoppers to spend less on the same goods, presenting a challenge for retailers who must sell more merchandise to show an increase in sales.