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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct.13, 2016 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Oct. 13, 2016

More eCommerce Moves by Amazon, Walmart; Foxconn Embraces Robots  Big Time in China; US CO2 Emissions Headed for 24-Year Low; Demand for US Warehouse Space Continues to be Hot



That’s how many parking spots a new Amazon drive-up grocery store in Seattle will have for direct-to-car delivery, according to planning documents filed with the city and uncovered by the GeekWire web site. The planning documents for the roughly 10,000 square foot retail space say that "When placing an online order, customers will schedule a specific 15-minute to two-hour pick up window. Peak time slots will sell out, which will help manage traffic flow within the customer parking adjacent to the building. When picking up purchased items, customers can either drive into a designated parking area with eight parking stalls where the purchased items will be delivered to their cars or they can walk into the retail area to pick up their items. Customers will also be able to walk into the retail room to place orders on a tablet. Walk in customers will have their products delivered to them in the retail room." The Amazon machine continues on, with a growing assault in the grocery sector.




That's how many human jobs have been cut through use of robots at one Chinese factory of contract manufacturing giant Foxconn, most famous for being Apple's key partner for iPhone assembly. Once relying on cheap China labor for its success - one factory producing Apple products had somewhere around 200,000 workers alone - Taiwan-based Foxconn is now on an aggressive drive towards robotics, in the face of ever rising Chinese labor costs and turnover. A Foxconn executive just said the company has deployed about 40,000 robots in total at several of its Chinese plants in recent years, and will continue to deploy more at a rate of about 10,000 per year. Interestingly, Foxconn says that with the exception of some key components such as speed reducers and servo motors, Foxconn manufactures what are called "Foxbots" in-house, and has also developed its own robot control software. The robots are coming for a job near you.

That is the percent of the top 50 US markets - all of them, that is - that are experiencing either "peaking" or "rising" conditions for industrial real estate space, mostly warehouses. That according to the latest market analysis report from JLL (formerly Jones Lang Lasalle), and that is quite remarkable, actually. JLL expects demand for warehouse space to remain strong in the US through 2018, fueled in large measure by companies seeking facilities for efulfillment. Through the end of the third quarter, the national vacancy rate for industrial stood near all-time lows, at just 5.8%, despite much additional supply being delivered to the market, JLL said. "Net absorption," which measures the amount of space occupied at the beginning and end of a reporting period, has been in solidly positive territory for the past few years, signaling that strong demand continues to take on newly available square footage. The warehouse space party is sure to end sometime, but it keeps rocking on for now, pushing leasing rates higher.


5.18 Billion

That's how many metric tons of CO2 emissions the US is on pace to produce in 2016 – which would be the lowest level since 1992 – even as there has been significant economic growth over that period. That means the US' CO2 "intensity" has been falling rather steadily. That according to a new report by the US Energy Information Administration last week. The EIA cites several factors in recent downturns in US CO2 emissions, including power plants switching from coal to natural gas sources. Natural gas produces roughly half the CO2 created by coal-based electricity production. The progress is gradual - the EIA says that the US' carbon intensity didn’t really start to drop until 2005 - but has a major impact over time. Total CO2 emissions should be down 1.5% in 2016, after a 3% decline last year. Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind are also playing an increasingly important role in reducing CO2, the EIA notes. Utility Duke Energy, for example, says that its changing generation mix has lowered its overall carbon dioxide emissions by 28% since 2005.

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