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Supply Chain by the Numbers
   
 

- Nov. 30, 2012

   
  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Nov. 30, 2012
   
 

Massive Decline in US Apparel Manufacturing; East Coast Port Strike Clock Winding Down Again; Another Factory Fire in Emerging Market Sure to Have Supply Chain Ramifications; Railroad Profit Machines

   
 
 
 

30

Number of days until the contract between the East and Gulf Coast longshoremen’s union and the association representing terminals and ports expires on Dec. 29. That after it was extended for 90 days in late September just before the original expiration date, when it became clear a settlement was not going to be reached in time. Signs don't look much better this time, with lots of saber rattling on both sides and each side basically saying key issues are off the table for negotiations. Time to start making contingency plans right now if you haven't already. See As Threat of East and Gulf Coast Port Strike Once Again Looms, Archaic Container Royalty System Could be the Deal Breaker or Maker.


 
 



 
 
 

80%

The massive drop is in US apparel production today versus its peak level in December of 1994. That from an analysis by SCDigest this week of changes output from a number of industrial sectors since 1990, based on data from the Federal Reserve. The furniture sector has also been hit very hard, largely also as a result of offshoring, down 35% from its peak in 2005. Better news from the food and (surprisingly) computer and electronics sectors, two of just three sectors we looked at up from the 2007 base year (automotive was the other). Good data. See US Manufacturing Still Hasn't Come All the Way Back from Recession, While Fate of Different Sectors Varies Dramatically.

 
 
 
 
 
112

Latest figure we have seen for the number of dead from a tragic fire at an apparel factory in Bangladesh last Saturday, with another 200 or more injured, with emergency exit doors that could have saved many of those lives absent or padlocked. The factory is believed to have been a supplier to Walmart, Disney, Sears and other major global retailers – some of whom now say they thought they had stopped doing business with the place. Walmart says one of its suppliers secretly sub-contracted the work to the factory. This is eerily similar to another apparel factory fire in Pakistan in September that killed at least 258 - and where the exit doors were also locked. This second fire will now surely have supply chain repercussions.

 
 
 
 
 
19.5%

The incredible percent of its total revenue that rail carrier Union Pacific's net income was in Q3, as it drove its operating ratio down to just 66.6%. By way of comparison, trucking/intermodal services carrier JB Hunt's net income was just 6% of revenue, Walmart's only 3.2%, and Procter & Gamble 13.6%. Apple did manage to beat the rail carrier, at about 22% of revenue for its net income. And to just think, railroads used to be lousy business not all that long ago. UP led the way, but all three other publicly trade rail carriers (CSX, Norkfolk Southern, and Kansas City Southern) had net profit margins of around 15%. Warren Buffet sure new what he was doing when he bought Burlington Northern a few years ago.


 
 
 
 
 
 
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