Supply Chain by the Numbers

- March 14, 2013

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of March 14, 2013

Still Looking for More US Truck Drivers; Diageo Says Supply Chains Should be Local; Container Ship Cancellations Soar; Yuan Value Complaints Slowing




Average turnover rate for US truck drivers in 2012, the highest level since 2007, when churn averaged 127%. That according to the latest quarterly report from the American Trucking Associations. The better news of sorts is that the rate dropped to 90% in Q4 from 104% in Q3. As we have reported many times in the past, 100% turnover does not at all mean that the complete driver fleet is turning over - most of that number comes from many new drivers dropping out early on. Still, most continue to predict problematic driver shortages in coming years.



60 Million

Annual savings in pounds the giant spirits maker Diageo will achieve within three years by from its newly announced supply chain transformation strategy. Interestingly, the move is driven by growth in many emerging markets, and in effect the company is decentralizing its supply chain to push more supply chain activity locally versus the current more centralized model. "A couple of years ago one big supply chain worked because we were selling mainly our premium brands and had a straightforward portfolio," an executive there said. But not anymore.


The rise since mid-2010 in the value of the Chinese yuan against the dollar, according to the US Treasury. That, plus rising labor in China and falling trade surpluses, has led to what some are saying is a noticeable drop in complaints by the US and Europe recently that the Chinese are purposely keeping the value of the yuan low to boost its exports. While it is true Chinese trade surpluses fell sharply in 2012 in total, the US still saw a record trade deficit in manufactured goods of $315 billion, up from $295 billion in 2011.



Approximate number of TEU that was taken out of service in February on Asia to US or Europe routes from cancelled sailings by container lines, according to a new report from Drewry Shipping Consultants. That was an effective reduction in capacity of almost 10%. In total, Drewry says 150 sailings have been cancelled from October through last month, with a big jump in February, as it appears carriers are increasingly using the technique to deal with slowing demand in the winter months - and maybe beyond. Drewry adds the cancellations often leave many shippers in a lurch, and drive up spot rates (which of course is part of the strategy).