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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Sept. 6, 2013

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Sept. 6, 2013

American Apparel in Zone with RFID; Stunning Fall in US Manufacturing Jobs over 12 Years; Spreadsheets Still Rule the S&OP Roost; Are Supplier Sustainability Efforts Flatlining?


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The size in feet that "zones" inside its stores American Apparel can get to in terms of locating RFID-tagged items using a new system that augments the previous investments this RFID leader has made. The chain has adopted what is in effect a real-time locator system (RTLS) for a couple of its stores in the Los Angeles area, and a press release from RFID reader provider Impinj says the new system will be rolled out to all stores. The chain's existing system, like most retail RFID systems, updates inventory changes based on some event, like moving an item from the backroom to the floor, a cycle count with a handheld reader, a sale, etc. The new system, based on technology from little known Senitron, instead provides a continuous view of inventory and movement of items.




The astounding decline in US manufacturing jobs from 1998 until the bottom in 2010, as we reported last week in our First Thoughts column on The Labor (Day) Supply Chain 2013. That of course represents millions of jobs in total. Since then, manufacturing jobs have gained about 4.5% from the trough, but that obviously has only stopped the bleeding from the Great Recession, not significantly reversed the overall tide.


Number of respondents in the just released Closing the Gaps in Sales and Operations Planning benchmark report that said they had "excellent S&OP Workbench tools" in terms of technology support for S&OP. 36.7% said they had some decent tools, but needed better. But a near majority of 45.8% said they were still primarily using spreadsheets, with all the challenges and limitations that entails. To download a copy of this excellent report, go to: Closing the Gaps in Sales and Operations Planning.



The percent of the 1700 global corporate respondents to the 2013 UN Sustainability survey who said they are using third-party audit firms to review suppliers' action and progress on sustainability-related issues. Just 9% verify suppliers' "remediation" activities. All told, the UN report says there is still a lot more talk than action on a variety of sustainability goals, and worries a lot of the effort has reached a plateau. It notes that "the supporting actions that will drive adherence [by suppliers] have shown little or no increase over the past few years."

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