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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Feb. 13, 2014

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Feb. 13, 2014

NLRB is Back with Ambush Elections Proposal; China's Export Numbers Up Big, but in Question; New  Heinz Owners Shuttering One of Its Best Plants; Chaos Reigning at Port of New York/New Jersey



Number of days from when a union vote at a company is first authorized until when the vote must be held, according to new proposed rules from the US National Labor Relations Board. Today, such a vote must be held within a "reasonable" timeframe, and in practice averages 38 days after the union has sufficient support to call for an election. The shorter timeframe ("ambush elections") is thought to give a big advantage to unionization efforts, resulting from momentum from achieving the vote and less time for companies to wage anti-union campaigns. There are also other features of the proposed new regs that are very pro-union. While there will be a period for comments and then a vote, these new rules will be approved.




Rise in China’s exports in January, substantially above most analysts’ predictions amid warnings that China’s economic growth is slowing substantially. On the other hand, other measures, such as the unofficial Purchasing Managers Index from bank HSBC, have shown China’s manufacturing sector is in fact slowing, causing some to wonder if the Chinese government has cooked the books a bit on the export numbers. Still, rising import container volumes at US ports, and clearly recovering trade volumes into Europe, likely mean directionally that the China export growth numbers are more right than wrong, though perhaps a bit overstated.



Percentage of all ingredients into Heinz frozen foods plant in Pocatello, Idaho, that are shipped in from east of the Mississippi river, more than 1000 miles away. That fact was key in the decision of the company, under new private equity owners from Brazil after a buyout last year, to close the plant - thought to be one of the most efficient in the Heinz network. That will put 400 people out of work. The Pocatello plant was ranked top in the US in Heinz' network in 2009 and 2011, and many there thought the plant would get more work after Heinz was taken private. Two other North American factories are being shuttered, and overall company headcount has been reduce 5%, with more cuts to come. And the network design tool says...



Number of years Joseph Noonan, president of Marine Container Services in Newark has been in business, and he’s says he has never seen operating conditions so bad as they are now in the ports of New York and New Jersey. There is a huge back up of containers, and drayage truck movements have slowed to a crawl, from the ports nearly shutting down between Christmas and New Year’s, a series of severe winter storms since then, a shortage of chassis, and more. "This has gone on for too long," said Evans Papantourou of EP Transportation and Logistics "How can you plan? You don’t know whether a driver’s going to wait three hours or five hours outside the gate, or if the line’s going to shut off, or if the line of trucks is going to be out to the turnpike." Ouch. There are big chassis problems at LA-Long Beach as well right now.

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