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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- March 27, 2014

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of March 27, 2014

Quantifying the Internet of Things; Fed Money Might Flow for US Manufacturing Hubs; Just How Big is the US Truck Driver Shortage; Supply Chain Risk Planning Updated Just as Needed


$600 Million

Amount of Federal money that would be made available for the creation of a series of US manufacturing "hubs" under a proposed bill currently making its way through the Capitol. What is a manufacturing hub? They will be public-private partnerships between universities, businesses and federal agencies designed to spur the development and production of next-generation manufacturing facilities. Under the bill, the Commerce Department would be charged with awarding grants to new manufacturing hubs. The measure doesn't call for a specific number of hubs, or say what kinds of products they should develop, but it aims to create a national network of innovative manufacturing centers. We'll just have to see how this concept fares, first in Congress but more importantly then in practice.




That's the current level of truck driver shortage in the US, according to an estimate this week from Warren Scott, a recruiter based with Maverick Transportation in Arkansas. That is five times the already worrisome estimate that the US is short about 30,000 drivers, according to American Trucking Associations' chief economist Bob Costello. But the ATA itself says stronger economic growth could quickly lead to a crisis in driver levels similar to what was seen in 2005-06. Many carriers continue to say a lack of drivers is a core industry issue, and is a key factor in why many are not expanding their fleets - they can't find enough drivers to fill new tractors they might otherwise buy.


26 Billion

That's the number of internet-connected devices the world will see by 2020 - meaning machinery, inventory and a lot more - as the "internet of things" becomes a reality. That according to a new research note from a trio of Gartner analysts. That compares to a population of just 7.3 billion smartphones, tablets and PCs over the same period. There are huge opportunities to redefine the supply chain from such connectivity, Gartner says, especially in connecting services to the physical supply chain. But it will add complexity, and raise cyber security risks as well. The time to start envisioning this new connected supply chain future is now, Gartner says.



The percentage of manufacturing firms which expect to revise existing supply chain risk management plans only on an "as needed" basis, according to new research from the Institute for Supply Management. The question is whether that approach is really adequate, SCDigest believes, because it would seem very hard to define what "as needed" really means in the face of highly dynamic supply chain conditions. A better practice would seem to be to review existing plans at least annually in the face of changes to market conditions, suppliers, etc.

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