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Supply Chain by the Numbers

April 17, 2014

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of April 17, 2014

Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils in Supply Chain Success; Walmart Taking Care of the Trash; Maine Hopes to Resole its Shoe Manufacturing; What do Supply Chain Grads Expect to Make?



The percent of rising input costs that iconic pencil and other school-related product maker Dixon Ticonderoga was able to offset over the past five years with supply chain cost reductions. This unusual measure is something that current CEO Tim Gomez developed after being named CEO in 2010, after starting out with the company in supply chain. Gomez described the metric at the NASSTRAC conference in Orlando this week, during comments after receiving an award as the NASSTRAC shipper of the year. To clarify, despite much higher input costs over five years, Dixon Ticonderoga raised prices only 15% by achieving supply chain savings equal to 85% of those cost increases. Was that a smart move, versus raising prices and improving margins? Looks like the answer is Yes, as the company's sales rose 50% over the period in a slow growth market.




Average starting salary expectations for undergraduate majors in supply chain and logistics, according to an interesting new survey of some 230 such students, conducting by three current undergrads under the leadership of Dr. Brian Gibson of Auburn University. The results of the survey were released at the NASSTRAC conference in Orlando this week. The general consensus of logistics managers there seemed to be that those expectations were close to accurate, although maybe a bit high. The other part of the message from the survey and comments from Gibson and the student researchers was that maybe millennials are really not so different from previous generations as many would have you believe.


$1.3 Million

Amount of money that a group in Dexter, Maine, is trying to raise as a start to bringing the shoe manufacturing industry back to the state. The upper Northeast used to be the major shoe manufacturing region of the country, before nearly all of it went to offshore locations in the 1980s and 1990s. A group of entrepreneurs there now apparently wants to set up a contract manufacturing center that would be used by major shoe brands, and claims to have significant interest from several large shoe companies. The seed capital would be used to purchase space and equipment that would form the basis of the new manufacturing capabilities. Can it work? Hard to say. Other attempts to bring shoe manufacturing back the US have struggled over lack of suppliers for items like grommets for shoelace holes and difficulty finding equipment maintenance personnel with knowledge of the production machines.



Amount of landfill-bound waste that Walmart has been able to reduce in the US since 2008, according to CEO Mike Duke in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. That is pretty fine progress towards Walmart’s goal of becoming a zero landfill waste company before long, as Duke seems to have equally embraced the focus on sustainability that fomer CEO Lee Scott launched before him. But that green initiative is not without challenges. Despite solid progress in many areas, Walmart produces more total CO2 emissions today than it did in 2005, as the gains it has achieved are offset by company growth, even if carbon emissions per unit are declining.

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