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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- June 18, 2015 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of June 18, 2015

Amazon Pleads for Drone Reg Relief; Global Water Supplies Shrinking Fast, New Research Says; US Manufacturing Growth Stalling; Boeing Suppliers Struggling to Keep Up



That's the number of minutes that Amazon executive Paul Misener said the online giant was targeting as the upper end of its drone delivery capabilities from time of order, during testimony in front of a House committee in Washington looking into drone regulations. "If a consumer wants a small item quickly, instead of driving to go shopping or causing delivery automobiles to come to her home or office, a small, electrically-powered [drone] vehicle will make the trip faster and more efficiently and cleanly," Misener said. Amazon and others are hoping Congress will pass laws that making drone delivery testing and ultimately commercialization easier than recent rules from the FAA, which all but make even testing near impossible.




The number of major global underground water sources out of a total of 37 aquifers analyzed that have passed their "sustainability tipping points," according to data release this week from a study led by the University of California Irvin, based on NASA satellite data. Passing the tipping point means more water was removed from the aquifer than was replaced during the decade-long study period, the researchers said. In addition, 13 of the 37 total aquifers studied in locations from India and China to the United States and France declined at rates that put them into the most troubled category. "The situation is quite critical," said Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Underground aquifers supply 35% of the water used by humans worldwide, and more during times of drought. Some, however, think the warnings are overblown, noting that the NASA satellites could not measure the total capacity of the aquifers. Still, "water is the new oil" likely could be right.


The rather paltry level of growth in US manufacturing output in May versus 2014, according to the Federal Reserve this week, as production levels in the US seem to have stalled. At an index level of 101.3, manufacturing output was down two-tenths of a percent versus April, but more importantly has been flat to modestly down now for a number of months, having changed little since the measure made it back to the 100 level that equals the peak and baseline year average from 2007 last July for the first time since the recession began in 2008. The score means US manufacturing output in May was 1.2% above 2007 levels all these years later. US manufacturing capacity utilization is also trending down slightly, coming in at 77% in May, slumping a bit from April and more since December, when the reading was 77.9%, and below the long run average of 78.6%.



That's how many planes Boeing now says it will produce over its latest 20-year forecast, up by about 1000 aircraft since the last projection. 20-year forecast? Talk about capacity planning. Boeing also said it plans to increase production in 2017 from 42 planes a month currently to 47. Those 38,000 planes will bring in some $5.6 trillion over that timeframe. With Boeing rival Airbus also seeing bullish order books, it is putting a delivery squeeze on many aerospace industry suppliers struggling to keep up with the demand. Engine maker CFM, for example, said it plans to boost output to more than 1,800 engines annually around 2020. But ramping up production even more aggressively would be a challenge. "We have stretched ourselves as fast as we can go," a CFM executive said.

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