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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- June 25, 2020 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for June 25, 2020

Chinese Kiva System Knock Off Raises Big Money; Wave of Retail Store Closures Continue; Amazon Makes Amends with New Climate Fund; More Infections at Meat Packing Plants


$200 Million

That is the amount of new investment Chinese warehouse robot maker Geek+ has recently received, according to the company this week. That brings total investment in Geek+ to $390 million. The company is sometimes called the "Amazon Kiva of China," after the robotics company Kiva Systems, which Amazon acquired in 2012. Geek+ offers a robot that carries inventory carts to stationary workers for picking very similar to the Kiva solution. Geek+ said it will use the new funds to develop robotics solutions tailored to logistics, ramp up its robot-as-a-service monetization model and expand partnerships. Warehouse operator worldwide are increasingly interested in robots from China. Geek+, for example, says it has more than 10,000 robots deployed worldwide, serving 300 customers and projects in over 20 countries. Last month, Geek+ announced a partnership with Conveyco, an order fulfillment and distribution center system integrator, to distribute its autonomous mobile robots (ARMs) across the North America.



That is the upper range of the 800-1200 stores that health and wellness retailer GNC said it will permanently close as part of its bankruptcy filing this week. That's a big number for sure, but the chain currently has 5,200 retail locations in the US, so in percentage terms it's about 23% of GNCs current store base. But there are a lot more closings and bankruptcies to come, experts say. "A thunderstorm of bankruptcies in retail are about to rain down on Wall Street thanks to the aftershock of the coronavirus," Yahoo wrote this week, adding that "Macy's essentially mortgaged its future with a recent $4.5 billion debt raise in a bid to survive the year." Retailers will see sizable inventory write-downs for the second quarters and as one result, the chains may not be able to borrow as much as possible against their asset bases. That's a risky position to be in ahead of the high working capital period known as the holiday shopping season, as the retail apocalypse continues on.


$2 Billion

That is the size of a new Climate Change Fund announced this week by Amazon. The fund invest in sustainable technologies and services that will help the company reach its commitment to be net-zero carbon in its operations by 2040. It's the latest of a series of actions Amazon has taken in recent years in response to criticism it wasn't focused on Sustainability. In its statement, Amazon said the Climate Pledge Fund will invest in companies in multiple industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization, manufacturing and materials, circular economy and food and agriculture. "Companies from around the world of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.




That is the number of workers at a Tyson chicken plant in Arkansas that recently tested positive for the coronavirus, as infections generally and at meat packing plants especially shows no signs of ending. That caused a Chinese government official to say that it would suspend imports from the Springdale, AR plant. At that facility and another in the state, Tyson says a total of 3,748 employees tested, 481 tested positive for COVID-19, and 455 of those were asymptomatic. Meanwhile, an Amazon fulfillment center in Minnesota, at least 88 of its approximately 1,000 workers testing positive for the disease caused by the virus this week. The infections in the supply chain keep going on, but we seem to just becoming used to it and managing through it.

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