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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct. 1, 2020

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Oct. 1, 2020

Report Alleges High Amazon FC Injuries; Major IT Hack at Leading Container Line; Boston Dynamics Says Logistics Robots Here Soon; More Retail Apocalypse



That's how many serious injuries per 100 workers at its fulfillment centers Amazon had in 2019, according to a report released this week by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, a left-leaning investigatory organization. That rate, if accurate, would be nearly double the most recent industry average, according to Reveal. The investigation also found that Amazon's injury rates have steadily increased each year since 2016, based on internal safety reports and weekly injury numbers from 150 Amazon fulfillment centers that were obtained by Reveal. The internal reports also showed that injury rates were higher at Amazon facilities that are heavily automated. Why? Perhaps because workers at robotic fulfillment centers were expected to pick up and scan roughly 400 items an hour, compared with the standard rate of 100 items per hour at other facilities. Reveal also alleges that Amazon may also be underreporting warehouse worker injuries. Amazon said in a statement that it " strongly refutes the claims" that it misled the public on its workplace injury rates. The company disputed Reveal's characterization of " serious injuries," which under OSHA reporting can include almost anything.



That's how many hours it took for ocean container carrier CMA CGM to confirm its systems were down not due to an internal programming glitch but due to a cyberattack. At 9 AM CEST Monday, CMA CGM said only that its IT applications were unavailable and its technology teams were working to resolve the issue. Five hours later, CMA CGM confirmed in a tweet that it was in fact "dealing with a cyberattack impacting peripheral servers." It added that "As soon as the security breach was detected, external access to applications was interrupted to prevent the malware from spreading." The company said Monday that it was bringing back online parts of its network that include booking platforms after isolating the systems directly affected by the attack. People involved in the matter said the carrier had been contacted by someone claiming to be a hacker who asked for ransom in return for a decryption key. Maersk Line, the world's biggest container operator, was hit by the global NotPetya ransomware attack in 2017 that crippled the carrier's operations for a time and the carrier spent $300 million to repair the damage. Chinese container line Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. was hit in July 2018 by a cyberattack that shut some of its technology systems in the US.




That's how many of its Spot robots Boston Dynamics has sold, at about $75,000 each, the company's new CEO Robert Playter said last week at a virtual conference. Spot is an impressive quadruped that sort of resembles a large dog or other animal and maneuvers with great agility – except no one, including Boston Dynamics itself, has really known what to do with it. Playter said early customers are now building their own add-ons and industry-specific tools for the company's robotic platform. Perhaps more consequentially, Playter said the company has big plans in logistics. "We're going to have some exciting new logistics products coming out in the next two years. We have customers now doing proof of concept tests. We'll announce something in 2021, exactly what we're doing, and we'll have product available in 2022."The company already offers a robot named Pick, a more traditional, stationary case picking system, and is developing a new version of Handle, a mobile robot that can grab boxes while taking up comparatively little space. The robots are coming in distribution, that's for sure.




That's how many US retail chains filed for some form of bankruptcy through mid-August, according to a new report by accounting firm BDO. That compares with 22 similar filings for all of 2019, and means the full year number could break the record of 48 filings in 2010. Already under pressure from the rise of ecommerce, many brick and mortar retailers were forced to close for about two months due to the virus pandemic, with operations for many curtailed even when allowed to re-open. Those bankruptcy filings have thus far resulted in about 6000 store closings, either to shut unprofitable stores while trying to re-organize, or for liquidation in the case of full bankruptcy status. The Ascena Retail group, parent of Ann Taylor stores, is closing some 1500 stores just by itself. BDO says more bankruptcies and store closings are coming, as landlords that had agreed to deferrals on lease payments demand payment in full, with many retailers unable to come up with the cash.

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