What were the key events and stories in supply chain and logistics? Below, SCDigest offers a month by month recap of the news that mattered in 2012.
• Oil prices start year at about $97.00 for West Texas Intermediate (WTI).
• Legendary and innovative trucking executive Don Schneider of Schneider National (son of the founder) dies at age 76.
• Apple releases Supplier Progress Report, criticizing some working conditions at its own supplier factories. New York Times article critical of conditions at Apple contractor Foxconn comes out days later.
• NASSTRAC and TranzAct's Mike Regan lead "Stand Up For Trucking" Fly-In to Washington DC, but measures to extend truck weights and lengths are both tabled for further study in Congress, disappointing shippers after savvy lobbying by rail interests.
• Dr. David Simchi-Levi of MIT introduces his innovative new Risk Exposure Index for measuring supply chain risk on an SCDigest/SCTV videocast.
• Maersk Lines cancels options for last 10 Triple E megaships capable of handling 18,000 TEU, amid capacity glut in industry. 20 of the giant ships had already been ordered.
•Toyota announces major new plan to reduce its supply chain risk after earthquake/tsunami disaster of 2011, based on massive effort to fully map its supply chain and quantify and reduce "time-to-recovery."
• Oil prices (WTI) reach high of $110/barrel, stay about there for weeks as diesel prices soar at even faster pace.
• Amazon.com surprisingly announces it is acquiring robotic picking system vendor Kiva Systems for $775 million.
• Fair Labor Association releases its audit of Apple's Foxconn factories. Media mostly report major violations found, but in reality issues identified were minor.
• NY Times breaks story that Walmart may have used bribes to accelerate Mexican expansion years earlier, covered up the mess internally. Has little impact immediately, but Walmart later in year said to have found many similar problems across the globe.
• Panama Canal proposes 7-8% increases in tolls for 2012 and 2013, finally approved in August.
• SAP announces plan to acquire procurement technology leader Ariba.
• VICS releases new guideline on connected store shelf/POS back through the supply chain.
• At its User Conference, JDA Software announces major Cloud-based focus for its solutions, citing huge deployment advantages.
• Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano announces she was delaying for two years requirements for 100% container scanning on goods headed to the US, over a myriad of technology and process concerns.
• Article in the Wall Street Journal says Macy's is turning some 200 of its stores in part into fulfillment centers for e-commerce.
• Gartner top 25 supply chain list released for 2012, led by no. 1 Apple and no. 2 Amazon.com.
• Annual State of Logistics Report says logistics costs rose 2.6% in 2011 to 8.5% of GDP.
• Long overdue new surface transportation/highway bill signed into law (2 years, $118 billion), shorter timeframe than usual.
• Joining the bandwagon, Oracle announces its new Cloud-based software line-up.
• Oil prices tumble to just $78 /barrel on global economic fears, down 30% from top in February. Back to $86 soon though. Most commodities well down from highs, but corn, other agricultural groups later soar on drought in July.
• String of 34 straight months of US manufacturing expansion ends, as June PMI falls to 49.7
• Walmart celebrates 50th anniversary of its first store.
• ATA says it will challenge new Hours of Service Hour rules in court, saying cost-benefit analysis used by FMCSA was flawed.
• Amazon.com says in its Q2 earnings release that it will open 18 more distribution centers in 2012.
(Supply Chain Trends and Issues Article - Continued Below)