Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Feb. 4 , 2011 -


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Feb. 4, 2011

  GM Sheds Labor Costs; Number of Ways to Use RFID, 2011 Input Costs to Increase by Billions; Unilever Says; Steel Prices also On the March


The percent of GM's revenue that is tied to hourly labor costs in North America, a dramatic decrease form just a few years ago, according to an article this week in SCDigest. That number was almost 30% just a few years ago when work rules hammered productivity, health care costs were brutal, and GM and the others were paying tens of thousands of workers to sit idle in the infamous "jobs bank." See After Years of Lean 1.0, US Automakers Finally Get Healthy with Lean 2.0 after Restructuring



$2.76 billion

High end of the range of expected increases in input costs that consumer package giant Unilever expects this year, according Jean-Marc Huët, Unilever's chief financial officer in an analyst meeting this week, representing about 4% of the company's revenue. "We don't plan to have the consumers pay for all the cost increases that you see," Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman added - meaning margins are headed lower.


Number of price increases in steel since November, as prices have soared 20-30%, adding the overall climate of inflation. Those increases are hitting steel users in the automotive, appliance and other steel intensive industries hard, leading some to start to bulk up on inventories in anticipation of further cost increases.


Number of "uses cases" researchers from University of Arkansas's RFID Research Center found for RFID from an apparel manufacturer's point of view, in a report recently released. Those use cases involve nearly every step in the supply chain from cutting the fabric to retail POS. See How can RFID Help the Soft Goods Supply Chain - Let Us Count the (60) Ways.