Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Dec. 9 , 2011


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Dec. 9, 2011


Amazon App Appalls Traditional Retailers; Much More US Foreign Direct Sales than Exports; Rail Carrier Operating Ratios Impress; YRC Worldwide Generates some Cash from Ops for a Change



The range of the impressive "operating ratios" for the four public US rail carriers in Q3, as they continue a long run of strong profitability. Operating ratio measure the amount of operations expense divided by operating revenues - meaning rail margins are fat. By contrast, truckload carriers in even this good quarter were in the 80-85% range, while the LTL carriers have a hard time getting into the mid 90% level. Not long ago, the rail industry was a tough business.




The maximum discount/rebate boldly said this week it will give consumers who use its new Price Check app for smart phones while in a traditional retail store and then buy the product on-line at Amazon. The move has brick and mortar retailers up in arms, of course, saying Amazon's current exemption from most local sales taxes is what allows them to do this.


How much more foreign affiliates/subsidiaries of US companies sell directly in overseas markets versus the level of US exports, according to a new report from the Council on Competitiveness. In 2009, the latest year for which data is available, such direct foreign sales by US companies operating in foreign countries totaled $4.88 trillion, versus exports of $1.57 trillion. In 2000, sales by all foreign affiliates of all global companies totaled about$33 trillion, meaning the US has about a 15% share of all such sales


$9 Million

The amount of positive cash flow generated in in operations Q3 by beleaguered LTL carrier YRC Worldwide in Q3, as the company shows signs of somewhat pulling out of the deep, deep financial hole it dug for itself from series of acquisitions in the past decade that led it to take on an overwhelming level of debt and caused operational issues. The company also had revenue growth of 14% in Q3, though it still posted huge losses in the quarter due to more charges for various financial restructuring moves.