Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Jan. 20 , 2012


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Jan. 20, 2012


US Auto Factories "Shifting" to More Production; Union Pacific has Car Loads of Profits; New Scan Tunnel Moves the Food; Margins weren't Gross at US Retailers in 2011



Number of US auto plants that have added a third shift since 2009, including six in Michigan, as the industry is for the moment thriving, according to a report from Bloomberg this week. The industry is running "full out," according to one executive, buoying the US economy. U.S. auto plants this year may operate at about 81 percent of capacity after falling as low as 49 percent in 2009, according to estimates from IHS Automotive.




Number of grocery items the new 360 Scan Portal from Wincor Nixdorf can scan per minute, with a read rate of 98.5%, according to managers at the NRF show this week in New York City, where the product was being demonstrated. The system improves on the design for a similar scan tunnel grocery chain Kroger released at the show last year, and could dramatically change current checkout model if it takes hold, automating the scanning process versus having a cashier or a customer do it.


Number of retailers with gross margins of more than 40% in 2011, according to new Retail Horizons study from NRF and KPMG, released at the NRF show this week in New York. That's up 25% from 2010, as retailers are returning strongly to profitability, and new are for the first time in several years focused on cost cutting instead of growth, according to the survey.



Rise in Q4 profits year over year at rail carrier Union Pacific, according to its earnings call this week, as the rail industry in the US continues to soar. With profits for Q4 alone coming in at nearly $1 billion, the stock price jumped sharply, rising to its highest level in 31 years. Revenue rose 16 percent to $5.11 billion in the quarter - on a carload gain of just 3%.