Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Feb. 17, 2012


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Feb. 17, 2012


US Trade Deficit with China Hits Record; Faulty Hair Dryers Seized at Ports, but Where they Came from We Do not Know; Walmart Says its Food is Great for You; Convetor System Sales Moving Ahead Nicely


$295 Billion

Total US trade deficit with China for 2011, according to the Commerce Department - an all-time record. That after China itself said its overall trade surplus fell to just about $200 billion for the year. By our account, something just doesn't seem right here. However, China is using the fall in its total surplus to say critics saying its Yuan currency is overvalued are wrong.




Number of items in Walmart's Great Value private label food items that will receive a new "Great for You" label, indicating those products are healthy choices for consumers. Walmart is in many cases changing recipes - such as reducing salt - to enable a SKU to qualify for the Great for You designation. Perhaps more impactful, Walmart also said that for many perceived healthier items, such as generics, it was lowering prices to about the level of regular goods. In most grocers now, those items get premium pricing and margins. Walmart says it may open up the program to branded goods someday.


Growth in conveyor orders in 2011 over 2010, according to a recent report from the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA). That strong growth syncs with feedback SCDigest received at the MODEX show in Atlanta last week, as many material handling vendors told us times were pretty good, spurred by interest in reducing labor costs in distribution, rising e-commerce requirements, a low interest rate environment, and - in 2011 at least - a tax incentive for capital investments.



Approximate number of hair dryers seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials this week over claims the products did not meet US safety standards, especially with regard to water submersion. (Note to readers: do not drop electric hair dryers into bath tub).The raids were carried out in Los Angeles and Miami. How the faulty hair dryers were identified - and the country of origin - were not detailed. Call us cynics, but we just wonder about the lack of country of origin information and the fact the future Chinese leader Xi Jinping was in Washington DC this week...