Supply Chain by the Numbers

- April 6 , 2012


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of April 6, 2012


US Manufacturing Continues its Streak; Panama Canal Announces First Project Delay; Foxconn/Apple Workers Want More Hours, Not Less; Diesel Prices Will Keep Rising, Chuck Taylor Says



Number of consecutive months in which US manufacturing activity has expanded, according to the Purchasing Managers Index for March released earlier this week by the Institute for Supply Management. The PMI for March was at a level of 53.4, up a percentage point from February. Of course, any index score above 50 indicates manufacturing expansion, below 50 contraction. So, the PMI has now been above 50 for 32 straight months. The ISM production index rose to 58.3 from 55.3, the factory employment index rose to 56.1 from 53.2, and the inventory index edged up to 50.0 from 49.5.




Number of months the opening of the Panama Canal expansion will be delayed, according to the Panama Canal Authority this week. The delay means the first tests will likely now be in December of 2014, versus the original schedule for October. The modest delay is said to be due to a main contractor being able to deliver a portion of the massive amounts of concrete needed on time. Still, the expansion has been on-schedule since the project began, and this slight delay due to contractor issues is no big deal to us. The expansion will change global logistics.


Percent of workers at three of contract manufacturing giant Foxconn’s assembly plants for Apple products such as the iPad that wish they the opportunity to work more hours each week. That data from a survey of a 35,000 employees across the three plants by the Fair Labor Association, which was hired by Apple to do a series of independent audits at its supplier sites. Just 18% of employees say hours are too long, versus 48% who say they are about right. This is ironic because one of the main findings of the audit was that Foxconn was working employees too many hours per week (average of 56 hours).


Level of diesel fuel prices that oil and energy expert Chuck Taylor, a long-time supply chain executive and CSCMP’s 2010 Distinguished Service Award Winner who know focuses on concerns over oil prices and supplies, said this week will be reached in the US before the end of 2005. Taylor fervently believes in the “Peak Oil” concept, and says the world already has reached peak oil production or will do soin the next few years.