Supply Chain by the Numbers

- April 20 , 2012


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of April 20, 2012


Walmart Offshore Factories Get Really Ethical; US Manufacturing Output Soars to 1984 Levels; Union Pacific has to Like Its Q1 Ratio; HP Says Ink Cartridges will Print Well in China



The amazing rate of Walmart’s direct import facilities that reached one of its top two levels in 2011 out of a 5-level scale in terms of “ethical sourcing, including pay and working conditions.. That left it just a fraction of a percent below Walmart’s 95% goal for that measure. That i3.4%nsight from the retail giant’s rather extraordinary Sustainability report for2012, released this week. That report showed Walmart active and successful in literally dozens of initiatives across the globe. To read our summary, go to: Walmart’s Vast Efforts and Progress in Sustainability.




Jump in US manufacturing output in the three-month period from December to February, as reported this week in revised numbers from the Federal Reserves. That makes it the sharpest three-month increase since the first quarter of 1984. That’s amazing, it seems to us. Manufacturing was down .2% in March, the Fed said, but believes the manufacturing economy was just “taking a breather” after the sharp run-up in the previous three months. As manufacturing continues to carry the economy, one has to wonder if those saying we will see less offshoring and a degree of “re-shoring” are turning out to be correct.

14 to 1

The ratio of revenue growth to freight volume increase that rail carrier Union Pacific saw in Q1, according to the company’s earnings call this week. In other words, revenue grew 14% in the quarter, on volume gains of just 1%. Does that sound like pricing power and higher rates to you? Sure does to us. Profits were up 35% to $863 million during the quarter as well.

60 Million

Number of ink jet cartridges expected to eventually be produced in new HP factories to be built in China, according to an agreement HP reached with governments there this week. The new facilities will be built in Chinese city of Chongqing, and developed by – who else? – giant contact manufacturer Foxconn of Apple iPad fame. The manufacturing facility will take two to three years to build, and will be completed over three stages. It is expected to be at full volumes by 2105