Supply Chain by the Numbers

- June 1, 2017 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of June 1, 2017

Japan, Germany Need Robots to Deal Aging Populations; eFulfillment Wars have Come to Pizza Delivery; MIT Breakthrough in Pasta Delivery? UPS Joint Venture to Power China to US Air Shipments



That will be the so-called dependency ratio in Japan in 2030, up from about 25% in 2015. What is the dependency ratio? If is a calculation of the percent those typically not in the labor force (the dependent part ages 0 to 14 and 65+) and those typically in the labor force (the productive part in ages 15 to 64). It is used to measure the pressure on productive population from the non-workers. That same ratio will be about 27% in Germany in 2030, up from about 20% currently. Those numbers were presented in a Bloomberg article this week that said rather than fearing job losses from robotics in those two countries, both with rapidly aging populations, they may need massive deployment of robots to keep manufacturing and other industries running. "To the extent that robots can undertake activity that requires labor, they will compensate for the negative impact that a slower growth in labor force would have otherwise had on growth," Moody's analysts wrote in a related report this month. BTW, the dependency ratio in the US is currently about 13%, headed to 20% in the next 15 years. The article says the countries most open to social and job loss impacts from the rise of the robots may be emerging market countries such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where exports of high-tech manufacturing goods account for more than 50% of GDP.



That is the max number of minutes Domino's Australian unit is setting as a target for delivering a pizza from order to the knock on a consumer's door. In fact, Domino's says more than 60% of its Australian stores generally deliver in under 23 minutes already, with some metropolitan stores much closer to the 10-minute goal. Wow. To achieve its objective of pizza delivered in 10 minutes, Domino's Australia has put in faster-cooking ovens in some stores, is tinkering with how many toppings are managed and prepared, and using new electric bikes for delivery personnel on some occasions. It has also tested delivery via drones in New Zealand, and in recent months worked with Starship Technologies to try out the company's on-ground delivery robots at some German and Dutch locations. Many other firms are targeting fast pizza delivery as well, such as Zume Pizza, a Mountain View, Calif., startup that uses robots to assemble pizzas in a warehouse, then bakes them in trucks roving around neighborhoods, waiting for orders. The efulfillment wars have come to pizza and other restaurant meals as well.



That is the total amount of air in a typical box of macaroni noodles, according to new analysis from research team at MIT. That means inefficient transportation of those and many other types of noodles. So MIT being MIT, the research team came up with a way to 3D print flat sheets of pasta that can be shipped much more efficiently. So how do consumers get their noodles in the shapes they want? The MIT researchers found a harmless bacterium that changes its shape when exposed to moisture. Printing a cellulose-based noodle material into different patterns on layers of gelatin produced different responses when it was introduced to water, in a process MIT calls "shape shifting." "This way you can have programmability," said Lining Yao of MIT. "You ultimately start to control the degree of bending and the total geometry of the structure." He added "We envision that the on-line software can provide design instructions, and a startup company can ship the materials to your home," Yao said. "With this tool, we want to democratize the design of noodles." And reduce shipping costs and we suppose CO2 emissions at the same time.


$5 Million

That is the relatively small amount of investment that both UPS and S.F. Express, the largest parcel carrier in China, are committing to start a 50-50 joint venture that will initially focus on shipping goods from China to the US, for which demand is said to be "surging." With Chinese businesses increasingly targeting global markets, chiefly through on-line sales, UPS aims to help them gain "access to the world," said Ross McCullough, the company’s president for Asia Pacific. The benefits of the marriage seems to be S.F. Express’ penetration with huge numbers of small to mid-size manufacturers in China combined with UPS’ vast global network to get goods from within China to offshore markets, starting with the US but soon moving to Europe deliveries as well, the companies say. After several years in the doldrums, air shipping volumes are again on the rise, driven by ecommerce, with volumes growing at their fastest pace in seven years in March, according to the International Air Transport Association.