Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct. 26, 2012

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Oct. 26, 2012

Walmart to Get Tough with Green Index; China See More Cash Inflows than US for First Time; Fracking Good Economic Times Ahead? A Parcel Lifeline for the USPS?




The percentage of goods Walmart will source from suppliers that participate in its "sustainability index" program by 2017. Right now, about 500 of Walmart's 20,000 or so global suppliers are using the index, which Walmart plans to leverage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, packaging, fuel consumption and more in its extended supply chain. The company announced this week in China the new time frame for compliance, after which it said suppliers not on the index program likely would be cut off from Walmart business. "This will send a clear message to the Walmart supply chain that if you want to grow and partner with us for the long term, you will engage with us on the sustainability index," Walmart Chief Executive Mike Duke said in a speech in Beijing.



$59.1 Billion

Level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in China in the first six months of 2012, leaping it past the US for the first time. That level doesn't include an additional $40.8 billion of FDI in Hong Kong. That according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) this week. FDI in the US for the 1H 2012 was $57.4 billion, down 39% from a year earlier. (China's total was actually down a couple of percent from 2011 as well, but not nearly the drop seen in the US.) FDI is a direct addition to a country's GDP growth. During 2011, the US received $227 billion in FDI, while China attracted $116 billion

$5.1 Trillion

The forecast level of capital investment in "unconventional" oil and gas development (e.g., fracking) in the US between now and 2035, according to a just released report from IHS and well-respected energy industry expert Daniel Yergin. We're not sure we have ever used the term "trillions" in the many years of doing this weekly "by the numbers" feature. IHS says this will create millions of direct and indirect jobs, as the US gains competitive advantage in energy costs. But how will this opportunity play with concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the goal of many to severely reduce the use of fossil fuels of any sort? That is the trillion question.


That was the growth in FedEx's SmartPost shipping service in its recently ended fiscal quarter, according to the company's earnings call. In that program, FedEx moves the packages long haul, but the United States Post Office does the local delivery. UPS is seeing similar growth in its Sure Post service, also a partnership with the USPS. The growth shows consumers may be willing to wait a little longer to receive items if it will lower shipping costs – and that if e-merchants have to give away free shipping, they must find ways to drive the costs down. Who knows, maybe this is what saves the Post Office in the end.