Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct. 4, 2013

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Oct. 4, 2013

Amazon Loading Up on DC Workers; US Moves to Top of the Energy List; IPCC Says Carbon Budget Almost Used Up; Wireless Market Now Duopoly




The astounding number of seasonal employees says it is going to hire this year in its US fulfillment centers for the Christmas season. That would be up some 40% from 2012 levels. While Amazon's growth rate has fallen from more than 40% year over year each quarter just a couple of years ago to more like the low 20%s lately, that's due to the "law of big numbers." In last year's Q4, Amazon had about $21 billion in revenue, including its international operations. 22% growth would increase that number by about $4.62 billion. That as overall US retail sales for the holiday season are expected to grow less than 3%.




The likely US rank at the end of 2013 in terms of total oil and natural gas production, supplanting Russia as the world's top producer, according to an article this week in the Wall Street Journal. This amazing development comes largely from "fracking" techniques that are unlocking oil and natural gas from shale-rock formations at levels unimaginable just a decade ago. US imports of natural gas and crude oil have fallen 32% and 15%, respectively, in the past five years, narrowing the US trade deficit. Saudi Arabia is still the globe's largest producer of oil, followed by Russia and then the US, but the US surge in natural gas production is now taking it to the top overall spot.


1000 Trillion

Number of cumulative metric tons of carbon emissions above which the world is likely to see average temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius, often thought to be the level above which the globe will see significant environmental impacts. That from the just released report from UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is the first time the IPCC has provided a so-called "carbon budget." Unfortunately, the world had already blown through just over half that amount (531 trillion tons) by 2011. At current rates of GHG emissions, the rest of the budget will have been spent before 2040. Not everyone agrees with the IPCC's research and conclusions, of course.



Number of wireless terminal providers really left in the US market, after the US Federal Trade Commission finally approved Honeywell's acquisition of Intermec two weeks ago, a deal that was first announced in December of 2012. That latest merger, after a steady series of similar acquisitions over the last 12 years or so, really leaves just two now large players standing in the market for wireless devices in logistics and manufacturing: Motorola Solutions and Honeywell. As part of the approval, the FTC has ordered Honeywell to license certain bar code scanning patents to Europe's Datalogic, which it hopes will be able to emerge as a major third player in the US market. For US supply chain managers right now, however, it is really a duopoly.