Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Jan. 8, 2015 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Jan. 8, 2014

Streak of Lower Gas Prices Passes 100 Days; Chinese Invade Consumer Electronics Show; No Delivery Fail for UPS in 2014; Few Retailers Can Yet Pool Inventories Across Channels



The number of consecutive days the average price of regular gasoline had fallen at the pump as of Monday, Jan. 5, according to AAA, which track gas prices daily. The streak started on Sept. 25, with prices down $1.15 a gallon on average since then. We're not positive, as AAA hasn't said yet, but that streak may have ended late this week. Still, it has been a great run for consumers, and many say oil and hence gasoline prices are likely to head still lower in the short term. While prices for West Texas Intermediate were down 47% in 2014, and fell to below $50 per barrel this week, diesel prices have been much slower to react that those for gasoline, with diesel costs falling just 17% last year, though there has been some more noticeable downward movement of late.




Share of retailers able to utilize a single pool of inventory across all sales channels, according to the annual merchandise planning and allocation study from Boston Retail Partners. Of course, such inventory pooling across an omnichannel world has really emerged as a best practice, yet fewer than one-third of retailers have apparently reached this state, which is highly dependent on technology capabilities. The statistic was referenced this week by Logility's Karin Bursa on a new SCDigest Thought Leadership discussion with our Dan Gilmore on "Taming Retail OmniChannel Complexity." The interesting discussion, as well as a full copy of the Boston Retail study, can be found here: Taming Retail OmniChannel Complexity.


Approximate number of company exhibitors at this week's consumer electronics show in Las Vegas that are from China, as Chinese company efforts to penetrate the US market appear to be accelerating. While it's no surprise relatively well-known Chinese companies such as Lenovo (computers) and Huawei Technologies (appliances) were at the show, the Wall Street Journal reports that there was also broad array of smaller Chinese gadget makers exhibiting, and Chinese firms were "a prominent presence at this year's show as they step up efforts to build global brands." An example: Hisense Co., a Chinese appliance manufacturer that has quietly made TVs and other electronics for big-box retailers such as Walmart, and which has now decided to begin selling under its own brand in the US. Watch out, Western companies.



That's the percentage of late shipments that UPS and FedEx combined to deliver on-time on Dec, 24, according to data from tracking-software developer Shipmatrix. While that still left 2% of late-shopping consumers with am empty spot under the Christmas tree, it's a lot better than 2013, when FedEx's on-time rate was closer to 90% and UPS came in at just 83%, in the now-infamous Christmas delivery disaster that year. UPS especially invested big earlier in 2014 in planes, trucks and software, as well as adding an additional 50,000 or so seasonal workers for the peak season, to make sure there were little or no problems this year. The parcel giant also largely held retailers to their volume forecasts in terms of guaranteeing last day delivery – a move it should have made in 2013.