Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Feb. 12, 2015 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Feb. 12, 2015

Procter & Gamble to Build Future Factory; Driver Turnover Certainly not Improving; Labor Tensions Escalating in China; Hanjin has Had Enough with Port of Portland


$500 Million

That's how much consumer packaged giant Procter & Gamble is spending on a new factory in West Virginia – just the second new US plant P&G will have opened since 1971. The new plant will be a sort of "factory of the future" - designed to run products across multiple product types and brands in a single facility. The new facility will encompass more than 1 million square feet and employ 700 full-time workers. The company says the new factory, which is set to open in 2017, will be able to supply products to 80% of the East Coast within one day. P&G now has 29 plants in 21 states. The last to open was a paper products plant outside Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2011, and before that was a new plant all the way back in 1971.




That was the level of driver turnover at large trucking firms in the third quarter, according to new data released a couple of weeks ago by the American Trucking Associations. That figure is little changed from the Q2 rate of 96%. As we’ve noted many times, a figure like 97% does not somehow mean on average that large fleets are turning over their entire driver pool every quarter. Rather, it is reflective of how many new drivers come in and don't make it, meaning a carrier has to hire a number of new drivers to get one that sticks. Most interestingly, the turnover rate at smaller carriers was again 94% - it used to be turnover at the under-$30 million carriers was much lower than at the big guys, in a trend that can’t be good for shippers.


That was the number of labor strikes in China in 2014, more than double the number in 2013, according to data from a group called China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based watchdog. Labor tensions are said to be rising throughout many parts of the country - and the Chinese government doesn't like it. Tensions are said to be especially high in the industrial province of Guangdong. During a recent strike at garment producer Shenzhen Artigas Clothing & Leatherware, police entered the plant to force more than 100 workers to return to their jobs, breaking from past police practice of staying outside the premises. The Wall Street Journal says "Reports of such intrusive police tactics have grown more common as authorities try to head off labor unrest as the economy slows." Only weak government backed labor unions are permitted in China, but that hasn't stopped the strikes.



The number of days that a container ship from South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Co. sat in the port of this week it will stop servicing Portland in March. In what is a truly bizarre scenario, longshore workers stopped working last Friday and Monday to protest their grievance with the port and the Pacific Maritime Association, and the PMA itself then canceled work on Saturday and Sunday at all West Coast ports, saying the workers weren't productive enough to justify paying them, as the union has allegedly engaged in a work slowdown as a tactic in the on-going labor dispute. Though they finally started unloading the ship on Tuesday, this latest delay was the last straw, and Hanjin said goodbye to Portland, which could impact more than 600 jobs at the port.