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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct. 22, 2020

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Oct. 22, 2020

Upcoming Holiday Parcel Crunch; RFID Tag Cost Breakthrough; US Manufacuring Recovery Stalls; Maersk Line Causing Competitive Concerns for Freight Forwarders


7.2 Million

That is the difference between the average aggregate demand for parcel shipping in the US from Black Friday through Christmas versus capacity – meaning major delivery delays are in the offing, so get those orders in early. That estimate comes from ShipMatrix, a software provider that analyzes parcel shipping data. The company estimates that total shipping capacity for the industry will be 79.1 million parcels a day during the period, with 86.3 million packages being sent on average daily. Last year, total capacity was 65.3 million packages with 67.9 million being shipped – a much lower delta. The Wall Street Journal reports that Both FedEx and UPS have told some of their largest shippers that most of their capacity is already spoken for, and that any extra trailers with holiday orders will have to wait to be picked up. Smaller carriers in the U.S. like LaserShip and DHL eCommerce Solutions said they booked up their capacity for the holidays months earlier than usual and aren't taking new customers until next year.


2.7 Cents

That is the price per RFID tag – quantity requirements unknown – from a Polish tech firm Talkin' Things. If that pricing for a 74x16 mm RFID tag is accurate, it would upend the RFID market, where tags are at the very low end around 5 cents currently. What technology breakthrough led to this potentially disruptive cost improvement? The company says that the new low cost tags are "the result of in-depth analysis and optimization of all tag production processes", plus a "Proprietary antenna design along with virtual modeling and in-depth testing that allows for uncompromised performance." Again assuming the claims are accurate, the much lower priced tags might open up new applications where current tag costs can't deliver an ROI, as well as simply save money for companies currently using more expensive tags. The company says it operates its own production facility in Warsaw, and that it sees "enormous potential for further cost reduction" through such techniques as increasing production line speeds.





That was the level of US manufacturing output in September, according the latest monthly from it from the Federal Reserve late last week. That was actually down just a bit from the 98.5 level seen in August, causing some economists to express concern that the sector's recovery from the virus-induced big slowdown was stalling. At a level of 98.3, it also means US production in September was 1.7% lower than in the baseline year of 2012 some 8 years later. It was also down 6% versus September of 2019, and about the 7% versus February 2020 before the pandemic outbreak in the US. Us factory utilization was at 70.5%, down a little from the August reading, and well below the average from 1972-2019 of 78.2%.




That is the percent of its ocean container moves giant global freight forwarder DB Schenker has recently moved from Maersk Line to other carriers. What's the issue? Growing concern Maersk is a competitor in the forwarding business. website reported this week that one forwarding source said DB Schenker was not the only forwarder looking at moving volumes away from the Danish company, with one said to have begun the process this month. Maersk is the world's largest container carrier by volume and capacity. The controversy comes as Maersk looks to become more of an end-to-end logistics service provider, a strategy it has been quite clear about. Maersk is "is moving from becoming a supplier to a competitor," one anonymous forwarder said. Another source claimed aggression was in Maersk's DNA: "It was the one who drove the rate wars in 2008-09, hoping it would be the last one to survive," the source said. Another source added "that Maersk is trying to change the game and whomever I speak to says the same – long-term, Maersk doesn't want forwarder business."

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