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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Nov. 5, 2020

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Nov. 5, 2020

Amazon has Big Financial Results in Q3; California Votes to Keep Ride Share App Drivers Independent; Network Design Leader LLamasoft acquired for Big Bucks; Walmart goes for Humans over In-store Robots



That was the rise in Amazon's Q3 revenues, slightly above Wall Street expectations, and taking the company to $91 billion in sales for the quarter. On-line store sales increased by the same 37% in Q3. And Amazon increasingly makes money, with net profits of $6.3 billion in the third quarter compared with net income of $2.1 billion in 2019. That profit strength despite the fact that shipping costs surged 57%, much faster than sales growth, to $15 billion. Amazon is also turning into a cash flow machine, with operating cash flow up 56% to $55.3 billion for the trailing twelve month ending Sept. 30. Incredibly, with the surge in business related to the virus pandemic, Amazon says it has created about 400,000 new jobs already this year. Net sales are expected to be between $112.0 billion and $121.0 billion in Q4, or to grow between 28% and 38% compared with fourth quarter 2019. That should put the company not too far from $400 billion in annual sales for 2020.




That is the percent of California votes who approved Proposition 22, which classifies rideshare drivers as independent contractors and establishes labor and wage policies specific to these workers. The vote came after California lawmakers earlier this year approved the so-called A-B 5 bill, which made it extremely difficult for a worker to be classified as a contract worker and not an employee. That included Uber and Lyft drivers and both companies threatened to stop their service in the state if it remained as enacted. Apparently Californians didn't like that prospect very and voted to amend the law, though it does require the ride share companies to provide certain minimum payments and benefits to these drivers. Though the proposition did not address at all the issue of contract truck drivers, a matter now tied up in the courts, it seems plausible that the voter sentiment on ride share drivers might help keep independent truckers in the Golden state too.




$1.5 Billion

That’s how much procurement software vendor Coupa will pay to acquire LLamasoft, the dominant leader in supply chain network design tools. The move was a bit surprising, as Coupa’s current business is a bit far from the LLamasoft solution set, which in addition to its supply chain network design solution more recently includes a suite of general supply chain planning and advanced analytics capabilities. Regardless, LLamasoft commanded a premium price, with the sale at many multiples of it approximate $100 million in annual revenue. Its customer base features a high percentage of Fortune 500 companies. The stock market didn't seem to think much of the deal, with Coupa's stock down 20% Monday after the news broke.



That's how many store aisle patrolling robots were in US Walmart stores, when the retail giant decided to end the contract with robot maker Bossa Nova Robotics, as announced this week. The robots autonomously moved up and down store aisles, looking for empty locations that needed replenishment and doing price checks using its on-board imaging system. But it turned out, Walmart said, that the mobile robots weren't that much better than humans for the job, though one would think the advantage would be in cost to do the work, not skill level. The Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart has come up with simple and cost-effective ways to manage the products on its shelves with the help of its human workers rather than using the robots. The report also said Walmart US Chief Executive John Furner also worried about shoppers' reactions to the robots. What this mean for Bossa Nova's fate remains to be seen.

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