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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- April 27, 2023


Supply Chain by the Numbers for April 27, 2023


Warehouse Jobs Now Shrinking; Retail Store Closures to Accelerate;Home Depot Touts Green Progress; Amazon Unionization in California a Ruse?



That is how many warehouse jobs have been lost in the US since last June, countering a steady increase in warehouse employees since 2019. That as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that 11,800 warehouse jobs were lost from February to March. That even as overall US employment was up. Sources cite a cutback in retail inventories as one factor in the decline in warehouse positions. The slowdown in ecommerce volumes is another, with Walmart for example shedding hundreds of jobs recently at its efufillment centers – something that would have been unthinkable not long ago. And SCDigest has to wonder: could clear growth in warehouse automation be an important cause of the loss of those distribution center jobs? The only way to justify adoption all those robots out there is to reduce headcount in the end.



That’s how many US retail stores are likely to close in the four years, according to a prediction from the analysts at Wall Street firm UBS earlier this year. That estimate was pulled out based on retailer Bed Bath & Beyond filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday, announcing the eventual closure of its total 480 stores. It will join many other store chains in shuttering brick and mortar stores, UBS says. 'The pace of store closures is set to accelerate due to the combination of a slowdown in consumer spending, a reduction in the availability of credit, and a rise in the penetration of ecommerce,' said UBS analyst Michael Lasser in the report.” We will note the data show ecommerce growth slowing dramatically of late – but could be it is just taking a pause.




That is how many Home Depot distribution centers are now running emissions-free hydrogen fuel cell fork trucks. That according to a press release from the retail giant touting its environmental progress. Another move was to implement technology-assisted assessment of scheduled pickups and deliveries, which can then recommend optimized routes to reduce miles traveled, fuel , and trucks on the road. More interesting, Home Depot said its has partnered with certain vendors to forgo pallets, and thus be able to stack products to the top of trailers, resulting in a reduction in the number of truckloads needed to transport some goods. One more: HD sells available space on its trucks and buys space from other companies, ensuring fewer underloaded trailers hit the road. That space sharing saves about 2 million driven miles a year.




That’s how many drivers working in Amazon Delivery Service Partners program in Palmdale, that were said to have joined the Teamster’s union, with labor and much of the press touting a setback for Amazon in its efforts to squash organization of its workers. But not so fast. The drivers don’t work for Amazon, they work for a contract Delivery Service Partner named Battle-Tested Strategies. And the Teamsters announced a new contract with Battle-Tested Strategies that would significantly increase wages and improve safety and other conditions. But wait. Amazon is under no obligation to make changes in compensation for services provided by its contractor, and most certainly will not. So how can Battle-Tested Strategies afford the higher pay? Well, it could be because they don’t have any work from Amazon any more, with its contact cancelled, Amazon stated. Meaning perhaps the higher pay for drivers without any work is a moot points. Battle-Tested owner Johnathon Ervin disputed Amazon’s statement and said the company has a “current contract” with Amazon.

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