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  First Thoughts

    Dan Gilmore

    Editor

    Supply Chain Digest



 
Sept. 3, 2021

The Labor (Day) Supply Chain 2021


Our Annual Review on the State of Labor in the Supply Chain

 

Monday of course marks the annual Labor Day holiday both here and in Canada. Starting in 2011, I have written a column on the state of the labor supply chain in conjunction with this event. It was popular enough that I have continued in each year since. It's a lot of work, but well worth it.

It has been a strange yet positive year for labor, with worker shortages everywhere, pressuring supply chains - and recently again leading to stockouts on store shelves. In the last measure we have, there are some 10.1 million current US job openings, versus just 8.6 million persons looking for work. Usually, there are more job seekers than available spots. This is naturally (and finally) pushing blue collar wages higher, as we'll see below.

The percent of total US workers that are union members was 10.8%, up by 0.5 percentage point from 2019, according to the most recent government figures, reversing the trend of declining unionization. We'll have to see if this continues, under a Biden administration that has pledged to support labor.
I will note it appears the rise last year may be largely a factor of large job losses in the restaurant and entertainment sectors, with generally low rates of unionization, shrinking the denominator of the percentage calculation, rather than a jump in unionized workers.

Gilmore Says....

Labor strikes, once such a commonplace event, have almost disappeared, at least outside the teacher ranks.

What do you say?

Click here to send us your comments
 

And union membership is now dominated by public sector workers such as police and teachers.

 

Unionization rates nationally are at 34.8% in the public sector, up from 33.6% in 2019, and just 6.3% in the private sector, up just barely from 6.2% in 2019, with the drop in restaurant jobs again probably driving that gain.


All this of course continues the powerful long-term trend of a steady union decline since the Labor Department started reporting on it in 1983, when overall unionization was at 20.1% and 16.8% in the private sector. Those numbers themselves were well down from previous decades before this metric was officially tracked by the government.

I will note part of that decline in private sector unionization rates is due to the loss of some 6-7 million US manufacturing jobs since 1983, as manufacturing is clearly more organized than the service sector, but that is far from the only factor. Unions have clearly lost appeal to many, especially in the South, where many new manufacturing factories have been headed for more than two decades.

Together, there were 14.3 million private and public sector employees in a union in 2020, down from 14.6 in 2019, as the overall labor market shrunk last year. But compare that to the 17.7 million union members in 1983, when the total US labor force was much smaller.

There are also huge differences between states. South and North Carolina (2.9% and 3.1%, respectively) had the lowest unionization rates in 2020. The next lowest rates were in Utah (3.7%), South Dakota (4.2%) and Tennessee (4.4%). Eight states had union membership rates below 5.0% - the same number as last year. Two states had union membership rates over 20.0% in 2019: Hawaii (23.7%) and New York (22.0%).

The percent of US manufacturing workers that are union members fell to 8.5% last year, down from 8.6% in 2019. Those numbers are a bit lower than the percent of manufacturing workers covered by union contracts, such as those that opt out in right-to-work states, with coverage of 9.3% last year.

Ponder that - less than one in 11 US manufacturing workers are unionized today, versus 17.5% in 1994. According to unionstats.com, 38% of private sector manufacturing workers were in unions as recently as 1973.

Don't think this downward union trend is only a US phenomenon. Unionization rates in labor-loving Sweden, for example, have fallen from about 95% in the mid-1990s to around 66% today. Many other countries mirror US unionization rates more closely. Unionization in France - generally considered very supportive of labor – has fallen to just 7.9% of all workers, and even lower in the private sector. Union membership is higher in the UK, at about 23.2%, but that's down from more like 40% in the mid-1990s.

In July, there were about 8.60 million non-supervisory manufacturing workers in the US, down from 8.46 million a year ago. That is still well up from the bottom of the recession in 2009, when we fell to about 8 million shop floor workers, meaning we've added about 600,000 manufacturing jobs since then - not a lot in 11 years, but better than a decline. In 2004, there were just over 10 million factory floor workers - we're down just about 1.4 million positions from that level, and much more from the 1990s.

That obviously had general downward pressure on wages, though the lack of wage growth isn't nearly as bad as I would have guessed, based on all the media reports.

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for shop floor manufacturing workers was $23.86 in July, up from $22.87 in July 2020, or a solid 4.3% growth year-over-year, as wages are finally starting to come in above inflation.

That's also up from the $18.29 per hour in July 2009, or a rise of 30% over 11 years. That's a cumulative average annual growth rate of 2.25%. So wages have risen modestly, about equal with inflation, and thus not enough to improve a worker's lifestyle, especially with healthcare costs taking more and more of the paycheck.

Meanwhile, there has been very steady growth in warehouse jobs, though they represent just a tiny fraction of manufacturing positions. There are now about 1.25 million non-supervisory warehouse workers in the US (as of June), about up 5.9% from 1.18 million in June 2020, after being flat in June 2020 versus 12 months previous (due to pandemic).

The number is substantially higher than the 637,000 warehouse workers in 2010, meaning a rise of 96.2% over 11 years - but even with that growth they only represent about 14.5% of manufacturing floor jobs – though that percentage is rising. Warehouse jobs were 13.9% of manufacturing workers in June 2020. I'll will note some jobs at plant warehouses are counted as manufacturing positions.

In terms of wages, average non-supervisory pay for warehouse workers was $19.56 in June, versus $18.43 in mid-2020 - a rise of a very strong 6.1% in a year. However, the average warehouse wage is about 22% less than the average manufacturing rate, but the gap was 24% last year.

 

Pay for warehouse workers was at $15.37 in June 2010, meaning DC wages have risen only 27.2% over the past 11 years– and almost all of that starting in 2017. That's a annualized rate of 2.2% gains, the result of much improved in recent years.

 

Labor strikes, once such a commonplace event, have almost disappeared, at least outside the  teacher ranks.

Last year, were 8 major work stoppages in the US, the third lowest number since 1947, according to the BLS. And there weren't any strikes involving more than 1,000 workers in 2020, down from 25 in 2019. But that compares with 69 in 1986 and 276 in 1976.

Almost all of those major strikes were outside of manufacturing, we will note, and include things like teacher strikes in big cities.

Almost every year, there is a strike or organizing effort called by some "labor's last stand," such as the failure of the UAW to organize workers at a Tennessee Volksgagen factory in 2018.

 

I don't think there was such a scenario in 2020, but we got something like it in Apri 2021, when workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, AL, voted down a proposed union by an overwhelming margin. Many thought a Yes vote would serve as a catalyst for organizing at other Amazon sites, none of which are unionized in the US.

 

So this was quite a blow to labor, but we'll note the National Labor Relations Board is reviewing challenges by the union and could order a new vote soon.

 

I will also note there is current major strike, kicked off Aug. 10, by unionized workers at a Mondelez Int'l bakery in Portland, Ore., that has since spread to two other bakeries and three distribution facilities in Colorado, Illinois, Georgia and Virginia. Workers are opposing changes to work schedules, overtime and healthcare sought by Mondelez in contract negotiations

There were no additions in the number of "right to work" states in 2020, under which employees can't be compelled to join unions. Once mostly found only in Southern and some Western states, recently some in the Midwest have jumped on the bandwagon despite furious opposition from labor. There are now 27 such states, but no new ones appear to be on the horizon.

But there is currently a bill in the Senate - “Protecting the Right to Organize Act” (PRO Act) - that it appears would outlaw right-to-work status in any state. This would be a significant change and be a huge victory for labor if it passes and is signed into law.

The battle over California's controversial and absurdly complicated AB 5 legislation continues on. Greatly simplifying, the law makes it very diffcult for a worker to be paid as a contractor, forcing companies to classify them as employees instead, and thus entitled to benefits, unemployment insurance, etc.

 

The supply chain issues? The law would mostly likely eliminate the notion of contract truck drivers or independent owner-operators, with big impacts on costs and capacity, the latter as trucking firms possibly could leave the state.

 

Contract drivers are especially common in drayage operations at California ports. The even bigger question: will this type of law make its way to other states - or be struck down (for truckers at least) due to laws giving the federal government control of all trucking regulations?

 

In January, US District Judge Roger Benitez issued a temporary restraining order protecting 70,000 independent trucker owner operators in the state from AB5 enforcement. Subsequently, the California Truckers Association (CTA) has petitioned the US Supreme Court to invalidate the law.

 

This is another huge issue that likely will be resolved one way or another in 2022.                          

 

There's a lot more, but I am well out of space. The issue for labor is still not yet "here come the robots," but it will be soon enough.


Any reaction to our summary of the labor supply chain 2021? Let us know your thought at the Feedback section below.


Your Comments/Feedback

Srihari

Senior Consultant, Infosys
Posted on: May, 22 2016
Great article. I am a little suprised not to see BNSF in the mix while I understand their financial mode/operation is a little different. 

That would only give a complete perspective with all the players in the pool.

Mike O'Brien

Senior editor, Access Intelligence
Posted on: May, 26 2016
Surprised to see Home Depot fall off the list; thought they were winning with Sync?

Julie Leonard

Marketing Director, Inovity
Posted on: Jun, 27 2016
Using the right tool for the right job has always been a best practice and one of the reasons, we feel, that RFID has never taken off in the DC as exponentially as pundits have been forecasting since 2006. While these results may seem surprising to those solely focused on barcode scanning, the adoption of multi-modal technologies in the DC makes perfect sense for greater worker efficiency and productivity.

Carsten Baumann

Strategic Alliance Manager, Schneider Electric
Posted on: Aug, 19 2016

The IoT Platform in this year's (2016) Hype Cycle is on the ascending side, entering the "Peak of Inflated Expectation" area. How does this compare to the IoT positions of the previous years, which have already peaked in 2015? Isn't this contradicting in itself?

Editor's Note: 

You are right, Internet of Things (IoT) was at the top of the Garter new technology hype curve not long ago. As you noted, however, this time the placement was for “IoT Platforms,” a category of software tools from a good number of vendors to manage connectivity, data communications and more with IoT-enabled devices in the field.

So, this is different fro IoT generally, though a company deploying connected things obviously needs some kind of platform – hoe grown or acquired – to manage those functions.

Why IoT generically is not on the curve this year I wondered myself.

 

 

Jo Ann Tudtud-Navalta

Materials Management Manager, Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu City, Philippines
Posted on: Aug, 21 2016

I agree totally with Mr. Schneider.

I have always lived by "put it in writing" all my work life.  I am a firm believer of the many benefits of putting everything in writing and I try to teach it to as many people as I can.

This "putting in writing" can also be used for almost anything else.  Here are some general benefits (only some) of "putting in writing":

1. Everything is better understood between parties involved.  There are lots of people types who need something visual to improve their understanding.
2. Everyone can read to review and correct anything misunderstood.  This will ensure that all parties concerned confirm the details of the agreements as correct.  This is further enhanced by having all parties involved sign off on a hard copy or confirm via reply email.
3. Everything has a proof.  Not to belittle the element of trust among parties involved, it is always safest to have tangible proof of what was agreed on.
4. There will be a document to refer to at any time by any one who needs clarification.
5. The documentation can be useful historical data for any future endeavor.  It provides inputs for better decisions on related situations in the future.
6. This can also be compiled and used to teach future new team members.  "Learn from the past" it is said.

There are many more benefits.  Mr. Schneider is very correct about his call to "put it in writing".





Sandy Montalbano

Consultant, Reshoring Initiative
Posted on: Aug, 24 2016
U.S. companies are reshoring and foreign companies are investing in U.S. locations to be in close proximity to the U.S. market for customer responsiveness, flexibility, quality control, and for the positive branding of "Made in USA".

Reshoring including FDI balanced offshoring in 2015 as it did in 2014. In comparison, in 2000-2007 the U.S. lost net about 200,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring. That is huge progress to celebrate!

The Reshoring Initiative Can Help. In order to help companies decide objectively to reshore manufacturing back to the U.S. or offshore, the nonprofit Reshoring Initiative's free Total Cost of Ownership Estimator can help corporations calculate the real P&L impact of reshoring or offshoring. http://www.reshorenow.org/TCO_Estimator.cfm

Robert

Transportation Manager, N/A
Posted on: Aug, 30 2016
 Good article!  I am sending this to my colleagues who work with me.  We have to keep this in mind.  Thanks!

Ian Jansen

Mr, NHLS
Posted on: Sep, 14 2016
SCM is all about getting the order delivered to the Customer on date/ time requested because happy Customers = Revenue. Using the right tools to do the right job is important and SCM is heavily dependent on sophisticated ERP systems to get right real data info ASP.

I've worked in a DC with more than 400,000 line items and measured the Productivity of Pickers by how many "picks" per day.

I've learned that one doesn't have to remind Germany about your EDI orders.

Don Benson

Partner, Warehouse Coach
Posted on: Sep, 15 2016
Challenge - to build and sustain effective relationships at the level of the organizations that are responsible for effectively coordinating and colaborating in an otherwise highly competitive environment 

Jade

Admin, Fulfillment Logistics UK Ltd
Posted on: Oct, 02 2016
Of course we all need to up our game. We need to move with the times, and always be one step ahead of what the future will bring.

Mike Dargis

President of asset-based carrier based in the Midwest, Zip Xpress Inc. (at ZipXpress.net)
Posted on: Oct, 03 2016
Thanks for the article, but I know there's a lot more to this issue than just the pay rates. Please check out my blogs on the subject at www.zipxpress.net.

Blaine

Inventory Specialist, Syncron
Posted on: Nov, 16 2016
Lora, great article! I agree that companies choose the 'safe' solution more often than not. My solution is a bolt-on for legacy ERP's and we even face challeneges of customer adoption. Most like to play it safe and choose an ERP upgrade, which is more costly, time consuming, and has lower ROI across the board. Would love to learn more about your company, we are always looking for partnerships.

Blaine
blaine.schultz@syncron.com

Bob McIntyre

National Account Executive, DBK Concepts LLC
Posted on: Nov, 21 2016
This is a game changer in GE's production and prototyping.  It also has huge implications across the GE global supply chain with regard to the management of their support and spare parts network. 

Kai Furmans

Professor, KIT
Posted on: May, 22 2017
I am referencing to the comment that leasing of warehousing equipment (beyond forklift trucks) is a vision for 2030.
Just recently in Europe, such a business model has started, see here: https://next-intralogistics.de/

I am following with a lot of interest, how the business develops.

Stuart Rosenberg

Supply Chain Consultant, First Choice Supply Chain
Posted on: Jun, 05 2017
If we limit the standard on judging or determining the best supply chain to just three calculations it does not tell the entire picture.  Financial performance metrics are valuable as they capture the economic consequences of business decisions.  But supply chain managers make decsions and use organizational resources that impact a company's financial well being.  Where is a firm's earnings over a period of time determined by sales less product costs and general/adminsitrative costs?  Where is the metric for determining the sources and uses of cash from three perspectives - operational, investment and financial?  Where are these supply chain metrics: on-time delivery, lead time, response time to customers, product returns, procurement costs, network distance, inventory carrying costs, forecasting accuracy, sourcing time, etc,.  Without knowing the results of all these supply chain calculations the there must be a question as to the accuracy of the 25 top supply chains.

Dustin Calitz

Project Commercialization Manager, Mondelez
Posted on: Jun, 06 2017
I feel this ranking misses the mark in SC. It does not seem to consider a key indicator in days inventory on hand, which is key to determining a SC company's ability to forecast, manage inventory costs and reduce aged stock. In additiion I realize it's difficult to understand what goes into the customer survey, but would I assume specific metrics are being asked. For examples customer's opinion on service level differentiation and the ability to deliver the right product on time, which should then be allocated a bigger weighting than 10%. It would also be interesting to take a view of the above list's SKU portfolio complexity, seasonality and launches/promotions. I would again assume some companies on the list above have a far more complex SC to manage and lead, ultimately requiring a lot more innovation within a SC to stay ahead of competitors, and ultimately satisfy their customers demands.  I understand above metrics are difficult to measure, as mentioned in the article, but they somehow need to be considered to give a true reflection. 

Michael Hurd

Lean Consultant, Unemployed
Posted on: Jun, 10 2017

A Very Good Article...

While some feel that lean is a scam that pushes for more out of the personnel and out of the companies through reduction of waste and adding value for the customer, there are several things to remember:

1) Lean methodologies are designed and implemented to reduce time wasting, so this may seem that you are working harder as an employee.

2) Lean methdoligies only work when everyone from the janitor to the owner of the company get involved and back the program.

3) Lean methods are there to make you work smarter not harder, although it may feel you are working harder.

4) YES... Sometimes lean methodologies fail! This is due to project overun or taking on too large a problem and trying to fix it all in one go and not taking the smaller problems that are associated with the large problem and fixing them first. Sometimes fixing the small problems leads to resolution of the larger problem.

Akhil

Director Supply Chain , skuchain
Posted on: Jul, 31 2017
The Supply Chain technology is not considered a problem because traditionally supply chains are thought to be cost centres unlike sales functions. The tendency, in general, to limit expenses and cost cutting on upgrades for technology and for talent have been hindering progress for the businesses. Supply chains lack real time visbility and above all trust across the value chain (not that the participants are dishonest) rather it's about the cascading effects referred to as the bull-whip effect which causes higher magnitudes of disruptions. 

Supply chain real time information should top the list .

Another problem is that of multi homing as so much data is available across several feeds of IOT/Email/Internet /Mobility/ERP that organisations tend to have issues around finding a single platform to collate them for meaning analysis. 

Blockchain (if deployed appropriately) can be a great solution for solving the issues around the supply chain.

Mike Ledyard

Vested Program Faculty, Vested Way / University ofTennessee
Posted on: Aug, 04 2017
Excellent article.  It very much points to the need for Shared Risk / Shared Reward as we teach at Vested.  Suppliers will respond when they are made part of the team, and they have a lot to bring to the game.  The service provider is the subject matter expert in the services provided, and in an excellent position to enhance the capabilities and services offered by the shipper.

Andrew Downard

Managing Director, AD Supply Chain Group Pty Ltd
Posted on: Aug, 05 2017
As the article points out it is not a lack of technology that is holding back performance but rather a failure to form the right sort of relationships.  As well as the length of such relatiohships, practitioners should consider employing arrangements that incentivise both parties to innovate and deliver levels of performance and profit that neither thought possible.  By far the best model I have come across to achieve this is the Vested Outsourcing model developed by researchers from the University of Tennessee.  See www.vestedway.com for information on the model and case studies that show how others have benefited from creating a Vested deal.

Najma

logistics, threelineshipping
Posted on: Aug, 23 2017
Very informational article. The major focus of logistics is on e-commerce. There is a need to optimize every component of logistics by following the latest trends and technologies. Thanks for uploading this article.

Sameer Shukkla

Consulting Partner, Wipro Inc.
Posted on: Sep, 17 2017
I have recently co-authored a white paper with my colleague wherein we have looked at 2 fundamental guiding principles  -

1. Always have enough to Sell / Produce
2. Do not have excess to Sell / Produce

These 2 Golden Rules can be the foundation of keeping optimal inventory levels and for organizations to achieve the same. We have looked at a framework which tries to reduce the phase mismatch between Demand & Supply, and tries to bring the shape of the supply curve closer to shape of the demand curve.

We have classified symptoms and underlying root causes for the above "Phase mismatch" and "Curve Mismatch" between Demand and Supply, and then talked about addresssing those individual root causes to strive towards Leaner Inventory levels while maintaining or improving service levels.

So to answer your question, we feel the Companies which have addresed these causes have been able to keep DIO horizontal or even going down, while others have not been able to control rising DIO because of not addressing the root causes.

Simon Eagle

SCM Consultant, Camelot MC
Posted on: Sep, 17 2017
You ask why turns are flat or declining despite lots of attention and technology. The answer is, I think, 2 fold: the supply chain environments VUCA (Volatliity, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is on a continuous upward curve and this means that forecast accuracy inevitably declines in parallel - and much of that inaccuracy is hidden by the statistics. For instance a company with, seemingy good, 80% mix accuracy will find that figure is skewed so high by the few high volume / low variability items. 80% of the items will be achieving considerably less than 60% error.

So most item level forecasts used for driving replenishment through an MPS (be it ERP or APS) are simply leading to unbalanced stocks, service threats and continuous expediting / fire-fighting. These schedule interrutions are "variability" that is disrupting flow and, thereby, increasing lead-times, using unplanned capacity and generating excessive (and still unbalanced) inventories.

The replacement in ex-stock supply chains is "enterprise(s)-wide" pull which also uses "push" for extreme/exceptional events. Its other key characteristics are that the supply chain is decoupled and is demand-driven. And now it can be implemented using SAP since they announced they they have co-developed an enhancement for IBP that supports this transformational way of working - up to 50% inventory reduction, requiring less capacity and shorter lead-times all while achieving planned service levels. See https://www.camelot-itlab.com/en/camelot-demand-driven-lean-planning-suite-for-sap/ and https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/supply-chain-flow-what-why-how-simon-eagle/


John Smith

Research & Development, Octopus Tech Solutions
Posted on: Sep, 18 2017
IoT is without a doubt starting to become a major factor in the profitability of various companies. In the manufacturing sector, we will see it come into the front by the end of 2020 completely. Various sectors have already adapted IoT solutions like the security industry or companies offering BPO Services India. Contact centers not just in India and China but across the world have adapted technology following the principles of IoT. The manufacturing sector is soon going to follow.

Girish Maniyar

Chief Manager Development Initiatives, Asian Paints
Posted on: Sep, 28 2017
I  can speak with some context. While efficiency and tools can reduce inventory, we also see the number of SKUs and new products increasing, and also the number of sales/depot points. This means the inventory in such cases, can start with very high number and with more customization and choices available to the consumer, so there is no end to the long tail of products available within a category. It is unlikely that the slow/dead goods are written off so easily to be not included here.

A larger question, would it be purely an IO problem or also a Demand Planning (Forecast Error) problem? A higher cycle time of service but a better fill rate can improve inventory performance, by aggregation. But a bad forecast can do away all the good work you do in inventory planning.

Do you have numbers for decorative coatings in the list? I did not see something there only for decorative coatings.



Reo B Hatfield

Chief Operating Executive , BestTransport
Posted on: Oct, 20 2017
My opinion is that peaks and valley are just nice graphics to explain.  Smooth responses save the day.   3PLs  just adjust to the climate and the areas of movement of Logistics.    One purpose of the 3PL movement was to adjust to an always changing market.   They will never be fixed and will flex as the logistics changes.   3PL companies have vast knowledge of their business.  Their success is their ability to move up and down as the market flows.  They bring a level playing field to the transportation world that in the past was rigid but looked good on spreadsheets.  Industry graphic personnel like to be able to answer all the changes because they can only see documents.  3PLs see the needs, the issues, the positive changes and the knowledge to know why and when to adjust.   They (3PLs) have smoothed the waves of the past and everybody likes to see the spikes so they know something is there to clearly report on. Smooth sailing is boring but sure gets you where you want to go. 

Catherine Dennis

Supply Chain Manager, Indak Mfg Corp
Posted on: Oct, 26 2017
So the horrific and severe worldwide allocation of electronic components is not an issue?  Don't tell that to the automotive buyers.  It's HORRIBLE.  Lead times out to up to 76 weeks.  Why not write about that?  It's killing us, our customers and the big automakers.   

Huub

Logistics Manager, Shell
Posted on: Nov, 11 2017
I suggest McKinsey to do a bit more research in Prof Gattorna’s dynamic alignment. This article only scratches the surface a tiny bit. Much more to be found reading about the alignment concept.

Joseph George

Farmer, Field Vista
Posted on: Dec, 07 2017
Primarily Vision is required followed by Assigned Focus on objectives.  Or maybe just love for USA.  The market will not find its way unless it's for organic vegetables and RRR.  Two to three years later will take two to three years longer to the end of the decade, and this is viable today.  God bless america from its present distraction.

Gary Buchs

Owner Operator , Self, Landstar Business Capacity Owner
Posted on: Dec, 17 2017
In My Opinion, the fact that capacity will tighten should be obvious to everyone engaged in the transportation. 
Capacity to move freight isn’t how many trucks or trailers are in the system or what a computer 
program says, it still is truck driver based and poorly-managed companies won’t be able to imporove
this fact.  Investing in people is still most important!

Get ready to pay higher prices for goods and services. I think we could lose 10% of Capacity in many areas. 

Dan

Pres., Bioptechs
Posted on: Dec, 20 2017
After all the ground we have lost in the productive sector and the additional burden that loss of our productive momentum has placed on our society, somebody tell me why so many people are against the actions necessary to restore our vital productive infrastructure! It is like the left enjoys shooting itself in the foot!

Jayaram

Business Development, Raghava Logistics
Posted on: Mar, 04 2018
Great article and thank you for summerizing the predications. 

What does it mean to country like India where the labour is still cheap? Where the logistics cost is still on the higher side compared to some of the developed nations?

Herb Shields

President , HCS Consulting
Posted on: Mar, 06 2018

 I agree that robots can replace some amount of manual labor in logistics centers.  However as you mention, the labor pool is shrinking.  We need more training programs such as the one provided by the Greater West Town organization in Chicago.   Www.gwtp.org.  (It is a program that your readers should find interesting.)

Billy

Associate, BJO
Posted on: Mar, 13 2018
Thanks for this very informative article.

Doug Murless

Country Manager, krunchbox (www.krunchbox.com)
Posted on: Mar, 18 2018

Gone are the days when consumers will wait for a retailer to have the product back in stock, those days are done. We live in the "I want it now" society and with Amazon in their pocket consumers can easily "now" it to themself the next day right from their phone.

The importance of product availability is under the microscope at all retailers as an empty shelf equals lost customers, a poor customer experience and entirely abandoned purchases.

We are on a mission at krunchbox to help suppliers fix their product availability and sell thru and improve their buyer relationships, hopefully before their retail partner fines start rolling in and or we see more retailers close.

NikhilSingh

Executive, Carmatec INC
Posted on: Mar, 21 2018
You are correct There are government programs to encourage investment at small and mid-size manufacturers, but McKinsey says these programs generally have smaller budgets, less certainty of ongoing funding, and more constraints on their mandates than comparable programs in other countries. Policy makers should examine which existing initiatives are producing the most promising results, then scale up those efforts and commit to them for the long term.

Mike Mortson

CEO, Supply Chain Game Changer
Posted on: Jun, 15 2018
I wrote a similar article on supplychaingamechanger.com about the same topic:  Gartner's 2018 Top 25 Supply Chain List!  Is it Still Relevant?  at https://supplychaingamechanger.com/gartners-2018-to…t-still-relevant/

Chuck Nemer

Trainer, The Guru of Biz
Posted on: Aug, 16 2019
Nice metaphor and nice picture.  I'd like to see a bit more meat on the bones if you're going to completely sell me on the concept.

Charles Quail

CLO, Belair
Posted on: Jan, 20 2020
The truth from the road is that rates were so good, that 2018 was the best year we had since 1997.  So as we saw this happening, we saw carriers increased their fleets to capitalize on this gravy train, thus depressing the rates for 2019 from overcapacity.  They also flooded the used truck market, and sales dropped 70%.
We know because we also were thinking of retiring, but cannot sell our lightly used 2019 Mack Anthem because of this.  So we claim it was not the high cost structure, it was the greed.

Tom Miralia

CEO, Distribution Technology
Posted on: Feb, 26 2020
Multistory Bronx DC  $700 million and 1.2 million sqft- what's the rent going to be- $3.50 per sqft per month?  $40+ per sqft annually.  In many metros, thats higher than the best Class A office rent and about 9-10 times a going rate in the suburbs?  Well, space cost is the least cost in supply chain typically- still, must be a compelling business model to drive this?

Let's pretend that a product is valued at $50 a case, 60 cases per pallet, maybe stored in rack at 8 sqft per pallet in a narrow aisle single-select layout of some form- if total logistics expense ranges 8% maybe, then there's $240 in budget to flow goods from sourcing to customer.  Now the retail customer may spend more to get it to the end purchaser which is beyond my scope (and may folks ability to truly model I suspect).  if that pallet occupies that rack spot for 2 months that rent expense might range about $56?  That takes almost the whole budget for warehousing portion of logistics costs before labor, equipment, admin, materials and so on?

I dunno if I'm seeing this right?  Likely I'm off base?


Peter

Sales, Freight sales
Posted on: May, 08 2020

From a sales prospective:  Our company only uses small trucking companies and gives them the business directly. We sell right to the manufacturer.   The companies we sell for have no sales force and are good hardworking companies who would usually have to rely on only brokers. We help them with appointments billing bids when needed. This year despite our companies doing an excellent job and not raising there rates we lost many accounts or were reduced significantly to brokers.

Harry Moser

President, Reshoring Initiative
Posted on: Sep, 24 2020
Mr. Meidinger is correct that high healthcare costs have hurt U.S. mfg. He overstates his case by describing healthcare as the primary cause:
  1. U.S. healthcare costs % of GDP are about 7 points higher. Our mfg. costs are 20 to 40% higher.
  2. The costs paid by taxes in the other countries require highrer salaries and selling prices to obtain the same after tax benefit.
  3. His graph shows correlation, not causation.
  4. For a clear comparison of the impact of various factors, see the Competitiveness Toolkit https://reshorenow.org/search/. We include lower healthcare costs as one of several important factors in driving further increases in reshoring.

Chris Imamura

Executive in Residence, University of Colordao
Posted on: Oct, 10 2020
You note that 28% of Amazon's operating income came from its AWS web services unit.  However, from their 2019 Annual Report, Amazon reported $9.2B of the total $14.5B operating income came from AWS = 63%.  What am I missing?


  

 

Robert Simoneau

Consultant, PolyEd
Posted on: Oct, 13 2020
This is an excellent article but a few more details would help. As a lecturer for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers spent a lot of time working with and teaching Tier suppliers. The stories they told were grim from two perspectives. First US automaker are slow to pay their bills, net whenever. The second is the timeline to pay for tooling, some claimed it took one year to get paid. As one group said we spend most of our time hiding money. I consulted for one of the big three and when I asked a group of managers and engineers, when do you pay your bills, they all laughed in unison ... big joke. I was furious and tried to explain to them how this affected their supply chain. It took a lot of effort for GM to go from 50% market share in the 50s, to less  than 20%. When doing thier financial analysis they forgot about quality related issues and the eventual loss of market share. Interesting Boeing is doing the same thing with pretty much the same result ... sad. 

Jerry Saltzman

Professor, Zicklin Business School, Baruch College
Posted on: Jan, 24 2021
After all the rhetoric and  bluster, it's great to see a data driven the year in review analysis.   it was certainly a wild year but the data shows the resilience of the global and domestic supply chain despite political interference and Policy by tweet.

Dave

Individual, NA
Posted on: Mar, 15 2021
How come SPSC, SPS Commerce isn't included in supply chain software?

Steve Murray

Senior Analyst, Warehousing Education and Research Council
Posted on: Apr, 07 2021
From 1967 to 1972 I worked as a business systems analyst and developer for Safeway Stores, Inc.  At that time Safeway was the largest grocery retailer in the U.S. based on revenue.  It was also highly unionized.  While Safeway supported the efforts to develop a machine readable code for retail checkout, it's relationship with the union kept it from doing so openly as it might reduce the need for price ticketers, and checkers.  Quite frustrating for those of us who were developing solutions.  But back then we had plenty to do working on accounting systems, procurement, warehouse inventory control, retail store replenishment and labor planning - after all this was the dawn of the retail supply chain.  Eventually Safeway signed on to the UPC movement and the rest is, as you say, history. 

AL WEISS

CHAIRMAN, WEISS SUPPLY CHAIN CONSULTANTS
Posted on: Apr, 09 2021
 GREAT ARTICLE!

Rick

supply chain manager, Fresh Mark
Posted on: May, 28 2021
Do you have any information about Hormel's supply chain?

Daniel Druwe Araujo

CPIM, CSCP, T2People
Posted on: Jun, 04 2021

Very appropriate article, explaining the non-qualitative ranking, at least from a Supply Chain Management perspective. 

Once understood what it is not, the ranking is very interesting in terms of identifying the most successful companies in absolute terms.

The question that remains for the professionals interested in learning from the best supply chain designers and managers is exactly which are the most useful ideas and practices that can be learned from the best companies.

 
 
 
 
 
   

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