Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Dec. 20, 2012

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Dec. 20, 2012

Walmart Spending Big Bucks to Battle Scandal; Longshoremen Fighting to Keep Gravy Train; Change the Name to Fulfillment R US? Big Oil Price Slide in 2013?


$100 Million

The amount of money Walmart has spent so far in 2012 on forensic accountants, lawyers, investigators and more looking into potential widespread use of bribes in Walmart's foreign operations, according to an in-depth article this week by the New York Times. That effort was triggered by an April Times article alleging bribery was key to Walmart's wildly successful entry into the Mexican market in the early 2000s, and a potential cover-up of that in the 2005-06 timeframe. This is likely to prove a very big story.




That's the average number of on-line orders retailer Toys R US gets per day during the peak Christmas season just in its Northeast region, according to a Wall Street Journal article this week – a huge logistics challenge. However, even as its e-commerce sales soar, the retailer's overall revenues are flat, and profit is down, meaning that the e-commerce channel is far from a great blessing even as volumes grow rapidly and fulfillment complexity rises.

$221 Million
That's the amount of "container royalty payments" made by East and Gulf Coast ports and terminals to dock workers there in 2011, under a system started in the 1960s that was meant to compensate workers as the ports moved to containers from palletized freight, driving huge efficiency gains. This archaic system is now the number 1 issue in the negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association and the ports, with the port alliance wanting changes, and the ILU saying it will only negotiate going forward if that issue is off the table. A strike Dec. 30 is likely.



That's the price per barrel of oil a few industry analysts are saying could reached in 2013 for West Texas Intermediate (WTI). Why would analysts from Bank of American and Saxo Bank be saying such a thing? The rapid growth of shale oil production in the US. "We have a unique situation in that the U.S. is producing way more oil than anyone thought they would. That will be a downward pressure along with slowing global growth," said Sabine Schels of BoA. We'll see.