This Week in Logistics News (July 18 – 24)

The 2020 Major League Baseball season began last night, Thursday, July 23rdalmost four months behind schedule. This year’s delayed season will also be shortened from the typical 162 games to just 60 – turning a marathon into a 10k. This change significantly reduces the importance of endurance and roster depth. And it will be different in a number of additional ways, as well. Fenway Park, the home field of my beloved Boston Red Sox, always had great energy due to the seats being full for games. That will no longer be the case with the stadiums remaining empty and off-limits to all but the essential players, coaches, and television crew. I have heard there are plans to pipe in crowd cheers to provide an audible sense of normalcy. But I envision that coming off as incredibly artificial. Piped in laughter kind of works in sitcoms, but you’re not simultaneously viewing row upon row of empty theater seats. That would be…. weird. Regardless, I’m glad to have some baseball to watch. And now on to this week’s logistics news.

Blue Yonder yesterday announced it has acquired Yantriks, a SaaS provider of commerce and fulfillment microservices. The acquisition complements Blue Yonder’s existing supply chain, logistics, and retail offerings with customer-facing order management and fulfillment capabilities designed to unify network inventory and fulfillment capabilities in a single platform. These capabilities are essential to effectively deliver omni-channel capabilities such as ship to/from store, buy online pick up in store, and more.  

Walmart announced plans to build a $220 million distribution center that will measure nearly 3 million square feet, once completed. The new storage and cross-dock facility will be located in Dorchester South Carolina and will serve as a direct import distribution center that will supply several regional distribution centers that themselves support approximately 850 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs. I wouldn’t typically include a press release about “plans” in the Logistics Viewpoints weekly news, but plans for a 3 million square-foot DC is certainly news in my opinion

Tesla announced on Wednesday that it will build its newest Gigafactory near Austin, Texas. The 2,000 acre site will be used to build the Cybertruck, the Tesla Semi, and the Model 3 and Model Y for the eastern half of North America. Jerome Guillen, President, Automotive at Tesla said on the earnings call that the Tesla semi-truck is expected to begin production this year. For the trucking enthusiasts out there, the Semi has some impressive statistics including 0-60 acceleration in 20 seconds (80,000 lbs.), energy consumption of less than 2 kWh per mile, driven by four independent motors on rear axles, for a base price between $150,000 – $200,000. And did I mention it looks cool.

Amazon announced that Amazon Scout, the company’s autonomous delivery devices that have been operating in the Snohomish County, Washington and the Irvine, California areas will now begin operating in Atlanta, Georgia and Franklin, Tennessee. According to TechCrunch, in 2019 Amazon acquired an urban delivery robot startup called Dispatch in 2017. Technology developed at this startup may have contributed to the development of Scout. 

MissFresh, a Chinese online grocer, announced that it raised an additional $495 million in a recent round of funding, bringing the total to $1.4 billion. This round’s funding was led by China International Capital Corp and also included investments by ICBCthe Abu Dhabi Capital Group, Tencent, Goldman-Sachs and Tiger GlobalMissFresh’s business model leverages numerous, local fulfillment centers instead of fewer large, centralized centers. One must wonder if the recent increase in online grocery, driven by the Covid-19 crisis influenced the size and timing of this investment round. 

Have a great week!

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