Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18. We have certainly seen more focus on women in supply chain over the last few years, and nearly every conference that I attend has tracks dedicated to women in supply chain. And while this definitely points to an industry making strides, a recent Procurious survey found that 75 percent of women in supply chain experience gender-based adversity. When it came to the specific forms of gender-based adversity women experience in the workplace, respondents cited men taking credit for their work or ideas, learning they’re paid less than their male counterparts, feeling disadvantaged in the workplace because of their gender, being asked to perform administrative work outside of their role – more so than their male counterparts – and struggling to “get air time” in virtual meetings. Companies, for their part, are pushing to close the gender bias, and will continue to do so. And now on to this week’s logistics news.
- Amazon expands same-day delivery
- John Deere 3D-prints production fuel valves for tractors
- P&G launching supply chain platform for retail partners
- FedEx continues cost-cutting moves
- Thoma Bravo completes acquisition of Coupa Software
- Save Mart automated ‘dark store’ drives Lucky Now online grocery service
- Canada-China trade breaks record, as imports hit $100B
- Blue Yonder delivers state of the business to analysts
Amazon continues to push for faster delivery, even with more uncertainty around its warehousing plans. According to a recent report, the company canceled, closed, or delayed 99 fulfillment facilities, impacting nearly 32.3 million square feet of active or planned ground-level space in 30 states. This is after Amazon already closed or paused 66 facilities last fall. A central part of Amazon’s ultrafast delivery strategy is its network of warehouses that the company calls same-day sites. The facilities are a fraction of the size of Amazon’s large fulfillment warehouses and are designed to prepare products for immediate delivery. In contrast, the larger Amazon warehouses typically rely on delivery stations closer to customers for the final stage of shipping. The sites have primarily opened near large cities and deliver the most popular 100,000 items in Amazon’s catalog. Analysts say Amazon’s service can help the company retain users of its $139-a-year Amazon Prime subscription, which also provides streaming, discounts at Whole Foods Market and other perks. Amazon’s fast-shipping service can add fees for small orders.
HP launched its new commercial Metal Jet S100 Solution in September 2022 and two months later showcased the 3D printer for the first time publicly at the Formnext exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany, along with a new John Deere production application. Together with GKN Sinter Metals, John Deere is using the Metal Jet technology to produce thermal diverter valves in the fuel system for its small and midsize tractors assembled in Mannheim, Germany. John Deere also is leveraging HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology to optimize its production process, using 3D-printed prototypes to test and fine-tune components such as windshield holders. The result is a reduction in pre-assembly from 30 to 10 days, in delivery times by up to 10 weeks, and overall production costs by 20 to 25 percent. The process, called binder jetting, can boost productivity tenfold, while the use of metal powders is more cost-effective than laser-based 3D-printing powder.
Procter & Gamble (P&G), the American multinational consumer goods corporation, is continuing to invest in digital transformation, focusing specifically on the supply chain, retail execution, and environmental sustainability. Perhaps the most notable initiative thus far, however, is its efforts toward launching a collaborative supply chain strategy. This July, the company is moving forward with a supply chain services platform for retail partners across North America. The company’s Supply Chain 3.0 strategy includes heavy investments across its digital capabilities to drive productivity and cost effectiveness — with a significant focus on automation within P&G’s distribution centers and supply warehouses. Within its supply chain initiatives, the company is also focusing on environmental sustainability, leveraging technology like digital watermarks embedded within packaging (invisible to the human eye) that is detectable by recyclers to increase the accuracy of plastic sorting and automate processes.
As part of the company’s overall cost-cutting initiatives, FedEx Express will lean on third-party carriers for less urgent shipments. FedEx Express will have its aircraft fleet focus on moving priority package volume, while the air cargo giant leans on third-party providers to move less urgent shipments, FedEx President and CEO Raj Subramaniam said during a conference on Tuesday. The growth in e-commerce has resulted in an increase in parcels with more flexible transit time requirements, or deferred traffic. That trend, along with technological advancements, gave FedEx incentive to overhaul its Express unit’s network in a bid for long-term savings. FedEx Express moves an average of 6.3 million packages a day, so redirecting even a small portion of its overall volume would be a notable boost to other carriers. The air cargo industry has seen softer market rates due to increased capacity and shippers flocking back to ocean freight services. But Express, which is also struggling in a weaker demand environment, won’t shift its deferred volume over to outside carriers entirely.
Coupa Software, a leader in Business Spend Management (BSM), today announced the completion of its acquisition by Thoma Bravo, a leading software investment firm, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $8.0 billion. The transaction includes a significant minority investment from a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). The agreement to be acquired was previously announced on December 12, 2022, and approved by Coupa stockholders at Coupa’s Special Meeting of Stockholders held on February 23, 2023. With the completion of the transaction, Coupa stockholders are entitled to receive $81.00 per share in cash for each share of Coupa common stock they owned. Coupa’s common stock has ceased trading and will be delisted from Nasdaq.
Save Mart has transformed a closed Lucky supermarket in Mountain View, Calif., into a micro-fulfillment center (MFC). Technology partner Fulfil Solutions Inc., a Mountain View-based robotics startup, said Monday that its automation powers a “dark store” opened several months ago that fills same-day delivery and pickup orders for a new Save Mart online grocery service called Lucky Now. DoorDash also is a partner in the Lucky Now service, according to Fulfil’s website. The service works as follows: Within minutes of receiving an order, Fulfil’s automated system retrieves and sorts the items—ranging from dry packaged groceries to refrigerated and frozen foods—and packs them into bag-toting robots. The bots then ferry the filled grocery bags to a waiting area, where drivers collect them for delivery.
Trade between China and Canada hit record levels in 2022, with imports breaking the $100-billion mark for the first time, Statistics Canada data show. Economists and others say businesses are looking beyond political tensions between the two countries, as demand ramps up and established supply chains reassert themselves in a post-pandemic world. The Statistics Canada data show Canada imported a record $100,027,968,000 of goods from China last year, up 16 per cent from $86 billion in 2021. The biggest category of imports in 2022 was consumer goods, at $31 billion, followed by electronic and electrical equipment, worth $28 billion. The data show Canadian exports to China also reached a historic high of $27.9 billion, recovering from a slump that followed the 2018 arrest of Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and China’s detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. China last year lifted a three-year ban on Canadian canola that had been imposed after the arrest of Meng, who has since returned to China.
Finally, in a State of the Business briefing to analysts on Tuesday, Blue Yonder CEO Duncan Angove had some interesting things to say about the supply chain software market. In the fiscal year ending in December, Blue Yonder had double digit cloud and annual recurring revenue growth as the company continues to shift customers from on premise to Cloud offerings. Mr. Angrove’s perception was that at many companies budgets for software are shifting from ERP and CRM to supply chain management as many companies prioritize projects that drive cost reductions and labor efficiencies. For supply chain software companies, the opportunity is now. This is because as companies purchase public Cloud offerings, they are likely to be locked in with one vendor for 15 or more years. The company wants to capture what they view as a surge of growth that the market will experience over the next three to four years. Consequently, while many high tech companies are laying off workers, Blue Yonder is actively hiring sales representatives and product development engineers. The company is looking to hire 600 engineers.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Respect by Aretha Franklin.
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