YES! Finally. McDonald’s is launching a retro-themed boxed meal (Happy Meal) for adults that includes a collectible figurine of a classic McDonald’s mascot – Birdie, Grimace, Hamburglar, or the new Cactus Buddy. McDonald’s is collaborating with Cactus Plant Flea Market on this initiative. The adult themed boxed meal will be available for a limited time from October 3 – 30. And for those of you that care about more than just collecting the toy figures – customers can choose between a Big Mac or a 10-piece McNuggets meal that comes with medium fries and a drink. This special offering may entice me to McDonald’s more than the Shamrock Shake has done so consistently in winters past. And now to this week’s logistics news…
- Philly Cheesesteak Delivered by Drone?
- Walmart Opens First of Four Next Generation Fulfillment Centers
- Container Ship Leasing Trends Downward
- Micro-Warehouse Provider Pivots as Retail Consumer Market Shifts
- Nike Earnings Reflect Supply Chain Disruption Complexities
Charleys Philly Steaks announced it has partnered with Flytrex to deliver freshly-made grilled cheesesteaks via drone in Durham, North Carolina. Now operating in its fifth station, Flytrex’s three-minute delivery service will be available to approximately 140,000 customers across the United States. In 2017, Flytrex successfully launched the world’s first fully autonomous urban drone delivery system in Reykjavik, Iceland, and we covered that initiative in these pages on June 15, 2018. I gotta admit, I’m intrigued. Maybe try Boston next?
Walmart held the grand opening of the first-of-its-kind Next Generation fulfillment center (FC), location in Joliet, IL. This is the first of four next-generation FCs announced by Walmart earlier this year. Walmart partnered with KNAPP to develop an automated, high-density storage system that streamlines a manual, twelve-step process into just five steps. Once completed, Walmart anticipates the four new state-of-the-art FCs could provide 75 percent of the U.S. population with next or two-day shipping. The facility will also fulfill Marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS).
American Shipper reported that indexes measuring container-ship rental rates are now dropping rapidly. The Harpex index, published by brokerage Harper Petersen & Co. since 2004, hit an all-time high of 4,586 points in late March. It stayed in the vicinity of that peak, in the low 4,400s, until late July. As of Friday, it had collapsed all the way down to 3,095 points, sinking 30% in just eight weeks and 18% versus the previous week. Braemar’s BOXi index was at 317 points on Monday, plunging 30% in the past week alone. The cost to transport containerized goods peaked at unprecedented levels in late 2021. That cost has been falling ever since. In contrast, the cost to rent ships that carry containerized goods held up much longer.
Fabric, a warehouse automation/robotics solution provider and third-party operator of micro fulfillment centers, is reported by the Wall Street Journal to be cutting its workforce and shifting its business strategy as grocers and retailers shift their focus to automated fulfillment operations inside stores. The article states that Fabric customers communicated that they wanted to use Fabric technology directly in their own warehouses, rather than contracting with Fabric to serve as a 3PL managing fulfillment operations with Fabric technology. Actually, Fabric’s 3PL business model using its own proprietary technology to fulfill customer orders is an atypical way for technology suppliers to deliver value in the market. In my opinion, Fabric’s technology is and has been central to its value proposition. I believe that Fabric will experience more rapid adoption now that it has shifted its business model to that of a technology supplier.
Nike reported its first fiscal quarter 2023 results yesterday (September 29). The supply chain issues noted in the reporting were notable, interesting, and likely familiar to many. The CNBC article states, “As delivery times and consumer demand rose this year, retailers responded by ordering inventory earlier than usual. When in-transit shipping time began to improve quickly, Nike CFO Matthew Friend said, it led to swelling inventories.” This sounds like another example of supply chain whiplash (start and stop) to me. Nike’s CFO further stated, “As a result, we face a new degree of complexity.” In my opinion, this business behavior sounds a lot like the old bullwhip effect in action.
This week’s video is my favorite commercial from 2020 – Dick’s Sporting Goods, See you Out There! (the Nike article reminded me of it)