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October 28, 2022

Supply Chain Snapshots - News & Trends You Should Read This Week

Friday, October 28, 2022

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Looking for a quick summary of the top supply chain and logistics news and trends making waves this week? Read our weekly "Supply Chain Snapshots" for helpful summaries and commentary to get you up-to-speed on the news you need to know.

#1 Viewpoint: Bringing Sight to the Supply Chain’s Blindspot

Read the full article from FreightWaves here

  • Industry players have been working to build a more resilient system that can address the influx in demand and mitigate bottlenecks in the supply chain.
  • Improve visibility and manage complex, interconnected networks.
    • Many companies are migrating towards more technology-focused processes.
    • Unlike 2D cameras and single beam LiDAR that cannot distinguish and track objects, new perception solutions take accumulated, 3D data to provide instant analysis across a supply chain.
  • New tech also helps increase efficiency while lowering costs.
    • Cost and computational requirements of LiDAR and other 3D sensors have dropped significantly, leading to the growth of autonomous mobility in logistics.
    • By placing sensors on infrastructure rather than on the vehicles directly, OEMs will streamline their processes and become more cost efficient.
  • Emerging technologies make spaces and touchpoints within the supply chain more secure.
    • Applications within the plane, train, and automobile industries have already begun demonstrating how 3D perception can be transformative, protecting cargo and assets while improving safety for workers and reducing the chances of collision and injury.
  • These technological developments make the supply chain better for all.
    • 3D perception equips logistics companies with information—one of the most important assets in today’s economy.
    • With a greater insight into facility operations and the surrounding environment, companies can maximize their space, labor pool, and time.

#2 A Second Railroad Union Votes Down Labor Deal Needed to Avoid Nationwide Strike

Read the full article from ABC News here

  • The Brotherhood of Railroad Singnalmen (BRS)—an organization that represents over 10,000 rail workers and is one of the last three unions—largely rejected the National Tentative Agreement between rail unions, freight rail companies, and the Biden administration. 60.57% of voters rejected the deal
  • Rejecting this agreement begins a "status quo" period where the union will re-engage with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) on December 4.
  • BRS' decision to reject the agreement follows the direction of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED), which voted against the tentative deal on October 10.
  • The earliest the BMWED union can strike is November 19. Union Pacific CEO, Lance Fritz, stated that he “does not think a strike is possible, but that it is probable.”
  • Union spokespeople have stressed that railroads are underestimating union members' dedication to issues involving quality of life and benefits, including paid time off.
  • All 12 unions that represent 115,000 workers must ratify their contracts to prevent a potential shutdown of the national freight rail system.

#3 Logistics Operators Find Robots Are Helping Recruit Tech-Savvy Workers

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal here

  • Supply chains might look a little different for the next generation of recruits, with automation changing the nature of work on warehouse floors and in leadership ranks.
  • Some companies say that investing in automation is attracting and bringing in a new generation of tech-savvy workers interested in working on the latest developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technologies improving supply chain efficiency.
  • The shifts come as many companies are looking to automate more processes and cut back on employees in their logistics operations.
    • Doing this both trims costs and makes the flow of goods through distribution networks more efficient and predictable.
  • “When you have a very big visible investment in robotics or automation or a big fundamental shift in technology, people view it as a commitment,” Flexport Co-CEO Dave Clark said. “They view it as a commitment to excellence, a commitment to next-generation thinking…It draws different talent both technically and at all levels of leadership.”

#4 New Research Forecasts the State of U.S. Supply Chains in 2023

Read the full article from Yahoo Finance here

  • New Research from SAP SE (NYSE:SAP) found that senior business decision-makers expect a continuation of unprecedented supply chain issues and disruptions into 2023.
    • 52% of those surveyed think their supply chain still needs much improvement.
    • 49% expect the issues to last until the end of 2022.
    • Many predict that global political unrest is the main cause of current issues.
  • Looking ahead, the top three supply chain disruptions business leaders expect in 2023 are:
    • Reduced availability of raw materials.
    • A slowdown in construction of new homes.
    • Disruption to public transport due to lack of drivers.
  • Around half of business leaders saw some financial impact from the pandemic, and the impact of lost revenue remains an issue for many companies.
  • To cover the extra costs of the issues, more business leaders have had to turn to wage freezes or staff job cuts.

#5 LA Port Chief Wants to Recapture Cargo Lost to East, Gulf Coasts

Read the full article from Bloomberg here

  • This September, the Port of Los Angeles experienced the quietest month since June 2020. Some factors that impacted the port's slowdown include:
    • Carriers shipped cargo to eastern and southern hubs to avoid potential disruptions in case dock worker contract talks take a turn for the worst.
    • Los Angeles had an early peak season for arrivals of retail goods this year, with the bulk getting to U.S. shores from Asia in June and July.
    • Slower arrivals have given operators in the supply chain a chance to start clearing backlogs that have clogged up LA's docks.
  • While 22,000 employees at West Coast ports and their employers settle the ongoing labor deal, service disruptions at LA are unlikely, said Executive Director Gene Seroka, who wants that eastbound cargo back at the major west coast port.
  • East and Gulf Coast ports are seeing more cargo “based on the perception of this contract negotiation,” explains Seroka. “That’s a shift in cargo that took place—premeditated—months ago, because folks had trepidations about any type of prolonged discussion with these labor contracts. We’ve got to do our level best to recapture what has moved and continue to grow our share. It’s about a million paychecks that are born because of this port.”

#6 Soaring Inflation Pushes Halloween Candy Prices Scary High

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal here

  • Halloween is right around the corner—and candy prices are up more than 13%.
    • This is the all-time biggest yearly jump for candy on record, according to the Labor Department.
  • Candy makers say that surging labor and production costs combined with skyrocketing flour, sugar, and milk prices are key contributors to the scary-high increase.
  • According to data from the National Retail Federation, the average household is expected to spend about $100 this Halloween on candy, costumes, decorations and related items for the holiday.

#7 LTL Industry Unveils Single Standard for Electronic Bills of Lading

Read the full article from FreightWaves here

  • For the first time in its 100-year history, the less-than-truckload (LTL) industry has a standard format for electronically transmitting bills of lading (BOL).
  • The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) has announced a single digital BOL standard that will replace the amount of digital platforms that shippers, carriers, and 3PLs have used over the years.
  • 29 providers, including carriers, 3PLs, freight brokers and technology firms, have pledged to be fully operational under the new standard by July 20, 2023.
  • The initial focus will be on large LTL shippers whose volumes can justify the investment in the application programming interface (API) format.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Supply Chain Snapshots.

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