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Just Delivered 11/7/21

If you're a retail supply chain executive, you may be too burned out to enjoy the fact that your world is suddenly sexy, and your profession is on the tip of everyones' tongues.

You also know that technology investment isn't a quick fix for the current crisis, but making the retail supply chain more efficient and resilient is mandatory in order to prevent future crises. 

That's where Shoptalk comes in. As the retail and e-commerce industry's leading innovation event, Shoptalk has a special ability to match leading supply chain technology vendors with the executives that are making change happen. Whether in person at Shoptalk (March 27-30) or online during Shoptalk Supply Chain Meetup (April 26-28), Shoptalk is pleased to bring the retail community the content and connections you need to soar.  Leading up to those events, please be on the lookout for this weekly newsletter bringing you news and factoids from the supply chain frontier as well as event content updates. 

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Here's a look by the numbers:

1 - Rank of the Port of L.A. among U.S. container ports 

325 - Rank of the Port of L.A. among global ports when it comes to efficiency, according to the World Bank and IHS Market (2020) 

73 - Number of ships at anchor waiting for a berth at the Ports of LA and Long Beach last week

8,000 - number of trucks it takes to empty one ship

90% - Capacity at which the ports are currently operating

24 - Number of hours per day the port is operating

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Supply Chain Woes Reverberate 

The backlog of goods getting to stores has a long tail of ramifications. Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, announced that the upcoming holiday quarter ad sales would grow to about 32% above 2020 levels, which is well below analysts’ estimates for a 48% growth. The reason? Marketers are scaling back plans to use online and social media ad spend on products they can’t sell due to supply-chain disruptions.

This news has cast a shadow over larger rivals like Facebook, Twitter, and Google with the likelihood that online and social media advertising will decline for the last quarter of 2021 and into early 2022. 

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Baby Can You Drive My Truck? 

The problem at the ports is compounded by the problem with the trucks, or, more accurately, the truck drivers. How the trucking industry issues are adding to the supply chain breakdown begins with understanding the truth about truck drivers.

The most recent U.S. census data shows that 3.5 million Americans drive trucks for a living. But the turnover rate of truck drivers is 90% according to the Commercial Carrier Journal. The industry needs to hire more than 60,000 drivers across the U.S. to meet increasing consumer demand, according the American Trucking Association (ATA). Interestingly, the high demand for carriers is allowing many drivers to address complaints about low wages and poor working conditions by setting out on their own; more than 100,000 drivers started their own companies in the past year. 

Expert say that improved pay and working conditions are needed to address the high turnover rate, but fear that the impending federal vaccine mandate will exacerbate the problem. In other words, this problem could get worse before it gets better. 

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Our weekly look at new innovations, startups and business models that have the potential to transform aspects of the supply chain.

eYard - This Spanish AI company is a developer of a cloud-based AI optimization engine focused on reduction of port container costs and increasing overall visibility of the port’s yard operations. eYard has developed an algorithm to calculate and simulate thousands of cargo container stacking scenarios at any port. eYard expects to reduce the overall yard management costs and aims to improve productivity. The main KPIs that eYard touts include:

  • 34% reduction in unproductive cargo container moves
  • 21% increased return on assets

Kodiak Robotics - Founded in 2018, this Palo Alto-based company is a developer of self-driving trucks. Kodiak develops autonomous trucks that utilizes sensor systems and mapping solutions for long-haul trucks. The company asserts that its freight solutions provide the following benefits for long haul transportation:

  • Cost reduction – self-driving operations deliver cost savings.
  • Decreased ship times – without human drivers, trucks can move goods 24/7.
  • Lower emissions – robotic autonomous trucks improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Solution for driver shortages – autonomous truck fleets can ease driver shortages, reduce recruitment, training, and retention costs.
  • Increase safety – the autonomous trucks never speed, get distracted or drowsy.

The company has been actively moving freight for commercial customers which continues to prove its business strategy.

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