Order Fulfillment in Review: September 2016
Things are about to get crazy...
Between the excitement of election season and the impending retail rush of the holidays, there's not going to be a lot of time to keep up with supply chain news in the weeks ahead.
The solution? Our monthly digest of the supply chain headlines and all things order fulfillment!
Fulfillment Review: September 2016
If you fell behind the news as we switched from summer to fall last month, here are some of the stories you might have missed:
- Hanjin Shipping became the poster child for container business woes, entering September with financial troubles delaying vessels unloading and ending the month in bankruptcy. The news has had a ripple effect around the industry, with spot rates up on the busy Asia to North America route and some of the companies with close ties to Hanjin facing an uncertain future themselves.
- Businesses across the country are in full holiday hiring mode, as we prepare for the seasonal retail surge. Target announced 7,500 new distribution center positions for the months ahead, which makes up a significant portion of the company's seasonal employment drive. UPS and FedEx are also looking to recruitment to help put the delays of past holidays behind them, with around 50,000 (UPS) and 95,000 (FedEx) new hires expected as the festive season rolls around.
- U.S. trucking reported tonnage increases of 5.7%, reversing a small decline during the previous month. The American Trucking Association's Chief Economist Bob Costello confirmed the fluctuating nature of his business this year, with driver shortages and excess inventory in the supply chain spreading uncertainty. Nonetheless, his long-term outlook remains positive, predicting that "truck freight will improve as progress is made with the inventory overhang."
- In an ongoing trend, US railroads continued to post steady declines in volume as September came to a close. However, the overall dip of 1.1% for all categories (excluding coal) compared to September 2015 marks a smaller drop than previous months.
- The U.S. government gave a green light to self-driving vehicles, as federal auto regulators released a 15-point set of safety guidelines. Designed to influence rather than inhibit the fledgling sector, authorities confirmed that they want to encourage new technology to develop quickly but maintain a rigorous focus on public safety.
- FedEx and UPS both announced 2017 rate increases, with dimensional weight pricing again taking center stage as carriers continue to grapple with the size and scale of online orders.
- Closer to home, the team at our New Jersey fulfillment campus celebrated the opening of our new C5 storage space last month. It adds another 100,000 square feet of space to our East Coast operations, which we're sure our clients will be quick to occupy as their brands grow with ours!