From January’s disruptive winter storms to Hanjin’s summer bankruptcy and the annual struggle to meet holiday delivery deadlines, not many months went by without significant upheaval. It’s enough to have fulfillment managers breathing a sign of relief as we head into a New Year.
Supply chain trends rarely adhere to the calendar, of course. Some of the advancements that we expected in 2016 took longer to develop, while others arrived more quickly than anticipated.
We’ve spent a lot of this month looking at the importance of location in fulfillment.
From alternative ways to leverage location in a digital world to the physical reality of bringing ever-larger vessels through the Panama Canal, it’s clear that where we are and the routes we choose to move cargo through have a direct impact on product availability and customer satisfaction.
On Sunday, a Chinese container vessel will navigate its way through the expanded locks, in what shippers around the world hope will be the first of many successful passages by today’s larger commercial ships. It’s been a long time coming for shipping lines especially, many of whom have invested heavily in the 14,000 TEU capacity vessels that the expanded waterway is designed for.
The average container vessel calling along the Pacific Coast, which is the busiest port area of the U.S., is 4,345 TEU. This is equivalent to a maximum potential weight of more than 100,000 tonnes, or in excess of 230 million lbs! [RITA, 2011]
Transportation and warehouse employment alone represents 3.2% of the total US workforce, more than 4 million people. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010]
Companies that use sophisticated supply chain methods have been found to achieve profit levels 12 times greater than those with less sophisticated solutions. [Bain & Company]