Monthly Supply Chain Review: January 2016

Welcome to the first review of the new year!

This week, a large portion of the country has braced for a record setting winter storm. In addition to affecting government offices and schools, the blizzard is having far reaching impacts on supply chain.  Passengers are confronting canceled flights and road closures, as are delivery companies. UPS, AT&T among others are listed as those organizations faced with delivery delays.  Recovery times will be hard to predict, and loss of income for some companies may be large.

Delivery is a key theme as the year begins. The new year has seen Uber expand its service in new and potentially exciting ways that will change transportation now and in the future. In addition to expanding service to airports nationwide (adding Los Angeles among others to its possible routes), it has also announced collaborations in developing meal delivery programs and designing autonomous cars.

China has also been at the forefront of the news as we entered 2016. The market instability as China has continued redefining its economy has been felt worldwide. While the downturn may not have long term negative affects, it does reveal how China’s roleas an emerging has the potential to change stock prices and supply chain functions beyond its own borders.

Locally, supply chain managers are keeping an eye on U.S. ports and particularly the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.  After record delays that affected supply chain across industries last year, organizations are hoping that the labor deals of 2015 have secured and stabilized functions, and that new supply chain projects based on lean thinking can streamline and organize functions in the future.

Finally, the record low barrel prices in the oil and gas industries have made news and played a major role in the inconsistent stock market at the opening of the year. Supply and demand on oil – particularly in the face of increasing international carbon-emissions cuts globally—point to a need for the industry to embrace change and pursue new technologies


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