AEB News Brief

The AEB News Brief

Trending today: Starbucks’ CEO has announced a commitment to transform it into a resource-positive company and more than half of chief executives in an annual survey expect a slowdown in global economic growth.

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

Welcome to the AEB news brief. It's our regular update on major events and interesting things going on in the world of supply chain, global trade and logistics. You can find the brief by following our pages on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson has announced a multi-decade commitment to transform the retailer into a resource-positive company, which gives more than it takes from the planet. The plan includes science-based preliminary targets for the reduction of carbon emissions, water use and waste by 2030, and outlined five strategies the company has identified to move toward them. “As we approach the 50th anniversary of Starbucks in 2021, we are looking ahead with a heightened sense of urgency and conviction that we must challenge ourselves, think bigger and do much more in partnership with others to take care of the planet we share,” Johnson said. (RISNEWS)

Home improvements chain retailer Lowe’s Cos. Inc. is investing $1.7 billion over the next five years to modernize its supply chain with digital technology. Lowe’s is overhauling its ecommerce platform and adding in some new B2B ecommerce tools for procurement managers. Late last month, Lowe’s, which generates annual ecommerce sales of about $4 billion, including B2B and retail sales, began integrating its ecommerce system with Yardi Systems Inc., a large software applications-development company for asset and property management. (digitalcommerce360)

More than half of chief executives in an annual survey by PwC expect a slowdown in global economic growth this year, in marked contrast to the confidence that has lifted stock markets. The survey, published last week ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, found 53% of CEOs around the world forecast the rate of global growth will fall, compared with 29% the year before, the highest level of pessimism since the accounting firm began asking the question in 2012. Meanwhile shares of many major companies are hovering near record highs, amid a thawing in U.S.-China trade tensions. A recent Deutsche Bank report said investors, betting on a bounce in global growth, now have the greatest exposure to equities in two years. (Economic Times - Auto)

China's annual sales of heavy-duty trucks in 2019 hit a fresh record of 1.17 million units, up 2 percent year on year, data from an auto industry data provider showed. In December, around 90,000 heavy trucks were sold, up 9 percent year on year, exceeding industrial expectations, according to a report from cvworld.cn. The sales rose for six consecutive months in the second half, while October witnessed a 14.1-percent growth, the highest in the whole year. (Xinhua)


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This holiday season had all the makings of a logistical nightmare. Thanksgiving fell late, shortening the number of days carriers would have to ship an unprecedented number of packages. The last time the season was so short, in 2013, United Parcel Service Inc. failed to deliver orders from Amazon.com Inc. and others by Christmas, forcing the sellers to dole out gift cards and refunds. In the years since, UPS and rival FedEx Corp. have spent billions of dollars to upgrade their networks. This was a chance to prove it had paid off, but it was also a key test for the internal logistics arm that Amazon has been expanding with gusto since that fateful 2013 holiday season. (Bloomberg)

Apple Inc is trying to change the way electronics are recycled with a robot that disassembles its iPhone so that minerals can be recovered and reused, while acknowledging rising global demand for electronics means new mines will still be needed. The Cupertino, California-based company says the robot is part of its plan to become a "closed-loop" manufacturer that does not rely on the mining industry, an aggressive goal that some industry analysts have said is impossible. (Reuters)

German OEM Daimler Buses enters the new year looking to develop a new business model: directly producing spare parts in-house for customers via 3D printing. Components produced by the process also called additive manufacturing currently come from external providers and meet specified quality standards, including those related to status of being a genuine part for the group’s Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands. Daimler wants to transfer that work in-house for customers. “The objective is to reorganise the value-added chain of the individual production areas and to derive a new business model from it,” the company said. (Automotive Logistics

The United States' trade war with China is far from over, according to Janet Yellen, who is warning thatunresolved tensions over technology could divide the world and slow the development of artificial intelligence and 5G. The former chair of the Federal Reserve said Monday at the Asian Financial Forum that the "phase one" trade deal agreement struck by Washington and Beijing and due to be signed this week will leave tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods in place. And it doesn't remove the "more troublesome" risk of conflict over emerging technologies, she warned. (CNN Business)

The U.S. Postal Service said it will award an expected $6 billion in contracts for the next-generation mail truck later this year. The agency is providing only the scantest details but in late December asked up to four separate company teams for contract proposals to build the new truck. Each of the teams previously has provided prototype vehicles to the Postal Service for evaluation. The post office now uses about 140,000 Grumman Long Life Vehicles for its main delivery service. Manufactured from 1987 through 1994, they need to be replaced. A 2014 audit from the office of the USPS inspector general found that the current fleet can only meet the delivery needs of the agency through the 2017 fiscal year. (Trucks.com)

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Autonomous truck developer Plus.ai has announced anew safety testing program that it says will enable self-driving trucks to drive on public roads anywhere in the continental United States by the end of this year. According to the company, the new safety program will allow testing on closed courses, as well as public roads, with a safety driver and operations specialist on board to assume manual control if needed. The company is exploring new testing facilities and pilot runs that will broaden the complex driving scenarios that its autonomous system is capable of handling. (Trucking Info)

US startup Agility Robotics has announced that its bipedal robot Digit is now for sale, with the first two units bought by automaker Ford to research last-mile package delivery. Digit is approximately the size and shape of a small adult human. It’s able to navigate environments semi-autonomously with the help of LIDAR and other sensors, and it can carry boxes in its arms up to 40 pounds (18 kilograms) in weight. Agility Robotics says it can be put to a range of uses, including in logistics, warehouses, telepresence, and industrial inspection. (The Verge

FedEx and UPS delivered a lower rate of packages on time during the 2019 holidays compared to 2018, new shipping data shows. FedEx’s on-time delivery percentage from Black Friday to New Year’s Eve fell to 94.6%, according to ShipMatrix, a firm analyzing shipping data. UPS’ on-time delivery percentage was 96.6%, per the data. The data for FedEx and UPS' busy holiday shipping stretch known as "peak season" comes from ShipMatrix customers who ship with the companies analyzed. (USA Today)

Tesla has begun delivery of its China-made Model 3 sedans to much fanfare and enthusiasm, but analysts say the company will have to do a lot more to energize longer-term demand in the world’s largest auto market. On Tuesday, the company marked the occasion–a major step in its global push—with a ceremony attended by billionaire CEO Elon Musk and government officials near Shanghai. (Forbes)

A recent Grant Thornton survey of more than 250 C-level executives and business owners found more than three-quarters of respondents expect a recession to occur within the next two years. Organisations can prepare for the uncertain times ahead by adopting a recession mitigation framework that targets the most high-risk supply base, process and delivery capabilities. With such a framework in place, they can quickly develop what can be termed a ready-for-deployment supply chain immune system to minimize any disruptions and preserve the competitive advantage of their supply chain. (Supply Chain Digital) 

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