Tag Archive: Mexico

The Sheer Relevance & Impact of Transportation (A Billion Here, a Billion There)

November 24th, 2018

Recently, I attended Mobility 21, the Southern California transportation coalition, and it reminded me of the sheer relevance of transportation.  No manufacturer can operate without transportation: distributors are out of business without trucks dropping off and picking up, healthcare would stop functioning and our frequent Amazon orders would be a thing of the past.  In essence, everything would come to a grinding halt!     

Certainly, trucks are what we typically think about when it comes to transportation.  They account for $722 billion in freight flows with Canada and Mexico, for example. Whereas rail still accounts for $174 billion (not pocket change).  The ports are our gateway to the rest of the world (and the Los Angeles ports alone bring in 40% of the U.S. volume). Air carries an impressive number of packages especially with the rise of e-commerce. UPS and FedEx are expanding at amazing rates, especially at Ontario airport, the hub of e-commerce activity.  For example, during the 2017 peak season, this region of UPS alone processed 13.1 million packages!

At Mobility 21, there were some interesting statistics throw out:

  • AAA has 60,000 service calls per day
  • Transportation has a $700 billion dollar economic impact on Southern California and accounts for 1/3 of the jobs in Southern CA!  
  • 350 billion miles each year are driven in California
  • The number of trucks is expected to go from 1.8 trillion to 3.9+ trillion by 2045
  • And the list goes on….

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
At a minimum, why not take a step back to think about your transportation network?  What does it look like? How do you receive materials and products? Do you use the ports?  Air? Rail? Undoubtedly, you use trucks! How expansive is your network? Are there many players involved?  Since it could cause your operations to cease, it makes sense to find out!

Next, think about what you’d like your transportation network to deliver.  Do your customers expect rapid deliveries and “above and beyond” service? If so, who is your partner in ensuring this occurs?  

Your transportation partners are your last face to your customer. And, in today’s marketplace, there is a significant demand and challenges your transportation partners must navigate.  If you plan to be successful, you must stay on top of your transportation network and partners. Are you attractive to them? Perhaps we better think about that further….



Tweaks to NAFTA & CEO Input

April 13th, 2017

According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump met with chief executives and promised pleasant surprises with NAFTA and talked about upgrading the federal government’s computer systems. According to the chief executives in attendance, innovative ideas emerged. I would love to be a fly on the wall in listening to this group of business leaders think through what could contribute to success.

supply chain

On the topic of NAFTA, there has been much speculation. Lately, the consensus is that there will be moderate changes proposed. How is your business related to NAFTA? Do you collaborate with customers and/or suppliers in Mexico or Canada? Are you prepared for likely tweaks?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

As is apparent, there are no clear facts on how NAFTA will change; however, we can make some educated guesses. Will there be additional costs to bringing products and materials across the borders? Most likely. It certainly doesn’t seem as though it will be huge but sticking our head in the sand to this potential outcome doesn’t seem smart.

Take a look at your supply chain. How are you likely to be affected? What risks should you account for? Is there a way to prepare with minimal spending that will set you up to leverage advantages from the likely moderate changes to occur? Why not prepare for success? Don’t wait for clarity. Consider what is likely, gather your team and think through how to set your company up for success with the most likely outcomes.

 



Trump and Trade

January 31st, 2017

Well, you’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard all the controversy about Trump and trade. Tariffs, restrictions and general chaos….

Currently, the U.S. trades significant volumes with China, Mexico and a whole host of other countries as we live in a global economy. For example, in looking up trade balances with China for 2016, the U.S. exported $104,149 (in millions) and imported $423,431 (in millions). Thus, what is all this hoopla about and what should supply chain leaders be thinking?

global trade

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Although it is easy to get caught up in all the emotion and politics, the bottom line is that we aren’t going to flip the import/export numbers with China (as an example). Will it change in some respect? Of course; it would regardless. Will the trade figures change substantially this year? No. Will companies re-evaluate their insourcing, near-sourcing and outsourcing decisions as costs change with tariff adjustments? Yes.

We are headed into volatile times; however, this is not abnormal in supply chain circles. Who can predict hurricanes? No one. Yet hurricanes and natural disasters affect the supply chain every day. Those who are successful will find a way to adjust with changing times and will become more agile in their responsiveness to changing circumstances. And they will figure out what is most important to their business and focus solely on those factors while building agility into the rest.

What is most likely to occur is that Trump will re-evaluate trade deals and re-negotiate. If we took a step back and looked at our trade agreements, what makes sense? How can we keep businesses flowing yet improve the deal? If you are interested in getting in front of the curve, consider these factors for just those areas most critical to your success.

 



Mexican Gas Prices Soar

January 9th, 2017

The Mexican government took away subsidies on gas, and so prices soared in the New Year. A 20% hike in gas prices has spurred on protests, looting and chaos at border crossings. Although the objective was to let the cost of fuel adjust to the market, the gasolinazo (which is how the price hike is known) is anything but just a market adjustment in the eyes of the people. They are not happy!

Mexico gas price increase

It is already creating havoc in the Mexican supply chain. What should we be thinking about to stay on top of this supply chain trend?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

This isn’t likely to be a temporary change since it brings gas prices to market levels, and it seems to signal a change in direction from the government. Thus, one obvious change will be the need to build these costs into our transportation costs throughout the supply chain for items moving around/through Mexico. 20% seems like a reasonable number to use for analyses.

It has temporarily created supply chain disruption in the form of looting, border jams and the like. Since it is a signal of changes to come, perhaps we should account for a bit more supply chain disruption. Do we have backup plans?  Do we have alternate routes? Will a 20% increase in transportation cost create any supply chain redesigns? What will other supply chain partners change due to this increase (if anything)? Will we be ready for which of those are likely to impact you?