Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ
Amazon.com is intensifying its competition with retailers by going after one of the most difficult delivery markets: groceries. The WSJ’s Greg Bensinger reports that the e-commerce giant is preparing to broadly expand its private-label brand lineup to include milk, cereal, baby food and an array of household items. It’s a move against big retailers such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., but delivery companies will also want to see whether Amazon can win the confidence of consumers in a new area.
Amazon’s attention to groceries isn’t distracting the company from a price war with Wal-Mart over same-day delivery. The WSJ’s Greg Bensinger writes that the company is making same-day delivery free for its Prime members, who pay $99 a year for membership. That’s a step beyond the $50 annual subscription service Wal-Mart announced last month to cover three-day shipping. Amazon is playing offense and defense with same-day service, taking on both retailers and ride-sharing operators that are experimenting with low-cost or even free same-day delivery service.
The pace of expansion in global supply chains is due to slow and will follow different patterns in coming years, according to Standard Chartered Bank. WSJ Logistics Report’s Robbie Whelan writes that the bank’s study of broad trends shows wages in China are a big factor in the direction of supply-chain growth but that other developments, including automation, also are driving companies to change sourcing and manufacturing decisions. The forecast says rising wages in low-cost countries will trigger an expansion in the service sector, and the stronger demands and sophistication of those businesses may spur greater efficiency in supply chains,
What happens if port truck-drivers unionize? What one official calls the “most invisible, mysterious” link in the supply chain—the fragmented group of small companies that move containers from port terminals to nearby distribution centers—has faced a growing number of labor complaints in Los Angeles and Long Beach recently. Among the 16,000 Southern California drivers, who are largely independent owner-operators, a handful has filed complaints and picketed their employers, demanding full-time wages and benefits.WSJ Logistics Report’s Erica E. Phillips writes that this could signal a new era for the drayage industry or just “another black mark” for California ports.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is looking to expand its next-day delivery capabilities in China, but the e-commerce company also is trying to make sure there are real goods to deliver. The WSJ’s Gillian Wong reports that Alibaba’s logistics affiliate, Cainiao, is cracking down on suppliers over what is called “brushing”—the practice of listing fake orders to inflate sales numbers.
China’s campaign to turn the tightly controlled yuan into a global currency is crossing a new threshold, as the government plans to make it easier for individuals and companies to invest overseas. The WSJ’s Lingling Wei writes that China’s policy-making cabinet is likely to announce in coming weeks that it will remove limits on the ability of individuals and businesses to directly purchase stocks, bonds and real estate in foreign markets.
Infrastructure development is a key part of Malaysia’s attempt to jumpstart its economy.The WSJ’s Jason Ng and Saurabh Chaturvedi report a $72 billion stimulus plan the country’s prime minister unveiled Thursday is aimed at repairing an economy that has been hit hard by the fall in oil prices.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its bid to have suppliers bring in “Made in the USA” products. Industry Week reports the campaign will have a prominent place at the retailer’s annual “open call” meetings with potential suppliers July 7-8 at its Bentonville, Ark., headquarters.
British freight operators are concerned about the growing problem of migrants stowing away on trucks coming into the country through the Eurotunnel. According to Transport & Logistics News, the British International Freight Association says migrants target trucks at the Calais, France, crossing and that the problem has grown so bad it threatens cross-border trade.
HighJump Software Inc. is bringing cloud-based e-commerce capability to its warehouse management systems. DC Velocity reports that HighJump is buying software provider Nexternal Solutions in a deal that could create a hybrid between online services that touch customers and HighJump’s warehouse systems.