Supply Scan

News and trends from across the food supply chain.


Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling can help recognize high-risk MMH work tasks and choose effective options for reducing their physical demands such as:

  • Eliminating lifting from the floor and using simple transport devices like carts or dollies;
  • Using lift-assist devices like scissors lift tables or load levelers;
  • Using more sophisticated equipment like powered stackers, hoists, cranes, or vacuum assist devices;
  • Guiding your choice of equipment by analyzing and redesigning work stations and workflow.

To find out how to obtain a copy of the 68-page book, go to www.mhia.org.

Hershey Raises Prices Due To Soaring Supply Chain Costs

Hershey Co. has announced an increase in the wholesale prices of its domestic confectionery line.

An increase of approximately 4 percent to 5 percent on the company's standard bar, king-size bar, six-pack and vending lines is effective immediately. These products represent roughly one-third of the company's portfolio.

This action will help offset the company's input costs, including raw and packaging materials, fuel, utilities and transportation.

While there has been no change in list prices on these impacted items since December 2004, over this period costs have continued to rise.

"Our primary business objective is to win in the market place. As we implement this pricing action we will work with our customers to create programs which will drive retail takeaway," says Christopher J. Baldwin, senior vice president, president North American commercial group, Hershey, PA.

"Given the mid-year timing of this pricing action and our commitment to planned consumer and customer promotions and merchandising events, we expect minimal financial impact from the pricing in 2007."

Retailers To Spend More On Future RFID Projects: Study

Retailers are showing signs of significant maturation in their approach to RFID. While only 6.5 percent of retailers surveyed are spending money on RFID technology today, twice that have budget allocated toward RFID implementation.

In a new report by the Boston-based Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Co., titled "RFID: Roadmap for Retail," Aberdeen reveals that retailers are dropping mandate-driven RFID initiatives in favor of programs that will address supplier visibility, inventory management and customer service.

The value proposition of RFID to retailers can be segmented into three general areas:

  • Item and case-level tagging for improved inventory management;
  • Promotion optimization and loyalty management;
  • Customer-level product information.

"Many RFID initiatives suffer because they are perceived as an IT issue. When the retail CEO taps an operations manager with technical skills to be the RFID 'thought leader' for the organization and enlists the collaboration of the IT group, the initiative has a much better chance of succeeding," says Russ Klein, a senior analyst for Aberdeen.

U.S., Global 3PL Logistics Market Analysis Released

Third-party logistics gross revenues for the U.S. broke $110 billion for the first time in 2006. Third-party logistics gross revenues hit $113.6 billion, a 9.5 percent increase.

Net revenues were $53.1 billion. EBIT and net income margins in relation to net revenue were 8.6 percent and 5.4 percent respectively. Margins for the year were down slightly due to the fourth quarter economic slowdown.

As part of its report, Armstrong & Associates, Stoughton, WI, estimates the global third-party logistics market at $391 billion. European 3PL revenues are estimated at $139 billion.

For the U.S. market, International Transportation Management (ITM), which includes major components of freight forwarding and global supply chain management, had net revenue increases of 17.7 percent. ITM growth is primarily a reflection of continued economic expansion in China and the Asia Pacific markets.

Domestic Transportation Management (DTM), including freight brokerage, posted a 12 percent gain in net revenues (gross margin). Gross revenues (turnover) were $33.8 billion. BAX, BNSF, C.H. Robinson, Meridian IQ and NFI grew by more than 20 percent. Hub, Penske, Ryder and Werner grew by 10 percent or more.

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