The Friday Report Blog: March 30th, 2023

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

PepsiCo Introduces AI Barcode Readers

PepsiCo has announced a partnership with KoiReader Technologies that will improve the food and beverage companies’ operational efficiency and accuracy in its distribution centers. KoiReader’s advanced machine-vision artificial intelligence technology can identify and track warehouse labels and barcodes of any size in fast-moving environments, such as products on conveyor belts. The technology will enable PepsiCo to increase throughput at its distribution centers.

In addition to its barcode scanning ability, the technology can also track regular and irregular shaped products, with or without labels. Furthermore, the machine-vision robots can count how long it takes employees to pack boxes and retrieve items. PepsiCo has stated that the technology will eventually be used to validate customer deliveries to ensure 100% accuracy of human-assisted picking operations.

The technology is currently in use at a PepsiCo distribution center in Dallas-Fort Worth to automate yard operations as tractors and trailers enter and exit. The food and beverage giant plans to deploy the barcode readers across the nation later this year.

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U.S. and Japan Sign EV Battery Materials Trade Deal

The United States and Japan have agreed to a new trade deal involving critical minerals required for the production of electric vehicle batteries. The deal is designed to promote fair competition as well as labor and environmental standards. In addition, the deal will help improve cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Japan to obtain sustainable electric vehicle battery mineral supplies. Commitments between the two countries include an agreement not to impose duties on critical minerals and measures promoting circular approaches to mineral supply to reduce the demand for virgin material extraction.

Because the bill includes tax credits for consumers who purchase electric vehicles assembled in North America, demand for EVs is anticipated to increase. However, the tax credits include rules such stipulating that at least half of battery components must be sourced domestically or from allied countries.

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San Pedro Bay Ports to Build Training Facility with $110 Million Investment

The state of California has announced a $110 million investment into the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles for a training facility that will enhance the supply chain workforce. The training facility, called The Goods Movement Training Campus, will be located on a 20-acre site in the San Pedro Bay complex. 

Port officials have stated that the investment will help to build skills for the ports’ existing logistics workforce as well as address attract, recruit, and retain workers. The facility will also be useful in helping the ports reach their goal of zero-emissions by 2035. 

Currently, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), and the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) have agreed to provide additional funding for training equipment and curriculum. The facility is planned for opening in 2029.

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