The Friday Report: July 17th, 2020

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

Social Distancing Software in Use at Amazon Warehouses

Amazon has put Distance Assistant, an innovative software designed to track if employees are effectively social distancing while at work in some of its warehouses.  The new software uses camera footage displayed on a television monitor. Annotations are shown on the television monitor showing the employees who are following social distancing guidelines, shown with green circles.  Those who violate the guidelines are shown with red circles.    

Currently the system is in use in high traffic areas in a few facilities.   Amazon reported that they plan to install hundreds of more units within the coming weeks.   To date, COVID-19 has infected over 1100 Amazon employees and nine have died.  In an effort to improve the safety of its employees and help to reduce mass absenteeism, Amazon had enlisted the aid of its engineering team.  The industry leader has established its own COVID-19 testing laboratory and plans to conduct research on coronavirus.

On June 16th, Amazon announced its plans to open source the software to enable anyone to create their own Distance Assistant.  Only a camera and computer are required for use.

Could the COVID-19 Pandemic Have Led to a Bicycle Shortage?

Unbelievably enough, yes.  Because fitness enthusiasts have been prevented from frequenting gyms, health clubs and other similar fitness establishments, they have bought wheels to self-propel themselves and their families to safe destinations. 

The need for exercise and family-oriented activities has been acute causing bike sales to spike in the United States at the highest rate since the oil crisis of the 1970s.  A true global trend, some cities have had to install bike lanes to help manage the traffic safely at a time when public transportation had been shut down.

The bicycle shortage is anticipated to last for months.  For more details, keep reading here.

Retail Sales Jumped in June

With the reopening of many states, U.S. retail sales exceeded expectations, jumping up 7.5% in June. This followed an 18.2% increase in May, the most significant gain since the United States government began tracking this in 1992.

While still battling high unemployment nationwide, Reuters reported that economists had forecast a June increase of 5%.  New cases coast-to-coast of the coronavirus threaten to diminish retail sales increase projections.

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