The Friday Report: September 4th, 2020

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

Can Smartphones Dangling from Trees Give Amazon Contractor Delivery Drivers an Edge?

If you are in the suburbs of Chicago and wonder why you see smartphones dangling from trees near Inc. delivery stations and Whole Foods stores, you are probably wondering why.  Apparently, delivery drivers working on contract position their Smartphones in those locations to gain a competitive advantage over rival drivers seeking orders. 

Once several Smartphones are situated in trees close to where the deliveries originate, other drivers who know this then synchronize their cell phones with the ones in the tree and wait in a nearby location for an order pickup.  This allows those in the know to take advantage of the handsets’ proximity to the station and use this with software that continually monitors Amazon’s dispatch network.  The treed Smartphones act as a master device which can dispatch routes to drivers in close proximity that are in on the plan.

Double digit unemployment is driving such efforts by gig-workers who are only paid by the job.  After many complaints to Amazon, the company has promised to investigate but did not commit to reporting the outcome of its inquiry to delivery drivers.

For more information, please continue reading here.

Chinese-U.S. Tensions Tease of Potential Supply Chain Trouble

Rising tensions between China and the United States are again threatening to cause disruption in the supply chain across many industries.  From the continual political campaign rhetoric in the American presidential race to the looming negotiations over TikTok, critical products are at risk that would impact the lives of U.S. consumers.  These products include but are not limited to acetaminophen, pharmaceutical product heparin, an anticoagulant, and antibiotics.

Recently McKinsey published a report on potential supply chain disruptions.  Here are some of its findings:

  • Supply chain disruptions occur regularly, across nearly all industries.
  • Risk of disruption depends at least in part of the level of exposure to different types of shocks as well as the underlying vulnerabilities in the company or value chain.
  • Environmental changes and global economy are causing shocks of increased frequency and magnitude, including major weather disasters, trade disputes and tariffs and broad ranging geopolitical uncertainty 

For more information, please continue reading here.

Medical Manufacturing Tax Break Makes U.S. Manufacturing Increase More Likely

From personal protective equipment to prescription drug products and medical devices, the push is on to encourage the relocation of manufacturers of life science goods back to the United States.  While concerns have reigned for years over the outsourcing of the manufacture of these goods to countries including China and India, it took the COVID-19 global pandemic to truly shine a spotlight on how this impacts United States consumers.

Puerto Rico, already a hotbed of life sciences manufacturing activity in the world, stands to potentially benefit from a realignment of the pharmaceutical life sciences supply chain.  Complicating the issue of a tax break is the issue of how to deal with the issue of providing a tax break to multinational companies as well as the competition from other sectors covered in the next relief package.

The commonwealth of Puerto Rico accounted for nearly 25% of U.S. pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing exports in 2019. Heavy hitting lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry have been actively pushing for solutions which can help stimulate the economic recovery of Puerto Rico while leveraging its already established resources of existing facilities, a skilled workforce and geographic position.

A variety of legislation has already been proposed but has not advanced significantly.

For more information, please continue reading here.

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