Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists


  • A UPS worker delivers packages on December 26, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.
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    Scott Olson/Getty Images via Getty Images
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    Why UPS keeps shrinking its workforce

    UPS’ headcount has dropped by 43,000 employees in just three years, and more cuts are coming. Experts say it’s not all market-driven.

    Max Garland • Feb. 23, 2024
  • Amazon associates work to ship out same day orders during Cyber Monday at the Same-Day Delivery Facility Fulfillment Center on November 27, 2023 in Tampa, Florida.
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    Octavio Jones via Getty Images
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    Warehouse employment keeps falling — and more layoffs loom

    Companies are shifting their focus from expansion to efficiency within their supply chain networks, leading to job cuts and facility closures.

    Max Garland • Jan. 26, 2024
  • A UPS worker in Manhattan delivers packages on his daily rounds on July 24, 2023 in New York City.
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images
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    Will parcel shippers use fewer delivery providers in 2024?

    Aggressive discounting from FedEx and UPS pose a threat to carrier diversification, but competitors are striking back.

    Max Garland • Jan. 22, 2024
  • A cooler full of various brands of milk in half-pint containers.
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    Lindsey Shuey/The Republican-Herald via AP

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    Carton shortage may last through school year, but brandless packaging brings relief

    Pactiv Evergreen said the generic containers are part of its response “to minimize supply chain complexity” amid a monthslong disruption challenging dairies and schools.

    Katie Pyzyk • Jan. 19, 2024
  • Aerial view of damage at a Pfizer manufacturing plant in 2023.
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    Sean Rayford via Getty Images
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    Shortages 2024: What supplies are still at risk after years of disruption?

    Excess inventory may be in focus, but climate change, geopolitics and structural supply chain challenges continue to threaten some goods.

    Ben Unglesbee • Jan. 10, 2024
  • Industrial container ship passing through Suez Canal with ship's convoy, view on the bow from the captain bridge.
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    IgorSPb via Getty Images
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    Suez Canal at risk: What shippers should know to mitigate disruption

    Using alternative routes like the Cape of Good Hope can mean longer transit times and higher freight costs. Here’s what shipping experts had to say.

    Alejandra Salgado • Dec. 22, 2023
  • A drone view of a train passing alongside Puerto de Anapra town at the border between USA and Mexico.
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    THEPALMER via Getty Images
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    Mexico’s nearshoring wave is years in the making

    Decades of investments in logistics infrastructure, trade deals and becoming a manufacturing hub are paying off as shippers look to nearshore production.

    Alejandra Salgado and Edwin Lopez • Dec. 18, 2023
  • The skyline of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, at sunset
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    Khoa Nguyen via Getty Images
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    As manufacturers turn away from China, Vietnam lures investment

    The country is home to a growing number of factories thanks to its increased use of free trade agreements, tax incentives and competitive labor costs.

    Kate Magill • Dec. 14, 2023
  • U.S. President Joe Biden, President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau hug each other.
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    Hector Vivas via Getty Images
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    6 reasons why global supply chains are shifting

    Political risk, emissions and lead times are just some of the drivers pushing companies toward onshoring, nearshoring and friendshoring decisions.

    Edwin Lopez • Dec. 13, 2023
  • Nearshoring apparel: Inside DXL’s pivot to Central America

    The clothing maker is one of many eyeing the region, but economic and policy barriers could stand in the way of greater investment.

    Ben Unglesbee • Dec. 12, 2023
  • Trucks, including an armored car, pass through U.S. customs on October 17, 2016 in Laredo, Texas.
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    John Moore via Getty Images
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    Logistics companies race to adapt to shifting supply chains

    Carriers in ocean, air cargo, rail and trucking are launching new services and tweaking their networks amid evolving global trade flows.

    Max Garland, Alejandra Salgado, Kelly Stroh and Larry Avila • Dec. 11, 2023
  • A massive gray storm cloud gathers on the horizon over a placid body of water.
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    petesphotography via Getty Images
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    5 tips for cutting insurance costs amid climate change

    As weather damage increases, firms can upgrade buildings with storm shutters, flood barriers and fire-suppression systems, among other moves to reduce premiums. 

    Jim Tyson • Dec. 7, 2023
  • A man in a blue blazer speaking with a active duty service member in a green camouflage uniform.
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    Courtesy of RecruitMilitary.

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    How military veterans can fill the manufacturing labor gap

    As the industry pushes to fill more than 600,000 open roles, veterans offer unique skillsets and leadership qualities to step into manufacturing careers.

    Sara Samora • Nov. 10, 2023
  • A UPS worker delivers packages on December 26, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.
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    Scott Olson/Getty Images via Getty Images
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    FedEx, UPS 2024 rate increases: What shippers should know

    The variances within the carriers’ price hikes indicate what services are seeing the most pressure from competitors, experts say.

    Max Garland • Nov. 8, 2023
  • Top-Down View: In Warehouse People Working, Forklift Truck Operator Lifts Pallet with Cardboard Box. Logistics, Distribution Center with Products Ready for Global Shipment, Customer Delivery
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    gorodenkoff
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    By the numbers: How retailers stack up on inventory

    Going into Q3, many major players cleaned up their inventories after last year’s surge in stock levels, with benefits to margins. Not everyone fared equally, however.

    Ben Unglesbee • Oct. 17, 2023
  • An aerial view of shipping containers on a ship docked at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    5 ways fashion brands can reset their supply chain strategies

    Port disruptions, labor negotiations and other shipping industry upheavals have forced apparel companies to develop new solutions to enduring challenges.

    Howard Ruben • Oct. 10, 2023
  • The European Parliament building is pictured with flags waving outside.
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    Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images via Getty Images
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    The ambitious regulations cleaning up fashion’s supply chain

    From pollution to human rights violations, new European laws are holding global fashion brands accountable for collateral damage.

    Lauren Schenkman • Sept. 28, 2023
  • An Amazon driver loads packages into a delivery van at an Amazon delivery station on November 28, 2022 in Alpharetta, Georgia.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    How Amazon Shipping could shake up the parcel delivery industry

    While not yet a heavy hitter against FedEx and UPS, the service could entice small- and medium-sized businesses with its straightforward fees, experts say.

    Max Garland • Aug. 30, 2023
  • UPS employees participate in a practice picket.
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    Courtesy of International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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    What’s behind the summer of supply chain labor unrest?

    From port disruptions to UPS and Yellow's dust-ups with the Teamsters, disputes between unions and employers are a recurring threat to the steady flow of goods.

    Max Garland • Aug. 16, 2023
  • Solar power station and solar energy panels on the green field in Chester, New Jersey.
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    Alex Potemkin via Getty Images
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    Who will pay to decarbonize the supply chain?

    Some brands are helping their suppliers reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Others are dumping new requirements on vendors without shouldering any of the costs.

    Ben Unglesbee • Aug. 15, 2023
  • A UPS driver makes a delivery on June 30, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
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    Joe Raedle via Getty Images
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    Why some UPS shippers haven’t diverted volume even as a potential strike looms

    As many businesses firm up contingency plans, others are maintaining their current delivery activity with UPS, according to parcel shipping experts.

    Max Garland • July 24, 2023
  • Teamsters President Sean O’Brien speaks during a rally in Orange, Calif., on April 15, 2023.
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    Aude Guerrucci/Reuters

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    UPS’ chances of averting a strike are shrinking. How should shippers prepare for the worst?

    Experts say an Aug. 1 strike isn't a certainty, but customers should still solidify alternative carrier options.

    Max Garland • July 5, 2023
  • A worker organizes packages at a FedEx facility on December 21, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
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    Brandon Bell/Getty Images via Getty Images
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    Deliveries keep getting faster. Will it last?

    Shippers adjusted to pandemic-related disruptions to reach customers faster. But shifting shopper preferences and cost-cutting efforts may slow things down.

    Max Garland • June 12, 2023
  • A woman in a yellow safety vest walks in a warehouse with boxes showcasing digital readings.
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    gorodenkoff via Getty Images
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    AI opens new frontier in supply chain planning

    The pandemic showed that forecasting is more important — and difficult — than ever.

    Ben Unglesbee • May 23, 2023
  • People at work in a large warehouse full of boxes.
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    kupicoo via Getty Images
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    After last year’s inventory tidal wave, where do retailers go from here?

    Bare shelves are still a recent memory, but many are learning to live on leaner inventories after overstocking in 2022.

    Ben Unglesbee • May 16, 2023