Deep Dive: Page 2

Industry insights from our journalists

  • 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
  • Image of an old fax machine, circa 1980.
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    luoman via Getty Images
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    Apparel suppliers out of vogue as they resist tech investments

    Tied to fax machines and Excel spreadsheets, many companies are resistant to change and slow to adapt to new ways of doing business.

    Krishna Thakker • May 12, 2023
  • An aerial view of  shipping containers and rail trackers behind a shipping port.
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    Courtesy of Port of Savannah
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    4 charts show how cargo diversions are playing out in the US

    Shippers have been diverting cargo for years now, but where exactly is it going? A few datasets provide a hint.

    Edwin Lopez, Alejandra Carranza and Jasmine Ye Han • May 3, 2023
  • A delivery robot crosses a busy street.
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    Carlos Osorio/AP

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    Why delivery robots face a regulatory ‘nightmare’

    Laws for sidewalk-roaming bots have taken hold across states. But variances in each bill complicate the industry's expansion plans.

    Max Garland • April 26, 2023
  • Piles of unsold multi-colored clothing in a large heap
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    Spencer Platt/Getty via Getty Images
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    An unglamorous solution to fashion’s sustainability problem: make less stuff

    Industry players are shifting to new strategies amid corporate responsibility pushes and efforts to stop the destruction of unsold goods.

    Lauren Schenkman • April 20, 2023
  • A photo of FedEx's roxo delivery robot shared with us OCt. 2020
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    Courtesy of FedEx
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    FedEx and Amazon still haven’t figured out sidewalk delivery robots. Will mass adoption ever come?

    Delivery giants' tests of autonomous bots fizzled out. But many industry insiders still believe that the technology can catch on.

    Max Garland • April 12, 2023
  • Person holding hamburger in a wrapper
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    hapabapa via Getty Images
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    Paper industry struggles to phase out PFAS

    Finding alternatives to toxic "forever chemicals" remains an ongoing issue within the packaging sector.

    April Reese • April 7, 2023
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    Allison Joyce/Getty Images via Getty Images
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    3 years later: How COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of suppliers and workers to the power of big buyers

    A tidal wave of order cancellations in early 2020 had dire repercussions for laborers and their families. The consequences are still being felt.

    Ben Unglesbee • March 31, 2023
  • A DroneUp pilot overseeing drone delivery at Walmart store
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    Courtesy of Walmart press kit DroneUp announcement
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    What drone companies need to do to reach lofty delivery goals

    Zipline and Alphabet's Wing aim to scale up and reach more customers, but it will take more than their internal capabilities to secure long-term success and adoption.

    Max Garland • March 29, 2023
  • pepsico regenerative agriculture emissions
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    Courtesy of PepsiCo
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    Food companies say they can reduce their emissions this year. Experts are skeptical.

    Academics and environmental groups say CPGs’ reliance on regenerative agriculture and carbon credits may not be enough to realistically hit their time-based goals.

    Chris Casey • Feb. 6, 2023
  • Vita Coco
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    Permission granted by Vita Coco
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    Here’s how CPGs are bracing for more volatility in 2023

    Supply chain disruptions are prompting companies to revamp operations to weather a period of prolonged uncertainty.

    Christopher Doering • Jan. 19, 2023
  • The Marco Polo, the largest cargo ship to call at an East Coast port, arrives under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and into New York Harbor on May 20, 2021
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images
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    Amid strike fears, cargo diversion a key fixture in 2022’s supply chain playbook

    The shadow of negotiations clouds U.S. railroads and West Coast ports. Shippers have leaned on less-risky alternatives, despite some drawbacks.

    Max Garland • Nov. 16, 2022
  • A warehouse with rows of packages
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    Courtesy of Medline
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    Holiday hangovers: Retailers seek to clear out inventory piles as the season ramps up

    After declarations about “decisive” actions to clear excess goods earlier this year, levels are still high and markdowns rampant.

    Ben Unglesbee • Nov. 8, 2022
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    Thomas Cain via Getty Images
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    ESG backlash unlikely to derail SEC proposal requiring climate risk disclosures

    One expert said the agency has "vastly underestimated" the amount of money needed for businesses to comply.

    Jim Tyson • Nov. 3, 2022
  • Lithium Mine Processing Plant, Western Australia. Mechanical processing is used to refine lithium spodumene concentrate.
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    jasonbennee via Getty Images
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    How the US plans to transform its lithium supply chain

    With just 3.6% of global reserves, access to the critical mineral is vital to the country’s sustainable energy plans.

    Deborah Abrams Kaplan • Oct. 27, 2022
  • Lana Provost, a UPS package handler, loads packages into a truck at the UPS Centennial Ground Hub on December 6, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
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    Jon Cherry/Getty Images via Getty Images
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    UPS and FedEx rate increases are coming. Here’s how shippers can prepare.

    Experts note that shipping rates are negotiable, but how amenable the delivery giants will be to concessions is up for debate.

    Max Garland • Oct. 26, 2022
  • Operation BBQ Relief driver Joe Myerly uses a lift jack to hand off a shipment of canned green beans to forklift operator Forrest Parks.
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    Permission granted by Operation BBQ Relief
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    How the trucking industry is helping feed a million Floridians after Hurricane Ian

    Operation BBQ Relief drew volunteer drivers from across the country to deliver much-needed food supplies in the storm’s aftermath.

    Colin Campbell • Oct. 12, 2022
  • U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy attends the signing ceremony for the Postal Service Reform Act in the State Dining Room at the White House on April 06, 2022 in Washington, DC.
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    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via Getty Images
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    Louis DeJoy is transforming the Postal Service. Can the agency compete with FedEx and UPS?

    The U.S. Postmaster General isn’t afraid of making big changes. But keeping pace with private parcel carriers is a tall order for the beleaguered agency, experts say.

    Max Garland • Sept. 28, 2022
  • dot's, pretzels, Hershey
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    Retrieved from Dot's Homestyle Pretzels.
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    How CPGs are using M&A to boost manufacturing amid supply disruptions

    While dealmaking often focuses on food or beverage brands, more companies are buying plants to ramp up production, widen an offering’s reach and lessen dependence on outside manufacturers.

    Christopher Doering • Sept. 20, 2022