Welcome to the Precision Software News Round-Up: 6 April 2018. This week China retaliated against the US with a modest $3 billion in tariffs, DHL launched its cubicyle in the UAE, warehouse robot Chuck received $25 million in financing, and we learnt that logistics spend should increase to $1.6 trillion by 2020.

Supply Chain & Logistics

Digital Supply Networks Still In Early Stages

Companies are aware of the benefits of digital supply networks (DSNs), but most have are slow to change. That’s the finding of a study, Embracing a Digital Future, by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). Deloitte and MAPI surveyed over 200 manufacturers. Just over half — 51 percent — say that their DSN adoption is above average compared to competitors. However, only 28 percent have actually adopted DSN solutions. Deloitte’s Stephen Laaper stated that although manufacturers can see the benefits of DSNs many are having difficulty identifying which technology will provide the most value. The survey also found that supply chain visibility was the overriding concern for most manufacturers. For more on this, click here.

$10.6 Trillion Global Logistics Spend by 2020

Research by global market research company Frost & Sullivan has found that global logistics spending is to increase to $10.6 trillion in 2020. Perhaps unsurprisingly, transportation will account for 70 percent of this. The report also found that because transportation — particularly the last mile — is so costly, providers have looked at a variety of solutions to fulfill deliveries within cities. Read the full story on Logistics & Materials Handling.

Global Trade

China Responds To US Tariffs

This week the Chinese government responded to US tariffs by announcing tariffs of its own. Although far short of $60 billion in tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump, China will imposed tariffs of $3 billion. The move appears to be a surgical strike, affecting products like pork, fruit and wine. This should encourage farmers to complain to their representatives, which in turn may put pressure on President Trump. For more on this, see The Washington Post.

Retail

New Regulations for UK’s E-Commerce Sector

E-commerce distributors in the UK are to be subjected to new regulations from 2019. Authorities are seeking to recoup billions of pounds in unpaid duties. The new law will come into effect next April. However, e-commerce fulfillment companies must register with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs by June 2018. It is thought that the government has been shortchanged by up to £1.5 billion in unpaid VAT and customs duty. The new laws apply to small business owners and those selling online from home as well as large logistics operators. There is a £3,000 penalty for breaches of the new law. For more, see The Loadstar.

Carriers 

DHL Launches Cubicycle in UAE

DHL has launched a cargo bicycle for urban deliveries in the UAE. The cubicycle can carry a load of 125 kg (276 lb) and will be used in the inner cities. This should help reduce both emissions and traffic congestion. In addition, the bikes should allow for quicker and more efficiently deliveries through busy urban spaces. DHL has already replaced a number of delivery vans with cubicylces in some European countries. Read the full story here.

Transportation

How Banks Can Control Parcel Shipping Spend

In the latest Precision Report we look at how banks can reduce their parcel shipping spend. Banks are some of the world’s biggest parcel shippers and costs are increasing at a significant pace — largely driven by retail e-commerce. However, financial institutions must balance the need for economy with factors such as security, visibility and customer satisfaction. To read the full report, please click here.

Technology

$25 Million Financing for Order Fulfillment Robot

Technology company, 6 River Systems, has received $25 million in financing for “Chuck” — a mobile robotics platform for warehouses. Chuck will work alongside warehouse staff helping them to fulfill e-commerce orders. The robot will deliver goods between different parts of the warehouse. This should allow warehouse staff to pick orders while Chuck brings goods to packing stations. 6 River Systems has around 100 of their robots already working across ten sites. Menlo Ventures led the Series B round of funding, along with existing investors. For more see, Robotics Business Review.