In the Precision Software News Round-Up: 31 August 2018, Canada is out in the cold as the US and Mexico announce a trade deal; President Trump rejects the EU offer of zero car tariffs, and we look at the challenges of last mile delivery in the Precision Report. Also this week, Iran slashes the price of crude; ParcelForce trials self-service shipping kiosks; UPS launches a tech company to match SMEs with warehouses; and Target’s in-store fulfillment strategy pays off.
The big news this week came on Tuesday when the United States and Mexico announced they had reach a trade agreement. Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland rushed to Washington to try to save NAFTA. US and Canadian officials claimed to be optimistic that a deal would be done by Friday 31 August. President Trump is pushing for this date to accommodate a 90-day waiting period under US trade law. The deadline would allow the deal to go through before Andrés Manuel López Obradoran takes office as Mexico’s new president. However, it is not known if this deadline is firm. A Canadian no-deal scenario would significantly impact the Canadian economy. The US is Canada’s largest trading partner. In addition, three quarters of Canadian exports go to the US and Mexico. For more on this, please see The Guardian.
PRESIDENT TRUMP REJECTS EU OFFER TO SCRAP CAR TARIFFS
US president Donald Trump has rejected a European Union offer to remove tariffs on cars. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that the EU would reduce car tariffs to zero if the US reciprocated. However, President Trump told Bloomberg News that the offer was not “good enough” because Europeans do not buy American cars. “The European Union is almost as bad as China, just smaller,” he remarked. For more on this, please see Bloomberg.
IRAN’S CRUDE OIL EXPORTS PLUMMET
Iran’s crude oil exports dropped below 70 million barrels this August. Top customers, including China and India, have reduced the number of barrels bought from Iran. The plummet in sales comes months before the second round of United States sanctions comes into effect on 4 November. From November, the US wants to cut Iranian oil imports to zero. The US plans to leverage these sanctions to force Iran to negotiate a new nuclear agreement. The National Iranian Oil Co responded to the drop in demand by slashing the price of crude oil. It set the official selling price for heavy crude for September loading at the biggest discount since 2004. A number of buyers, as well as banks, have already stopped trading with Iran. For more on this story, please see Reuters.
Target has reported that their digital sales grew 40 percent year over year. Executives says that this is due to their in-store fulfillment strategy. "Our strategic plan includes significant investments in the physical infrastructure of our stores. This is because our stores will continue to be the key fulfillment note for our guests whether that's a traditional store trip, a drive-up order, an in-store pickup order, a trip by a ship shopper or a traditional e-commerce purchase ship from a local Target store," explained John Mulligan, Target's COO. The company has also invested in sending stores customized shipments through "flow centers" which should, it is claimed, reduce the workload of unloading and restocking items. For more details, please see Supply Chain Dive.
ParcelForce Worldwide is to trial self-service shipping kiosks. The kiosks allow customers to print labels as well as pay for shipping and should reduce the time needed when sending items from depots. The trial runs until Friday 14th September 2018. For more, please click here.
This week, UPS launched a new technology company called Ware2Go to connect SMEs. Ware2Go will “match” merchants with warehouse. "This is really a technology and platform company – more than a services business – with merchants on one side, looking for order fulfillment capabilities, warehouses looking to fill space appropriately. We wanted to build that using the best of both worlds," explained Nick Basford, vice president of global retail and e-commerce strategy for UPS. Ware2Go does not have set fees because services vary. You can read more on this story here.
There is one challenge all shippers face: getting last mile delivery right. Whether you ship around the world or across a city, to businesses or to consumers, ensuring your deliveries reach the end-user in a timely fashion is critical. In the latest Precision Report we look at the complexities associated with last mile delivery. We also look at how global shippers can meet those challenges while controlling costs and meeting customer expectations To read the full report, please click here.