In the QAD Precision News Round-Up: 26 February 2021, President
Biden orders review of critical supply chains; Germany reports
strong Q4 — as does Macy’s; Brexit delays worsen in the UK — and the
EU wants to reset relations; plus cold chain distribution and more.
US President Joe Biden is set to order a review of critical supply
chains. Mr Biden wishes to reduce US dependence on China and other
rivals. The executive order will require federal agencies to conduct
100-day reviews of supply chains for critical items. These include
rare earth minerals, electric vehicle batteries, semiconductors and pharmaceuticals.
In addition, the President’s executive order will call for separate
one-year reviews for six sectors — biological preparedness; defence;
energy and food production; IT; public health; and transportation. For
more details on this news item, please see The
In the final quarter of 2020, the German economy grew by a better
than expected 0.3 percent. This result was due to strong exports and
construction activity, according to the Federal Statistics Office.
Furthermore, the office revised its 2020 full-year GDP figure upward
to a fall of 4.9 percent — slightly lower than the 5 percent initially stated.
Last year, the German economy contracted by 5.3 percent. This was a
much smaller contraction than many other European countries. In 2020,
there was an overall state budget deficit of €139.6 billion or 4.2
percent of gross domestic product, the office said. This marked the
first deficit since 2011. For more information, please see RTE.
According to a recent survey of UK supply chain managers, delays
importing and exporting goods to and from the EU have worsened since
January. A survey of 350 supply chain managers found that two out of
three had faced delays of two to three days importing goods into the
UK. In January, however, only 38 percent reported delays in a similar
survey. A third reported that delays were “significantly longer” than
in January. Furthermore, 28 percent said “slightly longer” and 15
percent said delays were of a similar length to January. Only 18
percent of those surveyed by the Chartered Institute of Procurement
& Supply (CIPS) reported no delays or fewer delays. For more
details, please see The
Reports this week claim that senior EU figures are considering a
major change in relations with the UK. This reset would coincide with
the formal ratification of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA)
at the end of April. This would involve both the UK and EU working
towards a number of solutions on problems stemming from the Northern
In addition, this would also seek to address other areas of tension
including the status of the EU's delegation to the UK. According to
senior figures, this could be the start of a more harmonious
relationship. For more details, please see RTE.
On Tuesday, Macy’s reported its first quarterly profit in a year. The
retailer has concentrated its efforts on reducing inventory as well as
its dependence on low pricing.
In Q4, sales declined to $6.78 billion from $8.34 billion the
previous year. However, this was better than the $6.5 billion
forecasted by analysts. Macy’s same-store sales declined 17.1 percent
compared to the previous year despite double-digit online growth. This
was better than the drop of 21.3 percent forecast by analysts.
Furthermore, e-commerce sales grew by 21 percent in the period. Macy
stated that digital sales accounted for 44 percent of net sales. For
more details, please see CNBC.
DHL Freight and Volvo Trucks have joined forces to accelerate the
adoption of zero emissions heavy duty trucks in Europe. Electric
trucks are currently in use for shorter distances. This partnership
will pilot the use of zero emissions trucks for longer, regional transportation.
A pilot scheme, kicking off in March, will use a fully electric Volvo
FH truck, which will operate between two DHL Freight logistics
terminals in Sweden, a distance of approximately 150 km one way. The
trial will allow Volvo and DHL to gain insights into how electric
trucks will perform in daily road freight operations, including load
weight and access to charging points. For more information, please see
The world received some very good news last week when it was
announced that the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine can now be stored
at -15 degrees to -25 degrees for up to two weeks. This is normal
medical freezer temperatures. Previously, the manufacturers had stated
that the vaccine was to be stored at ultra-low temperatures of around
As a result, more medical settings will be able to store and
distribute the vaccine. This should assist to speed up the vaccine rollout.
A number of other coronavirus vaccines are also sensitive to
temperature. For example, if the Moderna vaccine is stored at -20
degrees it will remain viable for up to six months. However, the
vaccine can be stored at between 2 to 8 degrees for 30 days, and at
room temperature for 12 hours.
The global distribution of the various different Covid-19 vaccines is
a logistics operation like no other. However, many pharmaceutical
manufacturers contend with complex life sciences logistics. In this
QAD Precision Report we examine the challenges of shipping products
that are sensitive to time and temperature. To read this week’s
report, please click here.
On Thursday 25 March 2021 at 3pm GMT /10am EST, QAD Precision is
hosting a 30-minute webinar on the importance of restricted party
screening. To register for the webinar, please click here.