This week's round-up from the world of supply chain and procurement.
The maximum weight of a box of products customers of Target will be able to have shipped to their doorstep the next day for a flat fee in the American retailer’s new pilot scheme. The Target Restock programme, a rival to Amazon’s Pantry, which was launched in 2014, could be tested as soon as next month. Holders of Target’s Redcard will be able to choose from 8,000 products, varying from household essentials, to beauty and personal care items and dry grocery products. The fee has not been announced but Target says it will be competitively priced – Amazon charges $5.99 per box for its Pantry service.
The current rate of inflation in Venezuela according to the IMF. The stand-off between President Nicolás Maduro and his opposition has led the country to the brink of civil war. Economists don’t all agree with the IMF – some say prices are only going up by 330%, while others put the real rate of inflation at 2,200%. As bad as that sounds, it isn’t the worst rate of inflation suffered since World War II. In 1946, prices in Hungary skyrocketed by 41.9 quadrillion% a month: effectively prices doubled every 15 hours.
The American patent renewal fee Catherine Hettinger, inventor of the fidget spinner, could not afford to pay in 2005. Even though tens of millions of these toys are now being shipped worldwide, Hettinger is not making a penny out of something she invented, when she was stricken by an autoimmune disorder one summer, to entertain her seven-year-old daughter. The fidget spinner has been banned from many schools although it has been shown to help calm autistic children. Hettinger let the patent lapse when Hasbro, which had been testing the toy, decided not to manufacture it.
The annual revenue Unilever hopes to generate in a joint venture with Europe & Asia Commercial Company to tap into the consumer goods sector in Myanmar, a frontier market of more than 50m people. Neither company has disclosed the cost of the investment but Unilever will have the majority shareholding. The move reflects the struggles many global brands are facing when trying to win market share from local brands in emerging economies. In beer, for example, despite the presence of Carlsberg and Heineken, Myanmar Brewery is thought to have 80% of the market. South East Asia is already Unilever’s most profitable market.
415 cups of coffee
The budgeted consumption of coffee per day by members of Bon Jovi and their crew on the group’s This House Is Not For sale tour. That is one of the smaller expenses on the tour which costs an estimated $10.4m to stage. Around $4.6m is spent on leasing the light, sound, video and motion control equipment – each concert features 225,000 programmed video and lighting cues. The next biggest cost is catering: a $1m spend to feed 75 full-time and 80 local crew members. Fans wealthy enough not to be living on a prayer can pay $1,750 for a package that includes a front row seat, backstage tour, pre-show party, and a USB with the concert download.
The loss made by Mitsubishi Motors in the financial year ending in March 2017. The company had been rocked by revelations that it manipulated test data to make some cars look more fuel efficient than they were. Now 34% owned by the Nissan group, Mitsubishi expects to bounce back quickly, predicting a profit of around $6bn this year. The two automakers plan to cut costs by jointly operating factories and procuring auto parts.
The amount of time the owners of Simon, the 1m-tall giant hare that died recently on a United Airlines flight, say the animal may have been kept in a freezer in Chicago after the flight from London landed. The hare had been acquired to win the world’s largest rabbit title at the Iowa State Fair this summer and its owners may sue United. The airline says Simon didn’t die in a freezer: a spokesman insisted it was seen moving around its kennel 35 minutes after landing but was later found dead. Guy Cook, lead attorney for the pet’s owners, said: “United Airlines can issue any statement they like but their credibility is under question when they immediately cremate the giant rabbit Simon without anyone’s consent.”