Afternoon Coffee: Prices to ship sugar, coffee and copper soar; Just-in-time supply chain strategy to persist; SaaS-y expert/troll analyzes Amazon’s cloud business

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Rarely has the world seen such expensive prices to move sugar, coffee and copper globally by sea, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Shortages of 40-foot steel shipping containers has mixed up global supply chains for commodities, hiking prices for some raw materials. Investors and economists have been on the watch for signs of inflation after governments and central banks flooded markets with cash to help the Covid-19 pandemic economy. As of now, there hasn’t been a big increase in consumer prices.

But trading houses are facing pressures, the article said. Firms like UK-based metals merchant RJH Trading Ltd. are paying high rates to secure space on vessels. They are also facing delays at ports in Asia, where the scarcities are most apparent. These shortages have lengthened delivery times and raised prices for specific commodities.

“The main reason why it’s feeding through to the metals price is (that) freight has to be paid for,” Charles Swindon, RJH’s managing director, told the WSJ. “There isn’t the ability to ship metals out of not just Asia, but from anywhere at the right place and the right time.”

Survey: Just-in-time supply chain strategy will likely persist even after mass industry disruption

Although many theories are thrown out over just-in-time supply chains following the Covid-19 disruption, a survey found that 46% of supply chain professionals have no plans to increase inventories within the next two years, according to Supply Chain Dive.

The Gartner survey assessed answers from 1,328 supply chain professionals to create predictive insights for the future of supply chain. Although some have no plans to increase inventory, another 43% are investing in safety stock, with 11% planning to do so within the next two years, the article said.

The survey also asked about indicators to supply chain resiliency. The top responses were order fulfillment cycle times not being disrupted, positive consumer feedback, and perfect order fulfillment metric not significantly disrupted.

The survey said just-in-time supply chains likely aren’t going anywhere. The article reported that 47% of respondents disagree that lean supply chains will be less applicable in future strategy while 19% agreed and 34% remained neutral.

Corey Quinn is the consultant changing how cloud computing is viewed in the market

Cloud computing and the professionals within it are not known for humor or big personalities. But consultant Corey Quinn is changing that narrative, the New York Times said.

Quinn consults for customers of Amazon to help them shrink their cloud computing bills. Quinn is part tech analyst, part internet troll and part watchdog. His weekly newsletter for 21,000 subscribers makes geeky jokes for cloud computing insiders. Quinn’s specialties include scrutinizing, analyzing, explaining, mocking and defending Amazon’s cloud unit, the article said.

In the New York Times article, they explore ideas of cloud computing and criticism that may be warranted. Check out the article and the comments for an in-depth analysis of cloud computing and the role it should and will play in the future.

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