Squeezing Every Cent from a Barrel of Oil

Squeezing Every Cent from a Barrel of Oil

July 13, 2021

A barrel of oil is no longer a leaky cask. Rather, it is an economic concept.

As a result, creating value along the supply chain has evolved from streamlining operations to exploiting operational and commercial synergies. The emphasis has shifted from vertical integration and expertise in specialized energy sectors to a tightly coordinated system in which every opportunity to increase profit margins is pursued. The agile system has the potential to quickly address supply-and-demand imbalances through access to energy storage and a focus on spot sales rather than long-term contracts. A certain quantity of oil can only be produced once, but it can be traded multiple times to maximize profit throughout the supply chain.

 


Video Spotlight: Difficult Cooperation in the Oil Industry


This post is based on the Forbes article, Is a Complex Value Chain Squeezing Every Cent from a Barrel of Oil?, by M. Ashraf, June 23, 2021, and the YouTube video, The Terrifying Oil & Gas Shock of 2021|$10 Gas Spike, by MHFIN, July 5, 2021. Image source: Grassetto/iStock/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why are vertical integration and specialization along energy product lines outdated? Are those systems essentially “leaky” barrels?

Guidance: Rockefeller, the Continue reading

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USPS Plans to Deliver Changes to Mail Services

USPS Plans to Deliver Changes to Mail Services

The US Postal Service (USPS) is planning a service overhaul to stem its losses.

The overhaul includes replacing one-to-three-day first-class mail with one-to-five day, consolidating mail processing and postal locations, cutting hours at some retail locations, moving more first-class mail by trucks instead of airplanes, going all-electric for last-mile delivery, and increasing postal rates.

A previous OM in the News post explained additional changes being made, as part of its overall efforts to redesign services, to cut costs and revamp USPS operations.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Reuters article, U.S. Postal Service proposes revamp; plan would slow some mail, by David Shepardson, March 23, 2021, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Scott A. Frangos

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the issues that USPS is able to address by revamping its services?

Guidance: To address delivery delay, USPS is standardizing the first-class mail delivery requirements from one-to-three days, to one-to-five days.  To reduce costs of operations, more first-class mail will be moved by truck, mail processing and postal locations will be consolidated, and all-electric fleets will be Continue reading

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Big Ship Creates Big Backlog

Big Ship Creates Big Backlog

When the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal, its gigantic size became a gigantic problem.

To support an ever-expanding global trade, ship size has been increasing for decades. Today, the largest ships can carry between 18,000 and 24,000 containers.  A larger cargo makes perfect economic sense because the cost of shipping one container decreases as cargo capacity increases. However, when things go wrong, big ships mean big disruptions in an already strained global supply chain. It is estimated that the stranded ship held up 12% of global trade at an estimated cost of $9.6 billion a day. This financial and logistic threat, along with more elusive cost savings in the future, may signal the need for fresh ideas in global shipping.

 


Video Spotlight: The Ripple Effects of the Backlog


This post is based on The New York Times article, Why the World’s Container Ships Grew So Big, by N. Chokshi, March 30, 2021, and the YouTube video, Cargo Ship Freed from Suez Canal, but Shipping Backlog Could Last, by CBC News: The National, March 29, 2021. Image source: (c) Glow Images/SuperStock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Will the short-lived blockage have a major Continue reading

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