In this week’s Thomas Index I’m going to cover what we call the “Thomas Index Four by Four.”. These are four product or service categories that have seen an upward trend in sourcing activity in the Thomas Network at Thomasnet.com, for at least four weeks running. First up is the category of flexible metal hose, which has seen an increase in sourcing activity for five consecutive weeks. Sourcing activity for wastewater treatment services has also been on a steady rise at Thomasnet.com. While most industrial and commercial activities produce some level of wastewater, in the developed world there’s been a recent focus on minimizing wastewater production, or recycling that wastewater back into the production process.
The fact that we’re still seeing an upward trend in sourcing for treatment services may indicate that those particular sustainable initiatives are presenting a tough challenge. Next up in the four by four is the category of adhesive tapes. With so many different types of tapes being used for countless applications throughout industry, many factors could be driving this upward trend. First, with the huge growth of online shopping, the packaging industry is growing – and growing with it is the demand for pressure sensitive packaging tape. Second, as auto manufacturers are on a constant quest to reduce vehicle weight, they’re turning to the next generation of specialty automotive tapes to help lighten the load. Rounding out the Thomas four by four this week is the category of transportation brokers, also referred to as freight brokers.
According to Keith Biondo of Inbound Logistics – a Thomas publication – there are 3 factors helping to drive the upward trend in sourcing for transportation brokers. First, Hours of Service regulations, or “HoS,” are limiting the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road. Second, the government’s ELD mandate, or the “Electronic Logging Device” mandate, will go into effect this December, and depending on which carrier you ask, this will reduce logged miles for drivers by anywhere from five to ten percent. Third, indicators are that the economy is expected to grow in 2018, which will increase demand for freight services – a demand that will grow while factors such as HoS and ELD shrink capacity. Clearly, it looks like shippers that need to move freight are trying to get their ducks in a row for 2018 right now. Check out InboundLogistics.com for more on this topic.
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