DuPont: Logistics in the Chemical Industry

Jon Bovit:

Welcome everybody. We’re really excited that you’ve joined us today for the Everstream Analytics Executive Education Series and the Practitioner Spotlight today is with DuPont E&I. I’m your host, Jon Bovit, and I’ll do some introductions as we get going. But again, appreciate you joining today. A few quick housekeeping items, if you have any questions, please use the chat feature, where we’ll take some questions at the end as we go to wrap up and talk about next steps. And just to let everybody know, this is actually the very first in this series that we will be doing, highlighting focus on executive educational topics and specifically on practitioners, in this case, DuPont E&I. But we’ll have others. And if you’re interested, please contact me, Jon Bovit, to let me know if you’re interested in being on the webcast because we have quite a number of folks and I think we have some really interesting topics getting lined up for the future.

This broadcast will be recorded and made available to everybody who signed up. All right, I’m going to continue. Who are the speakers today? Well first is myself, John Bovit with Everstream Analytics. I’ve been working in supply chain risk management and resiliency for around 10 years now. And I have a real passion for the topic and, thus, love working and speaking with other colleagues, both that I work with and clients. And today we have some great speakers for you. Today we have Scott Kessler with DuPont E&I and Sharri Bowman. Scott’s been with DuPont for 30 years, 14 in engineering and technology leadership, 16 in supply chain, with the last four years being in logistics. It’d be great to hear from him. And joining him and is his colleague Sharri Bowman, who is currently a risk management resource expert with DuPont E&I, who has 22 years specifically in supply chain logistics.

I hope you enjoy the discussion today and like I said, please leverage the chat feature if you have any questions for any of us. From an agenda perspective, I’ll cover some risk insight updates from specific issues and risks that are happening around the world. I’ll just highlight a few, there’s so many things going on as we know these days, but I thought I’d pick a few recent and really interesting and relevant ones to everybody and I’ll highlight those. And then I’ll turn the microphone over to Scott and Sharri to cover their section, covering the business challenges they faced, how they approached and what results and what do they plan for the future. I’ll turn it over to them and then at the end, as I mentioned, we’ll take some questions.

As we go in, reminder, the slides can also be available, if you let me know, I can send you a copy of the slides as well. I always get that question. Let me jump in. One of the things I noticed recently in discussions with our team, and we’ve been highlighting this as well for our clients is, I don’t know if anyone noticed, but there has been a chlorine shortage. And what’s fascinating about chlorine… And for those of you that are not familiar with chlorine and its uses, but it impacts all of our lives, it’s heavily used in manufacturing. It’s used for, whether it’s pharmaceutical or life science. It’s used for sanitation and cleaning up sterilization. It’s used for cleaning up drinking water, making water potable. When it becomes a shortage and the prices are going up, it impacts everyone’s life. And what I thought was fascinating is there is a series of events and you could say that climate change and definitely the weather and climate issues have impacted this and it’s an interesting road to discuss.

And how did we get here? And obviously these aren’t the only things that impacted chlorine, but we know that they had big impacts. And it started back in August 2020 when Hurricane Laura went through Lake Charles, Louisiana and impacted the area and destroyed one of the largest chlorine facilities in that area. That kicked it off. And then if everybody remembers the Big Texas Freeze back in February of this year, and that also had compounding effects and it impacted and slowed other chlorine facilities due to power outages, logistical issues. And I don’t know if I was alone, but I was so surprised on when the Texas Freeze… And it only lasted a very short period of time, but how much particularly in the supply chain, and here’s an example too, of how it impacted so many companies, so many people in so many profound ways.

And then just recently, as everyone has experienced, if you live in the Pacific northwest or southwest Canada, you experience this extreme heat wave. What does that have to do with chlorine? As I mentioned, chlorine is used to treat water and when it got really hot, clean water for people to cool down and drink became in big demand. Thus, it increased the demand of chlorine. Again, it became another compounding effect on the demand of chlorine. And if you think about all of these things, these are the causes, the impact was chlorine was hard to get, prices went up and it really impacted that. And I’ve seen, now that we’re in the summer and a lot of people are trying to chlorinate their pool so that their children can swim in both public and private pools, they’re having trouble and getting chlorine. I’ve heard that, as well as the pricing has really gone up. It impacted a lot of different people and I thought you’d all find that very interesting.

Now another big issue recently was the lockdowns, particularly in Asia. And I’ll cover the one in Malaysia, specifically. And because it had such a… Again, one of those, it happened again, I think everybody was thinking things were getting better from on the COVID-19 side and as we all experiencing now the numbers are starting to pick up again. In Malaysia, they actually started, or created, a lockdown a few weeks ago, due to the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. And I think the Malaysian government really took the bull by the horns and, whether you agree with what they did or not, but they took very specific action and put things in a nationwide lockdown. That was in early June. The impact of that for manufacturing was pretty profound. If you look at it, Selangor, I probably mispronounced that sorry, and Kuala Lumpur and there’s a lot of companies from electronics to semiconductors, which we all know have been experiencing supply chain issues over the last year and a half.

And also medical equipment, they literally had to halt operations until mid-July. A lot to do with just labor being locked out. And now the impact of this is that the timeline to getting things back up and running to a normal level remains unclear. I looked yesterday, and I looked again this morning, the best indication that’s coming out from a forecast is around October for things to return to a hundred percent normal. But again, I think it’s all dependent on cases and cases going back down. And I’ll cover how they’re measuring that in a second. But if you looked at the workforce capacity impacts, we actually got some very specifics and it actually impacted 18 sectors, 13 of which could operate at 60% capacity, while five could only operate at 10%. Thus, this really did impact labor force very specifically. We can also look at the timeline or phases that the Malaysian government rolled out for this.

And you can see it started with this total lockdown, no social gatherings, only essential services, workplaces have to support working from home and then it went all the way up, that’s phase one. And then based on the number of cases, daily new cases, they’ll go by these phases. And as I mentioned, I saw, I believe yesterday was the latest update where they were predicting hopefully that phase four, if the cases dropped to 500 or below, that they’ll hit phase four by October. It’s still quite a bit of time and there’s still unknown. I thought this was a good one to discuss because I’ve gotten feedback and we know that a lot of industries are actually impacted, whether it’s your direct suppliers are in Malaysia or your sub-tier suppliers are in Malaysia and these particular impacted areas and, thus, it’s something to really monitor.

Now, as we’re Everstream Analytics, we do have a series of products that can help in these areas and before I pass it to my esteemed colleagues, I’ll just let everybody know that some of this data came from our intelligence solutions and our applied meteorology team, which are obviously are some of our products that we provide to help get access and understand these issues. This is all data that we have and are providing to our clients.

You can also look at getting access and understanding your sub-tier supply chain that could be in these areas or understanding that those sub-tier supply chains can really help you better predict and understand and get visibility to these issues, the mapping and the understanding the sub-tiers combined with the intelligence and risk assessment capability really gives you the ability to sleep better at night and really mitigate. And it really helps as we’ll hear from Scott and Sharri from DuPont E&I shortly. And then finally, we have a newer capability around what we call supply network discovery and that’s where again, we can take your tier one suppliers and start to build out and connect the dots to your sub-tiers without talking to suppliers, doing it automatically. That’s something to consider and, I think, a very powerful capability.

Also, please, there’s a link if you get a copy of the presentation or it can go to our website under special reports, you can download all the latest reports. We just published, I think one or two this week, the Malaysia one and the updates are there. I’d encourage everybody to check those out because it’s really awesome insights. Now with that I’m going to transition to the DuPont Electronics and Industrial team in our Practitioners Spotlight section. Basically, we’d be interested in anyone’s feedback, the four areas that they’re going to cover are a few. The first is what were the business challenges that they faced? What approach did they take to address those challenges? What results and benefits did they observe? And what are they planning for around this and other risk management areas, things that they did and then what are they looking to do in the future? I think these four areas, these four questions if you will, help to frame the discussion. With that, Scott, I’ll turn it over to you. I can get it advanced here. There we go.

Scott Kessler:

Thanks. Jon.

Jon Bovit:

Did I hit two? Okay. Sorry Scott, take it away.

Scott Kessler:

Thanks Jon. This is Scott Kessler with DuPont Electronics and Industrial. The chlorine example is really interesting, how it’s a specific example of a supply chain that was impacted. And when you turn that into the COVID piece and all the different issues that we’ve run in the global logistics crisis that we’re all facing for the last year and a half, specifically COVID and how it impact passenger or flights basically immediately on breakout in February of last year. The global demand surge that ebbs and flows over the last year and really hit us quite a bit in the last, I’d say, six months. Suez Canal and how it impacted the container industry on the ocean side, EMT Import, how the congestion impacted, again, global container transportation and then the Malaysia piece that ties in as well and all the different lockdowns that we’ve experienced. Malaysia’s just one example. For those of you that deal in Asia, like we do quite a bit in Electronics and Industrial, right now we have significant lockdowns in Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, just to name a few that are impactful to us, but it is good example John. Thank you.

From an Electronics and Industrial perspective, we are a segment of DuPont and this discussion is really focused on the experience that we’ve had in the electronics and industrial business. We are a $4.7 billion segment of DuPont and our focus is really on the electronics industry. I have the pieces listed there, but the biggest pieces that we mark that we participate in is semiconductor and the circuit board piece. And then we also have developing spaces in a lot of the others including transportation, healthcare, aerospace. Our focus from a DuPont Electronics and Industrials perspective is material science. We’re a material company and that’s really our focus. We’re really not shipping parts. In some cases we do, but in general we’re not really shipping parts around the world. We are shipping materials. That’s not to say that we don’t use a lot of the different international shipments.

We do use ocean, as well as air, significantly around the world. From a challenge perspective, the big issues that we faced, almost immediately, on outbreak of COVID back in February of last year, was really around visibility. Visibility of mostly international shipments but also from a domestic perspective on the different lockdowns and the clean outs that our warehouses around the world were experiencing and the delays it had on our shipments. The other piece that we quickly got into with the immediate impact on the air industry in that March, April timeframe of last year was really understanding and mitigating risk between modes. It’s not a likely scenario to switch from air to ocean. We understand the math there, you spend a lot more money on air, but the timing is ridiculously different. And with our industry timing is very important. That’s why we’re a significant spend on the air industry side.

But really understanding, not just the cost piece, but the transportation lead time piece and then the other risks associated with the different modes. And then last but not least, the logistics pressures and how the different modes interact with each other. The big impact that we saw with the ocean industry really over the last, let’s say eight, nine months and the impact that it’s had directly on the air industry. A lot of us that have used air for cargo for basically my whole career, we’re competing today with commodities on the air cargo market, which is very unprecedented. And next we’ll turn it over to Sharri and the next slide please, Jon.

Sharri Bowman:

Thank you Scott. This slide here, I’m going to go through what some of the challenges we’ve had globally that are impacting, obviously, service to our customers cost and our networking capital. Obviously the issues that we’re having are a direct result to the global pandemic and then also the strong demand of our products which has increased globally for us. Really what we are seeing today is that we’re having trouble in all modes, air, ocean and truck. And a lot of things that we’re doing is we’re having to assess and address every issue that we’re coming across and they’re unique challenges that we’ve seen, that we typically didn’t see before with what’s going on globally today. Really to overcome and mitigate these hurdles, you would say, we’re basically having to address each situation and we have to be flexible and get creative for this.

I’m going to give you a couple of examples of what we’ve done and the focus is on outbound US to other countries and regions. The first example will be air. We were seeing that our air shipments were taking longer to get to our customers and our warehouses in other locations and the time was up to five weeks longer than our standard transit times. The first step that we did is we really needed to do a root cause investigation, try to understand what’s going on and we did find that there were a couple of factors. One is obviously the increased air shipments, which is due to the economy, is rebounding, and the ocean market being unstable. More shippers are looking to ship air because of the issues that we’re seeing in the ocean. And then also throw COVID in. We saw that we had localized COVID outbreaks at some of our freight partners network and they were limited staffing. That was causing backlogs for us.

For us to be able to address this and keep our freight moving one of the immediate things that we did is we formed a hyper-care team, we got a small team together, our partner was included in that, our freight partner, and we established daily hyper-care calls. This was allowing us to take a look at of all the shipments that we had within our freight partners network and we could have quick visibility of any bottlenecks and we could allow for quick escalation to mitigate the delays. We also were looking at moving freight to alternative airports and that was to help alleviate where we had personnel shortages in certain areas. And then we also looked at implementing alternative freight forwarders. We looked at what other partners out there that we have and who could actually handle some of the specialized movements and air freight that we had such as temp control, dry ice that we could do a quick change temporarily to help mitigate this.

One of the things that we learned in doing this was that we actually identified some process improvements for ourselves through this. One of the things that we did learn is when we moved to a different airport location some of our freight was being delayed still and that was coming up because the local office who always handled our freight, they knew all the nuances of our material. And, if for example we added an incorrect label to our freight, they would just going ahead and taking care of it for us and not really telling us. They thought they were doing a good service to us. Unfortunately, when it was moved to another location, that other location didn’t know how to handle it. One of the things that we put into place with our freight partner is that we have worked together on more communication of issues like that and we’re addressing those internally so that will no longer be an impact to us.

The other thing that we are doing and we learned is that we are working on doing business continuing plans for our sites and our warehouses, but we really need to have a global modal one. We’re working on that. We’re currently assessing the situation that I just talked about, all the stuff that we did, and we’re outlining with our freight partner what worked well, what did not work well so that we could develop a plan for future incidents that may come so that we can react more quicker. Another example that we’re seeing is in the ocean market, which is a good one. For freight movement out of the ports of New York and New Jersey, we’re having a lot of issues of being able to get ocean containers on the vessels. And this is for a multitude of issues. It is that there are equipment shortages, there are drivers who cannot pick up the freight and move it.

We’re seeing the early return date and the late return date of containers ingating into the port changing daily, sometimes hourly, and in some cases they’re moved out two days and then the day that we’re supposed to ingate, the ocean carrier decides they’re going to move it back a day and we’ve now missed that vessel. When you have locations that are further away from the port with short windows of time, that does not allow us to be very reactive. We took a similar approach that we did to the air, we quickly assembled a hyper-care team and we brought our freight partner in and we worked together on a solution. We developed hyper-care calls and we looked at alternatives. We started looking at could we go out of alternate ports, could we look at container pooling so that we would always have equipment. We looked at other ocean freight providers and then we looked at how we were booking our freight.

We are now doing it four to six weeks out and we’re looking at equipment. If I can’t get a 40 foot container then we’ll use two 20 containers. We’re being flexible on that. But the solution that we really found right now for the short term was we started moving our freight closer to the port. We are cross docking this material at a local facility of ours and we actually secured drivers who can handle only our freight to move it. We no longer have that issue, we can’t find a driver. And that was just our short term solution. We’re continuing to work on our long term solution and one of those is that we’re actually working with a niche ocean carrier at an alternate port that is a lot smaller. And they have the equipment for us, they have the drivers, so that we can get that in place and get our freight moving.

Some of the other ways that we’re working to mitigate all of our modes and all of our shipments is that we do utilize tracking and tracing. We do it through a couple of different platforms. FourKites is probably one that a lot of people are familiar with. We utilize those. One thing that we have seen in all of this is that not all carriers are updating those platforms timely. We don’t always have a hundred percent of that information at our fingertips. We still do need to utilize manual reports and reviewing those for track and in tracing. But for the ones that we do have that allows us to have the visibility of our shipments and the delays that may potentially come up and we’re able to notify our customers of the delay in advance so we can say to them, “Your shipment will not be here tomorrow as you expected. It will be there the following day.”

And if that is not acceptable, then we have time to react and see if that we can maybe rescue that freight and find an alternative solution to meet the customer’s needs. The other thing that John had touched on is we do utilize the Everstream Analytics. We do have our suppliers, our contract manufacturers, warehouses, plants, all into the tool as nodes and when events come up that could potentially impact our freight, we’re sending those communications out to the proper teams within our group. If it’s a raw material suppliers having issues that may be impacted, I’m reaching out to our raw material buyers and also our logistics team so that they’re aware of this and we can start talking about what we can do to mitigate.

I touched base that we are doing pre-booking of ocean shipments four to six weeks out and we’re doing the same in truck. For dray, for sites, we are booking those 14 days in advance and for package truck domestically we’re looking at five days. We’re trying to give as much time available to our suppliers and we’re also trying to have ease of business with them so that it’s easy for them to pick up our freight, move it and then they can move on to their next stop that they need to do. And then the last thing that we’re doing is we are continuing to keep communication open with our freight partners. We have a great group of partners that work with us and we bring them in with us when we have an issue so that they can be a part of the solution with us and we can work together as a team. And this allows us to be successful in meeting our customers expectations and then also helping to mitigate any delays that we have in our logistics. Next slide please.

Scott Kessler:

Thanks Sharri. Nice job. From an overall risk management perspective, for those of you that have dipped your toes in the risk management space, the key is monitor, accept, mitigate. Make a choice when you’re aware of an incident and what you want to do about it. And it’s not about paralysis by analysis, it’s really about what do you want to do with this situation? And it has to do with assessing how large the situation is and the impact on your supply chain and then also what options you have to deal with it. This is something that the Everstream tool has really helped enable us to do, to identify what those risks are around our networks and our nodes around the world. We picked up from one of our most recent mergers, this event management process, which is really how do we become aware of all the situations that could potentially impact our supply chains around the world?

That’s one of, from my perspective, the big advantages that we get, getting that information in real time. Basically it’s a follow-the-sun concept in that you get information on your specific network because it’s mapped into the Everstream tool and how it could potentially impact you. You heard Sharri talk a bit about the hyper-care process. Again, that’s something we picked up. The term itself is something we picked up from one of our recent merges.

But it’s really something we used to call in the old DuPont the war room process. Which, the idea is it’s a team concept and it’s really about getting the right people in the room on a routine set discipline frequency and everybody bringing the cards on the table, you’re showing the cards on the table and let’s talk about what’s going on. And the big piece that really enables us to be successful, from my perspective, is that we also bring our partners into the room. And that makes a huge difference on whether it’s a freight forwarder, a freight forwarder and a carrier, freight consolidators, warehouse folks that have to do crossdocks for us to be able to deal with shipment by shipment in real time.

And that’s really the focus on a hyper-care. What we call a hyper-care processes is a shipment by shipment focus and that allows us to have the conversation about the key constraints. Sharri talked about, we’ve been having a real bad time on the east coast with dray because they’re not necessarily scheduled in advance. It’s something you typically schedule on an as needed basis and in the North America truck market now in Europe too, it’s developing and becoming rather difficult for us as well. But in the North America truck market day by day shipments don’t work. You have to book in advance. The other piece that Sharri talked about is we’ve been on a journey from a track and trace perspective, since actually before COVID we started this journey, because when we find out shipments are late, it’s typically from the customer and that’s not acceptable in our market.

We’re a very high customer service market. We don’t want to spend more than we have to just like the rest of you. But our focus is really on customer service and what we’re finding is that even the track and trace processes that we were putting in place prior to COVID, and then we’ve actually made some good progress during COVID as well, they’re not very robust. When carriers get as busy as they are right now, they’re not always updating their systems. We put manual processes in place to be able to make sure we have the best information in these hyper-care processes. And that’s something clearly we have to work out and resolve coming out of this COVID piece.

The last piece on this chart I wanted to address is really the sensing techniques. Since the beginning of this crisis we’ve been having a lot of discussions, not just with our existing partners but also potential partners, other freight forwarders that we don’t use that are obviously interested in the business and having conversations about what are they seeing. To me, John, on one of the slides here has us listed as experts and I think that’s ridiculous. Definitely not an expert in this field, but we’re definitely interested in learning and that’s what we’re trying to do and what you heard from Sharri, on the previous slide, is really we’re trying to figure out how do we learn faster than the competition and be flexible because we are forced to be flexible on a shipment by shipment basis. Next slide please John.

This is around results and benefits. The Everstream tool has enabled a lot of this work, but really number one under network visualization. Basically, identifying the choke points, where do we have issues? Not just the port of New York but what specifically it really has to do with the issues we’ve been having recently are mostly around the terminals for the containers.

Incident monitoring, I talked about that already. That’s been a huge benefit to us and really it has to do with proactive communications with our partners and customers, but also improving our reaction time, having conversations as it’s developing instead of after the fact and, “Oh crap, we have a shipment that’s late already.” We’re able to get down in the tool. But also with our supply chains we have a lot of different nodes. We operate in a lot of different countries around the world. Complexity is extremely high, but with the tool it allows us to get down specifically to a country, region, city, in some case industrial areas within a city to be able to identify is there going to be direct impact on our supply chains and in some cases on our partners.

Next slide please John. From an evolution perspective, Sharri and I have talked about this already in several pieces, really medium and longer term piece. During the crisis we haven’t been able to advance the risk management process like we’d like to because we’ve been really caught up, just like a lot of you have, in the crisis management piece and really the acute bleeding. Some of the things we’ve done to advance our risk management plans is including our suppliers in the model from an Everstream perspective. Now we get alerts that are direct related to, not just country region, but also specific area like location within an industrial complex to our suppliers. As a lot of you know, a lot of supplier shortages, whether it be related to their raw materials, so getting supplier, supplier kind of thing, as well as logistic issues that they’ve been having problems with.

The chart that Sharri addresses, as well, we’re doing a lot of rescues for customer freight forwarders and carriers, but also for suppliers. The interaction with some of our suppliers is where they handle the logistics. And in some cases they’re not capable of meeting our needs so we have to step in and help out with that. Again, that’s where the hyper-care process comes in. We are working on business continuity plans. We’ve started this process before COVID. We haven’t made the progress that we’d like to as part of the COVID issues and the acute planning, but we have made progress and I’m pretty proud of the team, and Sharri’s leading that for us on making progress on our key suppliers. And really now we’re evolving it into the autopsies, if you will, on the air and ocean markets and saying, “What could we do better next time? What issues have we experienced? What process have we improved? What’s left to do? What other pieces can we work on to help improve that process?”

Another big piece, but it’s in the details, is really refining our lane contingency models. With key partners we’ve had contingencies, multiple carriers set up for lanes as part of our bid processes for our major modes. We don’t use rail a lot, so truck, ocean, air. But we’ve really learned that, as part of COVID, that those contingency plans we had in place were not adequate for the extent and the scope of the crisis that we’re in today. Making sure we rework those processes is definitely in our medium to longer term plans. And how do we evolve that on an annual basis? Our bid processes are typically annual, so looking at the different carriers. And really in our industry, one of the problems that we face is it’s very difficult to measure customer service well. A lot of times, when you’re doing bids like that, you’re really focused on cost.

That is not our interest. Our interest is really around customer service. Again, we want to use our size to buy well and to buy as good if not better than the competition. But our focus is really on customer service and that’s hard to measure and the bid processes are not set up well to be able to handle that. That’s definitely something we need to improve upon. Data, it really ties in with that. It’s part of the bid process but also the ongoing key performance indicators and key performance meetings that we have on a routine basis, in most cases, at least monthly with our key suppliers with freight forwarders as well as warehouse providers around the world to be able to monitor the process but also improve our execution. And then last but not least on this slide track and trace. We have to figure out. We started this process with track and trace before the pandemic, before COVID and honestly some of the things worked well and some of them didn’t.

Before we can finalize our plans and continue down the path that we charted before COVID, we need to recognize the shortcomings that COVID has identified. Carriers aren’t updating their websites, but also the EDI connectivity with the freight forwarders on what we would say on a real time basis. How are we going to deal with that? Because we need real time information. I can’t afford to tell a customer the material’s going to be on time and then they go out on a carrier website and that carrier happened to update their website and it shows that it’s actually going to be late. That’s not okay. We need the best information and we need it at our fingertips when we want it. And that’s definitely part of that multiple pieces here data, as well as track and trace. And when we think of risk management, track and trace is part of our risk management plan and it really gets back to the fundamental of why we started this program in DuPont Electronics and Industrial, which is typically when we have a late shipment, we find out about it from a customer.

I shouldn’t say typically, but it’s common. That’s not okay. In our world, in the electronics and industrial space, we need to be able to identify where shipment is going to be late and then can we do something about it and then have that dialogue with our business partners, but also in some cases with our customers to say, “Here’s the options, how big of an impact is this going to be and what options do we have to address it prior to it happening?” That’s really what we want, is we want to turn into that proactive response on the logistics side. And I think that’s it. John, next slide. Yeah, I think that’s it.

Jon Bovit:

All right, thank you. Really nice job both of you. With that, I think we’re going to wrap up and we’re getting near the top of the hour. Thank you again, Sharri and Scott, really appreciate it. I know we got some really good attendance and got some questions so the audience was definitely engaged. Thanks everybody. We will, again, continue this series and thanks for everyone for attending. Please send us any feedback. We welcome that. Thank you everybody and have a nice rest of your week.

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