July 2016 | Commentary | Checking In

6 Cool Things I Learned Editing This Issue

Tags: 3PL, Warehousing, Logistics, Third-Party Logistics, Supply Chain

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

This summer is a scorcher here in New York. Luckily, this issue is chock full of cool things. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. We asked logistics and supply chain professionals to explain what they do in terms a five-year-old would appreciate. You'll find their way-cool answers here.
  2. Like baseball, logistics is a game of inches. Check out what happened when Westinghouse Electric Co.'s logistics team had to navigate a precarious stretch of a railroad track that bent around a warehouse. It was transporting a gigantic steam generator that threatened to hit the warehouse on that bend. The solution? Tear down the wall! Even then, the oversized cargo cleared the warehouse by only two inches.
  3. Sometimes it comes down to inches, but logistics is about playing the long game. That same Westinghouse Electric logistics team had five years to move two steam generators 150 miles from the Port of Charleston to a nuclear generating station near Jenkinsville, S.C. It needed every one of those 1,800-plus days to plan and complete the journey, which ended up requiring them to rebuild a too-narrow bridge, lower a railroad bed, and break down more walls.
  4. Ice cream makers are venturing far from plain vanilla solutions to lick supply chain complexity. For example, Salt & Straw changes the menu at its stores every four weeks, continually introducing unique and unexpected ice cream flavors (two scoops of wasabi, anyone?). To get such diverse products churning through its supply chain, Salt & Straw blends local sourcing with advance planning.
  5. Another sweet logistics solution is Penske Logistics' non-stop support of Ford's aluminum recycling program. Working with aluminum supplier Novelis, Penske runs a 24/7 trucking operation to make sure aluminum coil and scrap constantly flows to both automaker and supplier for this unique closed-loop cycle. It's sustainability on multiple levels—materials, manufacturing, and even driver retention. And the supply chain drives it all.
  6. Technology continues to be a supply chain differentiator. As cloud networks and IoT connect even more nodes in the value chain, shippers stand to gain unprecedented visibility. And this is where a 3PL relationship leaves its mark. As hundreds of shippers told us, best-in-class technology makes their 3PLs extra cool.

Anything cool going on in your supply chain this summer? Drop me an email at editor@inboundlogistics.com and share the chill!