You’ve Got Drone Mail

Many drone delivery services involve dropping packages on the ground outside of homes and businesses, making them vulnerable to theft and bad weather. That’s where the smart drone mailbox comes in. These new mailbox concepts, developed by startups Valqari and DRONEDEK, involve a technology-enabled container that receives and stores packages in a secure, climate-controlled box […]

Keith Biondo

The President’s 2021 Trade Policy

The Biden Administration’s new trade policy report is filled with laudable goals such as beating COVID-19, American family relief, and the Build Back Better initiative. But should these goals be the basis of U.S. trade policy or negotiating position with other countries? Do our economic competitors enter into trade negotiations with the United States with […]

Sail Like the Wind

Sail Like the Wind

The Frisian Sea, a Dutch cargo ship, made its maiden voyage using two compact wind-assisted propulsion units that can be easily moved into position or stowed. The technology has the potential to improve operating efficiency and environmental performance in the shipping industry. The 388-foot vessel, owned by Boomsma Shipping, was retrofitted with eConowind’s VentiFoils wind […]

Lee Rector

WMS Must-Haves: Adaptability, Scalability for Efficiency and Profit

Q: What do you consider to be the primary commercial advantages of a contemporary WMS? A: The DNA of a WMS should be adaptable, fast, affordable, and scalable to offer a low entry point into the warehouse versus Tier 1 solutions, while at the same time providing a platform that expands exponentially according to the […]

Coping With Blank Sailings, Surcharges & Spikes

Coping With Blank Sailings, Surcharges & Spikes

From its position as a global third-party logistics provider, SEKO has unique insight into air and ocean trends. For one, global restocking is lowering the odds of a slack season in 2021, says Brian Bourke, the company’s chief growth officer. In a media call, SEKO execs shared their perspective on the following challenges facing manufacturers […]

4 New Rules for Retail

4 New Rules for Retail

While the grocery and home improvement sectors benefited from changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic, apparel and department stores struggled. Consequently, the following new rules will come into play for retailers in 2021, says a Deloitte report: 1. Digital investment should go beyond differentiation. Many retailers have jumped on the digital bandwagon (see chart), […]

Vertical Focus: Automotive

Vertical Focus: Automotive

From iPads to e-Cars Apple is moving forward with self-driving car technology and plans to produce a passenger vehicle equipped with its own battery technology by 2024, Reuters reports. Central to the company’s strategy is a new “monocell” battery design that could radically reduce costs and increase the vehicle’s range, the report says. However, making […]

Cold Chain Takes a Shot

The freight industry is tasked with transporting an average of 271 million ultracold and cold COVID-19 vaccine doses per month. At least 857 temperature-controlled trucks will leave Pfizer and Moderna manufacturing facilities or distribution centers each month, says an ABI Research report, and delivery will get more complicated after large urban and suburban areas are […]

Freight Spending Soars to Record Highs

Freight Spending Soars to Record Highs

Truck freight spending in the United States reached record highs in Q2 of 2021, jumping 10.1% over Q1 levels, says a recent U.S. Bank report. While all regions experienced double-digit growth in spend, different geographic areas and industries emerge from the pandemic at different paces, the report shows: Northeast: Freight shipments rose 1.5% in Q2 […]

NOTED: The Supply Chain In Brief March 2021

Sealed Deals Lifestyle products and services company Urban Outfitters selected TGW to design and implement an automation solution for its new fulfillment center in Kansas City, Kansas. TGW’s FlashPick system uses the smart robot Rovolution, which picks orders automatically and ensures the next phase of picking is being addressed. FlashPick allows Urban Outfitters to use […]

Boosting Supply Chain Visibility

With the explosion of e-commerce delivery demands and shifts in supply chain practices, visibility is more important than ever. Here are tips to help you understand your end-to-end supply chain and optimize your business.

Silencing Self-Doubt and Building the Next Generation of Women Leaders

This year’s International Women’s Day got me thinking about the challenges I have faced throughout my finance and logistics career. While routinely being the only female in meetings has never intimidated me, I have experienced moments when an idea or question I’ve posed was overlooked, only to be raised by a male colleague and then […]

Glenn P. Clinger III

5 Steps to Process Improvement

I was involved in logistics and transportation for more than 25 years and spent the last 16 of those years with a large apparel corporation’s private fleet. During that time, I cannot remember a single year when the private fleet did not have to defend its existence. Each year the argument seemed to escalate until the cost reductions started.

Richard G. Piontek

4 Strategies for Effective Cross-Border Logistics

With a wave of overseas supplier disruptions due to COVID-19 and resulting supply shortages that bottlenecked operations across the supply chain, many companies are considering nearshoring to Canada and Mexico to minimize risk and potential disruptions.

If you were writing a book on the supply chain in 2020, what would you call it?

If you were writing a book on the supply chain in 2020, what would you call it?

The Shift from Efficient to Effective. 2020 was a gut punch to any supply chain organization that pursued operational efficiency without keeping a pulse on the risk factors that threaten disruption. Effective supply chains designed out risk by addressing safety, security, and reliability vulnerabilities. —John Reichert, Senior Director, Supply Chain Execution Solutions, Tecsys The Wake-Up […]

Jamin Dick

It’s Time to Upgrade Your Tech Capability

Many manufacturers and business-to-business (B2B) companies are built around large volumes, making them traditionally slower to adopt e-commerce; yet, it’s becoming imperative to do so. Customer expectations are evolving, and the pandemic highlights the need for more supply chain flexibility and visibility.

Vertical Focus: Personal Care Products & Cosmetics

Vertical Focus: Personal Care Products & Cosmetics

What’s In Store? In-store shopping accounted for up to 85% of beauty product sales in most major markets before the pandemic, finds a McKinsey report—even millennials and Gen Zers made almost 60% of their cosmetics purchases in stores (see chart). What will happen to physical beauty product stores in the future? About 30% of premium […]

Ken Bays

Achieving a Sustainable Returns Program

A good returns management program is a sustainability effort in itself. The right approach can improve value recovery, increase efficiency, and lower transport and labor costs, all while reducing your carbon footprint, food and landfill waste, and fossil fuel consumption.

Keith Biondo

Buddy, Can You Spare a Can?

According to a CNBC investigation, shipping lines rejected U.S. export containers worth hundreds of millions of dollars during the last quarter of 2020. Empties were loaded and shipped back east to be filled with Chinese exports. But press reports blaming “congestion” are off the mark. Those empties are getting moved and loaded on ships somehow. […]

Charles Sauer

Rail Price Controls? Ridicule the Thought

In 1980, CNN, fax machines, and camcorders made their debut, and for the first time since 1887, the rail industry was deregulated. Today CNN has many competitors, fax machines have been surpassed and their technology incorporated into other products, and camcorders are not only cheaper, almost all of us carry a better quality one in our pockets. Also, rail rates are 44% lower, and the market is flourishing.

Do you expect a resurgence in reshoring to the United States? Why or why not?

Do you expect a resurgence in reshoring to the United States? Why or why not?

No. I don’t expect a significant increase in reshoring. I do expect a significant increase in multi-sourcing of key products in the supply chain. Reshoring to a significant degree requires huge infrastructure changes that I do not believe today’s consumer is ready to fund in price increases and reductions in convenience. —Bill Denbigh Senior Director, […]

John Thielens

How Ransomware Kidnaps Supply Chains

The volume and sophistication of cyberattacks has increased in recent years, but even more so with COVID-19 and the shift to remote work. Most notably, there has been a particularly concerning rise in ransomware attacks.

An All-American Leader

Growing up around a family-owned business, establishing a tireless work ethic, and pursuing an early career as a teacher helped shape Jessica Tyler’s "open book" leadership style. Long before Jessica Tyler became an airline executive, she was an educator. "My earliest understanding of relationships and engagement came from being a teacher and coach," says Tyler, […]

Trucking Relationships: In It for the Long Haul

Trucking Relationships: In It for the Long Haul

Supply chain disruption is testing relationships between shippers and their core trucking carriers. Here’s what transportation partners are doing to preserve their ties—today and for the future—in challenging times.

Sylvia Wilks: Kicking the Tires

Responsibilities: Build a quality supply chain from scratch that disrupts the market, drive a culture of continuous process improvement, and lead TireHub into the future as part of the executive business team. Experience: Chief procurement officer, Kimberly Clark Corporation; executive roles in global sourcing, supplier relations, international supply chain, soluble coffee operations, and other functions with […]

Puerto Rico: Go with the Flow

Puerto Rico: Go with the Flow

The “Made in America” initiative, a highly skilled workforce, and transshipment capabilities are beckoning shippers to take advantage of the flow of commerce to the island—a sometimes-overlooked domestic market for U.S. manufacturers.

Jon Chorley

Building Coherent Enterprise Architecture

During the past few years, in order to stay competitive, many companies turned to so-called “control towers” and shiny new objects like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and blockchain as the answer to modernization and competitive edge.

Steering ArcBest with Values and Trust

To achieve her goal of aligning the resources of a 100-year-old company to better meet customers’ evolving needs, Judy R. McReynolds draws on her strategic and value-driven leadership skills.

Steve Cernak

Revisiting Brand Management Policies

The recent health crisis has increased online sales and expanded the kinds of products shipped to consumers. As consumers, shippers, and retailers get more comfortable with online commerce, the trend away from brick-and-mortar sales will likely continue, even after the health crisis eases.

Mary Lamie

How the National Freight Strategic Plan Can Benefit Shippers

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently announced the first-ever National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP), a historic initiative that will benefit shippers and others buying transportation and logistics solutions by delivering more affordable, efficient, and reliable options to move cargo.

Krenar Komoni

2021: Next-Generation In-Transit Visibility

To optimize visibility for all customers using in-transit visibility solutions, Tive has launched the Open Visibility Network (OVN) starting with project44 and FourKites. Q: What is the Open Visibility Network? Is it open to anyone (tech providers, carriers, shippers, etc.)? A: The Open Visibility Network is the collection and sharing of critical shipment data across […]

Uncorking Last-Mile Bottlenecks

Uncorking Last-Mile Bottlenecks

Companies sometimes get jammed up trying to move goods to customers’ doorsteps efficiently, safely, and quickly. Here’s a look at last-mile innovations that help break the deadlock.

Developing Supply Chain Resiliency

A single fault line in the supply chain can disrupt events farther down, including the last mile. Here are ten tips for developing and maintaining a supply chain that is resilient as well as easy to scale and optimize.

Karen Leavitt

Robotic Automation: Now Is the Time to Deploy

Q: Are you seeing growing interest in the use of robots in distribution and warehouse operations? A: Absolutely. Since the early onset of the pandemic last year, there has been a notable increase in the number of companies looking into adding robotics and automation to their fulfillment operations. The pandemic caused a dramatic shift to […]

Sean Harapko

Disruption Reinvents the Supply Chain

As COVID-19 has changed our world, there has been a dramatic shift in how supply chains are viewed within an organization. Today, the supply chain is increasingly recognized as an area where companies have the most to gain or lose.

Brian Kennedy

Crafting a Notable Job Title

A job title is more than just the name of the job you do. It is a badge, a ranking, a symbol of your worth within the particular company you work for. As the growth of the supply chain and logistics sector increases year after year, so does the competition for a notable supply chain job title.

NOTED: The Supply Chain in Brief-2021

Sealed Deals Third-party logistics provider FM Logistic was awarded a contract from Pepperfry, a furniture and home products marketplace in India, to provide omnichannel logistics services in the country’s western region. FM Logistic will handle warehousing operations at Pepperfry’s Bhiwandi warehouse. To help The Ocean Cleanup map harmful plastic, Maersk will deploy scientific sensor technology […]

11 Supply Chain Predictions for 2021

11 Supply Chain Predictions for 2021

We got through 2020 with creative pivots and operational adjustments. In 2021, Many supply chain challenges will persist—from capacity constraints to increasing complexity. the prognosis? A year ahead with ample opportunities for addressing inefficiencies with renewed creativity and digital directives. Experts weigh in on 11 prognostications.

Working Like a Dog to Fill Pet Food Surge Orders

Working Like a Dog to Fill Pet Food Surge Orders

When significant growth at all-natural pet food company The Honest Kitchen compelled leadership to rethink its omnichannel logistics strategy three years ago, the company turned to long-time partner Saddle Creek Logistics Services for solutions.

SerVaas Laboratories Cleans Up with Business Intelligence

SerVaas Laboratories Cleans Up with Business Intelligence

When a company’s employee roster lists just about 100 workers, yet its products are sold in about one dozen countries, timely, accurate sales and inventory data is critical. Business intelligence (BI) solutions, however, have traditionally exceeded the budgets of small and mid-sized companies.

New Google Maps Feature Gets a Green Light

New Google Maps Feature Gets a Green Light

Google Maps can not only help truckers and passenger vehicles find the quickest route from point A to point B, but now it also gets them there greener. Google has introduced a series of new features including eco-friendly routes that provide Google Maps users with more fuel-efficient navigation. The app determines fuel consumption for every […]

Felecia Stratton

A Valid Question

Recently I was interviewed for a popular supply chain and logistics blog. The interviewer asked this question: Has the name of the magazine been a deterrent because it doesn’t encompass the full breadth of content you provide? A valid question. My answer: It has not been a deterrent, but sometimes it does need explanation. So […]

Keith Biondo

From a Modest Beginning

Having covered logistics for more than four decades, Inbound Logistics has promoted and encouraged companies to adopt demand-driven logistics practices, and reported their progress driving the evolution of traffic management to supply chain management. The key development in that process was accepting a sea change in business management: Don’t plan and push your product at […]

Optimizing LTL Shipping

Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipping is critical to everyday commerce and is an economical way to ship palletized or loose freight. Here’s how to do it well.

Robert Walters

Data Management—Vital Today – Freight Management Inc.

Years ago, I named my business “Freight Management” but today it should be called “Data Management” since that seems to be the business in which we find ourselves. Driven by competitors, by our clients, and by our own imagination, the effective collection of information can be invaluable if properly used and directed. But there are […]

Larry Hargreaves

Managing Transitions Effectively to Enhance Project Success

Q: Why is transition management so critical? A: The effectiveness of the transition depends on how well the change is managed. It is essential to have a documented project plan and a dedicated project manager with experience across multiple disciplines. Their job is to manage the process, hold the team accountable, and develop a formalized […]

Vijay Natarajan

Converging Order and Logistics Management on One Platform

Q: Order management systems relate closely to supply chain management by better matching demand to supply. What are the new developments in OMS? A: Today’s technology empowers brands to offer a range of diverse, quality products, as well as customizable delivery or omni-channel fulfillment options to their customers. Doing so cost-effectively has always been a […]

Clark Cassell

E-Commerce Trends Drive Automation Initiatives

Q: Do you think the adoption of automated systems will increase with the accelerated e-commerce penetration rate? A: Based on what we have seen in the past several months, the answer is a resounding yes. Someone a long time ago said, "necessity is the mother of invention." I recently had a 3PL prospect, who is […]

Inventory Management: Two Key Indicators to Improve Warehouse Operations

Inventory Management: Two Key Indicators to Improve Warehouse Operations

Your warehouse is your company’s barometer: It measures the health of your sales, as well as its fluctuations. That is why good inventory management, including optimizing the flow of goods and sales forecasting, becomes essential if you want to avoid product shortages and overstock. Monitoring the turnover and coverage rates will help you limit the […]

Raul Alfonso

New Directions in U.S.-Mexico Trade and Logistics

Q: Why is trade with Mexico so important and where do you see the opportunities? A: Mexico is already the United States’ second largest trading partner, with two-way trade in goods totaling over $615 billion per year. The recent implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), combined with global sourcing strategies resulting in more nearshoring […]

Hannah Testani

The Three Trends Driving Supply Chain Efficacy in 2021

Change is the one constant in supply chain management. And today, shippers need a flexible, agile, and data-driven process to control freight spend. Given the state of last year’s record-breaking e-commerce growth and the uncertainty in the market today, it’s essential to know how a few trends will shape the rest of 2021 and build […]

137 Tips for a Fully Charged Supply Chain

137 Tips for a Fully Charged Supply Chain

Inbound Transportation 1. Dive in with your suppliers. Ask what cost and efficiency benefits your vendors are providing by using their carriers or shipping schedules. The customer pays one way or another, so push for carriers that demonstrate service and reliability, not those who move operational or cost inefficiencies from a vendor’s dock to the […]

Mode Shift to Eliminate Supply Chain Disruption

Mode Shift to Eliminate Supply Chain Disruption

When supply chains require unique equipment and depend on damage-free, on-time service, partnering with a carrier such as PITT OHIO, that can execute mode optimization strategies, can impact the success of your business.

Dave Maddox

Build Supply Chain Resiliency with Digital Transformation

Q: How has the pandemic revealed shortcomings in supply chains? A: The pandemic highlighted the need for a resilient supply chain. The companies that best weathered this crisis were able to make informed decisions and collaborate across their supply chain to minimize the impact of the disruption. It’s clear that adopting an integrated transportation management […]

Supply Chain Recovery Starts with Hygiene Compliance

Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, supply chain leaders have been challenged with ever-evolving conditions and circumstances, especially for manufacturers responsible for producing and delivering essential goods during a time of crisis. In addition to supply shocks that have the industry rethinking supply chain models, hygiene has also moved to the forefront in […]

Chad Crotty

Outsourcing Helps Close IT Gaps and Meet Milestones

Q: To meet new and changing shipper demands, what areas of focus should be the highest priorities for tech investment by carriers in 2021? A: One challenge we’re witnessing right now is the increasing need for carriers to provide more realtime visibility of a shipment’s journey. Carriers have begun taking steps to do just that […]

4 Ways to Include Deskless Logistics Workers in Your Digital Strategy

Supply chains are undergoing unprecedented restructuring driven by competition, demand shifts, and trade wars—circumstances further accelerated by COVID-19. The resulting pressure on profits forces logistic functions and companies to evaluate ways to innovate, lower costs, and increase long-term resiliency. Logistics industry leaders are meeting this challenge by embracing digital transformation through innovative digitalization plans. But […]

Brandon Buckley

Speed, Reach & Flexibility Are Critical to Supply Chain Success in COVID Era

The pandemic has vastly accelerated the growing digital commerce space. Reports show ecommerce leapt years ahead in progress in just months with spending up 30% from the beginning of March through mid-April 2020. A rapid change in customer behaviors, driven by the pandemic, led to an explosion in social commerce, a faster evolution of omni-channel […]

Matt Turner

Agility, Data, and No-Code: Three Trends for the Future

Q: How are new technologies shaping the future of the supply chain? A: Advances in data integration, IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are changing every part of the supply chain. These technologies can link systems and enable you to: Deliver better customer experiences with end-to-end order data and item status from multiple systems. Automate […]

Senthil Murugaiyan

Scaling SCM Ecosystems—Boardroom Insights

Q: Can you reflect on your last customer transformation experience and the takeaways from that engagement? A: Modernizing ecosystems while keeping up the ongoing business operations is the reality of every business. The current ecosystem, future solution expectations, and resource models are the drivers that determine the program’s pace. Practical challenges in the transformation include: […]

How to Identify the Blind Spots in Your Supply Chain

As the global economy has become more interconnected, supply chains are increasingly complex and distributed. This allows companies to work with a broader range of suppliers and source materials on demand, which has made supply chains more efficient and reduced costs. However, modern supply chains also pose more daunting logistical challenges than they used to—with […]

Technology Adoption Is a Must for the Trucking Industry in 2021

As all industries experienced the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, those involved in freight and supply chain management realized digitalization transformation efforts had to come first in order to mitigate disruption and better prepare for the near term. Here are three areas where I foresee major changes in the coming months. Route Optimization and AI/ML […]

NOTED: The Supply Chain in Brief-January 2021

Sealed Deals CEVA Logistics and Italian publishing company Mondadori Group signed a contract to extend their partnership for another five years. The CEVA Logistics Italia team will continue to manage consumer orders, concentrating operations in a dedicated warehouse in La Città del Libro (City of Books), where it will handle 30 million book copies and 65,000 titles each […]

Warehouse Trends Resulting from the Pandemic

Warehouses have been evolving for years and this year has been no exception. While experts might have been able to predict some of the trends that would take place in 2020, what they couldn’t predict was just how fast those trends would accelerate and impact the industry as a result of COVID-19. From changes in […]

Are We Ready to Deliver the COVID-19 Vaccine?

In March 2020, as the dynamics of a pandemic arrested American healthcare systems both in their capacity to deliver care and sustain supply availability, health systems around the world enacted their emergency preparedness protocols. Very quickly, medical, pharmaceutical and health organizations became aware of how effectively they had planned for these most extreme conditions. A […]

Surging Optimism Buoys SMBs

Surging Optimism Buoys SMBs

Despite the upheaval businesses experienced in 2020, optimism has now surged past pre-pandemic levels, and many leaders from small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) report being well-positioned for growth in the year ahead, says Umpqua Bank’s annual report. Key findings from the survey include: Positive Outlook Positivity has roughly doubled since 2020, with expectations for economic […]

Revisiting 2020

This was a year like no other for supply chain and logistics management. here’s what we’ll remember about 2020.

Going the Distance

Going the Distance

As we move into 2021, social distancing is a top priority for C-level executives. While they manage their business with social distancing, the protocols aren’t ideal for productivity, finds a survey by consulting firm West Monroe. More than half say they primarily work remotely to avoid social distancing, and 40% say it’s the biggest hindrance […]

DHL Shares Strategy for Peak Season and Beyond

E-commerce is up 65% year over year, and expected to surge more than 50% during the busiest peak week, according to Chet Paul, senior vice president at DHL Express; Kraig Foreman, president at DHL Supply Chain; and Craig Morris, chief information officer at DHL eCommerce Solutions. In a media call, the DHL execs shared how […]

Intermodal Bounces Back

Intermodal Bounces Back

Strong intermodal volumes will continue as retailers replenish their inventories, says CSX Transportation and Canadian National Railway (CN). Intermodal traffic, which halted with the rest of rail volume when the pandemic began, bounced back faster than carload volumes and is surpassing 2019 levels. U.S. intermodal volume was up 10% and CN’s intermodal business was up […]

Top 25 Healthcare Supply Chains

Top 25 Healthcare Supply Chains

Johnson & Johnson maintains its No. 1 spot on the Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 list, which recognizes companies that advance healthcare by improving patient outcomes and controlling costs. Baylor Scott & White Health, Johns Hopkins Health System, Indiana University, and Biogen join the ranking for the first time. The healthcare leaders in 2020: […]