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: […]

Time-Critical Shipments Speed Up

Time-Critical Shipments Speed Up

Calculating the optimal route for time-critical shipments used to take a nail-biting 30 minutes or longer. Thanks to a new routing solution, created by technology company Airspace, shippers can calculate the best path for transporting goods to their destination at the lowest cost and risk. The platform spits out results in less than one second—a […]

Vertical Focus: Food & Agriculture

Vertical Focus: Food & Agriculture

Reimagining the Future of Food The agriculture industry should consider these changes to prepare for inevitable future disruptions, a CropLife report says: Redesign. An ultra-responsive supply chain is needed to keep up with changing trade policies and supply dynamics. One example: Nutella’s hazelnuts come from Turkey, its cocoa from Nigeria, and its sugar from Brazil. […]

Buddha Brands Embraces the Philosophy of Supply Chain Integration

Buddha Brands Embraces the Philosophy of Supply Chain Integration

Buddha Brands, a provider of plant-based food and beverage products, including Hungry Buddha keto bars and Thirsty Buddha coconut water, has seen tremendous growth during the past decade. To sustain its success, however, the company needed more robust integration between its electronic data interchange (EDI) solution and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Tonya Jackson: Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Tonya Jackson is senior vice president and chief supply chain officer with Lexmark, a creator of imaging solutions and technologies. Responsibilities: Worldwide supply chain operations, including supply planning, global sourcing, hardware and supplies manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and managing shared service centers. Experience: Vice president, global supply chain operations; vice president, supplies operation and engineering; all […]

Andrew Bruce

Blockchain Brings Value to Touchless Supply Chains

With supply chains forced to operate on thinner margins, digital transformation is leapfrogging business priorities. The time to act is now. But onboarding proven technology to confront COVID-19-related challenges can feel as daunting as the pandemic itself.

Rob Harvey

Supply Chain 4.0 Needs Order-to-Cash 4.0

Industry 4.0 has been given a renewed sense of urgency following the pandemic. Industry 4.0 refers to the massive changes we see across every industry as a result of new technologies, such as smart sensors, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). By extension, we see a technological shake-up with supply chain 4.0 and cash management 4.0.

E-Shoppers: It’s a Mall World

E-Shoppers: It’s a Mall World

Online shoppers across the globe are buying from marketplaces and international retailers, relying more on digital devices and seeking alternate delivery options, according to the latest UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study. Almost all online shoppers in the markets surveyed shop at marketplaces—third-party e-commerce sites that let multiple merchants sell products. In Mexico, 99 […]

Energy Management: The Next Step in Supply Chain Optimization

When considering new ways to optimize their supply chain, many large enterprises—like UPS, Amazon, Walmart, and FedEx—first focus on technology enhancements. Hyperautomation, artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing, 5G, and virtual reality are the latest ways to fine-tune transportation, shipping, and logistics to meet customer demand and improve profitability.

Amping Up the CX

Amping Up the CX

Shippers and their logistics partners deploy supply chain and customer experience strategies to rock their customers’ world.

Keith Biondo

Think Big, Act Small

Business disruption is creating disproportionate opportunity for mid-size forwarders, logistics solutions providers, and 3PLs. The maxim “He who is closer to the customer wins” is in play here. Says who? A recent survey by Barclays/BOD on the state of logistics confidence levels finds that “larger companies have generally found things more difficult than smaller ones, […]

Taylored Fulfillment Services Acquires U.S. Operations of Toll Global Logistics

Taylored Fulfillment Services, a national third-party logistics (3PL) provider based in New Jersey, acquired the U.S. operations of Toll Global Logistics, a $8.7 billion Australian logistics company, boosting its position as a top provider in the United States. The acquisition triples Taylored’s footprint in key distribution areas, which are located near the ports of Los […]

Freight Does a Forward March

Most professionals say they expect COVID-19 to shape their supply chain into the medium term. The pace of change will be unlike anything since 2008, accelerating existing trends and shifting priorities, says a Ti and Bollore Logistics survey. Key findings include: 28% of respondents say they plan to shift volumes away from air freight in […]

Home Improvement on a Winning Streak

Home Improvement on a Winning Streak

The pandemic continues to boost sales for home improvement retailers as consumers spend much of their time at home. Total retail sales in the category were up 11% in July 2020 year over year according to the Department of Commerce (see chart), and consumer spending in the home category soared in April 2020 after stimulus […]

Tara Meier

What Is the Best Method to Measure Customer Satisfaction?

Q: How is Ruan’s Customer Satisfaction Program structured? A: At Ruan, customer satisfaction is one of our five guiding principles. Ruan believes in developing strong partnerships by understanding our customers’ stories and continuing to improve our service as their needs evolve. And the best way to know if we are achieving that goal is to […]

Air Cargo’s Gradual Takeoff

Air Cargo’s Gradual Takeoff

The gradual movement toward recovery to pre-COVID market conditions continues for the global air cargo industry (see chart), according to data from CLIVE Data Services and TAC Index. Year-on-year growth for the full four weeks of August 2020 showed a further narrowing of the gap in international air cargo volumes to -17% versus August 2019. […]

Procurement Practices That Pay Off

Procurement Practices That Pay Off

How do you know you’re paying the right price for the right level of service? Accurate business intelligence will drive sound strategies that deliver on core business goals.

Lori Harner

Control Tower Capabilities—Redefined

Q: What is a control tower? A: There are many definitions of a control tower in the market today. Some are analytics overlays without a network to get data or application intelligence. Some provide one functional area (e.g. planning) and encompass internal operations and maybe tier 1 providers. These can sound helpful but won’t get […]

Shaping Future Supply Chains

Shaping Future Supply Chains

Supply chains face an evolution that will change how chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) operate, according to a Gartner report. The following trends will shape the supply chain’s future, the report says: 1. The rise of digital business. Many CSCOs struggle to create a holistic digital roadmap. At the same time, they face pressure from […]

Macy’s Parades Digital Lead

Digitally mature retailers better reacted to COVID-19 disruptions, finds a study by tech company Incisiv. Based on performance along the customer journey, the study names the top North American apparel retailers in digital maturity: Overall 1. Macy’s 2. Kohl’s 3. Neiman Marcus 4. Target 5. Nordstrom 6. Ann Taylor 7. Chico’s 8. J.C. Penney Co. […]

The Need for Shipping Speed

Consumers now make 58% of their purchases online since COVID-19 began compared to just 32% before the pandemic, and many will spend more for expedited shipping, says a LaserShip survey. The study reveals: Gen Z and millennials are more likely to shop at new retailers if expedited shipping is provided compared to older generations. 40% […]

Bindiya Vakil

Reshoring Starts with Mapping Suppliers

When the book How COVID-19 Changed Supply Chains is written, it will include chapters on reshoring—bringing manufacturing back to the United States—and nearshoring—bringing them closer to home. But there won’t be a chapter titled “How COVID-19 Ended China’s Manufacturing Dominance.”

Expedited Carriers Guide 2020

Demand for expedited shipments has exploded during the past decade, thanks to e-commerce growth and the Amazon Effect. That demand has accelerated even quicker during the pandemic.

Picking an Inventory Solution

With the right inventory management solution in place, businesses can flex and adapt quickly regardless of market conditions, challenges or shifts in their business models. These 8 tips by Oracle NetSuite will help you pick an inventory management solution that positions your business for success.

Easing E-Commerce Pain Points

Easing E-Commerce Pain Points

Although key logistics capabilities are needed to build and maintain successful e-commerce operations, few brands excel at them, according to a study from Geodis and Accenture Interactive. The study highlights: E-commerce acceleration: Brands estimate that e-commerce in 2020 will represent nearly half of their sales. Before COVID-19, companies were making 34% of their sales online. […]

Supply Chain Checklist for a COVID-19 World

While the uptick in revenue from online sales during the pandemic has been positive, shippers still face ongoing challenges acquiring raw materials and tackling last mile delivery. Companies are now in a position where they need to hedge against having too much inventory and working capital tied up, while seeking the necessary agility and resilience […]



The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement to drive mutually beneficial trade among the three countries. Thomas Insights answers some key questions about the agreement. Why is a North American trade deal so important? Mexico and Canada are the United States’ biggest export market, supporting 12 million American jobs and […]

NOTED: The Supply Chain in Brief-December 2020

Sealed Deals COVAXX, which developed a synthetic peptide-based vaccine to fight COVID-19, partnered with Maersk for transportation and supply chain services to deliver the vaccine around the world once it receives regulatory approval. BMW Manufacturing selected Penske Logistics as the lead logistics provider at its South Carolina plant. Penske will help optimize inbound and outbound transportation of parts to and […]

IN BRIEF: New Services & Solutions-December 2020

Products The new XG4 rugged mobile computer from Janam Technologies is designed for scan-intensive applications. The lightweight device is ideal for workers performing supply chain functions, including inventory management, stocking and replenishment, shipping, receiving, and cross docking. The OpteBulk from ORBIS consists of a pallet, sleeve, and top cap to keep product loads safe and secure. Allowing for maximum […]

Fleet Electrification Offers Opportunity in Shipping, Logistics

Electrification is driving transportation to become more sustainable and innovative. For shipping and logistics managers, electric trucks (e-trucks) offer opportunities to advance supply chain efficiency, decrease operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, improve driver safety, adhere to carbon emission regulations, and potentially monetize energy by establishing predictable long-term costs and grid services. The market for e-trucks […]

How to Protect Your Supply Chain from Cyberattacks

Supply chains have been stretched to their limits by COVID-19 lockdowns, border closures, and sudden shifts in consumer demands. Now, they’re facing a growing threat from hackers. According to the FBI, cyberattacks have surged by 400% during the pandemic. One of the top targets: supply chains. In 2019, there were around 300 major hacks on […]

Paul A. Myerson

Omnichannel and Supply Chain Work Together for Competitive Advantage

The days of going to a department store to shop for a TV, viewing the options, and making a purchase now seem quaint. The emergence of the internet, smartphones, social media, and other technologies has opened a world of new options for consumers and businesses to review, research, and buy online with ever-increasing delivery choices.

Innovator of the Year

How much does Dave Cox believe in building partnerships with clients? Enough to walk away from a million-dollar account that wasn’t interested in the same goal.

Keri Corbin

Top Priorities for 3PL Warehouse IT in 2021

Q: When looking ahead to 2021, what’s the number-one priority companies should make to stay competitive? A: Since labor is the most expensive component of the business, we say start there. Smartly planning your resources to best suit the needs of the company and the company’s digital transformation and customer experience goals is paramount. Barcoding […]