DHL Debuts Retail Store

DHL Debuts Retail Store

DHL Express opened a new 1,500-square-foot ServicePoint retail store in Southern Florida. The facility is the first exclusive DHL-branded retail store in the United States. The international shipping service plans to open additional stores in other U.S. locations as international trade rebounds. "For years, Miami has been the up-and-coming gateway city to Latin America as […]

Robotics-as-a-Service Automates Order Fulfillment

Robotics-as-a-Service Automates Order Fulfillment

THE CUSTOMER Ecentria is a technology-enabled e-business platform and the corporate parent of OpticsPlanet, CampSaver, and USIQ—purveyors of high-performance and technical gear and leading destinations for enthusiast customers of the greater outdoor, sporting goods, and tactical consumer markets. THE PROVIDER inVia Robotics is aSouthern Californiarobotics company founded in 2015 that provides next-generation warehouse automation solutions. […]

Flexibility for the Win

Flexibility for the Win

A majority (73%) of retailers say that artificial intelligence and machine learning can add significant value to their demand forecasting processes, and more than half say it will improve other critical supply chain capabilities, finds a global supply chain study from LLamasoft. In contrast, underperforming retailers have not moved away from strategies designed to find […]

Master Class in ROI

Master Class in ROI

Large companies invested $153.4 million on average to transform their supply chain in the past three years, but only 10% of leaders became "masters" in achieving a profitable customer experience, according to a survey from Accenture. Successful companies took the following steps, according to the study: Customer-first approach. They base their supply chain strategy on […]

Jon Daniells

Power of Prevention: Compliance Audits

Organizations historically performed supplier contract audits to monitor and manage contracts and ensure all parties meet their agreed-upon terms. This includes finding past billing errors and recouping funds when overbilling is identified.

Cold Storage Heats Up

Cold Storage Heats Up

Booming e-commerce and online grocery sales during the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for cold storage warehousing space in North America, but developers are not building fast enough to meet demand, says a new report from commercial real estate services firm Savills. Keeping up with demand: Developers are not building fast enough to meet demand, […]

Focus on the Future

Robert Johnson is a collaborative leader and considers himself part of the team. His advice: “Don’t assume someone else is steering the ship” and “treat the company as though you own it.”

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, consumers plan to do their holiday shopping earlier this year, a Voxware survey reports, which may bring significant challenges for distribution centers. Key survey findings include: 51% of consumers expect to start holiday shopping earlier than normal in 2020. 57% plan to have more gifts shipped directly […]

Ryan Richard

Online Grocery Shifts into Hyperspeed

The retail grocery industry was upended by the COVID-19 outbreak. As consumers rushed to stock up on food and other items during quarantine, retailers and their partners collaborated in new ways to respond to skyrocketing demand.

Meat Supply Chain: Where’s the Beef?

Meat Supply Chain: Where’s the Beef?

Facing empty meat cases thanks to COVID-19 shortages, many consumers are flipping to plant-based meat alternatives. Companies are responding to the demand with relish, producing brands that taste more and more like the real thing, but not without sizzling supply chain challenges.

David Pignolet

Three Ways to Mitigate Insider Risk in Your Supply Chain

“Insider threat” has long been a familiar security topic for C-suite executives in every industry. In fact, 90% of organizations feel vulnerable to insider attacks, according to IBM. Yet, when creating risk mitigation programs for insider threats, many organizations overlook their nonemployees—the people who work for their third-party vendors, partners, and contractors.

Taking Up Space

Mark Wiese works at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida as manager of the deep space logistics Gateway program. Responsibilities: Provides project management expertise and strategic vision for spacecrafts, launch vehicles, and integration services to advance NASA’s Gateway lunar orbiting platform. Oversees integration of commercial logistics missions to the Gateway. Experience: Management, logistics, and […]

2020 Summer Reading Guide

2020 Summer Reading Guide

Whether you’re looking for an enlightening read in the sun or taking your learning indoors this summer, these books will help you catch the latest wave of logistics and supply chain conversations.

Keith Biondo

What Can 3PLs Do?

Can third-party logistics (3PL) providers bring chaos to order? Or order to chaos? For starters, they can help you wrangle and bring some order to the current COVID-caused confusion in your logistics process. We’ve been reporting on how logistics partners can help you solve complicated business challenges and leverage opportunities long before “3PL” was a […]

NOTED: The Supply Chain in Brief-Aug 2020

Good Works Qatar Airways Cargo is offering free service to charities for transporting medical equipment, humanitarian relief, and essential products through December 2020 to help deliver goods where they are needed most. The airline also donated 2.2 million pounds of freight to select customers to give to charities of their choice. Penske Logistics donated trucking […]

IN BRIEF: New Services & Solutions-August 2020

Products Safe Load Testing Technologies’ new Tilt Testing Tool evaluates load stability for over-the-road transportation. Detachable for easy handling, the tool lets shippers validate a load’s stability by tilting it. Shippers who want to remove lithium-ion powered recorders and trackers from their loads due to safety concerns have a new option with the Tive Solo 5G Non Lithium-Ion […]

Antony Lovell

5 Ways to Attain Resilience

The pandemic caused unprecedented demand disruptions as lockdowns swept the globe. What could we have done better to prepare for a scenario as unexpected as the one created by COVID-19?

Paul A. Myerson

Traditional Retail Supply Chains Tackle Omni Challenges

Distribution centers (DCs) traditionally shipped orders in bulk to retailers or wholesalers. In the early days of e-commerce, most retailers used a small area in an existing DC to fulfill online orders or outsourced the process to a third party. As online demand grew, many retailers opened fulfillment centers dedicated to picking and packing individual orders shipped to individual end users. DCs and fulfillment centers have much different types of operations and cost structures.

Vertical Focus: Home Goods

Vertical Focus: Home Goods

Furniture Polish During March 2020, online browsing for furniture increased by more than 200% as illustrated by a 242% increase in online browsing for desks, a 260% increase for outdoor furniture, and a 205% increase for home decor, finds a new V12 survey on how consumer shopping behavior is changing in response to the COVID-19 […]

3PLs Coming to the Rescue

3PLs Coming to the Rescue

When supply chain and logistics trouble brews, companies summon third-party logistics providers for their expertise, technology, and dedication to customer service.

Cross-Border Logistics: Supply Chain Synergy

Cross-Border Logistics: Supply Chain Synergy

Bolstered by a new trade deal, the longstanding partnership between Canada and the United States thrives during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing ample opportunity for companies that offer cross-border solutions.

Mohammad Ansari

Four Behaviors of Design Thinking

The pace of change inside an organization should be faster than the pace outside. This can be especially difficult in the supply chain, where it seems like keeping up with customer demand is next to impossible. Your solutions need to drive faster, more efficient production and delivery, and your competitors are just as hungry to meet that demand as you.

Matt Tiedens

Setting Up a Successful RFP

Managing a Request for Proposal (RFP) process can be daunting. Prequalify respondents, then keep things focused for the best results. Q: How do I extend invitations to the most qualified providers? A: The most qualified providers will reveal themselves through a Request for Information (RFI) process or reference. Preceding the Request for Proposal with an […]

George Kontoravdis, PhD

Supporting Shippers’ COVID-19 Adjustments

Q: How has your company pivoted or adjusted your feature set in response to changing customer needs resulting from the pandemic? A: Airlines in the United States and abroad were forced to quickly respond to diminished demand in all aspects of the business as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With passengers grounded, airlines saw the opportunity […]

Thomas Griffin

Finding the Right 3PL Partner Delivers Key Benefits

Q: How important is it to find a good 3PL in today’s transportation marketplace? A: Today, finding a good 3PL company to partner with is more important than ever. Supply chains have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic and businesses need a partner who is both nimble enough to make the proper adjustments on the […]

3PL Perspectives 2020

3PL Perspectives 2020

In our 15th annual 3PL market research report, Inbound Logistics uses 2020 vision to see how the world appears today to shippers and their logistics service providers.

How Small to Mid-Sized Businesses Can Recover Faster

In addition to surging e-commerce demand, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are facing increased shipping costs, logistical challenges from decreased plane traffic and closed borders, and extended shipping times. Many SMBs have struggled to rapidly adapt their shipping operations to fit this new landscape. Here are a few things you can do to recover from […]

Building a Supply Chain in One Week

Building a Supply Chain in One Week

When their client pivoted to make a low-cost, readily available bed to quickly serve those on the front lines, SEKO Logistics rapidly set up distribution operations to meet urgent demand.

Sustaining Operational Excellence

Sustaining Operational Excellence

TA Services’ transportation management solutions helped MRC Global, a distributor of pipe, infrastructure products, and valves and fittings, improve visibility and enhance service levels.

2020 Top 100 3PLs

When companies put out the call for reliable and innovative supply chain and logistics solutions, these are the partners who save the day. Presented in alphabetical order, here are the 100 3PLs Inbound Logistics editors deem the best of the best.

How to Make Supply Chains “Antifragile”

Cost savings has been the number one priority for heads of procurement and finance across industries. Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that this must be achieved through lean, just-in-time processes and a focus on limited inventory. COVID-19 exposed just how quickly this can create shortages in critical industries like food and manufacturing — in […]

Yard Automation Addresses Three Weak Spots to Build Supply Chain Resilience

While there aren’t many quick fixes when it comes to mitigating global supply chain disruption, supply chain leaders will turn to solutions that directly address the biggest weaknesses throughout the supply chain that have been highlighted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak: demand, labor, and energy. Automation brings resiliency and velocity to areas of […]

3 Ways Retailers Can Get on the Fast Track to Digital Transformation

Retailers can use these three practical tips to successfully execute their digital transformation: Make digital moves your strategy centerpiece: Develop a mobile and web commerce initiative right away. Assume people are using your app or web commerce interface for the first time. This is because the number of new users is vastly increasing as a […]

Five Keys for Turning Challenge into Opportunity

To capitalize on what they’ve learned, transform, and thrive in a post-COVID world, supply chain leaders should focus on the five core pillars: People. Leaders must reassure, clarify, protect, encourage, motivate, recognize, and reward people they manage. Each of these actions can make a fundamental difference in a successful post-COVID-19 transformation. When the crisis hit, […]

Reopening Fulfillment and Distribution Centers in the Wake of COVID-19

The chaos and disruption from the COVID-19 outbreak is slowly moving toward recovery for businesses. Like most enterprises, fulfillment and distribution centers will not be able to simply “flip a switch” and return to normal operations. The complexity is even greater for networks that span multiple states or countries. Reopening will require a rigorous methodology […]

How Will the Future Unfold?

How Will the Future Unfold?

As the coronavirus continues to disrupt global supply chains, Gartner developed three scenarios to help chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) prepare for recovery and make preemptive decisions to set up their organizations for success. Gartner polled 833 IT and IT/business professionals and found that 84% of organizations are facing varying forms of disruption—from slight disruptions […]

Eugene Laney

USMCA: A Bright Light for Shippers

Many businesses around the country are suffering due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Small and mid-sized businesses especially are being hit hard, with thousands in survival mode. Furthermore, declines in exports and global commerce are affecting the logistics and transportation sectors. However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Tipping the Scales on International Trade

Several key events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. presidential election, and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) implementation, can directly impact international trade in 2020, according to DHL’s survey of U.S. small and mid-sized businesses. DHL’s key findings include: Pullback on international business outlook: 49% of respondents say COVID-19 has caused them to take a […]

Updated Hours-of-Service Rules Drive Flexibility, Maintain Safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration updated the hours-of-service rules to provide professional drivers with more flexibility without sacrificing safety. The changes include: Bringing the short-haul on-duty period in line with the rest of the industry, while increasing the air-mile radius of short-haul trucking to 150 air miles. Allowing drivers, under […]

Eric Allais

How Returns Impact the Warehouse and What You Can Do About It

Returns have always been a challenge, but distributors today are experiencing a surge in returned items and orders. The cost of return deliveries in the United States will increase to $550 billion in 2020, according to Statista. That’s up from $314 billion just four years ago.

NOTED: The Supply Chain in Brief-July 2020

Good Works CenterPoint Properties provided warehouse space to help Houston Food Bank distribute food in 18 Texas counties. The food bank uses the 124,000-square-foot facility to receive shipments from the Texas Department of Emergency Management as part of its COVID-19 relief efforts. The Houston Food Bank distributed nearly 23 million pounds of food in April […]

IN BRIEF: New Services & Solutions-July 2020

Products Enabling the real-time monitoring of shipment and container openings, Kizy’s embedded sensitive light sensor can provide information on changes of light and dark in the tracker’s surrounding environment. By collecting this information, the Kizy K-2 Tracker can mark events in the supply chain, from the opening of parcels and containers to the unpacking of goods. The […]

More Companies Seek Sustainability Data

An uptick of 24% more companies are asking their suppliers to report environmental data in 2020 through nonprofit CDP Global, with a 34% surge of growth in North America. Suppliers report data on their impacts, risks, opportunities, and strategies related to climate change, deforestation, and/or water security through CDP’s platform. Companies then use the data […]

Logistics Gets Schooled

Logistics Gets Schooled

The writing is on the wall. Logistics and supply chain companies that invest in ongoing education, innovation, and research can attract new talent and better serve customers.

Vertical Focus: Renewable Energy

Vertical Focus: Renewable Energy

Lighting Up Renewable Hydrogen A coalition of major European electricity groups has urged the European Commission to prioritize renewable hydrogen in its COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan. Hydrogen powered by 100% renewable electricity has zero greenhouse gas emissions and should be Europe’s top priority when supporting a clean hydrogen supply chain, the coalition says. Wind and […]

Manufacturers Remain Optimistic

Manufacturers Remain Optimistic

Despite continued impacts across industries (see chart), approximately 91% of manufacturers believe that North American manufacturing can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by Thomas Insights. The report also highlights the following key findings: A significant jump in COVID-19-related impacts occurred—89% of manufacturers surveyed say they felt impacts from COVID-19 in April […]

Strategize. Inspire. Listen.

To steer his company through a global pandemic, Andrew Kirkwood rolls up his sleeves, continues to connect with customers and internal staff, keeps learning, and doesn’t mind some WhatsApp teasing from his team.

Make a New Plan, Stan

Make a New Plan, Stan

More than half of surveyed industry professionals say their supply chain planning process is only “somewhat effective,” regardless of the technology used, finds new research by AIMMS. A combined 28% state that their planning process is “very effective” or “extremely effective,” while 15% say their process is “not so effective,” and 2% say it is […]

Sorting Out Retail Priorities

Retailers and logistics service providers shift their risk management and digitization priorities in response to pandemic-related challenges, says a report from Blue Yonder and Reuters Events Supply Chain. Highlights from the report reveal: Reconsidering Risk Management Retailers/manufacturers are hesitant to pursue nearshoring and onshoring plans, with only 29% making an investment. 63% of retailers/manufacturers favor […]

What COVID-19 supply chain pivot impressed you the most? Why?

What COVID-19 supply chain pivot impressed you the most? Why?

One Million Masks, founded by Shafqat Islam, which has built a digital supply chain. Powered by UPS, they have secured hundreds of thousands of PPE units for hospitals. Furthermore, it demonstrates a supply chain that was built in months that otherwise would have taken years. Over the coming months, we will continue to see this type of rapid innovation from savvy organizations.

Julio Casal

What’s Lurking in Your Supply Chain?

You may think your company is well protected when it comes to cybersecurity, but an often overlooked source of vulnerability is your supply chain. If you can’t honestly say you are fully apprised of the security postures of your vendors, partners, and contractors, then you are already at major risk of a cyberattack.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT | Labeling Solutions

ASG Cold Store Labels: These labels from ASG Services support warehouse labeling in operational freezers where adhesives tend to freeze and alternatives are costly. Featuring a reinforced adhesive, the labels can be applied in temperatures as low as -65ºF. ASG’s software processes variable data to create these multi-field freezer labels. SATO America PV3: The mobile […]

The True Value of Supply Chain Transformation

Lyndsi Lee is senior vice president of supply chain with True Value Company, a leading hardware and home improvement wholesaler. Responsibilities: Drive end-to-end supply chain optimization, develop integrated planning and logistics strategies, and build best-in-class sourcing programs. Experience: Division vice president, inventory management and global sourcing, also with True Value; principal, project leader, Boston Consulting […]

Keith Biondo

In Defense of You

You’ve failed at logistics. So says David Segal in his recent article entitled "What Happened to the Great American Logistics Machine?" in The New York Times. Here are the article’s punchlines: The virus is "winning at the logistics game," and "let us acknowledge the obvious: The country is flunking a curriculum that it basically wrote." […]

What’s the most unexpectedly good advice you’ve received about the supply chain?

Speed is not always the solution. Breaking shipments into inventory replenishment and just-in-time SKUs allows price and transit time optimization. Asia-to-U.S.-East-Coast transit through the Panama Canal versus the Suez Canal differs by 7 to 13 days. Pushing inventory cargo to the slower/lower-cost options provides free warehousing on the water while reducing overall landed cost. —Alan […]

Empty Trucks Get the Message

Empty Trucks Get the Message

Freight technology company Loadsmart partnered with The Home Depot to launch the first-ever automated flatbed platform that pairs capacity and price to a shipment. Called Flatbed Messenger, it combines Loadsmart’s algorithms with The Home Depot’s dedicated capacity to help shippers find capacity at lower rates. Fleets that are dedicated to one customer often experience wasted […]

The Importance of Inventory Accuracy After COVID-19

The Importance of Inventory Accuracy After COVID-19

Once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and doors reopen, apparel and footwear retailers say their main concern is inventory accuracy—even over improving online order fulfillment and managing returns, according to a survey by SML RFID, an enterprise software solutions provider. Retailers have more inventory than ever throughout their supply chains, and with staff being furloughed and […]

Eric R. Byer

NACD Program Ensures Seamless Partnerships

Warehouses and carriers are critical elements of the supply chain for the U.S. chemical distribution industry, which has a total economic impact of nearly $20 billion and provides more than 80,000 jobs across all 50 states. Chemical products are used in nearly every industry sector in the U.S. economy, and chemical distributors play an important […]

Tailoring Apparel Supply Chains for the Future

Tailoring Apparel Supply Chains for the Future

Apparel brands and retailers can use the COVID-19 crisis to take stock of existing business models and create more stable and sustainable supply chains for the future, finds GlobalData. Fashion retailers in key consumer markets across Europe and North America fight for survival as stores close, sales slump, and inventories mount. For many, the response […]

Bruce Orcutt

It’s Time to Digitize Your Back Office

Upgrading back-office functions may not be the sexiest subject when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and business automation but, according to IDC research, it goes the furthest.

Big Wheels Keep on Turnin’

Big Wheels Keep on Turnin’

Trucks continue to move—in many cases faster than usual—to respond to the demands placed on the industry by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). For example, at the intersection of I-85 and I-285 in Atlanta, known locally as Spaghetti Junction, afternoon rush-hour truck speeds are typically slower […]

Global Trade Goes Digital

Global Trade Goes Digital

Freight forwarders and shippers can book sea, land, and air cargo shipments to and from anywhere in the world with the rollout of DP World’s online logistics tools and services. The company accelerated the launch to help shippers navigate the COVID-19 crisis and keep trade—particularly essential food and medical supplies—flowing. The new digital trade and […]

Sorting Out E-Commerce Priorities

Sorting Out E-Commerce Priorities

E-commerce capabilities and technology have been vital to shippers’ success during the pandemic, finds a report from Kenco. Of the supply chain professionals responding to the survey, 90% say visibility technology is a “priority.” Other highlights from the report reveal: 24% of respondents say e-commerce is extremely important and their top priority, and 41% say […]

Noted: The Supply Chain in Brief-June 2020

Sealed Deals Beauty and personal care brand Shiseido Company selected XPO Logistics to provide omnichannel logistics services throughout the United Kingdom. XPO will handle business-to-business replenishment of bareMinerals, NARS, Laura Mercier, Shiseido, Serge Lutens, Dolce&Gabbana Beauty, and other products, as well as U.K. and Ireland e-commerce fulfillment for the NARS, Shiseido, and bareMinerals brands. XPO […]

Logistics Lexicon for the Times (Part 2)

BODFC Buy-online-deliver-from-curb model used for e-commerce fulfillment to minimize contact between consumer and retail employee. Demand distortion Significant, short-term change in product demand due to drastically different consumer behavior. Floating storage Using containerships to store product while weathering demand disturbances. Pivot Quickly execute a sharp move away from normal manufacturing or logistics operations to address […]

IN BRIEF: New Services & Solutions-June 2020

Products Air cargo can be safely transported in airplane cabins designed for passengers with the use of cargo seat bags from insulated air cargo cover maker Trip & Co. Produced in collaboration with engineering company SII Netherlands, the bags are watertight, chemical and UV resistant, and able to transfer products in a range of temperatures. Toyota Material […]

Goodbye NAFTA, Hello USMCA

Goodbye NAFTA, Hello USMCA

It’s all systems go for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to take effect now that all three participating countries have taken the final steps necessary to comply with the commitments. According to the agreement, the USMCA is to enter into force on the first day of the third month subsequent to completion of these final […]

Digital Health Tools Can Keep Workers Safe and Preserve Privacy

Digital Health Tools Can Keep Workers Safe and Preserve Privacy

Digital tools that confirm a person’s health status can create safe work environments while also protecting personal privacy as businesses and supply chains recover from the COVID-19 disruption, according to MIT professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland, who is working on this issue with the United Nations and Club de Madrid, a consortium of former democratic presidents […]

How Mobile IoT Brings End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility to Life

End-to-end supply chain transparency has proven a difficult-to-attain gold standard, not only by transportation and logistics companies, but by any company that depends on the movement of goods to propel business forward. In the thick of the COVID-19 era and its ripple effects, this need has become even more critical across nearly every sector. The […]

COVID-19 Supply Chain Resources & Recovery Strategies

COVID-19 Supply Chain Resources & Recovery Strategies

3 Innovations on the Fast Track 1. Delivery drones. Their deployment has been fast tracked to reduce the risk of exposure for drivers and bolster capacity to meet soaring demand for home deliveries. For example, UPS and CVS plan to use drones to deliver prescription medications to a Florida retirement community. Alphabet’s drone delivery company, […]

Automation Is the Key to Warehousing During COVID-19

Supply chain managers don’t have to sacrifice worker safety to maintain production levels during coronavirus—warehouse automation can solve the problem. COVID-19 has infected a great number of essential workers in the United States, leading companies on the front lines to implement new safety processes. While the spread of the virus has been grave enough to […]

Retailers: It’s Time to Act

While 43% of retailers say they’re taking aggressive action to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, 38% are taking only some action, and 19% are taking a wait-and-see approach, according to Digital Commerce 360. Retailers need to take significant action, however, to address the following five issues, says the research company: 1. Consumer confidence: 97% of […]

Pallets Take the Spotlight

Pallets Take the Spotlight

Considered a crucial part of a systems approach to the supply chain, pallets are front and center in companies’ sustainability strategies.