Keith Biondo

Flight of Fancy (Revisited)

[This was originally published in June 2003, but with Amazon’s recent drone patent filing, we thought you’d enjoy the look back.] Back in 2023 Paul MacCready’s famous company, Aerovironment Corp., brought to market an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that revolutionized expedited and emergency transport services in America. That was seven years ago. Since then, the […]

Choosing a Yard Management System

A yard management system (YMS) can provide significant benefits to your operation. Despite this, the yard is often the last area to automate and many operations still manage their yards with radios and clipboards. Greg Braun, senior vice president of sales and marketing with C3 Solutions, provides these pointers to help you select a YMS. […]

Sound Strategy, Talented Team

Sound Strategy, Talented Team

If there’s a secret to Cliff Otto’s leadership, it’s his focus on people. “One of the most important things I’ve learned is to hire the best people you can find, and challenge them with opportunities that make them grow,” he says. MORE TO THE STORY: Advice for the Next Generation Otto joined Saddle Creek Logistics […]

Jonathan Parks: Planning is Key, to Say the Leased

Jonathan Parks: Planning is Key, to Say the Leased

Jonathan Parks is vice president of global logistics and distribution with Rent-A-Center, which offers name-brand furniture, electronics, appliances, and computers through flexible rental purchase agreements. He started with the company in 2010 and has held this position since 2015. Responsibilities: The design, management, and continual optimization of distribution and logistics operations. Experience: Positions in logistics, […]

Trends—February 2017

Trends—February 2017

Trump Administration: Make America Freight Again Promises to repair, restore, and improve U.S. infrastructure became one of Donald Trump’s primary campaign themes. Now that his term has officially begun, his administration has taken steps to follow through on those promises. The President’s team created a list of 50 infrastructure projects that will be a top […]

Global Logistics—February 2017

Global Logistics—February 2017

Mexican Border Wall Becoming Trade Barrier The battle over NAFTA renegotiation and trade between the United States and Mexico has been tied into the building of the border wall between the two nations promised by President Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto refused to discuss the idea of Mexico paying […]

Glenn Johnson

7 Ways to Digitally Transform Your Supply Chain

To keep the supply chain working at top efficiency, companies need not only a flexible and adaptable culture, but also a highly adaptable underlying IT infrastructure. Companies invest a lot of time, effort, and money in developing systems to power the supply chain. The amount of data can be overwhelming. However, by connecting data and […]

Tom Gimbel

Share This, Post That. How to Get Millennials on Your Team

Employment in the logistics sector is shifting as millennials are expected to make up about 75 percent of the supply chain workforce by 2025. Companies need to revamp their recruiting and interviewing practices to appeal to this generation. Companies can create the environment and experience millennials are looking for by following these five steps: 1. […]

Peter Liston

5 Steps to Reduce Supply Chain Risks When Going Global

Natural disasters, huge economic swings, supply shortages, and security issues present considerable challenges to supply chains. One critical area that can bring a supply chain to a screeching halt is international trade compliance. Whether you’re starting out in the global market or already dealing with supply chain issues, these five tips will help you mitigate […]

Build-A-Box

Build-A-Box

To help subscription box services manage orders amidst rapidly increasing demand, logistics providers bring the whole package—from kitting and tying bows to delivery and returns.

Steven Prince

6 Simple Metrics for Tracking and Improving Carrier Performance

While transportation service providers vary in size and ability, having an overall strategy to track carrier performance can drive long term operational and financial stability. By relying on simple data captured over time, over the road shippers are better positioned to make informed decisions on the fly or in future bids to ensure their desired […]

Kevin Hill

Weighing Solutions for All Facets of Warehouse Operations

Warehousing and distribution centers rely on efficient, accurate, and reliable data to ensure peak performance and guarantee the safety of employees. Investing in quality scales and systems helps ensure billing accuracy by monitoring the weight of cargo. Additionally, companies can ensure that vehicles are utilized optimally. With the rising demand for high-precision weighing solutions in […]

Shruti Agrawal

Reduce Supply Chain Costs with Consolidated Procurement Strategies

For sourcing agents and organizations involved in procurement, supply chain efficiency is a pressing concern. In addition to physical factors like the layout of the unit and machine capacity, procurement contracts and the manner in which they are implemented can account for a majority of supply chain and manufacturing costs. Working hand-in-hand with product design […]

What’s Eating The Health Food Supply Chain?

What’s Eating The Health Food Supply Chain?

Healthful food—organic, vegan, non-GMO, local, sustainably or humanely raised, and allergen free, or any other variety—has whet consumers’ appetites. Satisfying that growing demand, however, poses unique supply chain challenges.

Keith Biondo

Wild Ride?

When the IL team came up with the original issue theme for the 2017 Logistics Planner—The Upside of Down—we were anticipating yet another long term of challenging economic stagnation. The theme was that our mantra of demand-driven or inbound logistics practices would help enterprise managers and owners squeeze every last ounce of value out of […]

Felecia Stratton

Hold On Tight!

Just like in logistics, our editorial and design team meets many months in advance to forecast upcoming content and issue themes. So, when we met eight months ago to develop the Logistics Planner issue theme, we thought we had a good understanding of what was in store for 2017. After spirited discussion, we decided on […]

Leveraging Your Routing Guide

A routing guide plays an important role in setting the strategy for carrier selection. It is essentially a shipper’s guide to choosing a carrier to move a particular shipment. While there are many forms of routing guides, an increasing number of companies switched from paper to online portals and beyond to enhanced transportation management system […]

Aaron Leach: A Bird’s Eye View of the Supply Chain

Aaron Leach: A Bird’s Eye View of the Supply Chain

Aaron Leach is senior director of supply chain with Wayne Farms, LLC, in Oakwood, Ga. He has held this position since 2013. Wayne Farms is the sixth largest vertically integrated producer and processor of poultry in the United States. Responsibilities: Inbound and outbound logistics, warehousing and inventory control, and supply and demand planning. Experience: Director […]

Russ Smyth: Geared Up for Growth

Russ Smyth: Geared Up for Growth

One day in 2010, Russ Smyth got a phone call from Ted Perlman. Smyth assumed that the reason for the call was a social occasion. At the time, Smyth was CEO of tax services company H&R Block. MORE TO THE STORY: Leadership Insights Perlman is one of the founders of HAVI, a global supply chain […]

Trends—January 2017

Trends—January 2017

Amazon continues to rattle nerves in the transportation sector. In 2015, the company launched a fleet of branded trucks to help shuttle cargo between facilities. In 2016, it leased 40 cargo jets, and Amazon China registered as a U.S. freight forwarder. These moves made third-party logistics (3PL) and trucking companies understandably anxious, considering that Amazon […]

Global Logistics—January 2017

Global Logistics—January 2017

Manufacturing Supply Chains: What Does the Future Hold? Nobody can predict the future, but some are certainly qualified to make educated guesses. Over the next decade, manufacturing growth depends on successful engagement with consumers, according to IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Supply Chain 2017 Predictions, a new report from IDC Manufacturing Insights. The report makes the following […]

Paul Thompson

Shaking Up the Brown Box: Big Winners in Supply Chain Evolution

With the infusion of multi-modal, multi-channel platforms, e-commerce is shaking the supply chain industry upside down. The consumer is now able to outrun the industry, and shippers are questioning their competency to continuously evolve their supply chains. To implement transformational strategies, operations teams are facing broad and deep investments in diversified technology and human resources […]

George Prest

Industry 4.0 is the X Factor that Will Transform Today’s Supply Chains

The enigmatic X Factor—that unknown element that will take supply chains to the next level. As is so often the case in our industry, there’s not just one transformative technology that will produce revolutionary change within our field, but rather many. The MHI Annual Industry Report examined the concept of the digital, always-on supply chain, […]

Mark Johnson

The Pragmatist’s Guide: 10 Simple Strategies to Reduce Freight Costs Now

Freight transportation is your biggest logistics expense, so it’s likely that you’re under constant pressure to drive down these costs. Here are 10 ideas to consider as we head into 2017. Some of these strategies may encounter resistance from the "not the way we do it here" crowd. But let’s face it, any meaningful cost […]

Dan Clark

Cloud Collaboration Increases Supply Chain Efficiency

Defined as the art of working together to produce or create something, collaboration has become a focal point for organizations that want to work smarter, better, and more efficiently in today’s competitive business world. Enabled by technology, companies and individuals are working together to achieve common goals, open new lines of communication, and foster both […]

Alan Toliver

What supply chain resolutions are you making this year?

Another year is upon us and with it comes a new opportunity to do things differently; to do things better. No doubt you have things you didn’t get to last year, have ideas about what needs to change and maybe even have problems that keep you up at night. If you have been managing your […]

How the Right Shipping Software Impacts Your Bottom Line

Choosing the right shipping software is critical because it impacts your company’s bottom line. Here are eight steps to take to ensure you choose the right solution for your company’s individual needs. Guarantee that you’re paying the lowest freight costs possible on all your shipments. Combined with the costs and/or business rules that have been […]

Paul A. Myerson

Using Network Optimization Technology To Enable Your Lean Supply Chain

From a lean and agile supply chain perspective, an optimally designed supply chain can significantly improve margins, support expansion into new markets, enhance the customer experience, and reduce operating costs. Optimizing your supply chain network helps achieve more value and less waste through keeping lower inventories, maintaining the right stock levels, and choosing the right […]

Todd Miller

Solving the E-Commerce Puzzle

Inventory is now on-demand, and predicting what consumers will want on any given day is tricky. Add to that the already challenging scenario that consumers want to shop and purchase goods at any time and from anywhere—and supply chain logistics for e-commerce inventory gets even more complex and complicated. Many retailers and brands haven’t solved […]

Glenn Jones

How to Find Value in Big Data

There’s an endless amount of big data, but only storing it isn’t useful. The value is in what you find in the data. Instead of aggregating all the data you’re getting, you need to define the problem that you’re trying to solve and then gather data specific to that problem. Today we have the capability […]

Anthony Berritto

The Slow, Steady Decline Of the Owner-Operator Model

Today, we face the slow extinction of independent owner-operators. These self-reliant business owners are dealing with a myriad of regulations that will soon make the owner-operator model impractical, and its survival improbable. Of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States, about 350,000 are owner-operators, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. If you […]

Howard Rosenberg

Rethinking Reverse Logistics for Online Apparel Returns

As virtual shopping bags replace physical ones, it’s important for retailers to update their policies and logistics strategies to align with consumer behavior and expectations. This is particularly the case when deciding how to handle apparel returns, which boast one of the highest return rates: One in three purchases are sent back. This trend, and […]

Sven Thiesen

Evaluate Partners Before You Sign the Contract

In an increasingly competitive global environment, every element of the supply chain must be effective and efficient—to deliver the right quality products, on time and at the right price. Empowering your procurement team before supplier selection is key. For companies that outsource materials, parts, and equipment, the potential for quality issues and hidden costs can […]

Chris Cotter

When to File Loss and Damage Claims: Know Your Rights

Damage, loss, and delays are inescapable. When these events occur, the shipper has to file a claim to recover the loss. Shippers should understand the claims process and law because the legal principles are unique to the shipping industry. First, it is important to understand that a cargo claim is based on a breach of […]

Bob Daymon

Going for Brokers

Over the past 18 months, we have seen a significant shift toward shippers utilizing brokers as their primary carriers. Many shippers abandoned the strategy of focusing on asset-based carriers, and now load their routing guides with brokers as the choice of record. We also see brokers being able to meet the detailed requirements of many […]

Jessica Dankert

Tackling Retail Logistics: Build Your Team First

The retail industry is changing at a faster pace now than at any other time in history. We are only at the dawn of the new world order: connected retail. Supply chain is on the front lines of the ongoing revolution. When RILA and Auburn University recently surveyed retail supply chain executives, 98 percent rated […]

What a Ride!

What a Ride!

How Monster Moto—with help from UPS—moved product assembly from China to Louisiana, a strategy that was no child’s play.

3PLs Up The Ante

3PLs Up The Ante

A good third-party logistics provider can be your ace in the hole to keep supply chain operations running straight and your bottom line flush.

Making a Run for the Border

Making a Run for the Border

Although the future of NAFTA is uncertain, and trade challenges remain, Mexico continues to attract foreign companies looking for easier access to the huge U.S. consumer base.

Cruise Control

Cruise Control

When it comes to cruise supplies, logistics personnel have to run a tight ship—or risk missing the boat.

Winter Reading Guide 2017

Winter Reading Guide 2017

Don’t let winter put a deep freeze on your logistics learning. Keep your knowledge evergreen by cozying up to books on wide-ranging topics, from food logistics to procurement practices.

Tarek Sultan

Why Global Trade Needs a Rebrand

In 2016, doubts about the wisdom of trade deals factored heavily in the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and in the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. Skepticism about the benefits of free trade has been bubbling for years.  In the United States, President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to kill the 14-nation Trans-Pacific […]

Amar Shah, Danielle Moushon, and Sunil Agarwal

Optimizing the Product Portfolio

Customer expectations are higher than ever, and the most successful distributors continue to accommodate their customers through multiple channels designed to attract and retain them. Despite all the business emphasis on community, engagement, and relationship, the importance of offering the right variety of products remains—and it cannot be overlooked. In this environment, the constant pressure […]

Alibaba Spends Big To Upgrade Logistics Network

Alibaba Spends Big To Upgrade Logistics Network

Forty-three percent of Chinese consumers lived outside urban areas in 2016, many in remote, rural areas challenging to access via road, estimates The World Bank. To reach these consumers, e-commerce and logistics companies need to invest heavily in new logistics infrastructure. That’s why Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will pour $720 million into Huitongda Network, a […]

Keith Biondo

Times They Are A-changin’

Let’s say you are a manufacturer in the Midwest. You’ve got an excellent product line, a well-tuned supply chain, dedicated workers, and a great brand. Let’s say your company’s name is Harrier, because you have a long history of being a tough global competitor. The problem is, your competitors moved offshore, reaping competitive advantages such […]

GOOD QUESTION | What logistics concerns keep you up at night?

GOOD QUESTION | What logistics concerns keep you up at night?

To meet the needs of last-mile delivery, large e-commerce players are searching for prime real estate near population centers. With fewer good sites and skyrocketing warehouse/DC costs, 3PL storage margins are shrinking, and clients are unaware of pending rate increases. Richard Murphy, Jr., FASLA President & CEO Murphy Warehouse Company Retail is all about coordinating […]

Protecting the Food Supply Chain

Food producers, distributors, and retailers need to ensure safe procedures are in place to protect the food they handle. These supply chain partners need to implement inventory best practices to guarantee SKUs are in the right store or facility at the right time to better meet customer service requirements. Inventory positioning is not guesswork. Instead, […]

Winning, With Integrity

Winning, With Integrity

MORE TO THE STORY: Empowering Women Through Engagement And Inspiration While building a career at 3M and its technology spinoff, Imation, Kirsten Hall never considered joining her family’s business, Logistics Planning Services (LPS) in Woodbury, Minn. "But I realized in 2010, when Mom and Dad were getting ready to step back, that I had been […]

Joanne Wright: Turning Data Into Insight

Joanne Wright: Turning Data Into Insight

Joanne Wright is IBM’s vice president of supply chain. She has held this position since 2013. Responsibilities: Strategy, execution, and business results for IBM’s manufacturing, engineering, procurement, logistics, fulfillment, and client solutions across more than 170 countries. Leveraging big data, analytics, and social media to create a world-class supply network. Experience: Numerous senior leadership positions […]

Trends—December 2016

Trends—December 2016

Happy New Year! Time for Your Annual Supply Chain Health Check Throughout the course of 2016, your supply chain was plugging away, receiving and handling new product lines, efficiently fulfilling e-commerce orders during slow times and peak periods, dealing with returns, and processing shipments to your stores and/or retail customers to ensure timely and accurate […]

Global Logistics—December 2016

Global Logistics—December 2016

TPP is Dead. Is NAFTA Next? A number of important policy issues are still up in the air for the United States, but President-elect Donald Trump has made one thing clear: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is done. The TPP—a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries—became a target during […]

Jim Blohm

Visibility is Key to Unlocking Supply Chain Savings by Connecting Inbound and Outbound Activities

Q: What are the benefits of managing inbound freight spend? A: By managing inbound freight spend, shippers can decouple transportation costs from suppliers’ product charges and gain visibility to the lanes, volumes and synergistic opportunities that exist within their outbound network. Leveraging a lead logistics provider (LLP) or transportation management system (TMS) expands visibility beyond […]

Jeff Potts

How Driverless Trucks Will Change Supply Chain Strategy

In the popular 1985 movie "Back to the Future", it was predicted that by the year 2015, we would have the ability to fly our cars in the friendly skies. While that version of the future never became reality, we do have a major change to the state of transportation on the horizon with driverless […]

Andrew Lynch

How Specialized Transportation Can Improve Customer Service

As a shipper, what does it look like to deliver on stellar customer service? Your buyers are looking for undamaged, on-time, seamless orders. But you are only able to control a portion of this. Somewhere along the way, a truck driver, warehouse worker, or dispatcher is involved in delivering on your customer service promises. Typically, […]

James Hancock

Five Best Practices Before Beginning a Transportation RFP

Conducting a Transportation Request for Proposal (RFP) can turn into an overwhelming and time consuming task. However, an organized and well-prepared RFP can yield a variety of benefits for your company. Here are five tips to consider before starting an RFP: Define Goals — This process will involve several different parties—and ensuring everyone is aligned […]

John Lash

How Precise Forecasting Tames Item Proliferation

Accurate forecasts enable better planning, lower inventory and manufacturing costs, and improved service levels. By limiting line item proliferation, precise forecasting reduces errors significantly for new product launches. New products lack the history required for traditional demand planning methods. In the same way that the financial industry uses algorithms to sort through masses of market […]

Thomas W. Derry

Pursuing a Certificate? Learn Before You Act

People who are successful in their profession consistently challenge themselves to learn more, regularly attend professional meetings to network with peers and mentors, and seek out opportunities to expand their education. Are you thinking about pursuing a certificate or certification in the supply management profession to enhance your knowledge and improve your career possibilities? Here’s […]

3PLs & Carriers: At Your Service

3PLs & Carriers: At Your Service

Shippers don’t always measure the ‘softer’ aspects of the service they receive from carriers and 3PLs. But those metrics can make all the difference for your supply chain and your company’s brand.

Bill Ravenscroft

Getting Distribution Centers in Peak Season Shape

While the annual peak shipping season begins in August and lasts through the winter holidays, the work for supply chain and logistics distributors certainly doesn’t end come the new year. In fact, the National Retail Federation’s monthly Global Port Tracker report indicates that cargo volume for January 2017 is forecast at 1.53 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent […]

Nick McLean

How to Beat Amazon at the Retail and Supply Chain Game in 2017

In a recent omni-channel benchmark study, Retail Systems Research identified the top three omni-channel technology investments for retailers in 2017: Distributed Order Management – 46% planning a change, 14% with net-new budgeted projects Enterprise Content Management – 42% planning a change, 17% with net-new budgeted projects Enterprise Wide Inventory Visibility – 37% planning a change, […]

Chris Jones

Getting the Goods on Logistics this Holiday Season

E-commerce continues to be the growth engine in retail with a 15-percent increase in 2016, according to U.S. Department of Commerce (Q2 2016 versus Q2 2015). Online shopping drives logistics growth as almost every e-commerce purchase needs to be delivered to the consumer’s home. This has resulted in increased investment and jobs in the retail […]

Heather Vacca

Four Technologies Set to Change the Future of Logistics

Technology historically plays the role of a disruptor, the means to newer and better things, and the destruction of old ways of life. The following four technologies are sure to disrupt the business of logistics. 3-D Printing The technology of 3-D printing makes it possible for manufacturers, other businesses, and even individuals to print exact […]

David Rimmer

Supply Chain Analytics: Creating Value from Data with Machine Learning

Supply chain analytics is changing: More data than ever is available to analysts today, and often in near real-time. From item-level inventory data and GPS to condition monitoring and signals from social media, new data sources are augmenting available supply chain data. The most competitive supply chains of the future will be those that make […]

Matt Tillman

Trump Presidency Is Reality. Let’s Talk Supply Chain Implications.

As the 2016 Presidential election results were announced, it became clear that the candidate with the least concrete trade policy had won. This created a fair amount of concern for supply chain professionals everywhere: Would the new president implement the protectionist measures he campaigned on, or were those statements made primarily to appeal to an audience? […]

Keith Biondo

Blockchain Supply Chain?

Anyone doing business in a global environment knows that a lot of friction in trade activities is directly related to finance: regulatory and compliance speed bumps, fraud, letters of credit, manual and fax-based documentation. In trade finance, the sheer number of borders, intermediaries, regulatory authorities—and lack of technology—can sometimes stall your product, no matter what […]

Using a Systems Integrator for DC Automation

Implementing materials handling automation within a distribution center requires an experienced systems integrator, which acts as a matchmaker to ensure the software communicates fully and freely with the facility’s equipment. Systems integrators are also responsible for the deployment’s speed, progress and outcome; they are the keepers of schedules and standards, the maestros who ensure that […]

Right on Target

Right on Target

MORE TO THE STORY: Customers, Everywhere He Looks One day, while working as a salesman for Overnite Transportation (now UPS Freight), Mike Wagner offered a customer a great set of rates. But the shipper said he didn’t need Wagner; the rates he already had with Overnite were lower than any Wagner could produce on his […]

Bert De Winter: Springing Forward with Innovation

Bert De Winter: Springing Forward with Innovation

Bert De Winter is director of EMEA logistics with HP Inc., and based in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. He has been with HP (and previously, Compaq) for 29 years. Responsibilities:Operational and profit and loss management of EMEA inbound and outbound transportation flows, distribution centers, warehousing, and customs; regional procurement and management of transport, customs brokerage, and […]

Trends—November 2016

Trends—November 2016

Consumers Demand Damage Control Shippers need to take steps to make sure packages arrive safely at their destinations this holiday season. Sixty-four percent of consumers have received a damaged package, according to State of Online Shopper Expectations and Actions, a recent survey by shipping services company OSM Worldwide. The study shows that 75 percent of […]

Global Logistics—November 2016

Global Logistics—November 2016

Shippers Hesitant to Plunge Into Global Trade Expanding internationally might seem like a no-brainer in a world where consumers are connected to global businesses through the internet and myriad global shipping options. Yet, a number of obstacles keep companies from taking the plunge into international waters, or from expanding existing global operations. Many shippers say […]