Global Logistics—July 2014
On the Scene at CeMAT 2014 For more than 53,000 warehouse and manufacturing facility operators and equipment buyers, CeMAT 2014 was the ultimate shopping expedition. At the biennial event—held in Hannover, Germany, from May 19 to 23, 2014—1,025 exhibitors showed off 4,000 state-of-the-art warehousing, packaging, and inventory management solutions. Occupying 1.3 million square feet of […]
The Evolution of Enterprise Logistics
Utilizing new technologies and sophisticated business intelligence tools, leading-edge companies are transforming their supply chains and their enterprises through data science. The journey from simple execution-based transportation management to predictive, strategic planning—powered by analytics—has accelerated with a new emphasis on supply chain engineering, LEAN consulting and Big Data solutions. While precise in process, the co-managed […]
What is a True Integrated Logistics Services Partner and How Do You Find One?
Integrated Logistics Services is a term that has been tossed around quite a bit lately, but what is it exactly; how does the conversation begin; and what should you look for in a real 3PL or 4PL solutions provider? By definition, an Integrated Logistics Services Provider or ISP is a company that performs a variety […]
10 Steps to Import Compliance
Ever-changing import rules enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) require companies to remain current on regulations and process methodologies—or risk delays and noncompliance fines. Organizations that fail to comply with current customs rules—even in ignorance—can be designated as high risk, and subject to more frequent inspections and longer processing times in the future. […]
Retailers, Watch Your Waste Lines
Hazardous waste is no longer an issue facing only industrial manufacturing companies. It has become an area of significant concern for retailers, too. When it comes to managing hazardous waste, retailers must strike a precarious balance between complexity and control. The repercussions of achieving this balance can be significant. Not only do such infractions place […]
Forecasting Seasonal Surges Keeps Products on the Shelf
During busy retail periods, news of retail imports and spot transportation rates tends to grab all the attention. Less prominent, but more interesting, is the constant seasonal and promotional flux in domestic consumer packaged goods (CPG), and how manufacturers manage the resulting transportation surge. For CPG companies, seasonal volume typically represents one-third of annual shipments, […]
Could New Fuel Efficiency Standards Lead to Transportation Cost Savings?
In February 2014, the Obama administration outlined plans for improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions for American trucks. To support this effort, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation must set new standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The rules, which the agencies must issue by March 2016, will have ripple […]
Why Every Manufacturer Needs a Reverse Logistics Solution
The average manufacturer spends nine to 14 percent of total sales on product returns each year, according to an Aberdeen Group study. Yet an estimated 45 percent of manufacturers do not have a reverse logistics solution. They rely on retail or wholesale partners to deal with customer returns, recalls, and seasonal overstocks. Until the mid-1990s, […]
Panama: Leveraging Opportunities Beyond the Canal
It’s not only shipping lines, railroads, logistics service providers, and multinational firms that want to know to what extent the Panama Canal expansion project will affect business. Every company will be affected plenty, and must be prepared to modify existing distribution operations to reflect the changing world. Why will the Panama Canal expansion have such […]
Rolling Back the Walmart Way
As Walmart continues to evolve from five-and-dime regional retailer to global powerhouse, Kevin X. Jones stays focused on supply chain best practices that guarantee the consumer everyday low pricing.
Casting Vets Into the Private Sector
After serving Uncle Sam, former military personnel are armed with the experience and skill needed to battle supply chain challenges.
The Mechanics of 3PL Partnerships
How do you keep a shipper-3PL relationship running smoothly? Learn the tools of the trade.
Market Research: 3PL Perspectives 2014
Inbound Logistics’ 10th annual research report looks under the hood of the 3PL sector to see what makes the market tick.
Readers’ Choice Top 10 3PL Excellence Awards 2014
MORE TO THE STORY: About the Survey Respondents In Their Own Words: A Sampling of Reader Comments 3PLs to Watch When a company’s supply chain operations are firing on all cylinders, product flows through the distribution center without a hitch, shipments arrive on time, and customer satisfaction abounds. Such a finely tuned machine doesn’t occur […]
LTL Leaders Make Tracks for the Web
Less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers are parking on freight portals to offer extra capacity to small shippers surfing for low-cost transportation.
Forecasting the Unexpected: Home Improvement Retailers and Emergency Response
During the calm before the storm, home improvement stores stock up on the products consumers will need to repair damage and rebuild after an extreme weather event.
Supplier Compliance: Ask the Experts
Need to gain control of inbound transportation? Then get on the same page as your suppliers. Inbound Logistics picks the brains of seven industry experts for their advice.
Fueling the Oil and Gas Supply Chain
New possibilities and partnerships get energy companies pumped.
U.S.-Canada Trade: Getting a Line on Cross-Border Shipments
To efficiently move goods across the U.S.-Canada border, shippers and logistics providers must adapt to regulatory, geographic, and currency challenges.
Inbound Logistics’ Summer Reading Guide 2014
Before you hit the beach, make sure you have all your gear. Sunglasses? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Reading material to help streamline supply chain operations? Check. These books give you the information you need to improve operations, brush up on existing skills, or gain new ones.
What Midmarket Companies Need to Know About Trade Compliance
Q: What is the status of midmarket companies in the global trade arena? A: Global trade has become increasingly attractive to the midmarket—defined as companies with revenues between $5 million and $1 billion—because of lower sourcing and production costs in some developing countries, as well as rising consumption in some overseas markets. Between 2012 and […]
Getting a Handle on Regulations and Compliance
Q: How do regulatory changes impact capacity, service, and pricing? A: Numerous regulations and market dynamics have impacted the transportation industry. In North America, for example, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which passed in 2012, resulted in the cancellation of nearly 9,000 bonds and freight forwarder licenses, removing 35 percent […]
SaaS TMS Facilitates Carrier Management
Q: How can shippers navigate today’s tight capacity market? A: For companies to have the assurance of consistent, competitively priced, service-oriented capacity through the ups and downs of the transportation marketplace, being a shipper of choice is imperative. Here are a few tips to get started: Go beyond rates. Best practice suggests taking a multi-tiered […]
Does Your Website Help You Stand Out from Your Competition?
Q: Why is an effective company website important? A: Your company’s website is your image to the outside world, so it should be as attractive, relevant, and well-organized as possible. When a potential client or vendor checks you out, more than likely, they will judge you based on your website, so put your best foot […]
Empowering Companies Through Integrated Data Flows
Q: What are some key data management challenges in logistics today? A: One key challenge is the different types of information flows. For example, some companies use electronic data interchange; others prefer XML or flat file. The choice often depends on the industry vertical, the company’s capabilities, and how their suppliers operate. For example, in […]
Partners and Process Management: Freight Business From the Inside Out
Q: What is the key to managing freight spend in today’s supply chain? A: Efficiency at every level of the supply chain is of the utmost importance in controlling costs. Carriers and shippers alike need to formulate their strategies based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Making routine a simple action such as generating useful reports […]
Getting a Handle on Loss and Damage Claims
Q: Why are loss and damage claims a challenge for shippers? A: Global shippers face many challenges when it comes to managing loss and damage claims. The top three are a lack of knowledge about claims preparation and filing requirements (including documentation and time frames); a lack of resources to follow through on outstanding claims; […]
TMS: Getting in on the Ground Floor
TAJ Flooring’s new transportation management system lays the foundation for improved logistics and customer service.
Wheel Genius: Racing to Improve Data Collection
Thanks to a new image-based scanner, bar-code reader errors no longer tread on Champion Tire and Wheel’s productivity.
Innovation in Business Processes from Northwest Arkansas
Northwest Arkansas is a hotbed for innovations in supply chain management, the effects of which span the globe. Although some argue that various aspects of these innovations started elsewhere, they have, at the very least, been perfected and rolled out broadly in Northwest Arkansas. Though these innovations have been in areas of data science and […]
Optimizing the Fashion Supply Chain
The debate in fashion over inventory as an asset or a liability may never see an end. Only a few years ago, the CEO of one the largest fashion retailers in the United States said, “I’d rather lose sales than carry (risky) inventory.” What an incredible statement. The head of a major retailer willing to […]
Taking a Smarter Approach to WMS RFPs
To understand where request for proposals (RFPs) for warehouse management systems (WMS) often go wrong, imagine for a moment you are being interviewed for admission to your dream college. You try to demonstrate the specific reasons why you would be a great addition to that school. But instead of engaging in a friendly dialog, the […]
How to Create a Forklift Safety Culture
You’re going to remember the time when you thought it wouldn’t happen to you. One of your industry contacts was telling you how they paid substantial OSHA fines for allowing operators to use forklifts even after the operators completed pre-use operational compliance checklists that showed the forklifts were non-compliant. The individual said he didn’t know […]
Measuring the Value of Warehouse Data
In today’s highly global manufacturing and supply chain economy, it’s no surprise that manufacturers need to embrace better communication to manage cultural, geographic, and language differences so as to operate effectively. In the end, better communication means better efficiency, less waste, and higher customer satisfaction. Complex, global economic issues have only increased the difficulty in […]
Forklift Design Reaches New Heights
The evolution of forklift design in the past 60 years has had a positive impact on overall building design and distribution productivity. The question of “when is high enough too high” is still being asked and the answer continues to be, not yet. The progression from almost exclusive use of the sit down counterbalanced truck […]
Defending Against the Global Recall Threat
As international supply chains and distribution networks grow in prevalence and complexity, operating risks and logistics are becoming increasingly difficult to mitigate. The challenge of managing the multitude of variables is compounded by the speed at which today’s supply chain must operate. One key area affected by the global economy is product recalls. The number […]
Reaching for the Stars
The United States is challenged by a lack of skilled and technical workers. Some claim widespread offshoring created a generation of job attrition and lost experience. But offshoring is only a symptom of the real problem. Previously, the U.S. education system failed to see and appreciate the true worth of blue- and gray-collar workers, and […]
Implementing an ERP System
Using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can significantly enhance supply chain management performance by improving purchasing, inventory control, and information exchange between internal departments, as well as external partners. Mark Butler, manager of professional services at software solutions provider Cincom Systems, offers these insights on implementing an ERP system. 1. Understand your current system’s […]
Senthil Arumugam: Building a Better Way
Senthil Arumugam is vice president of logistics and inventory management at US LBM Holdings, in Buffalo Grove, Ill. He has held this position since 2012. Responsibilities: Benchmarking best practices, implementing technology, consulting on supply chain and continuous improvement, developing mobile applications. Experience: Lean materials coordinator, Alliance Laundry Systems; senior Lean consultant, Caledonia Group; director, logistics […]
Panama Canal Countdown: Port of Los Angeles Goes Big With the completion of the Panama Canal project just around the corner, conjecture about how the expansion will affect shipping patterns continues. East Coast ports and players are bullish. Elsewhere, opinions are more muted. The Panama Canal is making a loud impact, however, on the Port […]
Global Logistics—June 2014
Light at the End Of the Chunnel UK and continental shippers can expect a price reprieve after Eurotunnel announced plans to reduce freight rates through the Channel tunnel. The move comes after the European Commission began legal action to reduce charges and increase traffic. Paris-based Eurotunnel, which operates trains through the tunnel, will cut tariffs […]
Best-in-Class Supply Chains Won’t Overlook Freight Payment
As a shipping professional, you play an important role in your company’s physical supply chain. But did you know your role is just as important to your company’s financial supply chain? In today’s global supply chains, encompassing multiple transportation and financial partners, all stakeholders need visibility into transactions, parameters and results of the financial supply […]
Lean Retail: It’s About Time – and Money
Thanks to forward-thinking retailers such as Walmart and OfficeMax, Lean thinking is spreading in a variety of manufacturing sectors, including consumer goods, apparel, and food and beverage. These retailers have dramatically changed how products are ordered, moving inventory rapidly through their distribution centers to stores by gathering and sharing point-of-sale data with suppliers, and using […]
Need Warehouse Capacity? Outsourcing Gives You an In
To find the right solutions to today’s complex warehousing, real estate, and supply chain challenges, growing companies have three options: hire someone with the expertise you need; train someone on your staff; or enlist help from someone outside your company who already has the skills you need. Shippers should consider seeking that outside help from […]
5 Issues to Consider Before Selecting Your Next Site
For companies evaluating prospective manufacturing sites, transportation cost and service considerations are paramount. Here are five critical supply chain issues businesses must consider when evaluating sites for expansion or relocation. Fuel costs. The price of U.S. diesel fuel has remained higher than $3 per gallon for more than three years, with no sign of dropping. […]
Lean: Winning Strategies for Cutting Waste
With Lean tools and processes at your command, you’re well on your way to gobbling waste from your supply chain operations. Wakka wakka!
Economic Development: The Care and Feeding of U.S. Enterprise
Site selection is no longer just about location, location, location. Companies are now interested in laying down roots in regions that inspire and encourage innovation, and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit.
Latin American Logistics: The View to the South
Opportunities abound for U.S. companies selling in and sourcing from Latin America. But trade can be tricky. Partnering with experienced logistics and transportation service providers is often the way to go.
Chemical Logistics: Delivering Solutions for a Complex Industry
Chemical manufacturers—and the third-party logistics partners that serve them—tackle enormous challenges to keep the $770-billion industry moving.
Landing a Job in Logistics: It Takes a Wealth of Experience
What do companies value more when hiring logisticians: an academic background or real-world experience in several functions? As the supply chain continues to evolve and change, the answer is increasingly both.
Freight Bill Payment: Meeting the Pepsi Challenge
When Pepsi Logistics Company Inc. (PLCI) was thirsty for an automated system for billing customers, and processing and paying carrier freight bills, it whet its whistle with Epay Manager from Level One Technologies. To understand Plano, Texas-based PLCI’s thirst for automation, consider its size and scope. PLCI manages parent company PepsiCo’s private fleet, one of […]
Technology Convergence of Forces Offers Improvements for Logistics Sector
A convergence of technology trends is transforming the logistics sector, creating enormous opportunities to operate more safely, efficiently, and competitively. Technology research firm Gartner describes what’s happening in business and our society in general as a nexus of technology and human forces: Social – the technology linkage between people, and the connectivity that enables work […]
Fight Inventory Pain Points
We’ve all experienced inventory pains. Inaccurate inventory counts that cause mishaps, delays because of inaccuracy resulting in dissatisfied customers, costly end-of-year write-offs, and wasted time spent looking for lost inventory, are the most common pain points sited by businesses. While all these things can happen, the best part is, they don’t have to. There’s a […]
The Importance of Contingency Planning in Automotive Supply Chains
Emergency logistics specialists have been championing the benefits of focused supply chain management for a long time, and the adoption of such policies by vehicle manufacturers is enabling the introduction of new, dynamic, and higher-risk logistics strategies. Supply chain contingency can not only safeguard current operations, but provide support for the increasingly fleet-footed manufacturing footprint […]
Dispelling Five Common Myths about Voice-Directed Work
Nearly one million workers use voice-directed technology daily in warehousing and logistics applications. These tools can help improve worker safety and reduce employee-training time. Yet many companies still resist investing in voice-directed solutions – often because of one of the following five common misconceptions. Myth: Voice is only applicable for picking workflows. Fact: Voice is […]
What Transportation Providers Gain From an Integrated TMS Platform
Transportation service providers with trucking assets have an edge with customers. Compared to their non-asset counterparts, they can directly control the equipment, drivers and facilities to ensure capacity and customer service, keeping commitments and adapting quickly to market change. Keeping pace with the demands of the marketplace has become increasingly complex, however. Few carriers operate […]
Preparing for New Trade Regulations
Major trade regulation changes are affecting the global supply chain, unprecedented in both number and magnitude. Although the changes impact some industries more than others, every company that imports into, or exports from, the United States or Canada will be affected. The majority of the regulations require new licensing, while others mandate significant software updates. […]
You Say You Need a Bigger Warehouse?
If you think you need a bigger warehouse, you are not alone. Seventy-one percent of warehouse operators responding to an April 2014 Motorola Solutions survey have their sights set on expanding warehouse operations. Thirty-five percent of respondents say they want either more warehouse space or more locations, while 38 percent want to expand the size […]
Ensuring Import Compliance
Companies moving products into the United States must not only develop expertise about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations, but also make a continual effort to stay up to date on changes to the rules. Paul Rasmussen, CEO of Zepol, a Minnesota-based provider of international trade tools, offers these tips for ensuring customs compliance […]
Bud Snodgrass: Oils Well That Ends Well
Bud Snodgrass is director of logistics at Universal Lubricants in Wichita, Kansas. He joined the company in 2013. Responsibilities: Distribution, including warehousing and customer service at 17 distribution centers; all inbound and outbound transportation. Experience: Several positions in marine claims, scheduling and distribution, sales, and other areas, Koch Industries; account executive, Trane – Asset Management […]
TOTO Plumbs the Benefits of Green To gain favor among ethically conscious customers, retailers and manufacturers continue to put a marketing spin on sustainability. Greenwashing has many shades. Often it surfaces in buzzwords such as eco-friendly and recycled. Sometimes it reveals itself as trust in a brand, or the type of ingredients found in a […]
Global Logistics—May 2014
U.S. Welcomes European Invasion A European invasion is coming, but no need to worry—U.S. retailers will be welcome beneficiaries. Many U.S. companies are exploring European materials handling and last-mile strategies as omnichannel complexity, delivery urgency, and urban logistics complicate new market opportunities. A few notable examples of this European invasion were on display at the […]
Supply Chain Relationship Management
In a world where trucking capacity becomes constrained, relationships matter. Managing those relationships strategically versus tactically can make a huge difference in the viability and reliability of each company’s supply chain. The first ingredient to successful supply chain relationship management is having the ability to measure a supply chain partner’s performance. The next is possessing […]
Liquidate Inventory or Leave Money on the Table
Reverse logistics programs aim to efficiently remove returned and obsolete inventory from the primary sales channel to maximize recovery values while minimizing related financial risk. Retailers and manufacturers liquidate more than 95 percent of overstock inventory and customer returns on the secondary market. When evaluating the effectiveness of their returns process, many executives focus on […]
5 Steps to Revolutionize Your Corporate Culture
Successful business leaders understand that a company’s culture is just as important to the bottom line as tools and technology. But workplace culture involves more than a company T-shirt and zone cleanup competitions. In strong companies, it is a highly structured and repeatedly measured discipline. Company culture is a sustainable platform for long-term performance, encompassing […]
Managing Complex Supply Chains in Emerging Asia
Capitalizing on Asia’s emerging markets requires the ability to effectively manage the complex supply chain challenges that the region presents. Often the first step to turning economic potential into actual growth is creating a strong and secure logistics hub. Global businesses commonly centralize their logistics and supply chain management functions in a stable, secure location […]
Refreshing Your Logistics Network: 6 Steps to Success
Follow this hands-on guide to ensure a headache-free logistics network optimization project.
Materials Handling Equipment: Sorting Through the Options
From conveyors to stackers to shuttles, choosing the right automation can convert your warehouse into a sleek machine.
Logistics Leadership: The New Spirit of St. Louis
Site selection decision-makers choose the St. Louis area for its central location, outstanding transportation infrastructure, and dedication to pursuing economic growth.
Keeping Intermodal In Your Sites
Eyeing a new location for your plant or DC? Make sure it’s rail/intermodal accessible, and served by progressive transportation providers.
The Best of Both Worlds: The Benefits of TMS with Integrated Fleet Management Tools
Q: With transportation management systems (TMS) solutions achieving maturity as a technology, what will be the next innovation in transportation automation? A: The continually tightening trucking capacity in North America is prompting shippers to dramatically increase their use of private and dedicated fleets. Adding to this dynamic, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandate to […]
Inbound Logistics: A Grassroots Revolution
Q: Many companies neglect their inbound supply chain operations in favor of their outbound supply chain. Why is that? A: Senior executives are more attuned to customer needs, and, in turn, the outbound, customer-facing supply chain. Its gravity naturally pulls their attention, and, as a result, policies and tactics abound for outbound material flow. This […]
Understanding the Auto Aftermarket Supply Chain
Q: What are some trends in the automotive aftermarket supply chain? A: One ongoing development is suppliers are increasing their ship-direct activity. They are shipping parts directly to the dealer, or they may ship to a primary distribution center or field DC, bypassing the national distribution center. This approach benefits the shipper during a surge […]
Stack, Store & Transport: The Indispensable Pallet
Pallets are a vital piece of warehouse equipment for storing and moving products.
Shipment Visibility: SilverStaff Passes the Test
Medical testing lab SilverStaff’s pain points included inbound shipment pickup service and visibility. UPS delivered the remedy.
How the Hub-and-Spoke Model Transformed the Transportation Industry
In the past, the transportation and distribution industry was guided by the principles of point-to-point or direct-route operations. Transportation networks were disorganized, and shipping, aviation, and transit companies were losing money. As technology has developed, the logistics sector has found faster and more cost-effective ways of shipping freight. The hub-and-spoke model was born from industry’s […]
Is Your Freight Payment Company Equipped to Audit Your Invoices?
Businesses use freight payment companies (FPCs) to decrease internal administration costs and maintain detailed back-up information for their finance departments. They rely on FPCs to review weekly transportation invoices for accuracy and make payments on their behalf. Some companies also count on FPCs to audit their invoices. Companies can gain several benefits by partnering with […]
Leading Change and Innovation in Transportation and Logistics
Online retailer Amazon.com has been experimenting with small, unmanned aircraft for package delivery for implementation perhaps as early as 2015. Amazon is not alone in evaluating drones as a means to improve its transportation and logistics. The German Deutsche Post is also currently conducting tests. Time will tell whether or not drones will join other […]
Georgia’s Supply Chain Industry Steers the Next Generation of Workers
Today’s global economy is a vast competitive network, challenged by increased government regulation, changing technology, jittery financial markets, and a myriad of niche-specific customer requirements. Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and early Millennials built this system in the 1980s and ’90s, but as they retire it is vital to groom a new generation to pass their […]
Networked Track Sensors Keep Rails and Workers Safe
The current state of rail integrity and safety is a critical issue for logistics managers who increasingly rely on intermodal transportation. Intermodal rail traffic has significantly increased during the past two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to increased rail traffic, aging infrastructure complicate intermodal shipping. In 2011, the Federal Railroad […]
The Power of Demand-Driven
The inbound logistics concept has a lot of pull in today’s marketplace—and for good reason. Consignees want control. Having visibility to product and processes at different supply chain touch points empowers you to make smart decisions about positioning and moving inventory. Companies embrace this enthusiasm for demand-driven practices in countless ways. For example, some importers […]
Tapping Social Media to Power Your Supply Chain
Social media provides a platform for companies to share knowledge and opinions, and broadcast information to an audience of followers. It also generates valuable data about how your customers think, shop, vote, and spend their leisure time. Many companies have jumped into social media to improve supply chain operations. Cindi Hane, vice president of technical […]
Bob Kalland Knows the Drill
Bob Kalland is inventory and logistics manager for Atlas Copco Mining and Rock (MR) Excavation, located in Commerce City, Colo. The company is a unit of Atlas Copco, a Swedish manufacturer of industrial tooling and equipment. He has held this position since 2011. Responsibilities: Managing all inventory and logistics for the MR business. Experience: Inventory […]
Shopping for Retail Trends The National Retail Federation (NRF) drew a record 30,000-plus attendees to its January 2014 BIG Apple Conference to "touch and feel" the latest hot trends and innovations in the retail industry. For some attendees, like Mark Ledbetter, global vice president for SAP Retail, the reality is even more compelling. Ledbetter, who […]
Global Logistics—April 2014
U.S. Creates ‘Single Window’ for Import/Export Data Transmission The U.S. government has always been light years behind the private sector in technology innovation and implementation. So President Barack Obama’s executive order to streamline U.S. import and export documentation shines a ray of light on the trade community as the government emerges from the Dark Ages […]
Plan Better Truck Routes: Long-range Itinerary Generation Enhances Operations
Not so long ago, route planning, fleet optimization, and driver allocation relied almost exclusively on the guile, instincts, and experience of operations managers and dispatch personnel. Long-range forecasting was theoretical at best. The tools used static data, and couldn’t handle the inevitable adjustments required by the dynamics of day-to-day operations. This is changing fast. While […]
Fusing Big Data and the Supply Chain: The Future is NOW
Only 8% of shippers and 5% of 3PLs surveyed have implemented Big Data initiatives involving the supply chain, according to the 2014 18th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study produced by Dr. C. John Langley and Capgemini Consulting. Conversely, nearly all shippers and third-party logistics providers believe Big Data is vital in future 3PL efforts to help […]
Invest in Productivity
Start with what I consider low-hanging fruit—any investment in productivity that pays for itself in less than one year. Think about that return: 100 percent in one year. If you bought a portfolio of stocks and it went up 15 percent in one year, you would be a savvy investor. Earn 20 to 30 percent, […]
Access to Reliable Transportation Regardless of Transportation Market Conditions
Over the past 25 years I’ve been in Supply Chain, I’ve come to the realization transportation rates are difficult to forecast due to elastic variables (perceived or real) in the supply chain. Depending upon your role and point of view, rates could increase by low single digits or double digits over the next year. You […]
Automating Key Steps to Strategically Optimize Inbound Supply Chains
The increasing growth and complexity of global trade means organizations must work with a range of partners, suppliers and functional teams within the organization. Best in class companies use a variety of global trade automation tools to lower inbound costs and improve processes. According to a recent AberdeenGroup report, "Strategic Inbound Optimization: Foreign Trade Zones […]
Laying the Foundation For a Long-Term 3PL Partnership
Many companies start working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to fix an isolated problem at the lowest possible cost. Unfortunately, these relationships are often short-lived and serve only to fill an operational gap. But thoughtfully planned 3PL partnerships can produce invaluable results using a long-term approach that focuses on sustainable operational gains, rather than […]
Streamlining Inventory Through SKU Rationalization
While supply chain and logistics managers pursuing Lean operations generally seek to eliminate excess inventory, sales and marketing programs often lead companies to increase the volume of products they keep in stock. During the past few decades, the number of stockkeeping units (SKUs) retailers offer has soared. For example, in 1970, the average grocery store […]
Leveraging Big Data
Think big – but start small – when mining big data to propel your supply chain forward.
2014 Top 100 Logistics IT Providers
Information is power. Inbound Logistics’ annual logistics IT research survey uncovers the latest trends powering the supply chain, and reveals the Top 100 sector leaders.
Connect, Secure, and Manage the Supply Chain
Q: How are transport and logistics firms using mobility to improve employee engagement? A: Mobility once meant giving each driver a cell phone. Today, however, connected devices with communication applications allow drivers to get news and road updates, connect with family, and do business anywhere and anytime. By accessing training programs while waiting for a […]
Maximizing the Benefits of Your TMS
Q: What are the best ways to get the full benefit of a transportation management system (TMS)? A: First, work with your solution provider to configure the system to meet your unique requirements and workflow, and to automate managing your transportation network. A system you can implement quickly and that meets your requirements enables you […]
Accessible Capital, Trustworthy Partners Key to Managing Freight Costs
Q: What is the key to managing freight spend in today’s environment? A: In addition to the slow growth economy, the transportation industry has been hit with significant economic and industry challenges, including increasing regulations, driver shortages, fluctuating fuel costs, and a tight credit environment. Carrier costs are going up—costs that will likely get passed […]
The Fundamentals of Successful Value Chain Partnerships
Q: How can value chain partners cooperate to create and share efficiencies? A: With an unprecedented global reach, access to new markets, increased regulation, and huge advances in technology, today’s supply chain environment is more complex than ever. Coupled with increasing customer demands for speed, flexibility, cost efficiency, quality, and customization, it is very difficult […]
Big Data Tools Enable Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics
Q: What is different in transportation technology today compared to five years ago? A: Two words: big data. It has become significantly less expensive in the past five years to store and analyze large amounts of data. Due to these decreased costs, companies can now afford to use data to gain additional insight into their […]
Get Real: What ROI to Expect from Your TMS Implementation
Q: Transportation management system (TMS) solution providers routinely claim their automation tools will deliver cost savings as high as 25 to 30 percent of annual transportation spend. Is this accurate? A: Sales representatives have a tendency to oversell things in their pursuit of new clients. This is problematic for the industry because it discredits TMS […]