Dave Manning

Driver Shortage Threatens to Slow Intermodal Growth

The shortage of qualified drivers threatens the intermodal industry’s continued growth. The challenge for intermodal is not only hiring enough professional drivers, but also retaining them. For many transportation companies, attracting and retaining drivers are the biggest challenges. The extreme number of multi-hour delays along the intermodal chain, combined with the impersonal treatment drivers receive […]

Paul A. Myerson

Procurement and Purchasing: Buying into Lean

While supply chain costs, primarily procurement and transportation, can range from 50 to 70 percent of sales, some companies place too much emphasis on the traditional focus of reducing material costs in supply processes. Applying Lean principles to procurement and purchasing processes can identify non-traditional sources of waste, in some cases creating a paradigm shift […]

The Power of Power

The Power of Power

Companies searching for just the right spot to locate their manufacturing plants, warehouses, and other facilities rank energy high on their list of priorities.

How to Make Ship Arrival Analytics and Predictions More Precise

Ninety percent of the world’s logistics traffic moves via ocean transport, and until today, the entire logistics community of shippers, forwarders, carriers, and tracking technology providers has suffered from the struggle to consistently predict the precise arrival of the world’s ocean vessels with reliable certainty. Many in the supply chain industry claim that dynamically predicting […]

Scott Brown

Reducing Supply Chain Risk by Outsourcing Technology

Supply chain risk management is a major concern for many companies. Risk management data would influence board-level decisions for 70 percent of respondents to a Gartner IT Risk Management Survey, up from just 46 percent a year earlier. While data loss and the threat of cyber-attacks are the most well-known security issues, there are three […]

How to Wirelessly Enable Your Supply Chain

Just in time is challenging enough. It’s even more so when it involves high-value assets such as construction, forestry, and agricultural equipment. That was the case at one major U.S. manufacturer who supplied those kinds of equipment. For years, the company’s supply chain used specialized containers to shuttle work-in-process inventory between multiple suppliers and manufacturing […]

Keith Biondo

You Say You Want a Co-Evolution?

In human evolution, scientists theorize that primitive man existed 3.8 million years ago. Progress was slow until 200,000 years ago, when modern man made his appearance. Then came a spark of progress: animal domestication, farming, global expansion, refined toolmaking, and more. What we today call the third-party logistics (3PL) sector followed that same evolutionary process. […]

Felecia Stratton

Turning Back the Pages: 20 Years of Top 100 3PLs

Where were you in 1996? Working your way up the transportation ladder? Starting a career in the logistics field? On the outside looking in? Still in high school? Grade school? Every once in a while it’s fun to throw it back—to an earlier time and reflect on where we come from, where we’ve been, cause […]

Overcoming LTL Shipping Challenges

Less-than-truckload (LTL) transportation involves moving shipments that won’t fill a 48- or 53-foot semi-trailer. LTL could be half of a full shipment, a single pallet, or a single box. LTL shipping creates many challenges, and understanding how to overcome them is key to efficiency. Adam Robinson, marketing manager of third-party logistics (3PL) provider Cerasis Inc., […]

Terri Anderson: Care and Feeding of the WMS

Terri Anderson: Care and Feeding of the WMS

Terri Anderson is production warehouse management systems manager at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a global learning company specializing in Pre-K to 12th grade content, services, and technology. She has held this position, based in Indianapolis, since 2004. Responsibilities: Configure, enhance, and test the company’s warehouse management system (WMS); liaison between distribution centers and the technology group; […]

Trends—July 2015

Trends—July 2015

ShippingPass vs. Prime: The Fight for Last-Mile Rights Walmart and Amazon are a study in contrasts, from corporate culture to omni-channel strategy. One promises everyday low prices; the other prioritizes selection and speed. But all things being different, they are chasing the same thing—customer satisfaction. Both retail leaders have found a common battleground when it […]

Global Logistics—July 2015

Global Logistics—July 2015

TPP: Fishing for Accountability Buried within the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are provisions that will help protect global fisheries—and consumers—from widespread fraud in the seafood supply chain. It’s a pet project of the Obama Administration, which specifically created the Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud in June 2014 […]

Chris Baltz

Working With the Right Enterprise Logistics Provider Makes Good Companies Significantly Better

In any economy, the key for manufacturers, distributors or retailers is competitive advantage. When companies lack competitive advantage—or worse yet, experience competitive disadvantage—a difficult economic environment amplifies the pain. Principal reasons many good companies have struggled with this issue are limited exposure to best practices, technology, tools, training and internal resource capacity. Companies are increasingly […]

Tom Heine

Cloud Inspections: Improving Productivity, Safety, and Reducing Costs

How important are inspections to your business? Does your business need to track the condition of materials moving through a process to avoid disputes over who might have damaged what? Do you have a private fleet that requires vehicle inspections? Or do you need to inspect finished products, either at the factory, or when they […]

Nathan Pieri

What “Digital Business” Means for your Business

Q: You recently attended your 11th Gartner Supply Chain Executive Summit. This year the key theme was Digital Business, a core ingredient for supply chain transformation success. What is Digital Business? A: Digital Business is a concept that encompasses the people, processes, and enabling technologies of the supply chain of the future. It all starts […]

Edward D. Greenberg

Demurrage and Detention Charges: Are They Equitable?

Q: Given recent port congestion, stoppages, and increasing vessel sizes, what impact does that have on the equitable assessment of demurrage and detention charges? A: It is the responsibility of the carriers and the ports to make cargo available to the shipper before there should be any consideration of beginning the free time clock and […]

Adam Brosch

6 Global Supply Chain Challenges To Ignore at Your Own Risk

Along with the many benefits that come from sourcing outside the United States, such as low-cost manufacturing, several issues must be properly managed to ensure a successful supply chain. Finding a rock-bottom price in China or India is not the problem, but landing great costs while avoiding distance, timing, quality, and language problems can be […]

Mike Grayson

3PLs Can Deliver Big Benefits to Small Companies

No group has benefitted more from the explosion of e-commerce than small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Still, the perception is often that SMBs deal only in personal, face-to-face interactions between customers and business owners in a brick-and-mortar store. While that personal touch is still very much alive, e-commerce has fundamentally changed and expanded the number […]

Dr. Mario Vaccari

The Human Touch: New Ergonomic Initiatives Sustain Employee Efficiency

Today’s global supply chains must support constant market changes while also sustaining productivity. In order to achieve this, supply chain leaders are executing several strategies, including implementing ergonomic initiatives that minimize risks for production employees on the job. In production environments, ergonomics plays a direct role in employee performance, which translates into production sustainability. Ergonomics […]

Robert M. Baratta, Jr.

Rise of the Machines: How Self-Driving Trucks Will Alter the Supply Chain 

If you drive through Nevada on your family vacation this summer, you may glimpse what many believe is the future of trucking in this country. Daimler’s Freightliner division unveiled its first self-driving truck licensed for commercial use in Nevada, one of the first states to permit autonomous passenger vehicles and the only one to license […]

Karmen Gilbert and Jason Malmassari

Supply Chain + Marketing = Successful Consumer Promotions

More consumer-facing companies are using promotions as a way to attract and retain customers, try new product concepts, and meet consumer demand.Examples include limited-time food offerings in restaurants, holiday-inspired product colors, and co-branded promotions at big box retailers and grocers. These promotions give marketers, product developers, and salespeople an additional avenue to express creativity and […]

Chris Swearingen

4 Ways to Ensure Your Valuable Shipments Arrive Safely

Every shipment contains something of value to the sender and receiver. That package may have an extraordinarily high monetary value with little emotional equity, or incredibly high emotional value for the recipient but little financial worth. For example, let’s take a shipment containing temperature- or time-sensitive pharmaceuticals for patients in a new drug trial. The […]

Sue Max

Ready to Reduce Your Footprint? Start by Taking These 5 Steps

For resource-intensive organizations, conservation and environmental initiatives are more than feel-good activities. Environmental stewardship can ease regulatory and compliance burdens, reduce effort and waste, and increase profit margins. Yet, many companies still struggle to justify green efforts. Implementing an environmental initiative in your business can be more than just an exercise in sustainability. The program […]

Mike Challman

Benchmarking Transportation Processes With TMS Data

Many businesses that ship products use transportation management systems (TMS) for visibility and control within their supply chain operations. The introduction of cloud-based TMS has also opened the door to many small and mid-sized companies to find great tools that fit their budgets. While using TMS capabilities to support everything from carrier rate management, shipment […]

Doug Davidson

Start Now to Leverage the Benefits of the Panama Canal Expansion

The expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled between late 2015 and early 2016, is one of the most important infrastructure projects of the past century. The upgrades mean that massive post-Panamax ships will traverse the waterway, leading to a significant shift in trade patterns and increased global trade. Global companies typically grow 15 percent faster, […]

California, Here We Stay

California, Here We Stay

As part of a new supply chain management and logistics strategy, Yokohama Tire decides to roll with its current operations in the Golden State.

O Canada!

O Canada!

In the logistics of trade, the relationship between Canada and the United States is friendly and advantageous on both sides of the border.

Retail Collaboration: It’s All in the Jeans

Retail Collaboration: It’s All in the Jeans

When Lucky Brand Jeans was sold to a private equity firm, and had to separate from the supply chain of former parent company Fifth & Pacific Companies, the apparel business needed to quickly establish its own, standalone distribution center (DC). The company marshalled help from a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, a technology firm, and a […]

Why Ports Need a Master Plan

Ports constitute an important economic hub and critical economic engines, bringing varying degrees of benefit to the international, regional, and local economies in which they operate. In a sense, ports are much like living organisms. In biology, organisms are defined as contiguous living systems, which, in at least some form, are capable of response to […]

Tom Caporaso

What Customers Expect in the E-Commerce Age

Twenty years ago, selling and delivering retail goods to consumers was a relatively simple process. Nearly all purchases were made in stores, so if a retailer adequately stocked its shelves with desirable, dependable goods, shoppers were usually satisfied. If they weren’t, they often had limited options, depending on how far they had to travel to […]

Joe Bellini

Inventory Replenishment: Why Push When You Can Pull?

Today‘s supply chains are undergoing significant pressures to become more demand-driven. Retailers, distributors, and manufacturers must choose the approach they hope will make the most profit. Should you produce goods according to demand forecasts, or by reacting to what consumers already bought? Companies are investing in a new generation of cloud technologies that enable the […]

Steven Page

Three Tips for Doing Business in Canada

Canada offers a unique opportunity for American businesses looking to sell products into new and profitable markets. Canada shares a border with the U.S. that spans 5,525 miles, and entered the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Mexico on January 1, 1994. Since then, Canada has purchased a significant number of American […]

G75: Inbound Logistics’ 75 Green Supply Chain Partners

G75: Inbound Logistics’ 75 Green Supply Chain Partners

If you want your carbon footprint to be as small as possible, and your business to be sustainable, then make sure you are doing business with supply chain partners who feel the same way. Inbound Logistics’ annual 75 Green Supply Chain Partners (G75) focuses on showcasing companies that demonstrate green best practices in their supply chain, […]

Felecia Stratton

Engineering Green DNA

Sustainability and green are two words often used interchangeably. In truth, one is a subset of the other. Sustainability is inclusive, an ethical umbrella that covers a gamut of social, economic, environmental, and business issues. But the idea of sustainment is integral to any green effort. Shippers often run into problems pushing environmental programs because […]

Cutting Costs While Delighting Customers

North American companies increasingly are seeking data-driven supply chain strategies to lower costs while improving customer satisfaction. Robust technologies and advanced analytics drive the business insight needed to streamline processes and reduce costs from raw materials to end delivery. Sophie Dabbs, vice president of client solutions for third-party logistics provider Transportation Insight, discusses the art […]

Kelvin Miller: Home Away From Home for the Troops

Kelvin Miller: Home Away From Home for the Troops

Kelvin Miller is an equipment and mobility readiness spare parts allocation supervisor with military contractor DynCorp International, in Dohar, Qatar. He has held this position since 2013. Responsibilities: Managing and shipping equipment to the field to support Air Force deployments in the Middle East. Experience: Section chief, materiel distribution, U.S. Air Force. Education: A.A., psychology, […]

Global Logistics-June 2015

Global Logistics-June 2015

GCC States Warm to Regional Collaboration Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states —Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain—have long been hamstrung by independent-minded sovereigns who prefer to think and act unilaterally. Despite the formation of the trade bloc in 1981, collaboration, especially around transportation and logistics, often goes wanting. It’s why […]

Trends—June 2015

Trends—June 2015

Highway Trust Funding: Déjà vu All Over Again? News that U.S. Congress and President Obama are about to finalize a two-month extension to the lame duck Highway Trust Fund has elicited mixed reaction from industry. Some are optimistic because legislators were able to push through a bill without undue delay, especially as summer construction work […]

Paul A. Myerson

How to Cut Seven Non-Traditional Wastes

In my first column for Inbound Logistics in 2012, I covered the seven traditional wastes identified in Lean thinking: Transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction, over-processing, and defects, more commonly known by the acronym TIM WOOD. But there are other wastes to consider in your supply chain and logistics functions. Let’s examine the following seven non-traditional […]

John Costanzo

It’s Time for an Automotive Aftermarket Logistics Tuneup

In automotive repair shops across the country, demand for older model parts is matching demand for newer model regular maintenance parts. This is because the average vehicle on the road today is 11.4 years old, and expected to reach 11.7 years by 2019. The result has transformed the aftermarket industry. Aftermarket SKUs are estimated in […]

Kristen Celecki

Ditch the Spreadsheet and Grow Your Business with Quality Data

To optimize logistics execution, shippers must gain visibility by adopting new technologies that provide high-quality data. But at many companies, separate freight procurement and logistics management functions leave managers struggling to optimize processes beyond freight rates, producing results that may have a large financial impact and damage customer satisfaction. Even today, many companies manage information […]

Rob Kriewaldt

Connected Vehicles & Smart Infrastructure

While the future of transportation may not include the flying cars from "The Jetsons" or "Back to the Future," it is still light-years beyond our current travel methods. We are all familiar with the litany of concerns regarding our land-based transportation system, including inadequate infrastructure, traffic congestion, energy usage, pollution, and safety. On a recent […]

Doug Waggoner

Benefits of Partial Truckload Shipping

Q: What is partial truckload? A: You hear a lot about less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload, but an often overlooked mode is partial truckload, or volume LTL. This mode has benefits shippers should consider when looking for faster transit times, less handling, and a more cost-effective solution. Logistics professionals begin to look at partial truckload […]

Karen Folino

Dealing With Demurrage, the Dreaded D-Word

Every industry endures a topic no one wants to discuss. It’s usually too painful or tedious to confront, although it probably will never vanish. For shippers and receivers who transport by rail, that topic is the dreaded demurrage. Demurrage is the fee charged for the extended use of a railroad-owned or privately held railcar. When […]

Jeremy Boudinet

Gamification: A New Way of Tracking and Improving KPIs

Harnessing and optimizing new technology has always been a cornerstone of the logistics sector. Dating back to 1781, when James Watt patented the first continuously rotating steam combustion engine, logistics has evolved by capitalizing on technological breakthroughs and innovations. So, perhaps it is only appropriate that an industry initially built on the back of the […]

John Ellis

How to Use Safety Measures to Reduce Lift Truck Accident Damage

Like busy freeways, plants and warehouses have squeezed more traffic into less space as the cost of real estate has risen. With products and equipment packed tighter, operating with more just-in-time logistics, the risk of lift truck impact is greater than ever today. That puts your people, production, and assets at risk. OSHA estimates that […]

Felecia Stratton

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down

It might sound like two things I did this month—traveling to Phoenix for ISM’s annual conference and working on this Warehousing issue—have nothing in common. Ah, but they do. What happens in the warehouse, the orchestration of products coming in and going out to where they need to be, hinges on the convergence of many […]

Improving Shipper/Carrier Relationships

From shippers, receivers, and purchasing agents to carriers and third-party logistics companies, everyone has an opinion on how to reduce trucking costs. But they all agree that to help save money, shippers should build strong relationships with their less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers. Mark Hamblin, vice president of sales, west, for LTL carrier Saia, offers some advice […]

Lori Harper: Running a Tight Ship

Lori Harper: Running a Tight Ship

Lori Harper is vice president, supply chain management at Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), Pascagoula, Miss. HII was spun off from Northrop Grumman Corp. in 2011. Harper has served in this position since 2012. Responsibilities: Sourcing, procurement, receiving, warehousing, inventory, distribution, cost control, and analytics. Experience: Subcontract management specialist, material site […]

Trends—May 2015

Trends—May 2015

U.S. Ports Critical to Sustained Economic Growth Transportation budgeting at the state and federal levels has become a contentious battleground as politicians and private sector lobbyists search for new funding mechanisms to execute much-needed infrastructure upgrades. One point of consensus is that U.S. ports are key to sustained economic growth—and therefore should be a priority […]

Global Logistics—May 2015

Global Logistics—May 2015

China Picks Pakistan for Trade Corridor China’s "global diplomacy" holds few bounds. From Central and South America to Africa, the country has been aggressively asserting its influence and injecting capital into new infrastructure developments that also pave the way for further commodity sourcing. But China’s impact in Asia is far greater, especially as it relates […]

Rob Kriewaldt

Tight Market for Industrial Real Estate Impacts Supply Chain Costs

The industrial real estate market is still recovering from the effects of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. The hangover from those years is now having a dramatic effect on the cost and availability of warehousing and distribution space in most key markets across the United States. Additional factors, such as positive demographic trends, expanding trade […]

Joe Johnson

Improving the Warehouse Startup Process

Q: What trends are you seeing with customers and their warehousing needs? A: We are seeing a larger number of existing and prospective customers looking for space in short time frames. They might be looking to outsource their warehousing at the end of an existing lease or they may have short-term warehousing needs. Customers do […]

Marty Ready

The Driver Shortage—Not Just a Carrier Issue

Q: The transportation industry’s nationwide driver shortage is getting worse. What is the cause? A: Tougher regulations, a lack of interest by younger workers, and the graying of today’s drivers are contributing to the driver shortage. The problem will continue to grow over the next several years—especially as freight volumes increase. Despite the fact that […]

Kathryn C. Thomas

How Amtrak’s Supreme Court Case Affects Freight Shippers

Track-sharing among railroads has long been a complicated issue. The U.S. Supreme Court recently reviewed a case determining whether Amtrak has the authority to regulate privately owned freight railroads with which it shares rail. The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 was supposed to reinvigorate a national passenger rail system. The legislation created Amtrak to […]

Kevin Zweier

Five Ways to Mitigate a Truckload Capacity Crunch

Many factors have led to increased costs for truckload services, and created challenges to the freight pricing status quo for shippers. In the wake of the disruptions caused by the current capacity crunch, many are asking: "Am I overpaying? And if I am, what can I do about it?" To avoid paying too much for […]

Tom Stretar

7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Incentive Program

Incentive pay programs are becoming an increasingly popular supply chain initiatives to increase productivity without the need for large capital improvements. These programs motivate employees to perform to the best of their ability every day, even during stretches of long workdays and difficult tasks. The problem is that an incentive program can hold an adverse […]

David Smith

Manufacturing Skills Gap Calls for New Approaches to Talent Development

As manufacturers seek to achieve growth, their search for the right talent to help them execute on their business strategy tends to be a challenging one. More than 75 percent of manufacturing respondents to Accenture’s 2014 Manufacturing Skills and Training Study identified a shortage of skilled workers. That gap also stands out in the so-called […]

Nate Henderson

Improving Customer Satisfaction with Consumer Engagement Apps

Walking into a retail store today, customers are presented with myriad options for every product. But how can they know which is the best for their needs, among two, five, or 10 different options? Before the digital age, we might have asked a friend or neighbor which product they use. Now, we turn to the […]

Jeff Vielhaber

Communication is Key When Optimizing Logistics Networks

Within any logistics network there are vendors, warehouses, distribution centers, service operations, transportation routes and hubs, carriers, freight forwarders, importers, exporters, and more. The idea of optimizing all of it is enough to give anyone a splitting headache. The goal of optimization is to reduce costs while becoming more efficient. To do this, some companies […]

Keith Biondo

The World is Your Warehouse, 2.0

Inbound Logistics regularly reports on the benefits of better linking demand to supply lines. Given the new and ever-growing crop of supply chain technology solutions delivering global visibility and ability to execute, we sometimes refer to the world as your warehouse. That’s why Apple’s patent #8,989,773 caught my eye. Granted on March 24, 2015, by […]

Maximizing Intermodal Efficiency

Intermodal transportation was developed to improve efficiency as U.S. consumer demand and shipment volume grew. When a trucking entrepreneur realized it would be more efficient to use the same conveyance for different shipping modes, without having to handle the cargo, intermodalism was created. The resulting interoperability of the assets themselves—containers, chassis, railcars—is evidence of improved […]

Judi Griffin: Sinks Her Teeth Into Her Work

Judi Griffin: Sinks Her Teeth Into Her Work

Judi Griffin is director of logistics at Burkhart Dental, a supplier of equipment, technology, and consumables used by dental practices. She has worked for Burkhart Dental since 2009, and has held her current position at the Tacoma, Wash., firm since 2013. Responsibilities: Distribution centers, purchasing and customer service teams, hand piece repair center, and inbound […]

Trends—April 2015

Trends—April 2015

Supply Chain Modeling: Believe It! The supply chain sector is increasingly adapting and deploying technology to better understand the unknown. Big data provides a wealth of information and historical precedent to benchmark and optimize current and future events. Modeling and design software similarly affords users the latitude to engineer and plan for potentialities before they […]

Global Logistics—April 2015

Global Logistics—April 2015

Larger Ships, Larger Losses? When Maersk Line introduced its Triple-E class of containerships in 2013, it raised the bar for the ocean shipping industry. China Shipping Container Lines and Mediterranean Shipping Company have since brought vessels online that top the 19-thousand TEU threshold. But now France’s CMA CGM SA, the third-largest container line in the […]

Paul A. Myerson

How Location Decisions Impact a Lean Strategy

Companies often don’t consider the location decision to be a Lean concept, but they should. Moving goods efficiently from raw material sites to processing facilities, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and customers is critical to remaining competitive in today’s global economy. When manufacturers make location decisions, their priority is to minimize cost. Retailers look to maximize revenue […]

Fany Flores-Pastor

Taking Steps to Embrace ACE

With other countries transitioning to a single-window-to-government paradigm, all eyes are on the United States as the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) brings a modernized, integrated approach to government. The initiative, which allows shippers to electronically transport import and export data to the government through a single window, can be considered a mature program with well-defined, […]

Christian Allred

Tracking Isn’t Just Tracking Anymore

In the 1990s, carriers, shippers, and third-party logistics providers were always asking: "Where’s my truck?" In response, automatic tracking systems grew rapidly as the Global Positioning System (GPS) became available for commercial use, and expanding satellite and cellular networks increased connectivity even in remote areas. The first generation of tracking systems charted the location, speed, […]

Gary Barraco

Three Supply Chain Risks and How to Address Them

Companies face three main sourcing supply chain risks: regulatory, brand erosion, and social compliance. Any one of these issues could lead to lost profits, product recalls, and customer erosion. At the same time, the longer the supply chain—with more levels of suppliers, disparate geographies, and other middle men, the more complex and challenging compliance becomes. […]

Rick Erickson

Choosing to Be a Shipper of Choice

Q: In the face of increasing capacity issues, rising equipment costs, and new regulations, carriers prefer to work with shippers that will support their business needs. How can companies become "Shippers of Choice"? A: In a word, it’s about partnerships. Q: Are there best practices for achieving this goal? A: Yes. Pre-planning helps carriers anticipate […]