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.

Bruce Moore

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 […]

Daniel Vertachnik

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 […]

Rick Erickson

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 […]

George Kontoravdis, PhD

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 […]

Shannon Vaillancourt

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 […]

Nicholas Carretta

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 […]

Steve Wilson

Avoiding Pitfalls to TMS Implementation

Q: What can go wrong when launching a transportation management system (TMS)? A: Implementing a TMS is a proven way to reduce cost and gain control of your organization’s transportation expenses. Yet many companies implement systems only to fall short of the return on investment (ROI) they expected. Sometimes the problem stems from failure to […]

James Meares

Untangling the Complications of Free Trade Agreements

Q: Why should companies consider trade agreements when looking to find the best sourcing option? A: Companies need to factor into their sourcing decisions the opportunities provided by free trade agreements if they are to truly reduce lead times and take advantage of cost savings available throughout their supply chain. By incorporating trade agreements into […]

Tom Sproat

Keys to Developing Strong Supply Chain Partnerships

Q: How can value chain partners collaborate to enhance performance and efficiencies? A: Collaboration among supply chain partners can improve supply chain performance, create new capabilities, and increase efficiencies. Meeting to review performance objectives helps build stronger partnerships based on definable measurements and greater transparency, and encourages more effective supply chain practices. Part of this […]

Forest Himmelfarb

Efficient and Compliant Hazmat Shipping: Today You Can Have Both

Q: What are the common hazmat violations, and what are the consequences for shippers and carriers? A: In the United States, both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulate hazardous material (or dangerous goods) transportation. Penalties can range from a few thousand dollars to more than one million dollars, and […]

Cold Storage: Optimization by Degrees

Cold Storage: Optimization by Degrees

As the food industry gets a taste of rising prices, fluctuating energy costs, and new regulations, shippers develop a growing appetite for 3PLs and refrigerated public warehouses to help drive greater efficiency inside the four walls.

Keith Biondo

A New Spin on Global Trade

Some important trends shaping global logistics and supply chain activity may not get the wide coverage they deserve. Sure, plenty of analysis and commentary point to the usual—changing economies and currency values impacting supply lines, nearshoring and reshoring, burgeoning consumer markets affording growth opportunities to those with agile enterprises and flexible supply chains, and lane-altering […]

Selecting a Bar-code Scanning System

Bar-code tools can rapidly streamline inventory processing, but choosing the proper system requires examining the current technology, understanding the types of providers, and reviewing internal processes to match needs with a solution. Brian Sutter, director of marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies, offers these tips for navigating the process. 1. Take a test drive. Training staff […]

Ax Torres: Plowing Ahead

Ax Torres: Plowing Ahead

Ax Torres is outbound shipping supervisor at AGCO Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of agricultural machinery. Based at the AGCO Parts Division in Batavia, Ill., he has worked in this position since 2013. Responsibilities: Supervise outbound processing and shipping of parts; monitor warehouse functions and supervise materials handling operators; work with carrier procurement […]

Trends—March 2014

Trends—March 2014

Is the Jones Act Worth its Salt? A briny tale about a man named Jones, complete with international intrigue, American protectionism, twisted truths, and misplaced blame unfolded recently when a 40,000-ton shipment of road salt bound for New Jersey got waylaid in Searsport, Maine. The man in question is Wesley Jones, the U.S. senator from […]

Global Logistics—March 2014

Global Logistics—March 2014

Dutch, Belgian Ports Launch Single Information System Dutch and Belgian port authorities implemented a single cross-border port information system for vessels entering the Zeeland Seaports in Vlissingen and Terneuzen (Netherlands)—which are situated where the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal meets the North Sea— and the Port of Ghent (Belgium), located 36 miles farther inland. Ships that sail into […]

Ty Bordner

The Benefits of Using a Foreign Trade Zone

From large manufacturers to individuals, any size importer or exporter can take advantage of a foreign-trade zone (FTZ). However, many companies are unaware of the sizeable cost savings and other benefits they can achieve by taking advantage of an FTZ program. Utilizing an FTZ can significantly reduce costs from customs duties, taxes and tariffs; improve […]

Cheryl Bikowski

5 Lift Truck Innovations That Will Change Your Warehouse

New developments affect the lift truck market every day, and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see these features and tools in your own warehouse. Here are five lift truck innovations worth knowing about. Device mounts. When warehouse managers first tried using tablet computers and other inventory devices on lift trucks, it didn’t […]

Anne Yarmark

5 Steps for Improving Your Logistics Training

Training is often viewed as an employee benefit, rather than an investment in the business. That’s why in difficult economic times, training and employee development are among the first budget items to go. To avoid these cuts, you must align educational programs with your company’s business objectives, and position them to drive results. Here are […]

Curtis Greve

How to Profit from Outsourcing

More companies outsource the reverse logistics function than any other part of the supply chain. In fact, most Fortune 1000 retailers and consumer goods manufacturers outsource part or all of their reverse logistics processes, and experts expect this trend to continue growing globally over the next 20 years. Why do companies such as Walmart, Dell, […]

Tom Griffin

A Strategic Approach to Strengthening Supply Chains

Q: What is a leveraged platform? A: A leveraged platform means a logistics service provider employs the same best practices to manage its own supply chain needs as it does for its client base. Benefits to shippers include mode optimization and greater usage of co-load products, as well as intermodal conversion from truckload (TL), or […]

Steering Clear of Supply Chain Disruptions

Steering Clear of Supply Chain Disruptions

No one knows whether the 2014 U.S. West Coast port labor negotiations will go smoothly or result in import and export traffic disruptions. Evaluate your supply chain now and implement contingency plans to avoid trouble later.

Felecia Stratton

Benchmarking Career Development

When a professional discipline evolves at hyper speed, career development follows. But actually, it should lead. Keeping up with change—often precipitated by new generations of talent, innovation, and technological know-how—instinctively raises expectations, and inspires personal growth and enrichment. That’s particularly true of supply chain management. In a literal sense, learning on the job is part […]

Boosting Warehouse Productivity

Achieving warehouse productivity goals such as reducing picking times and increasing throughput rates can be challenging. Chris Castaldi, director of business development at Carlstadt, N.J.-based materials handling systems integrator W&H Systems, offers these tips for improving warehouse productivity. 1. Use automated picking operations. Pick-to-voice or pick-to-light systems speed picking and reduce errors by quickly providing […]

Jason Shefrin: Asset-Light, By Design

Jason Shefrin: Asset-Light, By Design

Jason Shefrin is executive vice president, global sourcing, at InterDesign Inc., a major designer and producer of housewares and home fashions. He has worked for the Solon, Ohio-based firm since 2011. Responsibilities: Product development, quality assurance, vendor management, global supply chain operations, logistics and transportation management. Experience: Senior consultant, Cleveland Consulting Associates (CSC Consulting); founding […]

Trends—February 2014

Trends—February 2014

Canadian Pacific: All Aboard the Profit Train Canadian Pacific Railway‘s renaissance under the tutelage of CEO Hunter Harrison continues unabated. After the veteran railroader’s first full year in charge, the Calgary, Alberta-based railroad posted high-water marks in 2013—despite disruptive spring floods . Canadian Pacific reported total record revenue of $6.1 billion in 2013, with net […]

Global—February 2014

Global—February 2014

Serving Returning Customers In a fickle economy, retailers want consumers to be less discreet about their discretionary spending. One way they can encourage that is to make it easier for customers to return impulse buys or unwanted holiday gifts. But returns can add significant costs, especially when it involves cross-border business. Take, for example, online […]

Chris Timmer

Scaling Supply Chain Partnerships

Partnerships are an interesting phenomenon in business. It astounds me that so many companies look for partnerships to remain static over time, even as market conditions change. Partnerships can’t maintain a status quo, regardless of the industry. They need to evolve. Scaling your supply chain can trigger some significant adjustments in the requirements of nature […]

T.J. Coveyou

How the Changing Chassis Market Affects Your Supply Chain

The change in marine chassis provisioning continues to be of concern to maritime shippers, thanks to a long-term trend of separating ocean transportation from inland logistics. That trend began in the mid-2000s, when carriers limited the inland destinations they would serve. As ocean carriers are disintermediated from the market, chassis users and providers will develop […]

Paul A. Myerson

Collaborative Programs: Not a Chore But an Opportunity

Many corporate executives view the supply chain and logistics function as a source of savings through cost reduction. Their position is understandable, as supply chain and logistics costs can represent 50 to 70 percent of a company’s sales dollars. Making these operations more efficient and effective can have a great impact on the bottom line. […]

Bernardo Nicoletti

Using Operational Analytics to Achieve a Digitized, Visible Supply Chain

To assure a succcessful future, companies must add value to their customers and organizations, and drive competitive advantage. The best way to achieve this is by developing a system based on operational analytics. Operational analytics come from analyses done on the fly as part of standard business processes. Planning, inventory management, and control are examples […]

Career Solutions: Certifiably Savvy

Career Solutions: Certifiably Savvy

Want to stand out from the crowd and take your supply chain career to the next level without pursuing a full academic degree? A certification or certificate program might help you make the cut.

Managing Retail Returns: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Managing Retail Returns: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Retailers have to cope with all kinds of returns—from apparel that just didn’t suit the customer, to expired products that are no longer saleable, to recalls endangering public safety. Here’s how retailers handle this range of returned goods to recover maximum value.

7 Steps to Selecting a WMS

7 Steps to Selecting a WMS

In the market for a warehouse management system? The right solution can help improve order fulfillment, boost inventory visibility, and automate data collection. Follow these simple steps for choosing a WMS, and you’ll soon be on your way to an optimized warehouse operation.

<em>Inbound Logistics</em> Winter Reading Guide 2014

Inbound Logistics Winter Reading Guide 2014

If the polar vortex makes you want to hibernate, wake up your supply chain knowledge with the latest books by industry experts. Best practices and insights on everything from demand-driven processes to global logistics strategies will get you ready to spring into action.

Controlling Costs in the Healthcare Supply Chain

Controlling Costs in the Healthcare Supply Chain

Increasing regulation, supply chain inefficiency, and product security concerns plague healthcare companies already crippled by rising costs. Treating the ailments with high-tech tools and optimized logistics provides relief.

FTZ Basics and Benefits

FTZ Basics and Benefits

Foreign Trade Zones can help global shippers maximize savings and minimize operational costs. Speeding customs clearance and eliminating paperwork seals the deal.

Gary Hanifan

Weathering Climate Change and Supply Chain Risk

Companies have become more aware than ever of the considerable risks that climate change poses to their businesses and supply chains. A current or future risk related to climate change was identified by 70 percent of the 2,500 companies responding to Reducing Risk and Driving Business Value, a 2012 survey conducted by the Carbon Disclosure […]

Tom Heine

Plan, Write, and Implement a Successful Software Project

Thankfully, most software projects succeed. Look around, virtually everything is running on software, and it all (pretty much) works. Maybe an out-of-the-box solution will work, or maybe you need to buy and modify that out-of-the-box software to suit your needs. Or maybe you will write your own. The worry, of course, is that software projects […]

Henry Cone

PVMI: A New Approach to Supply Chain Control

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) solutions are focused on keeping inventory off the manufacturer’s books until it is needed to fulfill customer orders. DB Schenker takes a broader view as part of a standardized solution called Production Vendor Managed Inventory (PVMI)—which enables the OEM to gain comprehensive supply chain control, something much more powerful than just […]

Sri Ramadas

Know Thy Partner: Beyond C-TPAT

The globalization of supply chains has caused a major shift in trade partnerships. Partners are changing more rapidly than in years past. Relationships tend to be more focused on who can supply products cheaper, faster, at better quality, and U.S. companies are looking worldwide for competitive parts’ sources. With this new globally spread supply chain […]

How to Deploy a Successful Improvement Program

Think the $30 million APL Logistics has saved through continuous improvement initiatives is unusual? Think again. According to the company’s foremost Lean/Six Sigma/JDI professional, with the right resources and level of commitment, many companies can make these disciplines work equally well. Here, the company offers hints to help your organization deploy a successful improvement program—and […]

Kelly Christie

Five Ways to Drive Efficiency In International Logistics

If your international supply chain partners aren’t able to operate at optimal efficiency, they pass increased pricing on to your company. When partners don’t meet your expectations, it’s difficult to standardize the logistics flow, which reduces efficiency and decreases their level of commitment to your goals. Add the extra time your personnel spend working through […]

Bryan Nella

Maximize Nearshoring Value to Minimize Supply Chain Complexity

Latin America—particularly Mexico—continues to gain favor as a sourcing hotspot. Its close proximity to the U.S. border has always been a draw, but recent developments have shifted the global trade landscape in favor of the Western hemisphere. Nearsourcing may never entirely replace production in Asia, but trading partners in the Americas should be an essential […]

Michelle Benjamin

Creating Meaningful Logistics Training Programs on a Budget

Training costs are often among the first budget items to be reduced or eliminated. Smart companies, however, recognize the vital role logistics training plays in keeping their teams ahead of the competition, and choose to manage their training budget carefully. To effectively manage training dollars, every department should distinguish between essential and recommended training. Essential […]

Curtis Greve

Minimizing the Financial Impact of Peak Season Returns

As the supply chain world settles in for a long winter’s nap, the reverse logistics world is shifting into overdrive to handle peak returns season. Both retailers and manufacturers report that the percent of returns for 2014 is roughly the same as it was by this point in 2013. The rate of returns for holiday […]

Jett McCandless

Brokers Are Commoditizing LTL Carriers… And That’s a Good Thing

Much discussion in the transportation industry centers around how less-than-truckload (LTL) resellers, or brokers, are commoditizing the LTL carrier marketplace. While carriers don’t claim that brokers are packaging up their contracts and listing them on the Chicago Board of Trade to be exchanged like pork belly futures contracts, some do believe resellers are stripping the […]

Sebastian Valencia

Supply Chain Analytics: Overcoming Obstacles to Stay Ahead of Your Competitors

Leveraging data analysis and technology integration can generate powerful insights to transform today’s supply chains. Companies continue to struggle, however, with the best techniques to get the right information in the hands of their decision-makers. Many manufacturers and shippers report their organization is not aligned around key performance metrics. Simply including analytics in your strategy […]

Keith Biondo

Year of Uncertainty?

2014 is shaping up as a year of uncertainty. Retail sales are off, the stock market is skittish. Healthcare, energy, and regulatory policies are in flux, and unemployment levels and consumer confidence are scary. Uncertainty reigns for many. In the face of all this, growth is assured for some of us. The others are tasked […]

Felecia Stratton

Well, There’s One Thing That’s Certain…

If there’s one certainty, it’s that some things never change—sometimes for the worse, but often for the better. Consider this issue you are now thumbing or clicking through. The 2014 Logistics Planner marks Inbound Logistics‘ 20th anniversary of publishing what has become an industry standard. Such longevity is validation that our mission-based focus remains as […]

Building a Core Carrier Program

When developing a base of reliable core motor carriers, customer service and on-time success typically drive the selection process. But don’t overlook factors such as company stability and labor quality. Streamline your carrier program to a select few using the following tips. 1. Look beyond cost. When selecting partners, don’t focus solely on cost-cutting strategies. […]

Sean Vasquez: Heard It Through the Grapevine

Sean Vasquez: Heard It Through the Grapevine

Sean Vasquez is EDI and transportation manager at Sun-Maid Growers of California in Kingsburg, Calif. He has worked for the company since 2010, and held his current position since 2013. Responsibilities: Managing all electronic data interchange (EDI) functions; working with the IT department and trading partners to resolve EDI issues; managing transportation policies, rates, and […]

Trends—January 2014

Trends—January 2014

Getting Demand Forecasting in Hand In the demand-driven logistics domain, forecasting is king. Companies that are best able to predict sputters and spikes, then react and execute against those signals, will gain a competitive advantage. But given today’s market uncertainty—the economy, consumer purchasing power and appetite for new products, sliding holiday seasonality, and emerging omni-channel […]

Global Logistics—January 2014

Global Logistics—January 2014

Supplier Risk Threatens Expansion Nearly seven out of 10 business leaders believe supplier risk analysis will become more complex as they expand into new global markets, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit report Strategies for Managing Customer and Supplier Risks, sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet. Adverse events associated with suppliers are becoming more frequent and […]

Gururaj Rao

Achieving True Mobility in Supply Chain and Logistics Operations

Mobile technology is pervasive and disruptive. It has made huge strides in the consumer market. But, when we look at mobile technology adoption in enterprises, it is still in its infancy. True mobile technology means commonly available smartphones and tablets that run standard operating systems such as iOS, Android, and Windows. There are a number […]

Geoff Milsom

A New Paradigm in Vendor Partner Management

Leading companies are moving from traditional vendor compliance to vendor partner management — a competitive differentiator in how companies manage their inbound purchase orders (POs) and transportation to increase sales and customer service. Historically, vendor compliance has revolved around chargebacks — the practice of making deductions from the purchase price when vendors break an agreed-upon […]

Global Logistics—December 2013

Global Logistics—December 2013

Can India Overcome Supply Chain Obstacles? Supply chain management, the regulatory environment, rural markets, and e-commerce remain India’s obstacles to growth, according to Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). "India could accomplish more if it had better infrastructure and the ability to scale up to get products […]

Tim Conroy

Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Tackles Track-and-Trace Challenges

New legislation is in the works to prevent counterfeit medicines from entering the pharmaceutical supply chain. These random mixtures of harmful toxic substances are not only illegal; they are extremely dangerous to patients and damaging to the reputations of legitimate pharmaceutical companies. Increased Internet sales, widespread demand for generic drugs, and drug shortages in many […]

Jon Winsett

Seeking Innovation? Stop IT Overspending

Today’s supply chain is one of the most exciting arenas for business innovation. Mobility, cloud computing, big data, and new production techniques such as 3-D printing are breaking down barriers between retailers, consumers, manufacturers, and suppliers. The technology trends driving supply chain innovation are also driving IT costs through the roof. Eighty-nine percent of IT […]

Jeffrey R. Brashares

Transforming Liquid Assets into Capital Gains

Q: What is the current state of the bulk liquid transportation market? A: Over the past several years, the only viable option for bulk liquid transport has been specially designed tank trucks. These trucks are expensive to produce and maintain, and their quantity is limited. A single truck can only carry a specific type of […]

Darin J. Cooprider

Packaging Postponement: A Game Changer for F&B Companies

Q: Why is packaging postponement an important consideration for food and beverage (F&B) companies? A: Market demands are constantly in flux as holiday seasonality dictates inventory needs. Also, consumers enjoy an unprecedented variety of food formats. Consider the different product quantities and sizes that one might find in a vending machine, a convenience store, a […]

Trends—December 2013

Trends—December 2013

Predictive Analytics: A Sure Thing Here’s a forecast you can count on: Cloud-based predictive analytics offerings are increasingly available to more companies of all sizes. More than 90 percent of the 350 companies polled in a new survey conducted by California-based research firm Decision Management Solutions say they expect to deploy predictive analytics functionalities within […]

Magaly Garza Takes on the World

Magaly Garza Takes on the World

Magaly Garza has worked as international business manager at Vienna, Va.-based home automation and security technology vendor Alarm.com since February 2013. Responsibilities: International operations, including support for supply chain, marketing, pricing, legal, sales, and other areas. Experience: Marketing manager, Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma (now partly owned by Heineken); trade manager, Wine and Spirits Shippers Association; account […]

Keith Biondo

Visions of Customer Service

Tighter links are being forged between customer service and logistics in the retail supply chain. As competition between traditional and online shopping choices heats up, expedited transportation offerings and blended supply chain networks play a pivotal role. Simply put, delivery speed and logistics agility provide the customer service levels needed to win. The main advantage […]