Robert Martichenko

Adopting Online Training To Enrich Your Workforce

The popularity of online training is skyrocketing. Many companies are discovering the benefits of using online training to help supply chain employees boost their knowledge and add cross-functional value to the organization. The advantages of online training include: Reducing the travel and tuition costs associated with training. Training more employees at less cost. Reinforcing alignment […]

Frank Clary

10 Trends Driving Greener Supply Chains

Many businesses today are seeking smart ways to reduce supply chain waste and carbon impact. Over the next several years, the following trends could transform logistics operations, particularly in emerging markets. 1. Creative, collaborative planning. Logistics providers and shippers can find simple ways to better manage schedule requirements, such as building slow-steaming into overseas shipment […]

Jose Minarro

C-TPAT: Building Safer Supply Chains

The growing security concerns companies face in the global market make it critical to understand potential supply chain risks, and establish a managed, proactive approach to security. One significant step companies can take to protect their supply chains is becoming a member of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. As C-TPAT members, organizations […]

Middle East/North Africa: MENA at Work

Middle East/North Africa: MENA at Work

As Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries pursue political transformation and economic diversification, transportation and logistics investment is the cornerstone to future growth.

2013 3PL Perspectives: Drafting a Blueprint for Growth

Inbound Logistics’ ninth-annual 3PL Perspectives market research report documents how 3PLs are differentiating their value proposition beyond transactional services—creating an outsourcing blueprint for shippers to grow, in spite of economic uncertainties.

Readers’ Choice: Top 10 3PL Excellence Awards 2013

MORE TO THE STORY: About the Survey Respondents Built to Last: A Sampling of Reader Comments 3PLs to Watch Supply chain challenges can weaken a business’ foundation, clogging product flow, wearing away at customer satisfaction, and draining profits. Whether companies need a minor supply chain touch-up or a major overhaul, enlisting a knowledgeable third-party logistics […]

Global Logistics—June 2013

Global Logistics—June 2013

ASEAN Countries Attracting Attention As Europe’s economy copes with a sweeping debt crisis, and its Asian trade partners absorb the impact of declining exports and rising inflation, Southeast Asia is quickly becoming a center of attention—and transportation and logistics investment. Malaysia, for example, is looking to become a key transportation and logistics hub for the […]

Cheryl Garcia

Transportation Payment—Bank on a Better Way

The definition of "carrier" is pretty straightforward: an entity that transports freight. Carriers are in the transportation business, plain and simple. Actually, not so simple. Carriers are also in the credit business. Unintentionally, to be sure, but they are. When carriers set payment terms of 45 days, they are essentially extending credit to the shipper […]

Jason Mathers

Natural Gas For Long-Haul Trucking: Working Together to Get It Right

Q: The trucking industry is poised to increase its use of natural gas for heavy-duty, long-haul freight. Is this a good idea? A: Natural gas sounds like a dream proposition. It’s cheap, domestic, and, when it burns, it emits a quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) of diesel fuel—and few other pollutants. So it potentially […]

Paul A. Myerson

Reducing Defects and Errors: Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice

One popular definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." So why does that occur all the time in business? Whether it involves producing many items with the same defects, or continuous incorrect inventory counts, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. Although 85 percent of quality […]

Chris Swearingen

Sensor-based Logistics: Monitoring Shipment Vital Signs in Real Time

The global supply chain’s rapid growth is encouraging companies to look for new ways to improve efficiency, cut waste, and enhance supply chain dependability to deliver a superior customer experience. One tool for accomplishing these goals is sensor-based logistics (SBL). SBL provides full visibility inside shipments while they’re in motion, helping to ensure they reach […]

Darren Maynard

Logistics Staffing: Find a Way or Make One

The saying "find a way or make one" has always appealed to me because it prioritizes the need to first look for existing solutions before coming up with new ones. There is always a solution, and giving up is not an option. Why, then, do so many companies look outside for new logistics hires rather […]

Felecia Stratton

Getting Green, Going Lean

Creating a viable and sustainable green strategy can be a challenge for companies that want to be good corporate citizens, but also remain competitive. If customers are focused on price, how conscious is your green conscience when you need to drive out costs—at all costs? It’s a valid question in today’s economy as companies deliberate […]

Optimizing Warehouse Operations

Warehouse operations efficiency is key to the success of any company that processes, inventories, and ships orders. When efficiency lags, products may not arrive at customer destinations on time, orders can get lost, and low inventory levels can result in stockouts. Here’s some advice on optimizing warehouse operations from Chris Castaldi, manager of business development […]

Dino Lanno: Best in Glass

Dino Lanno: Best in Glass

Dino Lanno has been senior vice president, supply chain at Safelite AutoGlass in Columbus, Ohio, since 2007. Responsibilities: Procurement, transportation, distribution, manufacturing, inventory management, and wholesale sales. Experience: Facilities engineer, WearEver Aluminum; product development engineer, Hamilton Beach Procter Silex; engineer manager, plant manager, WearEver Aluminum; regional warehouse manager, director of materials management, vice president of […]

Trends—June 2013

Trends—June 2013

Is American-Made on the Mend? Rumors abound that U.S. manufacturing is making a comeback. The promise of cheaper domestic energy sources—and rising labor costs elsewhere around the world—are tipping the total landed cost balance off its Far Eastern axis. Does this portend a domestic manufacturing renaissance? A recent report by AlixPartners suggests companies are open […]

The Natural Gas Factor: New Market for Providers, New Competition for Capacity

The Natural Gas Factor: New Market for Providers, New Competition for Capacity

The boom in natural gas and shale exploration in North America holds both good news and bad news for chemical companies. The natural gas being extracted from shale plays across the United States and in Canada has emerged as a low-cost alternative source for powering industrial facilities. As a result, some chemical manufacturers are reshoring […]

G75: 75 Green Supply Chain Partners 2013

G75: 75 Green Supply Chain Partners 2013

The supply chain has been on the greening edge of innovation by nature of the business. Doing more with less to reduce waste in time, material, and cost is inherently green. Although it can be difficult to determine green ROI, many companies, industries, and governments have made great strides pushing the sustainability envelope in regulations, […]

Complex Products, Complex Logistics Needs

Complex Products, Complex Logistics Needs

By their very nature, chemicals make for complicated logistics. Transporting, storing, and distributing flammable, corrosive, highly reactive and carcinogenic materials is not an easy task. And when things go wrong, it’s not just a late or missing shipment at hand—there are economic, environmental, and emotional consequences. The deadly fertilizer plant explosion that occurred in April […]

No Shortage of Challenges

No Shortage of Challenges

Lack of capacity is one of the biggest challenges chemical shippers are currently grappling with. The culprits? The ongoing truck driver shortage, and changes to the Hours of Service rules, which take effect in July 2013 and will limit drivers’ time on the roads. While capacity issues are impacting all shippers, chemical companies feel the […]

Outsourcing for Optimum Supply Chain Effectiveness

Outsourcing for Optimum Supply Chain Effectiveness

MORE TO THE STORY: An Industry in Flux The chemical industry’s complex logistics needs, safety and security concerns, and regulatory issues make outsourced logistics, transportation, distribution, and warehouse services an important part of its supply chain. Third-party logistics (3PL) providers working with the chemical industry offer a wide range of services in different levels of […]

Supply Chain Technology Taps into Efficiencies

Supply Chain Technology Taps into Efficiencies

Access to technology is an important driver for logistics and transportation outsourcing in the chemical market. The industry has lagged behind some other verticals in adopting logistics and supply chain technologies, partly because of the business’ unique nature. Many small, specialized transportation providers serving the industry haven’t had the resources to offer electronic transaction services, […]

Keith Biondo

We Need Jobs…Let’s Raise Taxes?

Balancing a budget is an exercise in best judgment. Add politics to the equation, and logic flies right out the window. One example: the Minnesota legislature is finalizing its $38-billion state budget, which includes a 6.5-percent sales tax on warehouse services. A wide-ranging tax hike on warehouses will have far-reaching implications. None good. A warehouse […]

Richard G. Piontek

Why Mid-market Shippers Should Leverage TMS

Q: Mid-sized firms are often stretched for resources. How can they better manage transportation? A: Many mid-market shippers manage transportation "by avoidance." They know they could be doing it better, but don’t have the time or resources to focus on it. There’s always a fire somewhere, and if product is getting out the door and […]

Steve Sensing

Shoring up Sourcing Strategies

Q: What factors are driving reshoring/near-sourcing consideration? A: A balance in labor rates between China and North America is warranting a second look at sourcing and manufacturing closer to demand. Mexico may be a first choice because of its labor cost differential, but the United States, with the promise of cheaper energy, presents another opportunity. […]

John Sterling

What Happens When Your Warehouse Is Unplugged?

In warehouses, business as usual relies on steady and stable conditions—but these are not guaranteed. Numerous situations can disrupt productivity: A hurricane or ice storm comes through and knocks the power out for several days. You outgrow your warehouse and have to shut down while you move to a larger facility. The server finally crashes, […]

Michael Breen

Northeast Florida: America’s Logistics Center Drives Global Business

Thanks to its strong transportation infrastructure system, the Northeast Florida region is on a solid trajectory for increased international trade, as well as logistics and supply chain management investments and employment. Dubbed "America’s Logistics Center," Northeast Florida is one of the only centrally located East Coast regions offering all four pillars of logistics: rail, air, […]

John Haber

8 Ways to Strengthen Online Retailer Supply Chains

Most online retailers are well aware that effective supply chain execution is the strategic heart of their business. Here are eight ways to keep online retail supply chains running smoothly and cost-effectively. 1. Invest in people. Make sure your supply chain managers have adequate experience and knowledge. The right skill set can’t be learned on […]

Trends—May 2013

Trends—May 2013

Garden State Gets Greener New Jersey and sustainable development are perfect together. Industrial real estate developer Prologis recently broke ground on a new, 880,000-square-foot distribution facility on the Hackensack River in Jersey City, N.J. The Prologis Pulaski Distribution Center, a 50-acre former landfill, is located four miles from the Port of Elizabeth and three miles […]

Global Logistics—May 2013

Global Logistics—May 2013

Did Hong Kong Strike Out? While Hong Kong’s season of labor discontent may augur an unsettling trend as Asia’s middle class continues to grow—along with discord concerning workers’ rights and compensation—the near-term implications serve as yet another reminder of the daily vagaries threatening supply chains. A lingering, month-long dockworker strike (as of press time) over […]

Larry Montreuil: True Blue

Larry Montreuil has been director of supply chain management at JetBlue Airways in New York since 2003. Responsibilities: Strategic sourcing, contracts and purchasing. Experience: Supervisor, materials management, New York Air; manager, logistical planning and provisioning, Continental Airlines; director of purchasing, Trump Shuttle; director of purchasing, Queens Surface Corp. Education: B.S., aeronautical industrial technology, Arizona State […]

Assessing Your Provider’s Financial Stability

There’s nothing worse than hiring a logistics provider or carrier, then having it file for bankruptcy or close shop the day before you have a huge shipment planned for a new customer. Danny Monson, president and CFO of States Logistics Services Inc., offers these tips for verifying a service provider is financially stable—before you start […]

Carlos Alvarenga

Bringing Risk Management into the Heart of the Supply Chain

When supply chain executives are asked about the amount of contact they typically have with their chief risk officer, the answer is typically, "Not much." And they might add that their interaction usually involves providing input into enterprise risk management (ERM) for an update to their board. When asked whether the ERM team plays an […]

Shan Haq

Delivering Procure-To-Pay Success

The next step in inbound logistics goes beyond delivering goods. As e-invoicing and procure-to-pay networks have evolved into broad-based business networks, advancements now enable professionals to finally connect all the dots in the supply chain. Over a secure cloud-based network, customers share accurate, actionable data with suppliers around the world, enabling immediate electronic transactions and […]

Business Intelligence in the Supply Chain

Business Intelligence in the Supply Chain

Thanks to business intelligence tools, companies are no longer awash in reams of data that they don’t know what to do with. Instead, logistics managers are using BI technologies to find real meaning in their sea of numbers—and take actions that boost supply chain efficiency and effectiveness.

Rick Erickson

Connect and Collaborate to Better Manage Freight Spend

Q: What are the current challenges of managing freight spend? A: In today’s slow-growth economic environment, organizations are pressured to reduce costs and manage inventory well. The result is demand for frequent deliveries, which amplifies the need to control shipment costs, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. In addition, organizations operate increasingly complex supply […]

Scott Vanselous

Truckers and Shippers Prepare to Meet Over-the-Road Challenges

Q: What challenges do domestic transportation service providers face today as a critical part of the value chain for manufacturers and retailers? A: One of the most competitive segments of the trucking market, truckload (TL) companies also represent the core business of most asset-based, but diversified, transportation companies. Their most common concern, according to a […]

Kerry Loudenback

Transportation Management: A Layered Approach

Q: Why bother managing the inbound aspect of the supply chain? A: Historically, organizations built their transportation management strategies and tactics around the outbound aspect of their supply chain. The gravity of customer revenue pulls the attention in that direction. This inattention in the supplier direction often leaves the inbound supply chain exposed to margin-draining […]

Nicholas Carretta

The Strategic Approach to Optimizing Inbound Shipments

Q: Knowing there are significant benefits to be captured using a transportation management system (TMS) and optimizer for inbound shipping, what are some of the typical roadblocks that shippers encounter when implementing an inbound optimization strategy? A: A very common obstacle to optimizing inbound shipping is arriving at the proper rate structure. The whole point […]

Shannon Vaillancourt

Quantifying Transportation Performance With Technology Tools

Q: What strategic direction have shippers and carriers developed to increase partnership value? A: Shippers and carriers have become more collaborative in their approach to pricing. For example, in the less-than-truckload market, shippers have begun to use carriers’ rate base when running their bids. This creates value for shippers by using each carrier where it […]

Tracey Leonard

Managing Shipment Data to Meet Customs Requirements

Q: How are Customs agencies changing their approach to reviewing transactional data, and how will this affect shipments and traders? A: Collaborative Border Management (CBM) between Customs agencies will allow countries to exchange trader and shipment data in a live environment so non-compliance and perceived threats can be readily identified, measured, and monitored. Customs is […]

Africa: The Last Frontier

Africa: The Last Frontier

Abundant natural resources, a growing labor force, and proximity to consumer markets in Europe and Asia make Africa an attractive target for foreign exploration—despite social unrest and a need for more government collaboration and logistics infrastructure investment.

Paul A. Myerson

Are Your Processes Adding Value or Waste?

Packaging helps protect and preserve products, but these days companies tend to over-package and over-protect. Excess packaging illustrates the waste known in Lean methodology as overprocessing. Added processing that doesn’t bring value to goods or services in the customer’s eyes creates unnecessary waste. When trying to eliminate overprocessing waste, start by focusing on standardized work. […]

Kyle Gholston

6 Secrets to Finding the Right 3PL

To help mitigate a potential capacity shortage, many shippers are turning to third-party logistics (3PL) providers to help cover lanes that otherwise would be difficult to fill. If you are looking to partner with a 3PL, these guidelines can help you secure a beneficial service provider relationship. 1. Choose carefully. Until recently, Internet access and […]

Lars Kloch

Is Slow Steaming Good for the Supply Chain?

When shipping lines began promoting slow steaming—operating ships at lower speeds to reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions—they highlighted its environmental benefits. Slow speeds reduce fuel consumption and, therefore, the output of harmful emissions, helping shippers reduce their carbon footprint and reinforce their green image. Sailing ships at slower speeds does significantly reduce fuel consumption. […]

Jim Preuninger

Building an Effective Import Compliance Program

Q: How do shippers create an importing program? A: Meeting import control obligations need not be a painful experience. Proactive import compliance planning and governance will minimize the risks and negative consequences of non-compliance. First, understand current import laws and regulations. Familiarize yourself with government policies and procedures prior to actually importing your goods. You […]

Felecia Stratton

Navigating New IT Pathways

Logistics information technology is many things, but static isn’t one of them. In the supply chain, cloud computing opened new ways for logistics managers to deploy best-of-breed solutions, capture and disperse information, and execute change. Mobile communication enables practitioners to seed the cloud from anywhere, then feed off that shared data. Social media offers a […]

Minimizing Supply Chain Risk

Lean concepts such as just-in-time, virtual inventory, supplier rationalization, and fewer distribution facilities reduce total supply chain costs. They also increase supply chain risk. Chris Cameron, solution architect at Exton, Pa.-based supply chain solutions provider Elemica, offers these tips for preventing supply chain disruptions. 1. Identify and assess current risk. Quantify and prioritize risk, then […]

Jason Mathers: Carbon Slasher

Jason Mathers: Carbon Slasher

Jason Mathers is senior manager, corporate partnerships at the Boston office of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an environmental advocacy group. He has held this position since 2006. Responsibilities: Leading partnerships with Fortune 1000 companies to reduce carbon emissions in freight transportation while also reducing freight costs. Experience: U.S. Navy, USS Normandy, operations specialist, petty […]

Global Logistics—April 2013

Global Logistics—April 2013

Russia Rushes to Develop Trans-Siberian Rail Line Things are heating up in the Orient—and Russia, for once, is lighting a spark. The country is in a favorable position as domestic consumption continues to grow, Europe struggles, and Asia’s economies grow apace. Spanning two continents, Russia has long sought to develop and expand infrastructure across Siberia […]

Casey Whelan

CNG as a Transportation Fuel: A Fuel Manager’s Perspective

Since 2009, natural gas prices have followed a decidedly different path than gasoline and diesel prices. Natural gas prices have dropped 43 percent, while gasoline and diesel prices increased by more than 200 percent. These divergent price trends have created an opportunity to use compressed natural gas (CNG) as a transportation fuel. Based on the […]

Sharing the Load

Sharing the Load

Transloading strategies reduce touches and costs, and give shippers greater flexibility to respond to changing demand.

Stephanie Miles

Best Practices to Manage International Freight Spend

Many companies have switched operations to low cost suppliers—only to find that higher than expected transportation expenses outweighed the benefits. In fact, the logistics costs associated with operating a global supply chain can be 6 to 11 percent of revenue, roughly three to five times more than a domestic supply network. A recent AberdeenGroup report, […]

Chuck Fattore

How Freight Classification Changes Impact Shippers

Q: What are some of the recent and proposed changes to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) used to determine the class for rating less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments? A: The most notable change—effective Dec. 1, 2012—was in classifying computer equipment. Under the new classification, this product type moved to a density-based rating with the lowest possible […]

Alan Tonelson

To Rebuild America’s Economy, Keep Products at Home

Despite anecdotal evidence of a comeback brewing in domestic industry, wide-ranging new data repeatedly point to major—even mounting—manufacturing woes, including flatlining growth and record trade deficits. More importantly, advanced domestic manufacturing keeps failing a crucial competitive test: holding onto markets in its own enormous American backyard. Imports continue to gain at the expense of U.S. […]

Sweta Ashwarya

Five Tips for Landing a Successful Supply Chain Internship

From the Editor: Our Smart Moves column usually features insights from academic experts, but this month we feature a student’s perspective. MBA candidate Sweta Ashwarya’s sound advice on finding an internship applies to anyone delving into their professional network to pursue career advancement. Albert Einstein once said, "The only thing that interferes with my learning […]

GTM: The World at Your Fingertips

GTM: The World at Your Fingertips

Global trade management software offers greater shipment visibility and control, eases the pain of border-crossing compliance, and streamlines financial transactions—all from your browser.

Keith Biondo

America’s Hardened Arteries

Over there: They plan to build an island where none exists. And a modern port. And road and rail connections. In five years. Over here: We study for more than two decades whether or not to dredge the Savannah River. Over there: They measure port operation productivity in multiples of what we have here. "Compared […]

Preparing Your Supply Chain For Seasonal Peaks

Failing to secure efficient labor, sufficient warehouse space, and reliable carriers for seasonal peaks can wreak havoc on your supply chain. Kyle Oslos, director of logistics for APL Logistics, offers the following advice to help you prepare for peak season. 1. Verify and clarify your relationships with staffing providers. Whether you use one temporary staffing […]

Brian Morgan: Transportation Superconductor

Brian Morgan: Transportation Superconductor

Brian Morgan is director of logistics at Leviton, a manufacturer of electrical wiring devices, network and data center connectivity solutions, and energy management systems, based in Melville, N.Y. He joined the company in 2012. Responsibilities: Managing the transportation network and introducing technologies to improve transportation operations. Experience: Intern, Corvette workplace development team, General Motors; manufacturing […]

Trends—March 2013

Winner Takes Oil As debate about the Keystone XL pipeline continues to rile industry, politicians, and environmentalists, the railroads are minding their own booming business. The volume of crude oil hauled in U.S. freight trains more than tripled in 2012, as production from shale formations surged. U.S. freight trains hauled nearly 234,000 carloads of crude […]

Global Logistics—March 2013

Global Logistics—March 2013

India’s Auto Industry: Abundant Drive, But Will Progress Follow? India’s economy has been faltering amid questions about protectionist business and trade policies, socio-political imbalances, and transportation weaknesses. But the country shows signs of progress in one industry: automotive. When Tata Motors debuted the world’s cheapest car in 2008, it created a buzz. The Tata Nano […]

Ronald Leibman

Understanding Warehouseman’s Liens

When a warehouse operator believes it is owed storage and handling charges from a customer, it will often assert that it holds a “warehouseman’s lien” over the customer’s goods stored in the warehouse. By asserting such a lien, the warehouse operator is attempting to prevent the customer from shipping or otherwise making use of any […]

Justin Woulfe

Performance-Based Negotiations: Simulation as Support for Decision-Making

Performance-based logistics (PBL) contracts have the potential to reduce cost to the buyer, while also increasing capability. This is contingent on the right set of metrics and cost targets being developed to ensure the right contractor incentive. Today, less than five percent of work performed in both government and private sectors is under PBL deals. […]

Kevin Payne

Tracking Tools Protect Food Shipment Freshness

Managing food safety can be difficult in the best of conditions. From the field to the retailer, food comes in contact with soil, water, pallets, vehicles and a variety of other materials – any of which can introduce human pathogens into the food chain. Meat, seafood, poultry, and fresh fruits and vegetables are the highest-risk […]

Chuck Fuerst

Leveraging Technology to Accelerate Productivity and Profit

Companies are increasingly turning to logistic services providers to run their manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation operations more efficiently and at less cost than they can run it themselves. Particularly in the past few years, many companies have outsourced logistics to save on operations costs and labor. This puts the crowded third-party logistics (3PL) market at […]

Paul A. Myerson

Plan Ahead to Avoid Overproduction

Sometimes too much of even a good thing can be bad. Such is the case with excess inventory. Companies need sufficient inventory to meet customer demand, but too much stored product can result in negative consequences, such as high carrying costs. When companies produce or purchase too much inventory, it is often the result of […]

Trends—February 2013 

Trends—February 2013 

Green: The United Color of Benetton Sustainability has gained fashion appeal over the past few years. But apparel companies are growing even more sensitive to social responsibility, especially as it relates to materials procurement and use in the supply chain. Benetton Group is the latest apparel brand to join Greenpeace’s Detox Program, launched in 2011 […]

Global Logistics—February 2013 

Global Logistics—February 2013 

Lifting Supply Chain Barriers at the Border Improving border administration and transport, and telecommunications infrastructure and services, could boost global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by almost five percent, and world trade by 15 percent, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Bain & Company and the World Bank. Completely […]