Southeast Asia: Region on the Rise

Southeast Asia: Region on the Rise

With an average annual economic growth rate of more than five percent, the countries that comprise this dynamic region represent a thriving trade and economic hub, despite infrastructure and regulatory challenges.

Locking Down Supply Chain Security

Locking Down Supply Chain Security

When it comes to cargo security threats, each mode faces unique challenges. But thanks to technology and industry best practices, shippers can improve their ability to protect valuable cargo.

Take Your Pick

Take Your Pick

Voice-directed or pick-to-light technology? The right choice is often a combination of both.

<em>Inbound Logistics’</em> Winter Reading Guide 2013

Inbound Logistics’ Winter Reading Guide 2013

Whether you want to casually brush up on your supply chain management techniques or drastically reorganize your purchasing processes, you’ll find the knowledge you need in the pages of these supply chain resources.

Tim Nowak

St. Louis: New Gateway to Asian Markets

Nicknamed the Gateway to the West nearly 200 years ago for its presence as an economic powerhouse, St. Louis, Mo., is making significant progress as a key partner for international trade relations and economic growth. For new businesses or those seeking to grow trade relationships, St. Louis now represents a gateway to Asian markets. St. […]

Emily P. Davis

Wasting Away to Meet Sustainability Goals

An average distribution center generates or handles anywhere from 100 to 1,000 tons of solid waste each year—or approximately 30 pounds per square foot—that could be reduced, reused, or recycled. Typical distribution center waste streams include corrugated cardboard, office and breakroom waste, plastic strapping, pallets, paper, batteries, yard waste, accumulated scrap such as defective or […]

Supply Chain Management: The Great Equalizer

Supply Chain Management: The Great Equalizer

In the supply chain, all things are never equal. Success and failure hinge on your capacity to adapt and respond to change. It’s a matter of creating innovative products, developing a means to deliver them to market, and jockeying for competitive position—in effect, matching supply to demand in the most efficient and economical way possible. […]

U.S.—Mexico Trade: Two-Way Traffic

U.S.—Mexico Trade: Two-Way Traffic

Integrated third-party logistics solutions, expanded and improved intermodal service offerings, and creative collaborations to optimize transport resources are making cross-border shipping easier than ever.

Juan D. Morales

Training Tomorrow’s Logistics and Transportation Executives Today

A volcanic cloud descends on Europe, disrupting flight plans. A tsunami in Thailand ripples across the Pacific and affects port activity in California. Forest fires in Los Angeles close highways for days. Threats of a terrorist attack in Brussels halt all transportation. Today’s logistics and transportation executives must be prepared to handle these scenarios. Their […]

Improving Supplier Compliance

Developing an effective supplier compliance program requires a well-defined plan. To achieve success quickly, it is crucial to initiate the plan with the right suppliers. Peter Wharton, IBM’s team lead for commercial product marketing, offers this advice for ensuring supplier compliance. 1. Define a successful supplier compliance strategy. Clearly define the stakes and risks, and […]

William Gregory: Into Africa

William Gregory: Into Africa

William Gregory has served as global supply chain coordinator at VT iDirect, in Herndon, Va., since 2012. VT iDirect is a global vendor of technology for satellite-based Internet Protocol (IP) communications. Responsibilities: International shipping, customs, and regulatory compliance; liaison with freight forwarders; subject matter expert for Middle East and Africa. Experience: Intern, Samuel Shapiro and […]

Christopher P. Mazza

Connectivity-Visibility-Optimization: Three Keys To a Successful Supply Chain Trading Partner Network

2013 has been called the Year of the Network by numerous supply chain and transportation industry thought leaders. A well-oiled trading partner network allows one-to-many and many-to-many partners to collaborate and communicate using a single source of truth garnered from real-time information. Harnessing this collective power provides a competitive advantage as well as the flexibility […]

Robert Martichenko

The Lean Supply Chain: A Field of Opportunity

Businesses all around the world are familiar with the value of lean principles. The current conditions of globalization and competitive environments require operating a lean business now more than ever. Lean principles teach to eliminate waste and focus only on those things that result in customer value—ultimately building business cultures that focus on problem solving. […]

John Wagner Jr.

Outsourcing for Newbies, and a Refresher for All

While Fortune 500 companies routinely outsource everything from distribution centers and transportation management to packaging, freight audit/payment and other functions, your up-and-coming company may only need to outsource a single function of its operations, perhaps a combination. It’s rarely an easy decision process, but the objective is always clear. Growing companies need access to better […]

Ray Greer

Using Strategic Acquisitions to Satisfy Your Customer Base

Global shippers continue to face supply chain challenges that seem to change more often and more dramatically than ever before. They require logistics partners who can react to these changes and help them navigate the complexities of global trade. Shippers want 3PL partners that not only responsively evolve service networks and capabilities to flex with […]

Trends—January 2013

Trends—January 2013

It’s a Smaller World After All The shrinking distance between demand and supply is triggering a trend toward inter-regional supply chains and creating a globalization tipping point, according to research by Philadelphia-based third-party logistics provider BDP International, its Centrix consulting unit, and Temple University’s Fox School of Business. Real-time communication technology has greatly increased global […]

Global Logistics—January 2013

Global Logistics—January 2013

Tesco Tests Longer Reefer Trailers As part of a government-backed trial program testing the efficacy of longer trailers, United Kingdom-based grocery chain Tesco has taken delivery of 25 new 51-foot Gray & Adams refrigerated units. The company will use the new trailers to deliver store inventory from regional distribution centers. Each trailer can carry 51 […]

Foster Finley

Surveying the Home Delivery Landscape

Shortly after Claude Ryan and Jim Casey began delivering telegram messages in 1907, they seized on the idea to solve a business problem between department stores and the growing urban population in Seattle: managing home delivery of store-bought products. These new urbanites mostly walked or used streetcars, with only a few owning early automobiles. Safely […]

Tom Stricker

Five Signs Your Production Logistics Needs Help

Most manufacturers experience and address common inbound logistics challenges, but one area of improvement that many overlook is the discipline of production logistics — ensuring each machine and workstation is fed with the right product in the right quantity and quality at the right time. As the crucial link that connects inbound materials to on-time […]

Eric Breen

Yard and Dock Management Tools: An Extra Set of Eyes in Your Facility

Facility managers and warehouse executives face unique challenges as global supply chain complexity grows. While many issues and costs associated with moving materials and products are out of their control, optimizing yard, dock, and warehouse processes can increase operational and logistics efficiency. Designed to eliminate common and costly logistics problems, yard and dock management systems […]

Keith Biondo

Supply Chain Force Multipliers

For years, I’ve wanted the Logistics Planner issue theme to focus on the concept of using inbound logistics as a force multiplier. When I entered the conference room for the Planner issue strategy meeting this year, I was ready to make my case. But when I presented my idea to the editorial team, I was […]

Felecia Stratton

The Great Equalizer

Tension and drama always permeate the conference room when the Inbound Logistics team gathers to decide the theme of the Logistics Planner issue. This year was no different. While we did agree to focus on how demand-driven logistics, or supply chain management, drives competitive advantage, we couldn’t agree on how best to present that idea. […]

Jeffrey B. Graves

Maximizing Productivity in E-commerce Warehousing and Distribution Operations

As e-commerce continues its rapid growth into virtually every market sector, retailers are anxious to expand their presence online to capture this market share. Between 2006 and 2010, global online retail sales grew by 16.3 percent annually, according to Global Online Retail 2011, published by Datamonitor. Online retail sales for 2010 alone showed an annual […]

John Paugh

Redefining the Race to Profitability Through Innovation

Every manufacturer, supplier, and U.S. business is feeling the effects of today’s tough economic conditions. It has never been more important to control costs and operate efficiently. The pressure is on for manufacturers to reduce waste, and operate in a truly lean manner. These facts are even more prevalent in the automotive sector, where profitability […]

Global Logistics—December 2012

Global Logistics—December 2012

Maersk Digs Drilling, Ditches Shipping The name most synonymous with container shipping is taking a break from navigating an increasingly agitated ocean trade. Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk is shifting the focus of its business activity from shipping, choosing instead to concentrate on its oil, drilling rigs, and port operations, according to a Financial Times report. AP […]

Bill Michalski

Measuring the Value of Collaboration

Structured, achievable supply chain collaboration that drives savings relies on the relationship between purchasing and inbound logistics departments. Without real collaboration, two distinct decision-making processes exist based on separate performance metrics and personnel incentives. Buyers determine what orders to place. Logistics planners determine how to route the shipments. Buyers strive to avoid stock-outs while keeping […]

Dr. Jennifer S. Batchelor

Logistics: It’s Where The Jobs Are

Effectively managing human capital is more vital than ever to businesses and organizations, and higher education will continue to play a critical role in training the next generation of transportation and logistics management (TLM) leaders. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects increases in TLM occupation employment growth and replacement needs, which are on the rise […]

Paul A. Myerson

Playing the Waiting Game

We all want to do our jobs, and are paid to do so. Often, however, we must wait for information or materials from suppliers, supervisors, other departments, and even customers. While we wait, we can get distracted and end up wasting even more time. In Lean terms, waiting is one of the eight wastes. Identifying […]

Joel Anderson

3PLs Create a Unified Supply Chain Voice

The International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) created its new Public Policy Center to ensure third-party logistics (3PL) providers are knowledgeable players in the public policy arena. Its goal is policy creation that makes sense and benefits all businesses, employers, and employees throughout the supply chain. The IWLA and its active, policy-aware members have experience leading […]

Bill Johnson

Ports and Shippers Prepare for the Post-Panamax Age

Q: What are the key issues shaping the future of maritime trade? A: One of the greatest opportunities coming to the maritime sector is the widening of the Panama Canal, which will be completed in 2015. It will impact the face of global commerce, and affect trade patterns to the U.S. East Coast. Shippers bringing […]

Felecia Stratton

What Sandy Showed Me

As the editor of Inbound Logistics, my job is to provide information about keeping product moving from source to selling point. In my nearly 30 years in the industry, I have read, written, and edited many articles about supply chain disruptions. But words are just words. It was quite different to experience disruption with my […]

Cutting LTL Costs

Saving money on less-than-truckload (LTL) procurement is a laudable goal—except when operational problems eclipse savings gains. Shippers who prioritize securing the lowest price from carriers may actually end up paying more because of costs embedded in carrier expenses—resulting in problems such as service degradation and supply chain disruption. Danny Slaton, executive vice president of supply […]

Victor Hougan: Finding a Love for Logistics

Victor Hougan: Finding a Love for Logistics

Victor Hougan joined Primus International, a Bellevue, Wash.-based Tier II supplier of engineered metallic and composite parts, kits, and assemblies to the global aerospace industry, in the fall of 2012. His role in its logistics operation is still evolving. Experience: Finish carpenter in the construction industry; computer technician; delivery coordinator, ISEC Inc.; warehouse manager, Elegant […]

Trends—December 2012

Trends—December 2012

Bringing Logistics Efficiency To the Front Line In The Art of War, Sun Tsu teaches that "every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought." It is a reminder of the planning and logistics necessary to move and replenish supplies and armaments during successful military operations. The completion of a three-year study conducted […]

Panama Canal: More Questions Than Answers

Panama Canal: More Questions Than Answers

As the Panama Canal expansion nears completion, shippers could gain a viable all-water alternative for transporting product from Asia to U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast ports. Is there a boom on the horizon?

Tim Eusterman

Why Innovation Matters for Rugged Mobile Technology

The proliferation of smartphones and tablets is giving many logistics IT and operations leaders pause. They are questioning what these mobile computing trends mean to their operations, and their potential impact on traditional rugged mobile computing for supply chain and logistics applications. Behind the innovation in smartphones and tablets is a deep understanding of how […]

Malysa O’Connor

Are You in the Dark About Labor Visibility?

This is an extremely challenging time for logistics companies. Margins that were already razor-thin continue to be squeezed due to rising costs and constant pressure to cut prices to stay competitive. At the same time, customer expectations are higher than ever as they demand faster delivery requirements and shorter lead times. In logistics — already […]

Horst Von Kanel

Air Freight Collaboration and Agility

In response to a sluggish airfreight market and generally lower cargo volumes and capacity, airfreight forwarders (AFF) are using strategic business practices and concepts to assist them in effectively managing airfreight shipments for optimal efficiency, performance, and results. By implementing collaborative and flexible logistics practices and remaining agile, managing air freight today can be a […]

Steve Dowse

Why Supply Chains Need Business Intelligence

Companies that want to effectively manage their supply chain must invest in business intelligence (BI) software, according to a recent Aberdeen Group survey of supply chain professionals. Survey respondents reported the main issues that drive BI initiatives include increased global operations complexity; lack of visibility into the supply chain; a need to improve top-line revenue; […]

Keith Biondo

Retailers Rebalance Time vs. Cost?

For retailers and their value chain partners, practicing inbound logistics provides two competitive advantages—the ability to keep prices low, because matching demand to supply optimizes inventory-to-sales ratios and creates other economies; and the agility to use time as a competitive advantage by serving customers faster and more completely. In the past, retailers emphasized keeping costs […]

Transloading to Maximize Cost Savings

Transloading offers a cost-effective way to bring ocean containers inland to distribution centers. By transferring cargo without sorting the contents for shipment to a single destination, transloading services can reduce total landed costs, and—when combined with value-added services such as palletizing and shrink-wrapping—reduce handling at the destination. Jeff McCorstin, senior vice president of air and […]

Michael Smyers: Molecular Logistics

Michael Smyers: Molecular Logistics

Michael Smyers is associate director, logistics, at Amyris, a manufacturer of chemical products and transportation fuels made from renewable resources, based on an industrial synthetic biology platform. Smyers has worked at Amyris, in Emeryville, Calif., since 2010. Responsibilities: Global logistics, trade compliance, and sourcing. Experience: Internship, TranzAct Technologies; several operational and managerial positions culminating in […]

Trends—November 2012

Trends—November 2012

CSCMP: Notes, Quotes, and Totes The 2012 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) conference in Atlanta was awash with new ideas and strategies, discussions of recurring economic and regulatory challenges, and examples of supply chain best practices. Logisticians and supply chain practitioners on both sides of the supply/demand coin mingled within the expansive Georgia […]

Global Logistics—November 2012

Global Logistics—November 2012

U.S., China Consider Joint Logistics Response Partnership Sometimes shared pain, or even altruism, can create unlikely allies. U.S. and Chinese officials plan to discuss the possibility of combining logistics resources during counter-piracy, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response missions. The United States officially extended an invitation for a team of senior Chinese logisticians to visit Washington […]

Pablo Ciano

International Shipping: Moving at the Speed of Technology

New technologies for planning, managing, tracking, and securing shipments are continually evolving. With new digital options always just around the corner, organizations of all sizes must stay informed of the latest advances. When it comes to international shipping, technology is especially important—not only because tremendous growth is expected, but also because the processes involved are […]

Gary Hanifan

4 Steps to Reducing Emissions in the Supply Chain

Businesses around the world have increased efforts to manage and reduce their carbon footprint. These companies also realize that carbon management in the supply chain is an essential capability—the next great step in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By collaboratively engaging with their supplier networks, companies can mitigate GHG emissions and improve supplier relationships, while […]

Lorcan Sheehan

Holiday Rush Planning: How to Mitigate Risk in a Volatile Market

In today’s globalized supply chain, extended manufacturing and transportation lead times dictate that retailers complete most holiday season planning in June and July. These plans are based on the best available intelligence at the time, including consumer forecasts, retailer promotions, and the competitive landscape. Within the build window for seasonal holiday demand, the industry is […]

Jay Moris

Sorting Out Savings Opportunities in Your E-Commerce Warehouse

The continuing growth of e-commerce has created challenges for distribution centers (DCs). Parcels are smaller, lighter, and harder to handle on the same conveyors and sorters. And shipping and logistics firms have amped up the pressure, adding dimensional charges as a penalty to those that ship lightweight goods. But from the shipper’s perspective, the less […]

Steve Biondi

Embarking On an IT Modernization Journey

Planes, trains, and automobiles represent just a few possibilities to consider when moving an object from Point A to Point B. To secure a competitive advantage, shippers must ensure the transportation services they buy are safe, modern, reliable, and competitively priced. Many transportation providers have realized these goals by investing in an information technology (IT) […]

How to Find Savings Through Landed Cost Analysis

How to Find Savings Through Landed Cost Analysis

As shippers adapt sourcing strategies to build redundancy, economy, and responsiveness into their supply chains, the complexity of drilling down total landed costs increases. Shippers often focus resources and attention on procurement, looking only at production and logistics spend. At a more granular level, a myriad of other factors can impact the total supply chain […]

How to Manage the Supply Chain Following a Natural Disaster

How to Manage the Supply Chain Following a Natural Disaster

Planning for supply chain exceptions is increasingly an expectation for risk-sensitive shippers. The last decade has unleashed a flood of global weather disasters, from Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina to the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Each has impacted business operations in different ways. Failing to properly react to […]

How to Make Driver Recruitment a Competitive Differentiator

How to Make Driver Recruitment a Competitive Differentiator

One challenge the logistics sector faces is, well, finding new faces. While the U.S. recession largely suppressed a dormant truck driver shortage, the prospects of economic recovery are stirring old concerns. Adding to the problem, recent government mandates including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service and Compliance, Safety, Accountability rules threaten to […]

How to Move Freight in Volatile Locations

How to Move Freight in Volatile Locations

Despite geopolitical upheaval, natural disasters, labor strife, war, and countless other disturbances that threaten supply chain efficiency and economy, freight still needs to move. From delivering humanitarian aid in hurricane-ravaged locations to managing mission-critical parts replenishment in remote areas and delivering heavy equipment in support of government operations, shippers need to be flexible and responsive […]

How to Reduce Costs by Integrating Packaging with Distribution Center Operations

How to Reduce Costs by Integrating Packaging with Distribution Center Operations

Product packaging is often handled as a discrete supply chain function, separate from warehousing and distribution. But companies can capitalize on considerable efficiency and economy gains by driving toward greater integration of these functions. In fact, performing final packaging in the distribution center can reduce combined warehousing, logistics, and freight costs by 30 percent and […]

How to Foster a Long-Term 3PL Partnership

How to Foster a Long-Term 3PL Partnership

When companies begin working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL), they are generally looking to address a functional pain point. The partnership is transactional and fills an operational gap. But the true value of 3PL partnerships can grow infinitely greater when shippers take a long-term approach that focuses on sustainable gains rather than short-term savings. […]

How to Mitigate Supply Chain Disruptions

How to Mitigate Supply Chain Disruptions

As supply chains trend toward demand-driven, lean inventory models to eliminate waste, reduce costs, and increase responsiveness, their exposure to risk grows. When natural disasters, political upheaval, labor strife, supplier failures, and countless other types of supply chain events arise, shippers need to react quickly—without incurring undue costs—to keep production in line with demand. Companies […]

How to Drive Visibility Through a Supply Chain Network Control Tower

How to Drive Visibility Through a Supply Chain Network Control Tower

As supply chains become increasingly stretched geographically and functionally, the challenge of driving visibility through layered and disparate networks becomes infinitely greater. When it comes to managing compliance among third-tier suppliers in Asia, speeding asset turns at a domestic distribution yard, or keeping track of carrier partners and shipments on the ground, at sea, and […]

How to Measure Sustainability Program Performance

How to Measure Sustainability Program Performance

For many companies, sustainability has become a burning platform for exploring smarter ways to move product through the supply chain. Sustainability principles dovetail with transportation and logistics best practices to rationalize natural resource and raw material consumption, and ultimately reduce operating expenses. In addition to the economics of eliminating environmental waste, an element of risk […]

How to Select a Returns Management Partner

How to Select a Returns Management Partner

As retailers turn over stones looking for ways to reduce costs, eliminate waste, become greener, and raise the bottom line, returns management is an area ripe for picking. What was once written off as a lost cost has now become a can’t-miss opportunity—and for good reason. In 2011, U.S. consumers returned more than eight percent […]

Mark Croxton

“Sell By” Dates Cost Shippers Billions in Wasted Perishable Goods

Every milk carton and other perishable packaged food item bears date-stamped tags such as "Display Until," "Best Until," and "Sell By." Did you know that these dates are not intended for consumer use, and do not indicate when the food is spoiled? They are only intended for retailer use. Yet billions of dollars worth of […]

Michael E. Burke

Mitigating Facilitation Risk

Facilitation is a unique risk for logistics professionals and companies. It is unlawful for logistics professionals or providers to facilitate transactions with any person or entity sanctioned by the U.S. government. The U.S. Justice Department has pursued facilitation cases against half a dozen logistics companies in recent months, and penalties include up to 10 years […]

Greg White

3PL Value-Adds Mean Millions

You hate to say it, but everyone knows it: Today’s third-party logistics (3PL) relationship is transitional. Many 3PLs live and die by the freight rates they offer clients. Why? Because your shippers see the relationship as transactional, and trucking-focused. Shippers write checks for shipping expenses nearly every day, and freight is in the forefront of […]

Greg Kefer

Filling the Cloud with High-Quality Data

The millions of dollars spent on supply chain software are squandered if data flowing through it lacks integrity. An attractive, feature-laden application is like a Ferrari—it only runs well when the right fuel flows through the engine. In this case, data is the fuel that powers this impressive vehicle. Without it, only the glitzy exterior […]

David J. DiSanto

Crossdocking Streamlines Freight Movement

How can an organization eliminate or reduce waste and increase speed in their supply chain? One answer is to replace warehouses and/or manufacturing locations with crossdock facilities or “landing pads.” Tremendous pressure from global competition and just-in-time (JIT) operations in the marketplace has spurred many manufacturers to adopt a lean production philosophy—and a lean supply […]

Felecia Stratton

The Future of Predictive Analytics Looks Certain

One recurring talking point at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional’s (CSCMP) September 2012 conference in Atlanta was the importance of predictive analytics. This subset of statistics captures patterns within large volumes of information to predict supply chain behavior and events—in effect, forecasting future demand based on past demand. The emergence of cloud networking […]

Complying with Export Regulations and Requirements

Companies seeking to expand their markets by selling products overseas can easily become confused and overwhelmed by export regulations and filing requirements. Scott Byrnes, vice president of marketing for East Rutherford, N.J.-based global trade management solutions provider Amber Road, offers these tips for managing export compliance. 1. Gain support from the top. An organization must […]

Emily Ross: Good Blood

Emily Ross: Good Blood

Emily Ross has served as senior supply chain manager at Haemonetics Corporation, Braintree, Mass., since 2008. Haemonetics provides blood management devices and software used by plasma and blood collection centers and hospitals. Responsibilities: Transportation sourcing for North America and international subsidiaries; sourcing 3PL warehousing services; operational support. Experience: Marketing coordinator, The Rex Lumber Company; associate […]

Trends—October 2012

Trends—October 2012

Greyhound Races to Expand Package Delivery Greyhound Lines has long provided time-critical parcel delivery service, though its relevance over the past few decades has been largely overshadowed by the growth of expediters such as FedEx and UPS. Now, to better synchronize its PackageExpress business, the iconic intercity passenger bus company has tapped One Network’s demand-driven […]