Becoming Truly Global: 3PLs Face New Challenges

The challenge of heading a global 3PL must be influenced by both an understanding of North American logistics and by a personal desire to help define the role of logistics. The future of freight forwarding depends on the partnerships and collaboration that can only be delivered by third-party logistics providers who have the capability to […]

Adapting to Hours of Service Rules

On Jan. 4, 2004, the Hours of Service (HOS) rules, adopted in 1939, are changing. The idea behind the changes is to permit commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers more time and opportunities for quality rest and restorative sleep, and to reduce the number of crashes caused by drowsy, tired, or fatigued CMV drivers. Dave Bouchard, […]

Preparing for the New Hours of Service Rules

Jan. 4, 2004, marks the beginning of a huge wake-up call for the entire transportation industry. No segment of the industry is immune from some element of the change in the Department of Transportation’s revised Hours-of-Service (HOS) ruling. How great an impact the change will have remains to be seen. Those who have successfully planned […]

Where’s My Stuff?

Supply chain managers responding to a recent Aberdeen Group survey highlight the following items as their top three supply chain challenges: Identifying shipping delays, errors, and exceptions. Providing shipment visibility for supply chain partners. Integrating with other units and processes of the enterprise. These challenges mirror the growing complexity of today’s supply chains. Networks of […]

Integrating Multi-Channel Retail Systems

Many multi-channel retailers didn’t start out that way. As new channels grow, it becomes necessary to integrate them to provide a unified customer experience. Unfortunately, this integration effort often encounters organizational, technological, and process problems that are the result of single-channel-focused solutions, or companies never imagining that they would serve more than one channel. Most […]

Making a List

Shippers/consignees, forwarders, NVOs, carriers and 3PLs BEWARE : “persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are prohibited from engaging in economic transactions with persons/organizations on these lists.” What list? The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has compiled a list of more than 8,000 “persons or organizations” that those under U.S. jurisdiction are forbidden to trade with. […]

Forward Thinking: Forecasting Logistics for the Year Ahead

The ever-present logistical challenges of matching supply to demand, meeting customer service levels, and combating pricing pressures continue to plague logistics service providers as they plan their business strategy for 2004. Add a troubled economy and the complexity of an increasingly global marketplace, and it is easy to see why the past year has presented […]

Mark Davis: Logistics at the Speed of Flight

Like many logistics professionals, Mark Davis spends nearly every day racing the clock. At Tracer Corporation, his department rushes aircraft parts to meet airlines’ just-in-time requirements, or to get grounded planes back in the air. Along with time, though, Davis’ department faces another sort of pressure: they have to maintain precise records on every part […]

Are Your Goods in Transit Safeguarded?

Q: The supply chain in the United States can be long and involve a number of carriers, railheads, truck depots and container yards. How can I reduce the risk of disruption to my goods during transit? Which criteria do you suggest I use in checking my suppliers’ facilities along the supply chain? A: Transit delays […]

Collaborating for Optimum Supply Chain Management

At the core of the supply chain there has to be mutual trust among parties. This trust must be based on agreed-upon methods and technology to assure maximum cost savings and increased profits for all parties. Normally this trust starts with supply chain management planning and collaboration. Planning constitutes the strategic aspect of the supply […]

Managing Truckload Transportation

To successfully manage truckload transportation, transport buyers must begin thinking of transportation procurement as a tactical planning process consistent with their supply chain strategy and not as an operational detail, says Bob Belshaw, vice president of INSIGHT Inc., a supply chain planning and transportation solutions vendor. Here, he offers 10 tips on managing truckload to […]

Reducing the Risk of Damage, Loss and Claims

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, especially when it comes to inbound logistics. Even the best plans of smart shippers can be undermined by the great gadfly of shipping—damage, loss, and claims. Not only do damage, loss, and claims increase your overall transportation costs, they can also drive a wedge […]

Are You Ready to Ride the RFID Tidal Wave?

For the last 30 years, bar codes have been the accepted standard for product identification. Current technological advances, however, make radio-frequency identification (RFID) a promising alternative to bar codes in many applications. Now is the time for businesses to acquaint themselves with this technology, and to decide on a strategy for participating in this revolution. […]

Finding the Real Silver Bullet for Cargo Security

Cargo security is becoming a commonly used term defined and discussed differently depending on group or audience. But what is the real “silver bullet” needed to secure cargo? One answer rests in the capability to ensure the integrity of each container’s contents. With more than six million containers entering U.S. seaports annually, aboard more than […]

Pushing Back the Last Mile

There was plenty of activity at the American Trucking Associations meeting and trade show in October, especially at booths exhibiting wireless technology and systems to empower carriers—technology transforming transportation. Here’s a look at some of the solutions exhibited at the ATA conference: MobileCast by UPS Logistics Technologies and Tripmaster’s Intelligent Delivery System offer a fleet […]

Revving Up Returns

Optimizing reverse logistics can result in cost reductions and service level improvements of up to 50 percent.

John Henderson: A Man of Parts

Over the past few years, John Henderson has pulled off a double logistics coup. He led an effort that cut $20 million out of Gerber Technology’s service parts inventory, and he did it while boosting next-day customer service delivery from 40 percent into the high 80s. A division of Gerber Scientific International, Gerber Technology sells […]

Using HighJump for Low Cost

Supply chain execution software is a critical application for today’s enterprises as they operate in a dynamic world of change. It’s a world where the ability to respond to that change, cost effectively, can make or break their business. One supplier of supply chain execution software is Eden Prairie, Minn.-based HighJump Software. The company’s strategy […]

Retailers Take Outsourcing to the Next Level

As the economy creeps forward, retailers must focus on taking control of their supply chain functions. This sounds like a no-brainer to those of us who work day in and day out on tightening the supply chain. But the fact is, many retail organizations are simply not set up to get a good view of […]

Shipping Temperature-Sensitive Products

Moving temperature-sensitive products can be a hassle. Delays and shipping snafus can wreak havoc on your bottom line. Jim Snider, vice president and general manager of FedEx Custom Critical White Glove Services, knows how crucial it is to guarantee that product arrives cool to the customer. Here are his 10 tips for shipping temperature-sensitive products. […]

Untying the Import/Export Knot

In late 333 B.C., Alexander the Great and his army arrived in the Asian city of Gordium to spend the winter. Alexander was told of the legend that surrounded the town’s famous Gordian Knot. The legend said that anyone who could untie the exceptionally complex knot would become the king of Asia. So far, no […]

Is it Time to Return to the Rails?

Shipping by rail can be unsettling for those unfamiliar with the nuances of interacting with the railroads. In fact, some companies avoid even considering rail as a viable transportation option because of the fear of the unknown, or based on negative experiences with the railroads from years past. Railroads are commonly accused of being slow […]

Evaluating the True Cost of Overseas Manufacturing

United States manufacturing continues to decline. Since 1970, manufacturing employment has dropped 22 percent—nearly nine percent of that drop in the last 10 years alone. Low-cost labor from Asia and Latin America has created extreme price pressure, and manufacturers are especially hard hit, experiencing brand erosion due to private label growth of major retailers. Many […]

Passion Play

Most readers I meet are reserved, practical, low-key, disciplined, taking a considered approach to the task of managing many variables as they strive to match their supply stream to their demand. That’s why I was a little surprised to hear the following at this year’s CLM Conference in Chicago. “As logisticians, we’re steadfast in our […]

Understanding Incoterms

Here’s a handy guide to Incoterms, a set of international rules for the interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms. Applying Incoterms to sale and purchase contracts makes global trade easier and helps partners in different countries understand one another.

Sandy Chavis: To the Line, Just in Time

In 1995, Sandy Chavis took on a new challenge: creating a logistics department at Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM). Until then, purchasing staff who procured parts, raw materials, and supplies for the forklift truck manufacturer also handled the transportation of those goods. But as TIEM started buying more parts in the United States instead of […]

Mind Your Own Business: Supply Chain Integration and Feedback

In the 20th century, the process of control was formalized by Norbert Wiener who, through his concept of cybernetics, analyzed and applied the idea of feedback. Although he saw feedback as useful primarily to engineers, the idea has taken wing and come into all our lives. For example, consider the delivery of steady heat through […]

Six Ways to Grow in a Down Economy

In the 1990s, it looked like we could do no wrong. The economy was growing. The stock market was rising. Venture capital was plentiful. Young people became instant millionaires in the dot.com world. Then came the new millennium and somehow that all changed. The economy started to shrink and layoffs became commonplace. The stock market […]

Selecting Forwarders and NVOCs

Receiving and shipping goods from overseas can be confusing. But receiving and sending the goods is only half the battle. It’s actually the selection of the right forwarder or NVOC (Non-Vessel-Operating Carrier) that is the most important task, but one that can cause you the most headache, especially if you make the wrong choice. To […]

Finding Efficiencies in the Yard Just Outside

Today’s dynamic business environment provides supply chain professionals with increasingly complex pressures from a variety of business fronts. Customers request reductions in cycle times, time-to-market, and operating costs in addition to increased order accuracy and service. Yet in the face of these challenges, many companies focus only on maximizing efficiency within the four walls of […]

Getting a Grip on Service Parts Operations

Companies have been under tremendous price and volume pressure in the finished goods business for quite some time, but services and parts is the logical next opportunity to improve revenue, boost profits, and directly impact customer satisfaction. In fact, Piper Jaffrey U.S. Bancorp estimates that spare parts represent $700 billion in spending and eight percent […]

Yellow/Roadway: Changing Directions

Every September, Inbound Logistics offers readers a review of the trucking segment. The big news this year is Yellow Freight buying its competitor, Roadway. This unexpected move was driven by economic, competitive, and strategic reasons. As we saw with Consolidated Freightways’ demise, size alone is not a reliable indicator of stability. Good management, aggressiveness, and […]

Richard Jackson: Purchasing Power

From cancer cultures to special valves to dual-engine aircraft, Richard Jackson stood ready to find and deliver almost anything. As manager of export purchasing for chemical company ICI Americas (later Zeneca and AstraZeneca) until his retirement in 1993, Jackson tapped U.S. suppliers for materials and equipment his company’s overseas facilities couldn’t find in their own […]

SEKO Moves Forward into IT

The supply chain offers too much and delivers too little. This argument has been leveled for years against ERP software applications and the complexity of their implementation. The counter-argument is that companies who use supply chain management successfully—such as Wal-Mart and Dell—have made it an essential part of their business success. These companies don’t just […]

What’s Next in Outsourcing’s Evolution?

Regardless of the complexities of Darwinian theory, it is easy to find similarities between the evolution of man and outsourcing supply chain functions. After all, there was a time in my career when “postponement strategies” seemed as foreign a phrase as “australopithecines” (an extinct humanlike primate). What was once fancy speak now seems no more […]

Creating Effective Routing Guides

A s companies seek to streamline their supply chains and logistics processes, their transportation routing guides have never been more important. Getting vendor and carrier compliance depends how the routing guide is put together. It must be easy to read, simple to use, and flexible. Shawn Masters, group logistics manager for Ryder Systems, offers these […]

The WMS Quandary: Where’s My Savings?

Several times a year I get a call that goes something like this: “Albert, we automated our distribution centers with a new WMS and we haven’t seen the savings. In fact, our costs are higher! We did our due diligence in selecting the best package. We did the training and wrote interfaces. We toured sites […]

Is It Time to Jettison JIT?

Manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers have come to rely on Just In Time inventory management, or JIT, as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiency. There is no doubt that JIT management has improved companies’ bottom lines and saved manufacturers billions of dollars. While JIT offers the potential to create significant savings for firms, it […]

Seeing Is Believing

TBI, a non-profit network of eye and tissue donor banks, relies on supply chain management to expedite time- and temperature-sensitive shipments to doctors and hospitals worldwide.

Jettison JIT?

Is it time to jettison JIT? It may be, according to industry observers Ike Brannon, senior economist on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Michael Gorman, assistant professor at the University of Dayton (see Viewpoint, August issue). Let’s think about that. Ike and Mike say that increased transport costs offset savings companies using just-in-time regimes […]

Retail Roundup: The End of the Supply Chain

It’s all about what happens at the cash register. So how do retailers and their partners efficiently match demand to supply with good customer service, and still ring up profits? Eleven industry observers offer their perspective on what retailers can do to survive and prosper.

Galen Erickson: Back to the Sporting Life

After seven years calling balls and strikes in the minor leagues, Galen Erickson was looking for a major change. The former umpire soon found a new career in logistics, rising from receiving dock supervisor to vice president of distribution at Phoenix-based Broadway Southwest Department Stores. Later, he advanced to executive positions with—among other companies—Leslie Fay […]

Cogistics Part 2: Cutting Costs on Urgent Shipments

Last month I introduced you to Cogistics, a Lakeland, Fla.-based service provider that helps companies plan and execute their transportation and supply chain operations through collaboration and data management. This month, I follow up by concentrating on Cogistics’ Urgent-1 service and pre-audit/carrier payment process. “Cogistics’ critical shipment call center, Urgent-1, does not pertain exclusively to […]

Orchestrating Successful Product Launches

Successful product launches are like a well-orchestrated symphony. Each instrument must work in harmony to produce the melody, and every musician plays a critical role. As the conductor of a product launch, you want flawless orchestration, but getting products to the retail market presents many challenges. In today’s economic environment, companies cannot afford any missteps, […]

Investing in Wireless Systems

Investing in a wireless solution for your warehouse calls for careful consideration. Richard Bauly, vice president, strategy and business development, Psion Teklogix, offers these tips for selecting your new system. 1. Understand the needs of your staff. The wireless and mobile systems that deliver the most value solve a defined problem. Examine current operations and […]

Technology Fights National Security Threat

The nature of national security threats against the United States has changed since Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. officials and citizens alike perceive the threat to be from terrorists who would attack with conventional explosives or weapons of mass destruction moving through the international supply chain. The United States Government (USG) has responded through three developments; […]

Building Security Into the Supply Chain

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, the term “security” primarily addressed cargo theft. Now the term addresses the broader set of security requirements and challenges associated with the increasing terrorist threat. Historically, competition has heightened information-sharing tensions among regulatory agencies, manufacturers, freight forwarders, carriers, and retailers—they have “protected” their piece of the information technology system. The […]

Navigating by Gyroscope

Sociologist David Reisman suggests that there are two types of political people: gyroscopic—those having internal guidance on issues, and radar—those bouncing off and navigating their issue positions by interacting with others. We find similar behavioral patterns in operation by those providing outsourced services in a stressed economy. Do they navigate their way to survivability and […]

Parcel Direct: Built for Speed

A network of high-tech distribution centers helps Parcel Direct pass deep postal discounts on to its customers, while speeding delivery to final destination.

Don’t Even Think About Outsourcing Until You Read These Success Stories

From Fortune 50 organizations to startup operations, a growing number of companies are outsourcing components of their logistics and supply chain functions to third-party logistics providers. Take the New England operation of Greenleaf Automotive Recyclers, a distributor of recycled auto parts. Last year the company decided to outsource its local customer deliveries to improve operations […]

What Does Your 3PL Really Think?

Third-party logistics providers struggle with customer demands to continuously create value. So, how are they doing? Inbound Logistics took this question to a group of 3PL providers to find out how they validate their value proposition in today’s environment, and how they plan to serve you looking forward. Follow us as we pan the 3PL industry and zoom in on some emerging trends.

Going Modal

How is a logistics airport alleviating congestion at Los Angeles ports? By operating as a multi-modal 3PL. Facing the unenviable task of cutting time and costs during transshipment at ports, forwarders, 3PLs, and shippers are looking to inland multi-modal facilities such as Southern California Logistics Airport to circumvent congestion and ensure quicker turnaround times for their customers’ shipments.

Bill Jones: Distribution and the Deep Blue Sea

Twenty-seven years ago, the day school let out, Bill Jones and his father went to buy a pair of boots. The 14-year-old needed them for a summer job with his mother’s employer, Pacific Seafood of Portland, Ore. From then on, summers and weekends, Jones ripped the backs off Dungeness crabs, built boxes, shoveled ice, and […]

Cogistics: Harnessing the Power of Collaboration

Given the direction of today’s economy, most companies continue to focus on ways to reduce costs and increase their return on investment. There are many means to achieving these goals, but clearly better use of data—that is, transforming raw information into actionable knowledge—is a sound approach. In the supply chain, where all activities are interlinked […]

Riding Outsourcing Waves: Hang Five to Thrive

Improving supply chain performance by outsourcing has been in vogue for decades. But has the outsourcing process kept pace with the emergence of the supply chain manager (SCM)—a single provider responsible for end-to-end performance? The first wave of outsourcing focused on exchanging fixed assets for leaner balance sheets and variable logistics costs in warehousing and […]

Tightening Supply Chain Security

Theft, terrorist activities, or cargo loss can happen on ocean vessels, at ports, in airports, at loading docks, or in transit. Don’t leave your inventory and equipment vulnerable. Here are 10 tips for tightening security along your supply chain, from Chris Corrado, vice president customer support, APL Logistics. 1. Participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against […]

Flight of Fancy

Back in 2023 Paul MacCready’s famous company, Aerovironment Corp., brought to market an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that revolutionized expedited and emergency transport services in America. That was seven years ago. Since then, the UAV 2030 AllCargo has captured 38 percent of the critical shipment market. Soaring above traffic, tolls, and crumbling infrastructure, the unmanned […]

Coty’s DC Gets a New Look

Coty gives its DC a facelift by optimizing the building’s cube and adding automation. Now it serves demanding retail customers from one location.

Fare’s Fair: Making Air Cargo Count

The traditional mold that combination carriers have operated in is crumbling as increased competition from low-fare carriers impacts the way they serve cargo customers. Putting back the pieces will require a more concerted effort, focusing attention and resources on the cargo side and making product attractive to shippers and consignees—regardless of how passenger volume waxes and wanes.

Mike Bates: Location, Lead Time and a Quick Bulkhead Fix

Location might not be everything, but in Mike Bates’ job it counts for a lot. As inbound freight logistics manager for Thurston Foods, Bates wages an endless campaign to find carriers to serve his warehouse in Wallingford, Conn. With few outbound loads available in the area, truckers delivering to the regional food service distributor often […]

One Throat to Choke: The Case for One-Stop Logistics

When companies choose to outsource a portion of their supply chains, they often struggle with the decision of how much control over their business and customer relationships they should put in the hands of an outsider. Most often, outsourced logistics is limited to transportation because it is more likely to reap quantifiable savings that are […]

Boosting Your Logistics Skillset

Is your job secure? With outsourcing at an all-time high, logistics and transportation professionals are pressured now, more than ever, to keep their skills sharp and their resumes up to date. Todd Provost, general manager of California-based Management Recruiters of Dana Point, offers these tips for boosting your skillset in the ever-changing logistics industry. 1. […]

Outsmarting Scope Creep

Scope creep. What is it? Will it hurt you? How can you avoid it? Scope creep occurs when the boundaries of an original project agreement begin to wander. It’s not uncommon to venture outside the lines and consider new ideas and approaches, but if scope creep is not effectively managed it can lead to budget […]

Maritime Security: Creating a System of Systems

Nearly every containerload represents a point of vulnerability in the pursuit of maritime security. Daily, 17,000 shipping containers laden with cargo of all sorts enter 361 U.S. seaports. Multiply this number by the hundreds of pairs of human hands through which that cargo passes and you can begin to see the magnitude of the port […]

The Blocking and Tackling of Site Selection

As a company’s space needs change, selecting the appropriate site for its distribution centers becomes increasingly important to the bottom line. Here are some practical ideas and tips that can help you along the way. Logistics Audit. When considering a new DC, the first step is to survey your present situation and address decreasing cycle […]

The Productivity Evolution

What’s in a warehouse? If you answered “inventory” you may be overlooking one important fact. Today’s warehouse operations are sometimes a nexus of functions and business strategy, creating an ideal setting for new ideas to take root, grow your business, improve your business model. With the stress caused by the slow economy, warehouse pros are […]

Material Handling Technology: Beyond the Nuts and Bolts

Today’s material handling technology is a lot more than nuts and bolts. By enabling companies to handle products more swiftly, material handling gives companies the ability to meet increasing customer requirements, boost productivity, and cut costs. Here’s a look at the technological tools that are available today, and how companies are using them in their distribution centers.

Andy Gustafson: Logistics for the Rich and Famous

To keep the rich and famous cruising in style, someone has to overhaul the engines, install the saunas, and replace the teak railings on the world’s largest yachts. Andy Gustafson’s job is to make sure the technicians who repair and refit these luxury vessels have the materials they need—whether that means sandblasting sand, electronic equipment, […]

The 411 on Product Lifecycle Management

The age we live in may very well be be remembered as the “Age of Acronyms.” The logistics industry has certainly contributed its fair share. Among the many new SCAs (Supply Chain Acronyms) to make their way into our daily lexicon is an upstart called Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Like supply chain management (SCM), PLM […]

Choosing a Warehouse Management System

Purchasing a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) for your company is a little more complicated than simply interviewing a group of companies and picking the most newfangled or expensive product on the market. You have to know what drives your company and be able to weed through all the bells and whistles to target your […]

RFID Use Limited Only by Imagination

Logistics professionals have long viewed radio frequency identification (RFID) as a technology of the future. By fixing their vision on the distant horizon, however, they may be overlooking the real value that RFID can deliver today. RFID technology is already used thousands of times each day in port, distribution center, and fleet operations around the […]

Vendor Compliance: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

You just landed your first big customer. No more selling to mom-and-pops. You alert your suppliers and increase your raw materials inventory. You step up production and increase your finished goods inventory, anxiously awaiting the purchase order. Then suddenly it hits you: in order to get the purchase order you have to comply with a […]

The Power of GC3

DuPont’s TransOval web portal is primed to take globalization to a whole new sphere, with help from G-Log’s GC3.

Stirring the Pot

I love making chili and am always amazed at that point in the pot where individual ingredients coalesce into something new and wonderful. While cooking up this issue, we saw the beginnings of a similar trend in logistics IT. Business IT solutions running down functional silos to the heart of an enterprise—purchasing/SCM, TMS, WMS—are now […]