Carol Carrieri: Life-Support Logistics

Carol Carrieri had a warehouse full of medical supplies. The problem was how to get them into Manhattan. Minutes after she and her staff at McKesson Medical-Surgical’s distribution center in Dayton, N.J., learned of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, they started calling customers in New York to find out what they […]

Consolidating Reverse Logistics and Warehousing Yields Greater Returns

While 3PLs have been tuned in to the retail industry’s returns management dilemma, manufacturers are also struggling with similar problems. In addition to traditional consumer returns, manufacturers are also charged with managing overstocks, seasonality, stockouts, shelf damage, obsolescence, and sales trends. As a result, it’s crucial to get valuable inventory assets returned back through the […]

Selecting a Transportation Management System

To help you select a transportation management system, here are 10 tips from Kevin Lynch, CEO of Minneapolis-based Nistevo, which provides a collaborative logistics network for transportation management: 1. Insource or outsource? Streamlined transportation management can be achieved through purchasing TMS technology or selecting a 3PL with TMS capabilities. Your level of internal expertise and […]

Technology Is Not a Cure-All

It isn’t always about technology. That sounds a bit heretical to modern ears. Technology has done so much to alter our world, make our lives easier, and provide answers to decades-old business problems. We have come to depend so heavily on the value of technology that our first response to most business problems is investing […]

All Across the Angry Seas

We’ve heard for the last two decades that the world is getting smaller. Not anymore. Distances across angry seas are greater than those across peaceful seas. Cultural differences, political differences, and security concerns have raised formidable impediments to the trade and tranquility that bind the world together. And so we struggle to secure our homeland. […]

New Product Launches: The Cache to Cash Cycle

Aligning marketing, advertising, and sales initiatives with logistics and fulfillment processes to ensure that new products make their way onto store shelves and into shopping carts demands a collaborative and integrated approach among internal departments and supply chain partners.

Lewis Dibert: Spinning Red Into Gold

Despite an affable disposition, Lewis Dibert spends his days seeing red. As director of logistics for Red Gold Inc., each day from July through October he moves hundreds of truckloads of tomatoes from fields in five states to be packed into cans at three Indiana production plants. The rest of the year, he brings in […]

Lorantec: Cargo Gets Smart

In this era of smart machines, smart cards, smart motors, and smart sensors, it’s about time we had smart cargo—specifically, smart cargo containers. The ability to know where and in what condition a shipment is becomes a major supply chain consideration and the primary goal of better process visibility. Lorantec of Sunnyvale, Calif., is building […]

Shifting Gears from Inventory to Motor Freight Costs

The nation’s motor carrier freight bill for 2001 was $494 billion—more than 50 percent of total U.S. business logistics costs ($970 billion) and 82 percent of total U.S. business transportation costs ($605 billion), according to Robert Delaney’s annual State of Logistics Report released in June 2002. The implication for the nation’s shippers and receivers is […]

Working With Transportation Salespeople

Working with transportation salespeople can be a pleasant or frustrating experience. You have to separate the person who wants to sell you something from the professional who wants to provide the appropriate solution that will meet your needs. To help you get the most bang for your buck and establish a relationship that leaves you […]

CRM and the Danger of Dirty Data

Time doesn’t stand still. Neither do your customers. Face it. We are a nation on the move, and rapidly growing as well. In 2000, businesses filed 2.6 million change-of-address orders. There are a mind-boggling 140 million deliverable addresses in the United States, and the number is growing by nearly two million annually. If you are […]

Packaging Automation Delivers What Customers Demand

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment,” writes author Warren G. Bennis. Well, not quite. But automation is certainly the watchword as today’s manufacturers face […]

Silo’s Legacy

In last month’s Reader Profile, Brittain Ladd offers some great advice to people starting out in logistics: “Educate yourself. The best logistics managers are those individuals who are great communicators and who understand the importance of mastering the supply chain, as well as mastering relationships with customers and suppliers.” Besides repeating, that sentiment bears expanding. […]

What Makes a Logistics Leader?

Great leaders relish and seek responsibility and accountability. They inspire confidence, win the hearts and minds of their team, and bring out their best, whether on the warehouse floor or in the executive wing. The strategies and advice in this article can help get you on the leadership track.

SCM & Logistics: What’s the Difference

Are logistics and supply chain management the same thing? How are they alike? How do they differ? IL readers weigh in with their opinion, and Dr. Edward J. Marien tries to make sense of it all.

Alex Reizinger: Stretching His Wings

When Sandy Reizinger first went to work for Ryder Supply Chain Solutions three years ago, he had barely a moment to breathe. Reizinger was part of a team managing transportation for Nortel Networks at its “systems house”—a final assembly and distribution center in Montreal. As logistics coordinator, he built 10 to 12 daily trailer loads, […]

EIS: Practice Makes Perfect

Based in Downers Grove, Ill., Enterprise Information Solutions Inc. (EIS) is devoted to systems integration and open systems, open source computer engineering. The company’ s transportation practice focuses on transportation and logistics solutions. Marc Mitchell, one of EIS’ s founders, holds the intriguing title of Transportation Practice Director. “When we founded EIS, we decided to […]

Contingency Planning: Get Ahead of the Game NOW

It comes with the territory. Those of us who make our living in the fiercely competitive world of transportation, logistics, and supply chain management have developed an intense focus on consistently meeting and exceeding customer needs. Although most of us already operate under the credo “we need to do our work better tomorrow than we […]

Maximizing Your CRM System

Two-thirds of all Customer Relationship Management (CRM) initiatives fail, according to a recent study by Gartner Inc. Proper implementation and direction may be one problem. But many businesses overlook the fact that the CRM information they store and manage is inaccurate, outdated, or redundant. Here are 10 tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of […]

Balancing IT Strategy with ROI

For years enterprise software implementations were all about the Big Bang. After spending months and millions of dollars installing a new system, the grand moment would come, the “on” switch would be thrown, and the organization would suddenly achieve Nirvana. Times have changed. In a chilly economy, IT executives cannot afford to wait very long […]

Cycle Time Reduction Gives Life to Productivity

Manufacturers that can’t deliver on time won’t keep their customers happy—or keep them at all. This reality is all the more reason why small and mid-sized manufacturers need to get their products into customers’ hands as quickly as possible. Often, however, bottlenecks in the production process make this impossible. The following scenarios of lost productivity […]

Feeling Full: More is More

When choosing the mix of articles, and setting their length, for our annual Logistics Planner issue, I have more freedom than usual. As an editor, I normally face tremendous pressure to keep things brief in recognition of, or perhaps in surrender to, today’s quick reading habits. Each issue, I struggle with a brevity bias, as […]

Keith Biondo

Descartes Was Wrong … and Right

Descartes divided our world into two distinct parts—”extended things,” things that are real, existing in the physical world and “thinking things,” thoughts and memories. Descartes was wrong. That’s what New York scientist Timothy Tully says and he is out to prove it. How? By using molecular biology to break down thoughts into physical components. He […]

Managing Logistics Change: Doing it Right

Wrapped in a chrysalis of change, business logistics managers are rebuilding internal elements and morphing legacy systems to answer increased customer demands and manage never-ending variables. What emerges is a logistics process that is more agile, able to fly faster and go farther. See how leading companies use change to transorm themselves, with breathtaking results.

Zero Hour

What happens when disaster strikes and your shipment never makes it? Time stops for a brief moment … then the clock starts ticking and the phones start ringing. What do you do? How should your vendors and carriers respond? Read this gripping fictional account of one carrier dealing with the unexpected. The story may be make-believe, but the consequences are no less real.

Air Cargo: Business As Usual

Unfazed. Surviving a tumultuous two-year stretch marked by security and regulatory demands, rising shipper expectations, and internal profitability pressures, air carriers show resolve and resiliency. Here’s a look at how airlines, forwarders, and integrators prove that, despite the challenges, it’s just business as usual.

Brittain Ladd: Doing It Right The First Time, Every Time

Success to me,” says Brittain Ladd, “is educating others on the importance of quality and doing the job right the first time, every time.” As a Six Sigma black belt, Ladd has dedicated himself to eliminating variance—making sure his organization adheres to the highest standards in every detail. Ladd is transportation planning manager for Michaels […]

Where the Supply Chain Meets the Value Chain

By taking a different approach to the way we look at certain objects and processes, we gain the benefit of objectivity. A similar method holds true when looking at the supply chain. It is the nature of systems, especially complex ones such as in the supply chain, to evolve and change. Part of the pressure […]

Building Bridges With Your 3PLs

With competition at an all-time high, it is more important than ever to develop a trusting relationship with your logistics partners. As the logistics business grows, 3PLs offer services that encompass the entire supply chain. They no longer just manage your warehouse—today they offer global solutions that include transportation, warehousing, customs, and IT services. Because […]

Selecting Core Carriers

Choosing core carriers can be a daunting task, especially with so many carriers out there wooing your business. Here are 10 tips to help you keep a clear head when carriers come courting with all their bells and whistles, from Bob Belshaw, vice president business development and Robert Harper, product support manager, transportation, Insight Inc., […]

If You Spend IT, Efficiencies Will Come

While corporate departments such as operations are often high on the list for systems improvements, logistics departments are usually close to the bottom of the pecking order. As a result, many supply chain management systems are woefully behind the times. This, however, doesn’ t mean that logistics professionals have to or should accept this slight […]

Reducing Supply Chain Costs: Spend More to Save More

Managers who want to reduce supply chain costs need to spend more on transportation. The key to lower supply chain costs is holding less inventory. Buying more transportation lets you reduce inventory safely. The greatest mistake that manufacturers make today is equating transportation cost reductions with total available supply chain savings. In fact, transportation savings […]

NITL: A League All Their Own

The discussions at last month’s TransComp in Anaheim were wide ranging, covering port lockouts, homeland security, and globalization. But there was also a hint of what we might expect in 2003, and lest we grow too optimistic, economic recovery is not near at hand. A conversation I had with David Stubblefield, outgoing president of ABF, […]

Using Aftermarket Service As a Strategic Weapon

Web-based inventory, supply chain planning, and forecasting tools are among the more important and growing applications in the supply chain industry. Within this maelstrom of supply chain management, customer relationship management, warehouse management, and ERP offerings, Atlanta, Ga.-based Servigistics is taking an aggressive position in aftermarket service. “Global leaders such as Dell, Toshiba, EMC, and […]

Transforming Density into Savings

As companies continue to focus on supply chain management to increase efficiencies and drive down costs, they are examining every link in the supply chain—from manufacturing to logistics and transportation. But after carefully scrutinizing your supply chain and identifying strengths, one question remains: how do you turn those strengths into a means to achieve your […]

Brian Godfrey: An Explosive Career

Work is a blast for Brian Godfrey. As a logistics supervisor for Dyno Nobel North America, Godfrey is in charge of moving truck, railcar, and barge loads of ammonium nitrate (AN), a fertilizer used as an explosive in mining and construction. He negotiates transportation contracts, traces rail shipments, and routes his goods from manufacturing plants […]

Logistics Contingency Planning

Can your company weather a logistics disaster such as a terrorist attack, airport closure, or worker strike? These sudden disruptions can strand you—along with your customers’ freight. Here are tips on planning for a crisis, and handling emergency shipping when a major disruption happens, from Joel Childs, vice president of marketing, FedEx Custom Critical. 1. […]

Navigating the Rigors of NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been the catalyst for many small- to mid-sized U.S. importers to expand their comfort zone and test the waters with new suppliers and customers. While many large or multi-national importers have processes in place to determine and track eligibility for NAFTA and other special trade programs, smaller […]

Network Software: Finding the Perfect Fit

A shift is occurring in the way logistics software is delivered. Companies have spent billions of dollars customizing, implementing, and maintaining supply chain software to improve efficiency and service. Yet, despite this investment, projects are often discontinued as software too quickly becomes shelfware. High failure rates and delayed ROI can be attributed to costs associated […]

Seeing’ Safe Ports: Connect to Protect

The emergence of new global logistics challenges in the wake of Sept. 11 has prompted the U.S. government to effectively secure our borders. But, of the 5.7 million containers arriving in the United States each year, less than two percent of all shipments offloaded at U.S. ports are inspected prior to arrival. Limited human resources […]

Are You a Logistics Laggard?

Logisticians get saddled with lots of responsibility when things go wrong—the shipment is late, the shipment is lost, the carrier filed Chapter 11, the ports are closed. Now we learn that we are not practicing “socially responsible logistics.” Talk about piling on! “The logistics discipline appears to be more of a laggard with respect to […]

Warehousing for the 21st Century

Companies explore merge-in-transit, crossdocking, and pool distribution in the never-ending quest to increase speed to market, improve service and inventory turns, and reduce costs.

Logistics 101: Back to Basics

Logistics can confound the newly initiated and veterans alike. So take out your notebook, sharpen your pencil, and take this Inbound Logistics short course on the fundamental concepts driving logistics theory and practice today.

Routing Guides: Inside the Matrix

Successful implementation of a routing guide feeds off constant communication among vendors, carriers, and consignees. Find out how you can help foster better shipping compliance among your supply chain partners with a dynamic routing guide.

Karen Caswelch: Quality In High Gear

When Karen Caswelch joined Allison Transmission as director of purchasing last year, she had no corporate purchasing experience. But her record in operations and quality management made her supremely qualified to carry out her number-one mission. “The ultimate mandate,” Caswelch says, “is to keep the plants running. And you’ve got to keep them running with […]

CRM Plays Crucial, Often Confusing, Role in SCM

The importance of customer relationship management (CRM) within the supply chain is vitally important. This column offers my take on some important integration issues. The customer and the customer’s customer have been a critical part of the supply chain since its inception. The customer is quite clearly what the supply chain is all about. Having […]

Choosing Cross-Border Partners

Moving goods across U.S. borders into Mexico can be difficult if you don’t align yourself with the right partners and establish solid relationships with carriers and brokers. Here are suggestions to help you select your cross-border partners wisely, from Gene Sevilla-Secasa, vice president, managing director for Ryder Latin America. 1. Invest adequate time and do […]

What Do You Really Know About Intermodal?

Remember the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? The premise was that his character was trapped in a time warp that had him continuously reliving the same day. The people who work in the intermodal industry can probably relate—except it’s not their industry that’s stuck in a time warp. It’s their image. Intermodal transportation can take […]

You Have Entered the Material Transfer Zone

The loading dock has become a critical component of virtually any supply chain strategy. Mistakes in dock design and equipment choices can have costly consequences that ripple throughout the supply chain. For instance, slowdowns and product damage can very quickly multiply when overhead door openings are too small and dock levelers too narrow to provide […]

CLM: The Rules are Changing

The rules are changing? I wish somebody would tell that to the longshoreman’s union. I was recently in the center of the dock lockout imbroglio in San Francisco, having made the trip to attend the Council of Logistics Management’s 2002 conference. Business as usual for dockworkers apparently means a 70+ percent increase over three years, […]

Sourcing Globally Now That The Rules Have Changed

MORE TO THE STORY: The e-Procurement Advantage During the 1980s and 1990s, manufacturers saved billions of dollars in inventory and other carrying costs by instituting effective just-in-time (JIT) supply chain management and production processes. These efforts were based on the fundamental assumption that, while global supply chains might experience short-term hiccups, they would run pretty […]

Looking Inside The Box

As budget limitations and executive missives compel logistics managers to streamline operating expenses, web-based procurement solutions have become one obvious fix, offering greater control over purchasing decisions, the opportunity to consolidate supply orders and shipments, and the promise of reduced costs.

The Supply Chain: A Canary in the Corporate Coal Mine

To avoid the fate of companies that collaborated with WorldCom, Enron, Vivendi and others, you must learn to read supply chain performance as a gauge of corporate financial fitness. SCM performance is a leading—not a lagging—indicator of a suppy chain partner’s true economic situation.

Bob Wegmann: Blood Work

As Americans jammed Red Cross blood centers after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bob Wegmann and his staff worked the phones. Their mission: to get vendors to rush enough blood bags, swabs, printed forms, and other supplies to accommodate the hordes of donors. “Obviously, no one predicted Sept. 11. But we were able to predict, […]

Velant’s Automated Planning Solution

Two primary goals of transportation management are reducing costs and enhancing customer service. To meet these demands and improve its transportation planning offerings, Velant, a solution provider headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., has developed a managed service that integrates advanced technology with the expertise of logistics specialists. The company’s Transportation Management Center (TMC) is targeted at […]

Proactive Involvement Ensures Clean 3PL Startup

When applied appropriately, an outsourcing strategy can add strategic advantage to your organization. Whether the value lies in asset efficiency, cost containment, customer service, marketing strength, or technological advantage, many 3PL customers can show measurable improvement in one or more of these areas. Customers dissatisfied with a 3PL, on the other hand, often cite unrealized […]

Choosing the Right Logistics Consultant

Choosing a logistics consultant should not be a search for the lowest-cost solution, but rather a search for experience and success based on definitive criteria. Dr. Dick Powers, CEO and president of the Bend, Ore., and Manassas, Va.-based consulting firm INSIGHT, which solves logistics and supply chain issues with optimization-based solutions, offers these tips for […]

Container Carriers: Why Can’t We Make Red Tape a Thing of the Past?

Container shipping is one of the world’s youngest industries—younger, in fact, than the computer industry. When Malcolm McLean drove the first container onto a ship less than 50 years ago, Big Blue was already churning out early computing and communication systems. Despite the rapid evolution of computer technology, container shipping companies still fail to grasp […]

Building a High-Velocity Supply Chain Network

Managing an extended supply chain network effectively requires coordination among many geographically dispersed partners. Done well, you can reduce operational costs and increase bottom-line profitability and customer loyalty. Done poorly, you can face increased personnel, as well as higher inventory and rush charges, all incurred in an attempt to avoid dissatisfied customers. With increasing decentralization […]

Proactive Returns Management Yields Hard ROI

Multi-channel product distribution and stiff competition for more demanding and discerning customers require creative strategies for managing and maintaining customer relationships. As companies search for areas of opportunity to meet these needs, returns management tops the list.Product returns and their impact on a company’s bottom line is an age-old problem. The complexities of reverse product […]

CF Bankruptcy: Labor Day

Consolidated Freightways files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Labor Day. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Can part of the reason for the demise of this once great carrier be laid at organized labor’s door? I remember meeting with two highly-placed CF executives six years ago. They were making the rounds, explaining to the press […]

Becoming a Better Trucking Customer

Put yourself in your motor carriers’ place for a moment. This past year brought more than a few bumps in the road. Union battles, driver shortages, rising insurance premiums, fluctuating fuel prices and surcharges, and increased safety and security costs have deflated profits and forced shippers, carriers, and supply chain partners to plug expectation gaps […]

Michael Trotter: Striking a Balance

Loading pallets with electrical supplies bound for factories and construction sites, “you learn quickly that you can’t set light bulbs on the bottom and put wire on the top,” laughs Michael Trotter, director of logistics at Van Meter Industrial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But for a distributor with 29,000 SKUs of all sizes and shapes—from […]

What’s Behind mySAP’s Technology?

The technology behind mySAP’s Supply Chain Management module—which spans planning, execution, networking, and coordination processes—bears closer review. mySAP SCM is built upon industry standards such as HTML, XML, and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). These tools ensure interoperability and flexibility. Part of SAP’s flexible optimization strategy is the use of user-specific heuristics. “Within SAP, heuristics are […]

Finding the Right Logistics Recruiter

Alex Metz, president, Hunt Ltd., Lindhurst, N.J., offers these tips on deciding when to use a logistics recruiter and selecting the right one. 1. Recognize when you need help. If you need to replace an individual on staff confidentially, or you have a limited HR department that cannot process the field calls and interview candidates, […]

Truckers Unite to Combat Terrorism

Last September, our nation and the trucking industry were shaken by the realization of our vulnerability to terrorist attacks. While the trucking industry has fought to combat cargo theft and address other security concerns for many years, never before have we considered the magnitude of tragedy that can occur when cargo and equipment fall into […]

Handling the Rigors of Global Compliance

Compliance is an intrinsically complex and often misunderstood part of the global supply chain. Unlike other functions such as purchasing and receiving, which generate a lot of attention and activity, successful compliance is gauged when absolutely nothing happens—when freight leaves its origin and arrives at its destination on time and intact. But as soon as […]

Food Retail: It’s a Jungle Out There

I was watching The Discovery Channel with my son the other day and saw a program about a group of cheetah hunting a lone springbok. Menaced from the front, sides, and rear the antelope leapt high in the air, and dodged from side to side to escape the jaws and claws of its larger, faster […]

Andrea Greco: Greco’s Game

The biggest logistics challenge I have right now is being able to go fishing on the weekends and still spend time with my kids,” laughs Andrea Greco, vice president, supply chain for Fila USA. Shuttling between a job near Baltimore and a young family in New York demands careful organization. So does coordinating the supply […]

For SAP, Size No Longer Matters

In this era of business change, even the biggest supply chain technology providers are reaching out to small- and mid-sized companies, creating new products, and making it easier for companies to respond to their offerings. Much of their focus is also targeted toward easier implementation. Industry stalwart SAP has responded to these changes in business […]