Articles

Checking In

SaaS: A Distribution Model For Tough Times?

The lead article in our annual technology issue 15 years ago featured Barbara Barnhill, transportation supervisor for Elizabeth Arden. She excitedly shared the details of her company’s “revolutionary” inbound transportation program, which racked up million-dollar savings by using the latest technology—a fax machine. Times have changed since the fax machine and its dial tone were […]

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A Speaking Truth to Power

In a monumental case of bait and switch, the current White House administration is set upon a course that will handicap every U.S. worker and business, and give global economic advantage to all who are not lucky enough to live here. Energy policy—specifically, the carbon offset cap and trade plan—will transfer wealth to the government […]

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A New World of Logistics Enlightenment

Our annual education issue honors the importance and value of logistics education. Acing logistics basics helps practitioners master supply chain complexity. It’s practical to the core and strategic when it needs to be. But it isn’t static. The challenges of globalization continue to present new ways and means to engage learning. In this sense, history […]

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Measure for Measure

You don’t have to dissect Shakespeare to understand that what you put into something you redeem in equal measures—and often more. But in these Dickensian times, businesses are tasked with squeezing out costs and cinching their purse strings. Putting together this year’s Logistics Planner issue, we took William’s advice ≠- investing more time, more resources, […]

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Success’ Measure?

Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan, as the saying goes. Economic news in many quarters is grim. The economy is in tatters, failure abounds. Who is at fault? Everyone else it seems. Those still standing look over their shoulders to see if the economic Grim Reaper lurks behind them. How then do we […]

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Macro? No, Micro Economics

“The economy is bad so we’d better make cuts that hurt customer service.” OK, no business would set out with this goal, but often the results are the same. And the consequences of poor service in today’s economic climate are irrevocable. While the macro economic news is bad, customer service is all about managing micro […]

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Getting All, Like, Demand-Driven

Did you know that a 16-year-old girl in Spain is the logistics genius behind one of the most sophisticated and effective retail supply chain operations on the planet? Neither does she. The typical Zara demand signal—to buy or not to buy—sets in motion a demand-driven process that has the global apparel chain retailer, based in […]

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Boeing, Boeing Gone?

When times get tough, supply chain/logistics redeployment grows increasingly important. Part of evaluating site locations for your manufacturing and logistics facilities involves considering fundamentals such as proximity to sources and customers, and transport infrastructure. But there is a “softer side” of site selection. As I write this, Boeing is in the midst of a strike […]

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The Short Loop is Better

Suppose, for some unknown reason, the hot/cold water valves for your shower were installed in the basement, next to the water heater. When you wanted to take a shower, you’d have to go to the basement, turn the water on, then walk upstairs to the bathroom. If you needed to adjust the water temperature or […]

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All the Low-Hanging Fruit Have Not Yet Been Picked

Many retail logistics practitioners who are good at their jobs will swear to you that all the low-hanging fruit on their optimized logistics tree has already been picked. Sure, one way to face today’s challenges is to cut transportation and logistics costs. But what’s hanging on the other side of the tree in the orchard […]

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Change: Count On It

In my 25 years with Inbound Logistics, I can recall few times of such rapid change. One was the dot.com era and the promise that new technology would help us make our logistics networks more efficient and our companies more responsive to customer demands. Another was the advent and meteoric growth of the 3PL segment […]

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Supply Chain Bifocalism: Go Short or Long?(Biondo)

When economic times get tight, even the most visionary business logistics managers feel pressure to set strategic goals aside and focus on savings derived from process optimization and operational ROI. Are you balancing strategic with tactical plays as you head down the field to the goal line of supply chain efficiency? Consider these questions: Q: […]

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Less Pie in the Sky And More Meat and Potatoes

When asked about the economy, Harry S Truman said he wished for a one-handed economic advisor so he could never say, “on the other hand.” In certain sectors, the economy is bad and likely to get worse. Why? Could it be that the decades without a national energy policy are coming home to roost as […]

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Hanging in the Balance

If one theme threads its way throughout this issue – from cover illustration to featured articles to the logistics solution providers we have selected for our annual Top 100 Logistics IT Providers list—it’s balance. Businesses today routinely balance on the brink between too much and too little – whether it’s forecasting demand, carrying safety inventory, […]

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Up and Atom

Some thought leaders, visionaries, and business gurus claim the United States is transforming from an “industrial” to a “post-industrial” economy. More guru-speak: “Wealth in the United States will be created more and more by electrons, and less and less by atoms.” In English, that means our information and service businesses will continue to grow (electrons) […]

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Training Daze

The importance of logistics education is often overlooked and underrated, not only here in the United States, but abroad as well. A reader alerted me to a Financial Times article skewering the state of logistics training in the United Kingdom: “Poor productivity and high staff turnover in the UK’s logistics industry are undermining the competitiveness […]

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One Small Victory

What were the legislators in Michigan thinking? What started out three years ago as a grass roots voter initiative to simplify tax procedures ended up as a six-percent state tax on warehousing and logistics activities. Clearly an anti-labor, anti-business, and anti-economic development move by Michigan lawmakers who forgot they preside over the state with the […]

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Changing Directions Involves Tough Choices

Imagine walking into a board meeting in one of the largest companies in the world and telling your management peers you can streamline the company’s global operations from 87 vertical-silo supply chains into a horizontally integrated network of five—then doing it. That’s the story Carly Fiorina shared with Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) […]

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Railroad RXR?

The nation is at a crossroads on how to handle the rail industry in the coming decades. While much attention has been paid to the state of the nation’s highways in light of the I-35 bridge collapse, a new Association of American Railroads study indicates that U.S. railroads need an overhaul, too. The National Rail […]

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Managing Inbound: The Time Is Right

Most readers of this magazine know the value of managing the inbound flow. “But most companies would readily admit they have less control over inbound shipments than outbound shipments,” notes Dan Cushman, chief marketing officer, Werner Enterprises. That is changing, according to readers interviewed for this annual trucking issue. By managing inbound, companies aim to […]

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