Articles

Checking In

Hitting the Infrastructure Snooze Button

Folks in our business didn’t need the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse to serve as a wake-up call; we talk about maintaining infrastructure constantly. Just one morning before the collapse, I exchanged e-mails with Doug Grane, president of Central States Trucking, who, in a recent guest editorial, wrote: “Most trucking company owners would agree that as […]

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Mid-Size 3PLs: What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger

Ah, conventional wisdom. Not long ago, observers of the third-party logistics segment predicted the demise of many Tier II and Tier III 3PLs. Smaller players could not keep up with the increasing complexity required to serve customer demands, they said. In addition, they predicted merger and acquisition activity would create a pool of large 3PLs […]

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Sailing Into the New World

The Spanish and Portuguese sailed into the New World half a millennium ago seeking fame and fortune. Today, a new breed of intrepid business explorers is finding safe anchorage in Latin America, targeting the area’s abundant potential for manufacturing and logistics activities in hopes of achieving fame and fortune of their own. Inbound Logistics first […]

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Customers Handle the Final Mile for Wal-Mart?

The first job of my post-college career included replenishing inventory at a large book distributor’s New York City warehouses. Like many urban warehouses, the multi-storied building took advantage of a vertical footprint, rather than the horizontal footprint of today’s warehouses. All inventory moved in and out via the dreaded “freight elevator.” Dim lights, no air, […]

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IT’s Unexpected Benefits

When you invest in logistics IT, you expect to net the obvious results: implement a TMS and transportation operations run without a hitch; buy a WMS and goods flow smoothly in and out of the warehouse. But when shippers and logistics service providers adopt demand-driven ideas, and implement the technology and/or services to put that […]

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Playing Politics with Homeland Security: 100-Percent Wrong

If you source or sell anything overseas, you are no doubt aware of Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) efforts to mandate 100-percent scanning of inbound containers through an amendment to the SAFE Port Act. As part of the effort to get the amendment adopted, Schumer, along with eight other Democratic senators—Obama, Clinton, Menendez, Kerry, Kennedy, and […]

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New Frontiers in Learning

Few logisticians and supply chain managers will dispute the value of practical, real-world, get-your-hands-dirty learning experiences. But the rapidity of global change, the proliferation of new supply chain networks and partnerships, and the velocity of logistics IT innovation challenges practitioners, such as you, to keep pace with the times. Improving your logistics skillset has an […]

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The Human Touch (Felecia Stratton)

When was the last time you shared a drink with your WMS, complimented your forklift, or gave your computer a pat on the back? Accidental coffee spills and wishful coaxing aside, probably never, and for good reason. Machines may help get the job done faster and more efficiently, but the real power behind the supply […]

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Hidden Heroes Power the Supply Chain (Keith Biondo)

Some people manage simple logistics systems. Others face logistics complexities that stretch beyond their ability to master them. Some people oversee logistics flows across the globe. Others run a seemingly never-ending closed loop of highly disciplined product flow within the confines of a single state. Some logistics managers operate a transport program that flat-lines for […]

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All the News…?

Walking past the newsstand last weekend, a New York Times headline caught my attention: As Trucking Rules Are Eased, A Debate on Safety Intensifies. I picked up the article, hoping to learn about safety concerns and actions the industry is taking to address them. Sandwiched between the first and last paragraph of the article, both […]

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Tis the Season to be Shipping

The peak season for holiday shipping used to start in September, but carriers now say November is their busiest month, thanks to manufacturers and retailers better matching demand to supply. You can make the case that demand-driven logistics practices drive retailing excellence by speeding inventory and slashing the sourcing-to-sales cycle. You might even say that […]

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SAFE, At Home

The shipping community, with government assistance, is the defensive line protecting us from threats caused by nuclear proliferation. Where’s the global anti-nuke movement? They must be sitting this one out, waiting for the next power plant to open. We know exactly where Congress is, however. The Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE) offers […]

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Rising Costs? Lateral Thinking May Help

There are two sides to the rising trucking costs issue—the carriers’ and the shippers’. Carriers say the confluence of rising diesel prices; the driver shortage; government mandates reducing gas mileage on new equipment and driver productivity; higher taxes, insurance, and compliance costs; and increased security costs for better background checks creates a “perfect storm” for […]

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Inbound We Trust

If I had a dollar for every time a reader asked me, “Why inbound? Why demand-driven?” I’d be living in a nice little house by the beach. And considering the number of new readers asking that question, it soon might be a nicer little house by the beach. Who are these new readers? Last year, […]

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Going Above & Beyond: The Norm for Top 3PLs

Whether a third-party logistics provider receives enough reader votes to win an Inbound Logistics Top 10 Excellence Award (page 100), or is chosen by the editors for the Top 100 3PL list (page 128), they share one common attribute—they go above and beyond the norm to meet, exceed, and in some cases anticipate their customers’ […]

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Self-Criticism and Shared Pain

Jeff Shane shares our pain. Who is he and what is the cause of our shared transportation weltschmertz? Shane is the Undersecretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation and appeared to be thinking out loud at a recent speech to National Industrial Transportation League members. Shane was right there with us when we spent […]

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Less is Less and Less is More

Two important trends will impact your warehouse operations in the near term. First, retailers will seek to trim inventory even further to increase profits without reducing customer service standards. Wal-Mart, for example, recently announced its intention to cut $6.5 billion in inventory off an already lean 2:1 inventory-to-sales ratio. The goal? “Theoretical Zero Inventory.” The […]

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Stakeholders Share New Value

The CEO of Procter & Gamble, A.G. Lafley, does not talk much about shareholders; instead he talks about “stakeholders.” I wondered precisely what he meant, so I did a little online research. The original meaning of the word stakeholder was a person who holds money while its owner is being determined—a trustee for a minor, […]

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Lessons From the Neanderthals

What do global trade, cavemen, and a TV commercial have in common? Stay with me. Did you catch the FedEx ad about a caveman using Brand X Pterosaur to ship an important stick? Instant classic! The commercial humorously shows that good transportation was as important then as it is now. Oddly enough, new research by […]

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Learning for Earnings

When this magazine made its commitment to logistics education in 1990, few undergraduate or graduate logistics studies programs were available. That is not the case today. Logistics undergraduate, post-graduate, and continuing education programs have expanded a hundredfold. MIT, for example, has seen an application growth of 20 percent annually over the last five years, reports […]

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