Articles

Checking In

Traveling the 3PL Continuum

Grab your Star Trek mug and take another look at this magazine’s cover. Then come back because I want to talk to you about parallel 3PL continuums. Yikes! Back? What did you see? Don’t worry, the cover is not a Rorschachian intrusion into your childhood. Rather it is meant to represent the continuing evolution—from infancy […]

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Not Your Father’s Airfreight Forwarder

“We’ve been using airfreight forwarders since the beginning of time,” says Andy Bordash, head of the logistics and operations team at Bayer Health Care. Many IL readers can say the same thing, but times have changed. As we report in The Plane Truth About Airfreight Forwarding, written by Leslie Hansen Harps, smart forwarders, both large […]

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Someone is After Your Job…

And they want it to relocate it—no, not to Mumbai or China, but right here in the United States. Cities, states, and regions are increasingly competing to attract logistics and transportation jobs. Why? Because U.S. manufacturing jobs, and more recently, service sector jobs, continue to migrate to lower wage, lower tax, lower liability, lower regulation […]

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IT Does Matter

Arguably the most important development impacting transportation, except for the invention of the wheel, has been the application of information technology. Yes, I know, the nationwide rail network, the excellent interstate highway system, the containerization concept, the Panama Canal … But the reason I think logistics IT is preeminently important is because it impacts everyone […]

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The Politics of Fear

Media-amplified hysteria and politicization of homeland security in certain circles may be driving security policies toward unreality. Some believe that the only way to protect good people from bad people is to lock down the good people instead of aggressively sanctioning the bad. Are we over-emphasizing security at the expense of interdiction in the war […]

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Who is the Typical IL Reader?

Who are the typical Inbound Logistics readers? They are the unusual mixture of the practical and theoretical. Straining their brains to solve the seemingly unsolvable, yet not afraid to get dirt under their fingernails to get the job done. They understand the complex algorithm that helps rationalize the unpredictability of future demand, yet they are […]

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Scale-Ability

Can being proficient in supply chain practices position you to benefit when the economy picks up and your sales take off? Matching demand signals to your supply line will help you save money, but it’s only half the story. It is a very big half, considering our never-ending quest to be cost effective or to […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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