Articles

Checking In

Keith Biondo

Talent Gap: How Did We Get Here?

How did we get here? By "here" I mean the supply chain talent gap that many companies are struggling to fill. In "Talent Gap: Where Are We Going?", the editor lauds the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars who represent the bright future of our practice. But, as you’ll see in the chart at the bottom […]

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Felecia Stratton

Talent Gap: Where Are We Going?

I am always pleased when the annual Logistics Planner issue publishes, but this year I’m doubly excited. This issue marks a new milestone as we introduce and celebrate the 30 best and brightest supply chain practitioners under the age of 30—a group of individuals who are familiar with producing extraordinary results in a short period […]

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Felecia Stratton

Service With A Demand-driven Smile

What does it mean for retailers to deliver exceptional customer service? Is it matching expectations? Cost-competitive pricing? Dependability? Options? Most consumers expect "all of the above" and then some from their retailers and e-tailers. Demand expectations are also hyper-sensitized because consumers are faced with infinite choices. SKU proliferation extends beyond the store shelf. However demand […]

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Keith Biondo

Adapting Your Supply Chain for the Future…Now

Supply chain practitioners are adept at identifying and adapting to changes in the real world, both in the long and short term. Two examples: One company is preparing its supply chain process for an anticipated explosion of products that don’t exist yet, and many logistics and supply chain practitioners are dealing with satisfying consumer demand […]

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Felecia Stratton

Modal Harmony in a Discordant Market

When U.S. gas prices hit all-time highs in summer 2008, surpassing $4 per gallon and $140 per barrel, shippers felt the pinch. For some, it pushed the needle in a new direction. Shippers such as Welch’s used the 2008 gas crisis as a burning platform to test intermodal solutions in certain lanes. It was a […]

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Keith Biondo

Build Your Driver-Friendly Brand

Companies spend tons of money building brand equity, but sometimes risk having it washed away in a flood of bad reviews on social media sites such as Yelp. The same thing can happen to shippers when they are evaluated by drivers serving their facilities. Drivers have always shared their experiences; some may even have reviewed […]

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Keith Biondo

The New Retail: Three Legs to Stand On

Did you ever read a magazine or newspaper article and get the feeling that something was missing? It happened to me when I read several business press articles touting e-commerce as the savior of retailers. That "something’s missing" feeling bothered me as I read various vague descriptions of how e-commerce is the driving force behind […]

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Felecia Stratton

3PL Evolution Continues

For better or for worse, I have been the editor of Inbound Logistics for nearly 25 years—before the term third-party logistics, or 3PL, even existed. That means I spent about two decades (gulp!) watching the evolution of the third-party logistics sector, and all the different types of companies providing value-added logistics solutions. It has been […]

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Keith Biondo

3PL e-Volution Continues

While the editor of Inbound Logistics is content to use her column to take you on an archeological journey through 3PL history, I prefer to take you on a trip forward. We all know Amazon and eBay as e-commerce titans that match millions of customers with the products they demand, when they want them. Both […]

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Felecia Stratton

Reaching for the Stars

The United States is challenged by a lack of skilled and technical workers. Some claim widespread offshoring created a generation of job attrition and lost experience. But offshoring is only a symptom of the real problem. Previously, the U.S. education system failed to see and appreciate the true worth of blue- and gray-collar workers, and […]

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Keith Biondo

You Say You Need a Bigger Warehouse?

If you think you need a bigger warehouse, you are not alone. Seventy-one percent of warehouse operators responding to an April 2014 Motorola Solutions survey have their sights set on expanding warehouse operations. Thirty-five percent of respondents say they want either more warehouse space or more locations, while 38 percent want to expand the size […]

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Felecia Stratton

The Power of Demand-Driven

The inbound logistics concept has a lot of pull in today’s marketplace—and for good reason. Consignees want control. Having visibility to product and processes at different supply chain touch points empowers you to make smart decisions about positioning and moving inventory. Companies embrace this enthusiasm for demand-driven practices in countless ways. For example, some importers […]

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Keith Biondo

A New Spin on Global Trade

Some important trends shaping global logistics and supply chain activity may not get the wide coverage they deserve. Sure, plenty of analysis and commentary point to the usual—changing economies and currency values impacting supply lines, nearshoring and reshoring, burgeoning consumer markets affording growth opportunities to those with agile enterprises and flexible supply chains, and lane-altering […]

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Felecia Stratton

Benchmarking Career Development

When a professional discipline evolves at hyper speed, career development follows. But actually, it should lead. Keeping up with change—often precipitated by new generations of talent, innovation, and technological know-how—instinctively raises expectations, and inspires personal growth and enrichment. That’s particularly true of supply chain management. In a literal sense, learning on the job is part […]

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Keith Biondo

Year of Uncertainty?

2014 is shaping up as a year of uncertainty. Retail sales are off, the stock market is skittish. Healthcare, energy, and regulatory policies are in flux, and unemployment levels and consumer confidence are scary. Uncertainty reigns for many. In the face of all this, growth is assured for some of us. The others are tasked […]

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Felecia Stratton

Well, There’s One Thing That’s Certain…

If there’s one certainty, it’s that some things never change—sometimes for the worse, but often for the better. Consider this issue you are now thumbing or clicking through. The 2014 Logistics Planner marks Inbound Logistics‘ 20th anniversary of publishing what has become an industry standard. Such longevity is validation that our mission-based focus remains as […]

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Keith Biondo

Visions of Customer Service

Tighter links are being forged between customer service and logistics in the retail supply chain. As competition between traditional and online shopping choices heats up, expedited transportation offerings and blended supply chain networks play a pivotal role. Simply put, delivery speed and logistics agility provide the customer service levels needed to win. The main advantage […]

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Felecia Stratton

Shining the Light on Pioneers and Prospects

During its annual conference in October, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) commemorated its 50th anniversary. Important milestones like this breed nostalgia. Understandably, then, much of this year’s conference in Denver focused on honoring pioneers who helped shape our industry. While it was interesting to look back, many conversations I had with CSCMP […]

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Felecia Stratton

All Aboard a Modal Conversion

Intermodal is crossing over. In August 2013, U.S. domestic traffic averaged 257,795 units per week, the highest weekly average ever recorded, according to the Association of American Railroads. All indications suggest intermodal growth will continue to roll. As over-the-road shippers embrace the efficiency, economy, and sustainability of shifting truck shipments to rail, a conversion is […]

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Keith Biondo

5 Trucking Trends on the Table

Our Annual Trucking Issue offers a buffet of valuable information for you to chew on and digest. Here are five key takeaways that will whet your appetite for more: 1. Sharing of information, shipments, assets, and space is on the upswing. For example, OEMs and auto parts suppliers who were previously reluctant to divvy up […]

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