Articles

Checking In

Felecia Stratton

Keeping Track of Time

If your average day is anything like mine, you face an endless barrage of internal emails, corporate memos, newsletters, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to refinance a home loan. Spam filters, email notifications, and custom preferences help organize this self-perpetuating info soup, making it easier to manage communications—then act according to priority. Complicating matters is the reality […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

Business Process Improvement? Flexibility.

In his futile search for the Fountain of Youth, Ponce de León walked right past untold riches. If you are not evaluating your third-party logistics providers for their ability to drive strategic improvements in your enterprise, you may be doing the same thing. Thirty-three percent of respondents to our annual 3PL Perspectives market research survey […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

Finding Supply Chain Feng Shui

Business process improvement is especially important in today’s economic climate. Businesses are sensitive to fixed costs when the economy is swinging like a pendulum. There’s shared recognition that they have to stick to their principal business to grow out of the recession; and logistics execution and supply chain excellence is too important to ignore. That’s […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

Getting Green, Going Lean

Creating a viable and sustainable green strategy can be a challenge for companies that want to be good corporate citizens, but also remain competitive. If customers are focused on price, how conscious is your green conscience when you need to drive out costs—at all costs? It’s a valid question in today’s economy as companies deliberate […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

We Need Jobs…Let’s Raise Taxes?

Balancing a budget is an exercise in best judgment. Add politics to the equation, and logic flies right out the window. One example: the Minnesota legislature is finalizing its $38-billion state budget, which includes a 6.5-percent sales tax on warehouse services. A wide-ranging tax hike on warehouses will have far-reaching implications. None good. A warehouse […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

Navigating New IT Pathways

Logistics information technology is many things, but static isn’t one of them. In the supply chain, cloud computing opened new ways for logistics managers to deploy best-of-breed solutions, capture and disperse information, and execute change. Mobile communication enables practitioners to seed the cloud from anywhere, then feed off that shared data. Social media offers a […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

America’s Hardened Arteries

Over there: They plan to build an island where none exists. And a modern port. And road and rail connections. In five years. Over here: We study for more than two decades whether or not to dredge the Savannah River. Over there: They measure port operation productivity in multiples of what we have here. "Compared […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

Learning on the Job

Today’s supply chain is vastly different than 10 years ago—and positively futuristic compared to 1981, when this magazine first espoused a novel approach to managing transportation and logistics. The pace of change has been swift and sweeping. Technology innovation and proliferation have broken down functional silos and torn asunder geographic boundaries and constraints. Shrinking computers […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

Supply Chain Force Multipliers

For years, I’ve wanted the Logistics Planner issue theme to focus on the concept of using inbound logistics as a force multiplier. When I entered the conference room for the Planner issue strategy meeting this year, I was ready to make my case. But when I presented my idea to the editorial team, I was […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

The Great Equalizer

Tension and drama always permeate the conference room when the Inbound Logistics team gathers to decide the theme of the Logistics Planner issue. This year was no different. While we did agree to focus on how demand-driven logistics, or supply chain management, drives competitive advantage, we couldn’t agree on how best to present that idea. […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

What Sandy Showed Me

As the editor of Inbound Logistics, my job is to provide information about keeping product moving from source to selling point. In my nearly 30 years in the industry, I have read, written, and edited many articles about supply chain disruptions. But words are just words. It was quite different to experience disruption with my […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

Retailers Rebalance Time vs. Cost?

For retailers and their value chain partners, practicing inbound logistics provides two competitive advantages—the ability to keep prices low, because matching demand to supply optimizes inventory-to-sales ratios and creates other economies; and the agility to use time as a competitive advantage by serving customers faster and more completely. In the past, retailers emphasized keeping costs […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

The Future of Predictive Analytics Looks Certain

One recurring talking point at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional’s (CSCMP) September 2012 conference in Atlanta was the importance of predictive analytics. This subset of statistics captures patterns within large volumes of information to predict supply chain behavior and events—in effect, forecasting future demand based on past demand. The emergence of cloud networking […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

Cutting Through the Noise

Any noise in the trucking industry is better than the alternative. The rumble of engines coming to life, and air horns sounding off with more certain frequency, are welcome signs as the economy waffles between recession and recovery. Still, a growing din in Washington threatens to drown out these echoes of progress. The U.S. Federal […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

Supply Chain Therapy Strikes a Balance

There’s nothing like a spur-of-the-moment urge, then splurge, to improve temperament. Retailers today are all too willing to facilitate “retail therapy” and oblige customers by making it easier than ever to satisfy their random impulses. Advertising—subliminal or overt—is quick to connect happiness with material possession, regardless of what kind. Then the supply chain takes over. […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

3PL Partnerships: From Tactical to Strategic

It was déjà vu all over again as I sorted through the responses to this year’s Top 10 3PL Excellence Awards survey and 3PL Perspectives research. Like last year, and the year before, and the year before that, a sizable percentage of survey respondents said they select logistics partners based on their ability to secure […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

3PL Partnerships: From Transactions to Trust

In business context, transactional relationships are often laden with legal conditions—unlimited liability, implied agency, utmost good faith. Even with assurances that a partner will do the right thing, it all comes down to costs and consequences. For many years, the supply chain operated in a similar fashion. Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) demonstrated their value by […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

Green Leadership for Lean Times

Current economic conditions are cooling enthusiasm for green initiatives in some quarters. But not in Bentonville, Ark., where Walmart recently released its 2012 Global Responsibility report. Someone once said, "as Walmart goes, so goes the nation." I don’t know if that’s true, but despite lean times, the retailer is providing leadership in supply chain sustainability. […]

Read More
Felecia Stratton

Warehousing ‘Outside the Box’

Historically, warehousing was viewed as a function that exists inside “four walls.” Visibly, that’s true. But when you consider all the different parts and impulses that influence a distribution operation, it can no longer be cornered so conveniently. That’s why our May 2012 issue spotlights warehousing and distribution wall-to-wall—and beyond. For example, it’s easy to […]

Read More
Keith Biondo

IT: Advantage @Light Speed

A professor at a well-known university recently remarked at a logistics conference, "Information technology is not a source of competitive advantage. It makes good systems better, and bad systems worse. It allows companies to do stupid things at the speed of light." Maybe. But IT can be a change agent that will almost always open […]

Read More