Articles

Commentary

The Human Experience

I am adding something to the acronym alphabet soup: HX or the Human Experience. In the ever-evolving supply chain process—shaped by automation, co-bots, and the global search for the lowest skilled hourly wage—are the cards irrevocably stacked against the humanity who grind the operational logistics gears that make it all happen? Recent developments in supply […]

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Inventory Strategies That Satisfy and Retain Customers

The Amazon Effect continues to weigh heavily on the supply chain. Consumers expect to receive packages within a few days—or within one day—of placing an order. The demand for lightning-quick fulfillment, coupled with myriad small-order additions, has led to a complex operating environment. Shipping is the second-most widely reported reason for consumer dissatisfaction when shopping […]

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Slowing Down the Driver Shortage

The driver shortage has been an issue in the transportation industry for well over a decade. Carriers need to develop successful tactics and strategies for recruiting and retaining drivers in order to remain competitive. Carriers must first focus on findingdrivers who are not only qualified and driven, but also a fit for the company’sculture. To […]

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Blockchain Technology: Good in a Supply Chain Crisis

Blockchain, the technology that underpins digital currencies such as bitcoin, offers substantive benefits to supply chains disrupted by natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. Blockchain is a digital ledger that creates a chronological and unchangeable record of transactions. It uses an autonomous network of computers to constantly verify the legitimacy of updates to the […]

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Seamless Returns Start With Serial Numbers 

Although serial numbers were initially created to track production, they are invaluable tools for reverse logistics. Here’s how they can streamline supply chains. Serialized products are easier to manage during the returns process. If retailers capture a serial number at the point of sale (PoS), they know an item was purchased from them, because they […]

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What’s the Supply Chain Buzzword for 2018? 

Expect mistakes in the early stages, but by the end of the year I bet we have blockchain results with some serious, long-term impact. Leif Olson Sales Account Manager, Navegate The wider adoption of blockchain technology across other industries indicates that it is time for us to take the leap and start reshaping our industry […]

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Status Grow? Yes.

I often disagree with IL’s publisher, but I can’t argue with his perspective in this edition. There is a great opportunity for growth in many business sectors, and supply chain excellence is fundamentally important in that economic environment. It wasn’t always that way, however. This publication’s mission since its inception in 1981 has been to […]

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Four Ways to Optimize Your Supply Chain

Supply chain optimization techniques, if leveraged properly, can help companies achieve their strategic business objectives, drive significant reductions in operating costs, and make informed cross functional decisions in complex scenarios. This comprehensive approach helps find the right balance between minimizing costs and meeting business constraints and strategic goals. The following four primary techniques can help […]

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Welcome to the Neo-Panamax Era: Big Ships, Big Opportunities

The arrival of the cargo vessel T. Roosevelt at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, in September 2017, marked the beginning of a new era for international commerce and trade. At 14,414 TEUs, four times longer than a football field, T. Roosevelt was the largest vessel to dock at an East Coast port after traversing the widened […]

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5 Ways Your 3PL Can Help Meet E-commerce Challenges

With unlimited e-commerce potential on the horizon, it is worth exploring if an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider can help you accommodate growth and ensure an optimal customer experience. If you’ve just launched your e-commerce channel or are striving to make that channel more seamless, scalable, and cost-effective, an experienced 3PL can be a valuable […]

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Peak Season Planning: A Year-Round Venture

It’s never too early to start planning for peak season supply chain capacity. To meet customer demand at a reasonable cost, it is best to plan ahead as much as possible with a lean, flexible supply chain. Many retailers do an inordinate volume of business—some as high as 70 percent—from Black Friday until the end […]

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How to Prepare for the Unexpected

Disruptions are part of our world. Weather, labor strikes, materials shortages, and demand spikes or valleys are simply part of doing business. High-performing supply chain organizations are differentiated on how well they respond to the unexpected. Moments when things don’t go well should remind anyone involved in the intricate and complex supply chain process to […]

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Status Quo? No.

The coming year is destined to be one of some major and minor changes in business operations. Given your role in logistics, you will face a perfect storm of new. Here are some events and trends that will drive change and the need to think flexibly and laterally, and adapt operations accordingly. Domestic trucking capacity […]

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CX in the Era of Supply Chain Impatience

Whether your customer is the end consumer or B2B buyer, supply chain and customer service performance expectations are converging. Providing an excellent customer experience (CX) requires super-expedited and sometimes free delivery. E-commerce customers increasingly choose to pay for same-day delivery, according to a DHL survey. Here at Inbound Logistics, we call that supply chain impatience […]

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GOOD QUESTION | What’s the difference between supply chain visibility and transparency?

Supply chain visibility is what you actually know; transparency is what you are willing to share with your partners. Don’t assume a supplier or customer is deliberately obscuring information when, in fact, they don’t have that information in the first place. Amy David Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Purdue University Krannert School of Management It’s […]

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Building Visibility, Response, Resiliency

Chief supply chain officers (CSCO) are tasked with a range of challenging issues when it comes to managing a company’s product supply chain. To maximize productivity and efficiency, the CSCO should consider visibility, response, and resiliency the most important aspects of supply chain management. Digital transformation is underway in supply chain management and it is […]

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How to Navigate the Driver Shortage

The industry’s driver shortage is no secret. About 100,000 seats need to be filled at a time when the pipeline for new drivers is getting thinner. But what’s the practical impact on shippers as this shortage gets worse? In short, it won’t be pretty. Tighter capacity will lead to fewer choices. Regulations mandating the use […]

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Stop, Look, Listen

We all know the best way to approach an unguarded railroad crossing is to stop, look, and listen. That same advice applies when examing the economy, which will likely roar through 2018 at full speed. While it is tempting to climb aboard and enjoy the ride, that is the exact wrong approach from a supply […]

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5 Ways to Improve Fulfillment Center Efficiency

To capitalize on the e-commerce boom, fulfillment centers—which are different from distribution centers in that they do not distribute inventory but fulfill customer demand in either B2B or B2C businesses—need to scale and react nimbly and agily. Fulfillment centers must also be as efficient as possible to maximize customer satisfaction. Fulfillment centers do not generate […]

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Sometimes It’s Better Not to Be So Pushy

Supply chain processes fall into one of two categories: pull systems, where a company initiates execution in response to a customer order (reactive) and push systems, where execution is initiated in anticipation of customer orders (speculative). The boundary that separates push processes from pull processes is one measure of a supply chain’s “lean-ness”—the farther upstream […]

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