Articles

Commentary

Tim Conroy

Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Tackles Track-and-Trace Challenges

New legislation is in the works to prevent counterfeit medicines from entering the pharmaceutical supply chain. These random mixtures of harmful toxic substances are not only illegal; they are extremely dangerous to patients and damaging to the reputations of legitimate pharmaceutical companies. Increased Internet sales, widespread demand for generic drugs, and drug shortages in many […]

Read More
Jon Winsett

Seeking Innovation? Stop IT Overspending

Today’s supply chain is one of the most exciting arenas for business innovation. Mobility, cloud computing, big data, and new production techniques such as 3-D printing are breaking down barriers between retailers, consumers, manufacturers, and suppliers. The technology trends driving supply chain innovation are also driving IT costs through the roof. Eighty-nine percent of IT […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
Paul A. Myerson

Tapping Technology To Improve Lean Warehouses

Lean is traditionally thought of as a methodology for using visual signals, optimized layouts, and streamlined processes to improve material and information flow. But technology also plays a critical role in Lean operations, especially for companies managing global supply chains. Implementing forecasting, advanced planning and scheduling, distribution requirements planning, and transportation and warehouse management systems […]

Read More
Ed Smith

Improving Efficiencies and Costs in the Energy Supply Chain

Maintenance, logistics, and materials management professionals in upstream and downstream production are facing challenging times. Price volatility and increasing operating costs are causing energy companies to scrutinize sourcing strategies and the costs associated with vendor managed inventory (VMI), consignment, and integrated supplier programs. Additionally, more difficult oil and gas extraction methods — such as tar […]

Read More
Kris Kosmala

Optimized Operations Are Green Operations

Many companies in the ocean shipping industry are coping with increasing operating costs, below break-even performance, and aggressive price competition. Under these circumstances, the environmental impact of shipping, and ways to minimize its harmful emissions, are pushed into the shadow of more urgent cost-cutting activities. In the meantime, governments around the world continue introducing environmental […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
Curtis Greve

Plan Early for Peak Returns Season

By late fall, supply chain executives worldwide are well prepared for the high-volume year-end holiday season. But following close behind it is peak returns season. Now is the time to plan for managing the returns, overstocks, and recalls businesses will process between mid-December and early March. During peak returns season, companies handle up to 45 […]

Read More
Ashton Shaw

Using SmartWay Data to Inform Transportation Purchasing Decisions

In 2014, SmartWay will celebrate 10 years of providing the transportation industry with tools to measure, benchmark, and take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency. Partnering with groups such as SmartWay allows shippers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers to equip themselves with actionable data and, in turn, use that information to […]

Read More
Paul A. Myerson

Putting a Lean Spin on Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics—the processes involved with handling products returned by customers—is often overlooked during supply chain planning. As a result, it is frequently a source of waste, because companies lack Lean procedures for handling defective, damaged, mislabeled, or incorrectly shipped items when customers return them. Recently, businesses have started paying more attention to their reverse logistics […]

Read More
Perry Belcastro

Fine-Tuning Fulfillment for Happy Holidays

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season are fast approaching. For many companies, including retailers and online merchants, the holidays are the year’s peak sales period. With so much on the line, it is critical to be prepared. Today’s consumers have no tolerance for inaccurate orders, delayed shipments, or unresponsive customer service. They expect […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
Ed Glassman

Automating B2B Payments: The Next Frontier

When it comes to automation in B2B payments, we have a long way to go. Too often, payments are disconnected from the underlying commercial transaction, creating problems from proper initiation to reconciliation. Automating B2B payments is challenging for many reasons. Selling a product or service and getting paid are often two different processes. Anyone who […]

Read More
John Woods

Creating More Intelligent Supply Chains with BI Technology

For suppliers in today’s business world, having a firm grasp on supply chain and logistics issues is a top concern. As internal operations and external supply-chain activities become more complex, these companies depend on current information to optimize productivity, improve customer service, and minimize expenses. Business intelligence (BI) technology improves supply chain operations by helping […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
John Fowler

Study Up on Supply Chain Graduate Degrees With Added Value

As supply chain networks become increasingly complex, with tighter deadlines and greater financial risks from disruptions, many supply chain professionals seek graduate-level education and credentials to assist them in their current positions or to advance their careers. Many universities offer master of science degrees in supply chain management (SCM), but a new trend is emerging: […]

Read More
John T. Costanzo

U.S./Canada Border Clearance: It’s Not as Easy as You Think

Many U.S. companies underestimate the complexity of shipping to Canada, thinking of it almost as an extension of their own country. Geographic proximity, shared language, and common culture leave the impression that sending goods across the border should be a breeze. Yet increasingly stringent security mandates, bureaucratic customs requirements, and a battery of taxes, tariffs, […]

Read More
Curtis Greve

Discovering the Value of Reverse Logistics

Some people think of reverse logistics—the process of removing assets from their primary use channel to a secondary channel to maximize the assets’ value—as only handling customer returns or defective goods. But defective items account for only about 25 percent of the total value of all assets processed in reverse logistics operations. Recalled product, overstocks, […]

Read More