Articles

Commentary

Inbound We Trust

If I had a dollar for every time a reader asked me, “Why inbound? Why demand-driven?” I’d be living in a nice little house by the beach. And considering the number of new readers asking that question, it soon might be a nicer little house by the beach. Who are these new readers? Last year, […]

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Build Your Case With Bills of Lading

Q: I work for a company that imports and exports cargo from countries all over the world. One of our import containers was recently stolen from a delivering carrier’s lot in Jacksonville, Fla., and was never recovered. Who is responsible for the loss—the Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) that arranged the shipment, the ocean carrier, or […]

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We’ve Got a Long Way to Go, Baby

The globalization of commerce has made sophisticated logistics technology not just a luxurious expense for the Fortune 50, but a necessity for companies of all sizes and in all industries. A typical apparel company, for example, might source fabric from China, manufacture garments in Malaysia, send them to Italy for custom design work, then ship […]

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William J. Augello, Esq.

Proving Material Deviation

One question shippers frequently ask is, "How do we avoid carriers’ liability limits when they are negligent?" Generally speaking, carriers’ limitations apply if they are lawfully incorporated into a contract of carriage. If a shipper agrees to contract a low liability limit to obtain a lower rate, carrier negligence does not overcome that limit. In […]

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Choosing a WMS That Won’t Get You Fired

Many companies—Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Sainsbury’s, MFI Furniture Group, Molnlycke Health Care, and Heinz’s Portion Pac division, among others—have suffered well-publicized Warehouse Management System (WMS) failures in recent years. When Nike’s $400-million WMS project went awry, the company lost $100 million in one quarter and its stock plunged 20 percent. MFI Furniture’s WMS bugs forced it to […]

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Going Above & Beyond: The Norm for Top 3PLs

Whether a third-party logistics provider receives enough reader votes to win an Inbound Logistics Top 10 Excellence Award (page 100), or is chosen by the editors for the Top 100 3PL list (page 128), they share one common attribute—they go above and beyond the norm to meet, exceed, and in some cases anticipate their customers’ […]

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Metals and Liquids: RFID Kryptonite?

A recent conversation with my seven-year-old nephew turned to the new Superman movie. “Superman is cool because he can bend steel with his bare hands,” he told me. Ironically, his statement made me think of an e-mail from a reader who was searching not for someone to bend steel, but for an RFID product that […]

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First-Time Outsourcers Can Keep Customers Happy

Companies that are considering outsourcing warehouse operations for the first time should keep several issues in mind. Most important is ensuring that customer service is enhanced, rather than diminished, in the process. Another important consideration is what logisticians call Optimized Network Design—or, more simply, “Where should I locate my outsourced warehouse, and how many should […]

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Securing Truckload Capacity While Reducing Overall Costs

The motor freight industry continues to be plagued by cost pressures that keep truckload capacity tight and drive shipping costs to record-high levels. Currently, motor freight carriers are struggling with: The growing driver shortage. The lack of long-haul drivers is the fifth-largest position shortage in America—195,000 drivers less than the existing need. Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules. […]

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Self-Criticism and Shared Pain

Jeff Shane shares our pain. Who is he and what is the cause of our shared transportation weltschmertz? Shane is the Undersecretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation and appeared to be thinking out loud at a recent speech to National Industrial Transportation League members. Shane was right there with us when we spent […]

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Paying by the Drink at D/C Expo

If you missed this year’s Distribution/ Computer Expo, May 23-25 in Chicago—and judging from the poor attendance level, it’s likely you did—you missed seeing the supply chain technology industry line up to pay by the drink. No, I’m not talking about vendors’ after-show bar habits, but rather the industry’s embrace of pay-by-the-drink software solutions. More […]

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Last Mile Logistics: Key to Competing in the Retail Race

For U.S. retailers with broad global supply chain operations, “last mile”—the portion of transit from the final delivery center to the customer’s door—is really the last hundreds of miles from the destination port to the store. This crucial part of logistics, which accounts for the majority of a shipment’s cost and complexity, is becoming increasingly […]

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How To Be A Better Shipper

Shippers utilizing the services of cross-border carriers, third-party logistics providers, or other intermediaries to transport freight across international borders should always demand a high level of service. But service is a two-way street. Here are some ways you can help your carriers provide timely pickup and delivery, while ensuring a seamless flow of goods up […]

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William J. Augello, Esq.

Freight Transport Free-for-all

How can shippers tell whether they are contracting with a legitimate carrier when carriers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) offer so many different deals? What exactly constitutes a 3PL? And who monitors transportation entities today? These questions, and others, plague shippers in today’s deregulated transportation environment. It is not always easy to tell whether a […]

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Transportation Operations Planning: How Do You Rate?

Many companies are quickly falling behind their competition as they continue to run transportation operations without the process and technology sophistication required to manage the volume and velocity of today’s transaction levels. With increasing customer demands for service, speed, and price, and escalating levels of aggressive competition, there is no better time to evaluate your […]

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Less is Less and Less is More

Two important trends will impact your warehouse operations in the near term. First, retailers will seek to trim inventory even further to increase profits without reducing customer service standards. Wal-Mart, for example, recently announced its intention to cut $6.5 billion in inventory off an already lean 2:1 inventory-to-sales ratio. The goal? “Theoretical Zero Inventory.” The […]

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Microsoft’s New SCM Dynamic

While many already use Microsoft software to manage transportation and logistics, the company is now making a splash with specialized supply chain solutions. Microsoft is beefing up its business application offerings for small- to mid-size businesses (SMBs) with the release of several enhanced products, including the Microsoft Dynamics suite, designed to empower customer relationship management […]

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