Articles

Commentary

Infrastructure: The Weakest Link

A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest links, which today are found in down-to-earth, practical transportation modes—rail, ocean, and trucks—and their support systems. Too many infrastructure links that enable supply chains to operate in the United States are old and antiquated. They are partly clogged with overcapacity, breaking down, or simply just […]

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3PLs Deliver on the Global Promise

Businesses need many qualities to succeed in today’s global market, but uniformity, consistency, and flexibility are the most critical. Strong organizations leverage these qualities to capitalize on the economic benefits of worldwide sourcing and distribution, while satisfying their customers’ needs—whether the customer is around the block or across the ocean. Best-of-breed 3PLs share the same […]

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Choosing a DC Location: Keeping Success in Site

The decision to build a distribution center comes with expectations that it will help a company reach key markets, hire an appropriate workforce, and maximize profitability while minimizing operating costs. Finding that ideal location in a community that embraces the company’s operations, however, is more difficult than merely choosing any site within a targeted region. […]

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William J. Augello, Esq.

‘Model Contracts’ Not the Right Model

During the past few years, "model contracts" drafted by organizations representing shippers, carriers, and brokers have become common. Such agreements, however, are not in shippers’ best interests because, in drafting them, organizations bargain away some of shippers’ rights and remedies without their input. Recently, the American Trucking Associations (ATA)—which represented truckers during model shipper/trucker contract […]

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Pulling Back the Curtain on Logistics, Purchasing Practices

Logistics, purchasing, and inventory management can be thankless jobs when everything goes according to plan. No one applauds when manufacturing deadlines are met, quality products ship on time, and workers have the right supplies. But if deliveries arrive damaged, or low inventory halts production, executives pull back the curtain and discover who’s to blame. Bidding, […]

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Should You Sell or Outsource In-House Transportation Assets?

Many companies with in-house transportation capabilities in place to support core operations often explore outsourcing to cut costs and liberate capital. Shareholders of these companies—whether public or private—are often better served by viewing these assets as a standalone business for an eventual spin-off or sale as a going concern. Whether to sell, spin off, or […]

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Whatever the Obstacle, Truckers Come Through

While covering this industry for more than 20 years, I’ve learned a lot about the people who work in logistics and transportation. One thing that consistently stands out is their passion and dedication to moving our nation’s freight—and economy—forward. This passion and dedication became apparent yet again as we watched Hurricane Katrina play out. The […]

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As the World Shrinks, The Supply Chain Grows

In Detroit, the good old days of General Motors viewing Detroit-based Ford and Detroit-based Chrysler as its main competitors are long gone. Even the days when Volkswagen and Japanese auto manufacturers became apparent competitors to the Big Three’s largely myopic corporate managers have disappeared. These were days of nostalgia and naivete; a great deal else […]

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Going Mobile: The Time is Right

In today’s fast-paced world, with online stores, just-in-time inventory, and micro-managed supply chains, near real-time supply chain event reporting is critical. Consumers who shop online from the comfort of their bedroom—or in front of the TV with wireless access to a home shopping network—are not satisfied waiting in the dark wondering when packages will be […]

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Non-Asset-Based IMCs: Adapting Yet Again

BNSF Railroad’s decision to eliminate rail-owned intermodal equipment by June 2006 is easy to understand. By only accepting private trailers and containers for transit, BNSF’s cost savings and bottom line should swell. Both Wall Street and shareholders applaud the railroad’s move. Will traditional non-asset-based intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) be a casualty of BNSF’s decision? Strong […]

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More Lift, Less Drag

There is an inexplicable failure on the part of many in Washington, D.C., to understand that airlines are in business to make money, according to Air Transport Association of America President James May. May’s recent comments to The Wings Club of New York piqued my interest as I sometimes get the impression that our airline […]

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Protecting High-Value Cargo

Q: My company moves sensitive, high-value instruments throughout North America for hospitals, universities, and government facilities. Because these instruments are difficult to handle, we use special riggers to install them. Given these instruments’ specialized nature, when damage occurs during transit and the instruments must be repaired or replaced, it means significant costs and delays. We […]

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ERP and SCM: Making the Marriage Work

Once a cozy nook for enthusiasts, supply chain management has turned into a major focus for enterprises worldwide. That’s why IFS North America has extended its services from pure Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to offer component supply chain software. “ERP and supply chain management need to work hand-in-hand,” notes Cindy Jaudon, president of IFS North […]

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William J. Augello, Esq.

Not-So-Friendly Foreign Liability Laws

The United States may be the largest trading nation in the world, but U.S. importers do not always dictate the rules by which imports are governed. This is especially the case when it comes to establishing carriers’ liability for lost, damaged, or delayed shipments originating in foreign countries. Some foreign nations have adopted novel rules […]

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The RFID Revolution: Desperately Seeking Standards

Radio frequency identification (RFID) is about much more than Wal-Mart. The world’s largest retailer may have singlehandedly caused the intense publicity that surrounds the technology, as it forced suppliers around the globe to scramble to comply with its strict RFID mandate. The real issues, however, extend far beyond Wal-Mart’s four walls. RFID is fundamentally changing […]

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Sourcing in China? Give BLPs a VIP Role

As global sourcing continues to lengthen the inbound supply chain, companies are placing more focus at the beginning of the chain, where product originates. The growing number of manufactured products originating in Asian countries such as China presents challenges for manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers that are sourcing inventory there. Companies have not fully developed […]

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Here Comes the Judge; There Goes Your Business

Judicial activism impacts all business. Not content to legislate from the bench on social issues, the courts have now gone off the legal reservation and applied the activist and collectivist bias to business, your business. Whether or not you agree with the results of an activist decision is not the point. The point is that […]

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The Care and Feeding of Your Global Supply Chain

When an enterprise goes global, the nature of its supply chain has to change—not once, but continually. Nationwide may be big but worldwide is much, much bigger, with more factors exponentially governing the health of an enterprise operating a complex global supply chain. Scaling up to manage a global supply chain means dealing not just […]

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