Articles

Commentary

Material Handling Automation: Money for Nothing, Clicks for Free

Necessity is the mother of invention but in a down economy it may be the mother of companies giving things away to make the sale. Sales of large-ticket capital expenditures are down, including warehouse automation and materials handling systems. At the NA2002 Material Handling Industry (MHI) conference, held in Detroit last month, exhibitor after exhibitor […]

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SupplyPro’s Point-of-Use Inventory Management

Not all supply chain solutions providers offer broad-based remote services. Some do a very good job on a more local level—though, often, their offerings can be hooked into a global web network. Some concentrate solely on the supply chain at point-of-use. One such solutions provider is SupplyPro, based in San Diego, Calif. It has developed […]

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Real-Time Visibility Ensures Real Savings

Cost control is an increasingly critical factor as companies fight to remain competitive. Simply put, if you cannot grow revenues, you must cut costs. Supply chain integration across business units is a leading cost-cutting measure, according to corporate managers responding to a recent Gartner Dataquest survey. One problem with most installed procurement and logistics systems […]

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How Retailers Become Promise Keepers

Retailers today increasingly leverage online channels to offer services from third parties, including product drop-shipped from other vendors, cross-branded product bundles, and special orders. Amazon essentially built its business on this model and traditional retailers have followed. These strategies present great opportunities for new revenues, efficiencies, and service levels. But serious pitfalls exist, too. When […]

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Logistics IT: Opening the Flood Gates

Eight years ago, Barbara Barnhill, transportation supervisor for Elizabeth Arden, excitedly shared her story with Inbound Logistics. She had started a revolutionary program that was racking up annual million-dollar savings by taking control of her inbound transportation. She did it using the latest technology—a fax machine. Today, fax machines have given way to web and […]

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Supply Chain Planning in a Global Environment

Last month’s column examined LogicTools Inc.’s LogicChain and LogicNet supply chain applications. This month, we talk with the person behind those applications—David Simchi-Levi, LogicTools CEO and president. In addition to running LogicTools, Simchi-Levi is a professor of engineering systems at MIT and the author of two books, including the prize-winning Designing and Managing the Supply […]

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Economic Recovery: Grains of Sand

It is as if grains of sand had been sprinkled in the mechanism of the American economy in the aftermath of Sept. 11, a skilled writer in Business Week wrote recently. But sand eventually grinds machinery to a halt, so perhaps that was a little overstated. While the costs of 9/11 are great, there is […]

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Logic Tools Addresses Network Design, Decision Support

The key to doing good business when providing supply chain solutions is to have a handle on network design and decision support. This means having support systems in place that have the functional clout and services required to sustain these applications. Network design and decision support are strategic components of any company’s long-term and tactical […]

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Improving Employee Efficiency Through Education

Providing superior customer service is a fundamental goal of every successful business. The manner in which employees provide value-added service is key not only to maintain, but also to attract, additional business. To be successful service providers, companies need to focus on variables such as improving employee efficiency and productivity through focused training and education […]

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Navigating the Virtual Marketplace

Within the logistics online marketplace operates an aggregation of companies acting on behalf of shippers that purchase transportation from a diverse group of logistics services providers. These providers include trading exchanges; logistics solutions providers; trucking, rail, ocean, and air carriers; and companies specializing in ancillary logistics services such as supply chain event management. Over the […]

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Logistics Education: Homegrown Distance Learning

Today’s business logistics professionals need to continually upgrade and improve their supply chain skillsets. Besides the expected benefit of administering logistics responsibilities more effectively, the effect on your paycheck’s bottom line will be dramatic. Yet who among us has the luxury to stop work and take off for the nearest college campus, whatever the personal […]

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The Search for e-Business Enlightenment

A zen approach to logistics? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think. In an industry where the quest for perfection is persistent, if fleeting, an enlightened approach to e-business and supply chain management has some merit. In their book The Seven Steps to Nirvana (McGraw-Hill, 2001) Mohan Sawhney and Jeff Zabin draw on this […]

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Creating New Avenues for Cost Reductions

To significantly reduce logistics costs, look beyond network optimization and rate reductions from your carriers. Transportation providers have limited opportunity left to cut costs, yet significant savings opportunities—in managing inbound inventory, reducing static inventory, and increasing supply chain velocity—often go untapped. The challenge in achieving these benefits is to replace traditional thinking with a new […]

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Reading the Logistics Radar Screen

Private network proliferation and the Internet’s global commercialization improve productivity in manufacturing and customer-facing business operations. But at the interface between information technology and the physical world of transportation and logistics, we still have a long way to go. The flip side of the IT revolution is that the quality of data fed into logistics […]

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Producing the January Issue: Making Planners

While the publisher is thinking about making waves, I am busy editing and producing this Logistics Planner issue. It’s what I look forward to most each year. I guess I love pain, because I am writing this—the last page to go to the printer—in the office late Sunday afternoon. But it’s worth the effort. My […]

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How Logistics Shaped Our Nation: Making Waves

New York, it turns out, achieved its “Empire State” status, at least in part, because of the canals that linked New York City to the Midwest and the west. That point was made in a recent PBS special on New York State and the integral role transportation played. Products, people and ambition flowed west. Raw […]

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Web Portal Delivers Ocean Freight Connectivity

Despite some wavering in the e-commerce industry, web portals are not only here to stay, they have great potential to be a B2B growth area, and for good reason. Portals allow companies to take advantage of immediate, online access to trading partners, suppliers, and service providers. This access can lead to greater levels of collaboration, […]

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Creating a High-Velocity Supply Chain

Performance improvement over the past 10 years has been largely based on internally focused enterprise systems that integrate functional processes and promote internal efficiencies. With ERP and various flavors of supply chain planning and transportation management tools, manufacturers and distributors have been successful at achieving a first level of benefit, but often at the expense […]

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