Articles

How-To

Preventing Shipment Damage

While it is impossible to prevent every mishap along the supply chain, shippers can take action to reduce product damage and returns. David Faulkenberry, senior vice president of logistics provider XPO Last Mile, offers these damage prevention tactics. 1. Allow time for testing. Before implementing a widespread rollout of new merchandise, packaging, or providers, test […]

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Implementing an ERP System

Using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can significantly enhance supply chain management performance by improving purchasing, inventory control, and information exchange between internal departments, as well as external partners. Mark Butler, manager of professional services at software solutions provider Cincom Systems, offers these insights on implementing an ERP system. 1. Understand your current system’s […]

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Ensuring Import Compliance

Companies moving products into the United States must not only develop expertise about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations, but also make a continual effort to stay up to date on changes to the rules. Paul Rasmussen, CEO of Zepol, a Minnesota-based provider of international trade tools, offers these tips for ensuring customs clearance […]

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Tapping Social Media to Power Your Supply Chain

Social media provides a platform for companies to share knowledge and opinions, and broadcast information to an audience of followers. It also generates valuable data about how your customers think, shop, vote, and spend their leisure time. Many companies have jumped into social media to improve supply chain operations. Cindi Hane, vice president of technical […]

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Selecting a Bar-code Scanning System

Bar-code tools can rapidly streamline inventory processing, but choosing the proper system requires examining the current technology, understanding the types of providers, and reviewing internal processes to match needs with a solution. Brian Sutter, director of marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies, offers these tips for navigating the process. 1. Take a test drive. Training staff […]

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Boosting Warehouse Productivity

Achieving warehouse productivity goals such as reducing picking times and increasing throughput rates can be challenging. Chris Castaldi, director of business development at Carlstadt, N.J.-based materials handling systems integrator W&H Systems, offers these tips for improving warehouse productivity. 1. Use automated picking operations. Pick-to-voice or pick-to-light systems speed picking and reduce errors by quickly providing […]

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Building a Core Carrier Program

When developing a base of reliable core motor carriers, customer service and on-time success typically drive the selection process. But don’t overlook factors such as company stability and labor quality. Streamline your carrier program to a select few using the following tips. 1. Look beyond cost. When selecting partners, don’t focus solely on cost-cutting strategies. […]

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Implementing a Pick-to-Light Solution

For distribution operations where 80 percent or more of item-level picking volume comes from 20 percent or less of the SKU base, pick-to-light solutions can help optimize productivity and accuracy. Christina Dube, marketing communications manager of Westbrook, Maine-based materials handling solutions provider Kardex Remstar, offers these tips for selecting and implementing pick-to-light technology at your […]

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Creating a Greener Warehouse

Reducing warehouse energy and water consumption ultimately helps companies improve their bottom line and bring value to customers. Tim Barrett, COO, and Arthur Barrett, president of Massachusetts-based Barrett Distribution offer their tips for creating a greener warehouse. 1. Reduce energy waste. Implement strict rules for truck idling time in parking lots and at loading docks. […]

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Leveraging Packaging-On-Demand Solutions

Packaging-on-demand solutions enable businesses to create cardboard boxes from bulk corrugated material in a variety of sizes—saving inventory space, and packaging and labor costs. Lance Wallin, executive director of global packaging systems for packaging solutions provider Sealed Air’s Protective Packaging Division, offers these tips for using packaging-on-demand solutions efficiently. 1. Select systems that can accommodate […]

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Optimizing Your DC Network

Establishing an efficient distribution center network requires careful planning and frequent updates. Nathan Beene, director of logistics engineering for Chattanooga, Tenn.-based logistics provider Kenco, offers these tips for building and maintaining an optimized DC network. 1. Do your homework. Start with a thorough optimization study. Use network optimization software to plot the pattern of inbound […]

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Selecting the Right Drayage Provider

Drayage—moving shipments short distances, such as from a port to a nearby warehouse—plays a critical role in intermodal moves, and selecting the right motor carrier partner goes well beyond the lowest rate. Once you move past monetary considerations, examine the total service offering to ensure your drayage provider is the perfect fit. James Miller, account […]

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Choosing the Right Airfreight Forwarder

In a global supply chain, timing and visibility are critical. So is selecting the best freight forwarder. Vito Losurdo, vice president of global airfreight services at UPS, offers the following advice for picking the best airfreight forwarder for your business. 1. Look for a broad portfolio. Partner with an established forwarder that provides a comprehensive […]

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Optimizing Warehouse Operations

Warehouse operations efficiency is key to the success of any company that processes, inventories, and ships orders. When efficiency lags, products may not arrive at customer destinations on time, orders can get lost, and low inventory levels can result in stockouts. Here’s some advice on optimizing warehouse operations from Chris Castaldi, manager of business development […]

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Assessing Your Provider’s Financial Stability

There’s nothing worse than hiring a logistics provider or carrier, then having it file for bankruptcy or close shop the day before you have a huge shipment planned for a new customer. Danny Monson, president and CFO of States Logistics Services Inc., offers these tips for verifying a service provider is financially stable—before you start […]

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Minimizing Supply Chain Risk

Lean concepts such as just-in-time, virtual inventory, supplier rationalization, and fewer distribution facilities reduce total supply chain costs. They also increase supply chain risk. Chris Cameron, solution architect at Exton, Pa.-based supply chain solutions provider Elemica, offers these tips for preventing supply chain disruptions. 1. Identify and assess current risk. Quantify and prioritize risk, then […]

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Preparing Your Supply Chain For Seasonal Peaks

Failing to secure efficient labor, sufficient warehouse space, and reliable carriers for seasonal peaks can wreak havoc on your supply chain. Kyle Oslos, director of logistics for APL Logistics, offers the following advice to help you prepare for peak season. 1. Verify and clarify your relationships with staffing providers. Whether you use one temporary staffing […]

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Crafting Logistics Provider Contracts That Cover All the Bases

Before committing to a logistics service provider partnership, logistics managers must ensure they understand all the contract’s parameters. One way to accomplish this is by outlining the terms of the agreement before signing the contract. George Muha, regional director of third-party logistics service and solutions provider Transportation Insight, offers this advice on key factors to […]

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Improving Supplier Compliance

Developing an effective supplier compliance program requires a well-defined plan. To achieve success quickly, it is crucial to initiate the plan with the right suppliers. Peter Wharton, IBM’s team lead for commercial product marketing, offers this advice for ensuring supplier compliance. 1. Define a successful supplier compliance strategy. Clearly define the stakes and risks, and […]

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Cutting LTL Costs

Saving money on less-than-truckload (LTL) procurement is a laudable goal—except when operational problems eclipse savings gains. Shippers who prioritize securing the lowest price from carriers may actually end up paying more because of costs embedded in carrier expenses—resulting in problems such as service degradation and supply chain disruption. Danny Slaton, executive vice president of supply […]

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