Articles

IT Matters: Logistics & Supply Chain Technology

Wireless Capabilities: A Must-Have for Fleet Operators

Wireless technology has become a mainstay for today’s distribution, wholesale, and retail fleet operators—especially in the area of last-mile delivery. The ability to communicate information in real time is key to controlling costs and maintaining efficient operations on the road. Wireless technology’s features and options, as well as its service and hardware costs, continue to […]

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Technology Smooths Transportation’s Bumpy Ride

We’ve come a long way from the horse-and-buggy era when a transportation company’s biggest expense was feeding horses. Today, fuel costs nibble away at profits, and the transportation industry’s operational base is severely threatened. Fleet owners, as well as less-than-truckload (LTL) and delivery companies, face increased manpower and fuel expenses. Currently, the U.S. national average […]

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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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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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Printing on the Go Can Help Profits Flow

Companies are investing in mobile computing systems at record levels to cut costs and improve efficiency in distribution, direct-to-store deliveries, and route accounting operations. Getting the most bang from these investment bucks does not necessarily depend on implementing the hottest new smart phones, software applications, or 3G wireless network services. Often, a small incremental investment […]

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Discrete Manufacturers Adapt to Global Economy

Supply chains are the lifeblood of discrete manufacturing—the production of distinct items. As manufacturing operations continue to transform to global enterprises, discrete manufacturers face new challenges. Orchestrating the movement of parts and components around the world is becoming as intricate as brain surgery, driving discrete manufacturers to information technology (IT) solutions to help manage global […]

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The Million-Dollar Question: ERP or WMS?

Few supply chain decisions impact your company’s day-to-day business, financial health, and customer relations more than selecting and implementing a warehouse management system (WMS). The million-dollar question is whether to choose your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system’s warehouse module, or a specialized WMS. Today, the lines between traditional ERP and WMS vendors are blurring. ERP […]

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Can Bar Codes and RFID Co-Exist?

Last year, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology became a media favorite, spurred by Wal-Mart and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) policies requiring suppliers to ship goods that can be tracked using RFID. Such attention makes it seem as if bar-code technology—today’s standard for data collection—will become obsolete overnight. This is not the case, however. Although […]

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Does RFID Pass the Return on Assets Test?

Proponents rarely discuss RFID without claiming dramatic inventory savings. These savings, however, require businesses to invest in RFID and wait to reap returns. When evaluating investments—such as RFID—aimed at reducing inventory and working capital, consider the impact on Return on Assets (ROA), a proven indicator of an investment’s financial impact. ROA is calculated as revenue […]

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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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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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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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Expect the Unexpected: 5 Steps for Retail Supply Chain Preparedness

Unpredictable consumers, demand for low prices, and an ever-quickening pace make the retail/consumer package goods supply chain difficult on a good day. Large-scale interruptions—such as the recent dock workers’ strike and overactive hurricane season—further exacerbate an already challenging landscape. While many interruptions are unavoidable, manufacturers and retailers can—and should—take steps to create more agile supply […]

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Multi-Enterprise Computing: Competitive Advantage for Those Who Do it Well

Logistics managers know how vital it is to keep things moving. Failure to deliver products on time, in the proper quantities, and to the right place carries very real consequences: assembly lines halt, shelves lie empty, perishable goods grow stale, and the window of business opportunity slams shut. Tangible, bottom-line metrics back up these anecdotal […]

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Freight Forwarding Goes Native

The future of international freight forwarding technology lies in the adoption of Internet-based solutions. To date, however, most freight forwarders have lagged behind when it comes to embracing this technology and making it part of their work processes. An Internet-native international freight forwarding system offers the ability to utilize electronic data exchanges, and is easily […]

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Software by Subscription: Pay for What You Need When You Need it

Companies can achieve great efficiency gains by getting real-time visibility into their transportation activities, such as last-mile deliveries. Peering real time into the delivery process to track delays, report exceptions, and measure performance can have a major impact on overall operations, and the bottom line. The challenge, however, lies with gathering data cost effectively and […]

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