Articles

IT Matters: Logistics & Supply Chain Technology

Reducing the Risks of Global Trade: Software is Not Enough

In recent years, a growing number of American companies have expanded business operations to a global scale. This increased interest in global trade has created a huge demand for products and services aimed at assisting companies with their import/export operations. Not surprisingly, many companies have turned to technology as a fast solution for gaining global […]

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Achieving Optimization with Closed-Loop Transportation Management

Today’s transportation managers face conflicting challenges and pressures. Regulatory mandates and security compliance create productivity and capacity issues. Companies are moving toward smaller and more frequent orders. Globalization continues to expand. While all these factors drive up logistics costs, a competitive economic climate puts downward pressure on pricing, even as shareholders seek improved profit margins. […]

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IT Doesn’t Matter? Better Run That By Wal-Mart

In his May 2003 Harvard Business Review article, “IT Doesn’t Matter,” Nicholas Carr famously claims that information technology, much like the railroad and the electricity grid before it, has become an infrastructure tool that doesn’t confer any strategic benefit. Carr’s main point is that because IT is ubiquitous and increasingly less costly than in previous […]

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Easing the Impact of HOS Regulations

With the new Hours of Service (HOS) regulations now in effect for transportation providers, transportation management systems (TMS) are coming to the aid of shippers. The systems help shippers assess the impact of the new guidelines, incorporate the regulations into automated processes, and identify areas of improvement to minimize the financial impact of the regulations […]

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Seven Deadly Supply Chain Sins

If there is one IT system that provides the greatest immediate benefits to a company, yet also poses the greatest challenges to implement, it has to be supply chain management. It is also the most risky to work with because failure and success are so visible to your trading partners. Supply chain management (SCM) has […]

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Where’s My Stuff?

Supply chain managers responding to a recent Aberdeen Group survey highlight the following items as their top three supply chain challenges: Identifying shipping delays, errors, and exceptions. Providing shipment visibility for supply chain partners. Integrating with other units and processes of the enterprise. These challenges mirror the growing complexity of today’s supply chains. Networks of […]

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Are You Ready to Ride the RFID Tidal Wave?

For the last 30 years, bar codes have been the accepted standard for product identification. Current technological advances, however, make radio-frequency identification (RFID) a promising alternative to bar codes in many applications. Now is the time for businesses to acquaint themselves with this technology, and to decide on a strategy for participating in this revolution. […]

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Is it Time to Return to the Rails?

Shipping by rail can be unsettling for those unfamiliar with the nuances of interacting with the railroads. In fact, some companies avoid even considering rail as a viable transportation option because of the fear of the unknown, or based on negative experiences with the railroads from years past. Railroads are commonly accused of being slow […]

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Finding Efficiencies in the Yard Just Outside

Today’s dynamic business environment provides supply chain professionals with increasingly complex pressures from a variety of business fronts. Customers request reductions in cycle times, time-to-market, and operating costs in addition to increased order accuracy and service. Yet in the face of these challenges, many companies focus only on maximizing efficiency within the four walls of […]

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Technology Fights National Security Threat

The nature of national security threats against the United States has changed since Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. officials and citizens alike perceive the threat to be from terrorists who would attack with conventional explosives or weapons of mass destruction moving through the international supply chain. The United States Government (USG) has responded through three developments; […]

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RFID Use Limited Only by Imagination

Logistics professionals have long viewed radio frequency identification (RFID) as a technology of the future. By fixing their vision on the distant horizon, however, they may be overlooking the real value that RFID can deliver today. RFID technology is already used thousands of times each day in port, distribution center, and fleet operations around the […]

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CRM and the Danger of Dirty Data

Time doesn’t stand still. Neither do your customers. Face it. We are a nation on the move, and rapidly growing as well. In 2000, businesses filed 2.6 million change-of-address orders. There are a mind-boggling 140 million deliverable addresses in the United States, and the number is growing by nearly two million annually. If you are […]

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Balancing IT Strategy with ROI

For years enterprise software implementations were all about the Big Bang. After spending months and millions of dollars installing a new system, the grand moment would come, the “on” switch would be thrown, and the organization would suddenly achieve Nirvana. Times have changed. In a chilly economy, IT executives cannot afford to wait very long […]

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If You Spend IT, Efficiencies Will Come

While corporate departments such as operations are often high on the list for systems improvements, logistics departments are usually close to the bottom of the pecking order. As a result, many supply chain management systems are woefully behind the times. This, however, doesn’ t mean that logistics professionals have to or should accept this slight […]

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