Articles

IT Matters: Logistics & Supply Chain Technology

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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