Articles

Logistics I.T.

Ralph Hess

With WMS, Small Businesses Can Do It All

Q: How can smaller companies respond to the supply chain demands of their large customers? A: The best way for suppliers to respond is to manage their own segment of the supply chain as efficiently as possible. They must optimize their inventory and distribution operations by applying the proper resources—human, financial, and technological—to drive excellence […]

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Kevin Reader

Choosing the Right WMS For Your Business

Q: The WMS selection process seems to be based on spreadsheets and feature-driven lists of requirements. Is this the best place to start? A: Many consultants and professional organizations suggest companies can select a WMS by reviewing standard feature lists, conducting a conference room pilot, and adding customization as needed to deliver the design and […]

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Christine Wheeler

Wireless Workstations Unplug Savings

Thanks to wireless technology, carts with on-board power supplies are opening new frontiers of efficiency, productivity, and profitability in distribution centers (DCs). These mobile- powered workstations (MPWs) carry computers, bar-code scanners, and printers, reducing paperwork and operator travel. DC employees can waste countless hours walking to and from deskbound computers to perform tasks such as […]

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Mike Skinner

Mobile TMS Applications Improve Supply Chain Visibility

Online applications for mobile devices are emerging in ways that can finally close or reduce many of the information gaps in the supply chain between transportation planning, the shipping/receiving dock, customers, and even accounts payable. These mobile applications are enabling shippers to interface directly and more effectively with logistic partners; access logistics information in non-traditional […]

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Michael Watson, Ph.D.

Discovering the Value of Analytics

Many companies are building analytics strategies, which use data to facilitate better decisions. To develop improved analytics strategies, consider the three different types of analytics: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive. Each type uses data in a different way to provide a different type of value. Descriptive analytics: Using data to improve how you describe or report […]

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Garry Neeves

Harnessing the Power of Information Technology

Q: How do you squeeze the most reliability, accuracy, and cost efficiency out of today’s supply chain? A: Smart information technology (IT) is fundamental to success. Leading manufacturers know the importance of effective logistics management. Getting your product to the right place, just in time, and exactly as the retailer demands is crucial to the […]

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Chandra Allred

Tech Tools Serve Retailers’ Diverse Needs

Q: What do retailers need to know about working with 3PLs today? A: Retailers are challenging third-party logistics (3PL) providers to supplement their offerings with a broader range of services. To obtain and retain business, 3PLs must meet retailers’ diverse reporting, visibility, and delivery needs—yet not increase their cost structure. Achieving this goal is particularly […]

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Bobby Kaemmer

Sharing Data Creates Optimal Supply Chain Visibility

In the past decade, analysts have written volumes about the value of supply chain visibility and execution systems. It’s hard to argue with the concept. When all supply chain partners’ systems work together to fulfill orders perfectly, execute on-time shipments, and provide early alerts to problems, life is good. Many companies have turned to on-demand […]

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Charles Myers

Load Boards Evolve Into Social Networking Tools

When you look at an Internet-based load board, it’s hard to believe how far the freight and logistics sector has come. It wasn’t long ago that carriers all over the country found much-needed backhauls by posting handwritten notes on truckstop bulletin boards, and brokers used those same boards to locate trucks. But technology—particularly the Internet—has […]

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Nigel Hughes

Benchmarking Keeps Logistics IT Outsourcing On Track

Logistics departments rely on technology to drive operational excellence. Benchmarking—analyzing an organization’s performance against the comparable activities of another or its own over time—has traditionally been applied to validate and/or improve a service contract’s value. In an economy characterized by unstable growth and eroding margins, optimal logistics IT performance is necessary for companies to remain […]

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Chris Wright

Tracking Rugged Tablets

Q: It seems that tablet computers are growing in popularity. Is this true in our field, where conditions can be difficult? A: Although the tablet has been available for years, it is receiving renewed attention for its combination of an easy-to-read display and keypad-free data entry and retrieval. Tablets offer several advantages over notebook computers […]

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Laura Kelleher

Warehouse Automation Management Goes Mobile

Q: Consumer devices, such as smartphones, are becoming more common in warehousing applications. How is the personal wireless space affecting the industrial/commercial wireless space? A: The form, function, and ease of use industry decision-makers experience when using their personal mobile devices is affecting their expectations of enterprise devices. It is driving demand for smaller and […]

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Keith Biondo

IT: Advantage @Light Speed

A professor at a well-known university recently remarked at a logistics conference, "Information technology is not a source of competitive advantage. It makes good systems better, and bad systems worse. It allows companies to do stupid things at the speed of light." Maybe. But IT can be a change agent that will almost always open […]

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Tamara Dwyer

The Three Pillars of Effective Returns Management

Returns management presents both challenges and opportunities for inbound logistics. Waste management regulations and non-compliance penalties are increasing. Rising commodity prices and a growing secondary marketplace, however, create an opportunity to recover value from used and scrapped materials. A cost-effective reverse logistics program connects the incoming supply of returns with the product information and demand […]

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