Articles

Logistics I.T.

Tom Heine

Second-Generation Logistics Software: Accessible Anywhere

Q: What is the latest logistics software trend? A: Transportation management systems (TMS) have morphed into communication hubs with Web and mobile access. The PC user interface for employees—while still crucial—is becoming much less important than it once was. Q: How can that be? The first generation of software focused on employees adding and viewing […]

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Chris Jones

World-Class Logistics Operations Require Multi-Party Processes and Technology

Q: How can supply chain technology help businesses improve logistics operations? A: The majority of IT solutions available today constrain logistics operations performance. Most logistics problems are inter-enterprise, but the majority of logistics technology solutions are enterprise-focused. As a result, too much of the coordination still takes place over email and phone, and only involves […]

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Chris Johnson

Maximizing Global Logistics Management Effectiveness

Q: What are the biggest challenges shippers face with globalization in today’s market? A: Many shippers face the challenge of orchestrating an end-to-end process and managing interplay with third parties, such as customers, suppliers, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and government agencies. Doing so effectively is difficult, regardless of whether the shipper is importing […]

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Scott Fenwick

Bringing Clarity to Visibility Solution Investments

Q: How do you define visibility? A: Visibility is understanding the location and current status of key assets—whether on-time shipments or inventory stockouts. Visibility boils down to three elements: orders, shipments against orders, and inventory. Q: Why is supply chain visibility such a challenge for companies? A: Visibility is hard to quantify. Companies may make […]

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Steven Shoemaker

KPI Data Creates Improvement Opportunities

Q: What are the latest logistics software innovations? A: Improving how key performance indicators (KPIs) specific to freight are developed, measured, and managed seems to be a growing theme with leading software providers. KPIs are used to collect and measure actionable data to help improve accurate shipping decision-making and processes. The key word is actionable. […]

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Erik Kaas

The Right ERP Solution Puts All the Pieces Together

Q: How can today’s manufacturers deal with increasing regulations, demand volatility, and shifting global trade currents? A: Success for manufacturers today depends on agility. The one certainty with global trade currents, regulations, and demand is that they will change, and your ability to adapt defines your growth potential. A well-implemented enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution […]

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Mike Kositzky

Automated Routing: The Path to Optimization

Q: What guidance can you offer firms exploring routing and scheduling technologies for the first time? A: Automation is a great benefit of logistics technology—though not the only one. Technologies that automate time-consuming, repetitive jobs free us up to do what humans excel at: spotting and dealing with change and exceptions. It can take numerous […]

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Bryn Heimbeck

Collaborative Trade Communities Keep Companies Competitive

Q: What is the primary advantage of Collaborative Trade Communities? A: The way they function is much simpler than how most companies do business today. We spend a significant amount of effort and time tracking what our supply chain partners are doing. This includes sending instructions and entering them into corresponding systems, communicating and updating […]

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Les Hamashima

Technology Enables You to Be Positively Different

Q: How can logistics technologies be utilized as a competitive differentiator? A: Most companies prefer to attract customers by providing unique brand-driven customer experiences and services rather than competing on price. Strategic and practical use of the right technologies enables sharp pricing competitiveness, creates better customer experiences, reduces expenses, and raises productivity. The evolution of […]

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Robert Byrne

Use Transportation Planning for Competitive Advantage

Learning to thrive in a volatile market goes beyond simply controlling its effects; successful companies must navigate challenges to create competitive advantage. Three factors add complexity for today’s transportation planners. First, the U.S. gross domestic product grew by two percent in the third quarter of 2011, with personal consumption up 2.3 percent. Increased spending creates […]

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Ensuring a Worry-Free ERP Implementation

The complaints most often associated with implementing an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) focus on flexibility, scalability, and upgrade and maintenance costs. To avoid snafus, do your homework before making a purchase. David F. Ross, senior manager, professional department, at APICS, The Association for Operations Management, offers this advice to guide your selection. 1. Consider […]

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Brendan Lowe

5 Steps to Improving Food Product Traceability

Food safety represents a pressing concern for consumers and food retailers. Several high-profile incidents have cost billions due to sickened consumers, lost sales, and contaminated products. If these occurrences have taught U.S. retailers anything, it’s that the ability to react swiftly and appropriately to food-related issues is essential. The passage of the U.S. Food and […]

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Joe LaFergola

VMS Lifts Warehouse Labor Productivity

Tracking lift truck operator time can be a challenge for warehouse managers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires lift truck operators to complete a pre-operation checklist before starting each shift. This inspection involves ensuring that the truck is working properly, and looking for signs of potential problems, such as hydraulic leaks. A recent […]

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Ralph Lieberthal

RFID and Supply Chain Visibility: You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See 

Smart companies are striving to reduce costs, improve service, and increase return on investment throughout the supply chain. Automation-based solutions can play a crucial role in meeting those goals, and many organizations consider radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology a major force in transforming global supply chain automation and visibility. It’s hard to manage what you can’t […]

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Steve Vinsik

Strengthening International Cargo Security

The global supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Shippers and service providers face a dynamic security landscape subject to government regulations and evolving risks. They need to focus on identity verification as a key first step to strengthening cargo security. Positively identifying who is sending a package provides vital data. Not […]

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Karen Bomber and Jim Caudill

Inventory Intelligence: The Key to Unlocking Omni-channel Retailing

Omni-channel retailing–providing shoppers a seamless experience through all channels–combines the flexibility of cross-channel and mobile shopping with the revenue- and loyalty-building capabilities of a face-to-face retail experience. Because keeping availability promises is vital to omni-channel success, retailers depend on integrated IT systems. Retailers who succeed at integrating their inventory intelligence can cut costs, accelerate turns, […]

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Tom Heine

APIs Enrich Software Users’ Experience

Q: What is an Application Programming Interface (API)? Heine: It’s a software-to-software interface that enables Web-based applications to be part of your transportation management system. You can access outside information without leaving your working application. For all practical purposes, it’s built-in. For example, Google Maps APIs are often built into Web sites. Q: How are […]

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