Articles

Logistics I.T.

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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Geoff Comrie

What Makes a Great TMS? 

Q: The transportation management system (TMS) market is growing rapidly. What is driving this activity? COMRIE: Growth is coming from both shippers and logistics service providers. 3PLs are recognizing opportunities where they can affect change within their organizations by adopting TMS solutions that have more robust functionality. They now view transportation management technology as a […]

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Martin Hubert

Managing the Logistics Lifecycle 

Q: Cloud computing has become an industry buzzword. How will this technology influence the way companies approach logistics management? Hubert: Enterprises have long sought solutions that deliver immediate value, are easily accessible and scalable, and require minimal up-front investment. Unfortunately, the traditional delivery models of installed software, or dedicated Web-based systems, fell short of those […]

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Malysa O’Connor

The Perfect Time to Optimize Labor Management

Q: A confluence of issues related to rising fuel costs, compliance challenges, and lost capacity is currently impacting the logistics industry. Why is now the perfect time to optimize labor management? O’Connor: Driver shortages, rising fuel prices, and legislative changes related to Hours-of-Service (HOS) and Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) are increasing operating costs and will […]

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Ed Harrison and David Cohen

Technology Powers New Supply Chain Security Systems

In a speech at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology in March 2011, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “Innovation is critical to economic growth, international competitiveness, and national security. We must expand government’s collaboration with the science and engineering communities in industry and academia to include a deeper, broader partnership on homeland […]

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Simon Kaye

Ports Plug In: Electronic Tracking Tools Create Smooth Sailing for Ocean Cargo

Most ports today compete globally with one another and reflect the tremendous ocean transport productivity gains achieved in recent decades. Choosing a port often hinges on the available technological support for everything from vessel contracting to payment processing. One advantage ports can offer shippers is access to specialized tracking and handling capabilities that add value […]

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Dr. Jim Giermanski

Container Security: Filling in the Blanks

It is often impossible to know what containers entering the United States really contain. Even with bonded shipments and the 24-hour manifest required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Container Security Initiative, we merely take the shipper’s word as to a container’s contents, never knowing whether its security has been compromised during transit. Using Container […]

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Ravi Pappu

RFID Delivers the Power to Transform Markets

Q: The business cases for achieving improved visibility throughout the supply chain have been identified. What technologies should logistics providers consider to get there? Pappu: Physical objects are becoming coupled with a myriad of radio technologies to drive a communications revolution. For instance, location information from GPS satellites 16 miles above the earth is being […]

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Keith Biondo

The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be

As baseball’s Bard of Brooklyn, Yogi Berra, once said, “It is tough making predictions, especially about the future.” Those who orchestrate supply networks and supporting transportation and logistics operations in volatile economic times face stark reminders of how difficult predicting future product flow requirements can be. As if that weren’t true enough, Yogi also said, […]

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Going Mobile: Optimizing Inventory Management

One of the easiest ways to save money in your organization is by operating efficiently and productively, with no wasted resources. Central to this strategy is having the right amount of product at the right time—no more, no less. By optimizing inventory, organizations are able to improve customer service levels up to 25 percent, according […]

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Choosing the Right Tools for the Job

Q: What does the profusion of cloud-based value chain applications and services tell us about the future of supply chain automation? O’Leary: We believe EXTOL and other technology vendors will continue to offer both cloud-based and on-premise delivery of supply chain automation products and services, for the foreseeable future. Cloud-based offerings bring new delivery options […]

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Achieving Air and Ocean Freight Flexibility

Q: There has been a trend of airfreight traffic shifting to freight forwarding by sea. How can air freight compete? Zinner: The shift toward ocean freight is purely cost-driven. The real question is how to make air freight a less expensive and, therefore, a more competitive option. Both air and ocean shipments often have the […]

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Ensuring Successful System Integration

Q: What factors make software system integration necessary? Rodriguez: Variety among parties is a fact in the supply chain. Because of that variety, there is no software system that covers the immensity of combinations and scenarios that can occur in today’s supply chain. In the same way, there is no software right for every supply […]

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Benchmarking Data Supports Pricing Decisions

Q: How can shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs) ensure that their business methods and metrics conform to best practices for the industry? Schrader: The best transportation companies identify and measure their key performance indicators and strive for continuous improvement. Most companies have done a good job using their transportation management system or enterprise resource […]

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Jim Bengier

Retail Recovery Depends on an Integrated Supply Chain Strategy

Although retail sales have shown some increase in early 2011, many economists caution that spending will remain modest as long as wages stay flat and job creation weak. Even as consumers begin to loosen their purse strings, it is essential for retailers to remain cautious and operate at the most efficient levels possible to ensure […]

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