Batteries with Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) Technology Make Fast and Opportunity Charging Even More Cost-Effective

By Contributing Author | 06/18/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Harold Vanasse, Senior Director, Motive Power Marketing Americas, EnerSys

With more and more material handling operations switching to electric lift truck fleets, the adoption of fast charging and opportunity charging battery systems is growing. Industry consensus says that despite limitations like shorter battery life and weekly equalization requirements, fast and opportunity charging can help multi-shift operations save time and money.

However, industry consensus hasn’t kept up with advances in lead acid battery design. Batteries featuring Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology are making fast and opportunity charging systems even moreefficient and cost-effective. To understand why, consider the differences between conventional charging, fast charging and opportunity charging:

Conventional Charging

Charging a lift truck battery overnight – including eight hours of charging and eight hours of rest – is known as conventional charging. Ideal for single-shift operations, conventional charging charges the battery at a 16-18% rate of charge over the first four to five hours, then tapers off until the battery reaches a 100% State of Charge (SOC).

When conventional charging is used in multi-shift facilities, it can be expensive and maintenance-intensive, as it requires one battery per shift, per vehicle, plus battery change-outs  and weekly equalization charges.

Fast Charging

As the name implies, fast charging is muchfaster than conventional charging – batteries can be charged in as little as two to four hours. To enable this speed, fast charging replenishes the battery at a 50% rate of charge the entire time. Unlike conventional charging, fast charging keeps the battery at a maximum of 85% SOC, but it still requires a weekly equalization charge to take the battery to 100%.

This option is best for three-shift operations, as it eliminates the need for extra batteries and battery swaps in between shifts, not to mention battery changing rooms. It does shorten conventional lead acid battery life, so new batteries will have to be purchased more often.

Opportunity Charging

Opportunity charging is just that – the ability to charge the battery during breaks, lunch, between shifts or whenever there is an opportunity. This method charges the battery at a 25% rate of charge and maxes out at an 85% SOC. As with conventional and fast charging, opportunity charging requires a weekly equalization charge.

Opportunity charging delivers many of the same benefits as fast charging, but it is best suited for two-shift operations in which the battery can make it through the second shift with short charges during lift truck downtime.

TPPL battery technology

Lead acid batteries with TPPL technology make the benefits of fast and opportunity charging even more beneficial. A TPPL battery can be charged at rates of up to 100%, with no risk of damage from overheating. The ability to fast charge at such a high rate can eliminate battery change-outs even for some three-shift operations. And unlike the shortened battery life that results from fast charging a conventional lead acid battery, a fast charged TPPL battery will actually last up to three years longer – with no watering requirements or weekly equalization charges. The result is a fast and opportunity charging solution that’s more reliable and cost-effective than ever.  



Harold Vanasse is Senior Director of Marketing, Motive Power Americas for EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications. While serving in a variety of roles over the past 20+ years, Vanasse has been influential in bringing innovative solutions to the material handling industry.

Add Color to Make Your Warehouse Labels Stand Out and Be More Effective

By Contributing Author | 06/15/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Meegan Johnston, ID Label

It's no surprise to warehouse managers that barcode labels improve tracking, reduce errors, lower costs, aid in inventory management and boost worker productivity. But perhaps you haven't considered what role a label's design and color play in these outcomes.

In fact, in a warehouse environment, the use of color can play a significant role in a label's effectiveness.  

First, the right use of color makes a label stand out so it's easier for workers to see from a distance. In addition, an integrated system of colored barcode labels aids in improving processes for slotting, picking and overall inventory management.

ID Label 1

Colored Warehouse Labels and Multilevel Racking

The true benefits of colored barcode labels are most apparent in warehouses with large, multilevel rack systems.

For many ID Label customers, we design a uniform system of colored barcode labels to mark and identify tiers consistently throughout a warehouse or across a network of distribution centers. For instance, level 1 might be black, level 2 blue, level 3 green and so on.

This is highly effective when it's integrated into your WMS or inventory management software. It helps reduce put and pick errors and improves operational efficiencies.

This approach can be used on both horizontal and vertical warehouse labels.

Multicolor Production Capabilities

Today’s advanced digital inkjet presses can produce multicolor barcode images of astounding quality and durability.

ID Label’s presses feature integrated ultraviolet LED curing, laminating and die-cutting for printing high-quality, extremely durable, sequentially numbered and completely finished barcode labels in a single pass.

Bottom line: You don't have to operate a million-square-foot warehouse to reap the benefits of a colored labeling inventory system.

Meegan JohnstonMeegan Johnston is an ID Label business development manager.

A Closer Look at How Amazon’s Warehouse Wearables Will Change Data Capture

By Contributing Author | 06/13/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Don White, VP of Enterprise Solutions, Snapfulfil

Recently, supply chain tech experts have been abuzz with news that Amazon would change the way we measure warehouse performance. The eCommerce giant secured two patents for its warehouse wearables – armbands that track employee movement and direct the picking process sans barcodes.

Reactions to the concept were generally positive, even as some commentators suggested the new tech might face resistance from those who see it as an invasion of workers’ privacy. The pros for employees far outweigh the cons, however. More information about resource performance is always valuable in fine-tuning warehouse processes and inventory management, and these wearables could save employees time and effort as they move through the warehouse.

Here are a few ways Amazon’s wearables could help managers drive efficiency and conserve resources – and how they signal the future of warehouse operations:

A new (short)wave of technology

The technology required to manage the supply chain isn’t cheap – take, for instance, the more expensive internet speeds required to maintain smart warehouse equipment. Amazon’s wearables relieve some of this burden by remaining independent of Wi-Fi, leaving much needed bandwidth available. Instead, ultra-sonic and shortwave technologies drive the haptic feedback feature (the buzzing of a bracelet when close to the intended inventory item to be picked, for instance).

Don’t be in two places at once

Warehouse management technology can track item location and provide the data necessary for employees to reorganize inventory layout. Most solutions can only provide static product location, however, and fail to account for relative spatial tracking of slots, inventory and the labor resource’s hands – requiring significant monetary and resource investment that often gets overlooked.

Because Amazon’s wearables could track employees’ locations relative to each other and the items they’re picking, this technology could be the beginning of cutting-edge warehouse labor management. The possibilities are endless – from heat maps (associated with activity in a location over time) to comparative routing and de-conflicting associated with managing labor and locations and order fulfillment to disallow two resources from needing access to the same location at the same time, or in re-routing a person to avoid a forklift path.

Taking measurement to a granular level

WMS technology, until now, has focused on learned capabilities – how we can improve the speed at which staff moves through the aisles or efficiency during putaway processes.

With Amazon’s wearables, we’ll be able to measure something much deeper – intrinsic capabilities. Time and motion studies have been evaluating the impact of movement on efficiency for quite some time. Researchers will now have the discrete detail of observation

and measure that will lead to improved performance: ranges of acuity in hand/eye coordination and even dexterity can now be correlated to measures in individual performance.

Thinking about warehouse improvement sooner rather than later

Even though the possibilities for Amazon’s newest technology are endless, there are a few bugs to work out. Amazon has yet to disclose how soon their employees might wear this new technology – so it could be a few years before Amazon’s creation significantly impacts the supply chain.

While we’re waiting to see how Amazon’s next-level tech develops, warehouses can take steps now to prepare for increased demands on the supply chain. Warehouse management systems provide greater visibility into the numbers behind your most complex tasks – making it easier to adjust non-efficient processes.

Bottom line: There’s quite a bit to be excited about with Amazon’s latest innovation. But don’t forget – your operations demand efficiency now.

Don WhiteDon White has more than 15 years’ experience implementing and managing solutions for the supply chain. He currently serves as Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at Snapfulfil North America.

Supply chain dynamics creating new applications for loop sorters in cross-docking

By Contributing Author | 06/11/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Brad Radcliffe, VP of Sales—Sortation and Distribution, BEUMER Corporation

A proven technology for achieving high efficiencies in the parcel industry is finding similar effectiveness for distribution centers and warehouses where a change in dynamics is justifying the cost of implementing a high level of automation.

Exploding transportation costs, an increasing number of SKUs, rising labor costs and the lack of available labor all have shifted the ROI formula for equipping DCs with high-speed sortation systems. Within the supply chain, companies are most concerned with managing skyrocketing transportation costs that are largely a result of the increase in less-than-truckloads dispatched to accommodate just-in-time deliveries to retailers. Keeping full truckloads moving and reducing the amount of inventory in transit are the greatest challenges.

More and more, today’s DCs resemble parcel facilities where a high number of packages need to be moved quickly and efficiently in a cross-docking environment. Manual labor and fork trucks can no longer handle the volume of product that arrives in bulk on pallets and must leave as caseloads with minimum dwell time. Automated loop sortation systems—in the same or smaller footprint with considerably fewer people—can sort 40,000–60,000 cartons an hour all day long. Some companies have been able to replace up to three facilities with intensive labor requirements with one automated facility.

At the heart of the supply chain transformation is the desire to achieve a lower Days Sales in Inventory. For example, global healthcare giant GSK in 2013 reported a DSI of 53.7 days. By reducing its DSI by five days (or 10%), the company realized a savings of $67.6 million annually. For mega retailers like Walmart, Target and Walgreen’s, there are huge savings for every day of inventory that can be cut.

High-speed loop sortation systems are an ideal solution for companies with regional DCs serving 2,000 or more retail locations. A secondary market is 3PLs that are building consolidation networks for smaller retailers that don’t quite have the volume, but they need the service to be competitive.

To achieve ROI on automated, high-speed sortation in a cross-dock facility, a minimum of 10,000 packages an hour is a good rule of thumb. Volumes in many DCs have risen to 600,000 to one-million packages a day. A huge volume, along with a large sort complexity, makes ROI go through the roof.

Automated systems with high-speed induction and sorting capacity can easily handle the complexity of pulling inventory from multiple vendors, and even reserve stock, to achieve full truckloads. Sorters are smart enough now to fill trucks as quickly as possible and typically in conjunction with the customer’s business rules about how they want to distribute those inbound items across their RDC or store network.


Brad RadcliffeBrad Radcliffe has been with BEUMER Corporation since 2016, leading the North American Sales and Application Engineering teams focused on developing "Best in Class" solutions for the Parcel and Warehouse/Distribution industries. He is responsible for developing integrated solutions that are flexible, modular and sustainable. His career experience includes design engineering, supply chain optimization, project management and business development. Radcliffe has a B.S. in industrial engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.        

How Predictive Analytics Are Changing Supply Chain Logistics

By Contributing Author | 06/08/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Avery T. Phillips

Supply chains make or break a business, as the Target Canada fiasco painfully demonstrated. Distribution challenges were one big reason cited for the catastrophic failure of the expansion effort.

For many businesses, from retail to manufacturing, a breakdown in supply chain or inefficiency in restocking can impact financial stability. Supply chain isn’t exactly a sleek or sexy application of analytics technology, but advancements in recent years can go a long way to protecting vital infrastructure.

How Predictive Analytics Works

Predictive analytics is the result of a number of different advances in how we collect, handle, and analyze data. Specifically, predictive analytics is the answering of several questions related to data:

  • What is the most important data to collect?
  • What does it tell us about previous performance and problems?
  • What improvements can we make based on that data?
  • Which patterns does the data reveal?
  • Can the data be used to predict patterns in the future?
  • Can the data be used to create patterns that are beneficial to the company?

The difference between a whole bunch of data and analytics is knowing what your data is, what you need it for, and how you can apply it to improve the efficiency and profitability of the company. Performing these functions often requires the building of complex systems and algorithms, but the results can be well worth the investment.

Analytics, in the end, is about decision making. It’s about empowering business owners to make decisions based on the best available information, based on facts and analysis.

What Does Predictive Analytics Have To Do With A Supply Chain?

Supply chains are large, complex beasts. They are often comprised of several entirely different companies that produce, quality control, and transport goods. Sometimes they intersect with law enforcement bodies if the chain crosses borders. Predictive analytics can demystify these complex processes and present a business with clear information about the effectiveness of all the links in a supply chain.

Supply chains are inherently vulnerable. Facing regulatory and social pressure about sustainability, concerns about cyber security, and an increasingly difficult retail market, many companies have been slow to catch up with the new circumstances of supply chain management.

Predictive analytics presents solutions to so many of these modern woes. For one thing, they can be used to automate order filling based on the ebb and flow of demand for specific goods. These concerns aren’t just seasonal anymore, supply chains are being taxed by an on-demand economy and high turnaround expectations of consumers. Data can be used to streamline the entire inventory process and solve other supply chain challenges.

Further than that, however, businesses can use data about all of the links in a supply chain to identify weaknesses and potential issues. From technology that analyzes the efficiency of trailer loading, to technology that tracks the location of goods in real time, business owners and the managers of supply chains are being empowered to make decisions about small details that have big consequences. Weak links in the chain can be identified and replaced. Delivery timing can be optimized, and the efficiency of a chain can really be put through its paces once you start collecting and analyzing data in real time.

On-demand isn’t a perk anymore, it’s an expectation of consumers and business clients. Embracing the technology of big data and predictive analytics isn’t a matter of getting ahead, it’s a matter of not falling behind. Take the example of Target Canada to heart, and watch other organizations who don’t pay enough attention to their supply chains.

Avery-Phillips-bioAvery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.

E-Commerce Shipping: Why Customers Want ‘Buy Online Deliver From Store’

By Contributing Author | 06/04/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Jamie Gottlieb, Content Manager, Roadie

A “Buy Online Deliver From Store” model surprises and delights customers by saving them time, improving delivery windows, and offering flexibility.

Retailers view their e-commerce shipping service as an extension of their business. The quality and flexibility of their delivery solutions play a direct role in the decision-making criteria for their customers and overall success.

51% of shoppers prefer to shop online. That’s why retailers work to enrich the buying experience from sale to delivery. Most recently, retailers have turned to Buy Online Deliver From Store (BODFS) to meet customer expectations. This solution optimizes last-mile delivery by shipping from a store or warehouse to the customer that same day.

Why Choose ‘Buy Online Deliver From Store’

As online retail booms, customer expectations of convenience and low-cost delivery grow as well. Most retailers offer click and collect, but it still requires customers to pick up their item.

A “Buy Online Deliver From Store” model, however, surprises and delights customers by saving them time, improving delivery windows, and offering flexibility.

And a growing number of consumers are willing to pay for that convenience. According to a McKinsey study, 30% of consumers consider home delivery important. And another 25% of customers are willing to pay premiums for same-day or instant delivery.

For customers, there are many reasons to love a Buy Online Deliver From Store model:

  • They don’t want to drive long distances to pick up an item.

A 30-mile drive feels like a hike and takes too much time. By giving customers BODFS as an option, businesses remove store distance as a purchase barrier.

  • They can’t fit oversized items into their car.

Your customer bought an item only to realize they’ll need a bigger car or will have to wait 2-3 weeks for traditional shipping. But what if you could deliver to their home that same day? A Buy Online, Deliver From Store (BODFS) shipping solution can fulfill delivery — no matter the item’s size and shape.

  • They’re not at the mercy of ironclad delivery schedules.

Sometimes your customer buys an item and needs it now. Convert stores into fulfillment centers, and businesses can offer same-day home delivery.

E-Commerce Shipping Helps Gain Ground on Big Box Retailers

Convenience is king — and big box retailers know it. Companies like Walmart and Home Depot have transformed retail stores into fulfillment centers. And for customers, it’s making the purchasing process a whole lot easier.

Retail giants aren’t the only ones who can gain a competitive advantage through an e-commerce shipping solution. If businesses implement BODFS — even on a much smaller scale — same-day and next day delivery becomes a reality for their customers. In turn, that convenience and speed builds customer loyalty and drives future sales.


Jamie Gottlieb is the Content Manager at Roadie, the only collaborative delivery network with over 60,000 pre-qualified drivers covering all 50 states. Roadie has made deliveries in more than 9,000 cities nationwide — a larger footprint than Amazon Prime.

Trucking Capacity: Are You Managing With a One-Size-Fits-All Strategy?

By Contributing Author | 06/01/2018 | 6:00 AM


Preventing Recalls with a Warehouse Execution System

By Contributing Author | 05/29/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Dave Williams, Westfalia Technologies

According to a study by Consumer Reports, the Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted 295 recalls involving approximately 32 million units of goods in 2017 alone. Over the past five years, however, the CPSC has conducted 300 to 400 recalls annually.

How can recalls be avoided?  By connecting a warehouse execution system (WES) to external systems both upstream and downstream in the supply chain. This communication allows companies to respond to problems within the manufacturing process faster, often preventing contaminated or malfunctioning products from ever leaving the facility. 

Finding the Root Cause

By providing a high-degree of product traceability, an integrated WES can help manufacturers discover and act upon issues that have caused the malfunction or contamination sooner. Earlier detection often allows manufacturers to better understand what product is to be recalled, thus possibly reducing the scope of the recall effort and targeting the affected inventory. 

Identifying Recalled Products

By utilizing a WES that is tightly integrated with other supply chain systems, manufacturers are able to more quickly and easily identify products that are part of a recall. Further, companies can utilize the information from the WES to provide their customers with all of the necessary information needed to identify and return the recalled product efficiently, saving both the company and its customers time and money.

Handling Returned Items

A well-managed recall process is a must to process recalled product accurately and efficiently. There are many different recall scenarios that a manufacturer must be prepared to handle. Should the products be discarded? Is special handling required? Do the products need to be quarantined for further inspection? Are there specific reporting requirements that need to be completed? Many of these processes can be automated within a WES to guide individuals through the process, thus ensuring a complete, well-organized, well-documented, efficient handling of the affected product.

Avoiding Future Recalls

A WES that is integrated with manufacturing processes can also be used to recognize issues and provide automatic alerts to the warehouse when products are contaminated to keep the product in-house, thus eliminating the recall process. This allows the manufacturer to more easily identify and locate affected products before they leave the warehouse, which also saves time and money.

It is common sense that contaminated or malfunctioning products are potentially hazardous to the end customer. However, these products can also be extremely detrimental to a company’s financial health. The implementation of a tightly integrated WES into the supply chain process allows manufacturers to quickly identify, track and efficiently recall contaminated or malfunctioning products, which saves time, money and ultimately their reputation.


Dave_Williams_headshot 2017Dave Williams, vice president of software, spearheads Westfalia Technologies’ software and solutions delivery operations. In his role, Williams provides leadership and guidance for the design and implementation of solutions that contribute to strategic business goals while aligning with the overall information systems architecture.

In his tenth year with Westfalia, Williams has extensive experience in software, logistics and management, all which have provided him a comprehensive foundation for this important position.  Prior to Westfalia, he worked in a variety of leadership positions with leading organizations such as Proctor & Gamble, United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company (USF&G), Rite Aid, Nationwide Insurance and Donegal Insurance.

Williams received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Scranton.

A ‘6-Pack’ of Tips on How to Make Your Warehouse Beer Friendly

By Contributing Author | 05/24/2018 | 7:51 AM

By Mike Williams, Twinlode Corporation

One of the highest growth markets in recent years can be seen in food and beverage warehousing. According to a leading research firm, Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence, the market is expected to expand by more than 10 percent annually by 2022 to $191 billion from $117.6 billion today. 

Several factors are attributed to this growth, including the increasing demand for speed and accuracy as warehouses strive to protect their perishable items with the latest equipment, increased automation, keen management and higher productivity while maintaining maximum cost control.

For material handling executives and warehouse managers alike, the need to meet these demands is especially important for companies that store and distribute high volumes of beverages, including beer.

All of these firms, from the newest craft beer to big brand brews, share basic similarities in their operations – they store products on short lead times, deliver a large volume of SKUs to the market, they are dynamic and growing, and each has a warehouse situation that is very unique.  There is nothing cookie-cutter about solutions but all are built on ingenuity, productivity and cost-effectiveness. 

If you are considering transforming or expanding your warehouse facilities to include beverage and beer products, here are six basic tips to keep in mind:

  1. Learn everything there is to know about your firm or customer’s operations. You need to visit their sites, walk their warehouse floors and take part in their meetings.  Whether you are working for the distributorship or a contract consultant, your goals should be to become entrenched in their operations and earn their trust before developing solutions. You need to test the boundaries of everything they currently have that is a constraint.
  2. Determine the unique storage requirements for each SKU. You will find that the differences between beverage and beer warehousing are minimal, except for temperature or environmental factors.  Storage temperatures are lower for some beer SKUs.  Some craft and specialty beers need to be kept around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while kegs are stored in “draught coolers” at about 40 degrees.  Carbonated beverages have similar storage requirements.
  3. Conduct a thorough inspection of your current physical plant to determine any challenges that need to be overcome. For instance:
    1. Facilities may be individually or family-owned with legacy warehouses that are second or third-generation buildings. Some are small and antiquated where owners face constant pressure to expand or to make the most of the existing space where the ceilings are low and square-footage is landlocked with no room for horizontal expansion.  
    2. On the other hand, there are updated or new buildings, with 35-foot ceilings and state-of-the-art everything.
    3. You also may find that your warehouse indoor floor space is limited and getting close to outside storage. There is no room to store incremental products or more line extensions of core brands.  Storing products in forklift and pedestrian aisles becomes a safety hazard and new solutions are needed immediately.
  4. As part of your analysis of each situation, you need to determine the warehouse storage volume levels and how many SKUs are being handled at any one time.Various options are available that can maximize storage space, meet forklift capabilities and satisfy safety requirements.
  5. In most cases where space is at a premium, you want to recommend the most vertical racking solutions possible. Today’s wide range of highly advanced rack systems are ideally suited for the unique requirements of the beverage industry, including a case/carton flow system designed for a large number of low-volume SKUs in a small area, or a craft barrel rack system which offers the same solution for the keg barrel portfolio.
  6. Your study of each warehouse also should include an analysis of inventories and velocity of each SKU. This helps in the design of rack systems that match inventory movement patterns. 

Although each warehouse has different needs that are designed for beer and beverage storage and distribution, the goals are the same:  to get products off the floor, help organize the floor, reduce congestion on the pick path, and keep pedestrian walkways clear.

Whether it is for beer, beverages, food and other types of inventory, be sure your warehouse design plans incorporate all possible logistical and cost efficiencies, including overall safety procedures, forklift access, equipment requirements and technology, employee training, and compliance with all local, state and seismic code regulations.  

Mike Williams pix

Mike Williams is national sales manager for Twinlode Corporation, which has provided storage solutions for warehouse management within the food and beverage industry for more than two decades.

Friends with Benefits: Secret business advantages to new pharmaceutical manufacturers from logistics services providers

By Contributing Author | 04/06/2018 | 5:42 AM

By Lawrence Hotz, WDSrx – Woodfield Distribution LLC


New conventional and virtual manufacturers focus on developing commercial products and often under-estimate the complexity of bringing their medications to market. 

Smaller manufacturers unacquainted with logistics that take it upon themselves to deliver their products to retailers and wholesalers soon discover the process is more costly and difficult than they imagined, particularly when retailers impose financial penalties for rejected or late deliveries.

It may seem counter-intuitive for young companies to select a Logistics Services Provider (“LSP”) for healthcare supply chain solutions that minimize cost, however partnering with an experienced pharmaceutical LSP streamlines the fulfillment process, minimizes supply chain disruptions, helps assure product is properly received, reduces potential penalties and enables faster payment and re-orders.

Reputable LSP partners place a high priority on service to clients.  The best LSP firms consider the word ‘service’ to mean ‘capability’ and also ‘to support.’  This article highlights four key LSP services of special interest to newly-commercialized manufacturers that elevate the partnership to ‘friends with benefits’ status:   GS1-128 labeling; Customs Bond warehousing; extensive retailer relationships; and Sortation and Segmentation.


Hotz 1 - Friends With BenefitsBiopharma and other manufacturers beginning commercialization often treat shipping as an afterthought until they realize that retailers pay invoices only when the product is received into their inventory.

New players in the pharmaceutical industry that place a standard shipping label on boxes and believe a tracking number is sufficient to document delivery are making mistakes that will result in financial hardship from lost and rejected  shipments.  Superior Logistics Services Providers treat labeling with extreme precision, using current GS1-128 shipping labels with EDI information transfer to move packages within the pharmaceutical supply chain.

(Figure 1: GS1-128 labels conform to international standards for efficient fulfillment. ©WDSrx)


 Shipping labels must meet current technical standards and guidelines set by             
authorities and consignees including GS1 which is the international standard                  
for companies to identify, capture and share this supply chain data.  The
GS1-128 label is a standard label format printed with codes to reveal package contents eliminating the need to open the container.                                                                                                                           
Electronic Data Interchange (“EDI”) systems enable business documents to be shared between different computer systems.  The ASN-856 (Advanced Ship Notice) is an electronic file shared between EDI systems that alerts recipients to expect a delivery. EDI systems gather data from GS1-128 labels for accurate reporting.

The GS1-128 label is a vital component of EDI transactions because it satisfies requirements established by the receiving party for shipment details including origin, destination, contents, purchase order and additional data.  These labels can be affixed to pallets and packages and enable consignees to route packages efficiently within their own distribution network without opening them. In some cases, the LSP must break down secondary packaging or remove non-compliant labels from manufacturer deliveries, then re-package them with GS1-128 labels to avoid shipping disruption.

According to Adam Runsdorf, President of WDSrx – Woodfield Distribution, LLC, a pharmaceutical logistics services provider, “Sharing our knowledge with new clients improves everyone’s efficiency and fosters long-term relationships that promote business growth.”

Advanced labeling and data transmission technology are necessary steps for efficient shipping and receiving.  Logistics Services Providers perform labeling services for start-ups as a standard benefit that scales up as their deliveries increase. 

Labeling and EDI are not enough to assure shipments are properly received.  Experienced Logistics Services Providers take additional steps to assure shipments move efficiently between manufacturers and their retailer accounts, even managing shipments arriving from international points of origin.


Hotz 2 - GS1 128 LabelOtis Redding’s classic song “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” is a common refrain for international manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials, API or finished goods that are unaccustomed with government requirements when they learn their shipments are detained on receiving docks at U.S. Ports of Entry. 

Manufacturers from outside the United States often realize cost savings when shipping raw materials in bulk to our shores instead of finished goods.  Those savings can disappear however, when the shipment fails to clear U.S Customs or other regulatory checks upon arrival. 

(Figure 2: Detained shipments may be stored safely at an LSP with a Customs bond. ©WDSrx).


When a pharmaceutical shipment arrives at a U.S. port, contents must be examined and documentation reviewed by three separate regulatory authorities
before the product is approved for clearance:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

When things go wrong in the United States for a company based in another country, the situation can quickly spiral out of control.  Manufacturers working with reputable Logistics Services Providers based in the United States can more easily navigate customs procedures and can correct problems expeditiously if and when they occur.


Improper completion of the Bill of Lading is a common reason that shipments into the U.S. are detained by U.S. Customs inspectors.  For example, if the Importer of Record or Consignee listed on the form is not known or missing, the entire shipment can be transferred to a U.S. Customs warehouse on site for further action.  These temporary facilities do not accommodate special handling requirements, resulting in temperature excursions and greater risk of contamination.  A similar scenario can play out if the FDA or USDA delays clearance.

If the shipper fails to be notified of a problem, the situation may last for an extended period, causing significant financial consequences. Expenses may include the cost of the initial shipment, warehousing and storage fees in the temporary customs warehouse, broker fees, production of a new order and shipment, destruction of the initial shipment and lost revenue from products that could not be manufactured and marketed in a timely manner.


When international manufacturers coordinate shipping efforts with a U.S.-based pharmaceutical Logistics Services Provider, clearance issues are handled on the ground at the Port of Entry, reducing delays and facilitating on-time delivery to the designated recipient.

A hidden benefit of relying on an experienced LSP within the United States for international shipments is their ability to secure a Customs Bond in case of a Customs clearance delay.  The Customs Bond enables the LSP to move the shipment within a 50-mile radius from the unsecure non-compliant temporary Customs warehouse at the Port of Entry to a secure temperature-regulated pharmaceutical-grade warehouse facility operated by the LSP. Once received, the shipment is properly stored and handled until clearance is granted. 

A few of the best pharmaceutical Logistics Services Providers are also Registered DEA Importers and Exporters, recognized by the U.S. Government to handle Controlled Substances as they enter and leave the country.

Logistics Services Providers benefit companies unfamiliar with transport regulations by keeping current with requirements for proper labeling and technical issues and by facilitating shipments entering U.S. ports.  

There is another hidden benefit to fledgling manufacturers that the right LSP can use to speed delivery…but it’s a secret!


An important hidden benefit for budding manufacturers working with an experienced Logistics Services Provider is profiting from established relationships with retailers that the LSP has nurtured over time. 

Retailers are more comfortable conducting business with companies they already know.  Companies that are new to the industry must develop relationships with business partners from scratch.  Young companies trying to conserve expenses by fulfilling their own orders may end up paying a steep cost in lost orders, rejected deliveries and missed opportunities.

Relationships between LSP firms and retailers are constantly evolving because both parties have a mutual interest in maintaining efficient business operations.  Information is often shared to speed deliveries.  Novice manufacturers with the right LSP partner receive the benefit of this communication at no additional charge. 


One example of an LSP gaining extensive knowledge about retailers they ship to is called the Lead Time Analysis report. This research document is compiled by the LSP and details the optimal timeframes to prepare, pack, ship and deliver an order from the original warehouse location to the retailer distribution center.  The results of the Lead Time Analysis provide consistency for order placement and shipping according to the specific retailer requirements.

In addition to the facts of the Lead Time Analysis shared with clients by their LSP, there are more subtle hints provided by retailers that help LSP firms to satisfy clients unacquainted with retailer relationships.  A particular distribution center for one retailer may prefer that deliveries be made by a specific freight forwarder or courier.  Time is money in every business.  Understanding the unique preferences of individual retailers demonstrates how superior LSP firms service their clients.

When the order finally reaches the receiving dock at the retailer distribution center, another hidden benefit called Sortation and Segmentation provides evidence for young manufacturers that their shipment was received by the Consignee.


Hotz 3 - Customs BondReceiving docks can be chaotic workspaces.  Multiple trucks and trailers arrive simultaneously.  Pallets, cartons and boxes cover the floor.  Warehouse technicians move among deliveries, drivers and other personnel while scales, scanners, forklifts and other equipment crowd the area. 

What are the odds that a retail distribution center will treat a shipment from a new account with the same attention as a full truckload arriving from an established manufacturer?  Actually, they are very favorable utilizing a service called Sortation and Segregation, or “Sort and Seg.”

Sortation and Segregation is a white glove service that involves locating each package on the vehicle that makes up a single order.  When located, the packages are organized and separated from remaining deliveries.  The order is then segregated from other deliveries on the receiving dock.  The Consignee processes the order quickly because preliminary work is completed. Finally, the Consignee signs documentation confirming receipt of the complete order.

With Sortation and Segregation, retailers gain confidence in new accounts because their product is consistently delivered on time, allowing the manufacturer to concentrate on business growth. The start-up receives notice in real-time their delivery was received.  High-fives all around.

(Figure 3: Sortation and Segmentation organizes valuable shipments at active receiving docks. ©WDSrx)



Hotz 4 - Sortation and SegregationBusiness success favors companies that spend strategically to gain competitive advantage.  Pharmaceutical manufacturers new to the commercial market that select a specialized Logistics Services Provider profit from the relationship. 

Often the support is hidden from view and occurs behind-the-scenes.  Attention to packaging and labeling compliance, Customs clearance services, retailer shipping preferences and white glove delivery procedures represent some of the tools available from LSP partners transforming progressive young manufacturers from understudies into leading players within their sales network.

Behind each package is the accumulated knowledge of the LSP partner at every step within the pharmaceutical supply chain. 

     (Figure 4: Newly commercial manufacturers benefit from expertise of reputable Logistics Services Providers © WDSrx)


Larry headshot





Lawrence Hotz is the Marketing Director at WDSrx – Woodfield Distribution, LL


Upgrade Your Delivery Strategy with an Environmentally Friendly Approach

By Contributing Author | 03/30/2018 | 7:41 AM

By Inbal Axelrod, MyRouteOnline


With Earth Day coming up in April, it’s a good time to upgrade your delivery methods in support of greener approaches. Here are some areas where you can cut carbon emissions to achieve a more eco-friendly strategy:

Use recycled packaging
Begin your efforts toward a more environmentally friendly approach by seeking out new packaging materials. Look for a Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on your boxes to ensure that the paper is from sustainably managed forests, and use boxes made from 100% recycled paper.

You can also find boxes with environmentally responsible ink. Check to see whether your boxes are Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified, meaning that they use biodegradable inks and adhesives.

While eco-friendly shipping boxes can be a bit more expensive, it’s made up for by other cost-saving eco-friendly strategies, like using less fuel and taking more efficient routes. As an added plus, consumers are more discerning than ever in their buying habits, and using environmentally responsible packaging gives your brand extra appeal.

Forget the foam
Foam packing peanuts are particularly harmful to the environment. They’re typically made from polystyrene, which takes hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose. And because they’re so small and light, they’re easily blown away from landfills and into the oceans, polluting the water and harming the small animals that consume the tiny styrofoam pieces.

While recycled polystyrene foam is already common, packing peanuts made from biodegradable products is even better. Rather than use the styrofoam peanuts, opt for ones that are made from starch or recycled paper.

Reduce size and volume
Reducing the size and volume of your packages has several environmental benefits. First, it reduces the amount of packaging itself--and the disposable waste that comes with it. Second, it reduces the weight of the package, meaning that less fuel will be used to transport each one.

Finally, having small package sizes reduces fuel emissions even further by allowing you to pack each vehicle more efficiently. This maximizes the number of packages per delivery vehicle and minimizes the number of vehicles on the road. 

Use environmentally friendly vehicles
When it comes to your delivery vehicles, think beyond cars and trucks. While the use of cars and trucks is sometimes unavoidable for long drives or in suburban environments, other transportation methods, such as walking, biking, and the use of small electric vehicles, work well within small scale environments or congested urban areas.

The key is to think about which vehicles best suit your unique environment. Particularly bike-friendly cities, such as Portland, Oregon, are perfect locations for bicycle delivery. Centuries-old cities with crowded, narrow streets, like the city of Basel, Switzerland, are already making use of small electric vehicles.  Other cities, like London, are cutting emissions using electric bikes with trailers.

Crowded downtown areas can have centralized distribution hubs scattered around the city where small, low-emissions vehicles can pick up the items to be delivered. The items can then be transported to central locations from which they can be delivered to specific addresses by bike or foot.

Plan a carbon efficient route
In addition to reducing your fuel emissions by decreasing package sizes and using alternate forms of transport, you can also come up with a delivery strategy that makes your route more efficient. If your delivery vehicles are taking roundabout routes, if they’re backtracking as they move between stops, or if you’re using more vehicles than you need to, your delivery strategy will have an unnecessarily high carbon footprint. You can easily reduce this footprint by analyzing your delivery routes and cutting out excess driving.

Choose low-emissions transportation companies
If your business must use a truck or car but doesn’t have delivery services of its own, the delivery company you choose should still be low-emission. You can determine which transportation companies are the most environmentally friendly by checking to see whether they’re government certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. The website of the EPA’s SmartWay program displays relevant information about low-emission transportation companies and updated company emissions data.

Opting for an environmentally friendly delivery strategy is increasingly necessary in today’s world. As proven by successes with urban-friendly delivery vehicles and other fuel-saving strategies, eco-friendly approaches and cost-saving strategies are not mutually exclusive. If we want to combat climate change, all of us--including those in the delivery industry--are responsible for adopting a greener approach.



Photo_Inbal AxelrodInbal Axelrod is the co-founder and CMO at MyRouteOnline, a multiple stop route planner that helps make our world greener. Individuals visiting multiple locations can plan their routes online, optimize their route, and spend less fuel and time on the road. This means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, a reduced carbon footprint, and better air quality

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About One-Off Sound-Off

Welcome to "One-Off Sound-Off," a blog page devoted to guest commentary on all things supply chain. This is a space where industry leaders can share their opinions and expertise with the logistics and supply chain community. If you have an article or commentary you'd like to share, please consider sending a guest blog proposal to feedback@dcvelocity.com.


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