Archives for September 2015

Chain Links: What we’re reading (and watching) this week

By Mark Solomon | 09/30/2015 | 11:15 AM | Categories: Current Affairs

Does your firm need a supply chain czar (yes!). Echo Global Logistics’ CIO looks to build a killer logistics app.  And holiday shoppers want more shopping and shipping options (Surprise!)


Why your company needs a chief supply chain officer

The success of behemoths like Apple has as much to do with their savvy management of far flung factories as with design or marketing, and some companies are thriving thanks primarily to behind-the-scenes finesse. This has put more and heavier responsibilities in the hands of once-lowly buyers, leading to what one report called “The Rise of the Chief Supply Chain Officer.”

Source: Fortune.com


CIO seeks to build the ‘killer app’ for logistics

Echo Global Logistics’ new CIO, Tim Kutz, is directing the company’s 110 IT staff to build the “killer app.” That means refactoring the company’s proprietary transportation system so that it can adapt to new business models or respond to dynamic market changes.

Source: CIO.com


How to Turn 176,000 Tons of Sunken Concrete Into an Underwater Highway

Before you can build a new roadway, you've got to grade the gravel bed that will serve as its foundation to within a one-inch margin of error. But that standard operating procedure gets a bit trickier when you try to do the entire thing 95 feet underwater. 

Source: PopularMechanics.com


Cleaning Up the Supply Chain 

The Environmental Defense fund is working with companies to clean up consumer products supply chains. Three key areas currently being the center of their efforts are deforestation, fertilizer pollution and hazardous chemicals. 

Source: EDF


Survey: shoppers want more holiday shopping and shipping options

Most Americans plan to shop both in stores (94 percent) and online (92 percent) this holiday season, with 94 percent of consumers planning to shop from a computer and 49 percent making purchases from a mobile device, according to the 2015 Holiday Shipping Survey from Pitney Bowes.

Source: Pitney Bowes


Startup generates instant freight price quotes

A logistics technology company called Freightos Ltd. has landed $14 million in venture funding to help launch a service that replaces basic Excel and
 PDF files with automated, online price quotes for freight forwarders.

Source: Dow Jones


FDA-Regulated Goods Imported from Tianjin to Require Extra Documentation

The Food and Drug Administration announced that it will require additional documentation for entries of FDA-regulated goods that originated from, were stored in, or transited through the Binhai New Area industrial center in Tianjin, China. Human and animal food products, human and animal drug products, and medical devices that left the Tianjin area on or after Aug. 12—the date of a huge explosion at a hazardous chemical container storage and distribution center—will require additional information to enable the FDA to make an admissibility decision. The article explains which documents will be required in specific circumstances.

Source: Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report 

What we're reading: Online order delays, the rise of the machine, and more

By DC Velocity | 09/23/2015 | 5:00 AM

Labor shortage could delay your online orders

As online sales growth continues to outpace that at physical shops, experts say retailers are already having trouble filling positions in the heart of their digital operations—their warehouses. 

A continuation of this trend could be particularly troublesome for companies during the peak shipping days of the winter holiday season, when distribution centers often require two to five times the staffing, said Frank Layo, a partner at supply chain consulting firm Kurt Salmon. 

Source: cnbc.com


In Japan, the rise of the machines solves labor and productivity problems

What would robots in the distribution center look like? This article describes how one drug wholesaler in Japan has cut its workforce in half by employing robots, which currently handle 65 percent of its item picking.

Source: Bloomberg Business


E-commerce Growth in India

India is projected to be the fastest-growing B2C e-commerce market in the BRIC countries in the next five years. This conclusion is drawn in a new publication by Germany-based secondary market research expert yStats.com. The report, titled “India B2C E-Commerce Market 2015” also reveals the main challenges faced by online retail in this country, including underdeveloped logistics and low credit card penetration.

Source: Ystats.com via Pressebox   


Is your warehouse management system as agile as your business?

Being able to evolve and adapt your business processes to changing demands is a critical component to your success. A new Warehouse Management System RFP template can help.

Source: HighJump


The impact of reusables theft

This microsite from reusable packaging manufacturer Rehrig Pacific details how much the theft of reusables costs companies each year and strategies for battling the growing problem.

Source: Rehrig Pacific


Shyp Thinks It’s Solved the Problem of Push-Button Shipping

Shipping? Yep, there’s an app for that. 

A new service from San Francisco-based startup Shyp lets you snap a photo of anything you need to ship, then push a button inside an app. Within 20 minutes, a Shyp-dispatched courier comes to your doorstep and whisks away your items. Not much later, the app gives you a tracking number so you can watch as the package gets delivered—all for $5 per shipment. No post office lines, boxes, or packing tape necessary.

Source: Wired.com


In corn-growing states, tall crops pose seasonal road hazard

The broad leaves and thick stalks can stand up to 12 feet high, forming a wall of foliage that turns rural roads into long, narrow corridors of nothing but corn.

For drivers navigating the gravel roads that crisscross Midwestern farm country, the plants go by in a noiseless blur of green, yellow and brown. But the annual crop brings an often-ignored danger: Some roads are so sheltered by the towering corn that motorists can't see each other until just before they collide, with potentially deadly results.

Source: Des Moines Register

Chain Links: What we're reading (and watching) this week

By DC Velocity | 09/16/2015 | 4:00 AM

Putting the pieces together

As a way of testing the skills of its technicians, Ryder took one of its new tractor cabs and put it through a gauntlet of destruction that included an exploding debris field, a destructive spike strip, and the impact of a two-ton wrecking ball. Then, Ryder gave a team of 10 of its technicians 24 hours to repair it. 

Source: Ryder System via YouTube  


Wal-Mart’s Suppliers Are Finally Fighting Back

Wal-Mart has a long history of demanding that its suppliers meet high standards while simultaneously squeezing costs out of their supply chains. But new storage fees and a 90-day payment schedule are causing some suppliers to push back.

Source: Bloomberg Business


How the new CBP requirements may affect your global shipments

On Aug. 31, 2015, Customs and Border Protection announced that the mandatory deadline for filing ACE Entry Summaries and ACE Cargo Release Entries has been delayed from Nov. 1, 2015 to Feb. 28, 2016. What does this mean for global shippers? Craig Seelig, WiseTech Global product manager for customs and compliance Americas, explains, and tells why it’s important to take action now.

Source: WiseTech Global


A Hard Road: Why CPG Companies Need a Strategic Approach to Transportation

Transporting goods to retailers is now the greatest worry of consumer-packaged-goods supply chain leaders, according to the 2015 Supply Chain Benchmarking Study conducted by Boston Consulting Group and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. More than 80 percent of the leaders interviewed cited transportation as their top-of-mind concern.

Source: Boston Consulting Group


Amazon’s new Boston warehouse could be springboard for one-hour delivery

Amazon.com Inc. has leased a 96,600-square-foot section of a food and beverage warehouse in the Boston suburb of Everett, Mass., sparking speculation that the e-commerce giant is laying the groundwork for one-hour delivery in the region.

Source: The Boston Globe


California's Department of Transportation seeks to build largest animal bridge in the country

Doing so would allow wildlife to avoid dangerous freeways and spread back into other natural areas of the state.

Source: Consumeraffairs.com


Summit will show how logistics can impact sports

Sports will take center stage during the 13th annual Indiana Logistics Summit on Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Indianapolis when three key executives of major sports organizations share stories of their biggest logistics issues. Executives from the Indianapolis Colts, INDYCAR, and NCAA will participate in a segment titled “A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Logistics in Sports” to discuss how logistics is a critical success factor for sports.

Pete Ward, Indianapolis Colts chief operating officer, will recount his team’s legendary 1984 nighttime move from Baltimore to Indianapolis with nine hours’ notice, and what goes into taking an NFL team on the road week after week.

Source: Batesville (Indiana) Herald-Tribune

Chain Links: What We're Reading This Week

By Mark Solomon | 09/09/2015 | 6:10 AM

Transportation Simulation from a TMS: Is Anyone Really Using This Capability?

We have a new generation of transportation management systems (TMS) based upon more powerful in-memory technologies. This has created more advanced transportation simulation capabilities. The way it works is that a user would have dual instances of the TMS. An operational TMS would continue to plan, manage, and execute transportation moves. A simulation/test environment could take months of actual historical shipment data (forecast data can also be used), load massive amounts of data into the tool (this is truly a Big Data application), and answers the question, “What would have happened if we had done this instead of what we actually did?”

An interesting theory. But is anyone actually using these types of capabilities? 

Source: Forbes


General Mills pushes ambitious environmental plan

General Mills has outlined an ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions by 28 percent over the next 10 years. But to accomplish this, they are going to need significant help from their supply chain. The cereal company says that nearly two-thirds of General Mills’ total greenhouse gas emissions occur beyond its direct operations.

Source: Fortune


Lessons from the Tappan Zee Bridge

To address congestion, New York is constructing a $4 billion replacement for the 60-year-old bridge over the Hudson River. Decades of indecision, disagreement, and delayed maintenance and repair illustrate why this and other U.S. infrastructure projects are needlessly costly and behind schedule.

Source: The Atlantic online


A smart way to fund transport programs

As Congress returns from the recess to debate a long-term highway bill, Ken Orski, one of the more insightful observers of the transport funding scene, opines on a sensible and sustainable way to go about it.

Source: infrastructure USA


Vision systems set new record

North American sales of machine vision systems and components grew 16 percent to $1.2 billion in the first half of 2015, the market’s highest first half total in history, according to new statistics issued by AIA, the industry’s trade group.

Source: AIA


Costco and other warehouse clubs have transformed retail more than Amazon

The rise of e-commerce has changed Americans’ shopping routines in profound ways, but a new study in the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the retail industry has been transformed more in the last two decades by warehouse clubs than by online shopping.

Source: The Washington Post


Detroit as Midwest logistics hub?

With the Gordie Howe International Bridge opening a new supply route across the U.S-Canadian border, and expanses of mostly vacant land sitting idle, the state of Michigan is researching a $1.6-billion plan to transform Detroit into the logistics capital of the Midwest.

Source: Detroit Free Press


Winning the struggle to attract and keep your talent

An executive of High Jump Software discusses three ways to address and overcome a widespread problem.

Source: Logistics Viewpoints

Chain Links: What We're Reading This Week

By Mark Solomon | 09/02/2015 | 7:38 AM

Tianjin's deadly blasts expose China's work safety woes

A deep-rooted business mentality that puts profits ahead of safety seems hard to break in Beijing's fight against workplace accidents. The latest revelations on Ruihai International Logistics, the operator of the HazMat warehouse, suggest that a common Chinese business model — which taps heavily into connections with people in government — means safety rules can be to benefit company.

Source: The News-Times (Danbury, Ct.)


China's Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn't Find It

The idea is that a Nicaraguan waterway will attract many of the larger vessels that the Panama Canal has historically struggled to accommodate. Yet a four-day tour through El Tule and surrounding areas slated for initial development cast doubt on the project.

Source: Bloomberg.com 


3PL Market Overview & Outlook

This summary of a conference call between Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. analysts and Evan Armstrong, president of the consulting firm Armstrong & Associates, includes a detailed review of recent developments and current conditions in the U.S. third-party logistics industry, as well as Armstrong’s industry forecast for the near future.

Source: Stifel Global Transportation & Logistics Equity Research


Former trucking journalist slams the industry in Times’ op-ed

Howard Abramson, who spent 16 years as chief editor of Transport Topics, arguably the nation’s leading trucking paper, as well as its publisher for a good part of that time, takes the industry to task in this New York Times op-ed.

Source: The New York Times


The American Trucking Associations’ response to the op-ed

Bill Graves, head of the trucking trade group, penned a detailed rebuttal to Abramson’s op-ed. ATA submitted the piece to the Times for op-ed consideration. The Times did not publish it.

Source: American Trucking Associations


Unemployment Among Young Adults: Exploring Employer-led Solutions

A Brookings Institution report suggests that distribution and logistics companies need to do a better job of bringing young people into the industry.

Source: Brookings Institution


Automated trucks get funding from Intel Capital and Lockheed Martin

Automated driving technology got a big push when Peloton Technology, of Mountain View, Calif., announced it had won $17 million in funding from investors including Intel Capital and Lockheed Martin to develop a “truck platooning” system to improve driving safety and fuel-efficiency by sharing vehicle-to-vehicle communications between trucks.

Source: Street Insider.com

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.


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