Archives for November 2015

Chain links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 11/25/2015 | 7:31 AM

Yes, Virginia, there is a cloud. Why were U.S. ports empty leading up to peak season? And a global insurer enters the transportation market to underwrite assets.


The real-world consequences of the cloud

“The cloud,” it turns out, is not some amorphous, disembodied place in the ether. It’s a series of gigantic, energy-devouring data storage facilities in places like Swedish Lapland. (Facebook has a facility there that runs on hydropower.) This interview with Tung-Hui Hu, a former network engineer and author of the book A Prehistory of the Cloud, explains the technology behind the cloud and traces its development back to the Cold War and—surprisingly—the Southern Pacific Railroad. 

Source: The Boston Globe


Global trade slowdown: The mystery of empty U.S. ports

The rush of consumer traffic at America’s most popular stores in the weeks before Christmas is usually preceded by heavy traffic at American ports. But not this year. 

Source: Fortune.com


Logistics of online shopping are still something of a mess

Online retailers are still struggling to get the back-end logistics right. Which means that the industry is very probably riding into a perfect storm on November 27, also known as Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the US and the UK.

Source: The Financial Times 


Just paint the whole week black

The “Black Friday” phenomenon has morphed into a week-long event, thus taking some pressure off logistics and delivery firms.

Source: Forbes


Allianz covers the world

Allianz, the global insurance giant, forms a transportation underwriting operation to insure assets 

Source: Allianz


The potential of Uber 

Uber wants to become a logistics firm by transporting everything, not just people, a UK publication says.

Source: The Drum 


How to get to profitable fulfillment

A JDA executive writes about the five ways of achieving profitable fulfillment while satisfying the increasing demands of customers.

Source: Multichannel Merchant

Chain links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 11/18/2015 | 5:57 AM


RFID sales roll on. UPS stays bullish on China. And a primer on how transport and logistics firms can boost their profits


RFID rolls to sales of $10.1 billion in 2015

Technology buyers in supply chain and other market segments pushed RFID tags to burgeoning sales in 2015, with 9.1 billion tags being sold in 2015, up from 7.8 billion tags in 2014, according to a IDTechEx Research report titled "RFID Forecasts, Players, Opportunities 2016-2026" report. 

Source: IDTechEx Research


What does the Trans Pacific Partnership mean for supply chain professionals?

Details on the Pacific Rim trade deal, formally known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), were finally released last Friday. Since then, the ARC Advisory Group’s Clint Reiser has spent a good deal of time reviewing how the TPP trade agreement will impact logistics and supply chain professionals. Find out what he has to say in this Q&A with Steve Banker.

Source: Forbes.com


The future of deliveries

The future of delivery might involve small drones zooming above pedestrians, cyclists and motorists at high speeds. Amazon and now Wal-Mart are moving down this path. Or it might be something a lot slower that travels on sidewalks.

Source: The Washington Post 


Consolidation in the 3PL industry: Why is it happening, and what does it mean?

Dr. Robert C. Lieb, professor of Supply Chain Management at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, has been conducting research on the third-party logistics (3PL) industry for more than two decades. In this article, he reveals what CEOs of major 3PLS in Europe, North America, and Asia had to say about the current wave of 3PL mergers and acquisitions. He also outlines the kinds of problems that often arise in 3PL mergers, and briefly suggests some ways to address or prevent them.

Source: CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly


New York Times turns thumbs-down on House-passed highway bill 

A Gray Lady editorial says the bill falls short on highway funding and safety.

Source: The New York Times


UPS stays bullish on China

Despite worries over the economic slowdown, UPS Inc. said 2015 will turn out to be one of its best years there, according to Nando Cesarone, president of UPS Asia Pacific region. Cesarone said UPS found opportunities in China long before the economy showed double-digit growth, and it will do so again.

Source: China Daily


Creating value in transportation and logistics

Transportation and logistics companies have been struggling more than other sectors to improve their capital-market performance. This article discusses how they can increase their economic profit.

Source: McKinsey & Co.


Modern warehousing capabilities mirror the goals of industrial Internet of Things

Machine vision sensors provides the basis for the increase in automation in the warehouse, according to this blog post by Sal Spada, research director for discrete automation at ARC Advisory Group.

Source: Logistics Viewpoints



Chain Links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 11/11/2015 | 2:24 AM


Eight big-picture logistics trends. Wal-Mart plays hardball with its suppliers. And a survey shows some retailers may have made their own bed before the holidays even start.

Eight predictions that will shape the future of logistics

In this blog post, futurist and trendwatcher Richard van Hooijdonklooks at technological shifts that he says will revolutionize the future of logistics. We’re not just talking delivery drones here; we’re talking innovations like underground tubes through which goods will be transported via driverless steel carts.

 Source: richardvanhooijdonk.com


Warming opens famed Northwest Passage to navigation 

Beneath the Aurora Borealis an oil tanker glides through the night past the Coast Guard ice-breaker Amundsen and vanishes into the maze of shoals and straits of the Northwest Passage, navigating waters that for millennia were frozen over this time of year. Warming has forced a retreat of the polar ice cap, opening up a sea route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for several months of the year.

Source: Yahoo.com


Wal-Mart’s message to suppliers: “Talk to the hand” 

Despite public statements that it wants to “do right” and develop more strategic relationships with its suppliers, retail behemoth Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has issued an ultimatum to many of them: cut your prices. And no backtalk allowed. At a recent supplier meeting, according to a Reuters report, suppliers were not allowed to ask questions. In this blog post, Adrian Gonzalez questions the wisdom of Wal-Mart’s return to the old days of squeezing suppliers.

Source: Talking Logistics, by Adrian Gonzalez


For some retailers, the holidays may already be over

JDA’s 2015 Consumer Survey finds that half of shoppers who experienced a prior issue with a retailer will not return for “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” deals, and nothing will change their minds.

Source: Supply Chain Network

Retailers Focus on Large Distribution Centers, Small Urban Warehouses for Fast Delivery

As third quarter fundamentals continue to show improvement in the industrial sector, retailers are honing their distribution center strategy to meet current e-commerce demands. 

Source: National Real Estate Investor


Game Changing Strategies: Respond to the Titans

Jim Tompkins, CEO of consultancy Tompkins International, offers a new thought leadership video. He explains the importance of the Titans’ supply chains and why businesses must respond to Alibaba, Amazon.com, and Wal-Mart Stores through creating a competitive supply chain. With the use of graphics, quotes, data, and proven results, it is clear businesses must be able to compete with the Titans in order to achieve profitability.  

Source: Tompkins International

Chain Links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 11/04/2015 | 2:52 AM


An Uber-trucker comes to market with deep pockets. An expert touts RFID’s value beyond inventory visibility. And a new home for a whole lot of bats.


Convoy Debuts, Aiming to Be the Uber of Trucks

A Seattle-based startup aims to bring trucking into the 21st century: Nothing new there, except that Convoy is backed by some heavy artillery: Amazon.com Founder Jeff Bezos, Salesforce Founder Marc Benioff, and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp. 

Source: Bloomberg.com


Beyond Inventory Visibility

Retailers should use RFID data to improve business processes and enable a true omnichannel shopping experience, writes RFID expert Bill Hardgrave. Here’s what they need to do.

Source: RFIDjournal.com


Consumers Demand More Visibility Into the Supply Chain

Consumers are beginning to ask tough questions of big brands. Shoppers are asking why store shelves are empty. Online browsers are wondering why they can’t track goods bought over the Internet. And, perhaps most crucially for modern business, people are beginning to ask where their goods come from and who made them. 

Source: Forbes.com


DOT builds condos for bats under bridge

About 3,000 bats that have been living under a bridge will come home to new digs next spring thanks to efforts of Minnesota state highway and wildlife officials. The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently installed a “bat condo” and three additional bunkers alongside the new Interstate 90 bridges over the Mississippi River to house a “significant” colony of little brown bats that have been roosting in the old bridge, which is scheduled to come down next year. The project is part of an effort to preserve bats because they are threatened by white-nose syndrome. 

Source: Winonadailynews.com


7 Tips on How to Attend a Trade Show

We attend numerous trade shows and know how valuable they can be. Yet they also can also be overwhelming, and it’s not easy to get the full benefits of attendance. Lantech, the makers of stretch wrappers, case erectors, and other material handling equipment, has posted an item on it company blog that includes tips for getting the most out of a trade show, both on the floor and after you return to home base. 

Source: Lantech


Google plans commercial drone deliveries by 2017 

The search giant plans to launch “Project Wing” with the flying robot machines.

Source: BBC


Target tests international expansion through online portals

After its missteps opening brick and mortar stores in Canada, Target is exploring a new strategy for expanding internationally: entering a new market digitally. To handle the shipping end of this challenge, the company is turning to a perhaps surprising choice: eBay’s global shipping program. 

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune


The robots chasing Amazon

Amazon made waves when it purchased Kiva Systems for $775 million and then stopped selling its warehouse robotic system to anyone else in the marketplace. But now new competitors are arising, such as Fetch Robotics. Fetch’s wheeled robot follows pickers with a bin until the bin is full and then darts off to the packing area.

Source: Bloomberg Business


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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