Archives for December 2015

Chain Links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 12/30/2015 | 7:46 AM

Logistics is sexy (we knew that). Amazon is growing its share of everything it touches (we knew that). And China’s logistics space continues to grow apace (ditto)


Logistics is sexy!...Really!

Convincing people that the development of the logistics industry is a scintillating topic is difficult. Bring up supply chain management, cold-chain storage, or international freight shipments and you will probably get a blank stare. But logistics don’t just go round the world—it also makes the world go round, and that’s why some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Uber, Amazon, and Alibaba, are obsessed with it.

Source: Techcrunch

Amazon Is Capturing Bigger Slice of U.S. Online Holiday Spending

Amazon.com is increasing its share of U.S. online spending during the holiday season, even as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and other rivals seek to attract consumers with promotional sales and free deliveries.

Source: Bloomberg

Truckers pair up to work around hours of service caps

Some haulers are coming up with a creative solution to haul cargo over more time—and miles—than hours of service regulations allow, the Wall Street Journal reports. By driving in pairs, teams of two drivers can alternate their time at the wheel and keep a truck in nearly constant motion, stopping only to exchange cargo, fill gas tanks, and give drivers pit stops.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Amazon on track to boost expedited shipping volume in 2016

Online mega-retailer Amazon.com added more than three million new members to its subscription-based Amazon Prime service in the third week of December alone.

They will join “tens of millions” of global members in the expedited delivery program, and promise a boost for 2016 in the company’s shipping volume for two-day shipping, same-day delivery, and Prime Now two-hour delivery services.

Source: Amazon.com Inc.

New Argentinean president’s reforms include ending currency controls, import restrictions, export taxes

What a difference an election makes. Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, has issued orders to reverse some of the regulations and taxes that made trade with Argentina so difficult and restrictive under his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The measures, which include lifting controls on foreign currency and ending some restrictions on imports and taxes on exports, should bring more predictability to the country’s markets and boost economic growth.

Source: Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Family of man killed by forklift sues manufacturer

The family of a man killed a year ago by a forklift at the Elizabeth Arden Logistics Center in Roanoke has sued the manufacturer, Raymond Corp., for $10 million.

Source: WSLS-TV

China’s logistics industry continued to grow from January through November-report

China’s logistics sector continued to show solid growth for most of calendar year 2015, according to a report. However, the report cautioned that the industry still has a ways to go to operate efficiently.

Source: CNTV


Chain links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 12/23/2015 | 8:31 AM


Pharma delivery vans targeted by desperate thieves. Santa’s little robot helper. And a logistics consortium is formed to shut the supply chain to animal poachers.


Pharmacy delivery vans targeted by thieves seeking painkillers

Thieves are not as interested in hijacking truckloads or stealing pallets of medications as they were even two years ago. Now they’re increasingly targeting “last mile” courier deliveries of pharmaceuticals from distribution centers to pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics in search of opiate-based painkillers. The article quotes statistics from research firm FreightWatch International, which has documented nearly 100 last-mile thefts in the last two years. Pharmaceuticals represented 98 percent of those thefts, according to FreightWatch. The Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition is focusing more of its attention on combatting last-mile theft, which usually involves firearms and often turns violent.

   Source: STAT News Service

Five supply chain predictions for 2016

   Here are five not-so-obvious predictions for the coming year, including one that involves an innovative payment process that promises to streamline supply chain transactions.

   Source: Forbes.com

Santa’s little robot helper?

   The former co-founders of telecommunications firm Skype have launched a company called Starship Technologies to test self-driving delivery robots in London. Fleets of the small autonomous of ground-based drones could be used to improve local delivery of goods and groceries. The as yet unnamed robots are small, safe, practical and free from CO2 emissions, according to the developers.

     Source: AJOT

Parcel carriers rent consumer vans

   People who decide to move or travel in December could find it hard to find rental vans this year, since major parcel carriers have launched their annual holiday rite of renting vans to deliver the mail. Exacerbated by the increased number of deliveries triggered by online shopping, Fed Ex, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service have started renting consumer vehicles such as U-Haul vans to handle the extra volume.

   Source: The Washington Post

Toy delivery service chooses Uber instead of overnight shipping

   Some San Francisco residents may think Santa’s sleigh looks like an Uber vehicle this year. But don’t blame them for hitting the eggnog—the online toy rental service Pley has announced it will use the UberRush on-demand delivery network to achieve faster shipping speeds than overnight deliveries from traditional parcel carriers.

Source: Pley

   A supply chain to stop animal poaching

   A global logistics consortium has been formed to help shut down the supply chain supporting the illegal trade of wildlife.

   Source: Supply Management

   Take a hard look at reverse logistics  

   Companies need to start taking a closer look at reverse logistics, according to the president and CEO of ModusLink Global Solutions. A strong reverse logistics model can improve bottom line performance if the available data flows are analyzed and applied correctly, John Boucher writes.

Source: EBN Online

Chain links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 12/16/2015 | 7:47 AM

The high cost of not updating your DC. Supply chain innovation in an Obamacare world. And how supply chain trends are affecting the pallet market.


The high cost of not modernizing your DC

A sharp increase in orders should be a boon for any company. In reality, it could result in chaos if your distribution center proves unequipped to efficiently handle the growing number of SKUs. As tempting as it may be to simply hire more workers, labor alone will not solve warehouse capacity and functionality issues.

SOURCE: TotalTrax, Inc.

Supply Chain Innovation in an ACA World

Medical device manufacturing and distribution is a nearly $110 billion industry. But this industry is under pressure like never before due to the Affordable Care Act. That requires companies to look at managing their supply chains in smarter ways.

SOURCE: Cardinal Health


Amazon buying trucks is boring but absolutely necessary

You’re about to see Amazon-branded big rigs out on the highway, driving between the company’s sprawling warehouses. As for why, it all has to do with the e-tailer’s business model.

Source: Wired.com

Markets in Transition: Material Handling Trends as Pallet Market Disruptors

Rick LeBlanc is well known in the pallet world for having the pulse on trends and developments in the field. Here he identifies seven material handling macro trends that are affecting the pallet market.

Source: Pallet Enterprise

Supplier Audits Rise to the Fore — At Least, They Should

As supply chains become more global and complex, it can be harder to identify where potential risks and vulnerabilities may lie. This article suggests additional factors to consider when auditing your supply chain such as the sourcing of objectionable products and materials and whether your suppliers have continuity plans in place.

Source: CFO magazine

Average e-commerce delivery time slower than last year

Top retailers are delivering products with speed, cost, and accuracy under pressure during the holiday shopping rush, but a broad study of e-commerce businesses by the consultancy Kurt Salmon shows that outside of the top 10 performers, the average order-to-delivery time across 62 retailers studied was 6.9 days—20% slower than last year’s number.

Source: Kurt Salmon

Amazon continues to open its fulfillment network to third parties

Amazon.com already sets the pace in the e-commerce market for speed and accuracy in delivering parcels to its own online shoppers, and now the Internet giant is further opening up its vaunted fulfillment network to third party stores. Amazon recently launched its Prime Now service in Chicago, offering one-hour delivery of items ordered from local grocery, prepared meals, and baked goods stores in the city.

Source: Amazon.com

Chain Links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 12/09/2015 | 8:09 AM

We need Amazon’s drones (really?). Target taps company for same-day grocery delivery. And retailer stock-outs continue to be a common problem.

Amazon’s drones may be a marketing stunt, but we kinda need them

There’s no doubt that Amazon’s Cyber-Monday Eve update on “Prime Air,” its plan to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less via drones (eventually), is a carefully timed marketing ploy to drum up publicity on the biggest day of Amazon’s year. And Amazon hasn’t said when Prime Air will launch. But the sooner it does, the better for all of us.

Source: Wired.com

UPS delivery partner invests to tackle Christmas gifts stuck at 'customs sheds'

Last Christmas, failure to pay correct duties on parcels sent beyond the European Union to the U.S. and other countries caused an average delay of over 11 days at customs clearance points. This season, more than 10% of such deliveries could miss arriving for Christmas day. International courier operator ParcelHero, which partners with DHL and UPS, is making a big push to help consumers avoid common pitfall

Source: Forbes.com

Retailers are losing $1.75 trillion over this

Shipping costs aren't the only thing dragging down retailers' digital profits this holiday season. As operations become more complex for companies doing business both online and in store, out-of-stocks, overstocks, and returns are costing retailers $1.75 trillion a year — a number that's only moving higher.

Source: CNBC.com

Target taps Instacart for same-day grocery delivery in Chicago

Hungry shoppers can now order same-day grocery delivery from Target Corp. in Chicago as well as Minneapolis and San Francisco, following the online retailer’s move to enlist mobile grocery shopping app Instacart to cover the city. Buyers who use the app can choose to have food delivered to their home within an hour, two hours or up to seven days in advance.

Source: Internet Retailer

Small businesses have logistics advantage

With their nimble business moves, small and medium businesses (SMBs) have an advantage over large, lumbering corporations in leveraging logistics and supply chain maneuvers. The smaller firms overcome their deficit in resources with a greater use of innovation and personal touch in keeping customers happy.

Source: The Telegraph (U.K.)

E-Commerce in Canada dominated by U.S. retailers

U.S.-based retailers dominate the business-to-consumer e-commerce market in Canada, according to a report from a German market research firm.

Source: yStats.com


Chain links: What we’re reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 12/02/2015 | 6:54 AM

Google’s overnight delivery expands in southern California. Surveillance trailers get the drop on cargo thieves. And “friendly” warehouse robots work collegially with humans (yup!)


Google Express delivery service expands throughout SoCal

The neighborhoods of West Los Angeles may have gotten it first, but Google's overnight delivery service, Google Express, is now available to everyone in Southern California, from San Diego to Anaheim to Downtown L.A.

Source: Los Angeles Times

“Sting trailers” offer glimpse into world of cargo thieves

Travelers Cos., the New York-based insurance company, is using a “sting” truck trailer equipped with surveillance gear to help catch cargo thieves. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have used the trailer, which Travelers developed at its Windsor, Conn., lab, hundreds of times, resulting in dozens of arrests. Similar trailers are used by a handful of law enforcement agencies and retail and trucking companies. The sting trailers give authorities a look at how cargo thieves operate and help carriers improve security.

Source: The Associated Press

Amazon video shows new parcel delivery drone

A new parcel delivery drone will take off and land vertically, but fly horizontally up to 15 miles like a small airplane, according to a video released Sunday by Amazon promoting its Prime Air service. Launching the network of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may take some time, however, since the company admits it cannot deploy the system until it achieves “the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.”

Source: Amazon.com

Holiday shoppers flock to their keyboards

Americans chose their keyboards and smartphones over brick and mortar shops for holiday shopping on Nov. 28 and 29, with 103 million people shopping online and 102 million visiting retail stores, according to the National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving Weekend Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. Average spending per person over the weekend totaled $299.60.

Source: National Retail Federation

`Friendly’ robots help smaller firms chase Amazon

A new player in robotics wants to give other e-tailers the same benefits that the old Kiva Systems bots gives its parent, Amazon.com. Locus Robotics is an offshoot of Massachusetts-based Quiet Logistics, a third-party order fulfillment company that gets merchandise out the door for apparel retailers like Zara, Gilt Groupe, and Bonobos. The idea behind its bots isn’t just to replace humans, but to create a system where everyone can work together more efficiently.

Source: Wired

Big Game, Big Disruptions

Super Bowl 50, set for Feb. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., will disrupt transportation in the San Francisco area for about three weeks, including nearly a week after the game, according to officials.

Source: KGO-TV

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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