Archives for January 2016

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 01/27/2016 | 9:40 AM


Collaborating to build superior material handling systems. Amazon’s air cargo delivery strategy questioned. And a yen for the logistics of cage-free hens.


Developing a successful ownership strategy

Procuring and installing a sophisticated automated material handling system is a rewarding and high-energy venture typically involving a broad, cross-functional team.

Source: Dematic

Do you have control over your inbound freight?

Transportation Management software is the only smart way to manage and move outbound freight. But outbound freight represents just a fraction of your overall freight operations.

Source: Best Transport

Dayton, Ohio, gives Columbus a run for its money as a center of logistics activity and jobs

Columbus, Ohio, has rightfully received plenty of press over the years for the significant role it plays as one of the country’s biggest multimodal logistics hubs. But Columbus is not the U.S. Midwest’s only place to be when it comes to logistics and distribution. Nearby Dayton also generates a lot of revenue and jobs from logistics activity—some $2.5 billion in economic activity and 19,000 jobs, according to a report commissioned by the Dayton Area Logistics Association, which operates under the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Source: Dayton Daily News

Macy’s picks RFID to support omnichannel shopping

There has been a lot of talk about how brick-and-mortar stores can be used to fulfill online orders. Here is a short article that details how one major retailer is accomplishing this.

Source: Chain Store Age

Johnson and Tyco could merge in supply chain mash-up

Two leading supply chain technology providers mat be in talks to merge, in a move that would further consolidate the industry and create a corporate giant with $50 billion in global revenue. Batteries and HVAC provider Johnson Controls Inc. is in advanced talks to combine with retail-industry and fire suppression tech maker Tyco International PLC.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Seko adds aerospace logistics division

Seko Logistics has established a division dedicated to supporting the aserospace sector, an effort to push Seko deeper into supporting the massive global vertical

Source: Air Cargo World

The complicated logistics of cage free eggs

The practice of getting cage free eggs to market keeps hens—and logistics practitioners—awake at night.

Source: Wired

Barclays research note questions Amazon’s air cargo network strategy

Investment firm Barclays wonders why Amazon.com needs to build a costly air cargo network to speed deliveries when it can accomplish the same objective by erecting more local and regional fulfillment centers.

Source: Air Cargo World

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 01/20/2016 | 5:46 AM

Emerging markets logistics have great futures (next year). A logistics start-up focuses not on profits but on cutting dad’s costs. And logistics users applaud surge in M&A activity.


Emerging markets logistics have great future, rocky present

Despite some rough recent times, logistics in emerging markets still have great potential. The key is getting through the present.

Source: Atlantic Journal of Transportation

Pennsylvania county sends out logistics siren song

Berke’s County, Pa. has positioned itself as a logistics hub for the region, which includes such familiar towns as Reading

Logistics startup had roots in toy business

Entrepreneurs usually launch logistics firms to make profits, but two partners in Bentonville, Ark., say they founded RR Logistics in an effort to cut shipping costs at the toy-making business owned by the father of one of the men. Rodney Redman and Michael Bahn have been friends since they played on the same third-grade soccer team, but they now manage a truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, ocean, and air cargo business that acts as a 3PL for a growing list of clients.

Source: Arkansas Online

Global Packaging Trends 2016

This report from market intelligence firm Mintel identifies six trends shaping the future of packaging across the globe: digital printing, flexible packaging (such as pouches), clear label messages, eco-responsible packaging, a wider variety of size options, and mobile-engaged packaging.

Source: Mintel website

Attracting millennials to logistics jobs

Millennials don’t naturally gravitate towards logistics careers. It will be up to the industry to change the perception that the industry isn’t stimulating enough to make a career of

Source: Supply and Demand Chain Executive

UPS using 3-D printing to transform model--report

UPS Inc. will rely more on 3-D printing to help get things done

Source: 3dprint

Logistics enters 2016 in midst of M&A boom

The logistics industry is coming off a record M&A year in 2015, and the new year brings in some favorable views from logistics users on the trend

Source: Heavy-duty Trucking

Chain Links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 01/13/2016 | 6:37 AM


Inventory tracking is key to boosting warehouse productivity. Big data gains in supply chain prominence. And a rocky road for online fulfillment.


Why Inventory Tracking is Foundation of Boosting Warehouse Productivity

An operation that relies on dated methods or, even worse, the memory of workers to locate inventory is wasting time and money. If you spend time chasing inventory the productivity of your operation automatically suffers.

Source: Totaltrax, Inc.


Big Data: The Latest Rage in Supply Chain Management

Early uses of big data were concentrated in two areas: customer segmentation/marketing effectiveness, and financial services, particularly trading. Recently, supply chain has become the “next big thing."

Source: CFO


Autonomous Mobile Robots in the Warehouse TODAY?

Clint Reiser of the ARC Advisory Group provides an excellent round-up of autonomous mobile robots that are currently available for the warehouse. They include offerings from established providers such as KNAPP and Swisslog as well as startups like Locus Robotics System and GreyOrange Butler.

Source: Logistics Viewpoints


Webcam captures trucks hitting low bridge

Driving a truck is harder than it looks, and a popular website proves this point with video footage of a seemingly endless number of trucks scraping their roofs beneath an 11-foot, 8-inch high railroad trestle bridge in Durham, N.C. Rental boxtrucks with inexperienced drivers are the most common victims, leaving plenty of paint on a sacrificial crash beam installed to protect the bridge structure from frequent impacts.

Source: 11 Foot 8.


Online shoppers see rising snags with “click and collect” model

Shoppers continued to drive revenue to online retailers’ sites in the 2015 holiday season despite reports of increasing problems with fulfillment, according to a survey of British consumers done by YouGov for JDA Software Group Inc. and Centiro Group AB. Negative impacts included: lack of a dedicated pickup area in-store, long waiting times, and staff being unable to locate items in-store.

Source: JDA Software Group Inc.


Seven in 10 online shoppers abandon carts before buying

Online sales soared to $340b billion in 2015, but the amount could have been even higher if a whopping 69 percent of online shopping carts had not been abandoned before checkout, according to a study from the Baymard Institute. The firm calculated an average of 32 studies on e-commerce shopping trends to arrive at the figure.

Source: Baymard Institute


Bar-Code Readers Get Makeover to Spur Bustling Warehouses

New versions aim to use better ergonomics to speed up assembly, packing and shipping of online orders

Source: Wall Street Journal


What’s your Strategy for Supply Chain Disclosure?

Thanks to social media and an increasing flood of data, the capacity to generate causes and controversies almost instantly has become the new norm in today’s “super-transparent society.” Most business leaders have not yet come to grips with the new reality — and what it means for their organizations.

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review

Chain Links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 01/06/2016 | 6:35 AM

Acquiring IT power to compete in e-commerce. Coping with the returns avalanche. And a venerable newspaper gets schooled in the supply chain.


Acquiring IT power to compete in e-commerce

In the rapidly growing e-commerce market, consumers are demanding faster shipping times, but are not willing to pay higher costs. This is putting logistics companies in a challenging position to keep their customers happy. Providers are spending more on technology so they can keep up with the competitive logistics sector, and are looking for acquisitions to help.

Source: The Middle Market


Obituary: Evan Schumacher, logistics technology entrepreneur, at 46

To those who’ve been in transportation and logistics for a while, Evan Schumacher’s name—and those of two of the companies he launched—will be familiar. Schumacher, who died in December of a rare cancer, launched the online logistics and delivery company Celarix, as well as Open Mile, a technology-based truckload brokerage. The latter was acquired in 2013 by Echo Global Logistics, where Schumacher was chief commercial officer until his passing.

Source: The Boston Globe


Claire’s Stores executive sees opportunity for women in logistics

Raised by a single mother, Deborah Winkleblack worked her way up the logistics ranks as one of the few women executives in a predominantly male industry. Today, she is vice president of international logistics and compliance for Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Claire's Stores Inc., where she travels internationally to ensure merchandise reaches retail stores worldwide.

Source: Daily Herald


The other side of lower fuel prices

The decline in gas and diesel prices has hit the flow of state tax revenue that is pegged to the price at the pump. So in Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin has ordered a $112.5 million cut in the state’s Transportation Cabinet budget.

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal


Boston Globe invests in routing software to improve newspaper delivery

After failing to deliver newspapers to thousands of subscribers over the winter break, the Boston Globe’s new distribution partner will invest in route-optimization software to help its drivers adjust to a network of fewer, but bigger, warehouses, California-based ACI said.

Source: WBUR


JDA announces SIG schedule for warehouse software meetings

Users of warehouse management system (WMS) software from JDA Software Group Inc. can learn more about the platforms in a new series of special interest group (SIG) meetings announced for the first quarter of 2016. The phone-based meetings will allow attendees to influence product enhancements, learn about the future software roadmap, and network with peers on subjects such as workforce management, advanced warehouse replenishment, intelligent fulfillment, and dozens of other subjects.

Source: JDA Software Group Inc.


Americans forecasted to break record for returning holiday gift parcels

UPS was bracing itself to handle a record number of product returns from dissatisfied consumers on Jan. 6 as a wave of reverse logistics rebounds from the annual holiday shopping rush. The company expected to carry more than a million packages on Jan. 6 alone—known as National Returns Day—and more than five million by the end of the first week of January, marking an increase of over half a million over 2015 levels.

Source: UPS


Report: Container terminal operators should consider variable pricing

The management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. suggests in a recent article that container terminal operators should look at a variable pricing scheme for their services.

 “Much remains to be worked out, but we estimate that if the industry instituted variable pricing, the improvement in productivity would be worth $2 billion to $3 billion annually,” said the article written by Timo Glave and Steve Saxon, who work at McKinsey’s Copenhagen and Beijing offices, respectively.

Source: AmericanShipper.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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