Archives for February 2016

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 02/24/2016 | 10:59 AM

GE’s big bet on data and analytics. FedEx, UPS face dual threats to B2C delivery share, investment firm says. And a review and ratings site for truckers and brokers.

The danger of fatigue cracks on container cranes

The Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) has published an information paper on the structural examination of container handling cranes in ports and terminals. The paper is designed to increase understanding of the risks posed by fatigue failure, highlight the importance of structural examination and give practical guidance to help terminal personnel to detect cracks through visual examination of ship-to-shore (STS), rail mounted gantry (RMG) and rubber tyred gantry (RTG) container handling cranes. 

Source: PEMA

GE’s big bet on data and analytics

GE has bet big on the Industrial Internet — the convergence of industrial machines, data, and the Internet. The company is putting sensors on gas turbines, jet engines, and other machines; connecting them to the cloud; and analyzing the resulting flow of data. The goal: identify ways to improve machine productivity and reliability. This MIT Sloan Management Review case study looks at how this traditional manufacturer is remaking itself into a modern digital business.

Source: MIT

Evaluating three identification technologies

Laser, Camera, RFID? How can you ensure the best match between your needs and the available AIDC technologies? This white paper provides a concise overview of their benefits and limitations.

Source: SICK

Ralph Lauren boots XPO from North Carolina warehouse

XPO has been on a roll in recent months, consolidating the logistics sector through takeovers of large firms like Con-Way Inc. and Norbert Dentressangle. But the firm got a rare piece of bad news last week when fashion retailer Ralph Lauren announced it would dismiss XPO and assume control of its own warehousing and inventory management in a North Carolina facility.

Source: Retail Dive

Iran buys 5,000 train cars from Russian firm

Iran continued to rapidly rebuild its logistics infrastructure after agreeing to strict nuclear enrichment caps in a deal allowing it to rejoin the global economic community. In the latest move, the country said it planned to take delivery of 5,000 freight cars from a Russian train equipment firm.

Source: Tasnim News Agency

FedEx, UPS face twin threats to delivery business: Morgan Stanley

Investment firm Morgan Stanley & Co. says UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. face two major threats to their ground shipping business: selective insourcing from e-commerce giants like Amazon (AMZN) on one end, and last-mile delivery competition on the other.

Source: Barron’s

AAR gets visual in touting value of rail industry

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has debuted the latest version of its nine-year-old “Freight Rail Works” campaign, which goes heavy on the visuals to describe freight rail’s ongoing private investments in building, growing and maintaining the nation's network, and to demonstrate the railroads’ “unique and integral role” in moving 54 tons for every American each year.

Source: Railway Age

Company forms Yelp-like model for trucking reviews

A Richmond, Va.-based company called “ScoopMonkey” wants to be the trucking industry’s version of Yelp, the wildly popular review and ratings app. ScoopMonkey offers The website offers a way for industry pros to post reviews and ratings of carriers and brokers. ScoopMonkey CEO Eddie Peloke and Richmond entrepreneur Pat Hull said the rating system will help make the trucking industry safer and more efficient

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Three “Aerotropolises” powering the global economy

This blog post from UPS identifies three logistics hubs that play an important role in international air cargo routes: Zhengzhou, China; Dubai World Central, and Panama City.

Source: UPS Longitudes

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 02/17/2016 | 10:36 AM

Amazon takes on the lord almighty. Switzerland goes underground to develop a national logistics network. And DOT rings in its golden anniversary.


Amazon Building Global Delivery Business to Take On Alibaba

Bloomberg Business reporter Spencer Soper got ahold of an internal report from Amazon that envisions a global delivery network. Called “Dragon Boat,” this project is continuing as planned, according to internal sources, and would spur the launch of a new venture called “Global Supply Chain by Amazon.”

Source: BloombergBusiness

Revolutionize your product packaging strategy in 2016

While many companies overlook their packaging supply chain, there are huge opportunities to reduce lead times and cost by creating a “customized packaging supplier network,” according to this article from Steve Schoultz, vice president of Sourcing and Packaging for the packaging company InnerWorkings.

Source: Packaging World

Companies are reimagining business processes with algorithms

This Harvard Busines Review article discusses how some business are using “machine reengineering” to quickly redesign their processes. The redesigns are based on the predictive capabilities of machine-learning algorithms. The article discusses a global consumer food company implemented a collision avoidance system that helped alert delivery drivers of potential dangers.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Real estate executives predict logistics rents to peak in 2016

Industrial property is at a premium, vacancies are at all-time lows, and rents have been steadily rising. But that multi-year cycle may end this year as developers begin to add large amounts of supply, and more so-called spec property hits the market.

Source: National Real Estate Investor

Under the mountains for the Swiss supply chain

Switzerland is planning a mega-project called “Cargo sous terrain” that is envisioned as a nation-wide, underground, autonomous transport network. Specifically the system comprises a three-lane network hosting electric, drone delivery capsules. The vehicles are to be designed around the standard cargo Euro-pallet (being able to hold two), and will travel via an induction rail process at 30 kilometers per hour, 24/7. Switzerland has long been at the crossroads of pan-European transport, but its mountainous terrain has posed unique challenges.

Source: Global Risk Insights

FedEx ramps up its charitable giving

FedEx Corp. rolled out a charitable giving program, FedEx Cares, which will invest $200 million in more than 200 communities over five years. The Memphis-based delivery giant increased its corporate giving budget by 35% to meet the goal during the fiscal year that began July 1, said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president, FedEx Integrated Marketing Communications. FedEx officials said $50 million of the commitment would be in donated shipping and logistics services for disaster relief efforts and special transportation.

Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal via Transport Topics

DOT holds golden anniversary celebration

The U.S. Department of Transportation was created in late 1966 and started operations in early 1967. Getting a jump on the commemoration, DOT held a 50th anniversary celebration last week hosted by Secretary Anthony Foxx and featuring six of his predecessors, including 93-year-old Alan Boyd, the first DOT secretary.

Source: Transport Topics

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 02/10/2016 | 7:57 AM


The challenge of revamping supply chains to support omnichannel fulfillment. Logistics M&A continues active. And an online professional connection site for forklift drivers.

Redesigning The Supply Chain Organization for Omnichannels: Why Is This So Challenging?

As Supply Chain Management (SCM) continues to expand in its understanding, its impacts on stakeholder value, and its role in the business and operational strategies of each company, the question of the most effective organizational design has risen to the executive suite along with the awareness of its growing influence. 

Source: Tompkins International

The predictive enterprise: Where data science meets supply chain

Most companies are sitting on a goldmine of untapped supply chain data that has the ability to give organizations a competitive edge. Yet, according to a recent Accenture survey, only 17 percent of executives say they have implemented analytics in one or more of their supply chain functions.

Source: DHL

Shippers fight climate change by picking cleaner cargo vessels

International shippers usually choose a maritime carrier based on variables like cost, speed, security, or technology, but now a site called Shipping Efficiency lets users search a database that ranks 76,000 cargo ships by their carbon dioxide emissions, and pick a partner based on environmental impact.

Source: Shipping Efficiency

Logistics firms pursue mergers and acquisitions despite modest economic outlook

The logistics industry continues to exercise caution due to high inventories and the decelerating global economic rebound, according to SDR Ventures, a Colorado investment bank that releases a quarterly M&A trends report on the sector. Despite that uncertain outlook, the industry is showing optimism by investing in improving operations and keeping up a quick pace on mergers and consolidations.

Source: SDR Ventures, Inc.

Port of Boston buys security scanner for shipping containers

Carriers moving shipping containers through the Port of Boston could soon see their containers scanned for drugs or radioactive material with a $16 million x-ray scanner the size of a car-wash building. Designed by a former MIT physics professor, this SmartScan 3D machine can differentiate between substances that look identical on conventional x-ray screens, such as cocaine and salt.

Source: Boston Globe

Jobcase targets blue-collar workers left out of LinkedIn 

For a doctor, engineer, or bank executive, managing a career network has never been easier, with sites such as LinkedIn offering ways to make professional connections and climb to the next job. But what about retail clerks, landscapers, and forklift operators?Jobcase.com, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company, is trying to become the networking site for a large but overlooked segment of the U.S. labor market, helping cooks, cleaners, and construction workers find jobs, build skills, and support others in similar roles.

Source: Boston Globe

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 02/03/2016 | 8:39 AM


Prologis credits e-commerce with revenue gain. US 3PL market may hit $94 billion by 2020. And AWESOME sets April meeting.

Prologis rides e-commerce wave to rising warehouse rental revenue

The global warehouse and industrial real estate firm Prologis Inc. pointed to rising e-commerce activity as a prime reason that the firm’s revenue jumped from $1.8 billion in 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2015, since online shopping trends drove higher demand for DC space than retail store replenishment.

Source: Prologis, Inc.

Iran emerges from economic sanctions with CMA CGM partnership

Following its agreement to strict caps on nuclear enrichment activity in a July 2015 deal, Iran is making up for lost time with a flurry of logistics deals that could return the country to international trade. The latest is a partnership signed last week between French container and shipping group CMA CGM and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

Source: Reuters

Global manufacturing could drive U.S. 3PL market to $94 billion by 2020

Third party logistics (3PL) providers in the U.S. could be worth $94 billion by 2020 as rising production by global manufacturing companies create steep logistics demand for transporting raw materials to factories and finished goods to retailers and distributors, according to technology research firm Technavio.

Source: Technavio

Forklift telematics data: Moving from reactive to proactive

Organizations that leverage predictive analytics have a leg up on the competition, studies show. But before predictive models can be developed, organizations need a clear understanding of its precursors, namely connecting, monitoring, and analyzing. So where does the material handling industry stand?

Source: TotalTrax, Inc.

Global market survey on port equipment deliveries

The Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) has publically released its latest market surveys on global container port equipment deliveries. Prepared annually, the reports are key elements in the Association’s work of providing independent intelligence on handling equipment and technology trends in the ports and terminals sector.

Source: Port Equipment Manufacturers Association

A sweet comeback: Hostess Brands builds a new supply chain from scratch

Yes, the iconic company shut down in November 2012. But fans of Hostess know that there was a second act to the story. The brands and certain factories were purchased out of bankruptcy in April 2013. The brand was then re-launched in July 2013. That left just a few months to build a new supply chain from scratch. Steve Banker talked to Matt Kunz, senior vice president of supply chain at Hostess Brands , LLC about this comeback.

Source: Forbes.com

“AWESOME” meeting for women supply chain leaders in April

The fourth annual Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education (AWESOME) symposium, to be held April 27–29 at Nike Inc.’s headquarters in Portland, Ore., promises to be—sorry, we can’t help ourselves—awesome. The organization, which serves women in executive leadership roles in supply chain, logistics, and associated fields, plans to include panel discussions, “Up Close” conversations with industry movers and shakers, and sessions on current hot topics, including supply chain innovation, what it will take to achieve gender parity, and leadership lessons that will help women move into the C-suite.


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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