Global Trends

Omni-channel—Not Just for Retail Anymore

How the amazon effect is transforming B2B supply chains. By Mary Lou Jay— Amazon’s emergence as a retail powerhouse has transformed the entire consumer shopping industry and its supply chain. Omni-channel has become the rule; no matter how consumers shop for their goods—online, in store, by phone, at home or on the move—they expect visibility and a consistent experience throughout ...

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Back to the Future: Current Innovations in Last Mile Delivery Echo Successful Strategies of the Past

Current innovations in last mile delivery echo successful strategies of the past. By Sarah B. Hood— Sometimes it seems like we’re living in the world of The Jetsons, the 1960s television cartoon series that predicted robotic maids, flying cars, drones and 3-D printed food. But as change sweeps across the supply chain, many innovations are actually a replay of successful ...

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Industry Focus: Retail

Today’s retail industry has, and is, undergoing a fundamental shift. Five retail trends are particularly impacting the supply chains as well. By Sandy Smith— There is no doubt that today’s retail industry has, and is, undergoing a fundamental shift. Trying to get one’s arms around these changes may feel a little like traveling through a mall, laden down with packages. ...

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The Panama Canal Expansion

Global trade patterns are expected to dramatically shift due to the recently expanded Panama Canal. The new set of locks, which opened in June, nearly triple the capacity of ships transiting the canal, from those able to carry 5,000 containers to up to 14,000 containers. Traditionally, West Coast ports have handled about two-thirds of container cargo, which is then moved ...

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The Growing Role of 3PLs

“Today’s 3PL is not your grandfather’s 3PL,” said J. Paul Dittman, executive director, Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee. “3PLs have expanded dramatically within the fundamentals of transportation and warehousing, but they’ve gone much beyond that. It’s no longer a guy who operates the warehouse for you; it’s a whole range of services that many companies are ...

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Creating Resilient Supply Chains

Ever since the 2011 Japanese tsunami shut down much of Toyota’s parts and manufacturing capabilities, logistics managers have been looking more closely at the vulnerabilities in their own supply chains and searching for ways they can quickly rebound from both large and small disruptions to them. It begins with assessing potential risks—economic, political, environmental and social. This can include everything ...

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Onshoring Vs. Offshoring

A number of studies document a growing trend of U.S. businesses bringing manufacturing operations back to the U.S.— often referred to as onshoring. In 2011, a report by The Boston Consultancy Group revealed that 24 percent of senior manufacturing executives were considering returning production to the U.S. and predicted that changes in China’s wage structure along with increased use of ...

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The Promise of the Physical Internet

Professor Benoit Montreuil looks at today’s logistics systems and sees inefficiencies and unsustainable practices. Trucks and shipping containers frequently travel empty or only half full. Products sit in warehouses that are poorly utilized, far from the end customers, resulting in unsold or unused merchandise. There is no fast and reliable multi-modal transportation. System-wide automation is not economically feasible because of ...

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Top U.S. Logistics Hubs Hold on to Positions

Look at the list of the top U.S. logistics hubs and little has changed in the last century, except for the reasons why. Where Memphis’s access to the Mississippi River and cotton growth made it a hub early on, FedEx’s presence there has helped it hold onto its position. That’s just one example in what has been a relatively stable ...

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Urban Logistics

Two megatrends are about to collide. And if careful planning isn’t in place, the resulting traffic jam could be felt throughout the logistics world. Trend No. 1: Globally, three in five people will live in urban areas by 2025, according to the United Nations. In the United States, already about 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas, according ...

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