Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine December 4, 2013
 
Tauber Institute for Global Operations at University of Michigan
Modern Materials Handling
The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reported today that economic activity in the manufacturing sector was strong for the sixth straight month.

The PMI, the index used by the ISM to measure manufacturing activity, headed up 0.9 percent to 57.3 in November, which is now the new high for the PMI in 2013, topping October’s 56.4. It also is the highest PMI level since April 2011’s 60.4. What’s more, the November PMI is 4.1 percent ahead of the 12-month average of 53.4 and is again over the 50 mark—which is the benchmark of strong economic activity—in 11 of the last 12 months. The ISM also noted that overall economy has grown for 54 consecutive months.
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Industry Week 
Want that Amazon order in just 30 minutes? Company CEO Jeff Bezos says he hopes to soon deploy an armada of mini-drones able to drop small packages at your doorstep.

The U.S. online retail giant's revolutionary project still needs extra safety testing and federal approval, but Bezos believes that Amazon "Prime Air" would be up and running within four to five years.
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Reuters
ComScore Inc (SCOR.O), an analytics firm whose data is closely watched by Wall Street, on Tuesday predicted U.S. e-commerce sales will grow 16 percent to $55.2 billion this holiday season.

The forecast echoes that of Forrester Research which estimated that e-commerce will grow 15 percent, fueled by bargain hunters using the Internet to look for deals, retailers offering shoppers more ways to pick up orders, and consumers using mobile devices more as they shop. Last year e-commerce sales rose 14 percent.
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Vidir Inc.
Smart Business
Supply chain events are increasingly showing up in business news, whether it’s regarding product shortages that cause customer dissatisfaction and lost opportunities for corporations, or breaches of laws or decency in the supply chain, such as the use of child labor or unsafe labor conditions that damage brand reputation.

From an executive standpoint, risk management through the supply chain has become a mandate. Front page exposure creates tense board room discussions and often dramatic same-day fluctuations in share prices.
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Material Handling & Logistics
Amidst speculation that flagging domestic demand would cause the ISM Manufacturing Index to fall, it actually rose—to its highest point since April 2011. November saw this number ascend from 56.4 to 57.3.

Production also rose from 60.8 to 62.8 and new orders improved from 60.6 to 63.6 in November.  The backlog of orders gained from 51.5 to 54.0 and new export orders increased from 57.0 to 59.5.  Even employment continued to gain momentum rising to 56.5 after falling more than two points to 53.2 in October.  Imports also continued to expand in November albeit at a slightly slower pace, slowing from 55.5 to 55.0.
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Material Handling & Logistics
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos told 60 Minutes that in a few years his company will be using drones to deliver packages to consumers within a half-hour from one of his fulfillment centers.
That’s great for the last mile of the supply chain, but for the first few thousand, Amazon and other retailers will still be relying on ships.

Ocean carriage is an industry for long-term planners. That impression was delivered loud and strong recently with two separate announcements from two separate ocean carriers. Interestingly, the two announcements came on the same day: November 25th.
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Supply Chain Standard
The retail and consumer goods industry must re-evaluate its approach to its supply chains and logistics to survive the "butterfly effect" of disruptive consumers, according to a DHL-backed study. 
 
The report "Consumer as Disrupter" identifies today’s digitally empowered consumer as a key source of disorder in supply chains and sets forth the case for building consumer-adaptivity and cost-effective flexibility into the industry’s logistics to manage such disruptions. It describes the "butterfly effect" as a small change at a localized point in the supply chain which can result in much wider consequences for the business, such as loss of customers or brand reputation, and billions of dollars off their bottom line.
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Western Pacific Storage Systems
Storefront Backtalk
Apparently, retailers’ extensive prep work – including shoring up their fulfillment and shipping processes – will pay off in online sales.

Holiday e-commerce sales are expected to soar 15 percent this year to $78.7 billion, according to numbers released this week by Forrester Research. The Forrester projection is somewhat in line with other researchers’ estimates:  EMarketer also projects that U.S. holiday e-retail sales will increase 15.1% this year, while Deloitte LLP predicts a 12.5 percent to 13 percent increase in U.S. non-store sales, which primarily consists of online sales.
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EBN
Nothing focuses a supply chain manager's mind like discovering a way to improve the supply chain network. Given this, a new Ernst & Young survey should interest supply chain managers. 

It reveals that, when chief financial officers (CFO) and supply chain leaders form a closer business partnership within a company, they report better results in a number of areas, including the company's financial position.
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World Trade
Ask anyone what the "next big thing" in global logistics will be and guaranteed there will not be unanimous opinion. Nevertheless, there are several forward-moving ideas in motion, and nearly all of them do focus around the idea of a customer-centric supply chain that delivers the goods in ways that completely meet customer expectations.

In a majority of cases, this requires an intermodal approach to transportation. From a logistics standpoint — as well as an over-arching supply chain strategy — this approach can deliver quality and timeliness to customers, regardless of which channel they choose (e-commerce, brick and mortar store, etc.).
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CCJ Digital
Are robo-trucks already taking drivers off the road? It’s a possibility, though an indirect one, suggests Fred Andersky, director of government and industry affairs for Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. And truck-driving jobs won’t be the only ones impacted by technological changes coming to the supply chain.

CCJ had a couple of long chats with Andersky following the recent House hearing on autonomous vehicles because, well, self-driving vehicles are fun to imagine. And while the hearing was perhaps a little premature, it’s better that policy makers and regulators keep up with the possibilities rather than fall behind and inhibit innovation.
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World Industrial Reporter
Reducing warehouse energy and water consumption ultimately helps companies improve their bottom line and bring value to customers. Tim Barrett, COO, and Arthur Barrett, president of Massachusetts-based Barrett Distribution offer their tips for creating a greener warehouse.
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Reuters
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on Wednesday that gives U.S. health regulators greater oversight of bulk pharmaceutical compounding and strengthens their ability to track drugs through the distribution pipeline.

The Drug Quality and Security Act clarifies the authority of the Food and Drug Administration over compounded medications and creates a new class of compounding manufacturer known as an "outsourcing" facility, which will be able to sell to hospitals in bulk.
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Forbes
Amazon’s announcement of plans for 30-minute delivery by aerial drone is not just excellent PR on the eve of Cyber Monday (although it is certainly that).   The drone move is a classic example of pummeling competitors with an advantage they can never replicate, showing how companies with a clear strategy can keep less thoughtful rivals on the back foot.

Amazon’s advantage has been obvious since the days of touting itself back in the mid-1990′s as "Earth’s Biggest Bookstore."  The company has huge warehouses, massive selection, and ever-increasing strength in delivery logistics.  All of these advantages stem from scale, but it would be wrong to say that Amazon’s big differentiator is its size.  After all, Walmart and Kroger have scale too, but they do not have the right facilities or customer relationships to sustain a drone strategy.  Amazon’s strategy hinges on two unique assets.
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Seegrid Corporation
 

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