Randall Manufacturing
Archive | Printer Friendly Version | Send to a Friend | www.mhi.org | MHI Solutions magazine March 13, 2013

The complexity of global supply chains, increasing costs, explosion in order and delivery channels, rising customer expectations and new consumer behavior have all contributed to the growing challenges faced by organizations when it comes to order fulfillment operations.

Capgemini, in partnership with Oracle, recently announced the findings of its global supply chain and logistics management study entitled: "From Customer Orders through Fulfillment: Challenges in Manufacturing, High Tech, and Retail." The study surveyed almost 600 top supply chain executives in manufacturing, high-tech and retail businesses worldwide to analyze common fulfillment challenges and areas in need of improvement.


DC Velocity
Ever since the Great Recession blew out to sea in late 2009 after nearly leveling the U.S. economy, it's been the hope of executives and analysts alike that shell-shocked retailers would eventually emerge from their foxholes to begin a cycle of inventory replenishment that would buoy shipping and economic activity.

Hope continues to spring eternal. However, retailer inventory levels, which hit their lows on an absolute basis during the recession as businesses froze ordering and sold from their existing stocks, are today as lean as ever. Given improvements in inventory management processes, and advances in forecasting and distribution management technology, what many initially thought to be a short-term trend influenced by macro-economic forces has become a secular phenomenon unaffected by the economic conditions of the moment.


Investors Business Daily
Employers created a surprisingly large number of jobs in February, but it wasn't strong enough to prevent many Americans from leaving the workforce.

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 236,000, the Labor Department said Friday, well above forecasts of 171,000. The unemployment rate dropped to a 4-year low 7.7%, beating expectations for a smaller dip to 7.8%.


Supply Chain Management Review
Given all the mysterious and metrical nuances of ocean cargo shipping, supply chain managers are increasingly challenged on how to monitor and measure this essential mode of global transport. Thanks to recent research conducted by MIT's Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL), that may soon be changing.

"Ocean Transportation Reliability: Myths, Realities, and Impacts" represents a breakthrough body of work done by two of CTL's most eminent professors. Here in riveting detail, Dr. Chris Caplice and Dr. Basak Kalcanci describe and debunk common myths surrounding containerized sea freight shipping, using actual transactional data. Additionally, they describe the impact that transit time variability has on logistics costs and outline the business case for addressing this variability.

Goff Enterprises

As we settle into 2013, the environmental - and social - regulatory landscape for the electronics industry is becoming, predictably, broader and more complex.

To start off, here are some of the hurdles ahead for manufacturers and suppliers.


3PL News
The knee-jerk reaction for most companies would be firing. In today's economy it is common to hear about "rightsizing" plans and the ripple effect that is having on the industry. As a recruiter, I begin to wonder "do they really have a plan" or are they trying to make the numbers look not-as-bad in the next earning season (if it is a public company)? Do they realize the impact that these layoffs have on their staff? It is only human nature to wonder "who's on the list" or "who will be next". Every single employee is spending time thinking about how they protect themselves, and it is time that will not make the company any money.

While layoff may be necessary, they are disastrous to a company if they are not part of an on-going program of career development. A program that does not include regular evaluations, useful coaching secessions, as well as active development programs for your star performers will be seen as punitive not positive.


Material Handling & Logistics
Supply chain vulnerability analysis is needed to mitigate risk in supply chains, especially as chains go global, according to Jeff Karrenbauer, president and co-founder of INSIGHT, Inc., providers of supply chain planning services. Risks go beyond natural disasters and terrorism, he believes, and include political unrest, climate change, sudden demand changes, and misguided investments in technology.

Tensions between China and Japan, for example, are related to disputes in which both countries lay claim to a group of uninhabited fishing islands in the East China Sea. Bob Ferrari of The Ferrari Group, sees this manifesting in the supply chains of Japan's automotive and consumer electronics supply chains. Many factories with Japanese brand interests were forced to close their China factories for several days this past fall as anti-Japanese protests caused a concern for production worker safety, he noted.


From major retailers to trucking and shipping, companies are making major strides in emissions control, reduced energy consumption and cost savings. Leaders from around the logistics industry detailed these important shifts in sustainable practices at the recent 2013 Georgia Foreign Trade Conference (GFTC).

"American companies and ports are working together to reduce the environmental footprint of the transportation sector," said Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Curtis Foltz. "From building the first ever LNG-powered ships and electric-powered rubber-tired gantry cranes to improving truck move efficiency, reducing idling and employing cleaner burning fuels, the panel provided far-reaching examples of environmental sustainability."


Supply Chain Brain
Retailers that do not fully grasp that retail is at a crucial crossroads and adjust their strategies will disappear, and the ones who do step up will see substantial value creation.

Near the dangerous intersection of business as usual and success going forward sits retail strategy and supply chain strategy. Several tipping points have been reached that are forcing organizations to take a fresh view of their supply chains' role in delivering retail strategy to the marketplace.


Sustainable Plant
Many manufacturers have very effective recycling programs, designed to find creative uses for waste that exists within their plants, including packaging waste. But what if there were to a way to prevent packaging waste from even being created in the first place?

Transport packaging consists of wood pallets, wood crates, cardboard boxes and other containers that are used to ship ingredients, parts and products between and among manufacturers, distributors/wholesalers and retailers. It also consists of the wrapping materials used to hold shipments together, such as plastic stretch film.


Despite my years in the electronics industry, I continue to be fascinated with the global supply chain and remain amazed at its overall efficiency.

However, I also recognize the constant presence of supply-chain volatility - a volatility that has now become the new norm impacting every supply-chain decision we make.

Contributing to this volatility is a number of macro factors that, individually and collectively, are changing the supply-chain landscape. Focusing on the top factors can put the scope of this challenge in perspective and provide us with an approach and strategy to manage through this volatility.


Material Handling & Logistics
By the time 2012 ended, manufacturing and distribution professionals had reason to be conflicted. For many of them business was up and leading business indicators promised that an additional slow but steady lift was coming in 2013.

This being a group that thrives on being well informed, however, they also know the threats they face.  These include fragile consumer demand, continuing legislative/regulatory pressures, unpredictable oil/energy prices, decreasing margins and increasing wage pressures.

Naylor, LLC

Air Cargo World
They call the October 2010 terrorist bomb hidden inside a shipment of printer cartridges air cargo's "9-11." That's because, although the flight from Yemen to the U.S was thwarted, the threat nevertheless shook the air cargo industry around the globe.

"It taught us that 100 percent physical screening of all packages does not equate to 100 percent security," says Brandon Fried, executive director of The Airforwarders Association in Washington, D.C. "Knowing who is doing the shipping and receiving of the cargo plays a vital role in assessing possible threats as well."

Not only did the failed plot teach the industry that 100 percent physical screening of all packages does not equate to 100 percent security; it ushered in policy changes and processes that impact air cargo screening worldwide today.


Supply Chain Digest
I'm guessing that for most people, the term risk management brings to mind images of hurricanes, fire or political unrest and the catastrophic impacts on the supply chain. Of course these unplanned events have the potential to wreak havoc on your supply chain and should factor into your overall risk management strategy, but they aren't the most critical risks to the competitiveness of your business.

The biggest risk to nearly every company are competitors that are performing well - cost-effective, service-oriented, flexible, or responsive to changing business conditions. To make this more challenging, superior performance versus these competitors may take on different characteristics depending on market conditions, product types, geographies or economic circumstances.


The New York Times
Japanese freight forwarders Yusen Logistics Co Ltd and "K" Line Logistics Ltd have agreed to pay a combined $18.9 million in criminal fines for conspiring to fix fees, the Justice Department said on Friday.

The two companies agreed to plead guilty to fixing fuel surcharges and various security fees on shipments from Japan to the United States, the department said.

Naylor, LLC


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