ASA Insights
Dec. 31, 2015

Does Your Warehouse Cut Costs or Add Value?
By Ken Ackerman
From Sept. 3: As a warehouse manager, is it your job to cut costs or to add value? You might answer that you do both, but which of the two do you do the best? Furthermore, which of the two is more important to your boss, to the client or to the consignees who are your client's customers? If you were to ask chief executives in manufacturing, retailing or wholesale distribution which of the two tasks is most important, I suspect you would get a variety of answers.More

How to Wreck a Warehousing Business
Ken Ackerman
From Feb. 5: Compared to most businesses, the distribution industry is reasonably stable. New enterprises frequently are launched, and older companies constantly disappear. However, in most cases, the cause of disappearance is a corporate buyout, rather than a catastrophic failure. Yet the risks of collapse always are present. Some of the most common of these failures are identified in this article, through descriptions of typical but mythical companies that suffered from them.More

Driver Shortage: What Warehouse Managers Should Do
By Ken Ackerman
From Aug. 13: For more than two years now, we have seen a growing discussion about the driver shortage problem, but relatively little about solutions. Most of the issues are motor carrier issues, and unless your company is involved in both trucking and warehousing, there is little you can do about these. However, as a warehouse operator, there are a number of things you can do to be sure the driver shortage does not impact your ability to be well served by common carriers.More

People Join Good Companies but Quit Bad Managers
Greg L. Alston
From May 28: I'm constantly amazed by how people who are charged with managing people try to make life much more complex and difficult than it needs to be. When people join a new company, they are usually excited by the new opportunities and believe in the vision of the organization. They choose the job based on the best fit with their world view. This assumes of course that they have their choice of jobs. If they need a job to eat, the dynamic is quite different.More

Reducing Employee Turnover: 4 Strategies that Work
By Bianca Gibson
From July 2: By the time your top talent is in an exit interview, it's too late to determine what could have been done differently. But, how you react to the situation can make all the difference. A new survey discovered that 40 percent of human resource professionals cite employee turnover/retention as their top organizational challenge. Employee retention does not rely solely on recognition and engagement, but requires an assortment of key elements.More

Marketing Your Warehouse Magic
Ken Ackerman
From July 9: Some managers believe warehousing is a task that can be handled adequately by anyone with a strong back. Therefore, the business of warehousing service is in constant danger of becoming a commodity. Commodities normally are sold by price, with few vendors recognizing special features about the product they are selling.More

Employing a Staffing Service at Your Warehouse
Ken Ackerman
From Jan. 29: Using staffing-service employees is one way to hedge the risk that warehouse employers will be sanctioned for noncompliance with government regulations regarding employment. For this reason, the use of staffing services in warehousing will experience steady growth in the coming decade. Regardless of politics, it seems likely that governments will expand their role in defining and limiting the use of human resources.More

3 Areas to Save on Energy Costs in the Warehouse
By Piyush Bakshi
From Aug. 27: Smart warehouses today have evolved into centers of sophisticated operations, and the energy requirements of these huge spaces have consequently gone up. Heating and lighting costs combine to make up 64 percent of the energy costs of warehouses in the United States. With energy prices inexorably creeping north over time, it makes sense that warehouse owners and operators be aware of what they can do to save on energy costs.More

Freight Brokerage: What the Warehouse Manager Needs to Know
Ken Ackerman
From June 18: A freight broker is a company or individual who serves as a liaison between a buyer of transportation and one or more carriers. The popular vision of this occupation was vividly described by Cliff Lynch: "All too often, the term freight broker conjures up visions of Joe Bob parked in a booth at the Flying Z truck stop with his cellphone, a pad and pencil, and a generous portion of chicken-fried steak." Joe Bob is sitting beside the "posting board" located in every truck stop looking for loads.More

Studies: Long Hours, Shift Work Can be Detrimental to Health
By Denise A. Valenti
From Jan. 22: "Workin' 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin'. Barely gettin' by, it's all takin' and no givin' ..." Dolly Parton's popular song "9 to 5" from 1980 lamented the difficulties and stress associated with having a traditional workday. But, an eight-hour day of working 9-to-5 really is not that bad — especially for your health. Several recent studies show the impact of work hours on health is related to the number of hours that are worked and also what time of day the work occurs.More