June. 30, 2011

Getting ready for 2012...

Do you have an idea for the 2012 conference? What topic do you want to see presented in 2012? Do you know of a facility that would make a great tour for conference attendees?Please let us hear from you. Send your suggestions to conference@werc.org. Interested in presenting? Send your presentation proposals using the Call for Presentations form. Interested in sponsorship and exhibiting? Sales for 2012 already have begun! View the latest floor plan here. Contact Gary Master at gmaster@dcvelocity.com or Jim Indelicato at jindelicato@dcvelocity.com.

WERCouncil Events
July 11: Southern California WERCouncil 7th Annual Golf OutingMore

Is RFID dead? Definitely not!
DC Velocity
The history of RFID in logistics has been brief but tumultuous. The technology was thrust into the spotlight in 2003, when Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense issued their now-famous supplier mandates. At the time, RFID was hailed as an innovation that would transform the supply chain world and make out-of-stock problems a thing of the past. Within a few years, however, the hype had died down and some critics had begun to dismiss RFID as an oversold, overpriced version of the bar code. So how have things really worked out? Has the RFID revolution gotten off the ground? How widely is the technology being used in logistics operations today? These are not easy questions to answer.More

FDA warns of challenges to food supply chains
Procurement Leaders
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to more closely control and monitor "a complex global supply chain" that is leading to rapidly rising imports of FDA-regulated products. "There has been a perfect storm — more products, more manufacturers, more countries and more access," the FDA said. "A dramatic change in strategy must be implemented."More

OSHA's getting even more interested in lift trucks
Material Flows
If you're a regular reader of the "Police Blotter" section in your local paper, you've probably read many items involving a cop stopping some poor slob because the slob's license plate light was burned out. Almost invariably, upon getting a better look at this mug the cop realizes there's a lot more going on inside the car that deserves his attention — and the attention of Police Blotter readers. If you can't relate to such slobs, you may have an opportunity to — especially if your company is based in OSHA's Region 4, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. The Region 4 office recently issued a press release to each of these states announcing a new emphasis program focused on reducing fatalities and serious injuries related to powered industrial trucks — industry's favorite off-road motor vehicle.More

5 ways your company can lead the sustainability revolution
Melanie Janin writes, "Recently, I was invigorated and inspired by the words of Richard Gillies, director of Plan A at Marks and Spencer. Speaking at our webinar with BSR's Aron Cramer and the Guardian's Jo Confino on redefining leadership in 2011 and beyond, Gillies referred to the 'Sustainability Revolution' that will transform our global society in the decades to come. Like the Industrial Revolution and the Computer Revolution that followed, Gillies noted the Sustainability Revolution will be observed and experienced by many but led by few. We know that business will have to play an enormous role in the coming transformation, but which companies will stand out and make this change a reality? Consider the following five ways your company can take a leading role."More

In a pinch, South African firm learns how to cut distribution center electricity usage in half
The Green Supply Chain
There are many good reasons for cutting use of electric power in a distribution center, including lower operating costs and reduced carbon emissions, but in some areas of the world it may be more a matter of absolute necessity. Such is the case with Adcock Ingram, a South African manufacturer and distributors of pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medicines. A few years ago, the company was split out as an independent company again after it had been earlier acquired, and needed to find some additional distribution space as it no longer would use the acquiring company's DCs.More

Bringing sensors, RFID together
Modern Materials Handling
Bob Trebilcock writes, "Supply chain software had a pretty good year in 2010, up about 10 percent over 2009. I just finished writing our annual look at the top 20 providers of supply chain software for the July issue. While it sounds like old news, one of the business drivers for new investments in supply chain software was the continued need for greater visibility into the supply chain. 'The lack of visibility is forcing end users to look at applications that can be leveraged to track goods in motion,' said Chad Eschinger, a research director at Gartner. That brings me to the promise of RFID and a solution I came across from TempTrip. You might wonder how I get to RFID from software. Here's the connection."More

Getting vendor compliance programs right
Supply Chain Digest
Supply Chain Digest Editor Dan Gilmore recently sat down with Greg Holder, CEO of Compliance Networks, to discuss why some companies, especially retailers, fail to thrive with their vendor compliance programs. This video includes discussion of an interesting vendor compliance maturity model.More

Maximizing LTL freight discounts with a 3PL
Modern Materials Handling
For companies looking for relief from high shipping costs and market volatility, a professional, third-party logistics provider can save an extra 18 to 25 percent off already heavily discounted LTL freight costs if they routinely make multiple shipments to multiple locations and work with numerous freight carriers. For every $100,000 in freight costs, that's an extra $18,000 to $25,000 in savings. How can a 3PL lower freight costs beyond a company's existing discounts? By negotiating additional discounts based on the 3PL's relationship, reputation, and volume business with established carriers.More

Cliff Holste: Are audits, assessments, evaluations just intellectual exercise?
Distribution Digest
General warehousing and distribution in this country has undergone considerable changes in just the past three years. It's a good bet that business as usual is a thing of the past. More changes can be expected as our enigmatic economy continues to struggle to regain its lost vitality. All of this has put considerable stress on DCs to make quick adjustments as they try to stay up with changing order profiles and customer demands for specialized services. Unfortunately, bolted-to-the-floor mechanized order picking, sorting and shipping systems, especially those that are more than 5 years old, can be very difficult to quickly adjust and modify. There's also concern that making spot changes to a complex integrated system may just make matters worse.More

Coalition urges DOT to take action against some battery shippers
Material Handling & Logistics
A coalition of trade associations representing manufacturers of batteries, consumer electronics and medical devices as well as air freight companies and retailers have urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to act against shippers of lithium and lithium ion rechargeable batteries that fail to comply with applicable air transportation safety regulations. "The failure of some shippers to comply with these requirements has been the root cause of virtually all of reported air cargo transport incidents," including the three most recent lithium battery incidents on the Federal Aviation Administration's list, the 19-member coalition states in a recent letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.More

Logistics expert paints precarious picture for trucking
Fleet Owner
A surprisingly negative outlook both for the U.S. economy and for trucking in the short run emerged from the 22nd annual State of Logistics report sponsored by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and presented by Penske Logistics. Compiled by Rosalyn Wilson, a senior business analyst with the Delcan Corp., who has spent 25 years covering the transportation and logistics markets, the report casts doubt on the pace of the U.S. economic recovery and predicts significant challenges will face trucking in the near term.More

The new dynamics of site selection
DC Velocity
The CenterPoint Intermodal Center in Joliet, Ill., faces fierce competition for distribution center business, but it has an edge that's proving tough to beat. And it's not shy about promoting it. Visit the center's website and you'll find a calculator that shows customers what they could save in drayage costs by locating a DC at the 2,500-acre industrial development, which boasts on-site access to Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Logistics Park–Chicago. A drayage calculator might not sound like a killer marketing tool. Yet that's precisely the kind of sales tool CenterPoint used to attract high-profile tenants like Wal-Mart and Georgia Pacific. To understand why drayage costs would carry so much weight with customers, you have to know a little bit about the new dynamics of DC site selection.More

Bill Taylor: Great people are overrated
Harvard Business Review
Last month, in an article in The New York Times on the ever-escalating "war for talent" in Silicon Valley, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a passing comment that has become the entrepreneurial equivalent of a verbal tick — something that's said all the time, almost without thinking. "Someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good," he argued when asked why he was willing to pay $47 million to acquire FriendFeed, a price that translated to about $4 million per employee. "They are 100 times better." Now, I admire what Mark Zuckerberg has built, but do we take seriously what Silicon Valley giants claim about talent? If you are building a company, would you prefer one standout person over 100 pretty good people?More

Half of your employees don't like their jobs
Material Flows
Here's a daunting thought for all managers undertaking the employee review process: If you're happy with your job, then chances are that employee sitting across from you isn't. Half of all U.S. employees either are looking for another job or are so unmotivated that their productivity effectively has stalled. Consulting firm Mercer recently conducted an international survey of workers, more than 30,000 of them, including 2,400 U.S.-based employees. From that survey, it turns out that one-third of all U.S. workers are seriously thinking about leaving their current companies. And it's the youngest employees who are most inclined to seek greener pastures: 44 percent of those ages 16-24 say they're thinking of taking their talents elsewhere.More

Transaction costs, supply chain management and the new economy
Logistics Viewpoints
Internet technologies have led to falling transaction costs in many areas. This is changing the way firms organize their work (including supply chain tasks), the fate of particular industries and even the economic fortunes of nations.More

New research shows RFID key to leaner hospital supply chain
Healthcare IT News
University of Cincinnati analysis of hospital supply chains — medicines, materials, devices and office supplies — reveals that the use of RFID technology can help hospitals cut as much as 18 percent in labor costs associated with resupplying. The research, to be presented June 22 at the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science Healthcare Conference in Montreal, has implications for affecting many significant costs associated with hospital supplies. On average, supplies and inventory account for 30 to 40 percent of an average hospital's budget, according to the research.More

Results from annual Gartner-Supply Chain Digest supply chain study
Supply Chain Digest
For the last several years, Supply Chain Digest has partnered with the smart analysts at Gartner on a major supply chain survey, and again this year they would like to highlight the results. The survey data is based on responses from about 300 Supply Chain Digest readers. Survey reports typically start with various charts indicating the profile of the survey population, just to provide some insight into who was answering the questions, but they thought one of these charts was interesting on its own. Gartner asked a series of questions that tried to profile the respondent company's supply chain "personality," as seen in the following chart.More

Simplest way to improve your team's performance
Marshall Goldsmith writes, "Every executive I've ever coached has told me that he wants to foster teamwork. 'We want our people to be partners, not competitors' is the most common thing they tell me. And often, it is the leader who is presenting the major obstacle to all this teamwork and partnership. It's something that the leader could remedy pretty quickly — if he or she could see it. Can you guess? It's destructive remarks, made behind people's backs. Many high achieving people have high standards and can be impatient when others don't meet them."More

Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City saves thousands with RFID
RFID Journal
Earlier this year, the cardiovascular laboratory at Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City deployed passive EPC RFID tags and readers that have enabled the hospital to better manage its stock of pacemakers, coronary stents and defibrillators. Through improved tracking and control over these items, the facility has managed to reduce the size of its coronary device inventory by half a million dollars, while also more accurately associating each piece of equipment with the particular patient on whom it is used, thereby reducing costs associated with patient billing. The RFID system also has helped St. Luke's to save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, by enabling the CV to buy more items in bulk, thereby earning bigger discounts.More

Study determines optimized, RFID-enabled resupply system for nurse stations
RFID Journal
Hospitals spend upwards of 30 percent of their total operational budgets on securing and managing consumable medical supplies, according to researchers at the University of Cincinnati, so they pay considerable attention to how these supplies are best managed. Because such items play a crucial role in patient care, many medical facilities tend to overstock nursing stations in order to ensure that these supplies never fall below safe inventory levels — because if that were to happen, an unexpected demand spike could lead to an outage of crucial items. But from a financial perspective, overstocking can also be a problem, as it can lead to over-ordering.More