WERCWatch
Nov. 24, 2009

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Public-private Partnerships Touted as Answer to Logistics Labor Woes
DC Velocity
At a time when a large number of logistics experts are looking for work, you might assume that it would be easy to find the right people to fill logistics, distribution, and transportation positions. Yet companies still say they face a serious shortage of logistics talent. Why is this? The problem is not a scarcity of executive MBAs, and it's not about simply filling open slots with warm bodies. It's about the lack of knowledgeable, competent people to work in operations -- forklift drivers, warehouse supervisors, import/export managers, and just about any other entry- and mid-level logistics position you can think of. These jobs are now viewed as integral components of a complex supply chain, and most require some understanding of technology. By all accounts, there aren't enough people who can perform those functions as they need to be performed in this era of "the perfect order." In short, the demand for logistics-savvy workers has exceeded the supply.More

Driving Supply Chain Transformation Through the Chief Supply Chain Officer
Supply Chain Brain
AMR Research's ongoing studies, focused on understanding the key attributes of supply chain organizational design that drive improved performance as well as the type of training required for effective supply chain transformation, have identified the importance and impact of the role of the chief supply chain officer (CSCO). While the CSCO is critical to speeding up the complex transformation most organizations require when moving from functional or internal expertise, few companies have established the right role or the right reporting responsibility, according to recent survey results.More

There Is No Better Time Than a Downturn to Invest In Employees
Manage Smarter
There is no better time than a downturn to invest in employees. Money and time spent on training during a recession has a return that can last years as the knowledge and skills acquired stay with employees. Cultivating a culture of development also can boost a company's reputation as one focused on providing employee development, clear career paths, and on-the-job training for employees to ensure their success and advancement.More

Manufacturers Report Ironic Shortage of Skilled Workers
Material Handling Management
Manufacturers are struggling to find skilled workers, even as the unemployment rate rises above ten percent and more applicants apply for fewer jobs, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, The Manufacturing Institute and Oracle.More

Stockpiles at U.S. Companies Fall to Four-Year Low
Bloomberg
Inventories at U.S. businesses fell in September to the lowest level in almost four years, signaling orders will rise in coming months as spending picks up. The 0.4 percent decrease in stockpiles was smaller than anticipated and brought the value of goods on hand down to $1.3 trillion, the fewest since November 2005, figures from the Commerce Department showed recently in Washington. Sales decreased 0.3 percent, reflecting a slump in demand for autos that was reversed in October.More

OSHA Plans Meeting to Prepare for Combustible Dust Standard
Material Handling Management
OSHA plans to hold two meetings on Dec. 14th in Washington to discuss the workplace hazards of combustible dust. The agency says it will use comments from the meetings to develop a comprehensive standard that addresses fire and explosion hazards related to combustible dust. Additional meetings are planned for early 2010. OSHA has escalated its combustible dust regulatory efforts ever since February 2008, when an explosion at an Imperial Sugar Co. plant in Georgia killed 14 people. Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions, according to OSHA. More

Smartrac Hopes to Release Green RFID Tags Within a Year
RFID Journal
In anticipation of the widespread deployment of RFID technology to consumer applications, a new generation of passive RFID tags is being developed by Smartrac. According to the Dutch firm, the new tags will be almost completely biodegradable after use, in order to reduce waste, and be priced similarly to current non-biodegradable RFID tags. The first such products could be available within a year, the firm reports. More

Using Strategic Sourcing to Alleviate the Recession-related Losses
Supply Chain Management Review
Few industries know better the pain of a lack of consumer confidence like retail. Even with statistics telling us the recovery is under way, retailers are cautious, and they should be. In addition to circling the wagons, however, there is an opportunity here to redesign the retail sourcing strategy, according to Alan Pincus and Kristie Tippner of Kurt Salmon Associates. Not only will this help the industry survive, but it will give retailers a solid plan for growth after the recession is truly over.More

Supply Trends Have Buyers Sourcing Closer to Home
Purchasing.com
With low supplier inventories increasing lead times for many products and materials, more buyers are scaling back low-cost country sourcing programs and focusing on finding reliable supply sources closer to home. According to a recent poll on PurchasingBizconnect, more than half of buyers polled said they are doing more near-shoring as a result of the recession while only 28 percent said they consider low-cost country sourcing a growth strategy coming out of recession. And the latest data from Purchasingdata.com indicates that buyers have slowed the cutbacks on sourcing outside North America, but are not yet increasing their sourcing plan overseas. (The index currently sits at 48, where Buyers remain cautious about increasing overseas sourcing heading out of the recession above 50 equals growth).More

Dell Greening its Supply Chain with Bamboo
Fast Company
Dell is falling for bamboo. Having already introduced a computer with a bamboo case, today they'll begin shipping netbooks with bamboo cushioning, rather than the customary styrofoam and plastic. This is the latest detail in the computer maker's ongoing plan to green its supply chain. Bamboo has become a popular choice in the green movement, used in everything from floorboards to t-shirts. That's thanks to the grass's natural properties: Not only is it incredibly strong, it grows amazingly fast -- up to 24 inches a day. And that makes bamboo one of the most sustainable building materials on earth.More