Jan. 20, 2011


Is it time to renew your WERC membership? The fast and easy way to renew is online at www.werc.org. Click on the RENEW WERC MEMBERSHIP link.
Using Metrics seminar is coming to Cleveland! Feb. 24 to 25. Visit www.werc.org for details.More

Terrorist attack on global supply chain could threaten food, medical, fuel
Supply Chain Digital
Governments must step up cooperation to stop attempts by terrorists to send shipments in the global supply chain, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has warned. The devastating result of an attack on the supply chain "could be that people across the world would find empty store shelves for food, serious shortages in needed medical supplies or significant increases in the cost of fuel," the Homeland chief said. Napolitano was speaking in Brussels after meeting with European Union officials and said countries had to work closely together in an effort to protect the supply chain, which she said was crucial to the global economy.More

Conveyor sales numbers up
Material Handling & Logistics
The Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association reported that its November 2010 Booked Orders Index was 126, up 11 points or 10 percent from October 2010's Index of 115, and an increase of 21 percent from the November 2009 Index of 104. The November Booked Orders Indexes were 216 for Bulk Handling Equipment and 96 for Unit Handling Equipment. The Twelve-Month Index for Booked Orders was 128 in November, an increase of 2 percent from October 2010's Twelve-Month Index of 126. More

Supply chain chiefs: Sustainability isn't key
Environmental Leader
Chief supply chain officers do not see sustainability as a key challenge in 2010/2011, according to a survey by research firm eyefortransport. In the survey, supply chain officers identified the "biggest business challenges driving their supply chain agenda" as variability and forecasting (42 percent), cost containment and reduction (39 percent), and supply chain visibility (35 percent). Sustainability strategies and practices only ranked 11th in the list of concerns, with just over 15 percent. Similarly, a second EFT survey found that logistics service users ranked sustainability only 15th in importance out of 24 challenges they face, behind such factors as the economy, cost control and fuel price fluctuations.More

RFID: No silver bullet
Material Flows
"Silver bullet" is the worst pejorative you can use in describing a technology. It links any power that technology might have to superstition. We can thank marketers for much of the fiction written about science, but it doesn't mean their products are science fiction; just overhyped. RFID technology fell victim to the curse of the silver bullet a few years ago. The realities of costs and physics threatened to do it in. But thanks to people like Sue Hutchinson, RFID's story is being transferred to the non-fiction section in the public mindset.More

3 ways to retain workers now
Refresh Leadership
This January, news stories abound with the latest reports about worker satisfaction and the many professionals hoping to change jobs in 2011. Whether employees are seeking greener pastures with better benefits or are just ready for a change, companies soon may find themselves struggling to retain top talent. In fact, only 5 percent of the 1,413 employees surveyed by Right Management in October and November 2010 said they wanted to stay at their current position. Some 84 percent stated they plan to change jobs in 2011, a 60 percent increase over the same period in 2009.More

The supply chain: Where push and pull are friends
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
For the past decade, pharmaceutical manufacturers have struggled to cut inventories in their supply chains. On the surface, they have made little progress. Gains in efficiency seem to be swallowed by rising complexity and volatility. The average inventory to COGS ratio in pharma — 55 percent — is the same as it was 10 years ago. Pharma managers looking for a way out of this situation could learn much from industries like electronics, which have tackled many of the same challenges with considerable success. Fragmenting markets and increasingly diverse customer demands certainly have added to supply chain complexity.More

Slow growth drives need for 3PLs
The Journal of Commerce
In today's slow-growth environment, customers expect their transportation service providers to help them attain a competitive advantage, and that involves developing innovative solutions based on best practices. Many companies don't know what they want when it comes to transportation and logistics, and that's why they hire a third-party provider, Jim Butts, senior vice president of C.H Robinson Wordwide, told the Los Angeles Transportation Club. "If all you do is what the customer asks you to do, you're just an executor. You're not bringing your customer to a better place," Butts said.More

US demand for green packaging to reach $41.7 billion in 2014
Packaging World
Demand for green packaging — defined here as packaging that comprises recycled content, or reusable or degradable packaging — is projected to increase 3.9 percent yearly to $41.7 billion in 2014, consuming 58 billion pounds of material. That's according to "Green Packaging," a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc. The study adds that growth will outpace overall packaging demand but will remain relatively moderate because of the maturity of many products and the large existing presence of recycled-content packaging in paperboard and metal packaging. The fastest gains are anticipated for degradable packaging and plastic recycled-content packaging.More

Lauren Bossers: The supply chain manager as superhero
The 21st Century Supply Chain
For those of us who work in supply chain management and its related industries, it can be a real challenge to easily describe to others what we do. Despite the fact that supply chain management touches each of our lives on a daily basis, it can often be difficult for outsiders to grasp — and for the experts to explain in a way that is easily understood. Demystifying the industry, the Department of Supply Chain Management at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business created a great series of videos to explain exactly what supply chain management is. The concepts are delivered in a way that is easily digestible (and humorous).More

New thinking on how to motivate employees
How do you get employees to change their behavior? The conventional wisdom is that you should reward those who make the changes, and punish those who don't. But new research from Florian Herold, an assistant professor at the Kellogg School of Management, suggests a more nuanced approach is in order. Rather than set up an experiment to observe peoples' actions under certain conditions, Herold instead used game theory, a branch of applied mathematics that relies on mathematical proofs to predict how individuals will behave under certain scenarios.More

Green supply chain year in review 2010
The Green Supply Chain
It was an interesting year for the green supply chain in 2010, with the level of interest going sideways at best by many accounts. This was probably best exemplified by the lack of interest in the December Cancun global climate meeting, with received just a fraction of the media coverage versus the meeting in Copenhagen the previous year. Combined with the fact that no meaningful agreement was reached at Cancun, and it appears the current Kyoto protocol will expire without being extended, this is not good news for the green SCM movement, as lack of a regulatory framework means each company is simply free to pursue whatever green initiatives it chooses to or not.More

Lorie King Rogers: If you're buying used pallet rack, do your homework
Modern Materials Handling
When the economy took a nose dive, rack manufacturers were hit pretty hard. In fact, shipments were down 40 percent in 2009. Unfortunately, as a result, we've seen a few suppliers close up shop. For example, when times were good, Excel Storage Products bought Lodi Metal Tech, Prest Rack and WC Cardinal. But that strategic maneuver was ambushed and all of those companies are now casualties of the economy. The fallout of tough times was made clear as I researched my pallet rack equipment report for Modern's February issue. Here's something else that came to light: The worst appears to be behind us, and we're a changed industry. We're working smarter and leaner, and we're looking for cost savings in every corner of our warehouses and distribution centers.More

DHS, WCO partner to strengthen global supply chain security
The Department of Homeland Security now is focused on increasing the security of the global supply chain, and to that end, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that DHS has launched a new partnership with the World Customs Organization. During her remarks at the European Policy Centre, Napolitano discussed the three main elements of this international collaborative effort.More