WERCWatch
Jan. 27, 2011

Using Metrics seminar is coming to Cleveland! Feb. 24 to 25

Maximizing Warehouse Space seminar offered in Baltimore! March 2 to 3
Click on http://www.werc.org for details.
WERCouncil events: Chicagoland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia/Delaware Valley.More

Retail container traffic rises 8 percent in January
Material Handling & Logistics
Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports is expected to be up 8 percent in January 2011 over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. "While the economy clearly began to recover in 2010 and drove up cargo volume as retail sales improved, maintaining that momentum in 2011 could be difficult," says Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy with NRF. "Consumers faced with continued high unemployment are expected to focus more on necessities than discretionary spending. Retailers will continue to carefully gauge consumer demand and adjust import levels accordingly."More

An objective guide to selecting a warehouse management system
SupplyChainBrain
Most companies have a warehouse management systems of some kind, either a proprietary in-house setup or a commercial system, but quite a few are looking to upgrade, says an Aberdeen Group survey. The research firm spoke with 158 companies between October and November 2010, documenting their processes and capabilities regarding their warehouse management practices, technology and software preferences. The survey data, case studies and experiences from industry users were utilized to create An Objective Guide to Selecting a WMS, available from Aberdeen.More

Trevor Miles: Social networks and supply chains — it's a question of maturity
The 21st Century Supply Chain
I often am asked what will be the role of social networks in supply chains. I think their potential is enormous, and I think we are seeing an emerging interest in their use in supply chain management. I'm not talking about the direct use of Facebook or Twitter, although I would not rule out this possibility, but rather the use of the concept of social networks and technologies. However, as I noted in a recent blog titled "Do you trust yourself to collaborate? The real barrier to collaboration is not technology, but trust," the real issue to overcome is trust between trading partners.More

How a good leader reacts to a crisis
Harvard Business Review
There is something about a big snowstorm that brings out the best, or more often the worst, in big city mayors. If, as former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill once said, "All politics is local," then you would think that the first hint of snow in the forecast would prompt mayors to relocate their offices temporarily to where the snowplows are dispatched. Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who recently won a third term, and is widely regarded as an adept city leader, has come under fire for inefficient snow removal in New York City. Most of the complaints came from residents in the so-called outer boroughs, e.g., the four that are not Manhattan.More

Building the supply chain of the future
McKinsey Quarterly via Forbes
Many global supply chains are not equipped to cope with the world we are entering. Most were engineered, some brilliantly, to manage stable, high-volume production by capitalizing on labor-arbitrage opportunities available in China and other low-cost countries. But in a future when the relative attractiveness of manufacturing locations changes quickly — along with the ability to produce large volumes economically — such standard approaches can leave companies dangerously exposed. That future, spurred by a rising tide of global uncertainty and business complexity, is coming sooner than many companies expect.More

Too much miscommunication at work? A simple fix
Fast Company
The most common source of miscommunication in any workplace is a very simple one: People routinely fail to realize how little they actually are communicating. In other words, we think we've said a lot more than we actually have. Psychologists call this the signal amplification bias (because we can't resist slapping esoteric names on things — calling it the "I'm Sure It Was Obvious" Effect would be much more to the point.) Studies show that the vast majority of us tend to believe that our behavior is much more expressive than it actually is, and this occurs across a wide variety of situations.More

Wal-Mart orders $1 billion in supply chain savings
The Journal of Commerce
Wal-Mart Stores will use its global transportation and logistics leverage to cut fruit and vegetable prices by $1 billion, the nation's largest grocer said. It's part of a broad campaign to make food healthier and less expensive backed by First Lady Michelle Obama, who joined Wal-Mart executives in Washington. "We can improve how we make and sell food in this country," she said at the event. Sourcing, packaging and transportation initiatives will help drive costs out of the produce supply chain, said Andrea Thomas, Wal-Mart's senior vice president of sustainability.More

What's the future for family-owned 3PLs?
DC Velocity
It's a familiar story: An enterprising party with a truck or some extra storage space starts a local business. Over time, the company extends its service menu and broadens its reach, becoming more of a full-service provider than simply a warehousing or trucking firm. Eventually, the business is passed down to the next generation of family members, who may further expand the operation. That story's been repeated countless times throughout the industry's history, and today, companies bearing family names still stand side by side with the giant global 3PLs. Indeed, some of the largest 3PLs, like C.H. Robinson, started out as family-owned businesses.More

With RFID, Malaysian logistics company gets fewer blowouts
RFID Journal
Since Malaysian logistics firm Lee Ting San Group began trialing an RFID-based tire-management system a year ago on some of its 400 trucks, the company has found that tagged tires are better maintained and have fewer blowouts than those without RFID tags, according to Ahilan Thiyagarajah, the managing director of Auto RFID Solutions, which installed the system. The tire-management solution, known as e-Tyre and provided by Malaysian RFID company FEC International, consists of an EPC Gen 2 passive RFID patch tag, a tire probe for determining a tire's tread depth and air pressure (the patch tags and tire probes are manufactured by Translogik), a hand-held RFID reader and e-Tyre software.More

Bob Trebilcock: Logistics in India
Modern Materials Handling
A couple of years ago, I did a story on warehousing and distribution in emerging markets. We all know the story about off-shoring of manufacturing to low-wage countries like China, India, Viet Nam, Brazil and the Caribbean countries. The question we asked was whether companies may outsource their warehousing and distribution to low-wage countries as well. The answer then was probably not. Too many industries have moved to just-in-time lean logistics. It's not just manufacturers any more, but retailers that want to eliminate their stock rooms and minimize the amount of inventory they keep on the shelf. For them, regular, timely and predictable shipments are a necessity and that means distribution has to be closer to home.More

What to do when your employee quits
American Express OPEN Forum
We’ve all been there. You just got into the office, put your keys down and an employee drops the bomb, "I quit." It might have come out of the blue from one of your best employees. Or, maybe it came from an employee that you never have gotten along with. Regardless of the reasoning, it's never a positive experience to have one of your employees unexpectedly quit. When this happens, you have three options.More

Norsk Lastbærer Pool inserts RFID into Norwegian food chain
RFID Journal
Norsk Lastbærer Pool — an organization established by Norwegian consumer goods manufacturers and retailers to manage a nationwide pool of pallets — is transitioning Norway's consumer goods sector to RFID-tagged plastic pallets and totes, leased by NLP, each with EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency RFID tags. In February 2011, as part of that transition, the organization intends to pilot the use of RFID hand-held readers and fixed reader portals at the factories of snack-food company Maarud and sausage producer Finsbråten, as well as at two distribution centers for retail chain Coop.More