Jan. 28, 2010

Improved WERC Member Benefit

WERC members can add their company to the online Vendor Locator at NO charge. Just click here and follow the instructions to add your company to the growing list of providers.
Using Metrics seminar is coming to Chicago! February 4 to 5, 2010
Check out upcoming WERCouncil meetings in Chicago and Cincinnati.
Visit the Learning Center for more learning opportunities.More

Contract changes could stop 3PL 'savings leakage'
DC Velocity
They may not know it by name, but most users of third-party logistics services are familiar with the concept of "savings leakage." In the outsourcing world, the term refers to the phenomenon in which a customer sees dazzling returns in the first or second year of its contract only to see the savings slow to a trickle later on, according to Kate Vitasek, a consultant with Bellevue, Wash.-based Supply Chain Visions. The reason is pretty obvious. The biggest savings come in year one as the service provider assumes labor and asset costs, and focuses on the projects that will deliver the greatest returns.More

2 packaging developments worth watching
Packaging World
A "new" PET and augmented-reality packaging -- they're coming down the packaging pike. Sometimes I feel a lot like a sieve. Tons of stuff pours into my laptop each and every day, and because most of it is junk, I let it flow right through. But bits of it are anything but junk, and these are the bits I like to strain out so that I can share them with anyone who is listening.More

Secrets to advanced store replenishment revealed
Two capabilities are helping manufacturers and retailers of brand-name consumer goods improve replenishment at the floor and shelf levels, says Kelly Thomas, senior vice president of product strategy and planning at i2 Technologies. These capabilities are the ability to operationally apply insights from demand signals and to collaboratively align measurements. "Particularly in the last 12 months, with the economic downturn, we have seen manufacturers looking much more closely at how they can pull deeper insights out of their demand data -- not for reporting purposes but to use these insights operationally to improve merchandising at the store level," Thomas said.More

Buyers say containerboard prices are down; poll finds transaction price below mill levels
Market chatter suggests that North American containerboard supply has grown "surprisingly tight" this month -- without any significant pickup in domestic box demand-because of a surge in exports. That's why trade reports say producers are pushing through announced $50 per ton price increases. But that's not what buyers are reporting. In this month's online survey, linerboard buyers say supply is sufficient and supply leadtimes remain at fewer than four weeks for the fourth consecutive month.More

ERP suites too complicated, too expensive, don't fulfill real need
I'm joining a growing discussion -- a collective voice of dissent if you will -- against ERP vendors' "suites" approach. In other words, the countless modules that bolt on to the base system. Have you ever encountered an ERP sales or consulting rep and asked if your system could address a particular business issue only to hear that, in fact, you need a suite of modules to address that challenge? This is notorious in the supply chain management space in particular.More

Wholesale prices increased 4.4% in 2009
Modern Distribution Management
Wholesale prices moved up 0.2 percent in December, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This rise followed a 1.8 percent advance in November and a 0.3 percent increase in October. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by producers of intermediate goods rose 0.5 percent and the crude goods index moved up 1 percent.More

Tips offered for quantifying savings from supply management
Most sourcing and procurement professionals know how difficult it is to accurately quantify the real value if their work. P. Fraser Johnson and Michiel R. Leenders, of the University of West Ontario and the Richard Ivey School of Business, respectively, recently have offered some excellent insight into that topic in a new article for MIT's Sloan Management Review. We will look at their recommendations on how to best overcome the challenges of accurately calculating the real value of supply management and the harm to companies from either under or over-estimating that value.More

Bubble Wrap turns 50
Material Handling Management
Jan. 25 marks the 50th birthday of Sealed Air's iconic Bubble Wrap cushioning material and the 10th annual Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. To celebrate the golden anniversary, Sealed Air will make a limited run of gold Bubble Wrap in the company's Saddle River, N.J., facility. A little known fact about Bubble Wrap is that inventors Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding originally intended the product to be sold as textured wallpaper. When that idea did not take off, they began to market Bubble Wrap as a greenhouse insulator.More

U.S. cap-trade prospects dim; France prepares fresh carbon tax
The Green Supply Chain
The election Jan. 19 of Scott Brown, R-Mass., to the U.S. Senate likely means there will be no Senate action on "cap and trade" legislation in 2010 -- and perhaps in the end drive a change of approach. Meanwhile, the French government is taking aim at a new, reconfigured direct tax on carbon emissions. While the U.S, House had passed a massive cap and trade bill in June (Waxman-Markey bill), the Senate has been slow to move.More

What are your outsourcing new year's resolutions?
Supply Chain Management Review
The beginning of the year is traditionally a time when supply chain managers assess (or reassess) their outsourcing contracts, according to outsourcing advisory services firm Pace Harmon. To that end, the firm has produced a report, "Kick Off the New Year with a Thorough Review of Contractual Obligations and Commitments." The report, according to Pace Harmon, covers 18 key areas that outsourcing companies should keep in mind.More

Packaging events deliver economic promise for 2010
Packaging World
"We need to do something to get this economy back on track," said an unidentified female consumer when asked on a recent Milwaukee television news story about the economic situation one year into the Obama administration. In the packaging space, 2010 offers plenty of opportunities to do more than just "something." A host of events this year will showcase packaging machinery and materials. Investing in these trade shows as an exhibitor or attendee will allow professionals to support the packaging function, learn about the latest technologies, and buy products geared at improving your packaging operations.More