Feb. 10, 2011

WERC Conference 2011

Registration is open for the annual WERC Conference. Check out the planned sessions at www.werc.org and register online to take advantage of the early-bird rates and first choice of tours and roundtables. Exhibitors for WIRE already are lining up, and you can see that list on the website. We hope you're planning to join us from May 15 to 18 in Orlando.
More WERC-certified warehouses
WERC proudly adds to the list of facilities in the WERC Warehouse Certification Program — a voluntary program whereby an individual warehouse facility's capabilities to perform core warehousing functions is certified. The program provides an industry-standard grading methodology that includes a facility inspection and process assessment by an independent, trained third-party auditor. Check it out!More

The sweet music of supply chain orchestration
ChainLink Research
The world has changed. For many industries and companies, merely managing their own immediate suppliers is no longer sufficient. Someone has to step in and coordinate key activities across the supply chain. Some progressive companies are managing multiple tiers of their supply chain (e.g., their suppliers' suppliers and further upstream suppliers) to ensure supply continuity, social compliance, and to gain competitive advantage. These supply chain orchestrators tend to be brand owners whose reputation and competitiveness are on the line based on the performance and actions of the whole chain. They are the ones who have the power to influence and direct the whole chain. In some cases the brand owner hires a third party to act on their behalf to execute this function.More

Ergonomic workplace solutions keep older workers safe, productive
Modern Materials Handling
There's a storm warning on the horizon, known as the silver tsunami, that's calling for lots of gray — gray hair, that is. That's because the wave of baby boomers, about 75 million of Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964 and account for 29 percent of the U.S. population, are getting older. And while some are heading off to retirement, many are remaining in the workforce. "Sixty-two is no longer the stepping off point," says Brian McNamara, president of Southworth. He's right. According to the AARP, 69 percent of boomers plan to stay on the job beyond the age of 65.More

David Maloney: Belt-tightening tips for conveyor owners
DC Velocity
My own introduction to the concept of "total cost of ownership" came when I was a teenager. I had my eye on a used '67 Mustang with an asking price of $750, which was roughly the amount I had saved from an after-school job. But when I approached my father with the plan, I got a cold dose of reality. With a car, he explained, the initial purchase price is just the tip of the iceberg. You also have to factor in the costs of gas, insurance, repairs, new tires, and more. Clearly, my $750 wasn't going to stretch far enough. Unfortunately, many buyers of conveyor systems have the same frame of reference that I did as a 16-year-old would-be car owner.More

Supply chain water management critical to mitigate risks
Companies throughout the world are becoming increasingly concerned about the quality and quantity of the water resources that support their business processes. So, it's no surprise that we are starting to hear more and more about ways that organizations are working to mitigate water risks in their supply chains. Recently, San Francisco-based Climate Earth launched what it calls "the first cradle-to-gate solution for managing direct and indirect water usage." According to the company, this environmental business intelligence system provides the following.More

50 ways to green your fleet at little to no cost
Fleet Owner
For those fleet managers who know they have to green their fleet to reduce its carbon footprint and ultimately be more competitive yet are not sure how to get started without taking on significant cost, Thermo King has an answer. Really, it's 50 of them. The company has created a document titled "50 Ways to Green Your Fleet." It includes 50 tips and suggestions on things, big or small, a fleet can do to make itself greener.More

Cliff Holste: Modularity, scalability, standard integration protocols are game changers for many distributors
Distribution Digest
Package handling conveyors and sorters have been in use for decades in large, complex distribution environments. These custom designed and engineered systems, along with highly customized Warehouse Management Systems that drive them, long have been the centerpiece of the best-of-bread DCs and will continue to play a significant role as the megatrend toward Automated Case Picking in the DC continues to advance the state of the art.More

Authentic leadership can be bad leadership
Harvard Business Review
Most people can agree that authenticity is of great value. We'd rather be — or follow — a leader who is for real than one who is faking it. Acting in a way that feels truthful, candid and connected to who you really are is important, and it's a leadership quality worth aspiring to. On the other hand, being who you are and saying what you think can be highly problematic if the real you is a jerk. In practice, we've observed that placing value on being authentic has become an excuse for bad behavior among executives. It's important to realize that what makes you you is not just the good stuff: your values, aspirations and dreams — the qualities others love most.More

Research for automated case picking 2011 report launched with new survey on this increasingly important topic
Supply Chain Digest
In late 2009, Supply Chain Digest and its sister website Distribution Digest released a groundbreaking report on automated case picking, which for the first time in the industry categorized the growing array of automated case picking solutions into distinct technology approaches, and offered key insights into how distribution managers should approach automated case picking solutions. As was noted then, ACP has the potential to dramatically change distribution center operations for many companies, significantly transforming a key distribution center process for many companies for which the basic approach and technologies haven't changed much for nearly three decades.More

Are you ready for retail-ready packaging?
DC Velocity
The push for "retail-ready packaging" began in Europe to relieve labor costs at the store. Now it's making its way to North America. Find out what it will mean for distribution and logistics professionals.More

How can RFID help the soft goods supply chain: Let us count the (60) ways
Supply Chain Digest
There is no question item-level tagging in the apparel industry (manufacturer to retailer and store floor) is hot, energized by a pretty clear value proposition and WalMart's announcement in mid-2010 that it was jumping into the fray. Now, more supporting evidence on the value prop side, as the University of Arkansas Information Technology Research Institute, which has done a number of research projects on RFID generally and lately specific to the apparel sector, has released a new report that identified 60 different applications for item- and case-level tagging from manufacturer to store floor.More

To be a better boss, know your default settings
Harvard Business Review
Every day as managers and leaders, we bring ourselves to the job. We bring who we are as people, our likes and dislikes, our preconceived ideas, the peculiar set of values and predispositions we've acquired, our unique personalities, values and experience. Nothing wrong with that. It just means we're human and we don't leave our humanity at home when we work. But problems arise when we apply our preconceptions or values to situations at work without understanding what we're doing — when we tilt one way or the other, not based on what's best in the circumstances, but on what we tend to prefer. What we prefer is sometimes the right choice, but often it's not.More